It’s finally here! OMG! The final stretch. The moment that I have been ‘fearing’ the most. Because it’s the final chapters of Gintama! Oh no! I have to face reality that all good things must come to an end. That time has come. At least for Gintama: Silver Soul Arc. It is going to be one hell of an epic finale with all the characters coming back for one last hurrah as they defend Earth and their beloved Edo from the hands of those who want to really destroy it.

The Defence Of Edo

Who watches the watchmen – The Liberation Army, a group of Amanto who are supposed to fight for Earth from Tendoshu’s destruction is now harassing Earthlings in the name of justice. They think they are entitled to everything because they’re helping them. Jerks.

Penny for your thoughts – If you have been laughing at Hasegawa for trying to collect every damn penny he could find, you won’t be laughing now that you see his vast collection of full jars and pots of those pennies. Because he is going to use them for a job request at Yorozuya. Well, if they ever come back.

Even God has abandoned Earth – Heck, there are more requests for Yorozuya to help save them. The last dependable people to rely on. Sorry, God. Nobody prays to you anymore.

Guess who’s back? – Just like heroes arriving in the nick of time for their grand entrance, our Yorozuya dudes have returned from space! Rejoice!

Kabukichou Khaos – All our weirdoes from this district join force to show the Liberation Army who’s boss. Those bullies don’t even stand a chance when it comes to the real deal.

It’s all about faeces value – Nobunobu decides to do some good and negotiate with the leader of the Liberation Army, Admiral Shijaku. The only reason why Nobunobu sounds threatening like as though he has a secret weapon ready to bomb the sh*t out of them is because he has a terrible stomach ache and is forced to hold in for this ‘important’ negotiation. Thanks to them on different pages, Shijaku agrees to cooperate with them and back down the aggression of his men on Earth. Such a stomach churning negotiations that I hope nobody craps in their pants. Oops, too late…

Naraku strikes back – Utsuro has also begun to move and begins his plan to die along with this planet. Hence his Naraku team has been dispatched to kill everybody. Oh, did I mention they cannot be killed and revive like zombies? How the heck are they going to die then?!

Infinity war – Prince Ensho, Shijaku’s other ally in the Liberation Army shows the shocking truth that Tendoshu are all dead. Or at least they are kept in some suspended animation. Ensho wants the war to continue because if it ends, where will all those who have lost everything vent their anger and frustration? Everything could have ended but there will be no end for them. Hence this endless war will allow them to remain on the battlefield.

All odds against you – How can you even fight Utsuro when you have to deal with his undead army as well as the Liberation Army? Yeah, plot device says too early for our heroes to win. Ensho is bombarding Edo and our Yorozuya are reduced to running away. Now they are cornered by heavy tank machinery, is this the end?

The police are back – Blame plot convenience again. But I guess we’re all so glad the Shinsengumi are back and packed with more power, political influence and weaponry to kickass!

Raw power – Behold Kondou’s true power and form! His birthday suit! Until he steps on his own dick. I don’t even… I guess some things never changed…

Rambo who? – Who the f*ck is this Rambo dude? New character? Nope. YAMAZAKI!!!!!!!!!! So badass that everybody looks up to him too????!!!! So this Rambo form is his true form and that scrawny Yamazaki was just his ‘heavy t-shirt’?

Gorilla who? – Apparently Kondou’s true form is a gorilla… WTF… Is this some kind of joke like that ‘heavy t-shirt’?!

World’s largest dick – That cannon Gengai made sure resembles a penis. Is this some dick joke? What dick move is he going to make?

Rise and fall of the machines – Apparently to power up this huge machine, the power of Tama and Kintoki are needed. So when all the electricity of Edo is zapped just for this one moment, then nothing happens? The real threat is not the cannon but the little nanomachines that Gengai has created. These will infiltrate into all other machines as viruses and cause them to fail. But at a great cost of sacrificing Tama and Kintoki? Now that the machines have done their part and becoming junk, it’s up to humanity now to save Earth.

Last bastion – More Amanto reinforcements as their numbers swell. They even have the reinforcements of the other great warrior tribes like the Yato, Dakini and Shinra. Kabukichou becomes the final strong fort for our heroes to hold out before their reinforcements arrive.

Stealth – With Sakamoto and Nobunobu thrown back into prison, their only hope is for Katsura and his Joi rebels to get them out via stealth. Too bad too much stealth has them being captured as zoo exhibits by Hata.

Size does matter – WTF?! Now we have a flashback of Hata’s Okoku clan?! At this point in the series?! Anyway, there was a dispute between who should be the next ruler and in this world, those with bigger dicks on their head are more favourable. Yes, those antennas on their forehead are like akin to penis. Hence there was a faction between Hata who has a bigger dick but talentless and Barkas who has a smaller dig but is talented. Eventually Barkas left the throne to Hata thinking a kind king like him would benefit the country at peaceful times.

The hidden dick – Guess what? Shijaku is Barkas! Yeah, his tiny dick made it possible to hide it, eh?

The dick king returns – Guess what again? The eldest prince with the biggest dragon sized dick thought to be dead, still lives! In Elizabeth?! And this dick talks?! Not sure about this flashback of Dragonia instead of dying in an accident, lost his memories, met Elizabeth’s tribe and somewhat fused with it. I guess Earth now at least has an ally to fight against the Liberation Army. Nothing is scarier than bringing dicks into the battlefield.

Ball breaker – If it’s bad enough Gintoki somehow losing his balls (literally!) in the midst of the battlefield, here comes Saigo crushing balls of Amano and Dakini! Sure kill!

To take down a raging bull – The Dakini tribe is sure tough. Especially their big boss who is tougher than an elephant and rhinoceros’ skin combined and more stubborn than a mule. And for him to finally be killed, it literally took the might and cooperation of literally everyone. From Yorozuya to Otae’s girls to Kyuubei’s family and even Tsukuyo’s geishas.

Will the real doctor please stand up – The Shinra tribe takes the women hostages as they want our heroes to hand over the doctor who created the cannon so they could stop it and make the machines work again. So will Gengai give himself in? Not if every Tom, Dick and Harry in town proclaim they are the doctor!

The boss returns – Jirocho and Pirako. The more the merrier, right?

Changing the tide – I suppose when you have a bunch of weirdoes being this stubborn not to give in and fight and fight and fight, now the Liberation Army is sent retreating with tails between their legs.

Flower power – Who’d knew that Hedoro was the strongest Dakini in his time but gave up the battlefield just to plant flowers? And now that you Amanto trampled on his flower, he won’t forgive you. Watch out! Because his punch really sends you flying!

In high spirits – Looks like the shikigami and demons are joining in too. Thankfully they’re on our heroes’ side, right? Right?! Well, let’s see who the fastest runners are.

Please don’t pluck the flower – Oops. Too late. Gintoki accidentally yanks Hedoro’s flower… Will humanity be able to stand the tsukkomi that his split personality has to give?

Peace and pandemonium – It’s great our Edo boys and girls are united and resting after a hard day’s fight to drive out the Liberation Army. But can Gedomaru stop feeding everyone those hideous looking Pandemonium bread?!

Missing old man – Gengai has been captured by the Amanto and they want him to turn off the nanomachines.

First contact – Soyo receives a transmission from Nobunobu. It’s been like ages since the war started.

Mix trail – Trying to find the trail that leads to where Gengai is kidnapped. Nope. Only sh*t and ass blood trail to leads that don’t matter.

Judgment Day On Earth

It can’t be stopped – It seems even though Gengai doesn’t know how to stop the nanomachines, Ensho already has another ace up his sleeve. He has started to warm up that Kagutsuchi cannon that will obliterate all on Earth within 6 hours. Yeah, blast it out of the sky. Or universe, rather. He is going to sacrifice his comrades on Earth just for this so the desperate Liberation Army has no choice but to continue their assault to take down the nanomachine virus or bring Edo down.

Star Wars – Hata and Hasegawa’s petty argument accidentally sparked a space laser battle from all sides! It has begun!

Late to the party – Looks like Takasugi is joining the fray. Better late than never. Because nobody gets to destroy Earth but him! Don’t worry about him on which side he is siding. He is everyone’s enemy!

Kiheitai origins – Not really told in full scope but at least it gives us an idea how the main guys of Takasugi’s group came to be and how they were ‘born’ to destroy the world and the universe. And the irony is that they’re looking like they’re trying to save it from destruction.

Word of the shogun – Nobunobu must have really done some deep thinking as he realizes the people who often come to the aid to save the country are those labelled as rebels or traitors. He gives his promise to never betray them ever again. He will fight alongside them as rebels.

Internal feud – After Kagura saves Gengai from the Yato, they deem her a traitor of their race. Good for her, Kamui and his Harusame Yato are on a side and hence a big brawl among the Yato to see which is the real Yato.

Sibling feud – I guess it was inevitable. Kamui and Kagura start fighting among each other and the poor Yato dude got caught in between. He must have balls of steel to be kicked around like that!

The big boss has finally arrived! – Utsuro has joined the fray! Now apocalypse can begin.

Power up – Looks like Utsuro conveniently makes Altana go berserk right now so that when it hits back at Kagutsuchi, the destruction will also affect other parts of the galaxy!

Making haste – Ensho orders all energy to be redirected to Kagutsuchi. In the process of killing their allies and enemies in parts of the ship, Kagutsuchi is now set to fire in 15 minutes.

Delaying for a miracle – Looks like the body count for our ‘heroes’ will be starting right now. Kihetai who are last to the party has lots of their men sacrificed. To buy time for Takasugi to cut through the main power source and stop Kagutsuchi, Henpeita crashes his ship while Bansai fights back with his last ounce of strength against the heavily guarded central command.

Running man – More Ensho flashback. He looked envious the women he loved married his brother. So when the brother went on a trip to sign a treaty, they were ambushed and Ensho let him die. After his death, Ensho took in his wife. However he is still running away from her all this time and only in a battle between life and death can he forget that.

The longest cut – Can you believe Takasugi’s sword could cut through the entire core of the cannon? It’s a long way down…

It takes life to protect a life – Mutsu and Elizabeth take lethal damage from Ensho as they protect Sakamoto and Katsura respectively.

Death battle – Well it looks like it is Enso versus Sakamoto-Katsura-Takasugi combo. Lots of blood spilled. Lots of damage taken. And these tough dudes can still get up and fight? Will the one with the stronger will win?

Unarmed – Looks like the fight is decided after Takasugi cuts off Enso’s arm (the other arm got blown off). So Takasugi can claims the spoils of the fight? Now you can die in peace.

Change of heart, change of fate – Just when Ensho decides to give up and surrender, a disgruntled henchman shoots him, not happy that if they stop fighting, what about all those who fought and died? What have they been fighting for?

The last shogun – Unfortunately some of the stray bullets also hit Nobunobu. Dying shogun has his last words for everybody. Stop the hatred, make peace, live on. The world can stand up and lead itself and doesn’t need a ruler anymore. Ah yes. Even if it is for a short while, it made him worthy of the shogun title. Goodbye Nobunobu :’(.

The Final Boss Battle

Calm before the storm – Thanks to the priestess sisters, they have been going around calming the Altana berserk. But with Sadaharu joining in and using up his life force for this…

Of the dead – Undead Naraku goons try to stop our heroes. Don’t worry, there is one guy left who is really late to join the fray: Umibouzu’s back! Is there any more left who wants to make their very late entrance?

Opening up old wounds – Do we have time for this? Umibouzu and Kamui continuing their family feud in this critical time? Kagura, you go tell ‘em!

Kryptonite – Apparently those are what those Altana crystals that Umibouzu collected all over the universe are. He experimented on researched on it to find a way to nullify Utsuro and Naraku’s immortality and made several weapons out of it. If that’s the case, they aren’t immortal in the first place, right?

Gotta save ‘em all – Shijaku orders Hata to destroy the mothership that they are all in since if it crashes into Earth, everything will be done for. Not if Hasegawa has something to say about it. He is going to save everybody. So as an immigration officer he is going to let everyone in?

Influence of an unemployed man – If Hata’s puny army barrier isn’t enough to stop the crashing mothership, don’t worry, they have reinforcements in the form of the Liberation Army. Grateful that they are even thinking about saving the lives of their enemies, now they are throwing their support behind them. All thanks to Hasegawa who answers to no authority and just do as he pleases without taking any responsibility. Too bad he has no power, money, influence or a job. That is why he is unemployed.

Doggone it! – Sadaharu risking his life just to calm the main Altana leyline down. He is defenceless, who is coming to his aid? Oh, you know. The usual suspects. He is after all Yorozuya’s pet dog.

Utsuro vs everybody – Why does this feel like Thanos versus everybody? How many are going to die just to take him down? So aside from cutting down the small fries in the Shinsengumi and Yato. The big guns like Umibouzu, Kamui, Kondou, Hijikata, Sougou are all having a hard time bringing down this monster.

It’s in your blood – Utsuro’s regeneration starts slowing down, enabling Shinpachi to deal the first lethal blow. His previous bout with Gintoki, the Yorozuya boss purposely threw Altana crystals into his eyes (hence into his bloodstream) after stabbing the Altana crystal sword into his eyes didn’t work.

Soul for the future – Think Sadaharu can’t last any longer? Not if everybody chips in to channel part of their soul as fuel.

Fear thy humans – Utsuro is looking pretty scared for an immortal. His beliefs of humans being cruel and cowardly foolish creatures crushed. Turning him into one big confused mess that they keep continue to fight against the hopelessness and weaknesses.

Power combo – Yeah, all our main characters had their fair share in beating the crap out of Utsuro.

Lonely death – So did Utsuro decide to finally just kill himself by jumping into the Altana and not take the foolish humans with him? So that’s it for him? Okay. He claims they have chosen endless wars and suffering but too bad he won’t be around to see it ;p.

Crash of the century – Kagutsuchi crashes onto Edo. Wow. Did the debris just miss everyone?

2 Years’ Time Skip

Rebuilding Edo – Time skip to 2 years later, Edo is slowly being rebuilt and the normalcy and familiarity of daily life with Amanto returning.

The new Gintoki – OMG! What’s this?! Shinpachi takes over Gintoki’s role and now kicks ass?! Oops. False alarm. He got his ass kicked instead.

Saving a dog – In the aftermath, Sadaharu turned into a really small pup that you would mistake as gachapon. Kagura leaves Earth to go planet hoping to return Sadaharu back to normal.

Madao rising – What’s this?! Hasegawa is now a famous flashy (but trashy) movie star and is considered a hero samurai?! Yeah, can’t wait till that fake samurai history movie is released…

It happened… – Think it is forever a running joke that Kondou will never marry Otae? Guess what?! They are! OMFG! Is this really happening?! Kondou now a stay-home dad after resigning from Shinsengumi and Otae is pregnant with his child?! F*cking fake news because this is what happened: He married a real gorilla as a political marriage. He is just staying with Otae to hone his homemaking skills and Otae’s tummy is just because she is getting fat.

The daughter you never knew you had – Gengai created a small child-like version of Tama, Tamako and contains part of Tama who is still in comatose state. She keeps following Shinpachi as though he is her father.

Illegal loli possession – Because of that, Shinpachi is charged for illegal possession of a loli?! WTF kind of law is that now???!!!

New police brutality – Haven’t you heard? Nobume is now the new general commissioner of the police in a bid to protect Soyo from the old bakufu foxes. Seems she is enjoying her power pretty well…

Donald Zuramp – All hail the new Prime Minister of Japan! Katsura!!! Yeah, this country is doomed!

Impeach!!! – More like assassins trying to get Katsura on the first day! Actually they were arranged by Matsudaira! Can’t have an ex-rebel leading the country, eh? Even though it was his fault to make a shady deal to turn Katsura into a PM, thinking he wouldn’t have lived this long.

Transporter – Now Shinpachi is caught in between. He is forced to deliver money from Matsudaira to buy arms from a black market dealer (Mutsu???!!!) for a hired assassin. Turns out the ultimate weapon is a loli Kagura. You mean Kanna is Kagura’s daughter???!!!!

Old friends, old rivals again? – Gintoki stumbles into Takasugi in his travel and after a short bout, he notices Takasugi’s wounds heal up instantly. Sure that’s not a ghost?

Never let a cancer cell escape because if you do… – As Gintoki is interrogated by Hijikata, the latter mentions that 2 years ago after the crash of Kagutsuchi, not only Takasugi was missing but the bodies of Tendoshu. You see, even if they are corpses, they still contain Utsuro’s blood. Uh oh. You know what this means? There are also rumours that Tendoshu is slowly reviving and are making small terrorist attacks to claim back Altana. Could it be that Takasugi has absorbed their blood too? But it is too early to tell his motives because he might have some unfinished business too.

Mobcop – If you’re wondering the sudden introduction of this Robocop spoof character trying to act like a main character, a character that nobody would care nor remember anyhow, behold the twist that this cyborg is actually Yamazaki!!!! Forgotten all about him, have you?!

Banana is my daddy – No joke. Kanna explains why she is Kagura’s legitimate daughter. She ate too much banana and puked out a child! Ah, at least no dirty thoughts were conceived. Were there?!

Just by a different name – Oh, the assassin Matsudaira hired is no other than… Sougou! Time to test the ultimate weapon or get revenge for an old grudge? So did the disbanded Shinsengumi now turned mafia?

They grow up so fast – In the heat of the battle, Kanna grows up to become… Kagura?! Or was it Kagura all along but just trolling us? She grows even faster when she uses up all her powers and now turns into grandma! And a sob story of how she travelled to different worlds to save Sadaharu but to no avail. Still a little small pup stuck in a marble.

Finding Sensei…

Everyone one chasing you – It seems Naraku is chasing after Gintoki because he is in possession of something very valuable. Even Takasugi wants it.

Piece of your heart – So that thing in Gintoki’s possession…. Utsuro’s heart. Or rather Shouyou’s.

The travels of Gintoki – When Utsuro told Gintoki during his final moments this won’t end and how they saved the world but not Shouyou, Gintoki knew Utsuro would one day revive due to the massive Altana he is made from. So he travelled to every leylines to check for any strange happenings. One whereby a priest thought it was some animal corpse but it quickly grew into a baby. Gintoki took the baby but hesitated to kill him. The baby then grew into a boy and followed him everywhere mindlessly without saying or expressing anything. In the boy’s final moments, he remembered he was Shouyou and before Naraku could take him, he gauged out his heart and entrusted it to Gintoki. The remnants of Naraku have been attempting to bring back Utsuro since.

Temporary immortality – When Takasugi went to destroy Tendoshu on board the mothership, he was killed off. He saw the Liberation Army salvaging the Tendoshu’s parts. In fear of the cycle repeating itself, Takasugi used his last ounce of energy to stab his school seniors’ ashes into his heart, enabling him temporary immortality. But now it seems that is breaking apart. For these past years, Takasugi has been trying to weed out those who have stolen the parts but it has spread far too wide.

Religion in war – In times of war, people cling on to religion as their last shred of hope. Hence Naraku has been slowly spreading the faith of immortality underneath this guise and awaiting for another comeback as they want Earth’s Altana all to themselves. They have kept Utsuro’s body and the crux that will revive him is his heart. Once that happens, who will be your true saviour?

Edo once more – Yeah, that’s where Shouyou’s body is and the next target of the terrorists.

Mobile Cathedral Kuyo – Apparently this is where this cult is located and where Shouyou is located. An invisible base that cannot be detected or seen by the naked eye hovering above Earth right now.

The mannequin challenge – We take a detour to see how Gintoki, Hijikata and Yamazaki had to act like mannequin to hide from Otae shopping. Expect some mannequin abuse and then dump away.

The pretender – In order to look for Takasugi, Gintoki masquerades at him only to be caught by Ayame who is looking for Gintoki because she still hasn’t given up on marrying him. He is forced to go along with her plan to ‘look for Gintoki’ and in his one chance to get away from her, he screws up and ends up doing the mannequin challenge again. Only this time he somehow put on Kyuubei’s pantsu as disguise. WTF…

MILF treatment – The ladies ‘torture’ ‘Takasugi’ by making old ladies pleasure him to tell the truth. Now he his soul has been cleansed! Except for boobs on his mind…

Home is where the heart is – With all the ladies earnestly hoping Gintoki could come home and that they could walk aside him once more, time for Gintoki to escape and rethink his plans.

Scam Trial…

Kangaroo court in session – And suddenly we have Gintoki as the judge residing to do a Gintama Ending Scam Court and explain how this sh*t started 3 years ago. With lots of troubles, unforeseen circumstances and ad hoc emergency measures, we are where we are right now. And there is no ending still in sight!

Guilty as charged – The biggest crook who is guiltiest of them all is no other than the creator and mangaka of this series! Guilty as charged, Gorilla sensei!

All charges dropped – After a longwinded letter that doesn’t prove anything (but a possible sequel. Maybe), Gintoki finds him not guilty!

Gintama Final: End Of Sky – This better not be another scam!!!!!!!!!!!

Battlefield Earth
And they did it again! If the anime seemed like it hasn’t ended yet (really, it has not at all), that’s because the manga that is supposed to end, hasn’t really ended yet! Good news?! Because somehow the creator screwed up (even writing a flimsy letter explaining to fans) and hence it isn’t ending any time soon. Hooray?! So I guess after all these years of expecting the series to finally end, they trolled us yet again with this. Yeah, we really had been had this time real good. Since I am a fan of the series, I can sigh a big relief as there is a possibility that the anime might continue to pick up where it left off. Hallelujah?! I’ve got a feeling that Gintama and Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan had a hand in this conspiracy together…

This ‘final season’ in many ways was as good as the previous seasons and sometimes I felt it was like one of those cliché Dragonball episodes. You know, where the fight lasts for dozens of episodes! Hence with the final stretch having our beloved characters fighting to defend their beloved planet they are born in, basically this is what the entire Silver Soul arc is really about. Just one big long fight against the big bad boss who wants to destroy everything. Though, it felt a bit anti-climactic when Utsuro just ‘suddenly gave up’ because I was expecting some sort of final boss fight to last for a few more episodes. Yeah, probably we were getting tired of seeing our protagonists running around and beating up endless waves of baddies (doesn’t it feels like a video game?) and no ending in sight.

Hence I thought it was also a bit odd that with the ‘early’ death of Utsuro, we have a few more episodes dedicating to the time skip. Yeah, I thought it was going to be the longest tying up ever. Because you know, it’s Gintama. It has grown so big so it needs a lot of episodes to tie up and end everything. And then it turns out to be another new plot in the making. Another final battle and act on the cards. They do sure know how to troll us. Especially with that last episode. Boy, when we think the final episode wasn’t going to really cut it, suddenly it’s like they read our minds and put up that ‘explanation’. Oh yeah. Gintama. The masters of trolling. Gotta hand it to them. After all, some series can only end for real when it has final in its season. Like Fairy Tail Final Season, Nodame Cantibile: Finale, Shakugan No Shana Final, Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu: Finale, Inu Yasha: Kanketsu-hen (Final Arc), Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan: Kanketsu-hen, Initial D Final Stage, Jungle Wa Itsumo Hare Nochi Guu Final, Hunter x Hunter: Greed Island Final, Sora No Otoshimono Final, Beatless Final Stage, technically Zero No Tsukaima F. Wow. So many finals. And now perhaps, Gintama Final: End Of Sky. Yeah…

It has been one long ride so probably what I want to say would make me sound like a broken tape recorder as my sentiments for this series has not changed. So I’ll be repeating myself if I am going to say those same sentiments again. Heh. Too lazy to type it out again. Go read my previous blogs. But I’m glad this formula never got tired for me. Like how in the midst of a very serious and intense battle, they can actually crack up a very silly joke no matter what. So many times. Therefore one minute your heart was being tugged by all the heartfelt words and quotes the characters said (makes you want to cry inside), the next minute they insert some ludicrous antic that is so out of place that you’ll be laughing your ass off. Only shows like Gintama can pull this sort of sh*t seamlessly.

Many of the characters do look like they have changed but that is mostly their outward appearance. Because from what I can see that many of them still remain the same like we have known them for a long time. For example, Shinpachi now has taken over Yorozuya but don’t expect him to be a more mature and responsible character. Sure, he is slightly better than his previous boss but Shinpachi will always be Shinpachi. Yes, without glasses, Shinpachi will not be defined! Haha! I didn’t think they were going to kill off a lot of characters during the final fight but I was expecting some heavy casualties. I guess they couldn’t because fans might be mad. Hey, don’t say that there aren’t any fans of Elizabeth!

Which brings me to my next point that with so many characters over the seasons, even with many of them just lacking appropriate screen time and just making their cameos (some I even forgot if they really existed in the first place!), it doesn’t really feel that they are lacking because over the seasons we have seen their characters and grown with them so I suppose the final season doesn’t feel like it has lost anything much on this department. It’s not like you need more character development and fleshing out in the final battle, right? But some that have a more prominent role include Hasegawa who didn’t end up being a Madao forever and did something useful (even though he is still a Madao) and Hata not being a useless prince for once (although he is still a useless prince). Is it just weird for me that Matako has transcended into some Takasugi fan boy because she looks like she is always worried for him 24/7. Even when the battle is over, she continued to look and chase after him.

The first opening theme, Katte Ni My Soul by Dish// definitely feels at home for the final epic stretch of the series. This rock piece sets the pace and mood for this final arc and can rival the Pray (the first opening theme in the first season of the Gintama series) in its own right. Not bad actually. The second opening theme, I Wanna Be by Spyair is also not bad but it is a slow rock. Like as though the pacing is now slowing down a bit. In comparison in this sense, I still prefer the first one. But my favourite one that I still prefer the most is the first ending theme, Hanaichi Monme by Burnout Syndromes. This rock piece has quite a catchy theme and that nostalgic feel. However at times, some parts of the song especially the chorus sometimes reminds me of Shawn Mullins’ Lullaby. Must be just mere coincidence. Unfortunately the ‘worst’ of the lot is the second ending theme’s Hikari Shoumeiron by Chico with Honeyworks. The opening of this rock-cum-hip hop piece sounds like some Chinese gay thingy. Seriously. Otherwise it just sounds more like generic rock.

Overall, it’s been one long ride and looks like the ride will be continuing. Even though I love Gintama and wished it would run forever, sometimes I think it is better to find some sort of closure since I don’t really want it to go on eternally like a certain pirate series. After all, I have made my peace and preparation that this series will find its ending and if I need the strength to do it again, I will. And then they troll us again of not really ending yet and the whole process repeats itself again. Don’t troll us too hard because we might get mad and tell you to commit a samurai seppuku! No trial or court could get you out of this one.

On a side note, what if End Of Sky is just a foreshadowing of how it is the end of the creator? You know, sora means sky and this series’ creator is Hideaki Sorachi. End of Sorachi! It’s like foreshadowing his own death sentence. Shikei!

Urahara

April 15, 2018

Not too long ago, we had a group of vigilantes protecting the sanctuary of Akihabara from aliens who want to take over the place. Looks like now it is Harajuku’s turn in Urahara. Actually a group of aliens are trying to steal cultures from all over our world. But a group of girls in Harajuku love their place so much so they band together and defend their little city from being stolen by aliens. Of course they can’t do it by themselves since they are just normal human beings. They receive some sort of power up that allows them to fight on par (or overpowered from the way I see it) with the aliens. Nobody is going to take stuffs from Harajuku and get away with it without a fight!

Episode 1
Rito Sudou, Mari Shirako and Kotoko Watatsumugi run some sort of boutique named Park in Harajuku. They are having fun coming up with designs in their field of expertise as well as selling customers their goods. One day, a strange person walks into the store and is searching for creative individuals who can create something out of nothing. He believes this store has it all from the clothes to the food. He wants to buy everything and will be right back. Soon on the news, aliens named Scoopers start scooping up famous landmarks all over the world. At first the girls thought it was some prank until those aliens really show up close to home. Orders are given to evacuate Harajuku. At first they oblige the orders but then they feel they don’t want to leave the place. So their love for Harajuku outweighs their overall safety? Whatever. They head back to Park and stumble into an army of Scoopers. Then a weird rocket ship crashes before them. Out comes a little girl, Misa Maruno and a talking fried shrimp, Ebifuruya AKA Ebi. Misa isn’t an alien but was abducted from America. Ebi who is the Scoopers’ pet helped her escape and considers himself an ally of humans. He explains Scoopers lack their own culture and is constantly stealing cultures of other planets. Thus they kidnapped Misa thinking she could help create culture for them. They will stop at nothing until the entire planet’s cultures are stolen. Encountering a real Scooper up close this time, Misa hands them some weird items called Amatsumara she stole from the Scoopers’ ship. Scoopers are unable to use them as they lack imagination. So I guess this means the girls will use their creativity with it and turn into superheroes?! So Rito has speed, Kotoko has logistical support and Mari has some super bazooka? So the first fight against the wave of Scoopers end as Mari blasts her bazooka into them and they all turn into doughnuts! It’s raining doughnuts all over Harajuku!!! When a missile from the International Defence Force (IDF) is fired, their will to protect the city is so great that they activated some self defence system in the form of a giant parfait?

Episode 2
Though it saves them from the missile, this parfait has created a large protective sphere over Harajuku. They wonder if they would be staying like this forever trapped inside this bubble. Because trying to break it has no effect (it regenerates itself) and they play it safe by not touching it, not knowing what would happen if they do. Too bad this sphere is also blocking all communications from outside. Along the way back, they stumble into a fat cat. Rito tries to offer it her sausage but it didn’t like it and snarls back before running away. Maybe it got scared of Ebi? Funny, I thought cats like that kind of food. Back at Park, they listen for updates on the local radio. When there is interference, they go out only to see a part of the sphere dented. Are Scoopers trying to break in? I’m not sure what happens next because the surrounding area starts turning into some alternate dimension. From what I understand, in this hidden area called Urahara, this allows them to fight and defend without destroying the actual Harajuku. A giant corn-like Scooper is seen. Mari’s bazooka is easily deflected. Kotoko detects its pattern and tells Mari to fire on her count. Before this giant corn fires again, its body becomes very hot so they’re going to use this window of opportunity to fire inside its opened mouth. After they do, it now rains popcorn! Different colours and flavours! Yummy!

Episode 3
The girls notice that other people are starting to come out of their hiding and into the open. I guess life has to go on as normal. The girls go check out Rito’s street art. One of her best is a Harajuku girl painting on a wall. Nearby is a girl named Sayumin who is making free crepes for everyone. Seeing the recent events, she just wants to cheer everyone up and do something for them. This inspires them to do and create something. Like Kotoko creating a new menu to reopen the store and Mari some new clothes. However Rito still cannot find her inspiration to draw. While sitting by her wall art and pondering things, Sayumin happen to pass by so she hears out all Rito has to say. Sayumin advises her instead of worrying about the hard stuff, why not just draw what she wants to draw? Now she gets inspired and has Kotoko and Mari help her too. But then they spot a Scooper. Since there are no holes in the barrier, could it be one of those trapped and hiding all the while? Looks like it is attracted to Rito’s creativity and wants to steal her art. Of course they’re not going to allow that. After destroying the Scooper and it turns into macarons, the weird effect of Amatsumara is that it also pops up cute little creatures. WTF?! They call them Shirako since it’s being a Pokemon and that’s all they could say for now. Wait. Isn’t that Mari’s surname? Rito finishes her drawing next to Harajuku girl, which is a traditional house she used to live with her family before moving out. This attracts other people to admire it. Back at Park, Kotoko sees weird visions. Purple patches randomly appear and disappear on her friends.

Episode 4
Kotoko needs to get to the bottom of this as she secretly steals a strand of their hair to experiment. Since nothing came of it, she thinks of taking their blood! Rito and Mari are also noticing she is acting strange and they get freaked out seeing Kotoko like a mad zombie scientist asking for their blood! The problem is that she won’t tell why she needs it. She falls asleep after sleepless nights of experimenting. Her friends feel the need to cheer her up and go out to buy ice cream. So when she wakes up, Kotoko gets the wrong idea they have abandoned her. Sayumin happen to pass by as Kotoko talks about being lonely as she has no friends before until she met Rito and Mari here. Like always, Sayumin advises her to talk to them and is confident they will understand. Meanwhile the duo are fighting off some sludge fudge Scooper and having a tough time. Here comes Kotoko to join them. Using her calculations, she has Mari wait until the right time before firing her bazooka at a building. Kotoko who is making herself as the bait to let the Scooper chase her so that it could get hit by Mari’s shot. Something about how Kotoko calculated the ricochet effect and all in perfect timing for the end result. Now the streets are filled with ice cream. Back at Park, Kotoko finally tells why she needs their blood. She didn’t want to say as not to make them worry. They reconcile and be as their usual friendliness again. It’s not like their friendship was that strained to begin with. That night as everyone is asleep, Misa secretly looks into Kotoko’s findings. I believe whatever unknown substances was detected, she altered it and now there are none.

Episode 5
The girls are in the midst of their own thing when Scoopers are detected. So drop whatever you’re doing and let’s go Scooper hunting. Too bad Harajuku is now a looking like a safari with all those animal-like Scoopers. However it seems these Scoopers are stealing colours from everything. Although they do not steal cultures and the object is left untouched, it is still unpleasant to see it in black and white. Hence Misa wants to join in to fight them. But with no fighting abilities? She won’t since the rest tell she might get in the way. While defeating the Scoopers will revert the colours they stole, there are too many of them and at this rate they will tire out. Noticing that the Scoopers are chasing them because of their colourful clothing, Rito gets this idea as she paints a colourful mural in the barrier’s ceiling. It does attract all the Scoopers to converge as they try to stack up and reach the mural. Cue for Mari to blast them all. However they didn’t turn into sweets and combine into one giant Scooper. They go on a full assault until they bring it down for good. Now they have a mountain pile of sweets in their backyard. After all the colour has been returned to its rightful place, Rito gets this idea to paint the ceiling so it won’t look so dull when one looks up. As the girls picnic, they give Misa a bracelet as present. Sparkly girl is sparkling happy because she loves sparkling things.

Episode 6
With Mari and Kotoko having fans and followers of their own, looks like Rito is getting down because she has none. So what’s the problem if drawing makes her happy? Nobody to appreciate it? So she talks to Sayumin about how nobody complimented her art and in fact when she was younger, she was too shy to show it to anyone. So did she answer her own problem? So is popularity her goal? Anyway a Scooper is detected. This cloud Scooper seems to be targeting Mari. After Rito saves Mari, it seems Urahara has been dispelled. The Scooper then steals Rito’s Harajuku girl art before vanishing. To cheer themselves up, Misa tries to make beads. Apparently she sucks and needs to be guided by Rito to make a better one. At the same time Rito thinks back the first time she worked at Park. Mari and Kotoko saw her drawing and were amazed. They told her to draw whatever she wants that make her happy. The Scooper returns. Again targeting Mari. Kotoko tries to study the movements of the Scooper but cannot come up with any effective strategy. Eventually all of them are caught and Urahara is once again dispelled. Now it steals Rito’s house art. Strange, why didn’t it steal it the first time since it was right next to each other? Rito gets so disheartened and breaks out of its grasp. Then she enters the Scooper and runs rampage until it explodes into cakes. With all of them freed, however they notice strange things sticking to their body and cannot get it off. Kotoko fears it must be those marks. It could be their bodies were already changing then. She blames herself for not doing more research despite the results showed nothing. Then here comes Misa with a big smile to tell them that this means they are no longer human.

Episode 7
The biggest revelation as Misa admits she is a Scooper! So was that kidnapping story a lie? It seems this is all part of the plan for Scoopers to bring creativity home. As the girls have eaten food from defeated Scoopers, those foods were laced with Scooper powers. Hence they are evolving to become one with such powers. Scoopers need them for their creativity and they are evolving to survive space. Plus, if they become strong Scoopers, they will be capable of mimicry and can be anything they want. Naturally the girls are in shock and depressed. Kotoko thinks deep and wonders if they are no different from Scoopers because they too steal cultures from others. Think about it. All those ‘research’ from wiki are mostly copy and paste, right? However Mari cannot accept this. She vehemently protests against this theory and runs away. Wow. So mad. It is her dream to be an actress and looks like she is seeing delusions of her dwindling followers. Rito talks to Sayumin while Kotoko starts to remember her lonely past. It couldn’t be worst timing than this as Scoopers attack. The girls cannot invoke Urahara since they aren’t strong enough. Ebi wants them to eat more stuffs but looks like they aren’t buying into it. Mari takes out her frustrations by blasting Scoopers. Feel better? But hearing others thank her for it, it soon becomes her drug as she turns trigger happy to hear more praises. She loves it! Man, a wake of destruction she left… Similarly, Kotoko doesn’t want to be alone again and goes to join Mari. Rito is disheartened to see them eat those foods. Kids, don’t pick up weird foods from the ground and eat them.

Episode 8
Mari and Kotoko ignore Rito’s plead not to eat and continue on. Sayumin then comes by to give them more food. At first Rito is relieved but to her horror, Sayumin’s food is the same as Scoopers! Oh no. Could she be? Mari and Kotoko want a piece of it. Heck, they’ll take the whole thing! So the rest of the episode sees Rito trying to convince her friends that they can still achieve their dream if they work together at Park but they refuse because they rather be a Scooper than lose what they fear most. Heck, they even think all they’ve done at Park are just copying from others. After eating Sayumin’s food, it seems Sayumin has grown into giant size. Sayumin tries to persuade Rito to join and because she is still stubborn, Sayumin thinks of destroying Park that is in the way. Rito will not allow it and fights her. Even if Rito is reminded about her fears, she still will not let Park be destroyed. It just looks ridiculous Sayumin feeling ‘pain’ over Rito’s weak hits. Finally Rito stabs her boob. She turns into stone and crumbles! WTF???!!! Mari and Kotoko are mad at her for killing their friend. They also accuse her along with the other people that Rito went to extreme lengths to protect Park that is still standing compared to other buildings that were destroyed. Again, Rito tries to tell them the truth. Again, they brush her off. So sad. Well, looks like the cat is her only ally. Too bad Ebi had to make it his turn to brainwash Rito. After all that nagging, I guess there is only so much a girl can take. If can’t beat them, join them. Rito has had it and will eat the food to become a Scooper. Her friends rejoice! Here we go. Yum!

Episode 9
Rito likes it when people look at her drawings. Eat up. There’s more. Rito is the fastest to evolve closer to a Scooper but the more she eats, she sadder she becomes. Oddly, she has this problem of people not looking at her drawing, so what does she do? She starts cutting buildings in half! Uhm, isn’t she supposed to draw? Anyway, with her powers going berserk, Mari and Kotoko try to stop her. Since when they snapped out and are more concerned with Rito than their own desires? It ironically comes to a point where Rito is going to destroy her own wall art. Mari and Kotoko use the power of words to try and convince her. Hence we have the remainder half of this episode showing how Rito first came to Park. They found out she has this talented knack for drawing anything and were impressed. Name it and Rito could draw them. It motivated them to come up with their own brand and everything. When you have flashback that long, it is bound to move one’s heart and so Rito snaps out of it and cue for all of them to get emotional together and bond. With their resolve not to eat anymore, Ebi is here to convince them otherwise. Are they willing to lose what they have got? Oh yes. They shock him by destroying Amatsumara. So shock that he has to repeat his shockness. The girls revert to normal and this makes Ebi mad. Why don’t they want those powers? They don’t need false powers. The have all the creativity naturally inside of them.

Episode 10
Ebi is bent on taking them as he introduces a device that will steal their creativity. But what a shocker, Misa will not allow him to do it! Change of mind? Change of heart? Apparently she now knows what is like for something to be stolen. After learning to make beads, she understands how hurt one would be to have it stolen after putting in all the effort. Misa admits she was bored the whole time. Flashback shows Misa and Ebi in their original Scooper form. They go from planets to planets and steal their creativity. Misa was always excited at new things at first but soon got bored because as Scoopers, they lack creativity to use those items. One day, their next target is Earth. Ebi shows how fascinating Harajuku is. This excites Misa as they take impersonate a fried shrimp and human girl to take a look at the place. As usual, they love it and she wants everything! Misa is glad to have met the trio because now she wants to be like them and create wonderful things. Cue for more flashbacks from the trio and how their friendship and creations in this city made them successful and wonderful. Misa reveals another shocker. The trio are so creative that they actually created this city and all the people in it! Harajuku is in ruins and everyone evacuated. Of course with Amatsumara and that parfait that amplified all their power helped too. This means all the people around praising their work are just figments of their imagination! So it’s like praising themselves? Even Sayumin was created by them. Misa is awed they were able to create and destroy her. Looks like they have been living a fantasy life. Is it that bad?

Episode 11
Despite Ebi saying their fight against Scoopers was real, the girls are still sad and in shock that everything else wasn’t. So having imaginary people cheer for them wasn’t what they wanted? Technically, wasn’t that what they’ve always dreamt of? Oddly, Misa also feels bad for deceiving them. Creating the beads made her happy so she understands now how much a lie would hurt. She would have returned to her planet had not Rito talks about realizing the difference between fantasy and reality. They now know what is important and real. Yeah, Misa is feeling even guiltier now. Also, she wants to make more things with them. However Ebi will not take this anymore. He is disappointed in her and disowns her as a Scooper. Because Scoopers are supposed to steal and not let their heart get stolen! Ebi is so mad that he transforms into some weird shachihoko? For now, the girls run. Funny, I wonder what can a weird shrimp do to them? Strangely, they lose each other but still kept running. With Kotoko tired and the need to come up with a plan, they decide to use the power of the parfait to change the straight streets of Harajuku into a bumpy and circular one. You bet Ebi is running around in circles and doesn’t even know about it because Scoopers only know how to steal, right? They’re not good in directions… So the girls’ counterattack plan is to drop some freeze bombs on him and drop a basin on his head? Nothing happens! In fact, it only makes him bigger and angrier. Now he is going to get you! This circular path backfires on them because they have now nowhere to run. Ebi is going to rid of all of them especially Misa and become the leader of Scoopers. Misa won’t allow it and vows to protect her friends. Then her Amatsumara starts to shine and respond. For a Scooper?

Episode 12
So Misa’s power is dropping loads of beads on Ebi?! I guess it still hurts. Now run! Same tactic? Thinking of a way to fight back, Misa laments her only creative is beads. So the girls help pool their ideas to come up with something. Use the beads to create a giant cat! Because cats like prawns and fish, right? And so we have a Godzilla-like slugfest between Ebi and Super Bead Kitty! Not! Ebi got his ass handed to him and Kitty didn’t even do anything much! Tired so soon? However Ebi has a secret sneaky move. His tail boomerang move destroys Kitty! My, another fragile and weak piece. With Misa losing confidence fast, the other girls motivate her not to lose faith in Kitty. With that, Kitty bounces back to defeat Ebi for good. With this defeat, Ebi reverts back to normal and seeing that a Scooper can evolve this much, there is no need for them to steal anymore. Just like that? Whatever. Hooray! So the girls return to Park and celebrate victory by eating a giant parfait they make. Then they decide to destroy the parfait in the sky. Where the f*ck did they get such a tall crane? Oh. It is their imagination. But a few pokes with the giant fork shatters it?! The real devastated Harajuku is back after the barrier disappears. They see that fat cat and find a sakura petal on it. Because it is not its blooming season and only existed in their fantasy world, it means the cat was with them in that world. So I guess the lesson is that the time they spent in a world that wasn’t mostly real, some of it was. This means it is okay to dream and fantasize? Whatever. They manage to feed the cat this time. Misa would love to stay and help the girls with their creativity but she wants to go back and teach her Scoopers how to be creative. Wow. Just a few lessons and she’s now a pro? Well, that’s a big improvement from one who has no creativity at all! As for the things they stole, it is impossible to give back all of them but they’ll try and return what they can’t. Those that can’t can be rebuilt, right? And so a tearful goodbye between the girls before Misa blasts off for home. The girls walk around Harajuku and find it weird. Because Scoopers just dumped the world’s monuments here! From Eiffel Tower to Taj Mahal! Why travel the world when you can see them all in Harajuku! Oh boy, the international community is going to cry and demand them back. The girls see the people coming back and cleaning up. Best news: The real Sayumin offers them crepes but she doesn’t know who they are. Good enough. The trio return to Park and operate their business. Rito’s new drawing inspiration is Kitty? Oh come on. I thought she could do better.

Culture Appropriation!
What a disappointment. What a disappointment, desu no! So disappointing there I said it twice! And Harajuku is saved thanks to the imagination and creativity of just 3 local girls. No blood was shed and no lives were lost during this invasion. And everybody gets to go back to their normal lives like as though none of this ever happened. Just pick up a few pieces, that is all. Yeah, you’re not imagining things. The aliens never saw it coming and will even have a cultural revolution of their own soon back at their home planet! OMG! Harajuku saved not only their own culture and the world’s but inspired some dumb alien species to spark their own creativity. And since our world’s treasures have been kindly ‘returned’ and dumped in Harajuku, are Scoopers going to do the same to the other planets that they stole? Man, that is going to be a hell lot of cultures to return. So people, if you have a feeling your country’s heritage is missing, please try finding it at Harajuku. The huge international version of lost and found section.

Not really sure if this could be considered lazy writing because of the ‘revelation’ that what the girls have been doing since the Scoopers’ attack were all just part of their imagination. In this era, if your story ends like this, “In the end, it was all just a dream…”, your story sucks. A poor finishing and a big let-down. Even though I sensed something amiss while watching the series, I never could have guessed it was this imagination thingy. I mean, I thought everyone evacuated and then there are some people still left behind and popping out of nowhere. How could this be? Sure it was odd, but never in my wildest imagination that I would imagine that the people and this Harajuku are all conjured from their vivid imagination. Yeah, the power of imagination.

But even without this imagination twist, the entire story itself is still boring. It really lacks the depth that it needs. Because all we see are a bunch of teens going around to fight Scoopers to defend Harajuku and at the same time find the meaning of creativity as well as their own. In short, it was just bland and uninspiring. At this rate, even Akiba’s Trip The Animation looks way more exciting than this piece of candy crap because at least that anime has some fun trivia for us to spot. This had literally none. I mean, Harajuku is no Akihabara but still, for those who are unfamiliar of this place won’t really connect with this place because it looks so alien. Not that I know what Harajuku looks like but at least Akihabara had all those otaku and electronic stuffs. Isn’t Harajuku supposed to be famous for its fashion trends?

The characters don’t feel as exciting and are such a bore. We got 3 girls who opened some store in Harajuku and just like any other teens their age, it is not wrong to want others to praise and admire the talents that they have. Individually, a bit hard for me to point out their uniqueness and hence they are hardly memorable. Like Rito who is good at drawing and supposedly the more rational among the trio. Mari the actress wannabe is more outspoken (tsundere potential) and is good with fashion whereas Kotoko has this fear of being alone and is technically the brainiest because sometimes when things could get technical, she really starts getting technical in trying to explain in detail what it is. Could have been interesting had this series been interesting in the first place. Because it is not, I don’t even want to hear Kotoko rant, which somewhat feels like a mini running joke for her. Each has their own dreams and fears so I guess the lesson of their friendship and story is that as long as you have creativity and don’t give up dreaming, you’ll eventually make it come true.

Misa as a Scooper isn’t a surprise because I noticed there was something off with some of her actions. So the whole while she has been observing the trio fighting Scoopers and watching them being creative. Was it to determine if they were worth the creativity to be brought back? And then for the first time she experiences what it is like to be a little creative. Woah. Suddenly a whole lot of human emotions. Don’t steal! It’s bad! Wow. A Scooper now humanized. Is it because she also took the form of a little girl unlike Ebi who looked like something edible? With this said, I guess from all the other planets’ cultures that they have stolen, none of its denizens have ever engaged Misa with their creativity. They either let their cultures get stolen or got wiped out in the process. Earth was the first for her. And she’s a princess of the Scoopers. She really lived a sheltered and pampered life. But might not be so sheltered and pampered after all because if so, she would have thrown a tantrum like a baby if she had not get what she wanted. Instead, she was being patient and then understanding. What a true princess should be like. I hope that Misa’s creativity will go beyond than just beads… Just saying…

Ebi on the other hand feels like a comic relief character as well as the series’ cute animal mascot. He is forced to be the main antagonist and final boss because what else is there left of the plot to showcase how true the girls love their culture? Another mind boggling minor mascot characters are the Shirako pets. WTF are they supposed to be???!!! Their existence is particularly useless except for the fact to drum up all the moe and cute stuffs. I suppose many would find it cute when those chibi creatures start saying single lines in cute high pitch voices. Thank goodness they decided to go back with Misa because Earthlings would start harassing them and make them trending on social media. A kind of culture we don’t really need… Say, whatever happened to that fat cat? I thought it would play some important role but looks like it only trolled us and was almost forgotten. Oh, right. Could be part of their imagination too. But then it had to show up in the final moments just to show us that it is around and some sort of ‘relief’ that all that they experienced weren’t fake. Bummer. It would have been so much better if this cat turned out to be the real Scooper boss who then transform into a giant monster cat and fought them! I know, still lame but at least it’s slightly better.

And there was something odd about Sayumin too. Out of all the people who are in Harajuku, only she came to talk to them. Only she is the one who listens to them. The only one who cares enough to lend a listening ear. I too was suspicious of her from the start. I deduced that she was a Scooper and was the one responsible of letting Scoopers into this barrier. How otherwise would some of them pop up from time to time to attack the place? Then they surprised me that she isn’t real all along and part of their imagination. You see how this reasoning is now getting annoying? Even more annoying and mind boggling that the real Sayumin exists. If she was from Rito’s imagination, how could the real one be this physically accurate? Assuming Rito never knew her before all this. Maybe she passed by the place she sells crepes and unconsciously ‘remembered’ her? Passive memory imprinting? Anyway, having Sayumin show up at the end is some sort of deluded manner to show us that the girls didn’t really kill off Sayumin. Just the imaginary version of her because the real one is still around. F*ck logic.

The fights against the Scoopers aren’t anything impressive. We see Rito swinging her back for short range combat, Mari firing her bazooka for long range and Kotoko glued to her pad as she scouts for information. You can’t have much variety with that kind of combination. After all, if everything seemed so easy and lame, we can always go back and rely on that ‘it’s their imagination’ excuse. They defeat the Scoopers because they imagine it! Because it seemed like heaven when the enemies you defeat start dropping down as tasty treats and snacks! Yum! I also want to eat them! Ultimate paradise! Like as though this is their payment for defending Harajuku. No money, have desserts then. So tasty that every episode is named after some sort of dessert. From doughnuts to popcorns to crepes, ice cream and parfait. Yum! Come to think of it, if you go by the logic that Scoopers are only good at stealing and nothing else, they shouldn’t have good fighting capabilities. This means anybody with no martial arts skill can actually fight them and win! Fighting off a Scooper should be easier than fighting a hamster! You saw how Ebi ‘fought’ against Kitty, right? Lame! So why didn’t those cultures fight back and take back their cultures? They just let Scoopers steal them and get away with it, huh? Yeah, they deserve to have their cultures stolen then.

I’m sure the idea of stealing cultural ideas is nothing new but something that most of us will not want to admit. Humanity has been ‘guilty’ from the start of time of ‘stealing’ from others. Well, there is a saying that imitation is the highest form of flattery but this series is far from being anything about copying. So when the girls were worried about copying and have nothing original themselves, then everyone throughout history should also be feeling guilty for getting inspired by something and then creating something new based from that. It is not a blatant rip-off so it is acceptable in its own way because that is how we humans move forward and evolve. At least under the name of creativity. Hence feeling shame of making a big hit based loosely on some idea to me is ludicrous as long proper credits are given. After all, when somebody makes a big hit, there are bound to be others trying to cash in and ride this wave too. It is a testament that your hit is well, a hit. So instead of crying culture appropriation, it should be culture appreciation in which the Japanese are doing it right with the spread of anime and manga culture being consumed outside Japan unlike certain parties in the west regarding their own…

One of the things that would really strike you is the visuals. Very cartoonish-like. Very colourful. Very messy. Something feels like as though they were trying to put more style than substance. Everything is designed and decorated in such a moe fashion that this truly looks like a cute fantasy world rather than anything that resembles Harajuku. I mean, you just look at everything in the background and foreground. It is like almost every object here has this cute little dots and eyes and little smile! It’s just so unreal. That said, could it be that Ebi is the laziest design of them all? Can’t decide on what animal mascot, eh? Let’s choose a food then. Mmm… I’m craving for friend shrimps now. That’s it! Just slap some eyes and mouth on it and let’s call it a new character! If you are not used to this and are new to this kind of cute visuals, they may look creepy and give you nightmares. Of course for me, they look so cute and moe to a point that it’s just nauseating. I might have exaggerated about that since I don’t get a headache or vomit at the end of the episode. Not sure if you could call it all as creative but perhaps kids who like all this happy-happy wonderland thingy might love it because it’s so colourful and cute. But sometimes the background can be just sketchy like as though somebody put it together in the last minute.

It’s hard to take things seriously when it all looks so cartoonish because the Scooper aliens themselves look as cartoonish and cute than menacing. Heck, I think this jellyfish clone alien would look more fitting as a substitute to Pac-man’s ghosts more than invaders and cultural robbers. Even the girls’ battle mode design feel a bit bland and uninspiring. Not sure if this is called fashion but I guess it is better than having them in some body hugging tight leather outfit. On a side note, somehow looking at Sayumin reminds me of that Kirari character from Kakegurui. Only less intimidating and more on the moe side. This anime is jointly animated by EMT2 (Renai Boukun, Nyanko Days) and Shirogumi (Etotama, Moyashimon). At the end of it all, somehow I started realizing how the animation style of this series reminds me of The Rolling Girls although it is not as moe as Urahara but wacky in its own right. For more creative illustrations, the end card shows different illustration styles by different people. Some look funny, some cute and some edgy. Creativity, I suppose.

The voice acting casts is literally quite a small one but none that really catch my attention. Maybe Ebi because he sounds like some enthusiastic gay. Really. He is voiced by Yasunori Matsumoto (Gourry in Slayers series). The other casts are Luna Haruna as Rito (originally a singer, this is her debut role in voice acting), Sumire Uesaka as Mari (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Manaka Iwami as Kotoko (Chiaki in Gamers), Kokoa Amano as Misa (Sakura in the remake of Kino No Tabi) and Riho Iida as Sayumin (Rin in Love Live!). The opening theme is Antithesis Escape by Sumire Uesaka. Nothing special about it as I feel they’re trying to infuse it with lots of cute stuffs and effects. The ending theme is Kirameki Life Line by Luna Haruna sounds slightly better as an anime pop but still overall not really that attractive for me.

Overall, some may call this series creative in its own way but since it failed to entertain me, I call it crap. You heard that right. It is crap. It’s not surprising that I repeated that twice. It is definitely odd and bizarre if you can see past all that moe and cuteness permeating throughout the series. If you like it, so be it. It’s your taste. Hence creativity itself is very subjective and depends on how many people love it. The more they love it, it becomes viral and a trend. Otherwise, it is considered weird and distasteful. So now that we have protected Akihabara from aliens and Harajuku as well, when are we going to complete the holy trinity of Tokyo’s unique neighbourhoods by protecting Shibuya from space invaders? Damn those aliens wanna steal and appropriate Japan’s culture! People, get ready to protect Japan’s culture! I said be prepared to protect Japan’s culture! So jumpy that I said it twice!

Kekkai Sensen & Beyond

April 14, 2018

After that final episode fiasco from the first season, I thought I have seen the last of this series. Never to be shown again. However the sequel, Kekkai Sensen & Beyond came out without much fanfare and without much controversial either. It is like as though almost everyone had forgotten and/or forgiven about the huge delay of that aforementioned first season’s last episode whereby the staffs purposely delayed it not because it was lasting longer than the usual running time but hoping everyone lost interest in it and too busy watching other animes to give a sh*t! Oh yeah. You remember that? No? Oh well. Then let’s start watching the second season with lots of strange creatures and happenings in this weird melting pot known as Hellsalem’s Lot (formerly known as New York).

Episode 1
Leonardo and a few unfortunate citizens are free falling from the sky and have this strange glass containing a strange parasite in it stuck on their head. Luckily he is saved by Zapp. Those who are not so fortunate, when the glass breaks, the parasite grows into a giant carnivorous monster and eats them! You can bet this is all part of Femt’s perverted plan. Leonardo’s glass is on the verge of breaking and they are surrounded by the monsters. Cue for Libra members to jump in and show off their awesome devastating powers. Phew. That is sure taken care of. Back home, Leonardo gets ready to play his new video game he has waited so long for. But he is interrupted by Zapp who is being chased by gangsters as he throws him a suitcase. He did the mistake of opening it. Isn’t that the head of the American president, Franz Ackerman?! He is here for a ceremony tonight but it looks like he lost his head. No pun intended. His body, though, still at the hotel as Klaus and Steven believe this is the work of Headless Duke Durer. He decapitates and steals heads, putting them up on his illegal website so you can converse with them 24/7. Leonardo listens to Franz to escape leave his place. True enough, agents surround the room and explodes it! It proves there are enemies within the ranks trying to kill him. But there goes Leonardo’s video game… Leonardo is tasked to deliver Franz to his colleagues and the government will reimburse all that he has lost. Time to get back his new video game. So we see him run from all sorts of weird gangsters since Durer is posting a high reward for Franz. Not sure if Leonardo is one lucky bastard since he manages to escape by the skin of his teeth every time but at the cost of his Libra comrades being ‘sacrificed’. When Leonardo is close to his destination, Hummer and Deldro accidentally hit him (to protect from enemy fire) as he flies and lands back right where he started! Leonardo is disheartened and wants to give up so Franz tells him to only whine after he becomes a loser. So keep running. He borrows his pizza boss’ scooter and uses his eyes to storm his way through. By the time he enters the room, it looks like everyone is being held hostage by Durer. The culprit-cum-traitor is Franz’s secretary. Durer changes his mind and will have everyone’s heads. That is when Klaus and Steven stop playing the hostage and instantly kill him. He didn’t even see it coming. Franz is able to give his speech as Leonardo wonders if he’ll get compensated for it all. Only his handphone…

Episode 2
Looks like Zapp is dying as he is being ferried in a helicopter. A strange hospital pops up and they drop him and Leonardo there. Klaus and Steven arrive and they remember this hospital from the Great Collapse. Back then when it happened as all landmarks are constantly changing places, the duo found a baby and brought it to this hospital. They meet a good doctor and his assistant, Luciana Estevez. At the same time, a Blood Breed is walking his dog and looking to feed it. The duo fight him but the dog has already run inside the hospital. Klaus wants to save the people in the hospital but Steven warns the moment they separate, they will lose. Klaus promises to hold it out here for 100 seconds for Steven to save the people. But as he runs back, a building almost drops on him. Thanks to the Casters working their magic, he could have been flattened. The fight ends and vampire dude leaves. Now, inside the hospital is still as busy as ever. Klaus finds it strange that Luciana is now in the form of a little girl. In fact, there are many clones of her attending to the wounded. She relates what happened that day. After the dog unleashed some spores and almost killed everyone, Luciana is visited by the hospital director, Magra de Grana. She wanted him to grant the power to divide herself to perform simultaneous high speed treatments. It might have been over for her but not for those other people on that day. She has been keeping them on a life support as they are trapped in a cocoon state. The spores have been extracting their life energy. Now that the nutrients would no longer be transferred, the reason this hospital resurfaced as she is sure that bastard will return. And here comes that evolved dog. Cocky, isn’t he? Too bad cocky Zapp gets wounded even further by him. Luciana transforms into her adult form to slice him up. At the same time, the vampire guy returns to get his dog. He and Klaus resume their fight. Klaus looks like he is losing blood just from defending from his attacks. But Klaus gets the last laugh as Leonardo’s eyes are able to let him know his true name. The long outstanding battle ends. Oh, a very bitter Zapp is bandaged from head to toe like a mummy.

Episode 3
Leonardo gets robbed and beaten up in an alley. He thought Chain passing by would save him but she just continues her way. Meanwhile Steven is hosting a party tonight and Zapp is as usual sleeping with one of his many ladies. One of them barges in, upset that her cat is missing so she explodes the boobs of her rival who belittled her and puts the same magical time bomb on Zapp’s dick! Find her cat or else!!! Leonardo goes to buy a weapon and picks an electric baton. He tries to get back at the guy at the bar but gets owned again. Sad. This guy then notices sexy Chain sitting next to him and starts to flirt with her. But then she challenges him to a drinking game in which if he wins, he can do anything he wants with her. You bet he isn’t going to let this chance slip. But that will be his doom because everybody else starts betting and expecting Chain’s victory. As Steven’s guests start streaming in, he lets his servant, Veded go home early. Halfway through the party, all of the guests turn against him and order him to come with them. Resist and he will die. Steven plays it cool and doesn’t care. Before they know it, all of them froze. Earlier on, Steven purposely tripped himself so that he would bleed and uses his blood to embed inside their blood stream. Steven then summons his own personal dark army to take them away. Back to the drinking game, the guy has it coming. With so many glasses of whatever this atomic drink is, he finally collapses. And Chain looks so perfectly fine. He realizes too late Chain has stolen his wallet as well as his lackey’s. And since they can’t pay and resorting to violence would only wound them further, looks like they have to pay with their bodies. Looks like they are now walking heads in a jar. They got almost eaten by a cat but are taken in by Veded’s kids. Leonardo has got his wallet back but stumbles into desperate Zapp. Time is running out… You don’t know how scared a guy is when he knows his dick is going to explode… So Leonardo is riding his bike as fast as he could back to that lady as he thinks the only way is to apologize and remove the spell.

Episode 4
Chain is part of a team of invisible werewolves on a mission to kill some general in his villa. However despite them firing close to about 100 shots, they all missed!!! They get an earful from their deputy chief but pay no heed since they prefer to engage in espionage stuffs rather than assassinations. After they leave, a junior colleague asks Chain about the need to get a token that one has a strong attachment to. Chain warns misusing it could be fatal and then returns to her messy unkempt apartment. The general and his men get a mysterious call explaining how those werewolves could avoid all the high-tech security to get close to him. She hints they can be killed like a normal human being and don’t even need a silver bullet if they return to their true forms. The werewolf girls are called for a mission to infiltrate a facility that has a missile in pre-launched sequence. Although it is 99% trap, they cannot not afford to not do anything. Although the girls failed to prevent it from being launched, they move to Plan B as they erase their existence to almost zero to pass through solids to reach the centre room to stop the missile. Klaus and Steven barge in to see the deputy chief about this suspicious woman they spotted a week ago, Velved Rheinkeimer. She was once a werewolf comrade but was injured and is no longer capable of battle. It is believed she just made a contract with Zeodra, the king of hypersensitivity. She uses her new powers to restrain her infiltrating ex-comrades wherever they are since their existence isn’t completely zero. All that is left is to draw in Chain. However Chain is not cowed and in fact leads her into chasing her down. Velved gets frustrated as she advances to higher and higher levels in a bid to hunt Chain down. As she cannot find Chain, could it be that she has erased her existence to completely zero? There is a risk that she will never come back. I think Velved overused her power so much so it backfires and killed herself. Chain’s comrades are able to stop the missile as it falls into the sea. In the aftermath, Steven is made to visit Chain’s room. Upon seeing her messy place, Chain gets mad and slaps him. Apparently this is supposed to be the token that brings her back? So a messy room that she has to clean is the reason she has to come back?

Episode 5
Because Gilbert got into some injury and continues to work as normal (I wonder how all his bones are holding up), the head maid of the estate, Catherine Bates decides to send another butler to assist him, Phillip Lenore. He might be a bit loud but he is honest and can do anything just as good as Gilbert. He even saves Leonardo from a pickpocket but don’t worry, Leonardo has expected this sort of thing and doesn’t put all his eggs (money, that is) in one basket. Phillip isn’t happy when Gilbert doesn’t allow him to help access Libra’s database as it would put him in serious danger. So while he is out depressed and drinking, it is a trap set by that pickpocket to get him. He plans to scan his brain for details to kill all those related to him. But when he realizes he is part of Libra, he gets an idea to make some money. Gilbert soon notices Phillip’s brain got extracted. So he makes him sit at the database as the pickpocket and his goons watch through Phillip’s eyes all the data. They are going to sell this for cash. Gilbert has Leonardo use his eyes to track down those jerks. So hop into his Batmobile and let’s go for a ride. He contacts the kidnappers and gives them a chance to surrender. But they laugh at him so I guess it is no more mercy. We see Gilbert kicking ass as he rides his vehicle and tears through the place (and goons) apart. The big boss escapes with Phillip’s brain. A mad wild chase before the big boss thinks he has won by cutting Gilbert’s head in half. Too bad Gilbert can regenerate and then blasts him to smithereens. Brain retrieved. Mission completed. In the aftermath, Gilbert explains despite having regenerative abilities, this is only enough to keep him alive. So his body is still pretty much mangled but we don’t have to see all the hideous damage thanks to his bandages. Now we know why, right? Phillip is ashamed he has much to learn but Gilbert cheers him up he is suitable for this city and suggests he could officially join Libra.

Episode 6
Zapp uses Leonardo as a weapon against some monsters. Definitely knocked out. Because of that he dreams of that nightmarish eye stealing incident of Michella once more. He wakes up in hospital under Luciana’s care. He asks if there are any medical technologies to cure his eyes. There are many different methods of restoring sight via magic but has seen none of his case. Magra then points out for his case a mere medical surgery will not cure it but a unilateral breach of contract with a divine being. This almost makes Leonardo lose hope. But for now back at office, he gets bullied by Zapp. Steven is close to finish some tough computing that would expose the perpetrators when an old villain escapes his detention. Everyone goes to easily take him down. Only their secretary, Anila remains to finish the computing but when she thought she heard someone inside the office, turns out to be giant bugs on the ceiling. Scary! When the rest try to return to office, it seems the doors are not leading them there. They are now just random places. Anila cannot be contacted and Klaus calls locksmith Yurian (Ghostbusters?) to check what is wrong. It seems their office has been lockdown. Its defence has been activated so nobody can get it. Yeah, the place is swarming with those bugs. Klaus then receives a call from this bug master who will use their place until he evolves into God. Steven will not allow K.K. to blast it because it will undo all his hard computing work. At the same time, not sure what this earth shaking monster thingy is trying to crush the city that is not visible to the normal eye. Klaus then has Leonardo use his eyes as they climb up their office. The bug master thought there is something amiss when K.K. starts taking pot shots at the building only to realize this is just a diversion for Klaus. Bug master summons his bugs to rid of them but the moment they touch the defensive barrier, everything short circuits. This allows Yurian to do all the hacking he needs to diffuse the lock and Klaus to destroy the bug master. With the lockdown over, Steven in time finishes his computing and by the skin of his teeth manage to trace the culprits right before they unleash whatever earth shaking disaster they were counting down for. It has been a tiring day for him. As Libra’s office is being renovated, looks like Leonardo and Zapp’s favourite diner will for now be patron by Klaus and Steven. Fancy seeing your bosses’ faces too soon? Leonardo decides not to lose hope for Michella.

Episode 7
Leonardo has finally made enough money to host a special party for Zed. Zed hears the rest talk how his equipment at Libra are very costly so he tries to go look for a part time job. No luck. Either they don’t want him or he doesn’t find the place suitable. What has a fish guy got to do than to do some drinking and reminisce about his master talking to him about his loneliness. Meanwhile, Mira Gordon who is some expert negotiator in wars and making decisions on the fly, this busy woman only has music has her refuge. She passes by Zed and mistakes his air gills equipment to be some sophisticated headphone she has always wanted. As she has a meeting with the queen scheduled, she has her men take it from him by force if he doesn’t voluntarily give it up. And so the former was used. Zed of course is left for dead in the streets. Leonardo can’t seem to contact Zed when he sees him lying on the streets. Luckily Zed is taken back to his tank and lives. Since ordering his air gills will take a long time and this means cancelling the party or Zed not making it (he has to be stuck in his tank), Leonardo vows to get it back. Well, if the other Libra members weren’t busy answering to some lunatic necromancer trying to take over the world. So Leonardo has only Chain and Zapp for assistance. He manages to trace where his air gills are taken. They need a plan considering the huge war mongering corporation they are dealing with but Zapp just heads there straight in to ask. After all, you don’t change your angriness based on who you get pissed off with, right? The best thing he has said so far this season. While Zed handles the guards, Chain uses her invisibility to take back the air gills. Mira thinks she can take her out but is given a stern reminder why she shouldn’t f*ck with them. As they head home, a mecha almost takes them out but Zed suffocates the pilot with some water bubble. How can Zed be fine outside without his air gills? Using some trick he learnt from his master, he surrounded his head with a water bubble. There’s a reason why he doesn’t do this. Everyone is laughing their ass off at this ‘space alien’. All is well and the party proceeds smoothly.

Episode 8
Leonardo and his scrawny friend, Riel get mugged again. Shortly after all that is over, some metal ball drops down from the sky, hitting Leonardo on the back of his head. It’s talking too. Taking a closer look, it is actually a flea named Li Gado. Oh, he is a hyper doctor. Fighting pathogens with his super weapons. He further explains he is currently fighting against some bacterial terrorist. No, not some germ warfare. Some bug named Gemnemo who is a micro terrorist. Speaking of which, this bug talks to depressed Riel and can give him the strength so he can view for himself from the side of the oppressor. Too bad his metal ball is supposed to be his greatest weapon and since it is in pieces, looks like Li Gado has to rely on Leonardo’s eyes. Riel has the misfortune to stumble into Zapp at the diner. The latter wants him to pay on his behalf. Riel doesn’t want to and accidentally shoves him, making him fly far! Yeah, he needs to be hospitalized. Fortunate or not, Riel then gets mugged by those same blokes. But this time he turns into Hulk and smashes them. When the police tries to intervene, he fights back. Leonardo takes Li Gado to Steven as he explains some biological stuff about some spontaneous evolution that enlarges muscles and even the skeleton. Well, they get a call from Klaus who is accompanying Hummer and Deldro at the art museum with the warden. Some large organism is taking out the riot police. It doesn’t take too long for Li Gado to figure things out. However when Hummer and Deldro try to fight it, they are being overpowered and thrown back. From the explanation, it seems those hyper accelerated tissues will always heal itself endlessly when torn or broken. So going head on via brute strength with him is a bad idea because all that strength you throw at him will be turned back to you twice as hard. And now Riel has evolved into a giant monster.

Episode 9
With the place in chaos, but soon everyone starts cheering and watching this as though this is some live wrestling match. Indeed. Because the largest individual in town, Gigagigafutmassif (giga-what?!) is going to take him on. Until Riel grows bigger this Giga guy chickens out! What a disappointment! The real Riel is trapped within himself as Gemnemo commends this is way better than expected. However Riel doesn’t want this. He cannot see or hear anybody at this height. He wants to be turned back but Gemnemo will not see his experiment go to waste. Riel remembers his arm broke just by catching a baseball that almost hit Sonic! It was Leonardo who stood up for him to those blokes who laughed at his weak stature. He head butted him and they ran! Riel feels guilty for abandoning Leonardo then and pleads for his friend to save him. Libra goes into action trying to take the giant down. Gemnemo wants him to stomp them but he won’t since Riel sees them as those who won’t back down despite his giant size. Gemnemo has had it and will directly take control of his nervous system to control his body himself. Meanwhile Gilbert flies Leonardo up close to Riel so that Sonic can enter his system. Leonardo then uses his eyes to guide Sonic to where Gemnemo is. He has to do it fast because prolonged use of his eyes will result in overheating. It’s like frying his eyes and brains. Eventually Sonic manages to find and destroy Gemnemo. Sonic escapes in time but Riel trips and falls into the abyss as he reverts back to his normal size. Life returns to normal in the aftermath. Zapp has a field day running his mouth against a very regretful and embarrassed Chain who was not part of the action as she was out drinking with her werewolf girls and got too drunk to answer the call. Until Leonardo points out that Zapp too wasn’t part of the action and that Chain’s inaction couldn’t have inconvenienced him in any way. Prepare for Chain’s counterattack. Sent back to the hospital again. Leonardo ponders if Riel is still alive. If so, he is worried if he is lonely. Suddenly he steps on him! He is ant size?! Leonardo would have Li Gado operate him back to his normal size but Riel likes the view here. Okay. As long as he is happy. Then a bird plucks him away…

Episode 10
Steven’s team is trapped by the terrorist and there is no way out! They relay to K.K. for help! She’s not responding! Where is she?! At her son Kane’s school for parent’s day! Previously went Steven enlisted her as part of the team, she pleaded she had to attend her son’s parent’s day. Steven allows her but not after he made her feel guilty how there would be some casualties, blah, blah, blah. So when K.K. tried to talk to Kane about it, he throws a tantrum that she would be lying as usual. Oh, mommy so hurt. Luckily daddy managed to calm him down and give encouragement to both his wife and son. K.K. finally responds with her great sniping skills. So did she ditch her son’s school? Actually, she has bought several high-tech remote weapons that allows her to see and control them from her sunglass. The team is sure in a pinch since she has to multiple times come to their aid. There was even one time she had to go to the toilet for weapons that require more operation. Almost having Kane thinking she had to ditch today for her job. Well, almost. K.K. then sees Kane being friendly with his classmate, Caroline. Naturally her mom’s instincts make her go excited about her little boy growing up so fast. Then another stupid reinforcement request. Don’t let it get to you… When she fires a missile, it didn’t explode upon impact. Instead, a robot Blood Breed has stopped it dead in its tracks with his hand. Steven is forced to engage it and pulls out all the tricks he knows just to fight on par. K.K. has to personally see to this and hugs her son before leaving. Of course Kane is not happy as it has come down to this like always. K.K. then confronts Caroline’s father who is a Blood Breed remote controlling that robot. She is suspicious of his intentions although he is just like any other parent. The tension breaks when Caroline comes by to eat lunch with him. At that moment of distraction, this allows Steven to destroy the robot once and for all. Otherwise it could have been the end of him. Caroline’s dad admits he lost completely this time. In the aftermath, Kane tells mom Caroline didn’t even stay for the farewell gathering. She could only hug him. It seems Caroline will be transferring school because daddy has a change in his job. He tells her one day when she is older and independent, she can go see Kane again but until then, he will keep her safe. But thank goodness for technology because Kane and Caroline keep in touch via social media!

Episode 11
Leonardo still keeps in contact with William. He is told to contact Michella once in a while. The moment he decides to do so, Michella drops the biggest bomb: She is getting married! SAY WHAT???!!! She also surprises him that she is coming to see him so he could meet her fiancé and arranges the time and place. Leonardo talks to Klaus and Steven about this and they agree to provide some security from the shadows since there would be no telling what would happen to his eyes if anything happens to her. I guess the entire Libra had nothing to do as we see the whole gang peeping from a distance. Leonardo hugs Michella the moment she enters. He is then introduced to Toby McLachlan. Looks like a decent and nice guy. However it seems only Leonardo can see that Toby is being possessed by another being. As he excuses himself, that being, Dr Gamimozu confronts him. He knows he has the Eyes of God and assures he did nothing to Michella. Yet. His job is to observe the Prostheses of God scattered around the world. He reveals Riga El Menhunt, an ophthalmological engineer implanted those eyes in him. These eyes are somewhat recorders all events from the holder’s eyes as it records mankind’s history. Leonardo is not happy Michella is dragged into this so Gamimozu demonstrates how he could easily kill everyone here even if it is just an illusion. All eyes in this area are under his command. When Zapp talks to Leonardo, he unintentionally reveals he is from Libra. Gamimozu is interested to follow him around to see why he is in such organization. Leonardo gets back to Michella. But a call from Klaus that a Blood Breed is going berserk and rampaging has him leaving her but promising to come back in a while. So as Libra tries to fight and stall this regenerating Blood Breed, it seems Leonardo is hesitant in using his eyes. He finally gives in and uses it to reveal to Klaus the real name. After the Blood Breed is sealed, Gamimozu is impressed and now understands of his worth in Libra. He now wants to possess Leonardo.

Episode 12
Gamimozu follows melancholic Leonardo as he walks around town. He seems to know he will get a call from Klaus since he left the scene without saying anything to them. He then convinces him to throw away his handphone into the abyss. Sonic swiftly zooms by to give Leonardo a soft slap on his face. Leonardo notices Gamimozu didn’t see that and does a little test and is now convinced that his eyes is not all-seeing and powerful as it seems. Leonardo then walks into a dark alley to get mugged. He uses his eyes to confuse their vision before making a run and letting a car hit them. Gamimozu almost lost his whereabouts during that commotion but is reunited with him. Klaus has realized something is wrong with Leonardo and summons all Libra members. It seems he has left a secret code at the very bottom of the last text that he is in trouble. Leonardo returns to Michella’s room and is shocked to see the place as their usual nostalgic lake scenery. He gets mad and attempts to physically attack Gamimozu. This allows him to deduce that Gamimozu’s actions are all concealed via visual manipulation and to prevent anyone from catching him, he must be very light. When Gamimozu realizes Libra backup is on the way, he tries to do a quick surgery on Leonardo to take his eyes. Leonardo fights back and overuses his eyes. At this time Michella wakes up. Gamimozu takes her hostage and warns him to let him operate or she dies. Before he gives up, Michella tackles Gamimozu. Leonardo move in to attack and tries to break his eye. Mad as hell, Gamimozu is through playing nice guy and will kill him to take his eyes. Leonardo defends like hell as he tolerates all his stabbings. In great timing, Klaus bursts in to destroy Gamimozu one and for all. A big explosion for bigger satisfaction. In the aftermath, Leonardo is hospitalized. Klaus visits him and has heard from Michella who has left for home with Toby. He praises him for his brave act and strength that makes him no coward. Life returns to normal. Leonardo is shocked that William is working at the diner because he got mugged. But as usual, Hellsalem’s Lot is now swarmed with giant carnivorous monsters, apparently upgraded versions sent by Femt. Oh well. This is just like any other day for Hellsalem’s Lot.

Stranger Things & Beyond
Despite Leonardo being physically the weakest among the capable Libra members, I guess the last couple of episodes were meant to show us he isn’t a wuss as much as Zapp loves to mock and tease him. It was really odd but at the same time inspiring to see Leonardo drawing out strength after strength to protect what he loves most. You could feel the ‘pain’ as he tolerates each of the stabs but that may be just me getting too engrossed in the final episode seeing Leonardo fighting mostly by himself. But still, it might feel that he ‘cheated’ seeing that somebody has to eventually finish off the baddie in good timing but for his standards, he has done well as much as he could. At least overall, no final episode drama and fiasco like the first season. So technically this season fares a bit better?

This season feels more like fillers and standalone episodes instead of a continuous story. Not to say the first season was continuous and had a few filler-like episodes too. Hell, I think it was more or less the same except with that White and Black drama in the background that became the first season’s final arc story. This kind of filler-like episodes feel like a double edged sword here. Because in the first season we had to establish to plot and characters and all so there was some sort of story that viewers could follow (almost). But in this season, it has become a series of more random misadventures that don’t really do much if you are hoping for great overall plot and further character development. However I do not find these silly misadventures boring and in its own way, they are still quite fun to watch. But like I said about series like this once having a continuous story is now a filler-like series, it takes away the epic feeling that this series should have been. See Cowboy Bebop if you want to know what I mean.

However with the lack of a proper story that is worthy of a dozen episodes isn’t all that very bad. Firstly, as viewers who have watched the first season before, they are should be by now know what kind of characters the main ones are. At least generally. Therefore they don’t need to go further into some deep background storytelling to tell us more. While many of the episodes do give each of the Libra members its focus and the share of the spotlight, it is nothing that deep. It just provides some insights on them, that is all. With the establishment that fans and veteran viewers know how these characters are, therefore it is safe for this sequel to be able to do standalone fillers. Secondly, this allows newcomers who have never seen the first season to jump in and enjoy without understanding the deeper aspects. Though, they will be confused as they will not understand how Hellsalem’s Lot came about. Besides, it has only been 2 years apart between the seasons so can a lot of newbies miss that much?

Well, there is nothing much to say about the characters because like I have said before, veteran viewers would already know what they are. Not to say that the first season had very great character development, this season we just get a little more insights about them like Chain being part of some werewolf group and can almost erase her own existence which is her ultimate trump card and skill set, K.K. is a doting mother who loves her kids more than anything in the world but is tied down to her job. And there are those that never change like Zapp. Yeah, this guy is a big idiot. I still maintain my viewpoint that he would have looked more respectable if he kept his mouth shut. Instead, he continues to be the series’ main comic relief and it is like a running joke that in some episodes he gets beaten to a pulp and being sent to hospital. And he can’t even die from all that. Yeah, I feel I should insert this lame joke of how he can’t die no matter how much you kill him. But for the rest like Klaus and Zed, they don’t really make much of an impact this time. This means all the other minor side characters that only appear for that episode, I guess we won’t even care much about them. You will mostly forget about them once the episode is over.

At least in this season, Michella makes a pretty decent appearance in the flesh instead of just in flashbacks. Even if her appearances were just short but it is better than nothing. At least it puts to rest my conspiracy theory that I was building along that she could be dead and Leonardo who couldn’t accept her death was just deluding himself to keep himself going. Holy sh*t! Sorely missing from this series is the main antagonist Femt. After that very brief cameo in the first episode, he has gone ‘missing’ since. Except for the final episode where he makes his cameo just to remind us that he is still around and not dead yet. If last season felt disappointing about him (and Aligura, if you still remember who she is) you would be even more for this season. This guy gets his kicks from creating chaos but seeing that every day is just as chaotic as another, I don’t think he even needs to intervene to bring disorder to this hell hole. Maybe that is why this series feels so filler-like. So if you were looking for a mainstay antagonist for this season, you’d be better wishing for another season. Gamimozu was just something to showcase and bridge Leonardo’s relationship closer to Michella. It may not be physically but the bonds they have since young.

Another reason of this season feeling so filler-like is because we know anything more about the Blood Breeds. There were a few but still lacking hints about them. This season it is even more so despite a few cameo skirmishes with them. They are still formidable as well as scary. They are like Gods, invincible and all powerful until you manage to recite their real name. It would have been very much interesting if this second season would follow a story that discovers more about the secrets about the Blood Breeds. But then again, would the series be the same if it follows a dark and gruesome route? I mean, the series itself is already dark in its own but comical and fun way so if it gets this serious (I’m assuming cases pertaining to those vampire breeds will not be funny), will the series lose its charm?

The action still kills it here with all the over exaggerating effects as well as all the exaggerated flashy moves and the names they give to it. I guess when you live in a city mixed with monsters, aliens and other supernatural beings, it is only right to have such ridiculous amount of power and moves that are equally and aptly named in ridiculousness. So yeah, the fight scenes might be short but they still pack a punch and power that keep you entertain for the moment. And I still can’t fathom how the place gets fixed each time a huge destruction takes place. And everyone still goes about normally in their life like as though they don’t give a f*ck if they die the next second they step out on the road. Oh well, even if you hole up in some corner of the darkest place, there will still be chaos brought to you courtesy of its crazy denizens. You are never safe anywhere in Hellsalem’s Lot. Be prepared to fight or be killed. Expect the unexpected. Considering all that, Leonardo must be one hell of a lucky boy to have survived this far seeing he still has no decent martial art skills at this point. Good thing he made the correct and great friends, huh?

Art and animation still feel the same, as good as the previous season. It still feels like the streets of New York (although haven’t been there myself) but at the same time feeling weird to see strange looking aliens walking among normal humans. Is there a subtle hint about ‘aliens’ (read: illegal immigrants) in New York considering the very politically correct era we live in now? Like my sentiments from last time, the designs of some of the aliens feel like rejects or they were just using as many ideas they could get on the alien designs and put them all in here. Why didn’t they contact me if they want some ideas on alien designs? I bet I can draw much worse!

With the old casts maintained, due to the nature of this series of having new minor side characters almost in every episode, there are some recognizable ones like Yukari Tamura as Mira, Takehito Koyasu as Li Gado and Daisuke Ono as Phillip (oh, a butler role…). Some of the other notable ones from the long list of casts are Maaya Sakamoto as Luciana (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji), Kenji Nojima as Riel (Taihei in Himouto! Umaru-chan), Yuriko Fuchizaki as Veded (Ibuki in Maison Ikkoku), Yuko Sanpei as Kane (Seita in Gintama), Yasuyuki Kase as Gemnemo (Kankurou in Naruto), Junji Majima as Yurian (Ryuuji in Toradora), Kenyuu Horiuchi as Franz (titular character in Guin Saga) and Toshihiko Seki as Gamimozu (Senketsu in Kill La Kill).

Remember the first season’s catchy and jazzy ending theme? We have something of that sort this season too. Unison Square Garden who sang Sugar Song To Bitter Step now sings the opening theme, Fake Town Baby. Although this one resembles more of a fast paced rock piece and isn’t as jazzy as the aforementioned one, it is still great in its own right. But if you really want something to dance to, the ending theme, Step Up Love by Daoko x Yasuyuki Okamura feels right at home. But no strange dance here from the casts in this disco and funky piece. Though, we have a few crazy short animations in weird hues like as though the characters are high on drugs and having fun. This season seems to have a quite a number of insert songs and many of them have this blues, sultry, jazzy American feel and blend to it that really makes Hellsalem’s Lot at times feels like a ghetto New York City.

Overall, this season is a hit and miss. You may love it or hate it. Depending on how bar you set your expectations of this show. If you are not looking for deep character development or a very compelling storyline, the action bits as well as its bizarre setting and its own brand of bizarre humour are enough to satisfy and entertain you. To borrow and edit from the last time what Femt said, all of us are in need of some nonsense. Looks like the nonsense has extended its run a little longer. Or maybe everything is just nonsense. It is how we choose which ones are less nonsensical to others to a lesser degree.

Gintama: Porori-hen

March 23, 2018

OMG! OMFG!!! It’s like they could read my mind and heart! Gintama was certainly coming to its closing stages when they have really heavy story driven arcs in the recent previous seasons. Fans knew the time will come when the series will end. And what do you know? They surprise us again by giving us another season which is not related to this final story! Yes, people. Gintama: Porori-hen as the sixth season has gone back to its original roots of nonsensical slapstick comedy that we have all come to know and love. It is like before the big finale, before the sh*t gets real, let us watch and laugh one last time at their antics. Oh Gintama, you certainly know how to please our hearts. So we’re not crying with tears of joy. We’re going to laugh at all the silliness, stupidity and ridiculousness instead. And then we cry.

Episode 329
After a fake recap that rips off popular anime titles, we see Umibouzu worried about Kagura getting married to a jerk and then divorced and lead a tough shady life. Why is she fat, tanned and ugly?! Anyway, his fears come a step closer when he sees a boy giving her a letter and when she reads it out loud, he wants her to be his girlfriend. So what has a father got to do but go bug Gintoki for being a bad guardian or something. Even when Kagura tells them about her boyfriend and date tomorrow, it took them a while before reality hits them. Are they mad? Are they panicking? The best way is to ask her directly but the adults are just chicken sh*t to ask her and got distracted with their own nonsensical talk and fighting. So when Shinpachi finally asks and she honestly explains she isn’t sure what love is but is willing to try out because that boy put his heart into writing the letter, you bet the fathers aren’t going to allow this. Not that she cares what they say anyway. They allow her to go on her date but on a condition they meet her boyfriend first. So the adults get drunk and ironically Shinpachi the kid lectures them on what being a grownup is. Probably they take it too literally because they are now waiting with creepy smiles and in a huge body! Yeah, this is what they think growing up is. I guess they never thought it would apply to the brain or mentality. When Kagura is here, they think her boyfriend won’t come in is because he is having cold feet meeting them. Turns out he is a giant! A big baby!

Episode 330
Folks, meet Dai. Kagura explains the one who gave her the letter was Dai’s friend as he is shy and too big to write a letter. Oh, did she mention Dai is the prince of Planet Titan and was introduced by Soyo? Oh, look at all those Titan bodyguards… Dai does away with this formality crap and talks casually. In short, one can see his is a big jerk. It seems Dai plans to bring Kagura back to his planet and marry her. I guess that is shocking enough. So the fathers try to dissuade him by badmouthing how useless Kagura is as a wife? No wonder she is mad. So while the fathers keep punching each other (probably taking Shinpachi’s advice of being an adult literally), Dai and Kagura are long gone on their date. Kagura feels bored on the date and doesn’t think it will work out. Besides, she isn’t ready for this marriage thingy and is okay with long distance relationship. But Dai won’t accept this and puts her to sleep. Gintoki and Umibouzu confront Soyo. Why do they make her sound it is her fault? Anyway she reveals the Titans have this particular habit of taking brides from other planets. Once they do, to keep their DNA pure, they will destroy the entire planet of the brides. Technically, isn’t Kagura a Yato and not an Earthling? Dai initiates the wedding ceremony with his Titans wrecking the place. As the priest gives them the green light to kiss, Shinpachi kicks them and Dai accidentally kisses the priest! Shinpachi lectures him about the feeling of a daughter being taken away from her fathers. Dai won’t listen and sends his Titans to attack. But it is raining Titan blood? Turns out Gintoki and Umibouzu beating them to a pulp. You don’t know how scary fathers are. Eventually Dai gets beaten up but Kagura also beats them up for forgetting about her. In the aftermath, Dai sends a letter to Kagura. Looks like he has turned over a new leaf and is grateful about fathers. He will respect them and the family when he gets a girlfriend next time. But why does he sound scared about fathers too? The ultimate creepy twist is that Dai has found a new love: The priest! OH SH*T! Must be some twisted father joke…

Episode 331
Ikumatsu narrates that an old scruffy man always show up at her ramen store on New Year’s Eve, ordered a bowl and shared it with her and her husband before leaving. When her husband told her to keep up this tradition, that was when her husband soon passed away and that man never showed up anymore. She wonders what happened to him as she never got the chance to return his scarf. So Katsura and Gintoki are going to get to the bottom of this (is it because Katsura has hots for her?) as they assimilate as homeless people at the park? They are introduced to the Lawd who is no other than Hasegawa! He is speaking through a translator?! Is he that holy?! Actually the ‘translator’ is the Lawd. There is also a rival group of homeless people led by a ruffian who was done in by Katsura and Gintoki. Meanwhile Shinpachi and Kagura try to investigate more about the scarf as it has the crest of the famous Nishikiya on it. From what we hear it sounds very much like Ikumatsu is the heiress of Nishikiya whose father died 20 years ago. Ikumatsu admits to this but doesn’t remember how her father died since she was too young to remember. When the brand was booming, he started to flirt with employees and mom kicked him out. He is said to have died on the streets via illness. She could only remember her mom’s sad face. Well what do you know? That old scruffy man is supposed to be her dead father! The ruffian’s goal is to kill him. He forces Katsura and Gintoki to bring his head or else who knows what his men waiting outside Ikumatsu’s shop will do. This is his revenge on them. Lawd has a plan. Instead of looking for her father, they need to ensure Ikumatsu’s safety first and hence leads the morons out via sewer. Oh boy, Hasegawa is going to have his hands full saving them from stupid plunging jokes.

Episode 332
It is revealed that Ikumatsu’s dad saved a drowning boy on a bad weather. Though the kid was saved, he went missing. Many years later when he was found, he was seen with another woman. More accurately, he has amnesia and forgets everything by the next morning. The saved boy grew up to marry Ikumatsu as he kept searching for her dad until he found him at the park. He begged him to come eat ramen at their place to see his daughter even if he doesn’t remember. Strangely, he often wanders about on New Year’s Eve and into Ikumatsu’s store because of an old memory his family used to eat together. It turns out Lawd is Ikumatsu’s father. Gintoki fights the ruffian boss and his gang to let Katsura deliver Lawd to Ikumatsu. At the same time, Kagura and Shinpachi fight off the homeless hordes to let Ikumatsu do a ‘delivery’. Ikumatsu laments how she could forget about someone whom she loved so much. She accidentally falls into the river. Katsura is passing there as Lawd swiftly jumps in to save her. It seems Katsura only manages to pull Ikumatsu out. In the aftermath, Ikumatsu talks to Katsura and ponders if those last words she heard from her father were real. She is still grateful to him for if not for him, she could not have met her husband. She makes ramen for him to eat but he refuses because he is not related or part of her family. However he can still share her suffering as friends. The greatest news of all as her dad on a wheelchair is wheeled in by Gintoki. Ikumatsu immediately hugs him. We take a small detour as we see Hasegawa on the verge of jumping off the bridge. However he is told to appreciate life by an assassin who is about to snipe at someone! Suicidal man versus assassin. Who has more right on the views of life? Stay tuned…

Episode 333
Hasegawa suggests shooting him but Isshen won’t waste his bullets. However if he jumps from the other building, he can snipe at him and his target with one bullet. When Hasegawa treks up the other building, there is another assassin, Irron trying to snipe at Isshen! Hasegawa tells what is happening. Too bad Irron won’t kill him but only scumbags like Isshen. So Hasegawa has to go all the way back there to bait Isshen in hopes Irron will kill them with one shot. Back there again, Hasegawa is close to dead from all the running so Isshen is going to bring him to hospital! Life is more important than his job! What a nice guy! When Irron starts shooting and miss, Isshen tells him to go back there while he becomes the decoy. Hasegawa has to run back there again but Irron has injured himself. Then the baddies take him hostage and it turns out Irron is Isshen’s cross-dressed little sister. Hasegawa came here to die and became implicated in such complications. He has had it and takes Irron to jump down. Isshen then fires a shot that saves them from free fall. Looks like somebody will continue living today.

Matsudaira is conducting some lecture but Hijikata and Sasaki start arguing some crap that has them and their lazy partners do a case study via VR. It looks like somebody killed Momotaro and they must solve this whodunnit case. At first looks, it seems grandpa and granny might be suspects in killing him but further observation shows he has already been killed beforehand and stuffed inside the peach to frame them. Then they all go crazy with their theories as they suspect Momotaro’s comrades. With x-ray evidence showing he choked and he ate his animal comrades, Hijikata deduces after they slew the demon, they were drifting back and ran out of food. Momotaro gave his dango to his comrades but it soon ran out and they all died. Hence he ate them to survive. Finally when there is nothing left, he ate the dango bag and choked on it. A sad ending but the shocking revelation as Matsudaira says is that this isn’t Momotaro but the demon in disguise. After he ate the animals, he tried to make his way to eat more humans but died without achieving his goal. Cause of death? Brain tumour. WTF… Trolled…

Episode 334
As Tetsuko is looking through the swords, there is one without a scabbard. Gintoki nonchalantly throws it away in the incinerator. It comes alive and sticks inside his ass! Oh, it’s a talking sword. Kusanagi is from Planet Excalibur and came to Earth with his wife, Sayako the scabbard after smelling war. As time passed, he became blunt and tossed away. They only took Sayako who remained beautiful. He wants to be reunited with his wife so the gang conducts a free sword check. But why does Gintoki and Kusanagi sound like they are catcalling? Kusanagi starts resonating when his kind is near. It seems Kusanagi fears this dangerous guy, Senbei. But Senbei has to go since the cops after chasing him. Sougou couldn’t catch him so he arrests Gintoki for public indecency as replacement. Back at the HQ, Sougou rips Kusanagi out from his ass! Man, it looks like some sick bloody porn… Kusanagi realizes Sougou’s scabbard is Sayako. As he tries to talk to her, unfortunately she doesn’t remember him. She is very much in love with Sougou who saved her while being put on display in a shop in New York. They are leading a nice life now so she wants Kusanagi to stop bothering them. Kusanagi is so hurt that he sticks himself deeper into Gintoki’s ass! Since this won’t do, Gintoki challenges Sougou to a sword battle (buttle as they call it) over Sayako. But first they need to get the sword out from his ass. Looks like tying him to a tree and pulling it out via a truck isn’t going to work. With Kusanagi’s morale so low as he is obviously blunt, Tetsuko promises to beat him back into shape. Well… She broke him in half…

Episode 335
Kusanagi breaks again when reforged. At least his sarcasm is sharper… Tetsuko can tell it is because of his old wounds. Indeed. Sayako belonged to another sword initially. He was the cursed sword named Maganagi who consumed the life of all other swords and scabbards. Kusanagi couldn’t bear see his childhood friend become his latest victim and fought him and barely escaped with his life. Meanwhile Sougou is confronted by Senbei and as they are gearing up for a fight, another horrifying truth is revealed about Maganagi. Unlike Kusanagi who sticks in ass to be friendly with the wielder, Maganagi consumes the soul of the wielder. Hence Senbei isn’t actually himself but just a vessel for Maganagi. However Sougou easily defeats him! The day of the buttle is here. To Kusanagi’s fear, it seems Sougou is now the wielder of Maganagi. However it is Sougou who has tamed him! The real Senbei has been reduced to a vegetable state in hospital. He goes into trauma each time he thinks about being consumed. Hijikata realizes the horrifying implications of this if the greatest cursed sword falls into the hands of a super sadist. So the buttle begins with Gintoki and Sougou picking up coloured turds with the swords? And they’re throwing them at each other? After we’re done with all the poop jokes, the sword fight gets real.

Episode 336
At this point, Sougou has been consumed by Maganagi. The Shinsengumi try to arrest him but he is quick to slash their swords. They could have been goners had Gintoki didn’t distract him back to their fight. Gintoki is able to avoid all of his attacks because even though Maganagi took over Sougou’s body, his movements are now sluggish and easy to read. But shortly, Kusanagi goes flaccid. Ran out of juice? Maganagi is now quicker and sharper, doing some HP damage to Gintoki. This is when Sayako comes in between them. She doesn’t care about the swords but Sougou. Kusanagi thought she has really forgotten about them but Maganagi reveals the truth about her. She is Kusanagi’s daughter! WTF?! How can swords give birth?! It seems Sayako was pregnant with his child after he left and since it isn’t easy for a single swordless scabbard to protect a child, she housed many other swords even if it meant betraying her husband. By the time she was exhausted from it all, Maganagi freed her from it. By killing her. He is here to keep his promise to her so that all the family could reunite together in death. The shock kills Kusanagi as he disintegrates. As Maganagi tries to consume the scabbard, Sougou regains control of his body and doesn’t want the fight to end yet. Gintoki did the unthinkable as he becomes the scabbard to revive Kusanagi. Yup, he sticks the broken sword in his ass! Sougou won’t lose out and stabs Maganagi in his own heart. Both power up to astronomical proportions and explode upon clashing. In the end, Maganagi lost and disintegrates. Kusanagi is also on the verge of disintegrating but we get to hear his last rites of gratefulness. In the aftermath, Sougou and Sayako continue their normal life. Tetsuko and Yorozuya pick up all the disintegrated iron they could find. It took them a while but Sayako plans to forge the dullest sword out of it. Even so, Sougou hopes he could get it when it is ready as he is okay having a sword that doesn’t cut anything because the sword and the scabbard will never be apart again.

Episode 337
Otsu might still be a good singer but Gintoki argues that as a solo artist, her popularity would soon wane and she might be doing shady stuffs to keep relevant. Hence it is suggested she teams up as a unit. So they had to pick Kagura as her partner? Whatever. I’m sure we can see she has some talent aside from that nose picking thingy. Gintoki becomes the producer while Shinpachi becomes the manager (and everything else) in this duo unit called Hanakuso Diamond 48 (HDZ48). There is also some silly argument over the roles that they would be taking on that pretty much obsessed over some producer called Daisuke as well as the bands of B’z and Wands. Otae enters the scene to give her 2 cents worth of opinion about backup dancers and bands being the more dangerous enemies than fans. I guess it’s her cue to introduce herself and her all-girl band comprising of Kyuubei, Tsukuyo and Ayame as their backup band. They know nothing about music… With HDZ given the green light, it seems not all parties are happy. Like this intergalactic idol group as well as Otsu’s loyal fans who do not approve of her being in a unit. Looks like Shinpachi as their captain is going to be answerable to his hypocrisy. Gintoki arranges a sleazy handshake event that attracts perverts. But with Kagura’s strong grip that ‘destroys’ their perverted hands, Gintoki tries to cover up by selling stuffs and throw in idol service as extras but with unexpected consequences. Like a lap pillow, Kagura knee kicks them! Yeah, each cover up sounds more and more like some shady TV shopping channel. The disgruntled fans has have had enough when the intergalactic idol group drops in. Galaxy Kingdom Bitches 48 (GKB48)!!! I’m not kidding you.

Episode 338
GKB48 has private curtain rooms for their handshake. Makes you wonder what ambiguous stuffs they’re doing behind the privacy. Poor Otsu is so disheartened that all her loyal fans have deserted her, she runs away in tears. However GKB48 won’t let it end like that. As Otsu locks herself up at the agency, a new scandal surfaces. Superimposed pictures that make it look like Shinpachi and Gintoki are flirting with her. You know the journalists are going to be hard on their asses. GKB48 soon announces their debut on Earth. It will be on the same date of Otsu’s release. They are also planning to hold a concert for this debut and invite Otsu to battle with them. The winner gets to release their album while the loser quits forever. Otsu may not stand a chance but Yorozuya won’t go down without a fight since they are technically her last standing fans. GKB48 are insulted when Shinpachi and Gintoki dress up as new female members. Furthermore, Otsu didn’t show up. Her replacement? But HDZ48 has the backup band as support. The competition begins to see which side can get more handshakes from their fans. It seems the fans are all rushing towards GKB48’s gate while HDZ48 is a ghost town. HDZ48 plays dirty as the backup band girls start insulting those at the end of the queue. While this looks like they are only alienating fans, they quickly put up an apology act. The perfect tsundere act has some fans defecting to them. As Gintoki puts it, this isn’t a competition to see who the best idol is but the biggest slut alive! Hey, they started it so don’t regret. Gintoki then introduces their own private handshake room: Toilet stalls! Don’t understand his explanation but it sounds very shady and perverted that the backup band girls beat the hell out of him. At least more fans are coming their way, right?

Episode 339
It gets even worse when Otae and the girls are just arguing among themselves to be the centre. Don’t even talk about abusing the fans in the process. So are they serious or not? Not too surprising, the fans abandon them. With GKB48 taking an immense lead, Shinpachi dons his headgear as Otsu’s fan club captain. He is going to settle this once and for all. Yup, he is going into that private curtain. After all that big talk, he couldn’t even last a second inside! But did he? Actually he tore out an antenna that is supposedly mind controlling all their fans. Not only their fans revert back to normal, GKB48 revert to their ugly true form. With GKB48 disqualified for cheating and HDZ48 gaining fan support, GKB48 of course is going to get some payback. Kagura and the backing band keep them at bay with their immense strength and rotten music respectively and ultimately defeat them. And while they talk about dreams and ideals, Otsu who heard their sincere heart, makes a return to stage. Her fans are delighted as she starts singing for them. In the aftermath, Otsu shines as bright as before. HDZ48 got disbanded even before it lifted off. But I guess for all those who know, the legend of HDZ 48 lives in everyone’s heart.

Episode 340
A blatant promotion of their Gintama Rumble video game but also badmouthing and criticizing it in their usual fashion. So Yorozuya sneak into the game company with Tama to hack and change the game. First it spoofs the Tales series by giving some lame ass main protagonist who can only answer S or M. Then some outbreak disease that is so horrifying that it kills you in no time if you don’t do anything. Trying to scare us NEETs, huh? The zombie outbreak leads to a change in genre, a survival horror game Resident Evil style before a mission to save the princess that parodies Mario. Safe to say this game got cancelled.

Shinpachi broke his glasses so he sees a shady optician who gives him glasses that would make him see ‘clearer’. Turns out he could see ghosts latching onto people’s back! Cursed glasses! When he tries to return to the store for refund, it isn’t there anymore. Ghost store? He returns home only to find a terrifying deity-like ghost (Asuraman) haunting Gintoki. It turns out to be a vengeful spirit trying to kill him?! What about Kagura? She’s got an alcoholic Pikachu rip-off (Alchu)! Maybe that’s why she’s always in a bad mood when she wakes up. Then everyone attends a local race. Too bad Shinpachi could see dead warriors and fighters itching to kill each other…

Episode 341
These are the other ghastly things Shinpachi sees: Hasegawa is a ghost too?! Asuraman and Alchu sabotaging their own team because more spoils for the victors?! Other characters also have their ghosts haunting them like Otae has this super majestic monster Buddha, Kondou has his from his balls (?!), Katsura is a Toyota Corolla rip-off as well as Hijikata a Maserati rip-off?! Also, Hasegawa, Asuraman and Alchu combine to form one hideous (in a funny sense) sphinx beast or something. In the final game, it is kibasen mixed with a few other games to save time. It seems ghosts are also invited to participate! Naturally everyone targets Shinpachi’s team and as he resigns to his defeat, suddenly he sees a vision of that shady optician. Turns out he is his guardian spirit and just wanted him to see what their world is like. Giving him his original glasses, should he put them back on, he will never return to this world. And so Shinpachi takes it and uses the power of his glasses as his weapon and fails. His glasses break too. Time to get another one.

Do Not Slip Up Now!
Okay. I’m ready to do this now. I’m ready for it all to end. I’m ready for the final season. I’m ready for the final long arc as announced at the end. Unless they troll me hard again. But I could accept that. Anyway, back to this season. Well, I’m glad the same ol’ Gintama formula is still there. The funny exaggerated slapstick moments and the sudden ‘lessons in life’ that would instantly give you the feels are all too familiar and very much welcomed for veteran Gintama fans. It is a roller coaster ride from laughing and feeling touched. One minute you’re laughing out loud like a maniac, the next second you could be welling up some tears in your eyes. Oh, Gintama. That is why we love you throughout the years. It is that same love that we are going to see it end.

It is great for this ‘light-hearted’ season to feature some of the characters who didn’t appear in the couple of previous story arcs like the Shinsengumi. They were obviously and sorely missing from the previous Rakuyo Arc. This could have been well before that arc since Sasaki is ‘revived’. But you know, Gintama doesn’t really need to stick to all that who-lives-who-dies timeline just to make us some great entertainment. Also given more screen time this season are Hasegawa and Otsu who have been one of the few ‘favourite’ minor supporting characters throughout the long running series. Oddly for Katsura’s focused episode, I wonder what the heck happened to Elizabeth. That fake duck mascot character has always been by his side and they are like inseparable. So it is quite odd (at least for me) to see Katsura without his trusty sidekick for a long period of time especially a short mini arc even if it is just for 2 episodes. Of course Elizabeth is seen back in the final ghost haunting race for a short while and owning Katsura like he does sometimes.

I theorize why they called this season as Porori-hen (Slip Arc) is because they slip some random weird non-related arc into it. Okay, that is not what the slip for porori actually mean. At first you might think there would be some crazy-like fanservice because porori is often heard in anime when a female’s top gets loose. This is Gintama. We’re not expecting any bare breasted females for shock but there’s still that chance. But could it be there is a deeper meaning about this series slipping down? Maybe it doesn’t mean degrading in quality but while heading towards straight towards the final arc, a staff slipped on a banana and hence the production decided to take a detour, hence the slipping from its original path. I think.

This season’s opening theme, Blue Encount by VS feels reminiscent like their past songs like Pray, Donten by Does and Giniro No Sora. But if it sounds a bit more similar to DayxDay that’s because Blue Encount also sung this song. Then ending theme, Hankou Seimei by Ayumikurikamaki is quite a fun and lively rock piece. It has this cheeky and playful beat to it. The ending animation credits might troll us because we see many of the series’ characters in wedding outfits like as though somebody (or all of them) is going to get married. Turns out to be one elaborated birthday bash for Kagura. Do people use wedding theme for their birthdays? How else are they going to dress up so nicely then?

Overall, what needs to be said about Gintama has been said. What I wanted to say about Gintama has been said (unless I have forgotten). There is nothing else for me to comment on this season but just another reminder (might sound like a nag after a while) how great this series is. It’s so weird and random that it’s just funny and good. At this point, to a godly level. Unless you have no taste in comedy than that’s a different story. Now that the fun time is over, it’s time to get serious and look into the colour of Gintama’s soul. Unless somebody laced the entire pathway with bananas then more potential porori. Oh, we’ll get there. Just a bit later…

Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ

February 17, 2018

Wow. There’s still more? So much more because not only Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ is the series’ fourth season, they also announced the fifth season at the same time! What a way to really douse speculations if there would be more seasons. But I’ll cross the bridge once I get there. For now, this fourth season… Ah shucks. I can’t remember much of the storyline anymore. I was mainly confused in past editions so I now I’m going to be even more. I know I mustn’t give up like Hibiki. Maybe at the end of it all there will be hope for me to understand everything. Or not.

Episode 1
Hibiki still slacks in doing her homework. But is this considered saved by the bell because she is being whisked away for a mission? She heads over to a South American nation to join Tsubasa and Chris to take out a dictator’s military arsenal. No matter what you’re shooting at the girls, you’ll never best their singing and firepower. Not even this giant ship he is piloting in the sky. Nothing like a load of extreme firepower to take it down and not incur a single casualty! Although this mission is a success, another one awaits them. After noticing the UN quickly treating to wounded locals of a nearby village, they join up with Maria, Kirika and Shirabe to destroy the weapon’s factory of the dictator, Val Verde. Hibiki remembers being told about the Pavarian Illuminati. Apparently all the events that have happened since the first season, this group is the one who has been pulling the strings behind the shadows. From FIS to Frontier, they have a hand in all of them. Now they have at least some evidence to prove their existence and that is why they are in Latin America as signs of Alca-Noise have popped up. But this place doesn’t hold too many fond memories for Chris. It looks like her parents died here and Sonya prevented her from following suit. Time for more action with the Symphogear ladies engaging the military as well as the Alca-Noise they can produce. Of course things go berserk as the Alca-Noise also starts killing some of the soldiers. Hey, at least they aren’t discriminating. Hibiki befriends a local boy, Stefan who helps guide them around. He tells them the military has been forcing the locals to work in the factory. Eventually the factory is taken down and Val Verde and his top aides are about to flee. But 3 cuties from Pavarian Illuminati pop up and will put him to good use. I don’t know what happened to them but I believe they’re dead and their life force contributed to whatever Saint-Germain is planning. Along with Cagliostro and Prelati, they head to the basement to recover some doll. The guys from SONG are spying on them when the damn laptop of Sakuya Fujitaka had to beep (finished scanning some data? Could he have put it on silent mode?). Run! Saint-Germain decides to experiment and unleashes some giant dragon spirit, Yohualtepoztli. Lots of men died while trying to protect the data extracted. Before it is Fujitaka and Aoi Tomosato’s turn, here comes Maria’s team! Just in time.

Episode 2
It seems Yohualtepoztli can regenerate no matter how much damage it takes. Saint-Germain views this experiment as a success because it is a step closer to attaining divine power. With that, she stops this experiment and return to base. So they’re letting them go? Saint-Germain says their priority is to retrieve the doll, Tiki. Meanwhile Stefan leads Hibiki’s team to where his villagers are being held hostage by the factor’s director. As they fight the Alca-Noise, Stefan is in danger of being killed by one. But Chris had to do what she had to do. She shot off Stefan’s leg before the infection could spread. Because of that Sonya is blaming her? Hey, he still got his life. Naturally it strained their relationship and this isn’t the kind of reunion they were hoping for after all these years. Flashback 400 years ago when the Pavarian Illuminati was founded on alchemy by gathering pieces of technology left behind by Phine, this led them to clash with Phine herself who sought to monopolize such technology. Adam Weishaupt who was the founder wanted to attain divine power and give it form. But Tiki was lost and their plans put on hold and the organization banished into the shadows. Now that Phine is no more, their revival is imminent. All they have to do is bring back Tiki. Cagliostro and Prelati decide to take lure out the Symphogear girls by attacking the airport. Maria and co respond to the call to fight the duo, dispose of the Alca-Noise and give the airplane the necessary lift off. However they ran out of power and can no longer fight effectively. Think of summoning Yohualtepoztli to finish them? Think again because here comes Hibiki punching right through it! You defy logic by punching through everything! So much about that immortality thingy.

Episode 3
Saint-Germain pops up to bring her comrades away. Back at the base, Saint-Germain revives Tiki who is supposed to be an Autoscorer created to precisely record the movements of the planets on a star map. Tiki is such an energetic bubbly girl? She is more concerned about Adam who she cannot function without. Conveniently speaking, he comes a calling. Too bad business comes first. Saint-Germain wants to investigate how Hibiki tore through the mechanisms of Yohualtepoztli but Adam tells her all that is unimportant. Just destroy the Symphogear girls. Say no more because Cagliostro and Prelati have already launched a pre-emptive strike on Maria and Tsubasa’s plane. Not only they survive, the all-important data is intact too. Returning to SONG’s base, Genjurou explains more about Tiki. During the war, Germany wanted to seek an alternate energy for fossil fuel and Japan as their ally helped in the research and hence some of the Relics like Gungnir ended up in Japan. Everyone can tell Chris has been down ever since Stefan’s incident although she brushes it off. Before they could do anything to cheer her up, it’s those damn Alca-Noise again. Saint-Germain tests another prototype and sends the Symphogear girls to another alternate space. Are they fighting on some alien planet? Actually it is a subspace pocket of Alca-Noise and all their attacks have no effect. The girls have no choice but to up the ante by using Dainsleif but I figure at this point they are a pro at using it. More extreme action to see how they break through everything and return to normal space. Saint-Germain is satisfied of the data they got from this experiment despite the failure. However Tiki has other ideas. She thinks this is the best spot to pick a fight with God.

Episode 4
There is a flashback of Saint-Germain who was being treated as a child slave and led a tragic life. Genjurou explains to the Symphogear girls about this base, Matsushiro where the military HQ was relocated after WW2. It also houses the secret Kazanari Institute. Currently the data is being deciphered but it will take time. The girls wonder why trouble the locals for evacuating them for this mission as ordered by the top boss, Kamakura. Genjurou replies the harsh reality that their mission is to protect the country and not the people. Can there be a country without its people? Maria’s team go down on the ground to find others who have not evacuated. Yup, an old lady plucking tomatoes. Look who decided to show up? Cagliostro is disappointed to see Maria’s side but nevertheless unleashes her Alca-Noise to deal with them. Luckily Chris was nearby to handle her to allow them to escape with granny. When Hibiki and Tsubasa arrive, Cagliostro has orders to retreat. Granny gives Maria a tomato as reward. And something about people’s life and tomatoes’ are similar during hardship? The decryption isn’t going well so Genjurou gets a direct call from Kamakura about his recent failures as he allowed him to use the facilities to make UN be indebted to them. More Alca-Noise are detected. Hibiki’s team take them on with their Dainsleif. Looks like the Pavarian Illuminati trio decide to show up too. This time they have something similar to Dainsleif, Faust Robes. It repels and nullifies their Dainsleif. It’s overpowered too that our Symphogear girls are left defeated. Saint-Germain explains the creation of Faust Robes by uniting the philosopher’s stone with the human body for the ultimate alchemy. It’s all thanks to the data they got from Chateau de Tiffauges. Their goal is to free mankind from oppression. Before they could finish them, here comes Adam. He uses his alchemy to trigger nuclear fusion and turns his fireball into some destructive power worth 10 megatons! Better escape if you know what’s good for you. There’s a giant simmering crater in the aftermath. But the most eyebrow raising thing is that, does he have to do all that naked?!

Episode 5
Don’t worry, all our favourite characters are still alive. As they regroup, Genjurou admits it was their total lost. The base is destroyed as well as all its secret documents. They discuss the fearsome alchemy the enemy possesses that it was able to force out their Dainsleif. Kirika and Shirabe despite injured, continue to train but their injury gets the better of them. They believe doing so can increase their sync rates and they won’t need Linker anymore. Until Elfnein mentions she is close to decipher the last piece of the puzzle from Ver’s recipe. Long story short, she needs to find some part of the brain that is connected to the Symphogear to minimize the stress. There is this VR system Ver left behind. In short, Elfnein can use it to peek into one’s mind but the risk is high since both their minds can merge and can turn into vegetable state. With no time to lose, Maria offers to be the test subject. As the rest waits, they see on the news that Stefan is in Japan to receive to undergo surgery for a prosthetic leg so he could continue his dream to play football. Meanwhile Genjurou is being called by Kamakura for his failure. There is no use chewing him out. He has a job to do. Do it. Elfnein enters Maria’s mind and relives her life. Whatever pain Maria feels, Elfnein could also feel. Too bad most of the memories are painful ones during her time at the facility under Nastassja. Then we have this episode’s obligatory Alca-Noise action so we have Maria who is self-conscious fighting waves of it and emerges victorious. After all, she can dream all she wants in her mind, right? But then they enter the subconscious area and this is where things get unstable and putting their physical bodies in danger. But look who decides to pop up now? The Pavarian Illuminati trio once again unleash a Hydra-like Alca-Noise. While the other Symphogear girls head into action, look who pops up in Maria’s subconscious? Ver! Even dead bad guys like him continue to haunt her in her mind. Yeah, the nightmare is about to begin.

Episode 6
Don’t really get this part but from what I understand, this vision of Ver is trying to lead Maria to the part of her brain connected to Symphogear since he was very intimate with the research. Meanwhile the other Symphogear girls are fighting the Hydra. But when they cut its heads off, it revives and splits into independent creatures. It could be a ploy to split them up and fight them separately but they’ll take the challenge. Maria and Elfnein are in the subconscious part whereby Maria still reels from her fears and insecurities. Then they get absorbed as Maria discovers she is now back in time during her harsh training at the facility. Despite remembering Nastassja being harsh, she remembers closely that each time she did so, she would always have a sad look on her face. She always hid her pain when seeing them suffer. She remembers she also protected all the other children who have gone on to have a brighter future. Nastassja’s harshness was their strength. With that, Elfnein knows that brain part that connects to the Symphogear and wakes up. Time to get to work. The Symphogear girls are being tested on their endurance as the Hydra keeps replicating. To Hibiki’s fear, one of them is heading towards her school. She is about to hit the panic button when Kirika and Shirabe drop in to help take out the Alca-Noise. This time they show no strains on their body and is able to perform at tip top condition. And that Hydra heading towards the school? Easily taken out by Maria. So it seems the all important ingredient in the brain to connect to the Symphogear is… Love! You mean it was this simple and cliché?! With the Symphogear girls emerging victorious and cornering the Pavarian Illuminati trio, time to spit out their intentions. Despite claiming wanting to save mankind, they don’t intend to work together. Because they have the power of God to tear down the curse of Balal. This is sounding to get more ridiculous…

Episode 7
There’s a brief explanation of that but I’m totally lost. Basically, it justifies their reason to sacrifice others. But screw all that, it’s the fights we’re here to see. Kirika and Shirabe thought they could use Dainsleif but their power up is only short-lived. Cagliostro deflects Chris bullets and they almost hit Saint-Germain. Because of that she decides to call for a retreat. Adam isn’t so pleased the trio failed to take care of the Symphogear girls. But with Tiki drawing the horoscope clearer, it’s time to prepare the altar. The trio don’t like how cocky Adam is but Cagliostro and Prelati note their loyalty isn’t to him or the organization but to Saint-Germain. She was the one who gave them perfect bodies and goals when they were originally fakes. So as Saint-Germain prepare the altar, the duo will rid of the Symphogear girls. Elfnein works hard without any break that she might be breaking herself at this rate. It would be sad if she hasn’t found anything after putting in such effort and for plot convenience, here it is. She notices a waste of lump matter that was transmuted from Hibiki when she merged with Gungnir. Since it has the opposite effect of the philosopher’s stone, she proposes using this fool’s stone (that’s what they’re calling it) to be upgraded into the Symphogear. But since it is stored at the underwater Neptune Palace, good luck finding a needle in a haystack. During this time, Cagliostro and Prelati show up to destroy the Symphogear for good. Kirika, Shirabe and Chris are the only ones who can go into action since the rest are underwater looking for the fool’s stone. They can’t let the enemy know about this or they’ll try to stop them. So how can Kirika and Shirabe fight without their Dainsleif? Unison. All they have to do is work together and be in sync. And you see how it work wonders as they kick Prelati’s ass. Because of that, another retreat. Saint-Germain reports the altar is ready but it lacks enough life energy to power its central plinth. Adam suggests sacrificing one of the duo as their perfect body will provide all the life energy needed. Not so keen on sacrificing now, eh? Well, she’s got to choose. Her cause or her comrades.

Episode 8
For the sake of progression, the fool’s stone is found. Elfnein works hard to make a new Ignite module for them. Then Genjurou trains them and despite their firepower and numbers, they cannot beat him! And this is just warm up! WTF?! They should just send this guy to do their battles! Saint-Germain begins the ritual as Adam reminds her it is time to choose. With those pesky Symphogear girls still on the loose, Cagliostro offers to destroy them for good since Prelati is injured and out of action. Before Stefan and Sonya return to their country, they see Chris and Tsubasa. There is still some animosity between Chris and Sonya. As usual, Alca-Noise drop in to attack. Cagliostro is running wild with her powers. When other Symphogear girls arrive, Cagliostro sends Hibiki, Tsubasa, Kirika and Shirabe into separate subspace pocket. Chris and Maria are left to fight her. Chris discovers Stefan and Sonya still haven’t evacuate the building. Wheelchair got stuck. WTF?! Before Cagliostro could kill Chris, Stefan stands up and his football kick saves the day! WTF?! He can perfectly get up and walk so why was he even ‘stuck’?! Anyway Stefan argues how petty the ladies are still bitter about the past unlike him who is so the future. Yeah… It motivates Chris to fight back. This time they use the fool’s stone to negate Cagliostro’s attacks. Their unison and bond are also high enough that their combo forms a twin-seater jet to destroy Cagliostro once and for all! With Cagliostro now dead, Adam sarcastically points out to Saint-Germain this saves her the trouble of choosing. They will sacrifice Prelati who is not in tip top condition. You mad, girl? Oh right. Adam has no humanity, blah, blah, blah. We know. He knows. Big deal.

Episode 9
Tsubasa and Shirabe try out their unison but it’s not working well. It seems only Shirabe is the one who doesn’t register any sort of phonic gain increment with all the unison combo. Naturally, depression sets in. A message from Yatsuhiro comes in regarding the Divine Gate, a power that the Pavarian Illuminati is looking for. For a change of pace, Genjurou sends the Symphogear girls to a shrine to investigate. The priest shows a map that shows the markings of the 7 Hikawa shrines that is like a mirrored version of the Orion constellation. Traditionally known as the Drummer’s Gate to Heaven, it is a gate where gods were known to descend. And possibly what the Pavarian Illuminati is looking for. Since Shirabe is still ‘lost’, the priest talks to her about walls. Walls aren’t just for rejection. Meanwhile Tiki wants Adam to turn her into a real human girl after he gets the divine power so he can be his real wife. They are confronted by Prelati who wants to know his true goal. He reminds them that they should have known their lives are part of his plan for his divine power. However this is the first time Prelati hears this and attacks them. But she soon leaves to go warn Saint-Germain as it is Adam’s to sacrifice all of them all along. Adam won’t go after her and let the Symphogear girls do the job. Shirabe and Tsubasa with the highest mobility go into action first. Prelati desperately tries to shake them off and is not open to listening. Time to use that unison thing. Shirabe still not confident. And yeah, the theme is kindness so something about ii that allows them to power up and combine into some weird drag car? Anyway Prelati gets killed. Tiki calls Saint-Germain to taunt her that Prelati has become road kill and because of that, they cannot use her as a sacrifice. Adam orders her return before the Symphogear girls disrupts the ritual.

Episode 10
Genjurou and co discuss the use of the leylines for a greater ritual and thus started to evacuate the people. Although there are methods to counter it, Adam destroyed all that was stored in Kazanari Institute. That’s what happens when you keep all your eggs in 1 basket. Saint-Germain starts the ritual by sacrificing her life to open the Divine Gate via Earth’s leylines. But Genjurou’s side has done some preparations. The priests of the shrines simultaneously cut the seals to sever the power lines. This disrupts the ritual and cause Tiki to be lifeless. Cue for Saint-Germain to fight Hibiki and Kirika (the rest cannot go into action as their modules are being repaired by Elfnein). Not sure what combo the duo pull off but it doesn’t look like some weird vehicle. Saint-Germain is defeated but even if her will to overthrow oppression is great, she lacks energy. This is where Hibiki comes in and uses the power of persuasion for her to use it in a better way. Just when you thought Saint-Germain is going to cave in, here comes Adam to restart the ritual. Even better, he uses the leylines from the stars in the sky!!! After all, there is that Orion’s Belt in the constellations, right? Saint-Germain tries to ascertain if he is going to use this godly power to overthrow oppression. Nope. Yup, you’ve been duped. He uses Tiki to fire a super blast. Everything could have been vaporized had not Kirika use her swan song to protect it. Although she suppresses its recoil by overdosing on the Linker, it will still be harmful to her body. With Kirika out of action, looks like Saint-Germain is going to defeat the oppressor. Make that 2 of them because Hibiki joins forces with her.

Episode 11
Saint-Germain tells Hibiki to destroy Tiki as she is acting as a vessel and focal point for the power transfer and hence preventing the divine power’s manifestation. Adam gets in their way and as they both fight, Saint-Germain realizes something. Adam could have easily destroyed them with his nuclear power thingy but yet he didn’t. He is waiting for the power from the heavens so this is their chance to take him down. When he is slightly wounded, they are shocked to realize Adam is a puppet. That mere word makes Adam mad. In turn it makes Tiki mad as she transforms into some alien monster. This is supposedly the divine weapon? Too bad it regenerates whenever Saint-Germain damages it. Adam reveals he was created by them as the group’s representative. However he was even perfect as a prototype and tossed away. Because of that, Adam cannot accept the perfect losing to the imperfect. So to answer Saint-Germain’s question if he has humanity left in him, heck he isn’t human to begin with! Tiki unleashes a powerful blast. Though it missed the girls, it seems it hit some American military satellite. Shortly, Genjurou is contacted by Kamakura about this farce. This has already become an internationally known incident and outsiders will deploy their ‘peacekeeping forces’ under UN’s name to invade Japan. Kamakura feels he has to intervene in the battle eventually. An unknown source contacts Genjurou and reveals they have decrypted all of Val Verde documents. One of them included some spear believed to be the one that kill gods. However it doesn’t possess such attributes but contains the same powers as Gungnir. In short, Gungnir is the weapon that could destroy the divine power and it is cue for Hibiki get back up and finish the job. Saint-Germain connects the dots that Adam’s weapon was not intended to destroy the Symphogear but to destroy information that would thwart his plans. Tiki cannot regenerate after being punched by Hibiki. Before she destroys the monster completely, Adam has Tiki eject from it. Though still partially destroyed, he still needs something to harbour the divine power. A puppet. Yeah, his left arm that he just ripped out. Unfortunately all that power didn’t go to him but being absorbed into Hibiki who turns into an eerie cocoon.

Episode 12
It has been 48 hours since Hibiki is in that state. Adam will not give up on that power still so I guess he has gone back to the drawing board. Genjurou is in a pinch since the Americans via UN are threatening to engage armed intervention and Yatsuhiro is trying his best to delay it so his side must produce the results in a very limited time. Thanks to information from Saint-Germain, Elfnein has gotten lots of clues to create an Anti-Linker. Because Yohualtepoztli and the divine weapon need a vessel to manifest stably its immense power, this is also how the Symphogear works. They can assume that same power is engulfing Hibiki. Time is certainly running out as Kamakura has already mobilize the unlimited national defence to prevent this disaster. Of course you know, the girls protest this is called a disaster. This is their friend. Old impatient fart won’t stand for it. The army tanks fire but it only serves to break a giant angry monster out. Yeah, see how powerful her blasts are. The Symphogear girls go into action but their normal methods couldn’t stop her. Once the Anti-Linker pods hit the monster and the effects are taking place, this is where Miku comes in. She screams Hibiki’s name? Apparently using her voice as some electromagnetic signal to get through Hibiki inside. You know, how to voice of your friend tends to wake you up. At least for Hibiki. With that, she breaks out from the monster and into safe hands. Also, with this result, the UN agrees to step down. Happy ending, right? But no. The damn US president (I want to say he looks like Donald Trump but he doesn’t) while on his vacation doesn’t want to take any risk and initiates a missile targeted at Japan! F*ck you America! With the missile homing in, there is not enough time. Even if they manage to cut it, the shockwave will still contaminate the area. This is where Saint-Germain gets to play the tragic hero. She starts singing but is surprised when Cagliostro and Prelati sing by her side. Their ghost? Nope. The real deal. Apparently Cagliostro faked her death to hide from Adam and then saved Prelati before she died. They have been preparing a special transmutation since. Saint-Germain fires this bullet to contain its explosion but it is still not enough. So they use their lives to diffuse it once and for all. All over, right? Nope. Adam returns and he has absorbed all the divine power into his hand. Literally, the power is in his hand. He won’t let them interrupt again but love maniac Tiki grabs on to him. This is what happens if you don’t give your doll enough hugs. This allows Hibiki to smash the divine weapon.

Episode 13
Despite the victory, Hibiki is still sad she couldn’t save Saint-Germain. Save that for later. They’ve still got Adam to deal with. Some Alca-Noise to deal with so as not to ‘forget’ them. When Adam’s body cannot maintain his perfect form anymore, he reverts to his true monstrous form. The people who designed him must be messed up… Guess what? His true form is faster and more powerful! WTF?! So the price of perfection is less speed and power? That isn’t perfect! Eventually all the girls risk their lives by joining their powers to sing their swan song. Leave it to Elfnein and SONG to try and divert the strain to Dainsleif. More beating up until Hibiki’s gear gave out too soon. Luckily the other girls send some of their power before her doom. Hibiki evolves as she now can do all their special moves! Finally, she has the support of Saint-Germain and co as she transcends into a shiny gold armour to give Adam a heap of punches! So explosive that Adam explodes like a nuclear bomb?! More good news as the Pavarian Illuminati members worldwide are arrested. But with the organization gone, the remnants will be the hard ones to track. Yatsuhiro talks to Kamakura about the world condemning America for trying to use such measure. But Kamakura throws him a thought. They have seen a power that rivals God. What if Japan has that power. They wouldn’t need to worry about being attacked and invaded anymore. Tempting… On the lighter side, everyone celebrates Hibiki’s 17th birthday. Just in time. Man, it was one heck of a build up to her birthday. But I suppose the best birthday gift is their victory. As usual, Hibiki is still having worries over her fist-only solution. As usual, Miku is up to remind her no matter what, she will always hold her hand. There. Friendship level increased. Elfnein tells Genjurou her theory why Hibiki was able to serve as a vessel for the divine power. Hibiki was hit with Shenshou Jing and that purified her curse, hence cleansing of her sin. However Genjurou remembers there is another person who was hit by that: Miku.

Star Doors: The Illuminati Strikes Back! Even so, It’s All In The Punching
What else can I say about this season? Everything is left hanging because we already know from the start there will be another season. Things are not done yet. Things have to be done. Basically what I understand this season is that the big final boss of everything has finally shown up and with all the Illuminati conspiracy and memes going around, I suppose they’re going to make use of them here as the main antagonist. After all, Phine is already gone so who else left is there to pull the strings? Blame it all on the Illuminati! Illuminati confirmed! Who’d knew that this sci-fi action series would eventually tread down this path of using the Illuminati as their antagonist. Maybe we will get more of such memes in the future…

This season I am still lost with all the technical terms and jargons like Linkers because I think I could barely remember them. What the heck is that Balal curse again? Therefore when they start getting technical using such terminologies, my brain automatically gets shut off. Yeah. Uhm. Whatever they said. As for the recurring characters especially our Symphogear girls, there isn’t much drama to be played out on them since with have seen them being fleshed out in previous seasons especially last season about Hibiki and her dad. So this time round we have Chris and her connections with some South American acquaintance but that itself isn’t much. Then there is also Kirika and Shirabe and snippets of their past but that too isn’t enough. Tsubasa and Maria are like treading in the background like Hibiki. When Hibiki temporarily turned into a monster, I guess it feels like déjà vu because in the previous seasons I think I remember she too turned into some berserk monster form. Although Miku is sorely missing in action (because in a previous season she did turn into a fighting machine), looks like her eternal role is to always cheer Hibiki up whenever she feels down. Yeah, the cheapest tonic to cure her depression: Friendship! But in the final scenes it is hinted she is more than a bunch of smiles so by the next season she could play an even more significant role.

The new characters for this season are the antagonists. Adam feels like a two dimensional villain because as usual, a powerful head of an organization who wants to wield absolute power. And before you can claim that he is so cliché that he has no humanity in him because of how cruel he is, they think they can pull a quick one over us because of the revelation he isn’t human to begin with! Oh, the irony. A puppet trying to destroy humanity. Turns out he looks more like a demon than your typical puppet. Am I paranoid to think this is what would happen if AI gets more intelligent than mankind in the future? I fear so… The biggest irony that a puppet is the one thinking he has the right to decide on the fate of humanity when we humans don’t even give a sh*t about each other.

As for Saint-Germain, Cagliostro and Prelati, I already predicted that they would be misguided and then somewhat become allies with the Symphogear girls in the end although it is just for a short while. Though Saint-Germain will not consider them fighting alongside each other as an ally, but if you’re fighting the same enemy together, that is good enough for me to consider that temporary team up as allies. Too bad they didn’t live in the end and hence breaking the combo of when the next season comes by, the Symphogear girls would have a new face joining their ranks (maybe they could as ghosts). Because that is what Elfnein is literally. She is now like the mad scientist of the group, only with a lot of anxiety and guilt because of the need to make better Symphogear technology for the girls to fight better, blah, blah, blah. One of the biggest ironies is how Saint-Germain was so confident and did not bat an eyelid in taking lives of others for her misguided cause only to start sweating when Adam the jerk decided to use hers and her aides. It’s like saying she can do unto others but others cannot do unto her. Like having 2 different set of rules applied. In the end, I guess all that matters is that she is satisfied to finally put her life for good use. Hey, you can’t make great progress if you don’t put your own life on the line, can you?

I suppose if there is something that I need to ‘praise’ and something that I have ‘enjoyed’ this season is the ridiculous action. Yes, this season like the previous maintains its over the top exaggerated action. It has all the flashy and explosive effects that would make your jaw drop in disbelief. You could almost feel the power packed in all those explosions. Bang for your buck? It is nonsensical but it’s fun. I wouldn’t go as far as to put the action on the same level as Hollywood’s Mad Max: Fury Road. But I’ll say it is more along the lines of that kind of mindless action. After all, when you are fighting hordes of colourful and ‘cute’ Alca-Noise, you need to destroy them in bulk as it would definitely be inefficient to destroy them one by one. This season also introduces combo team ups from the Symphogear girls as they form some sort of weird getup to destroy the enemy. Nice gimmick. So I guess we can look forward to the other strange versions they will turn into via different combinations in the future.

But nothing beats Hibiki’s punching. It’s like saying there is nothing that cannot be defeated with a good punch. Her Gungnir is like the answer to almost everything. Ironically she wants to win battles without sacrifices but always ends up using her fists. I guess that shows her persuasion skills aren’t as good as her punches. Oh well. You know what they say about action speaks louder than words. Also, it would be just plain boring and unrealistic to see Hibiki just winning over the enemy with words. That’s not why we watch this series, right? And now that she has the ability to do special attacks of her comrades… How further more will she evolve? Sometimes it feels funny that the Pavarian Illuminati girls decide to go destroy the Symphogear girls, only to always get defeated, it feels like some sort of joke because it’s like rinse and repeat every time. They feel confident in taking them down and when they clash, they lose. Retreat. Rest for a while to get back that confidence. Have a go again. I suppose this is only how we’ll get our Symphogear action.

I also want to mention the character designs of the antagonists. When Adam first made his appearance, instantly I thought what the heck is Sinbad from Magi doing here?! Has that king of Sindria finally gone rogue?! Plus, with his white suit, at certain angles he reminds me of Michael Jackson! Aaow! Heehee! Smooth Criminal! Okay, his white suit doesn’t resemble like Michael Jackson’s iconic one in Smooth Criminal but I just can’t help remember that King of Pop when looking at him. His true form she got me thinking of what is deemed as perfect. At least in the visual and physical department. Because if Adam deems his own looks as perfect, is this what humans who created him model after? Then why the heck was his true form hideous? Don’t really get it. Then there is the battle suit of Prelati. She is the oddest of the lot as it makes her look like some mini monster. Worse, it could be one of those animal pyjamas that kids go to sleep with. Serious. Then there is those Alca-Noise do come in all colours, shapes and sizes. However I tend to notice a few that really looks ridiculous. I believe I saw a few as bananas… WTF?!

I don’t know if a few political punching bags were made because the first adventure of this series that has them head to South America, one of the dictators reminded me of Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro! Maybe it was just me but then again, many dictators are stereotyped as fat bad moustachioed guys. And then there is the one of the US president. Doesn’t look like Donald Trump as I have said earlier but why do I get this feeling that it is supposed to be referring to him? And why does the pre-emptive missile strike feels like the one about North Korea?! Hopefully it is just me and crazy reality. Then there is that instant back down of the UN once SONG managed to diffuse the situation. It’s a good thing they are trying to tell us negotiations are the way instead of WMDs as proof that humans can get along. But from this reality which I came from… It sounded like BS crap. Honestly.

New casts joining this series’ line-up are Miki Shinichiro as Adam (Urahara in Bleach), Minako Kotobuki as Saint-Germain (Asuka in Hibike! Euphonium), Rina Hidaka as Prelati (Last Order in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Hina Kino as Tiki (Sylvia in Masou Gakuen HxH), Natsumi Fujiwara as Sonya (Chihiro in Shonen Maid) and Asuna Tomari as Stefan. The surprising one is Shouta Aoi as Cagliostro. Very rare that a man voices a female’s role. He certainly has a very feminine voice that would fool many into thinking that he is a woman. After all, many of his anime roles are effeminate guys like Ai in Uta No Prince-sama series, Licht in Oushitsu Koushi Haine and Renren in Hatsukoi Monster. The only other female role he voiced is Michael in Shingeki No Bahamut: Genesis. Like in previous seasons, Nana Mizuki takes on the opener, Testament while Ayahi Takagaki does the ending theme, Futurism. The techno rock style of these music isn’t my cup of tea and so are the many songs they sing during battle.

Overall, I believe only true Symphogear fans would enjoy and appreciate what is going on up till this point. If not for the mindless power action, I would have been even bored to death with all the confusing terms and plot (although it is as simple as girls in revealing sci-fi suits fighting the baddies who want to destroy or rule the world). So I am deducing that the next season would be the big finale that would end the series because after working so hard to come this far, all the battles they have fought, the lives they have saved and the friendships created, it would be a major insult to suddenly have a new hidden antagonist popping up and who is the actual big bad boss behind everything so far. Please don’t turn it into such cliché because we really want to see off the girls gracefully in their most beautiful swan song when the time comes. A song that would become an evergreen classic.

Gintama S5

August 26, 2017

OMG! More Gintama! I wasn’t so sure it would have another season the last time the previous season ended but I guess this is what clinging on to hope feels like no matter how miniscule it is. So yeah, I couldn’t be happier for another season of Gintama but this comes with some ‘trade off’. Unlike the nonsensical slapstick comedy Gintama that parodies everything I have known, it continues the big storyline that got things running from the previous season. Yup, it is going to be another grim season. In fact this entire season can be dubbed the Rakuyo Arc. More revelations, more surprises, more things coming to a closure and hopefully a tiny bit of crazy nonsense to remind us that Gintama will always be Gintama. Oh heck, they have always been like that since the start.

Episode 317
A flashback of Gintoki in a bout with Shouyou but as usual lost. He tells Gintoki to stop growing stronger by trying to imitate him. He wants him to grow stronger by wielding his own sword. The sword of a human. Currently Yorozuya is hiding under the refuge of Katsura and his Joi rebels. Nobume seeks them out for a request. However they are cut off when angry Matako views Nobume as a traitor for selling out the Mimawarigumi to join forces with Gintoki. Nobume explains Mimawarigumi was just a pawn being used. Now they are gone along with Sasaki. Henpeita confirms the rumours are true. Nobunobu and the elders betrayed Kiheitai and cut them out of Harusame. Kamui led his division to attack one of the syndicate’s bases but it was a trap. They barely escaped after realizing they hired someone with a familiar killing style. That person is no other than Umibouzu, the world’s strongest hunter and the father to Kamui and Kagura. When the Kiheitai was under attack, Bansai took it upon himself to let the others escape while he went to rescue Takasugi still in coma. They want to find his whereabouts. Nobume further explains about the Tendoshu. They are all beings born from Altana, a new energy resource Amanto discovered. In some worlds, they are referred to as ley lines. Thus the terminals you see built by Amanto around Japan are powered by it. Thanks to this energy, rapid development across the universe like interstellar travelling became easy.

This led to many parties trying to gain control over it and after many wars, a non-aggression pact is signed to render Altana reserves off limits and an agency is formed to monitor Altana gates or holes. The Altana Preservation Agency was later known as Tendoshu. Thus the group formed to monitor the holes became obsessed with it for their own use. That’s why they are interested in Earth which has a massive reserve of Altana. An unexplained effect influences the principles of life and on this planet it took the form of a man: Utsuro. It is the founder’s name passed down through generations of Tenshoin Naraku and each head is said to inherit that name. During the Tokugawa’s reign when Naraku served Tendoshu, the Utsuro then mysteriously went missing. It is believed he concealed his identity as Shouyou. His students later caused a failed rising in which he was executed. However when they burnt his body, he came back to life. Over its 500 year history, Naraku has had 13 heads. All of the same man. A man incapable of dying due to Altana. Nobody knows how long he has been living but he is now the most dangerous man in the universe. Meanwhile Utsuro is meeting with the elders. He eliminates all of them so that he could have full control of Harusame and of course to shut them up forever.

Episode 318
Gintoki and Katsura discuss about Shouyou. Gintoki believes Utsuro is not Shouyou because that is something else not even Shouyou could defeat. Shouyou is dead. Umibouzu meets with Utsuro. He makes it clear that his intention is to kill his own son. Get in the way and he will kill them all too. Oh, Oboro is still alive. Although he has died, he has been resurrected simply he has to immortal blood of Utsuro. However the numerous times of reviving has taken a toll on his body and he vows to continue using it till his body rots away. Shinpachi relays the bad news that Kagura has left Yorozuya. She joins Matako and Henpeita’s troops on a journey. So everyone also leaves a leave letter to leave Yorozuya with a promise to come back. Bansai wakes up in the company of Sakamoto and his Kaientai fleet. They are waiting for Katsura and his Joi rebels to join them for departure. But looks like they have another guests coming on board: The Yorozuya boys. Bansai is sceptical of the trio because he believed they cut ties with Takasugi a very long time ago. Their departure is hindered when Nobunobu and his fleet surround them. He is going to destroy the traitors however the Kaientai’s ship they were communicating was just a decoy. The real one rammed Nobunobu’s ship from the back. They jump in and easily take down Nobunobu’s men. Bansai is shocked in seeing how they could easily turn the tides in their favour so fast. With Nobunobu as their prisoner, the new shogun thinks he still has the upper hand because he reminds his men to die for him or kill themselves. This makes Bansai punch the hell out of him. He tells everyone to not give their lives to a leader. This country no longer has a deserving leader. Nobunobu is now alone at the summit as slowly everyone by his side leaves. Bansai agrees to take the gang to a secret hideout the Kiheitai converge in case of such emergencies. Kamui and his troops are taking refuge on a planet named Rakuyo. A planet ravaged by wars and the birthplace of Kamui and Kagura. Umibouzu is also here.

Episode 319
Nobunobu still acts tough till Sakamoto reminds him that he may no longer be of use to anybody. Because of his blunder due to his personal grudge, he has been too sullied to be used even by Tendoshu as a puppet. At this rate they’ll just get rid of him with the rest. Might as well join with them and fight through. Abuto warns his men not to fight Umibouzu because they can never defeat him. His side is keeping comatose Takasugi. Gintoki’s group have already arrived on Rakuyo. Each time Bansai points out their hideout, it explodes! Apparently Harusame is already here and they’re waiting to take them all out. The skirmish begins as the samurais run faster than bullets to take out the lowly Harusame soldiers. Watching them in action, Bansai now understands why Takasugi stayed alive all this time. Sakamoto suggests the group to split up because he realizes the enemy is trying to take them out one at a time. They might be outnumbered that way but it is better than being easy targets in a huge group that can be taken out at one go. 6 of the 12 Harusame divisions have been mobilized for this mission and half that number just to hunt for a single man. Among the leaders of the divisions, the most dangerous and strongest trio known as the Three Mad Stars are on this mission. Uranus Hankai who is the only division without any troops below him faces off with Sakamoto and his Kaientai. Pluto Bato who can read people’s mind with his third eye are up against Gintoki and Bansai’s side. Finally Katsura and his Joi rebels stumble into the syndicate’s strongest assassin, the monkey dude Neptune Shokaku.

Episode 320
It is an animal fight between Katsura and Shokaku, throwing all sorts of trickery and brute force at each other. Therefore it is no surprise we have flashbacks on Katsura on how he got the nickname of being a coward. It stems from his grandma telling him a general should be the most cowardly person in the battlefield. Because if he dies, who else is going to lead? With that philosophy is how Katsura fought all his battles. In the end, it is his hard head butting tactic (which is also his other nickname) that earns him victory. Shokaku’s army would have wanted to take out Katsura but monkey dude admits his defeat. Katsura presses for answers regarding Utsuro’s goal but nobody knows anything. All he knows is that they’re being toyed with till they break. Meanwhile Sakamoto and his Kaientai cause damage as diversion and run so as to take the battle away from the main field. However they are soon attacked by their own allies. Actually it is Hankai who has hacked the computer systems of his ships. He gives Sakamoto a choice to either gun them down or be gunned down by them. Either way he loses. Hankai not only hacks the computer but the minds of his crews. His real army are the millions of tiny nanomachines invading and taking control of one’s nervous control system. Sakamoto and Mutsu leave the steering of the main ship to the rest while they go handle their zombie crewmates.

Episode 321
Before Nobunobu is about to be zombie fodder, Sakamoto and Mutsu save him. They believe Hankai’s goal is to steal the ship’s greatest firewall and is at the control centre, thus the zombies to stall them. Nobunobu is left to ponder why they spared him as well as observe the fool or great man Sakamoto is as he doesn’t abandon his men nor kill them. When they finally arrive in the control centre, Mutsu saves Sakamoto from Hankai’s attack. Actually Hankai has possessed Nobunobu earlier on and used this trick to get to Sakamoto. Sakamoto does a shocking move by trying to destroy the firewall. He doesn’t mind going down with the ship because you aren’t qualified to do so, you don’t have the right to fly with it. It is also part of his ploy to force Hankai out of Nobunobu’s body. Nobunobu can’t believe he still isn’t abandoning him in such dire straits. Unfortunately Hankai can read Nobunobu’s mind and repels Sakamoto’s attack. This makes Nobunobu think he wasn’t empty when he was at the top, he was empty to begin with and that he could only define his existence by using others. He tries to fight Hankai’s mind control. Eventually Mutsu who was under Hankai’s possession fought it off to give Sakamoto enough time to shoot and destroy Hankai. Once that happens, everyone is free from their brainwash. Their other ally ships support them just enough time for them to fix what is necessary and keep them afloat. Gintoki clashes with Bato who claims he has been searching for him for the last 10 years. Did he get the wrong person? Because I certainly don’t remember Gintoki be this fat. And who the heck is Pakuyasa?!

Episode 322
Hankai thought he is playing dumb as his third eye sees everything. After all that refuting and Gintoki thinks back harder, yeah, maybe there is a fatty named Pakuyasa. Turns out he tried to be Gintoki’s disciple. He tried to prove himself doing errands but eventually wasn’t cut out for the sword and eventually went on doing shady things nobody cares about. Although Hankai could read every move Gintoki makes, eventually Gintoki too can read his every move and defeats him. Simply because he is empty. For the first time, Hankai could see things when his eyes are closed. Bansai is willing to sacrifice his life to let Shinpachi get away from Oboro and his Tendoshu. Guess who came back to save his ass? Takasugi! Whit this guy’s revival, you can see his Kiheitai motivated back up to kick some serious ass. Then Gintoki and Takasugi just wiped out the entire field of Tendoshu in their way so they could just beat the heck out of each other. It’s their way of greeting the other bastard. Some things don’t change. Katsura and Sakamoto join them and for the first time in ages, the quartet are fighting together again.

Episode 323
The quartet begin their full assault against the entire army of Tendoshu and Harusame. Nobody can beat these guys when they’re together, right? Apparently Sakamoto, Katsura and Takasugi decide that Gintoki should be the one to press ahead and save his new friends while they stay back to handle these pests. Meanwhile Umibouzu is about to face off with the big boss of Harusame. However that lion face is instantly cut in half by Kamui! What a way to make your debut and death scene. Kamui is like a raging beast as he goes all out to kill his father. Something about him wanting dad to acknowledge how strong he has become to kill him. Family issues. The super power fight is interrupted when Kagura stops Kamui. Unfortunately he cannot be stopped so he beats her up thinking he would awaken Umibouzu’s beast mode if he kills her. Fortunately for Kagura, she has changed. She has become much stronger as she fights back while telling off her brother he is the only one who has not changed all these years. That’s why the family left him behind. Umibouzu tries to stop his children from fighting but complicating matters is Utsuro who jumps in to kill Kamui. Umibouzu sacrifices an arm to push his children out of harm’s way.

Episode 324
As the epic battle between Umibouzu and Utsuro gets underway, we have Umibouzu narrate his flashback. More like him telling his story of his younger days when he was still taking care of Mutsu. The Yato originally came from a planet named Kouan. It was ravaged with war till it became inhabitable. The Yato survivors fled to other places and Kouan became infested with dangerous mutated monsters. It is believed Umibouzu tamed its monster. He disagreed. Something along the lines he lost a bet and had to go back home and hit on a woman. That is where he met the last remaining Yato survivor who has stayed on Kouan, Kouka. A dangerous but strong and beautiful woman. She is fighting the monsters and it is no surprise Umibouzu is also fighting his own ‘monster’. So amidst all that fighting, he tried to flirt with her. Ignored at first, they finally open up to each other. Umibouzu would often tell stories of his travels as she listened to him with that same boring expression. Umibouzu had to always leave for business and then return to her. Because he always felt lonely without her and she too expressed she would like to visit another planet, the time came when he finally took her away to live on another planet. Despite being the strongest in the universe, he is the weakest in the household! Nobody can stand the wrath of an angry housewife! But after giving birth to Kamui and Kagura, she started coughing blood. Death was creeping up. It was then he understood why she once said she couldn’t live elsewhere. This is why Kamui always blame him for killing their mother.

Episode 325
Kamui explains Kouka was ‘born’ on Kouan as a result of Altana. She would have lived forever had she not left the planet. That’s why he blames father for her death. When Kamui was young, Kouka was already sick and he often got bullied. However he had to often hold back as father didn’t allow him to use his Yato strength on those weaker than him. So he tried to learn getting strong the hard way like picking a fight with the Harusame that docked here. He was desperate to get mom back to the planet but she wouldn’t want to. She would rather die together here than living alone forever. However it fell on deaf ears. Kamui had decided to cast away the idea of being family even if it means keeping mom alive. Even if it means beating the crap out of dad. All came in a bad time when Umibouzu just found a rare Altana crystal (which is why he spends most of his time away) as cure. But the damage was done. Kamui chopped off an arm of his and Kouka died soon after. With no family and no one to protect, his only goal was to become stronger. Kamui defeats Kagura and hopes she would release him as he is seeing shades of mom in her. Umibouzu’s epic battle with Utsuro continues. The former claiming this high level battle, his own life is a hindrance. So he sacrifices himself to plant some Altana crystal into his heart, believing that it would work along the lines of pouring diesel into a petroleum car. It didn’t. Utsuro revives and finishes him off. But he has to leave as his Altana is getting low. Though he is sad Umibouzu can’t kill him, at least this is the closest he gets to experience death. Apparently Kamui is not happy father is down. He still wants a go at it but Gintoki now comes in between. Since Kamui is stubborn to be the strongest, Gintoki ‘defeats’ Umibouzu to take on his title to be the strongest. Then Gintoki beats up Kamui to show how weak he is. It is no wonder why he could never beat his old man.

Episode 236
Enter one of the bloodiest and hard hitting fights you’d ever see. Gintoki is trying to pummel into him about protecting those you love as well as emptiness (talking from experience). But that isn’t enough as now Kamui turns into a mindless violent beast. Now Abuto has to jump in and beat some sense back into this guy so the Kamui he knows would come back. So talking about moving forward and not stopping him then, eh? Well, if Abuto wasn’t enough, now comes Kagura and Shinpachi into the fray. So what they’re talking now? He doesn’t have to lose anything. Nobody will be taken away from him anymore. Nobody has to die. And when Kamui finally got a little bit of himself back, the siblings aim one final punch at each other. They couldn’t hit. After a thousand punches from everybody, all it takes was a sister’s tear to knock him out and cry himself to sleep like as though he is sleeping on his mother’s lap.

Episode 237
So everybody patches up and goes home. Kamui wants to be stronger but for a better cause. The end. Oh wait. Not just yet. Umibouzu might have lost both arms but he’s got a better replacement for them: Bazooka arms! What a super upgrade. But it’s time to go back in time a little. When Takasugi and his Kiheitai got separated from Katsura, they bumped into Oboro. They clash as we get to peek at Oboro’s past. He was the only survivor when his clan or monastery got massacred. In fact he could have also died had not Utsuro resurrected him with his plan. His intention was despite he cannot die, he wanted Oboro to live long and hate him forever. But Oboro decided to dedicate his life to him and serve him till his blood dries up. He wanted to learn assassin techniques but Utsuro declined. Instead, Utsuro wanted to be a student and learn alongside him. Oboro then made a deal with him he won’t learn assassin techniques so please establish a school and he will be his first student. Then one day Utsuro went missing and Oboro set out to find him. When he did so, it was a ploy for Utsuro to make Oboro leave Naraku for the outside. He wouldn’t do it himself so the only way was for Utsuro to defect himself. With Naraku hunting them down, Oboro decides to sacrifice himself to let him escape. He thought Utsuro thought he had died but of course Oboro is immortal as long as his blood flows through him. Oboro returned to Naraku to keep Utsuro out of it all as he turned into a cold hearted killer. One day Oboro saw Shouyou with his new students. Some sort of jealousy must have hit him. He was the one who captured Shouyou and made Gintoki execute him, believing he would come back. Before his execution, Shouyou thanked Oboro for he would never have become so had he not met him. He is proud of his first student. Takasugi defeats Oboro and the latter believes the blood has dried up and is time to go. This pain is nothing to Utsuro’s eternal suffering. But he will first tell him what Utsuro and Shouyou are.

Episode 328
Utsuro lived so long that he doesn’t even know his name. All he know was he was always abused and killed throughout time. But each time he resurrected and this only made the people fear more and show more animosity. So as time passes, Utsuro then started to return the favour by killing people. After all, he only learnt from humans how to kill, right? So when his killing spree seemed unstoppable, the only Utsuro to stop Utsuro was Shouyou. When the Tendoshu got hold of Utsuro, he made a deal that in exchange for his blood to gain immortality, he wants the power to destroy himself. But they feared him and did not give the power and authority, the key forever engraved on their palm that would allow him to control Altana on the planets. When a planet with Altana is destroyed, they think a traitor is among them. Till they realize it could be Utsuro’s plot to destroy the planet. But how could he get the key? Did he steal them? Their ‘dropped’ arms. He just picked them up. Apparently the Tendoshu may have received his immortal blood but their body isn’t immortal. It will fall apart but they cannot die. Thus it will always be there until it rots away. Since he has so many arms, I guess there are so many traitors among them and more planets exploding soon. So cutting a long story short, Utsuro’s goal is to wrest the control of Altana from Tendoshu and start a universal war that will end on Earth, the planet he was born and the Altana of which he cannot die as long as he consumes it. His suffering, their suffering will go on as long as Earth exists. It is a monster Earth itself has created. So while Shouyou failed to stop Utsuro, his death gave birth to his students in which his spirit lives on. Oboro laments he can’t fight for Utsuro, his teacher or himself. If he had a chance to do it again, he would have love to be in the same class with them. Oboro dies as Takasugi picks up his body to bury it in an appropriate place. Henpeita tells this same story to Gintoki, Katsura and Sakamoto. They believe they were the ones who created Utsuro. Maybe Shouyou created his school as hope to fight against this. He may have gave birth to his students and now their battles have given birth to other comrades. There is more hope now. Umibouzu and Kagura visit Kouka’s grave. Umibouzu wants Kagura to relay a message to Gintoki. Utsuro is not immortal. There is a way to kill him. But he needs to hang in there long enough till he finds out what it is. They realize Kamui has left a flower here too. Everyone returns to Earth where the final battle is about to begin.

Family Ties That Bind
Well… It sure is another splendid Gintama season. Despite the predominantly dark tone, it still shines through. But I’m sure I don’t have to worry if there would be any future sequels because I am very sure there will be. Having come this far and that the manga has reached its final arc, there would be no justice and closure for the anime if this series does not get another season. Besides, the Rakuyo Arc has been the longest arc in the manga and despite only a dozen episodes for the anime, this arc itself has become the longest arc for the anime. And ironically this is the shortest number of episodes for a season Gintama has. So we are just a step away from ending it all… Although Gintama still continues to ‘continue’ for now, they are just rerun of past episodes with new opening and ending themes. NOOOO!!!! GINTAMA ENDING FOR GOOD AFTER THAT???!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!! I HOPE THEY’RE JUST TROLLING ABOUT THIS LIKE HOW THEY TROLLED US IN THE PAST!!!

Anyway, this season seems to bear the same sentiments like the previous’ season’s Shogun Assassination Arc and Farewell Shinsengumi Arc. There are very heavy drama and emotional moments and thus it doesn’t feel like the usual nonsensical slapstick parody that all of us has been growing up with. Sure, there are very spontaneous and light hearted moments that will make us burst into laughter. But that is far and few in between. Like a short distraction to appease viewers so they won’t be in gloomsville for the entire time. But this time we are well prepared for it seeing we have those previous arcs as ‘preparation’ and learning that this Rakuyo Arc would be the centre stage of this season has made us know what to expect.

The plot gets a lot heavy on the family drama side of Kagura. Finding a closure of why Kamui has been such a train wreck when we first know him. Therefore sometimes I feel this Rakuyo Arc can be summed up as Kagura’s family arc as it was mainly about them. But even if that takes the main focus, you can’t discount about Utsuro and Oboro as well as the Tendoshu. It also gives more insights about what really happened and what they really wanted. It builds up to the final fight that our main characters will have to battle. Well, I can’t say I am too surprised of what Utsuro’s main goal is although I didn’t really guess it accurately. I’d figured out it would be something on that universal scale. I mean, it would be a big shocker if the real goal was just to find his lost pony, right? Holy crap! I don’t know if that would be the ultimate comedy or insult for this series.

Hence it goes without saying that Kagura, Kamui and Umibouzu take the limelight while the other characters like Shouyou’s students take a little backseat despite being reunited for the first time in ages. At the way the plot is going, many missing characters were felt too like the Shinsengumi and all others back on Earth like Shinpachi’s sister, her gender confused friend and that old hag who runs a snack house beneath Yorozuya. Gintama that prides itself with many quirky and eccentric wacky characters, this arc in this sense has ‘limited’ itself with the absence of this characters. I know it is no fun and games here and that real sh*t is going to hit the fan but like I said, we have grown up watching these characters that it just feels a little empty without them. Besides, our beloved characters are now away from home fighting. It’s like playing an away game in your opponent’s home ground but your supporters have no money to come watch you play and nobody has money to sponsor them. But since the final round will be on home ground, I have a feeling that every character big and small will have a part in deciding fate and the future.

This season’s opening theme Kagerou by Real is another rock based that befits the overall theme of the series well. I know this series is as gloomy and melodrama but there are some brutal action parts with blood spilling and limbs being cut off so I suppose this kind of beat isn’t that bad. Though, I feel that tune feels kinda familiar. Can’t put my finger on it at this point. The ending theme is really in hard metal punk rock fashion, Silver by Rize. With the funky bass lines, the singer is screaming at times like as though it is the only way to sing this song. Oh wait. It is.

Overall, this season can only be appreciated by Gintama fans and those who have followed it from the start. New viewers might be confused what the hell is going on and might not appreciate the long heavy drama that permeates the entire arc. It is a season that is made for fans and stays true to it. At this point even though I have said that I would love Gintama to run forever, I guess when reality hits you, even immortals like Utsuro do not want to live forever. This is a sign to us viewers and fans to prepare for the inevitable. Because when that time eventually comes, we will be ready to see off this great series that has ran for over a decade with respect and leave with a smile. Gintama, you have always been part of our family and will forever will be. It is the only part that will never truly die. Like the eternal spirit of the samurai.

Blue Gender

July 15, 2017

Imagine yourself putting yourself to sleep in a cryogenic freezer in hopes to see a better world in the future. And when that supposed time came, all you see is destruction and overrun by aliens. Is this the future you sign up for? Oh hell. This is reality. Deal with it! This is the case for our main protagonist in Blue Gender. He has an incurable disease that current medical technology cannot cure so he undergoes a programme in hopes the future will hold a key to save his life. Should have wished he slept forever because now it has turned into a hell hole and a survival mode set on the most difficult level ever.

Episode 1: One Day
Yuji Kaido wakes up in a daze and confused. He has been sleeping in some chamber and several men are trying to transport him out. They are then attacked and devoured by a bug monster. Yuji is of course terrified as he climbs out of the chamber. He could have been its next meal had not a mecha ally save him. But since he doesn’t know if this is friend or foe, he runs away. His memories slowly come back as he looks around his dystopian surrounding. Wasn’t Japan a pretty normal place? Oh yeah. The doctor told him he had an incurable disease. He and a few other patients underwent some genome therapy. Something about the current medical technology isn’t available to cure them so they are put to sleep and to be waken up several years later. Well, looks like Yuji woke up to a nightmare. He might want to go back to sleep… Because monster bugs eat and spit out humans like giant cabbage balls! He further remembers his best friend Takashi promised to take him to a faraway trip the next time he wakes up. Wanna bet he is already in a ‘faraway place’ right now? Just kidding. Another bug attacks. Luckily mecha ally saves the day. This time Yuji sees the pilot’s face. Marlene Angel and she is human. Thank goodness, right? She has him follow her orders if he wants to live. More bugs invade. Luckily her comrades, Keith Bean and Joey Heald jump in to help kick bug ass. Once the rest of the team arrives, they bomb the entire facility as they make their escape. Yuji has some questions. Marlene answers them. This is the year 20131. Those monsters are called Blue, a mysterious lifeform that is a threat to mankind.

Episode 2: Cry
While they rest and eat, Yuji learns that there were orders to retrieve Sleeper samples like him. Luckily Yuji as the only surviving Sleeper left because had there been no survivors, the team would have been abandoned. Yuji becomes mad because he didn’t want to wake up to this nightmare. I suppose a few more explanations to calm him down? It is unknown how long Blue existed but their existence was confirmed in 2017. At first they thought it is some biological weapon created by a rogue nation but they soon turn out different. They are attracted to human civilization to feed on them. Before you know it, Earth has become their nesting ground. Blue has also evolved in their own ways. When humans ran out of place to hide, the survivors are now living in space orbiting the planet, Second Earth. The team is to wait for pickup orders. Yuji is still not happy and would rather continue sleeping? Or would he rather die? Marlene tells him off he is free to die. But till she clears her orders to bring him back to the space station, he must live. As the team prepares to take off at the sea airport, Yuji sees many other Sleepers. Apparently there are quite a few around the country and other teams have orders to retrieve them. Guess what? Yuji wants to wake them all up! WTF?! He himself didn’t want to wake up to this nightmare and now he wants to let other Sleepers experience this nightmare?! Oh yeah, Blue now attacks. Such great timing. This surprise attack results in lots of casualties. And Yuji still wants to wake up those Sleepers? Marlene, please slap this guy to his senses. Thank you. Let’s go. Eventually they manage to take flight. Too bad other Sleepers perished. Good news? Perished in their sleep. Sorry, my bad. Yuji is still angry he would rather die than wake up to this nightmare. But then he changes his mind he doesn’t want to lose to these bugs.

Episode 3: Trial
With the rise in activity of Blue, they have to take a detour to meet up with the recovery team. They are still being attacked. Since Yuji is still chicken sh*t, in the aftermath he wants to learn how to fight to be of use. But Marlene is against it since she won’t jeopardize the mission. Joey wants to give Yuji a chance since they are short on men so Marlene will only allow 3 days. I hope that’s enough time. Luckily Yuji has some talent. Then there is this weird moment whereby Joey is humming a song Yuji’s mom once sang to him. It’s nostalgic. Strange to hear both guys hum a strange tune… Next day when they are to depart to sea, another Blue wave attacks. Yuji and Joey team up in their mecha to fight but Yuji still has some fear. Okay, make that lots of fear. Their mecha is knocked down and despite Yuji trying to draw his will to live, he is still pissing in his pants when the Blue is trying to rip open the mecha. Again he needs Marlene to save his ass while he conveniently faints. When he wakes up, the team is starting to depart. He goes to join Joey fixing the mecha. And they hum that weird tune together… Why do I find this creepier than Blue?

Episode 4: Agony
When they arrive in Korea, it seems the entire recovery team is wiped out. They need to find a way to contact Second Earth now. As they move along, Yuji spots a young girl, Yung and her dog being cornered by a Blue. The team ignores his plea to go rescue her so Yuji jumps out to go kill the Blue. Wow. His first kill! Proud, aren’t you? But Marlene slaps him because this would only attract more Blue. For the time being they have to camp here so they follow Yung to some secret hideout where there are other survivors. Yuji is so happy to see others but it seems they aren’t too happy to see them. Yuji disobeys orders as he follows Yung deeper. He sees more people suffering. Can his heart take it? A man tells Yung not to listen to Yuji because people from Second Earth cannot be trusted. When Yuji returns to camp, he demands answers about the people’s condition here. Marlene explains due to limited resources of Second Earth, only those who are picked get to live there. Those left behind are assumed dead. In short, they were abandoned. Don’t tell me Yuji is going to try and save them all? So that night as he sits alone in agony, Yung comes to offer him her food! He isn’t so bad to eat them. Just take one and give back the rest to her. Yung finds him different from the rest so he explains he is from another era. An era where he looked to the future with hope. Safe to say this isn’t the future he was looking for. He promises to save her. He has an idea to contact Second Earth and show them this place’s condition. Then they’ll send a rescue party. Did he lose heart when he returns to camp because he sees Joey and Marlene having sex! Next day, they move out and storm a telecommunications tower. It’s their only chance to contact with Second Earth. But will everything still be working because it is now a nesting for Blue. Oh, they get to witness one hatching right now. It has evolved too!

Episode 5: Priority
Knowing just hatched Blue won’t attack them, they head to the communication room. Surprisingly it is still working although the interference is great. It seems the Russian picks them up so this is their next destination. Apparently the evolved Blue attack them. Marlene is injured but not as bad as Joey. Oddly, this guy asks Yuji if he remembers their friendship song before he dies! WTF?! No wonder Yuji is so traumatized. And Marlene acts like she doesn’t give a damn about Joey’s death. Then they go blow up the bridge which is the only way to get to the secret hideout. Apparently Blue in this area can’t fly or swim but they sure can make their own bridge! Yuji is not happy Marlene plans to use the survivors as bait to lure Blue to a certain area and wipe them out. If he has a better way to save them, please say so. The assault begins and all seems going well till there are too many Blue overrunning the place. All the survivors get killed or eaten. Strangely, Yuji and Yung stare at each other before he sees her being killed before her eyes. WTF. The commander is going to sacrifice himself to blow up the place to take Blue along with him. He tells Marlene to complete her mission to return Yuji. After the big explosion, Yuji becomes sad that he couldn’t save Yung.

Episode 6: Relation
As they trek through the highlands, Yuji still can’t get over Yung’s death. Marlene tells him those people were doomed from the start and that there was nothing they could do. This makes him even mad as he thinks she thinks nothing of those lives. He wants her to spit out the truth she loves Joey because he saw them making out that night. Marlene brushes it off as anything scandalous. Because they don’t know when they will die, it is only right they want to do things that feel alive. They are living in a different time and Yuji’s old values don’t mean anything. They take shelter from the cold as Marlene huddles close to him for body warmth. This didn’t give sweet dreams to Yuji, though. Instead he has Blue nightmare and wakes up in cold sweat. At least he is glad he is still alive. Continuing their trek, Marlene seems tired and slips off the ledge. Luckily Yuji catches her. She feels like she owes him but after all she has done to save him, he calls it even. Suddenly it’s like Yuji has a change in character as he becomes positive! He tells about his promise with Takashi and has hope he might be on Second Earth. She dismisses it due to the selection process. She adds she wasn’t selected too but rather picked up by a rescue squad during another attack wave from Blue. Her hatred for Blue who killed her parents made her trained hard and became a top military student. She also had to learn about ‘survival’ because men forced themselves on her and called it some sort of charm to make it back alive. She likes it? Yuji maintains his optimism that he would go all the way to Second Earth. After all, they’ve already come this far. He wants them to get there alive. That’s the buzzword. It makes Marlene happy and kisses him.

Episode 7: Sympathy
They stumble into a mini paradise. An abandoned township to be exact. It’s no surprise they quickly refresh themselves in the pool. But a damn Blue just had to attack. Luckily Marlene wounds it enough so it escapes. A guy named Dice in a mecha came too late. He claims he is the only friend they’ll find around here. Dice seems to take a liking for Yuji as he has him help fix his mecha while he ignores Marlene. When Marlene threatens, he swiftly overpowers her. But since there is a sign that the Blue might be coming back, they quickly make haste. In his hideout, Dice asks if Yuji would stay here a little longer. But Yuji has come this far and he wants to get to the Russian station with her. Dice understands but can’t come along with them since there is something he still has to do. Next morning, it seems Marlene has left in his mecha. Dice deduces she has gone back to that township since it has a supply depot that houses a buggy. True enough she is there but that damn Blue returns to attack. Yuji tries to be a hero and become the decoy. When Dice struggles with it, he wants Yuji to shoot the core. He can’t do it because Dice is dangerously close to it. With Marlene firing away, Yuji just dumps his worries and follows suit. Finally that pesky Blue is dead. Dice pays tribute to a nearby grave and claims his work is done. He is now able to leave this place and join the duo on their journey.

Episode 8: Oasis
Sandstorm. Blue attack. Almost out of ammunition. But what could be worse than all these? Yuji falling off the buggy! Horror! Luckily he is picked up by a nomad tribe. He makes friends with the chief’s daughter, Elena. Wow. Yuji really getting used to the life in the countryside. Heck, there is even time for them to have romance? And when they are about to kiss, a large explosion ruined the moment. Oh. Looks like bad gangs are coming. If you’ve seen Mad Max, you’ll know what I mean. After rounding up the nomads, they claim to be some military unit hunting down Blue. They are short on supplies and want them to hand over whatever they have. When they refuse, they get violent and start ransacking the place. Elena tries to be a hero but gets kidnapped. This forces Yuji to become a hero as he easily hijacks the mecha and fights back till they escape. Despite the day is saved, the nomads now fear Yuji. They even ignore him. Only Elena won’t treat Yuji like sh*t. She goes to be by his side to talk to him. He found a map to the Russian station in the mecha but is now unsure if he would find any answers if he goes there. Elena says he won’t change wherever he goes. She wants him to stay here by her side. It’s easy to convince a man by inviting a kiss. No interruptions this time. And one thing led to another. No wonder Yuji is all smiles next morning. But then he hears motorized sounds coming from a distance. Looks like Marlene and Dice are closing in.

Episode 9: Confirm
Yuji is happy to see Dice and Marlene, vice versa. Marlene doesn’t look too happy to see Elena close to him. After refilling, Marlene wants to continue their journey but Yuji says he is staying. She fires a warning shot and warns him she will drag him by force. Elena dares her to kill them. Yuji protects her. Marlene puts her gun down. What now? Yuji packs up with the nomads and leave, thinking he will be fine with this happy life. A Blue then attacks Marlene and Dice. They are having a hard time fighting it. Yuji could hear the commotion in the back. Now he is in a dilemma if he should go back and help. So he’s not resolved to live to nomad life? Because here he is thinking which woman he should choose. Screw all that because blondes are better. Yuji turns back and this leaves Elena sad and disappointed. Bye. Yuji went back to get the mecha to help fight and destroy the Blue. Then Yuji continues his journey with them to the Russian station. Once arrived, they part ways with Dice.

Episode 10: Tactics
Several Blue try to attack the base but unmanned sentries easily destroy them. If so, why didn’t the entire Earth armed them you ask? Well, they require lots of energy and their range is limited. And now they have a programming bug problem as they cannot distinguish friend or foe and attack the duo. Luckily the guys from the base help them out. The commander explains their next mission to destroy a Blue nesting in the main computer area so they can get the sentries back on their side and blast off to Second Earth. Later Yuji finds another Sleeper. Seamus Han says he was the one who found her. This beautiful angel asleep in a world of her own instead of this filth they are stuck in. He is sad that they cannot be together much longer once he hands her over to Second Earth. He is dismayed those people think of her more than nothing but a lab specimen. This makes Yuji think a lot about his own predicament. Regretting you should have chosen Elena? Next day, the assault begins. Marlene is in a group fending off Blue and the sentries while Yuji is with Han’s team sneaking into the base to hack the terminal. Yuji is really anxious and trying to pressure Han to be faster because Marlene is really in danger with ammo running low. Why don’t you do it yourself? Finally Han overwrites the system. They prepare to blast off but something is wrong. Han has betrayed the team as he is going to blast off alone with his angel.

Episode 11: Go Mad
Suddenly there’s no power. You think Han is stupid for coming back but he knows they can’t kill him as he is the only one who knows how to hack. They go check out the power source and find an evolved Blue feeding on the energy. Now everybody is scared. Nobody knows what to do. They can’t simply fire or risk damage the sensitive controls. And those out there fighting the horde are fast running out of ammo. Han then just loses it. As he tries to pry the bug off, he screams about giving his angel a better life and fate than this hell hole. I guess the bug got fed up of his incessant stabbing on its hard shell so it turns around and sucks the hell out of his life force. And after only Han died, they shoot and kill it. WTF. The rest try to figure out how to restore the power. Yuji wants to go support Marlene despite the commander won’t let him. He punches him and doesn’t care about his operation. He is going to fight. All the fighters in the battlefield have been killed. Marlene is the only one left. She is about to blow up herself but here comes Yuji to the rescue as he commands supporter sentries to aid her. She tries to be a hero that she is prepared to risk her life. All that wavers when Yuji ‘threatens’ he isn’t going to space without her. And so she comes with him and they blast off in the shuttle. Yuji treats her wounds and realizes it is good to be alive. Then he kisses her. Good to be alive indeed. However it is ruined when a Blue parasite using Han’s body attacks. Yuji uses his body to protect Marlene before she finishes it off. True horror for Marlene when she sees his blood floating all over.

Episode 12: Progress
After Yuji rolls into ICU, Marlene is brought to the high council. Guess what? Despite her efforts, they blame her for falling behind schedule and accuse her for making the Sample fight. Despite telling about Yuji’s volunteerism, they think it is fabrication. Then they argue about the Sample condition and how to proceed to the next phase. Anyhow, Marlene is deemed not fit for active squad combat and will be sent for re-education. As she heads to the medical facility for check-up, she goes to find Yuji. She is glad he is still alive although being experimented on. Realizing that the council has deemed her unfit as a soldier, she now needs to prove to them in her on way otherwise because she believes she did nothing wrong. But she gets off on a bad start during the mecha simulation. Because she tries to save the humans, she hesitates. This earns her points deduction. And why does one of the humans have to look like Yung?! Now she spaces out and loses. The drill sergeant, Amick Hendar punches her! Then in the team simulation, against orders to leave the injured teammate behind and get along with the mission, Marlene defies orders to help him while killing Blue along the way. She has got to show everyone this way because this was how she survived with Yuji. Although impressive, they up the difficulty and Marlene loses. She is sent back to the medical facility but she is happy because she can go see Yuji. However he is already gone.

Episode 13: Heresy
Marlene is caught by Amick. She undergoes more training and fails. For some reason, the security around her is lax because Marlene manages to hack and find information on the guy who took Yuji away. He is Seno Miyagi, a director of the military’s science division. Amick picks up her defection and sends an army to intercept her. Marlene is not as dumb as you think, giving the soldiers the runabout. Then she disguise herself as a nurse personnel to get more information on Miyagi. Adding more insult, the soldiers must really not know how Marlene look like because she is extracting data right before them! Worse, Amick and another high profile director, Doug Vreiss are addressing this problem a few feet away! They’re blaming each other that they aren’t supervising Marlene enough but have to solve this problem before the high council discovers it or they’ll be severely punished. While they’re at that, Marlene is already done and is now on her way to experiment room where Miyagi is. It seems his team is experimenting on an evolving Blue which has completely fused with a human body. She takes him hostage back to his room to ask for Yuji’s whereabouts. Since he won’t say, she hacks his computer and access privileges. At this time, the hacking has made her whereabouts known. Amick leads the arrest but after Marlene is done, she short circuits the place and makes her escape. Apparently those dumbs soldiers can’t see in the dark. She runs all the way to the lab where Yuji is but the final hurdle stops her. They have revoke her access privileges. Cornered, I don’t think telling how Yuji is more than just a sample isn’t going to convince them. Before she could be arrested, somebody opens the door to let her in before closing it shut. Inside the lab, Marlene is horrified to see the experiment on Yuji. I don’t think screaming his name would make him wake- Oh wait. It did!

Episode 14: Set
With Yuji waking up, Marlene breaks into the experiment area just to get him. With the high council already noticing this, they bring both Yuji and Marlene in for hearing. They want Marlene to explain her actions and because she stays silent, they mock her for doing this to try and find a sex partner. And when Marlene does break her silence, she says she doesn’t know why she is doing this! All she knows is that she can’t let Yuji be. If that doesn’t sound like love, I don’t know what is. Interestingly, they agree to tell her the truth with a condition that she gives Yuji back unconditionally. Long story short, 2 years ago they discovered data from Sleepers containing some B cells that can activate and produce some antibodies that can wipe out Blue. Combining it with the mecha stimulates the cells further and even heals injuries quickly. Yuji realizes he was once begging for help but now he is going to help the world. Miyagi intercepts and suggests letting Marlene stay with Yuji as it would be interesting to see their interaction. The high council disagrees and as they argue about authority and rights, Yuji makes his offer. He agrees to let them use his body for whatever experiment to fight Blue. However he will accept nobody but Marlene as his partner. Marlene, you look so happy. The high council goes with Miyagi’s suggestion. Yuji and Marlene are taken to a training facility where there are other awakened Sleepers. One of them includes a young girl, Alicia Whistle who is flirting and bugging with Yuji the instant she sees him because she wants to know about life down on Earth. I don’t think it’s pretty. Marlene and Yuji show what they’ve got as they ride the mecha to battle another one. Although impressive, they lost. Noting how impressive their opponent is, they believe he too is a Sleeper. Marlene remembers seeing Tony Frost in the first lab with Yuji.

Episode 15: Calm
In another simulation, Alicia is totally slacking as she watches in awe Yuji and Marlene kick Blue ass. Later Alicia seems to love molesting Marlene’s soft skin. She hints she wants to take Yuji and thinks Marlene is acting dumb since she says she has no feelings whatsoever for him. Says the woman who caused pandemonium throughout the station over a Sample. Yuji talks to Tony. He wonders why he is maintaining his equipment since the mechanics here do a very good job. Tony doesn’t trust anyone. He believes everyone here is not right. His past life on Earth doesn’t mean anything and his goal is to survive. Alicia takes Yuji somewhere. Marlene, you looking worried for a woman who doesn’t care about Yuji… In some dark area, Alicia dropped her bag, asked Yuji to get it and then leaves him to almost fall to his death while she goes spy on something! What is it so interesting that she had to almost kill him? There’s a couple having sex! Apparently everywhere if you take a closer look, there are couples making out! However this isn’t Alicia’s goal as he takes him somewhere else. Somehow they got lost and end up in some restricted area where laser beams are constantly shooting at them. Run! Meanwhile Marlene too is in the midst of getting f*cked. Too bad Yuji is on her mind so she dumps the guy to go look for him. Worried, isn’t she? But she stumbles into Tony and finds out he is trying to hack data on Yuji and Alicia. Too bad he hacked wrongly and the security sounded. Marlene escapes and as she hides, this is where she bumps into Yuji. What are you doing here? Then they see the magnificent view of a sunrise over Earth. Yuji believes this is what Alicia wanted to show him. Speaking of her, she is separated and watching this sunrise elsewhere. And she’s blaming Yuji…

Episode 16: A Sign
Teams are instructed to take down Blue nesting in Africa. However the Blue wave are just too many and the fighters are panicking they have no core to destroy as in their data. Worst, they are ordered to maintain their position instead of retreating and got slaughtered. Now it is time for Yuji and his team to head into a battlefield with a new upgraded mecha. Tony kicks ass and uses his instinct to find and destroy the Blue’s core! Then he goes off by himself to finish a nestling on his own! One man army? Alicia is being a liability, being scared at everything and needs to be saved by Yuji. In the end, Yuji’s team has a new mission. Because the main nesting cannot be destroyed by missile, they are to sneak in and detonate it. Yuji is preoccupied with enhancing his mecha’s performance to stay on par with Tony that he ignores Alicia’s advances. Yo girl, ain’t nobody got time for that! As the mission gets underway, Tony again goes off by himself. Yuji suggests he and Marlene go set the explosives while the rest rendezvous with Tony. Alicia didn’t like that. Who is he to give orders? Yeah, she follows him. So after setting the explosives, they are confronted by the Blue hordes. Yuji tries to be a hero and take them down, thinking he can be Tony’s equal. Yeah, this guy is on fire. Could have been done in had not Marlene saved him. They manage to leave in time before the detonation takes down the nesting. In the aftermath, Tony is reprimanded by the superior. Despite the mission a success, there were so many disobedience. So he thinks he can win the war by himself? Tony just smiles and says back, isn’t that why they woke up Sleepers? Plus, feel free to win the war by themselves if they think they can. Marlene talks to Yuji about his ‘competition’ with Tony. He’s got this inferior complex to him and wants to be stronger to save Earth from Blue.

Episode 17: Eclosion
Yuji’s team are fighting another horde of Blue. This is part of Yuji’s plan of using himself as bait so the rest can destroy the nesting faster and they can all return to Second Earth together. Tony didn’t think he could do it and this pissed him off very much. So they settled it via coin toss and Yuji won. While fighting Blue, Marlene notices Yuji very agitated and trying to rush things. He feels he is responsible for this operation and cannot fail. They stumble into several African kids living in the jungle. Because of incoming Blue, Yuji fires away and doesn’t care about those kids. Marlene tries to make him stop but he won’t let her get in the way. She sees Yuji become a savage taking down a Blue. As they rest at the rendezvous point, Alicia as usual comes to b*tch and flatter how good Yuji is. Marlene isn’t moved because she believes this is not the real Yuji. Alicia thinks she is jealous of him since he is now a better soldier than her. Marlene goes to talk to Yuji but he is obsessed in tweaking his mecha to improve its performance and beat Tony. Yeah, this guy is keeping a score. When she asks about those kids they saw, she is shocked to hear he doesn’t care about them. If they are going to exterminate Blue, they cannot concern themselves with such trivial matters. He believes they will eventually be killed by Blue. As another sortie is alerted, Marlene is shocked and sad to see the gleeful killer look on his face as he suits up to go fight Blue.

Episode 18: Chaos
Marlene wakes up from a nightmare that Yuji ruthlessly kills Blue and even sacrificed her for it. Yuji receives high praises during testing. Because he thinks he has already come this far, instead of testing, he continues to train. Marlene notices Miyagi coming in to see the data of the Sleepers personally. She suspects something amiss because he once said to test out Yuji’s abilities with Marlene by his side but now the environment has totally changed. Fellow comrade Rick thought he could have sex with Marlene but she uses her feminine charms to let him be her donkey to deliver some data to Miyagi. Later Marlene is ‘arrested’ and brought to Miyagi’s secret hideout. He has received her data. Comparing with the earlier data, he realizes the Sleepers’ data has been tampered. The Sleepers’ B cells have a higher value than expected. It seems not only they have superhuman powers, they have this telepathic connection with Blue. This means they can read Blue’s minds and predict their movement. But there is a darker meaning to all this. When B cells first appeared decades ago, there were no treatment and thus those infected reluctantly became Sleepers. Experiments of B cells were conducted on various animals to find a cure but it all backfired. However the B cells evolved and you can say Blue is actually the product of those experiments! This also means Sleepers have a potential to become Blue themselves when their B cells are activated, usually when under stress or being pushed. Yuji is no longer an ordinary human with his B cells slowly taking over, he is becoming more and more like Blue every day. Guess who will occupy Earth when those Blue are eliminated? Marlene disagrees and believes Yuji is human like her. Miyagi is glad he has chosen her. She might get through Yuji via human emotions. That is why he wants her to join his secret organization, Arks to fight against the high council’s plan to progress on this. They will need to remove the high council from their position of influence. The alert is sounded for another mission on Earth. Too bad the soldiers leaves without Marlene. What is just but one solider? Too late to rendezvous with them, Marlene. You are left behind. Screaming Yuji’s name won’t help either because this guy is obsessed in settling his score with Tony for this mission.

Episode 19: Collapse
Marlene still insists on going to save Yuji. Miyagi suggests hijacking the shuttle dock first. So they start raiding and the entire place got locked down. By the time they hijacked the shuttle dock, the high council members have already fled in their comfy ship. Meanwhile Alicia is happy she gets to pair up with Yuji to replace Marlene. Too bad she still slacks. Then she watches in awe as Yuji and Tony are in fierce Blue massacre. Yeah, they’ll eradicate this North American nest in not time. Then it turns to shock as she watches him overkill a dead Blue. He then shoots at her direction without warning when a Blue creeps up on her. She is mad that he could have killed her but he is even madder. Get in the way of his Blue and he’ll shoot you! Oh dear. Is this really the guy you like? Looks like killing Blue only soothes him. Sorry, I take that back. It makes him crazier. So Alicia is wondering if she dump Yuji or not when Tony offers her to join him. Marlene has arrived and sees Yuji in a pinch. Don’t worry. He manages to get out of it and kills all the bugging Blue. Not too sure if she is happy or disappointed. It should be the latter because she could see his madman face. Yeah, killing Blue is like his meth.

Episode 20: Versus
I suppose words aren’t going through Yuji. Because trying to warn him how he’ll turn into something more ferocious than Blue makes him attack her. Not surprisingly he couldn’t finish her off because he knows she is his saviour but also the one who woke him up in this hell hole. Yet he can’t kill her. WTF. He defeats her and then goes off to happily kill more Blue. Thanks to Tony and Alicia going off on their own deep inside the Blue’s nest, the outside teams are having trouble fending off the Blue. Eventually all of them got annihilated. It shows you they’re useless without Sleepers, eh? Meanwhile Miyagi continues his shutdown of all other stations on Second Earth to cut off the lifeline to the high council. Marlene again confronts Yuji and fights him. She is going to do all it takes to stop him. He fires away and when he shoots off her helmet, it seems it makes him remember something. Yuji is defeated in his hesitation but that isn’t enough to stop him. He claims how he lost everything and is alone. Nothing will stand in his way. Blah, blah, blah. Marlene is just sad listening to his drama. Not sure if he is a bad shot or just purposely missing her because she walks closer to him and doesn’t fear being shot. She wants Yuji to return to his original self. There is still hope. So how do you make a man turn back to his old self? Why, you kiss him! A montage of Marlene flashes through his mind. Looks like he calmed down. Even if it is a victory for Marlene, looks like the remaining troops have evacuated and left them stranded.

Episode 21: Joker
Marlene is able to find a working shuttle. She goes to get Yuji but he is still in vegetable state. Meanwhile Miyagi contacts the high council for them to give up. However they tell him they did nothing wrong and something on Miyagi’s part that he did they deflect the blame to him. Also, they threaten the hundreds of sleeping Sleepers in the medical facility that they could dispose of. Because of Miyagi’s humanitarian side, they expect him to give a positive answer and return the military facility back to them. When Tony and Alicia’s shuttle hail Second Earth, Miyagi suddenly orders not to let them in and shuts them out. The high council on the other hand welcome the Sleepers with open arms as they believe their B cells are the only factor to take back Earth. Guess what? Tony and Alicia brought back Blue to invade! The party’s here! Tony then contacts Miyagi to tell about his plans to destroy Second Earth and to prove that all their worst fears are true. Because Blue were evolved by the same B cells like Sleepers, this means Sleepers are also meant to kill humans. Therefore the awakening of Blue was no accident but destiny. Mankind was doomed to be exterminated long before they destroy the planet. To stop Tony from ramming the station into theirs, some troops try to invade. What were they thinking? They became instant Blue fodder! It’s like waiting for their meal to arrive. Gochisousama. Marlene manages to contact Miyagi and been told the atrocity that Tony is trying to commit. This makes Yuji go crazier. Miyagi places his hopes on them to stop Tony. If they fail to stop his madness, they must kill him. That statement somehow calmed Yuji. The thought of killing him… Now he gets serious that he can do it. I don’t know who is crazier at this point.

Episode 22: Dogma
Yuji and Marlene enter the space station. They find Lu Li Chang, the only survivor among the high council cowering and hiding in fear. Even more so when she sees Yuji as she thinks he is like Tony. When they hear something breaking through from the other side of the door, it turns out to be Rick and his team including Lu’s twin sister, Su who has been working for the high council by manipulating data on Sleepers’ performance to deceive Miyagi. They just never thought it would turn out like this. Their priority is to stop Tony and Lu’s guess he would be at the main computer trying to activate the propulsion to move the space station. Yuji, Marlene and Rick make their way there and they are surprised to see Alicia in their way. I guess no use trying to talk to her since she has become something like Tony. But Yuji refuses to give up. I mean, if Marlene managed to get through him, why not the same for Alicia, right? So this guy tries to nicely tell her things but you can see Alicia descending into madness as she blames it all on her jealousy that he prefers Marlene to her. Flashback shows when she was with Tony in that nest, she was freaking scared being surrounded by Blue although they didn’t harm her. Tony then gives her hug a Blue’s egg while telling her how they are the messiah, blah, blah, blah. Alicia must be so grossed out in hugging the egg and that is when she got ‘brainwashed’ and ‘reborn’. Yeah, just an egg… But she has had it and order the Blue to attack and kill everybody. Marlene and Rick fend them off while Yuji is still adamant in trying to get through Alicia but she is throwing tantrums like a child. Rick gets injured after Yuji retrains Alicia. Rick tells Marlene to shoot Alicia. She hesitates since Rick says do it and Yuji says don’t. Yuji stands in between. I suppose he can’t see this coming because Alicia pulls out a knife and is about to stab him when she gets shot. By Rick.

Episode 23: Soliste
Lu and Su have everyone evacuate the space station. After patching up Rick and Alicia, Yuji and Marlene want them to evacuate since they would only be in the way in their fight against Tony. Sad but true. Yuji and Marlene make their way to the main computer and have to fend off automatons sent by Tony. Finally they are outside the room, Yuji must be feeling chivalrous because he signals to Tony that he is here to stop him! So much about any surprise attack. But then again, Tony would have anticipated people trying to stop him. Tony hooks himself up to a computer as Yuji tries to get through his head about him doing this. Tony explains about some grand will that needs to be done and thus Sleepers like him will be the one to carry it out. In short, he views himself as a messiah. Maybe he just wants to do it for himself. I suppose this revelation that B cells were born on Earth and that Earth knew mankind would give birth to Blue by its own hand sounds like crap. So why is Yuji and Marlene looking so shock? Yuji becomes mad when Tony plays footage how other humans continue to be slaughtered by the Blue onslaught. Meanwhile Rick gets killed off by a Blue. Alicia just wakes up and walks away like a boss. After a few struggles, Yuji shoots Tony in the face. Then they regroup with Lu to evacuate and flee the space station as fast as they can as it will soon self-detonate. At this point Yuji realizes Rick and Alicia aren’t on board and fears the worst. Tony isn’t dead. I guess he is really a messiah as he cannot die after taking a few bullets in the face. But before him is Alicia. She thinks they have had enough. Tony is wrong. Screw this grand will thingy. They just woke up too early and should go back to sleep. Tony is looking pretty scared now for a messiah. Alicia hugs him and wishes for Yuji to live. The space station explodes.

Episode 24: Compass
Miyagi is now the new leader as he addresses the crowd of their success and casualties. He explains how every living thing’s cells have this self-destruct order to purge impurities. Therefore those Sleepers with B cells are actually Earth’s way of self-destructing (what Tony called it as its grand will). You serious? Thus he suggests making Second Earth their permanent home because if they try to take back Earth, they’ll only be attacked by more Blue. So sever their ties with Earth and we can live peacefully till kingdom come. You serious? I guess everyone is so tired of thinking and fighting, they just give him a round of applause. However not Yuji. He is now overcome with guilt that he is the same like Tony and didn’t save anyone. Marlene, can you calm this dude down? Amick and Doug are thrown into prison. However Amick escapes by using the oldest trick in the book. Because the stupid guard didn’t see her inside from his peeping hole and unlocked the door to check. She’s hiding behind the door in the blind spot you dimwit! Oh, now he is dead. Amick wanted to kill Doug too but he pleads she needs his help to get out of here for his goal is only to get back at traitor Miyagi. Amick hijacks a ship to return to Earth. She rather die there than in this prison hole to stay true to her principle she has always lived by (to take back Earth, that is). Miyagi lets her go since she isn’t doing harm to others. Although Yuji opposes, here comes Doug to take Miyagi hostage. He tries to get Yuji on his side but when he won’t, he targets Yuji. This gives enough time for Miyagi to shoot him dead. Too bad. Yuji is even more frustrated when Miyagi doesn’t answer his questions. Because of that, he is now feeling guiltier about his existence as a Sleeper and the reason he woke up. Though Marlene is responsible for that, she is glad she did wake him up. From now on, no matter what happens, she wants to always be with him. Enough to calm that guy down. It’s so beautiful when they’re not talking because they have a really long kiss. And then it leads to sex! Are you glad you’re alive now? Nothing beats the blues like sex. But I don’t know if it is a happy thing for Marlene since she’s remembering her past amidst the intercourse.

Episode 25: Adagio
Yuji leads a mission down to South America. They come into contact a village of local tribes and make camp there. Although there is big Blue’s nest nearby, there have been no signs of Blue ever since. Flashback shows Miyagi noticing a migration pattern of Blue all heading towards Guyana. As he doesn’t have enough information to deduce if this is a threat, Yuji volunteers to check it out. From what I understand, it seems Yuji is prepared not to come back to Second Earth too since this place doesn’t have enough supplies. It seems so peaceful and a different form of living as Yuji and Marlene go about their usual activities. One morning she wakes up without Yuji next to her. While finding him, she sees a big trail of destruction. She goes to tell Yuji who is test bombing the nest about it. Accounts from the villagers confirm their reports that Blue were migrating on this trail about 3 months ago. Funny thing is that the trail leads away from the nest. As they follow the trail, it leads them to a deep chasm. Yuji leads half his unit inside while the rest standby outside. They are shocked to stumble corpses of Blue. Marlene thinks this is a Blue graveyard. Could it be that Blue received a suicide order from Earth? Once humans are purged, Blue becomes the main population and because they are the new ‘threat’, Earth gave the order to purge themselves. This sounds so f*cked up but it could be possible. However Yuji doesn’t feel good. He feels a strange force coming deep from this place. Then the ground caves in. They next thing they see is a mysterious energy before them. And a hideous ugly mother Blue emerges. This makes Yuji mad.

Episode 26: Let Me
The Blue is super fast and strong, killing lots of the team. Marlene tries to scan for its core but there is none! Are they screwed? Yuji suggests concentrating on the gaps in its armour and rip it apart from the inside out. Easier said than done since it is still a tough nut to crack. Finally Yuji manages to stick his gun into its mouth and fire away, splattering all its guts and insides. Too bad the casualty list is high. In fact only Yuji and Marlene are left. Better stop Yuji before he goes on a guilt trip blaming himself for the deaths of his men. All that is left is to find the answer in the energy. However he tells Marlene not to come with him. He will go this alone. His reason is because he has the B cells, it is most likely to treat him as a friendly compared to Marlene. Who knows what it will do to her if she steps in. We soon realize why Marlene is desperate to be with Yuji and continue living together. It’s because she’s pregnant! Oh yeah. Don’t want to be alone, right? Don’t want their unborn child to be fatherless, right? So Yuji tries his convincing skills again that he needs to ascertain what Earth wants, if this is going to happen again, etc. He is this doing this for their unborn child. That sealed it. As Marlene heads back out, Yuji climbs and interacts with some weird liquid trying to imitate his movements. Then he enters and once he reaches the core, he becomes one with Earth! Really. He can see everything from anywhere on Earth! Even peeking through the past when humans thrive to the emergence of Blue! Man, this guy is now the 3D Google Maps! Yuji realizes Earth has now been reborn. Meanwhile on Second Earth, all the dying inhabitants become crazy. They rebel against Miyagi and they shoot him to pieces! Violent death! That’s not all! They start killing each other till Second Earth destroys itself! Good riddance? No need to care about them anymore. Not sure death by Blue or this is worse. Marlene anxiously wait for Yuji’s return at the village. Then she is all smiles when he comes back. A big hug and a big kiss. Yuji is glad Marlene is right that they can live a happy life here together.

Blue Haven Is A Place On Earth
Uhm… I don’t know. Doesn’t the ending feel a bit lame? I mean, it is a good ending only because Yuji and Marlene survived all the odds against them to continue to be together in the end. But aside that, everything else feels somewhat rushed. Like how they tried to kill off the madness on Second Earth like as though they don’t want to give a f*ck about them anymore. What a dramatic way to end them. Then what was that understanding Yuji had when he was inside the core? Was it really Earth’s will? Left to viewers’ discretion? Is it puny humans with no B cells can never understand? I can’t believe it. After coming all this way and this is the kind of answer and ending we get? It’s like they ran out of ideas and stopped caring. Overall, this retro piece is still entertaining even though there were a handful of moments that were dumb and didn’t make sense. And yeah, there were quite a few of them like Marlene’s commotion through Second Earth just to get to Yuji. Oh well. All that matters is Yuji and Marlene end up together, right?

I believe that veteran anime viewers would watch this mature sci-fi series for its character development which is heavily focused on Yuji and Marlene. There is certain a lot going on between them and that they have gone through to make steady amounts of development and drive the story forward. We see how events from the start when Yuji was found changed them and the decisions they make that perhaps had an important outcome and bearing of the fate of humanity.

For instance, Yuji started off as a whiny brat whom you will love to slap because he can’t adjust himself and get over the fact that the utopia and hope he had been pining for is long gone and vanished. He also has this empathy to save other humans because he could relate with them. Marlene on the other hand is a typical by-the-book soldier bent on keeping him alive till she completes her mission, hence no unnecessary emotions all the way. The dynamics and interaction between the duo and their journey on Earth as they try to get to Second Earth affected their overall character because by halfway they switch personalities. Marlene is now the one with empathy and compassion while Yuji turned into a heartless competitive I-must-be-number-one jerk. The irony of their existence and relationship is based on one saving the other. Marlene saved Yuji and awakened him. After that it is Yuji’s turn to ‘save’ Marlene during their journey on Earth. Back on Second Earth it is her turn to save him from the unscrupulous high council and self-destruction. And now that they are together, he finally saves both of themselves (if I may so include their unborn child too) from it all in the end.

There are many other characters but they only fulfil their necessary role as given. Like Tony was predictably turning into a mini boss antagonist when he awakened as the destroyer-cum-saviour of mankind. There isn’t much to know about his past because the way they set him up to be the baddie towards the end. Alicia also feels a bit wasted. She was supposed to be Marlene’s love rival but I feel that itself never got off the ground. She does make her little moves but it doesn’t impact on anything in a great way. She is more like observing and wishing she was Yuji’s lover instead as she is more of a useless but lucky girl in the battlefield. It’s a good thing they kill her off with Tony to save the trouble of unnecessary drama should she survive. Because it would be awkwardly painful to see her coming in between Yuji and Marlene at the closing stages when their bond is already at a crucial stage.

For the rest of the other minor characters, you can’t help wonder what happened to them. Because like I’ve said, they somewhat just exist to fulfil their role that would ultimately drive the impact and plot on Yuji and Marlene. So what happened to Dice after he drove them to the Russian space station? Do we not care what happened to him or if he has become Blue fodder? What about Elena? Yuji had sex with her. That has got to be important, right? Oh. Maybe not. I guess her nomad tribe can live off the land. And whatever happened to Amick after she escaped down to Earth? Don’t care, right? She can be Blue food for all we care. Should have been shot with Doug and save us the trouble of thinking about her fate. Just like how they finally did it with the entire Second Earth in the end. Man, I still can’t get this ‘big joke’ out of my head.

If you think about it, the true antagonist of this entire series is planet Earth itself. You think that our planet is just some big rock filled with the right compounds to sustain life but we have all taken granted for it until this anime. Yup. Earth is such as a badass that it can’t take the overpopulation of humans and their wastefulness of resources that it had to go to this elaborated length to just wipe out humans. Yeah, and you thought God exists, eh? And when humans are gone and no longer a sizeable number causing threats, it had the Blue kill itself. Ah, mother Earth can now be filled with the abundance of only Mother Nature. Earth, why you sneaky little piece of rock. Perhaps Earth made Second Earth go berserk and kill themselves too. After all, we shouldn’t underestimate our little blue planet. A handful of natives, a few scattered and abandoned humans as well as main heroes Yuji and Marlene aren’t enough to destroy Earth, right? At least a few centuries later. That will be another story.

One thing I realized while watching the series is the hilarious but unintentional misspelling and bad grammar! I know this series was released right before the turn of the millennium and perhaps at that time Japanese weren’t still very proficient in basic English when it comes to show business. Therefore it is quite funny to see them misspell certain words and the bad grammar that are usually on screen instructions or signs. Making it even funnier and ironic is the fact that the characters in this show are assumed to be non-Japanese. Okay, so they may not be English but thinking about it if they made this simple mistake only makes it feel that such mistakes can only be made by a Japanese who didn’t do much spell checking to begin with and thought it was alright and even in the worst case scenario nobody would noticed. I sure did.

Commenting on the action sequences, they aren’t the most spectacular but they are pretty decent in that era. Be warned that there would be lots of blood, gore and sometimes human bodies being split in half whenever puny humans try to combat the hordes of Blue. Even if blood don’t look as real as today’s standards, at least better than some animes that cut out blood entirely and make it look like as though every kill is empty. Looking at you, Noir…

Art and drawing are of course in retro style. Even if I were to watch it during that era, I believe the animation is pretty decent and solid for its time. Because of the sci-fi genre that mixes several nationalities together, the characters mainly do not look like your typical conventional Japanese anime character with big wide eyes and kawaii looks. Sometimes you might think a western company collaborated with a Japanese studio to produce this anime. It was AIC who produced this anime. They did classic hits like Tenchi Muyou series, Aa! Megami-sama and Sakura Taisen just to name a few. As for the Blue creatures, sometimes I feel like their designs were rejects from Ultraman or Masked Rider series. Uh huh. I felt that such bug monsters could easily be passed off as monster-of-the-week in those sentai shows. Some look creepy, some look weird and some look nasty. Well, anything goes as long as they look threatening to mankind.

Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Houko Kuwashima who is also the voice of Marlene. While Tokihanate as the opener is your usual rock outfit to get you into the groove of this anime, it is the ending theme, Ai Ga Oshiete Kureta that stands out and I like the most. This is a very slow and beautiful piece despite at times it somehow reminds me of The Bangles’ Eternal Flame. I’m not saying this song is very similar but I have this feel that somewhere during the song it might just break out into that piece. Oh beware. The ending credits animation is entirely on naked Marlene. This means seeing her full blown tits for certain parts of the animation. Not sure if the version I am watching is some uncut version as I couldn’t find other versions of it. Well, this show isn’t meant for kids to begin with.

There was a movie released a few years after the TV series ended. However as I read it is a big summary of the TV series. This means lots of drama and scenes that made this show a decent one all went out of the window. Even the final arc was not even inside due to time constraints and thus a different ending. Not even new animated scenes could save it since they basically sever and dismember the efforts and dynamics of the TV series into this piece of crap. Oh, I didn’t watch it. Not planning to after reading a few reviews trashing it like how Blue carves up humans like a hit knife through butter.

Overall, this is quite a mature anime for its time and definitely not for younger audience as it deals with some dark themes as well as a handful of sex scenes. It might not be popular than some of the other more famous animes during that era like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Slayers, Cowboy Bebop and even Rurouni Kenshin but it is still something worth to check out if you like sci-fi drama and action. Sometimes there is a reason why we humans have incurable diseases. It is just Earth’s way of saying, “Please die. Just, just die…”. That is why for now there is no remake of this series like how Hollywood is currently doing as they have run out of ideas. Thank goodness Japan don’t really do remakes, right? Oh right, the Negima series… Sometimes it is best for an anime like this one to be just crystalized this way and sleep forever like the way it is. For better or worse. We don’t want to wake up in a future that has a remake or reboot worse off than the original and make us nostalgic how the good ol’ days were much better off.

Gintama S4

March 4, 2017

More Gintama?! Oh yeah! Bring it on! What is there more to say? Let it get rolling, season 4! As usual, my blog will be just listing down some of the episodes I enjoyed and the important arcs.

Episode 266-267: What a way to start the season with Gintama holding a press conference to apologize about the misuse of funds. Not that we care! Anyway the story proper has everyone except Gintoki, Kagura and Shinpachi frozen in time. As expected, it was Gintoki’s fault in destroying some intergalactic clock and not giving a hoot about it since he was recovering from a hangover. So they try to leave it to Gengai to fix it and no matter how they adjust whatever variables, Gengai and/or Hasegawa gets killed! How the f*ck did this even end up in some Dragonball showdown?! Then they realize it is just out of batteries and go through a whole lot of crap just to get the batteries. Yeah, there seems to be some sort of conspiracy in preventing them in getting the batteries and making it more complicated. So complicated that we don’t know how the timeline changed to Otae marrying an anthromorphic sound effect guy. And when everything goes from bad to worse, even Gintoki and co are now frozen in time (because it is the wrong battery type), that guy just inserts the right batteries to reset everything. Like it all never happened. Hey, this is Gintama for you. What do you expect?

Episode 268: Yamazaki must be bored and sick of eating anpan while he stakes out Yorozuya. With Tama to the rescue (misinterpreting her words), he starts stalking her instead. Of course Sougou finds out about it and you know how he is going to screw everything up. So he sets up a marriage meeting between the Shinsengumi and Yorozuya. You know how both sides hate each other, right? So it is like they are sabotaging the entire event and it is just pitiful for Yamazaki trying to salvage everything but was for naught. A little chat with Tama in the end restores his confidence and normalcy till he had to vomit on her. Oops…

Episode 269: Gintoki and Tsukuyo are forced to teach Seita some history lessons. You know how boring it is, right? So the only way to make him interest is to add lots of exaggerated crap in it. Yeah, changing history? More like fantasy! Till Hinowa ends with an even absurd tale, which is a big warning for the adults to restart a proper history lesson for Seita. Shinpachi is holding some porn for his friend. Of all people, why did he get Gintoki’s advice to hide porn in his room from Otae? People, do not take their advices here. This is how NOT to hide porn. In the end, they find this naughty manga fits nicely with the other normal manga. Like hiding a leaf in the forest. They head out and realize they forgot to clean up the S&M equipment that was used during all the silly examples.

Episode 270: Ayame makes a secret chamber behind the mirror of Yorozuya’s toilet just to spy on Gintoki. But she gets more than she bargained for when she sees Shinpachi’s chest hair and Kagura’s cat tail. The last straw came when Gintoki reveals his baldness and uses the chest hair and cat tail as something naughty so Ayame breaks out and kicks his crotch before running away. They knew Ayame was behind it all along and just to teach her a lesson. But she soon comes back and this time without a mirror but imitating them like one. Yamazaki hears his colleagues badmouthing him despite getting special distinction from a mission. So he thought of applying for something cool like having a ninja licence along with Zenzou. So why does every training must have them abuse the old ninja lady? So by the time they take the last test that involves killing her, old ninja lady kills off her old ninja husband. The reward is a ninja licence or chikuwa. Yamazaki made the right choice for opting the latter.

Episode 271-272: Gintoki, Katsura and Sakamoto join a reunion for the Joi members. Other than Takasugi who didn’t even want to attend, they suddenly have vague memories that there must have been a 5th member supporting them from behind but cannot remember. So who the f*ck is this Tasuke Kurokono? They definitely cannot remember him but try as hard as they might to avoid any awkwardness when he arrives. But remembering the memories feels like a farce since we have them reminiscing about their high school basketball tournament and everything always leads back to that damn Pokari can drink. Or Yakulk? And what is this about Gintoki scamming every one of their money to buy Yakulk? Then the memories come back… They remember during a war when both sides have taken heavy casualties and are resting on their respective sides. Gintoki and Takasugi got into an argument about whores so it is suggested to calm their tension down by playing kick the can. Kurokono was counting in the temple when the enemies launch a surprise attack. But Gintoki and co anticipated this ambush and fought back, including blowing up the temple. So okay… They killed Kurokono?! So could this be his ghost has come back to organize this reunion and drag them to hell? Oh sh*t… Gintoki seems to be sweating in his pants (I don’t think singing Doraemon’s theme song would calm any nerves) and the other 2 were nonchalant about it that they got ‘abducted’ by the ‘ghost’. Turns out to be Henpeita Takechi and Matako Kijima of Kiheita setting up this to get rid of them as they believe they will become a hindrance in the future to Takasugi’s ambitions. So when they begin their final ghostly assault, Gintoki remembers what happened. While the troops were sleeping, Kurokono said his goodbye and left the force because he felt he couldn’t contribute any better. He hopes to be forgotten. But Gintoki told him it wouldn’t be a problem if just one guy remembered him and if they are in trouble, come back and help them again. Gintoki fights back and even Kurokono makes his mysterious appearance to put a stop to this farce. Next morning when Katsura and Sakamoto wake up not remembering anything last night, did Gintoki remember a thing? Nope. He forgot everything.

Episode 273: Hijikata is forced to hold onto a lost lottery ticket. Imagine his great dilemma when he discovers it as the winning ticket of 300 million! Even worse, Gintoki is the holder of this lost ticket! Tempting not to give it back, right? And so with money comes corruption because not only Hijikata sees evil Mohawk gang illusions trying to take money, they get involved with a real Mohawk gang robbing a bank! Attempts to break free only make it worse for them because they end up aiding in robbing more banks and dispatching police officers! In the end, they realize that their life is not worth being controlled by scraps of paper and tear the ticket up. But what about the real 300 million that was burnt during the final getaway? How are they going to repay that? Well, they’re going to buy more lottery tickets…

Episode 274: Yorozuya trying to advertise?! After all those parodies, ripping off and silly selfish desires, I guess they end up fighting and the best picture for it all is that big fight on a paper smeared by Sadaharu’s paw. After the aftermath in the Kabukichou Four Devas Arc, we see new ones taking over their respective group. But who is the one that rule them all? Not tranny Ago or gangster Katsuo or even Gintoki. But Otae! She holds a meeting to come up with a mascot to improve Kabukichou’s image. As usual, lots of silly rip offs and random weirdness. Since Katsuo was against it all and tells what he believes should represent the district better, he ends up paying the price and facing copyrights infringement over this newly created mascot. Turns Otae has been the bid devil behind his troubles.

Episode 283-284: Seeing how Tama’s confession is with men, Gintoki decides to take advantage of it and use her to scam for money. So it turns out to be his disgruntled employees taking out their anger on him. Then slowly it becomes a complicated murder plot when the shogun gets involved. I mean, with all the silly confessions, the shogun somehow is believed to be killed amidst the confusion and Gintoki becomes desperate to cover up this crime but it only gets from bad to worse. When the final person who comes in to confess is no other than the shogun himself, Gintoki breaks into his confession mode and repents his sins, vowing to turn over a new leaf. Amen! Then it turns out the shogun lost his memories and is now best friends and Joi member with Katsura. And Gintoki gets arrested. Katsura wants to teach the shogun about leadership while the Joi members can only look on in disbelief that their dumb leader still hasn’t figure out who this dude is. But the lessons end up being games and Katsura always loses. The game and his cool. In the end, everybody abandons Katsura to follow the shogun. Nobody cares about you anymore. So Katsura goes to rescue Gintoki alone but why is he whining about losing his leadership? Oddly, the shogun leads the Joi guys to raid his own castle?! Gintoki gets involved further in the sh*t as it becomes a stupid race between Katsura and the shogun to see who can kill the princess first! In the end, both sides actually realize their true identities a long time ago and were just testing out each other. There were numerous chances they could kill each other but where would the fun be as they want to know what the enemy commander is really like. But in the end, after all this leader crap, the true leader is Kagura because they all disturb her beautiful sleep with Soyo and they got owned.

Episode 285: Kondou got rejected by Otae to visit the festivals together so he is annoying couples there as a masked cockroach! Since Otae is there too and she doesn’t realize it is him under the mask, he tries to flirt with her. But Gintoki and co hatch up a scheme to rip him off his money like shooting gallery (shooting at somebody’s funeral?), katanuki (how can he carve out a realistic dragon from the candy?) and goldfish scooping (bungee jumping?! Tied to the neck?!). Eventually it was just an elaborate prank to teach him a lesson but they’ve all learnt a bigger one that the festival is much better when you have fun with everyone. As long that someone is paying. Yeah…

Episode 290-291: A back story of how Sakamoto and Mutsu came to be. Mutsu was the daughter of a pirate group that does human trafficking. And she works part time as captain?! Sakamoto was accidentally picked up as he tries to con his way to trade and buy this ship but was eventually thrown into prison (for vomiting on the commander’s face many times). Mutsu would soon learn a valuable lesson of Sakamoto as a trader always seems to make others happy with his trade. It makes his profits more meaningful. So when there is a mutiny from the commander after her father falls ill and he plans to take over and kill everyone, it’s time for Mutsu to rethink and make her move. The night before the rebellion, she sets Sakamoto and the slaves free. Then she gets captured and to walk to plank. Apparently Sakamoto and the slaves didn’t abandon her. They return to turn the tables on the commander and his team and took off into the skies as traders. Now, history seems to be repeating itself as the commander is back to get his revenge by kidnapping Sakamoto and Mutsu. But you know how funny sometimes some things never changed. Because history repeats itself again. The entire Kaientai fleet is made out of those slaves as they bust them out. Mutsu’s fighting style resembles a lot like a Yato and this means she is one powerful kickass mother f*cker. The day is saved. Back to trading again. It’s another usual day in business.

Episode 292: Fancy our Yorozuya characters in a new fashion? Well, with all the silly alterations and adjustments, they just don’t look like the characters we know anymore. And so it is decided the way they originally look is the best. But Shinpachi might want to look a little cool in his suits for a while. Also, Shinpachi finds a lost scroll believed to be left behind by his late dad supposedly to inherit some super finishing move. Despite its long ass name and weird instructions (is that a video game input?), not everybody else easily learns it but the kick in the nuts turn out to be all that hard work in practising the move is to collect cacao and macadamia to create the perfect delicious chocolate nut bait for your enemy.

Episode 293: Ape Boy, some sort of Robin Hood who steals from the corrupted and gives bananas to the poor. He mistakes Kondou’s stalking on Otae to be prodigal material and before you know it, Kondou is under his wing to succeed him whether he likes it or not! Each time they escape from Shinsengumi, Kondou’s accidentally tactics only serves to enhance his reputation as a successor. Poor Hijikata… Eventually Ape Boy’s age is catching up so it seems Kondou is forced to succeed his last wishes. He does some deed on his behalf at a shrine. Hijikata is also there and knows Kondou was the one sabotaging him. Well, let’s call it undercover job. To deceive your enemy, you have to deceive your friends… This shrine proves familiar for Kondou. There was once a troubled kid here and it wasn’t Ape Boy but Kondou. Ape Boy was his sensei. His kindness was his downfall as loan sharks took advantage of it by kidnapping the other orphans. Kondou went alone to get them back but the loan sharks retaliated by burning down the shrine. Kondou was sent away on grounds he brought trouble and that was the last time he saw his sensei. It is believed he became Ape Boy to protect him from turning into a thief and atone his sins. Ape Boy is captured by punks preying on the weak. Kondou singlehandedly beats the crap out of all of them. He makes his final tearful reunion with sensei.

Episode 294-295: Shinsengumi has got a new skilled swordsman? It’s Katsura in an afro?! However he is owned by the third squad captain, Shimaru Saito. So Katsura takes his complaints to Yorozuya. He joined Saito’s silent squad but he never talks. Never. The only words coming out of his mouth is “Zed” and when he is sleeping. Apparently before Katsura joined, he was the only member of the squad and it is believed he purged his entire squad member. Then they realize Katsura is in danger because Saito might now his identity and is waiting for a chance to kill him. Saito even comes to Yorozuya and the rest thinks he is looking for Katsura but just to take a dump? But he leaves with a letter addressing his problem of being unable to talk naturally to others. It makes him nervous that he wants to take a dump. I guess Gintoki has to play advisor since he got paid. He writes back a letter to smile. So creepy that Katsura gets scared of him! How about bringing along your partner for work and some conversation might string along? So Saito captured Elizabeth and is about to torture her?! Turns out he tamed her to be his pet. Now Elizabeth won’t look at Katsura! Poor guy. He is having lots of problems. So is friendship between Shinsengumi and Joi rebel impossible? But soon Katsura has become a famous in Shinsengumi and everybody spots an afro! It seems he has used Saito’s silence to his advantage by framing him in his bid to take him down. During his trial, Saito shockingly speaks! Actually it is Yorozuya speaking via communicator on his behalf. I mean, nobody heard his voice before, right? So in this silly trial to prove his innocence, silly rants and inconsistent talking, it all boils down to a sword fight between Katsura and Saito. More silly incomprehension that leads to napping? This is where Katsura fails since he took off his afro to sleep and the Shinsengumi is now hot on his ass. However during this commotion he has Elizabeth planted bombs everywhere. Not needing any meddling from Yorozuya anymore, Saito hunts down Katsura while the rest defuse the bombs. Their fight ends in a draw with Saito cutting his detonator and Katsura wounding his leg. But a big bomb is set to go off. All Saito needs to say is cut all alphabet wires except Z (as revealed by Katsura). But since he can’t speak and has accepted his silence, he thought his Shinsengumi guys would get the hint when he catches some Zs. Boom! Everyone is afro again.

Episode 296-297: I bet we have forgotten that Kagura as a Yato cannot be exposed to the sunlight, right? Thanks to the hot summer and with Gintoki and Shinpachi wrestling to get under her shade, she is inadvertently pushed out and… OMG… Something is wrong… Somebody call the ambulance! Kagura is hospitalized and her condition turns for the worse. Our Yorozuya boys feel guilty as not even the doctor can do anything about it. Human medical technology not good enough for Yato. Of course everything is just an act by Kagura for payback and do errands for her. However her plan starts to backfire when she plays her prank too far and now she has to act like she is in a coma! Worse, with more people gathering, they already start talking about her funeral! And before she knows it, she is already in a funeral! A state wide funeral! Then she realizes Sougou might have known she is alive because he purposely installed sunbathing device inside her coffin to roast her. Due to some drugs, she cannot move or speak for a few more hours. And so we see the wacky send off as everyone tries to pay their last respects while her coffin is on a conveyor belt to the crematorium! Are they really trying to kill her with their absolutely silly last rites?! When Kagura realizes she was wrong and taking advantage of everyone’s kindness (they shed real tears after all), that is when she ekes out an apology. Everyone heard it. Gintoki and Shinpachi try to hasten her death because they realize they can’t go back after ‘cheating’ everyone out of their funeral funds. But eventually the truth is revealed so everyone gives a ‘grand send-off’ to Yorozuya for their terminal disease. Still blaming each other till the end, eh? Well, you only live once. Or do they?

Genderbend Arc
Kyuubei as a man?! Apparently her dilemma to be a yuri or tomboy character has a suspicious fortune teller not only converting her into a man but the entire Kabukichou swapping their genders! Fancy seeing Gintoki as a cutie? Kagura as a manly Three Kingdoms general?! But Sadaharu completely turned into a fine white steed?! Not all are changed as Shinpachi only had his glasses turned feminine and Otae is pretty normal too. It is revealed the wanted intergalactic cult leader, Dekobokko is fed up with everyone being untrue to their gender so he swaps everyone to make them live a new life. So if they can exhibit being faithful to their genders, he will turn them back or else he will destroy the world. Even with Kabukichou being quarantined off and the cult watching their every move, our usual characters can still talk nonsense especially the case of taking a pee and Otae becoming a jealous monster since well, many of the guys in Shinsengumi have turned into hot gorgeous babes with big boobs!!! Except Hijikata who looks like a fat ugly woman… Apparently the Shinsengumi have been on Dekobokko’s tail ever since they’ve got word they are coming into contact with Earth but didn’t expect them to move this quick by settling into this town as their base. The real ‘God’ himself is up there in space in a satellite. The cult was trying to make a drug that manipulates hormone balance, making men more manly and women more feminine. But the drug had an opposite effect. It swapped their genders. Therefore it is not the work of God but a virus. Thankfully it doesn’t stay long in the air and is not contagious.

The plan now is to cover up all the surveillance cameras set up throughout town. But with their moronic egos and getting distracted by it, you think they can do the job? While they’re at it, Ayame and Tsukuyo singlehandedly destroy all the cameras and rounded up most of the cult members! Are you manly enough to do your job? It leads them to their sewer base. They round up all the cult members and even discuss about returning to their original genders. Because heck, the ladies (men now) were much more useful than those men (ladies now) all the way. But the archbishop has observed Kyuubei and believes she has been the chosen one and has upheld both male and female qualities. As promised, a beam is fired back on Earth, turning everyone back to their original genders. Unfortunately for our heroes who were underground, they were the only ones left unchanged. Life goes on like normal but a lot smoother for many of our characters like Kyuubei now stronger and attracting females’ attention, the Shinsengumi become some sort of police cabaret and Shinpachi trains in another dojo to become stronger. Life is indeed smooth sailing than before but Kyuubei can’t help feel some sort of gloominess. She realizes she is neither man nor woman but a coward. Luck would have all that changed since Yorozuya manages to get tickets to outer space as they have found the next planet the cult is targeting. They manage to change back to their original genders and kick their asses once again. Kyuubei acknowledges she isn’t a man or woman but just Kyuubei.

Reaper Arc
Gintoki heard there are serial murders of people’s neck being severed but enough flesh left behind to keep the head and body intact. He doesn’t believe it until he comes across a reaper trying to kill herself and she wants him to assist her! Lots of bloopers till it looked like he did it. Why did he have to bring her back to Yorozuya? However Asaemon Ikeda is not dead yet and laments she cannot even take her own life before leaving. Meanwhile Shinsengumi is investigating the murders and Hijikata has sought the assistance of Yaemon Ikeda, the royal swordskeeper. Apparently they have been the royalty’s executioners for generations who assisted people who are supposed to commit seppuku by cutting off their heads. It is an act of soul cleansing so it is believed that such cuts can only be performed by such skilled swordsmen. Currently Yaemon is the head after taking over their previous master. There is another one who has this skill but is on the run. The royal guards are looking for Asaemon in hiding but Gintoki finds her and brings her back to Yaemon. Gintoki is told why he took her back when such acts of treason would usually mean her head. They were both like siblings and rivals who raised the bar for each other. When it is discovered their late master was responsible for helping criminals escape, the entire Ikeda could have perished if the courts find out. Thus the siblings punished him in secrecy and Asaemon assisted in his suicide. It won’t be long before the courts find out and thus Asaemon wanted to take this secret to her grave. After all, she loved her master more than anybody else. But Gintoki knows something is amiss. In addition to this, they are also the ones who commit those murders. They were all escaped criminals set free by their previous master. So why is Yaemon telling Gintoki all this despite the risk of all this coming to light? Yaemon takes out the list of escaped criminals. Gintoki’s name is on that list. He must cooperate or become a victim too.

Officially it is announced that the serial killer is caught and executed. Hijikata and Sougou don’t buy this crap and board the ship supposedly carrying corpses of executed people. True enough, Asaemon is still alive as she talks to Gintoki about her master and the many things he taught her. She is confused by his deeds that needed to take his life. Gintoki knows by heart that he was a good man. Especially how humanely he was treated despite being a prisoner. Once Hijikata and Sougou find them, they tell the other part of the true story that all the murder victims were related to the rebels of the Joi war. They were all involved in the battle at Anekohara where they inflicted the greatest defeat to a great general, Narifuyu Hitotsubashi. He became a politician and spent years on the side-lines till he is enough to take over the cabinet. He ordered the purged of these people but a certain man couldn’t bear the sight of people being mercilessly slaughtered and set them free. Therefore Gintoki and Asaemon have been sold out by Yaemon to gain favour with Nobunobu Hitotsubashi who is rumoured to be the next shogun. While Gintoki and co fight off the guards, Asaemon is greatly confused what she has been protecting all the while. Leave it to Gintoki to clear her mind and conscious about it as she gets back into the groove to face off with Yaemon himself.

Gintoki gets shot but not a fatal one. It becomes a draw to see if Yaemon can cut Gintoki’s head first or Asaemon taking Yaemon’s head. Yaemon reveals the truth that her biological father wasn’t killed in the Joi war but by her master. He adopted her out of guilt. Gintoki remembers talking to young Asaemon when he was on death row. She was confused about his imprisonment and didn’t think he was a bad guy. She decided to grow up and become an executioner and take his head. So don’t die until then. Yaemon thought he cut both Gintoki and Yaemon’s neck. Actually Gintoki attacked from his blind spot by unsheathing Asaemon’s sword accidentally grazing his own neck. Gintoki was fast enough to break Yaemon’s sword. Yaemon realizes his dream and sword were long broken. He helps everyone escape as his final deed before he got beheaded by his partner, Hitotsubashi. And this guy too seems to be in an unofficial cohort with Takasugi. Sougou takes Gintoki, Shinpachi and Kagura to be executed. As Yaemon has gone missing, the link to the serial murders have disappeared and to cover their own asses to prevent Hitotsubashi from bringing down the hammer on them, the trio are being made a scapegoat. Gintoki gets mad when he learns Asaemon committed suicide to take responsibility for this entire uproar. Sougou reminds him that he already assisted in her suicide when they first met. To their surprise, Asaemon is going to be their executioner. She has discarded her past and took on the name of the next Yaemon. The Shinsengumi turn a blind eye over their execution. Any criminals seen with a sever around their neck, they’re going to just assume they are corpses. Asaemon cuts her mask and their cuffs. There are no more criminals here.

Ego Switch Arc
Shinpachi and Kagura are chasing Gintoki for their overdue pay. Hijikata is chasing Yamazaki for slacking. Gintoki and Hijikata got into each other’s way, started arguing and a truck hits then. Before they know it, they swap bodies! Since getting back isn’t easy, they are forced to live as each other’s life. After all, they can’t be safe either way. Those kids still kill Gintoki for their pay and Sougou loves to bazooka Hijikata. So imagine the culture shock when the swapped duo bring to their organizations. Gintoki does away with all the code crap and instils slacking for Shinsengumi while Hijikata instils punctuality and discipline for Yorozuya. In the end, Shinsengumi turns into some wild bandits and Yorozuya a justice squad! Messed up! The duo continue to fight till Kagura and Sougou fight and blew up each other. Bodies still not swapped, though. It is then Tama brings them to see Gengai who reveals that they were swapped thanks to the truck carrying an experimental swapping device that instead of swapping eggs and soy sauce over rice, swapped their souls. WTF?! Do you need such complicated device for egg on rice meal?

Of course trying to swap them back via machine swapped everything but their souls. Since they realize something is lacking that rendered the machine unable to work properly, they think back and remember half of Gintoki’s soul entered the ass of a dead cat during the swap! Now they have to find that cat who might be resurrected as a zombie all over town. So both meet the least person they want to meet. Katsura is now part of Yorozuya as wells as Hasegawa and Ayame! There is going to be a big brawl showdown between the free spirited Shinsengumi and disciplined Yorozuya. Sh*t is going to happen. They cooperate when they finally spot the cat. An amnesiac alien?! So this cat is taking after Gintoki’s negative habits? Nobody can touch this strong feline. Gintoki and Hijikata blame their own inaptness that got their team owned so they will go take the cat back on their own. They follow it back to Otae’s place. She is keeping it as her pet! Dozaemon?! There are lots of chivalry talk going on from how she found him and nurse him back to health. She won’t leave him till he gets his memories back and doesn’t mind the rumours about them. When he eats her food, he passes out and loses his memories! So was this how he got it in the first place? Hijikata is forced to talk to her since he is in Gintoki’s body and has got to act like him.

Otae can tell something is strange since both of them are trying to flirt with her with the tactic of making her break up with Dozaemon?! It gets complicated when Shinpachi and Kondou enter the fray. Shinpachi takes Otae and run while Kondou wheels Dozaemon away. It soon hit Gintoki and Hijikata that Shinpachi is Kondou and Kondou is Ayame! And get this. Shinpachi is glasses while Yamazaki is Hasegawa’s shades! So who is in Yamazaki’s body? Sadaharu? And that dog? Hasegawa! If that is not confusing enough. Sougou swapped with Katsura and Kagura swapped with Elizabeth. Yeah, this madness happened when Gengai rammed all of them with his truck earlier on. Dozaemon wakes up when he hears Otae’s scream (apparently Shinpachi (Kondou) is trying to rape her). So once everybody faces off, Otae tells everyone to stop bullying Dozaemon. The rest argue they need to return him to his proper place. Otae would have believed them at other times but tonight their weird acting just makes it suspicious. Especially this gay moment between Kondou (Ayame) and Hijikata (Gintoki). Hilarious! Dozaemon goes into overdrive to fight everyone to protect Otae. They can’t stand up to his brute. So here comes a giant poop! Yamazaki and Hasegawa combined? Eventually it ends with Gintoki’s half soul coming out from Dozaemon the way it came in. Yup, through the butthole. Man, there’s a lot of sh*t going around. And vomit too. In the aftermath, Gintoki and Hijikata return to normal. But everyone else is some sort of human poop! They hound their respective bosses for a way to return back to normal.

Shogun Assassination Arc
The shogun was nearly assassinated via poison in his tea had not Ayame acted in time. Later she talks to Zenzou about the political chaos ever since Sadasada was ousted. Everyone is trying to eye for the throne. Ayame and Zenzou were once in the Oniwaban that was dissolved under Sadasada but Matsudaira took them in. Matsudaira talks to Kondou and Hijikata about the need to escort the shogun out from Edo to Kyo secretly. Of course they are going to place doubles in the palace not to raise suspicions but how can you not have any when the doubles come in all shapes and sizes! Even Yorozuya dudes are doing a sick impression of it. Nobunobu is seen as the main antagonist trying to oust the shogun. He has Takasugi and Kamui on his side but was accidentally taken out by Kamui who mistook him for the shogun. Of course they are using him as a pawn for their own gains but with Nobunobu out for the time being, no one will suspect them as he will also be seen a victim of somebody who wants the shogun dead. Matsudaira’s fool proof plan not only has doubles in the palace but several diversions on air and ground as decoys while transporting the shogun. So our usual group has got the ground troop and the Shinsengumi duo don’t quite like it that Gintoki is acting as the fake shogun. But they better treat him nice despite his sh*tty attitude because the Oniwaban and samurai guards will not hesitate to take anyone out even if it’s a joke. The real shogun has the company of Zenzou. He reminds the shogun that the Oniwaban’s duty isn’t to protect the shogun but his duty, which is to protect the country and people at the cost of his life. Zenzou then decapitates him. He plans to bear the cross and become the nation’s traitor.

When Ayame’s group learns of the shogun’s demise and that there may be traitors among them, she and the rest quickly take out the supposed traitors since it’s easy to detect their killing intent. To her horror, the Iga ninjas in which the Oniwaban originates are siding with the enemy. With such a large force mobilized, she believes only one of the 3 head clans who rule over Iga can do so. Either Gaimon Fujibayashi, Rappa Momochi or Zenzou. Meanwhile with Soyo being targeted, thankfully there is Sougou to protect her. He then faces off in an epic battle with Kamui. It was a race between Kamui and Takasugi to see who can take the shogun’s head but the latter lost out. Although Takasugi’s plan is no to take the shogun’s head but the shogun’s limbs. Zenzou stops Sougou and Kamui’s fight by showing them he has the shogun’s head. They have no more reason to fight. Ayame and co are unfortunate enough to stumble into Fujibayashi and Momochi. They tell him the state of their Iga homeland. 6 months ago, strange men in umbrella attacked and threatened them to help assassinate the shogun and in turn they will be hired as the new Oniwaban for the reformed government. But once news of the shogun’s death reach them, Fujibayashi wants everyone here killed. However Momochi won’t mobilize her side citing she doesn’t take orders from traitor. Seems the real shogun is still alive and is right here disguised as an Iga ninja. He orders the rebels to be taken out.

Apparently after the poisoning attempt, the shogun was kidnapped and brought to Iga where he stayed safe. The shoguns everyone met so far were doubles. Fujibayashi still won’t admit his defeat. He tries to kill Momochi but this wheelchair lady is just a puppet. Her real body is the maid pushing the wheelchair. He gets taken out by a super bazooka. Back at Iga, Momochi further explains that Zenzou who was keeping tabs on the situation, knew the enemy has grown into a massive force that they won’t stop attacking as long as the shogun stayed as the shogun. The only way to prevent further warfare was to kill the shogun and merely return him to just being Shigeshige. So what Zenzou lopped off was the position and by taking him out of the political picture, he was trying to protect him as a man. To that end he decided to go down history as a traitor. But now it won’t end just here because Takasugi and the rest of Harusame (minus Kamui) are already here at Iga. Also with them is Zenzou who realizes Takasugi’s intention of killing the shogun is to become one himself. Takasugi has his men kill Zenzou but he sets off bombs planted on all their ships. Gintoki and co are tasked to keep the shogun safe while the Iga ninjas ward off the bloodthirsty Yato killers. Thanks to Sougou, Soyo and Maizou still live although Sougou is now in comatose. Maizou believes the decapitated shogun isn’t the real one because he checked the body and lacked the scar. He narrates Shigeshige’s young life already associated with the Iga and Oniwaban. It all started when he realized kids his age were laying their lives to protect him and even became his doubles. He wanted to save his double from some rebellion, he and the Oniwaban youngsters barged into the base to rescue. It ended with Shigeshige having a deep scar on his scar. If the incident of the shogun saved the double got out, his entire clan will be beheaded. So to cover up this incident, the double took his place a little longer on the throne while Shigeshige hid and took refuge at Iga where he learnt some ninja skills.

Zenzou takes a lot of beating but there is a limit to how much a man can take and stand his ground. Fear not. Ayame and his other Oniwaban ninjas are here to save his ass. No pun intended. Gintoki and co have a lot on their plate while defending and escaping with the shogun. Because the Yato lot are numerous and tough as hell. It’s amazing they’re still having the stamina after that pounding onslaught. With a little help from Momochi, they reach the secret exit to escape Iga. Likewise, Ayame is taking Zenzou to another exit but Takasugi stabs her and Kamui just arrived for the party in time. An epic showdown is on the cards because Gintoki and Kagura have a score to settle with their long time foes. So amidst the ground shattering punches and bloody sword clashes, we see flashbacks of their pasts. From family troubles to little lost weaklings trying to become stronger and finding a place to belong.

Well, at least it’s like another whole flashback arc by itself watching young Gintoki, Takasugi and Katsura under Shouyou’s guidance. As Takasugi slowly prefers to learn from Shouyou’s free-spirited samurai ways, his father learns of this and is not too thrilled. Word gets out that Shouyou might be a school gathering kids teaching seditious propaganda and being anti-bakufu. Despite all the threats, Shouyou treasured his students and kept them safe. Until that war which many of his students died. To Takasugi’s dismay, Shouyou was executed and decapitated by Gintoki in a bid for the remaining students to survive. This became Takasugi’s hatred for revenge. Although Gintoki last saw Shouyou’s smiling face and his thanks, Takasugi last saw Gintoki’s crying yet smiling face before his left eye was blinded by Oboro. That vision was burnt into his left eye. It would have been so much easier had it been the bakufu. But the sworn enemies are themselves. Even though they fought to save him, they were so weak to use him as a stepping stone to survive. Takasugi never understood why Gintoki never avenge Shouyou’s death and that he chose them instead over sensei. All Gintoki can say is that he knows Takasugi isn’t cutting himself but his alter ego. That’s why he sought a revenge that hurt himself far more than cutting himself. Gintoki is his alter ego and will stop him and stand up no matter how many times it takes. He knows what Shouyou holds dear and if he has to walk over his corpse, he will protect the soul of his student and fellow friend as his disciple. Just when you think Takasugi has come to terms and has some closure, he is stabbed by Oboro.

Apparently the Tendoshu has arrived in what it seems like a fell swoop to take out all their enemies once they wear each other out. As they point out, Shigeshige is no longer the shogun because he handed his resignation to Sadasada at the end of the Courtesan of a Nation arc. At that point because there was nobody suitable, it was put on hold. But now there is one: Nobunobu. He is now the shogun. This guy is bandaged up like a mummy and fuelled by rage and revenge. He wants everybody killed! But so as not to rush things yet, they want Shigeshige to be handed over first, which doesn’t make any difference or change the fact he would still be standing in Nobunobu’s way. However Shigeshige asserts that he is still the shogun and will not take orders for everyone. He will not run away and protect his country and those who gave their lives in protecting it. Shigeshige believes in his friends and that they are not easily broken. Here comes Matsudaira and the entire Shinsengumi backup. This means that sadist Sougou is back too. Takasugi revives to help Gintama wound Oboro. It’s payback because Takasugi blinded Oboro’s left eye. Kagura and Kamui put aside their differences for now to help Gintoki and Takasugi face off the rest of Tendoshu.

Oboro lets them go thinking they are struggling a futile struggle as students of Shouyou. Shigeshige hints he wants to abolish the position of the shogun and will be the last one if it is hindering the lives of this country. After 2 weeks, Takasugi is still in coma. Kiheitai have taken a bad beating and it will take them some time to recover. Harusame is now no longer pirates and targeted by Tendoshu but Kamui isn’t worrying since if he is going to be the best in the world, he needs to turn everyone against him and beat them up altogether. Nobunobu announces Shigeshige is dead and proclaims himself as the new shogun. Shigeshige has left for Kyo where the emperor resides so he’ll be safe. He plans to gather his allies and make a comeback but cannot take the rest of them since he doesn’t want them to be Tendoshu’s enemies. Although Soyo wrote a sunshiny letter that everything is okay and hope is still within reach, it seems there is an assassination attempt on Shigeshige as he got poisoned by a needle while meeting up with his old friends.

Farewell Shinsengumi Arc
The entire nation is in mourning over their assassinated shogun! Nobunobu ascends the throne and eliminates everyone who gets in his way. He doesn’t care if Matsudaira who is supposed to serve him shows him great disrespect because he doesn’t need him or Shinsengumi. He has Sasaki and Mimawarigumi behind him. He makes Matsudaira take responsibility for failure to protect the shogun and will be beheaded alongside Kondou. This means the Shinsengumi is disbanded. Everyone is scared and confused. Hijikata is transferred under the department of that hardboiled detective, Heiji Kozenigata. The rest of the Shinsengumi want to save Kondou because sooner or later they will be crushed. But Hijikata holds no authority over them and has them do what they want. Whatever they believe in, just do it. Believe in that and fight. They are still all Shinsengumi deep down inside.

Visiting the cabaret certainly won’t help drown your sorrows. It gets worse when Nobunobu and Mimawarigumi also pay a visit with the excuse of wanting to mix with commoners like Shigeshige. Things started getting heating up not when Nobunobu suggests Hijikata to execute his former boss and comrades but when he cuts down innocent cabaret girls thinking they were treating him as the same level as Shigeshige. He thinks he is superior to all that in this new age. So when Otae protests, she is also in risk of getting hurt. Hijikata wanted to punch him but Gintoki took it in the face. Save that punch for his dumb boss. Gintoki punches Nobunobu instead. Sasaki understands fools never change so instead of letting the new government’s reputation get worse, he arrests Gintoki so that a single fool can take the entire blame. But then Katsura throws his smoke bomb to let everyone else escape. In turn he gets thrown into prison and ironically with his eternal enemy Kondou in the next cell, he suggests forming an unusual alliance to protect this country. He gives him a pill that would put his body in temporary suspension (playing dead, that is) so that the guards will open their cell doors when they see ‘corpses’.

Hijikata is still torn on what to do. Still wallowing in depression he cannot protect anything. But when Kagura relays a message from Sougou, how that sadist is still following the Shinsengumi code and waiting for the vice captain to give orders, Hijikata makes his move back to Shinsengumi HQ. He finds everyone waiting in line awaiting his orders. They go meet up with the Joi rebels. They still hate each other but agree to work with each other in this last joint operation to save their bosses. When Katsura is about to throw the same pill to Matsudaira, he flops as it ricochets back into his own mouth! Now he is dead. Then the guards come by as Kondou and Matsudaira also play dead. But these guards enter the cell not to check on the corpses but to kill them! Luckily Kondou acts fast enough. Katsura pretended to only eat the pill and is able to fight back. They realize these aren’t ordinary prison guards. The mark on their arms indicate they are Naraku, the assassination syndicate under Tendoshu. They too have killed other prison guards. The trio take advantage of the situation by dressing up as prison guards and sound the alert that the prisoners have made a prison break. However Katsura knows this place well and even though it is easy to slip and escape their situation, they cannot go further beyond the gates because they are on the prison island, Kokujo.

But Katsura knows his allies will be coming to save them. That’s right. Shinsengumi and the Joi rebels are on their way here. Their plan is to infiltrate by disguising as prisoners but Naraku intercepts them and it becomes a bloody boat battle. They get the most unlikely of help from Yorozuya joining in the fray. Wow. It’s like they’ve powered up and become more badass. I didn’t know Shinpachi was this badass. Sasaki orders his Mimawarigumi to move and hunt down for escaped inmates. However Nobume feels there is more to this. She thinks he purposely let Nobunobu into public to show his tyrannical ways and plant Katsura in the same prison with Kondou. All to incite a rebellion and gain an excuse to purge them. On the contrary, if he wanted to do so, he could have just executed them. He claims he is cleaning up something far bigger in scale they happen to be part of. Mimawarigumi intercept the ships coming from the front but they are nothing but decoys. Because everyone is climbing the steep cliffs at the back. However the enemy already anticipated this and sends arrows raining down on them. If not for Elizabeth’s drilling up from behind, who knows what might have happened. But at the top, now they have to face off with stronger opponents. Gintoki will give his pay back to Oboro and Sougou deals with Nobume. Katsura now has an extra navel after being shot by Sasaki. He wants Kondou to leave him since his mission is to rescue him. But Kondou won’t leave him after realizing he thought at first it was okay to die to protect his friends. But now he wants them to return and see their comrades again.

Sasaki notes Kondou has never changed. Time for another flashback when the newly formed Roshigumi were taking in new recruits. It was a weird and shady organization recruiting Joi rebels, giving them the freedom to hold a sword and protect the land. In actual fact it is a perverted idea of eventually making Joi rebels and wipe each other out. Kondou and his other comrades joined it after they reached Edo. There is this punk kid, Mountain Zaki who keeps challenging and showing off his strength. He challenged Kondou but he will not fight him, believing the power is not needed to subdue a subordinate but to protect one. Then he realizes their swings can actually kill, he pissed in his pants and become a docile guy whom we all know as Yamazaki today. Under Kondou’s guidance, Roshigumi flourished. But top brass wanted to give them a ‘special’ escort mission of the shogun and his son. Assassins will attack and they will allow the assassination to succeed. Then they will take responsibility and disembowel themselves. In this chaotic era, Sasaki is also an expecting father. Even with Kondou’s answer that there is no one answer to be a samurai, Sasaki might not want to be a fine samurai or a fine father but a fine name for his child.

So while the Shinsengumi and Joi rebels now enter a chaotic battle with Mimawarigumi, a shocking truth is revealed about Sasaki. He met a few kids trained by Naraku to become cold hearted killers. One of them is Nobume. Sasaki was too late in saving his pregnant wife as she was killed by Nobume. But since he is her target and she didn’t kill him, Sasaki didn’t kill her. Nobume once met Shouyou and learnt everyone is born weak and have the freedom to change. They were all struggling and straying down the wrong path, the reason Nobume couldn’t kill her, though she believes she deserves to be killed by him. Sasaki might not hesitate to cut her down but what he wants to cut down is this era where the country commits acts of brutality. He wants her to swing her sword for his sake since he cannot protect anything. And when the time comes, use it to kill him. It is his vengeance. It is her duty. But despite Nobume taking everything from him, she still cannot bring herself to cut him down. All along Sasaki has been playing the villain as he is trying to end the samurai era along with himself by making everyone start a revolt. He is just a rebel like them. Each time Sasaki tries to start that burning rebellion, Naraku always tries to extinguish that spark. That is why Sasaki planned on using those flames on this island.

It’s getting messier because the entire Naraku fleet has dropped in to join the party. Mimawarigumi fleets are fighting off the Naraku counterparts. Kagura stops Sougou and Nobume’s fight. When Nobume gets stabbed, she gives the orders to her men to flee. Because the big bad boss of Tendoshu is here, Utsuro. He views Nobume betraying him twice because she failed to kill Sasaki. Nobume will not follow anyone’s orders except her own will. Utsuro is like the final big boss of video games everyone loves to hate because he is so overpowered that he is like having the cheat codes on for eternity. We see how he beats up the trio with ease and no matter how much they struggle, they cannot just get the better of him. Hijikata has also ordered his men to retreat because he realizes the longer this battle goes on, the harder it will be for them to get off the island. However Oboro and his men will not let one escape. He kills the small fries and wounds our main characters. Utsuro also joins in on this purge. Finally we get to see Gintoki fight on par with him. What is worse than unable to defeat him? When Gintoki cuts off his mask, he sees Shouyou! Or is this an imposter?! Best still, all wounds Utsuro sustained are healed! What did I tell you he is on cheat code mode!!! When a distraction occurs, everyone takes this chance to run. Gintoki wonders who the hell that imposter is. Nobume’s answer is baffling. He is both Shouyou and not at the same time. But she is certain Gintoki wasn’t the one who killed Shouyou.

Already worn out, injured and tired, more Naraku henchmen drop in to fight them. Thus more flashback from Sasaki giving Nobume her name that was supposed to be his daughter’s if she was alive. He also made her his vice captain. When everyone else arrives, they see Kondou killed. This didn’t drain their fighting spirit. They get even madder and fight harder. Of course Kondou is still alive and took Katsura’s pill to be in temporary suspended animation. He did so because Sasaki suggested it to make it look like he slew him. To Oboro’s dismay, Sasaki has also called for more Shinsengumi and Mimawarigumi reinforcements. Kondou and Hijikata cut down Oboro. It was never Sasaki’s intention to protect or save Kondou. Ever since back then he never wanted to lose out to him but never knew how. He had an idea despite it only lasted for a while. He couldn’t be happier to be the man who defeated Shinsengumi’s chief. Nobume won’t let Sasaki die. He reveals another twist. He knew she wasn’t the one who killed his wife and daughter. She protected them from other assassins. In spite knowing this, he still used her as part of his revenge. He doesn’t feel his life is worth saving. Nobume doesn’t care about all that. Couldn’t they just stay the same like always so she could just stay by his side? More flashback this time about Sasaki racking his brains to come up with a name for his unborn daughter. Despite his wife’s suggestions, he doesn’t find them all great. Even his room is filled with crumpled paper of unsuccessful suggestions. Is it that hard? Then it is like screw it all. He didn’t care what kind of name she had so long she lives strong. He decides on Nobume which means girl of faith. Sasaki saves Nobume one last time when all our heroes are evacuating into a ship. He pushes her in before falling to his death. Sasaki… NOOO!!!!

Everyone pays their final respects and salute to Sasaki. Nobume is glad Sasaki gave her a fine name. In the aftermath, when Nobunobu learns of this, he became furious crushed and disbanded all police force under Sasaki and decided to reform the system from the ground up. Those he dismissed join the underground faction led by Matsudaira as they plan to revolt and overthrow the bakufu. As Nobunobu is unpopular, even the sentiments on ground are slowly building up their distrust and the people growing in favour of a revolt. As suggested by Katsura, because Nobunobu won’t let the Shinsengumi who embarrassed him off the hook, he tells them to leave Edo. So we have one of the most awkward goodbyes. Like Kondou now spotting a hideous scar across his face stalking Otae but ironically didn’t get scolded or beaten up, Kagura and Sougou fighting and beating the hell out of each other, Gintoki and Hijikata trading and eating the other’s favourite food. It must suck… In the end, Kondou leads his Shinsengumi out of Edo, promising to return here and become true samurais.

Love Potion Arc (OVA)
A mysterious heart shaped pill named Aizen Kou is making its rounds in Yoshiwara. Rumours have it that smelling its incense would lead you to falling head over heels with the closest person you see. Too bad Tsukuyo inhaled it and has to control her lust over Gintoki (because he was taking a piss nearby). You know how hard it is trying to concoct a plan to snuff out the mastermind next to the person you’re in love, right? So when they finally round up all of it and going to dispose it, Tsukuyo’s mischievous love causes her to wreak havoc. Yeah, the entire bunch got accidentally burnt and all of Yoshiwara is turned into a den of sex maniacs!!! Oh… Shinpachi x Kagura romance?! Did we even expect this in Gintama?! Worse than that is Gintoki turning into a sleazy lady killer because young or old, beautiful or ugly, all women are his honeys! Even those porn stars you see on the internet are his! So we see him take down other guys to protect his honeys. A little ‘romance’ spat between Gintoki and Tsukuyo before the complication is up a notch because now we have Kyuubei and Otae in the fray despite giving lame excuses they are not. Before you know it, all males in Yoshiwara has got chastity belts attached to heavy round iron balls! And then everyone turns into a love slave for the mastermind, Hotaru who is one of the courtesans in Yoshiwara. Love her and she will love you for eternity!

So we’ve got chaos in our hands. Otae turning into an abusive stalker on Kondou, the gorilla suddenly having an affinity for butts and turning gay while Kyuubei obsessed with hunting down dicks. Gintoki and Tsukuyo might have returned to normal but not fully. From time to time there’ll be a few idiotic lover spats to make us laugh. Eventually we learn of Hotaru’s past that led her to this doing. There was this carpenter she used to accompany when he visited Yoshiwara. Despite drinking a lot, he never laid a finger on her. One day he decided to become a great carpenter and promises to come back for her. But after Yoshiwara was liberated, she caught him going out with the daughter of the head carpenter. Her heart broke into many pieces but until this day she still can’t forget about him. She tries to kill herself but Tsukuyo saves her and also dispenses some great love advice that even though flowers wilt, they will bloom again. It might seem the entire bunch of Aizen Kou is burnt down and another round of sex maniac chaos. But Hotaru these are actually the opposite, Aidan Kou and will make you hate the ones you love. So naturally, it neutralizes everyone back to normal. In the aftermath, it is believed Hotaru planned this all along including turning everyone back to normal before committing suicide. She wanted to end everything while still being loved. Or maybe she just wanted somebody to stop her. We take a short idiotic detour with Gintoki turning into a moral police officer who ends up running away together with Kondou. And they slept with each other?! WTF???!!! Hotaru’s punishment is to be exiled from Yoshiwara. She is told that the carpenter had a promising future to become a leader but turned down when his boss offered him to marry his daughter because of a promise to a courtesan. However he worked too hard and injured his body. He felt ashamed to come see her like this and is always just staring outside Yoshiwara’s gates. Hotaru comes to terms with what is happening. This time she won’t run away anymore.

Heavenly Soul
You know when I said that all good things will come to an end? I never have to worry about this because I knew Gintama will always come back again in the future and troll us. But now it seems that I have to keep my reality in check because it might end! Oh God, no! Gasp! Is it true that Gintama will finally come to end for real?! Because it seems the manga has already reached what is seemingly its final arc. Oh no. I thought the author might be trolling us as he has always been since this is Gintama but from what I read, this could be really it. Oh dear. The end of Gintama for real? This can’t be happening? But that is the manga version. What about the anime? Will they animate the final couple of arcs? That is still up in the air.

Back to this season, I am not saying that this season is the least exciting since I myself am pretty confused with my own feelings at this point after watching the last episode for this season. Because you see, for the longest time ever, this series has covered 2 of the most important arcs back to back. Although there are some spontaneous laughs in between, the general and overall mood of the arcs is quite a sombre and gloomy affair. Things get real. Things get serious. It wasn’t the usual Gintama format whereby after even like 5 or 6 episodes of a heavy arc, we’ll be back to the nonsensical and insane jokes to blow away to gloom. Therefore with 2 ‘depressing’ arcs back to back that lasts almost 2 cours and ending the fourth season, it is with mixed feelings that I felt with this series. Heck, they killed off 2 ‘important’ characters for both arcs, the shogun and Sasaki. It was really heavy, solemn and serious that it didn’t make me feel that usual Gintama goodness at the end of it all. Don’t get me wrong. This season and these arcs are still great but I can’t still shake that sad feeling at the end of it all. When you talk about Gintama, it’s all those nonsense and parodies. From this point on, remembering Gintama is like remembering this serious sh*t hitting the fan. Furthermore, it isn’t Yorozuya taking the spotlight in the final arc this season so it somewhat feels a bit side-lined, Gintoki and co.

So I suppose this might be the trend if they make the next season of Gintama. Because they have already made big revelations here and therefore it is only natural to join all the pieces of the puzzle together as well as tie everything up since there are quite a number of other mainstay characters who didn’t get to appear or play a part in these final 2 arcs. Erm, so is Hasegawa considered an important character? So it will be one big bang where all the characters ever in the series will finally reach some sort of conclusion. No more jokes, no more antics, no more fillers. Just plain seriousness from now on. Happy hours are over. Gintama time is over. It’s now Gintama time. Get it? Ah, sometimes I wish they keep continue showing mindless hilarious fillers.

If I want to point out the main characters, that would be repeating myself and I have to write a book that is as thick as my college thesis report. So to just sum everything up, everyone has changed but yet remained the same. They are friends and enemies at the same time. They might fight each other frequently but they also eat and drink together. They keep each other company and sharp because if one fails, you bet the other will be there to remind and bring back to their senses. That is always how it works here. And just when you thought the biggest antagonist would be the final boss, turns out there is another bigger badder antagonist. Yeah, and the ex-enemies now become friends to fight the stronger and ever powerful last boss. Looking at you, Gintoki and Takasugi.

So I believe Utsuro will be the final of the most final boss in the series. Nothing is particularly known about him except from this point he looks more badass and powerful that it would take all the characters to just bring him down using cheat codes. It even brings up the confusion of Gintoki and Shouyou but I’ll leave that for another time. Then there is Nobunobu whom I thought would be the main antagonist but for both arcs, he has been unceremoniously put out of the picture. Maybe his role is just to be some sort of shadow puppet? Maybe he’ll play a more serious antagonist role in the next arc.

With numerous opening and ending themes, they are all mostly rock based like Day x Day by Blue Encount (first opening theme), Pride Kakumei by Chico with Honeyworks (second opening theme), Saigo Made II by Aqua Timez (second ending theme), Beautiful Days by Okamoto’s (third opening theme), Glorious Days by Three Lights Down Kings (third ending theme), Know Know Know by Does (fourth opening theme), and Acchi Muite by Swimy (fourth ending theme). Destiny by Negoto is the first ending theme and feels a bit disco-like.

Overall, I did laugh hard enough this season like in the previous before the long final arc took most of it away albeit looking back now it is still one hell of a fun ride. It is still a good season and Gintama fans should continue watching this. Even those who aren’t into this series should stay and watch for the awesome (random) comedy, awesome fights and awesome story. Hey, Gintama is already awesome, right? I know it is bad to always cling onto something forever and there will be a time when something needs to bow out gracefully and not overstay its welcome. They have already become the silver, golden and platinum souls in our hearts. Gintama becoming unpopular? No way, man! Even a series that breaks the fourth wall regularly must come to terms with reality that it has to end someday. We have to get over ourselves and accept it. Oh well… I hope they’re just trolling us… GINTAMA WILL NEVER END, RIGHT???!!!

Qualidea Code

January 15, 2017

Hmm… Apocalyptic world whereby aliens have invaded and devastated mankind. Check. A group of high school kids with special abilities hold the key to fend off these invading unknown aliens. Check. Sci-fi action. Check. Potential conspiracy twist and plot. Check. Harem. Uncheck. Wait. What? No harem? Oh what the heck. You can’t have all the anime series follow the same predictable pattern. Anyhow I’m still going to watch Qualidea Code for better or worse although I have a feeling that it might end up being the latter.

Episode 1
Many years ago, an unknown alien race called, uhm Unknown devastated the world. Young Ichiya Suzaku and Canaria Utara are one of the few miraculous survivors. Now in their teens, Ichiya like other kids his age has this power called World to fight against Unknown. Ichiya is a cold a bitter guy and doesn’t like amateurs and kids. But he respects adults for whom he believed to have saved their lives. He also believes he is all they need. Obnoxious, right? But what can we do? His past is scarred. This means he doesn’t like the idea of teamwork and often fights on his own. The duo meet up with others like them who are also head or subhead of a city like Hotaru Rindo and Maihime Tenkawa (subhead and head of Kanagawa respectively) and the Chigusa siblings Kasumi and Asuha (subhead and head of Chiba respectively). Ichiya and Canaria are of Tokyo. Ichiya and Kasumi hate each other’s guts and could have continued arguing had not the adults Gutoku Asanagi and Airi Yunami who are both regional management officers. They begin their ranking announcement and meeting. After the meeting, Unknown is detected attacking at Aqua Line. Everyone sorties. I’m not sure why Ichiya and Canaria arrived last since they flew and everybody else arrived by train. Unless they’re in the very part of town. Ichiya being the usual selfish jerk, tells Canaria to stay out of this so she powers him up with her singing. Ichiya is so damn good that he takes the targets of others, earning their ire. It gets worse when the students also start fighting over each other for targets. WTF?! You’re supposed to be fighting the enemy but instead jostling for more kills? This isn’t Call of Duty, am I right?! Apparently the more kills and scores you do, the higher your ranking and thus your compensation. Yeah. All about the money. Welcome to capitalism. I suppose this is a chance for Kasumi to ‘accidentally’ shoot Ichiya as friendly fire. With the enemy coming on too strong, Maihime decides to unleash her super power. This has everyone including Ichiya to run like hell out from her perimeter. Her big slash wipes out the enemy but too powerful that it destroys Aqua Line too. Oops. In the end, Gutoku admonishes all of them because he specifically told them not to destroy Aqua Line. Guess what? Hotaru and Kasumi conveniently blame Ichiya for this. Wanna fight? Gutoku screws all that and reprimands all of them.

Episode 2
Part of their punishment is to guard the engineering students while the repair Aqua Line and help them out as some of them are afraid they have spotted an unidentified Unknown (that’s like an unknown Unknown, right?). So they split themselves into 2 teams. Team A has Canaria, Maihime and Asuha. As you have guessed, Team B has those who constantly fight each other and hate each other’s guts. So while Team A is cheerful and motivational, Team B is gloomy and always arguing. During lunch break, Ichiya is being rude when Aoi Yaegaki serves him a hot towel. He doesn’t bother remembering names of those lower than him. This has Kasumi throw a hot towel in his face (I guess to give a reason to provoke) and before this reaches boiling point, Canaria calms them down. If you think Gutoku is being nice lending them swimsuits after that, well they have another task coming. As Aoi’s World can scan other people’s memories and transmit to others, they see a mysterious Unknown popping out of the waters and heading back down. No casualties have been reported. I’m sure it must be awkward seeing through a vision of a guy kissing!!! So the gang dive underwater to find the elusive mystery. Kasumi’s World is super hearing. He can figure out the layout of the underwater seabed with his ultrasonic hearing and resonance. He hears one approaching Asuha quick and fires a shot to take it out. In the end, it was never found and they remain suspicious if that was an Unknown because signals should have been picked up then. Asuha sheepishly thanks Kasumi but he becomes a big tease and wants her to repeat it many times, earning her wrath. So much about getting back into her good books. Meanwhile Gutoku and Airi discuss about the enemy being shot down and will be sent to HQ for examination. They fear their secret of the barrier’s layout might be known.

Episode 3
Medical officer, Mahiro Okuni hands in the list of students to be transferred internally to Gutoku and Airi. Airi is not pleased that she treats these students as objects although this transfer is to protect them as their valuable assets in sustaining their world. Okay, so she does make them sound like goods. Later they brief the usual about an unusual Unknown popping up. While Kousuke Hashibiro and his team were on patrol, this giant tower popped up in the middle of the sea. They codename it Leviathan. Their mission is to destroy it as the enemy’s goal is to occupy Umihotaru as a bridgehead. It seems Ichiya was supposed to be with Kousuke during the patrol but instead he was visiting an injured student who is on the transfer list. When Canaria returns home that night, Ichiya isn’t around and from the wide open window, she knew he had gone to fight the menace alone. Luckily Canaria, Kousuke and his team caught up and want to help out but Ichiya continues to be a selfish jerk thinking he can handle it all. But when they all continue to provide support and Canaria starts singing and even reminding him he is no longer alone, he relents and gives teamwork a chance. Everything is going great until Canaria collapses. And she is bleeding like hell! Time for Ichiya to remember what fear looks like. They get overwhelmed by the enemy and even worse, Leviathan is just the tip of the iceberg. You mean this enemy tower is just like a puny antenna for the bigger red durian below?! Knowing they have no chance of winning, they take refuge inside Umihotaru. Ichiya is desperately trying to seek help to save Canaria.

Episode 4
No use to start thinking how useless you are right now. This opens up for the Kanagawa and Chiba counterparts to tease him as they arrive in time to rescue all of them. After Canaria is wheeled into ICU, naturally Ichiya continues to feel down. Then he is summoned by Gutoku to explain why he acted by himself and defy his orders to form a team and take it out together. After a manly slap, Ichiya wants to take responsibility and finish this by himself. Oh, so is he going to rush out there by himself again? No. He has friends whom he needs their power to help. So now he realizes the importance of having friends? Ichiya takes the lead in studying the enemy and preparing tactics for all 3 cities to attack Leviathan which is occupying Umihotaru. While the Tokyo side provide air support and distraction, the Chiba side provides long range gun fire and the Kanagawa side supplying underwater tactics. Canaria wakes up in the hospital bed and once she hears Ichiya out in battle, she wants to go help him despite Aoi’s objection she needs to rest. Besides, she can’t fly there, right? Don’t worry. Kousuke and his team can do the job. By the time they arrive, Canaria’s singing powers up the fighting students. Leviathan takes a lot of damage so naturally it tries to run away. I’m not sure about Ichiya’s strategy to use Maihime’s powerful attack but her finishing move has something to do with E=MC2. WTF?! Since when did Einstein’s theory has got some sh*t in this?! Everyone celebrates their victory as Ichiya brings Canaria back, taking this opportunity to apologize. So now he is a changed person and is going to appreciate the power of teamwork. Gutoku is shocked to learn Aoi has entered the no entry zone. Even more so when he learns Canaria has left the hospital. He desperately tries to get her back. Ichiya talks to Canaria he is asking for a demotion and thus making her the next Tokyo head. He will train and do his best to become number 1. Suddenly a huge rock crashes onto Canaria! WTF?! THIS IS NOT COMEDY, ISN’T IT???!!! No it’s not. Canaria, nooooo!!!

Episode 5
OMG! Canaria is really dead?! I know it’s impossible to survive that but I was hoping some absurd reason would have at least put her in coma in ICU. I guess they really killed off her character :’(. Apparently there are a few students who were also killed in this mysterious fashion. Airi and Gutoku have the Kanagawa and Chiba help out for the time being. Although Maihime is raring to go, Kasumi isn’t fond in particular as he views this as Ichiya’s problem so he should be cleaning this mess up. With Maihime as the interim of Tokyo, she barges into several departments to make some ‘fun’ changes. Yeah, it’s like she’s having fun. While she rallies and gives hope to Tokyo students, Kasumi is on the direct opposite. He badmouths Tokyo, saying there is no hope left and should just come to his city where they’ll protect them. Maihime then goes to visit Ichiya who is wasting away in his room. Of course she blows her top for his hypocrisy but he tells her off that Canaria might just be a number to her but she isn’t a number to him. True. But remember, they are fighting a war. No time to be sulking. When alone, Maihime lets loose her cheerful disposition and cries in Hotaru’s arms before putting back her happy mask on. Kasumi is less forgiving as he forces Ichiya to go do his duties. Meanwhile Aoi just finished her surgery of replacing her Code. Something fishy is going on when Okuni doesn’t want Airi to explain details to her. Something about a group of students including Aoi entered the no entry zone and she was the only one to come out alive. When Aoi accidentally touches Airi’s hands, she sees some horrifying visions. After Aoi is released, Hotaru approaches her to get any hints. Because Aoi’s group was the only one who approached Leviathan from the back. All the mystery murders seemed to come from the group who entered from the rear. Aoi isn’t sure if she should tell but decides she doesn’t know anything. Unknown attacks again and the usual fight and defend battle again. Could have been just another day’s fight if not suddenly the entire sky turning dark red. Freaking hordes of Unknowns dropping down. Apocalypse now?

Episode 6
Hotaru and Aoi are driving towards the no entry zone like crazy since Unknowns are attacking them. I believe the students’ Code serves as a homing device, the reason why certain Unknown types come crashing on them! Holy cow! It looks like those funny cartoon moments when the anvil drops on a character!!! Good news is that Ichiya has snapped out of his gloominess and fights the hordes. But bad news means he has snapped. Going crazy to just kill off the Unknowns recklessly. If there is nobody else to protect, he’ll just destroy everything! Nice reasoning there, mate. Airi for some unknown reasons rushes out into the battlefield and almost got killed. Had not Maihime and her force save her, she would’ve been dead. There’s some flashback about them being together. It is a reason Maihime wants higher authorities to survive. She lets Airi board the train to safety and lets her keep her timepiece. Why do I have a bad feeling about this? So more flashback when Maihime was young, her powerful World just came bursting out. There’s some theory about her special ability awakening from cold sleep but I don’t really understand. Nor do I care. Airi accompanied Maihime to her late grandpa’s house where she took over his coat and timepiece. She explains the normally peaceful dream she has about everyone and the reason she can’t leave this place is because of her promise to Hotaru. With more ‘anvils’ falling and the enemy overwhelming, Maihime orders everyone to retreat. What about her? She is going to play the heroine to buy everyone time. Man, doesn’t that sound like a death wish? As she beats the crap out of the enemy, she remembers about her promise with Hotaru to meet here again after the war because they were going to separate shelters. Maihime refuses to get onboard the train and continues to stop the enemies. Like, she’s really having a death wish now, right? Even more so as she is going to take on this new bunch of humanoid horde. I hope they didn’t postpone her death to the next episode.

Episode 7
Kasumi and Asuha are also racing towards Tokyo. Asuha rides like the wild chick and unknowingly the side car got detached leaving Kasumi behind. Hotaru remembers she got lost many years ago and was taken in by some secret service. She was trained to kill ruthlessly. Aoi and Hotaru stumble upon stranded Kasumi. Hotaru didn’t want to pick him up but kind Aoi did. Too bad he has to hop on while Hotaru is stepping on the accelerator. Nearly killed him. Don’t worry, she believes that won’t kill him. We hear more about Hotaru’s promise with Maihime. Because the latter honoured her promise by waiting for her for 10 years and was the one who brought Hotaru back to her senses. It is the reason why she follows Maihime wherever she goes. With the fight against Unknown wrapping up everywhere else, only Tokyo is left. Airi is trying to reactivate the barrier but it will take time. Maihime is still fighting the Unknowns. Oh, here comes the supposedly big boss. Hey… Doesn’t that look like… Kyuubey?! OMG! Anyway she realizes it isn’t the enemy that is getting stronger but herself getting weaker. Duh. She’s been fighting for who knows how long. Naturally Maihime is on the verge of defeat and succumbing to her fate when here comes Hotaru to rescue her in the nick of time. It seems Kasumi hatched a plan to support Hotaru to jump straight to Maihime. It’s faster that way. With Maihime safely in her arms, Hotaru can now unleash all anger at the Unknowns. Eat this! Everything looks set for victory. The barrier is about to be activated, the Unknowns retreating and Hotaru her final strike. Suddenly Maihime stops Hotaru from her job. Then she destroys her Code and lets a giant Unknown blimp smash into them. Can anyone survive that? I don’t know what Hotaru said in her final words to Kasumi but he sure looks shocked.

Episode 8
Everyone is sad hat Maihime and Hotaru are dead. There are lots more who are dead, injured or missing. Gutoku and Airi suggest Aoi take over Kanagawa’s management while Asuha temporarily handles Tokyo. Okuni suggests scaling down their battles and pulling their defence line back inland by abandoning the current one. She also wants Chigusa to be relocated inside but everyone including Chigusa herself objects. Although Gutoku reluctantly agrees with Okuni, he will decide the time for her relocation. Okuni personally tries to persuade Chigusa the perks of relocating and she can be closer to her family. However she turns her down. Ichiya confronts Kasumi and is mad about his announcement about scaling back battles. What else does Ichiya has to live for if he doesn’t fight to avenge Canaria? Kasumi doesn’t give a damn, Ichiya isn’t going to accept this. Later Kasumi and Aoi go around patrolling and since everyone is teasing them on a date, it is no surprise that Asuha is stalking them from the shadows. Okuni talks to Kasumi and again tries to persuade him to change his sister’s mind. But after learning Hotaru said something to him before her demise, she wants to discuss more in private tonight at a secret location. Don’t tell anybody. Not even Asuha. So here he is and instantly he knows he is set up since the coffee she served is drugged. There’s something mentioned about the world the kids see is fake and Okuni intends to erase that memory from him. He is attacked by… Invisible tentacles! He can’t see but at least he can hear. Okuni beats him up, damaging his eye, claiming they would be better off without obstacles like them. Fortunately, Kasumi didn’t come alone. Okuni couldn’t react in time as Chigusa freezes her. Kasumi finishes her off by breaking her frozen body into pieces. Chigusa isn’t satisfied and goes for overkill by burning every bit of her morsel. Wow. Kasumi may get his awaited sisterly love treatment but don’t make her mad. Taking off his bandage, Kasumi realizes something is wrong with his vision.

Episode 9
Rumours go around that Okuni got promoted to the inside. Although Kasumi is okay, he realizes the visions he has been seeing the world as are fake. He leaves it to Asuha to guard the area while he goes off to do more research. He tries to look up for more information but it is easy and not secured. He believes the ones he wants are locked away as standalone. Aha. A hidden wall filled with paper documents? Big words he finds… Adaptability coefficient and erosion rate… Asuha goes to talk to Ichiya who is still mopping around. When Unknowns attack again, Asuha and Aoi cannot agree on what to do. Ichiya returns to reorganize the team and do something good for once. When Ichiya goes down to the battlefield, an officer tries to prevent him from fighting. And then he got sniped! Ichiya is enraged and he knows only a person has such skills. He confronts Kasumi. One chance to explain. Would you believe it that he was protecting you? Nope. Time to kick ass. More Unknowns descend and attack. Asuha is having a hard time fighting off a couple of super Kyuubey types. She got her Code destroyed in the midst. When an Unknown intervenes Ichiya and Kasumi’s fight, Kasumi instead shoots at Ichiya and lets the Unknown go. This enrages Ichiya even more as the fight becomes a cat and mouse game. Ichiya is being mad and Kasumi is like talking nonsense. Ichiya is so mad in wanting to fight him that he doesn’t even care about the Unknown coming in. And I’m sure Kasumi meant literally is that because the worlds they see are very different. Kasumi then hums Canaria’s song. He doesn’t know how to sing it up until now. Ichiya is still in denial but becomes more confused when he hears Canaria’s voice singing it. Isn’t she supposed to be dead? He is brought to tears hearing her song as the Unknown who is Canaria hugs him. When his Code is broken, Ichiya could finally see the real Canaria in the flesh. Still cheery as always. Then he gets a glimpse of the real world for the first time: A decimated apocalyptic wasteland?

Episode 10
Asuha is rescued by Maihime and Hotaru. Along with Kasumi and Aoi, they are brought to Johannes. She is the Chigusa siblings’ mother. She is so spunky and lively it is as though she didn’t leave any of those genes to her children. Really. As the commander of this operation she explains what has been going on. Many years ago, children were kidnapped and raised by Unknown to fight against real humans. When the first war started 30 years ago, many adults put their children into cold sleep as emergency measure. However that was the Unknown’s plan to kidnap and then implant false memories into them. Therefore the Code embedded behind their neck was necessary to maintain a false world. Of course to the real humans, everything looked vague too so they had a hard time differentiating friend or foe and many perished. The no entry zone is the farthest of the barrier and if one crosses over, they would see the real world. That’s why the humans were trying to destroy it. Ichiya feels like a dick after hearing Canaria’s explanation. Not only he was fooled and failed to live up to his hero dream, how can he face Kasumi whom he can picture has that I-told-you-so smug on his face. Canaria remains positive that he can start anew and get along with everyone else. Johannes shows the ultimate cannon that will wipe out the entire area and destroy all Unknown. Yeah, they’ve put all their budget into it so it better work. Aoi is still hesitant because some like Airi and Gutoku have been really kind towards them. Johannes assures the kids don’t have to fight anymore and leave it to the adults. The alert sounds. Time to kick Unknown ass. Our usual heroes go into their action mode slaying the aliens. Ichiya repays his debt to Kasumi by saving his ass. They’re even now although they’re still the same throwing insults at each other. Oh yeah. All is fine in the world.

Episode 11
It’s like Airi and Gutoku are having their final liaisons together before the big decisive fight. But it seems they have their own plan as they take out their own comrades who are guarding the sleeping kids in the capsule. Johannes further explains that Unknown invaded Earth not to steal resources or territory but to alter their children so it would evolve into their kind. Something about Unknowns cannot reproduce on their own. However Aoi is still in doubt as she believes Airi and Gutoku are good guys who treated her well with love. She can’t just defect. She doesn’t want this truth. Johannes then orders the use of the cannon. It creates a huge damage but the remaining enemies counter attack. Johannes gets injured in the attack. Cue for mother and children to bond tightly in the infirmary before the kids heading off to finish unfinished business. Just when Maihime is going to lead her troops to fight head on, Kasumi and Asuha have another plan. They are going to strike the tower where Airi and Gutoku are. Kasumi calls Ichiya to convince that guy to join in. At first Ichiya has lost all reason to fight but when Kasumi tells him to take a good look at the girl he loves, he changes his mind. That should be a reason worth fighting. The general outline of the plan is to sneak into the tower via this lousy boat and then destroy the gate. Simple. As for how to destroy the gate, Kasumi hasn’t thought that far. Hey, he’s trying to keep things simple. Once inside the tower, they split into groups. Ichiya’s group is shocked to find a trail of bodies of Unknowns lying around. Did somebody beat them to it? They are then confronted by Gutoku who has been waiting for them. Noticed something? He still looks like the Gutoku they all know. That’s because Gutoku has always been a human from the start! Maihime and Hotaru head deep down to rescue the sleeping kids. They are confronted with a hideous Unknown fit enough to be a boss of Dark Souls.

Episode 12
Gutoku once encountered an Unknown looking a lot like a human (Airi). He got stabbed. Now he explains to the kids why he is working with the enemy all along. It’s not like he hate mankind or anything. Just that he saw a goddess. WTF?! What kind of excuse is that? So Airi is his God or something? At this point, Aoi can no longer be untrue to herself. She decides to defect to the other side. And she has no regrets about it. So while the girls chase her, the guys stay back and fight. If you’re wondering if Gutoku is just human, why is he displaying superhuman abilities? Well, Unknown tinkered with his body so he is part Unknown! That sentence feels so strange. When our young heroes are on the verge of losing, Canaria starts singing and this gives them hope to fight back. This means Asuha takes out Aoi via some wrestling chokehold and Aoi thrusting her sword into the Unknown. This makes her remember a long time ago she talked to Airi about her dream. It was to have her own child and die the way she wants. Once Aoi sees Airi’s timepiece on the ground, she knew what she had done but she has no regrets. She and Hotaru free the children. Gutoku senses Airi is dead and tells the guys to flee because this tower will now collapse without her as the administrator. He is going down with the ship. So everyone gets out and before you know it, the gate closes and all Unknowns in the world is gone. Rejoice mankind! For you have won! Gutoku did want to die with Airi in the collapsing tower but he sees a vision of her spirit asking him to take care of Aoi. If that’s her wish… So peace reign over the area and everyone is trying to rebuild their lives. Ichiya and co visit an unnamed grave dedicated to Airi.

“How Can Mirrors Be Real If Our Eyes Aren’t Real?”
Now that Unknowns are expelled from the world, what is there left to fight for? What the heck was Canaria’s final narration about learning more about their World? At this point does it really matter? Now the kids can go back and live their so called normal lives as normal humans but they can’t really because they’ve always been under the care of a certain kind pair of Unknowns but we don’t care anymore since the anime has pretty much ended on a cliché good-humans-triumph-over-everything.

Well, everything seems pretty cliché and predictable by the time it reaches halfway. And when they started killing off our young heroes one by one, something inside me felt that there was more than meets the eye. There must be a hidden plot twist somewhere. I mean, killing off one of the cutest main characters as early as episode 4? That’s insane, right? Something must be amiss. With Canaria’s ‘death’, Ichiya literally ‘died’ on the inside. Yeah, he is dead for the middle parts of the story. And when Maihime and Hotaru seemingly accepted their untimely ‘deaths’, I could actually guess what the entire twist was about. And hell yeah, I was right even before that revelation about the world they’re seeing being fake is greatly hinted or revealed. The biggest twist is supposed to be “You’re the bad guys all along”. Because of that, it took away some of the pleasures and fun in watching the series. It somewhat became boring then. I don’t know. Is it my fault? Well, at least it is a good thing because it shows that I am paying attention, right?

The characters feel unexciting and as monotonous as Kasumi’s slacker character. By the way, the Chigusa siblings are the more interesting ones compared to the rest of the main characters. Kasumi is like forever like in his sleepy mode. His looks feel like he has this “I wish I wasn’t here” sound. Despite looking like a lazy slacker, he feels like the main character because he has to do all the dirty jobs while the others weren’t around. Making him more amusing is his interaction with his sister. I wonder if this can also be called sibling love-cum-hate. It’s like they hate each other but they don’t because that is how they talk to each other. The way Asuha always spites him with sarcasm about his creepy attitude and Kasumi being reduced to a weakling, giving us an impression he may be a siscon or something and Asuha a tsundere with buranko complex.

Ichiya may look and start off looking like the main character but after Canaria got seemingly killed, he is reduced to a wreck. A lost soul sulking trying to make out the reason for the rest of his existence. He is the kind of character full of angst and would settle for throwing punches instead of diplomacy. It makes his whining annoying. Well, if they wanted a less than perfect main character whom everyone would love to dislike, they’ve done a good job. His butt heading with Kasumi is amusing too but only second to Kasumi-Asuha banter. Maybe that is why he needs happy go lucky Canaria around to calm him down and rationalize his thinking. Maihime’s childish and lively character balances up the otherwise gloomy group of characters (asides Canaria). Well, she has to. When her name is the name of an anime series where my first waifu came from, she’d better be. Then you have Hotaru who looks like a typical strict swordswoman but serves more of a potential yuri role for Maihime.

Finally, Aoi. I think she is the most annoying of the group. She doesn’t even have fighting capabilities and overall I see her as a whiny confused soul. I can’t really blame her. Imagine if you’re being raised by adults whom you think are your biological parents. Then when you reach your legal age of adulthood, suddenly somebody drops the bombshell that they are not your real parents. But these ‘parents’ of yours have been taking real good care of you ever since. So how not to feel confused? I understand her case but I don’t know. It doesn’t really do much good to her character in that sense. Then finally when she defected, it’s like she become totally useful and able. It’s like her dark side unleashed and we see a side that we never expect her to see. I am not sure if Aoi is alive in the end because despite seeing Gutoku picking her up and hinting they will continue living, where are they going to run then? Conveniently, their existence is thrown into mystery when we see a slab falling supposedly on them. So if we don’t really consider their deaths, this means Airi is the only main supporting character who died?! Wait! NOT MAMIKO NOTO GETTING KILLED OFF AGAIN???!!! WTF???!!!! I don’t want to see this true world anymore!!! I know there is this Okuni character too but she isn’t a memorable one so it doesn’t really mater…

In short, sure, all of the kids have their flaws and troubles and some like Ichiya and Maihime have their own back stories to give their character a little more depth. But in the end, the kind of problems they have are mostly their own personality that you want to tell them to get over themselves. In the end, they mainly stay true to themselves because Ichiya and Kasumi continue their sarcastic banter. Some things never change

As for the aliens known as Unknowns, I’m sure they’re being namely apt so that we don’t question what the heck they are or where they come from. All I know when they first appeared, I thought they came out from Kirby. Not because of their shape but rather their colour. Funny to see kids fighting against Kirby-coloured enemies. Even more mind boggling is how they steal kids to reproduce or more accurately to continue their species’ existence. Of all species in the universe (assuming there are other aliens out there), they had to pick us humans (for the sake of the plot). Don’t they know how weak humans are (assuming humans here are your average Joes like in the real world)? They are prone to diseases and illness and their bodies are so frail that once broken it cannot be recovered as good as before. And they want to evolve us to their own kind?

This is supposed to be an action sci-fi anime. Or so I think. Because the action parts feel as boring as the plot. They’re supposed to supplement it and in worst case scenarios supposed to be the relief from the dull story. Instead, the fights are nothing special and feel forced. Just because they have to fight the Unknowns, the fight scenes are necessary. I don’t think I even remember if each of the main characters has some sort of special skill that makes them stand out from the rest. Even so, they are just general. For instance, Kasumi’s sniping, Asuha’s gunning, Maihime and Hotaru’s sword slashing, Ichiya’s erm, magic and Canaria’s uhm, singing? As for the other students, I find it really odd for those who fight aerially. Because they have to ride ‘magic wands’ that look like broomsticks. I thought they had to go play Quidditch after that. If the anime wasn’t ‘funny’ enough for you, there is a short still picture segment at the end of each episode that depicts a chibi and comical comic of the characters doing random stuffs. All are illustrated by the series’ author, Maki Toyama.

I won’t say that the quality of the animation is totally bad. But I noticed that there is a drop in it during the later episodes. Sometimes I feel that there isn’t enough ‘animation’. What I mean is that you know how Japanese animation sometimes would like to show off their animation like their hair waving in the wind when even there is no wind. So in the case of this anime, I feel that the lack in such animation makes certain scenes look like still pictures. Sometimes it surprised me a bit to make me think that my computer has frozen or something.

The only redeeming factor is of course hearing Mamiko Noto as Airi. I know I’m bias but who cares at this point. When I realized the twist of her character that she is supposed to be on the alien’s side, it still proves that my unwarranted worries that they may try to kill her character off. And they did… Damn you! Why do you have to be so bias!!! The only other seiyuuu I recognized is Aoi Yuuki as Maihime and Mai Nakahara as Johannes. The rest of the other casts are Souma Saitou as Ichiya (Kain in Kyoukai No Rinne), Yui Ishikawa as Canaria (Mikasa in Shingeki No Kyojin), Yuuma Uchida as Kasumi (Yabuki in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk), Chika Anzai as Asuha (Chaika in Hitsugi No Chaika), Ayaka Fukuhara as Hotaru (Rin Shibuya in Idolmaster Cinderella Girls), Hiroaki Hirata as Gutoku (Sanji in One Piece) and Sora Amamiya as Aoi (Akame in Akame Ga Kill).

Despite having a few opening and ending themes, none of them resonated with me. I believe it isn’t the fact that they are all rock based which is quite fitting for what this series’ genre is. For the first 2/3 of the series, the opener is Brave Freak Out by Lisa followed by Axxxis which is also sung by the same singer. Claris does the first ending theme, Gravity while Garnidelia does the second one, Yakusoku -Promise Code-. For the third ending theme, Claris and Garnidelia combine unite and do a duet for Clever.

Overall, this isn’t entirely a bad anime per se. It’s badder because they killed off Mamiko Noto’s character and triggered my phobia last minute. Just kidding. But seriously. I know with all the criticisms that I have given, it is not as bad because at the end of it, I was still somewhat ‘entertained’. Maybe all this bad review about this anime all boils down to our own biasness and prejudice. That has become our Code in looking this anime in a negative light. Because I am very sure that compared to a person like me who has watched so many animes and have come to form my own (unrealistic) expectations and hope, to another person who is new to anime, there would definitely be very disparaging comments. So maybe this series is trying to subtly hint that for us veteran anime viewers, if we could take away all the preconceptions and prejudgments that have been blinding us for a long time, this series is actually a good one if not a decent one for what it is worth. Or maybe this is just straight up a bad anime that even the blind can see how bad it is from miles away.

Space Patrol Luluco

November 12, 2016

For the umpteenth time, whenever a teenager yearns for a normal life no matter how rough and tough he or she has got it now, this seems to be jinxed a lot. Because you know, they usually become the hero and catalyst to save the world and the entire human race with their whatever hidden latent power. Or that destiny crap whatsoever. This is the case for our titular character in Space Patrol Luluco. Life is already hard enough for our middle school girl but at least she isn’t suffering. Her hopes for a normal life (despite living in a world where abnormal is the norm. Geddit?) takes a turn for the worse when she is drafted to become part of the Space Patrol and endure all the shenanigans as part of her mission. Did I mention that involves falling in love with her fellow colleague too? Oh yeah. Life is pretty normal in anime standards.

Episode 1
Luluco lives with her dad, Keiji who works at the Space Patrol. Their poor apartment life is because of mom’s messy divorce and she took all the furniture. Keiji accidentally bites a freezing pill. To Luluco’s horror, it is one of those things he confiscated from work. In her panic, she accidentally breaks him. Feeling the need to make him punch in at work, she brings him all the way to the Ogikubo branch and meets its chief, Over Justice! As Luluco tries to explain, Justice has the habit of arresting her first and then releasing once she makes her story clear. Luluco knows how much this place sucks but she is forced to work for this branch seeing Keiji cannot take anymore advance pay. There is some crime rampant in her middle school and Justice wants her to help out since adults cannot interfere. Luluco goes school like normal. During the exam, her alert rings and thus activating her patrol suit automatically. To her embarrassment, her classmates think she is some sort of exhibitionist, flaunting her curves. When the exam cheater is caught and is trying to make a run, Luluco transforms into a lame looking gun! Even more laughing from the rest! Totally embarrassing! But I think she’ll have the last laugh because the blast is so powerful that it made a hole in the wall. Okay, nobody’s laughing.

Episode 2
The cheater is willing to confess when a large meteorite crashes into class. The teacher forgot there is a new transfer student, Alpha Omega Nova. It seems he is also summoned by Justice to work at the Space Patrol. Since Luluco needs to bring the cheater him, he also has her guide her around town. He notes how this place is a melting pot of aliens and humans. Luluco doesn’t notice it since she lived here all her life. Though, it is mentioned that Japan sold off Ogikubo for a dirt cheap price because they were too broke. After that, aliens moved in and there was chaos at first. After meeting Justice, he tells Nova to interrogate the cheater. Nova transforms into his gun mode. At least his looks cool. The cheater reveals the school is being controlled by a terrifying alien called Save the World who is distributing quasi-legal Black Hole app to students. Justice orders the duo to eliminate this evil. So Nova blasts the cheater with his gun! Because he looks so cool doing it, is Luluco falling for him! Because she’s like falling through the universe! This causes her to transform into her gun mode and also blasts the cheater! Plus a hole in the wall. Man, how is the cheater still alive?

Episode 3
Nova suggests they split up looking for the culprit in her school. It’ll be much faster that way. When Luluco bumps into her friend, Midori, she thinks Luluco wants to buy a Black Hole app and is willing to sell her. Luluco is in a dilemma whether to get it or not but since Midori allows her to check it out, she somewhat agrees. It seems Midori is Save the World. Her members are worried since one of them has ratted on them and Space Patrol will raid them in no time. Midori remains confident that it won’t happen yet when suddenly Luluco and Nova bust in to arrest them. Surprised her friend is from Space Patrol? Nova wants to use gunfire to solve things but obviously Luluco disagrees as it might hit her friend. Midori uses the app to kidnap Nova since she is into handsome guys. After Luluco transforms into a gun and fires away all the lackeys, Midori uses Nova to fire back. Luluco is afraid she will hit Nova but he tells her not to worry. If she can’t resolve this without firing, then all she needs to do is fire! Although Luluco fires a shot, it ricochets till it his Midori. After Midori is arrested, Luluco apologizes for that dangerous move. He tells her shooting enemies with her gun is perfectly normal. She is still unsure what to do about her future so he says to remain as she is. You mean stay normal? No, stay wonderful. Midori is handed over to Justice and learning that how awesome it is to be part of Space Patrol, Midori also wants to join. At first Justice rejects her for being a criminal but when she threatens him, he agrees because nobody has ever volunteered before! Unprecedented justice? Looks like Luluco’s days will be getting far from normal.

Episode 4
Luluco hopes Nova will have eyes for her one day. She might be getting her wish soon as he starts getting poetic with her. And then the stupid alert had to sound. Seems a meteorite will crash into Ogikubo and to prevent that from happening, Space Patrol will be going up there and plant a bomb to explode it to pieces. The agents will be blasted there in 3 stages using their gun form. Midori thought she got the raw end of the deal when she becomes the base to launch the duo. Luluco thought she could be alone with Nova but he too uses his gun to propel her further. Now she has to do this mission alone! Her only solace is that she has to come back alive if she wants to see Nova again. After planting the bomb on the meteorite, she finds herself stuck. Justice says to use her gun form to blast her way back but Luluco feels embarrassed about it. That is when Nova interprets she doesn’t want to see him again. It’s not nice to lie. Luluco bites the bullet and blasts her way out before the meteorite blows up. She is breaking apart as she re-enters the atmosphere but is picked up by her mom! She was riding that meteorite and is not too happy she has joined Space Patrol.

Episode 5
They crash into Ogikubo’s Space Patrol base. Better than the meteorite crashing down, right? Luluco doesn’t understand why her mom, Space Pirate Lalaco Godspeed is doing this. Flashback mom and dad were always fighting till she left. Luluco was always caught in between. Lalaco is not impressed her daughter is trying to be normal. She reveals it was part of her plan to freeze Keiji or else her job would be tough. Justice for once stands up to fight back. His gun had no effect on Lalaco although Lalaco’s gun turned him into broken bones! Useless chief. Lalaco’s minions have got Keiji. Luluco pleads not to take Keiji away but when Lalaco is about to beat her up, Nova comes in between. It is not nice to hit a girl. Even by a girl? After Lalaco and crew return to their ship, they initiate the next phase of their plan. They lift the entire Ogikubo from the ground. Midori then spots an online auction of Ogikubo by Lalaco. I don’t know how many zeros are there… Justice is going to call HQ for backup but it seems they’re closed for today. They’re screwed.

Episode 6
As Luluco is holding Keiji’s brain, Justice gets an idea to microwave, defrost and electrocute it to start up. Don’t ask. It worked. Keiji leads them back to his apartment whereby there is a secret spaceship behind the closet! Didn’t even know about this, did you Luluco? They blast up to Lalaco’s ship while the adults banter something about their twisted version of justice. Keiji demands Lalaco return Ogikubo but do you think this bad woman will do what her ex-husband says? Somebody has hit the required bidding price so Lalaco is going to package Ogikubo and warp it away. Thankfully Midori still has those Black Hole apps as she uses them all to combine into one giant warp hand to grab Lalaco’s ship. Luluco attempts to persuade her mom to stop doing bad things but Lalaco reminds her if she sees someone else destroying something, she can’t rest easy till she destroys it with her own hands! The double warp causes some sort of space distortion as both ships are sent away to some unknown parts of the universe.

Episode 7
Team Luluco is now before a giant planet made out of yarn. According to the website, it consists of many Ogikubo and is the universe’s biggest tourism hub. Checking out the planet, Luluco finds some familiar local shops. Suddenly this Nova clone claims he has everyone tied to his red string of destiny. This of course intended to feed the space life fibres and provide them energy. While Luluco is in a dilemma which Nova she should fall in love, her alert sounds. This means Nova clone must be doing some kind of space fraud. However she cannot transform into her gun mode as the strings everywhere are entangling her. Nova clone is dumb enough to tell how to cut the strings loose. He forgot his end is also connected to the strings so Justice’s burning flames burn the strings and set everyone free. Our Space Patrol agents can now transform into their gun form to arrest him. However Nova clone would rather burn himself this way. And burn himself he did as the entire planet is now on fire! Everyone escapes as Nova mentions about their feelings creating this Ogikubo world so it is not the real Ogikubo. Perhaps that dude was just lonely after spending all that time in space by himself. Not that Luluco understands anyway.

Episode 8
Before another planet, Justice sends Nova and Luluco to go investigate. Luluco panics as she is now alone with him and doesn’t know what to talk. Fearing he might think she is as boring as sh*t, she strikes up weird conversations. No response. Sh*t! They hide when Nova spots a witch flying. This causes Luluco to worry the boy-starved witches might kidnap Nova. She wants them to go back but Nova hears something from the tower and wants to investigate. Luluco immediately transforms into her gun mode to investigate it herself. Then this witch, Sucy Manbavaran starts stuffing mushrooms in her hole! I wonder which hole… She thinks Luluco wants to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone which is giving off the same power as Ogikubo. When it is learnt that the mushrooms are poisonous and she has about 6 minutes to live and no magic can save her, Luluco resigns to her fate and wants to die a normal death. But then she realizes she has so much to do and can’t go out like that. She requests to kiss Nova. She is wondering if her first kiss is her last but Nova doesn’t care. So as the dying seconds count down, Luluco manages to get the most epic kiss from him. Bye Luluco. But she’s not dead? Sucy realizes the poison only takes effect in 60 years. Phew, right? She thinks she is now closer with Nova but sees him wipe his mouth. Heart break… And he doesn’t mind she has 60 years left…

Episode 9
Luluco is on some yellow planet seeking a shark detective’s advice not to find Ogikubo but relationship advice with Nova! But the agency is attacked by crocodile ruffians who accuse him for some loans or sleeping with other people’s women. They escape while the entire town turns into one big chaotic messy chase and fight! When sharky’s doll secretary is sliced up, he becomes the Hulk to smash everyone and everything to bits. That is when Luluco gets some advice from the doll about men being shy creatures. They treat you like crap but actually care about you. Before Luluco is owned, she is saved by Nova who believes she is precious to him. Love metre rising! Nova then explains they have discovered so many Ogikubo but those in space are fakes. After refining his online search, they find the real Ogikubo is gathered at the centre of the galaxy. This means it is no other than the Space Patrol HQ itself. They are welcomed by the commander who in turn promotes and rewards them with prizes and gifts. The best gift for Luluco is that she gets the real Ogikubo back. All nicely packed and wrapped up. What a happy ending.

Episode 10
While Luluco is feeling so happy, Nova suddenly steals back Ogikubo and her heart and hands it over to the commander. He is revealed to be a Blackholeian who has taken over the HQ. Blackholeians exist to shoplift anything with value but how does that make Ogikubo valuable? Once it has reached a certain technological level and cultural hotspot. But what about Luluco’s heart then, the so called Aflutter Jewel? It has no value at all. Especially if you’re talking about Luluco’s sh*tty first love is all the value it has. Blackholeians have been stealing valuable things for so long that they find those without value to be valuable. So the sh*ttiest thing in the universe with no value still holds some value? Confused? He continues explaining that Nova is a Nothingling, shallow beings hailing from a planet with nothing. Isn’t it no wonder their conversations felt so hollow? Heartbroken Luluco feels betrayed. She really loved him so much. Was it all a lie? Well, he never minded it anyway! In a twisted move, Blackholeian then smashes and destroys Aflutter Jewel. As the rest are thrown into prison, they try to revive Luluco but since she’s dead, might as well hold a funeral for her. Yeah, so sad for Luluco that she doesn’t even want to continue the next episode. RIP Luluco.

Episode 11
Sorry Luluco. You still have to continue this crap! As she wanders in hell and feeling regretful and hurtful over Nova’s betrayal, she meets a guy who looks like Justice but isn’t. He is someone who just knows Justice. Luluco talks about her betrayal so he gives her some hope that he was killed many times but cannot die. Because justice never dies! Even what is normal or not, you yourself dictate what it is. But Luluco is still worried on how to face Nova. When asked how she was lied to, Luluco realizes Nova never lied to her once. He was just being himself. She only assumed it all because she thought he was on the same side. Luluco is resolved to confess her feelings and ask him about his. Her feelings won’t go away just because they were stolen. After all that, she will arrest him. After all, he shoplifted her most prized possession. Sorry to break it to you mourners because Luluco is back with a bang. She bursts out from her funeral! Literally.

Episode 12
With the power of love, Luluco blasts away the underlings! She gets help from Lalaco too as she sarcastically quips she was here to attend her funeral. Luluco pleads to her for a favour. She doesn’t want Ogikubo, her dad or a normal life. She wants to confess to a boy. Seeing the determination in her eyes, Lalaco lends her ship to her. Keiji doesn’t approve but he has no say! Then the rest set off an explosive fight to let Luluco find her love. When Luluco finds Nova, she tells him he can steal her heart as many times he wants. However, take it without permission and that is a crime. So she arrests him by hugging him and confesses she loves him? Blackholeian laughs at this farce for he knows it won’t affect Nova. He has him steal her Aflutter Jewel and then break it. However Luluco is able to create a new one. Break again, create new one. Just how many can she make? She blasts Nova with her multiple Aflutter Jewels and has him remember all the feelings and times they went through. Nova starts to feel something as Luluco pleads for him to go back together. As Blackholeian attacks, Nova protects her with his body. He now understands feelings and just fell in love with Luluco. Blackholeian transforms into a hideous monster. Nova and Luluco hold hands tightly and believe they can go through this together. You’re under arrest for shoplifting! Although nervous, Luluco believes this makes her feel she can do anything.

Episode 13
Combining both their jewels to become a Lovey-dovey Diamond, the power of their requited love is going to beat the sh*t out of Blackholeian. Justice is love! However Blackholeian has foreseen this and previously installed some micro black hole in Nova’s head. It will consume him entirely. But all the power starts flowing into Luluco. I’m not sure about the explanation here but it seems Luluco has been the spark plug to power the universe. The chosen one who has the power to patrol across dimensions. The epic power battle begins with Luluco trying to bend the dimensions and lecture Blackholeian about his evil ways. His shoplifting makes him no worse than a middle schooler. Of course this upsets the bugger. Luluco is out of ammo when Nova suggests she uses him. You know what happens when black hole and black hole with each other. No, seriously I don’t. Luluco is sad that this means they can’t be together. This was all part of fate. If that is so, why are they fated to meet? So they can meet again. In another dimension. Luluco uses Nova as a bullet as the black holes engulf each other and return normalcy back to the universe. Luluco feels sad so reluctant Keiji gives her hope to chase him to the ends of the universe to arrest him. She has to introduce her boyfriend to her dad someday, right? In the aftermath, Justice is promoted to the HQ Commander with Midori taking over as Ogikubo branch chief. Keiji is now under Space Patrol’s piracy task force since Lalaco is still going strong with her piracy. I guess it’s a reason to chase her down. Finally, Luluco is a super dimensional special officer codenamed Miss Trigger. She’s got a cool gun-bike to go with too.

Justice Is Served!
I can contribute the short duration of each episode which is roughly about 7.5 minutes that makes this series highly enjoyable. And with its no punches pulled nonsense, it makes this quite a high octane comedy where it is concerned. I’m not sure if it would work had this been a full length anime series because at the end of it, I was wishing more from it but when I think about it, perhaps everything in this short condensed form is better. Everything moves along at its lightning pace so there is no time a-wasting. Everything that is needed much to be told is already told in this season. Though, I find it odd that they consider ‘a season’ after every 3 episodes. I know. It’s a big joke even when the final episode is actually a single final episode and single season by itself. Crazy, right? That actually sums up what this series is supposed to be. Heck, even dividing episodes into seasons feels like trolling since they are closely link to each other in a way that it shouldn’t be called another season. Season cliff-hanger?

As this series is produced by Trigger, you will notice that this series is one big parody of all the other series under their belt. So if you have seen some of their past works, I am sure that you can spot many trivia and cameos like Kill La Kill, Inferno Cop and Little Witch Academia among the episodes. There is even a line reference, a very famous ‘quote’ from Ninja Slayer The Animation. Yeeart! Since Trigger studio was founded by former employees of Gainax, there are also very few references to Gainax’s animes like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann especially Justice’s pointy shades that resembles closely to Kamina’s. Thus these parodies are highly appreciable and the fun doubled for those who know these series. I guess they have an absurd reputation to keep up.

Despite the lack of character development, I’m sure we couldn’t care about that since we’re laughing so hard at all the nonsense. Thanks to that, we find almost everyone lovable. Like Luluco as your average tween experiencing her first love. That’s pretty normal, right? It’s just sad that her first love is also her first heart break but I feel that could be a blessing in disguise as it made her reflect on her actions and grew stronger to confront it all. And true to the age old adage, the power of love conquers it all. When Nova first appeared, he looked like that cool guy who doesn’t say much. But then you start figuring that something might be wrong with him because he has this habit of saying that he doesn’t mind. Everything. Of course when a girl in love like Luluco, naturally she’ll start misinterpreting what she wants to interpret and thus her heartbreak has only herself to blame. It’s just sad that Luluco couldn’t end up with Nova for a happy ending. However if it did, it would have been so normal and seeing this show is about everything abnormal, it works out. You don’t feel sad that Luluco and Nova are away because they imbued in our minds that they will meet someday. Someday.

For the rest of the supporting characters, I can’t say much because like Midori, I figure she is the dumb comic relief sometimes spewing one or two punch lines but that’s about it. Then there is the cool flaming Justice who is always spewing stuffs about justice and the likes. And then there is his silent secretary who doesn’t have a single dialogue in this series and sometimes you think she might be there just to add up for the numbers. But she is no pushover either as she can hold her own and does what is expected as a secretary would do. Keiji is the passionate loudmouth guy of the series but thankfully he spends a short time conscious otherwise our ears will be ringing with his constant barrage of high volume shouting. Finally, Lalaco. Ah, the pirate mom wannabe who wants to be anything but normal. She’s not as bad as you think she is. As mean as she might look, Luluco is still her daughter and if a mother doesn’t support her own child’s first love, I don’t know what is. With parents like these, do you think Luluco has a shot at being normal?

So it is really true that what constitutes being normal or not is basically down to your beliefs and stereotypes. What is normal? Only you can decide that for yourself as Luluco learns to be herself and even if it looks abnormal in the eyes of others, but who cares what others say as long as you feel pretty normal and comfortable about it. Remember, better to have people around you who would prefer you to be as you are instead of forcing you to fit into what is normal. Heck, none of these folks here are normal but seeing wacky they are, it’s pretty normal for them in that case.

Art and drawing are of course funny and cute. But I can’t help notice how the characters resemble those from Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt, another series under Gainax. At least the outline and overall design. Thus it has that overall cartoonish feel. Some of the backgrounds like the buildings and shops of Ogikubo feel like they are cut outs from real blocks. Being true to their style over substance flare, there are lots of special effects and special especially in the epic final episode fight for the heck of it. When I first look at the Aflutter Jewel, I thought it resembles a lot like the heart shaped jewels from Pretty Cure. Because this series wasn’t animated by Trigger or Gainax but Toei Animation. I know it could be just coincidence but it looks too close to call.

The only seiyuu I recognized was Nobuyuki Hiyama as Blackholeian. This guy seems to be the alumni of Trigger and Gainax animes as his voice is featured in many of their productions. From Gurren Lagann to Kill La Kill, it is like he is omnipresent in most of their animes. Of course he is also a veteran and has voiced many roles in other animes as well. Some of the other casts who also played in other Trigger animes are Mayumi Shintani as Midori (Jakuzure in Kill La Kill), Tetsu Inada as Justice (Gamagoori in Kill La Kill) and Mitsuo Iwata as Keiji (Fukuroda in Kill La Kill). The rest of the casts are Mao as Luluco (Renge in Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezda), Junya Enoki as Nova (Shoutarou in Sakurako-san No Ashimoto Ni Wa Shitai Ga Umatteiru) and Youko Honna as Lalaco (Nagisa in Pretty Cure series).

The opening theme, Cry Max Doheijitsu by Fujirokku Kari is a crazy rock n roll song despite lasting only for 30 seconds. It gets you into the crazy pace of what to expect from this series. I don’t think the singer is even singing. He’s just talking fast. If you have heard that ending theme from Naruto, Hajimete Kimi To Shabetta, you will have an idea how this song will sound like. But the oddest song is the ending theme. Pipo Password by Teddyloid featuring Bonjour Suzuki feels like a creepy space song. How should I put it… Because it feels like the singer is whispering as she sings, thus the creepy cosmos-like feel of the song. It somewhat reminds me of the ending theme in Yuri Seijin Naoko-san…

Overall, this series feels like it has everything packed under one roof. It has action, explosions, it has adventure (in space), it has romance, it has drama and it has the funny stuffs to tickle your bone. It is so silly and ridiculous but at the same time so fun to watch. And it all blends it so seamlessly that it seems so perfect that you might not even notice. If I might say so, it could be one of those few series that mashes up a little of everything and turning out right. Thank goodness, right? For a short show filled with whirlwind space action adventure romantic comedy, it sure gives a great value and justice to many other animes out there with similar length. Oh wait. There aren’t that many of such same length. But I guarantee you will be blown away by the greatness of epic universal proportions of this little gem. Justice is indeed served.

Kekkai Sensen

June 19, 2016

When you talk about a culture as a melting pot, what kind of image does it conjure in your mind? Could it be a place with lots of other races other than the locals? You mean aliens, right? No, not aliens as in illegal immigrants mingling about in the local crowd. I mean, real aliens. Even if they are not extraterrestrial, at least the kind that comes from the other world. And that people, is the setting of Kekkai Sensen also officially known as Blood Blockade Battlefront. The great Big Apple of America that was once known as New York has now become a melting pot of all kinds of weird, strange, bizarre and funny aliens from the other side of the world mixing and blending with the daily life of humans, American style. And when you have such a huge paranormal chaos at hand, how do you keep all those aliens in check to protect our human asses? Yes. A secret organization to keep the balance in check. Heh. Humans have a hard time keeping each other in check. Can this one do it for all known races?

Episode 1
Leonardo Watch is writing to his sister, Michella that he is doing fine after arriving at the Big Apple for 6 months. It is the still the same chaotic and noisy place it has always been. As narrated, the mysterious city of Hellsalem’s Lot from the Otherworld suddenly merged with New York. A strange mist barricaded the city and ever since it has became a melting pot of humans and bizarre aliens. Leonardo quickly runs into trouble when a monkey steals its camera while he is eating at his usual diner. However it is no ordinary monkey and it has some supersonic speed that humans cannot catch by their naked eye. But Leonardo could and starts chasing it down. By a stroke of luck, a nearby bank robbery’s explosion takes them out. He is rescued and picked up by Zapp Renfro who is going to bring him to the secret society of Libra. This has been the organization that Leonardo has trying to find and join. It is believed to be a secret group of super humans keeping the balance of both worlds. After going through secret passages, Leonardo meets the chief, Klaus Von Reinherz and fellow member Chain Sumeragi. However, they realize Zapp has got the wrong person because Leonardo looked like this Johnny Landis kid they’re supposed to recruit and they just got word that he died. Leonardo pleads to stay when the news reports regarding the bank robbery when the robber splits itself to cause more rampage while being arrested. The broadcast is being hijacked by Femt, the King of Depravity who is bored with the way things are and wants the entire city to play his game. They must find the Gate that split the robber in 2 before the demon does and destroy it or else… Our gang deduces the Gate is most likely that monkey. Oh, there it runs…

Their base is shortly destroyed by the police and Zapp thinks Leonardo is a traitor although Klaus did save him from harm’s path. He notices something special about Leonardo’s eyes so he explains 6 months ago he was with his family here. They thought Hellsalem’s Lot was a place of miracles and something could help cure Michella. As he was about to snap a family’s photo, a large monster appeared and asked them to choose a witness. Leonardo was so scared that he froze but Michella offered the thing that would be taken from her. With the police breathing down their neck, Klaus has an understanding of Leonardo’s ability and would like to enlist his help in which he believes is the key to restore balance. In exchange, they will help with his goal. Long story short: Welcome to Libra. Klaus fends off the mechanical police so Leonardo and Zapp could start their mission. Zapp gives Leonardo a lift as they try to find the monkey. Zapp materializes his blood to fight the demon. Leonardo uses his sight ability to dodge all the attack to run towards the monkey. However he does not kill it but the bug implanted in it. This upsets Femt because had he done so, something interesting would have happened. His plans ruined. Steven A. Starphase. Libra’s second-in-command is unsure about Leonardo possessing the Eyes of God and Klaus taking him in. He believes they can deal whatever it is should anything happen.

Episode 2
Leonardo witnesses a few quirks of his Libra team. Zapp always trying to kill Klaus whenever he thinks he has his guard down but is often defeated. Steven explains the priceless artefact being the Eyes of God. It allows the user to see into the past and future. This means there’ll be many who will be targeting Leonardo. That kid is doing pizza delivery as part time job for living expenses but each time, Zapp intercepts and steals his pizza in the most bizarre way!!! WTF?! You can’t escape from this dude! He knows where you are! So much so Zapp just rides along on his pizza bike! They pass a dry cleaning company loading clothes into a van. But Leonardo’s eyes mean there is something more sinister lurking underneath all that. Leonardo realizes he has been noticed and tries to ride away. However he is intercepted and kidnapped by this samurai alien who knows his eyes aren’t but ordinary as he could see him. Zapp is left bleeding profusely. Inside the van, Leonardo realizes the aliens are doing something illegal by sneaking vacuum sealed humans as food to the Otherworld. The alien boss relishes his Eyes of God and wants to get over this job so he could quickly experiment on him. Zapp is not lying in hospital unconscious for nothing. Before Leonardo was kidnapped, he tagged him with his blood so he is in full concentration while trying to mark his position. Leonardo can’t just sit around and wait for help. He uses his eyes to make Sonic (the monkey is now his pet) visible as distraction to crash the van. The aliens are mad and are going to kill him. Once the van is stationary Klaus and his team make a mad dash as they follow Zapp’s trail of ignited blood. They fight the aliens and they’re so scared by Klaus’ blood martial arts that they got no chance of fighting back. The abducted humans are recovered and Leonardo is recovering in hospital. Bandaged from head to toe. He learns Zapp was being assigned to watch over Leonardo and thus that hilarious pizza hijacking scenes. Leonardo should be grateful but can’t help feel pissed off over all the trouble he got into because of that. As Leonardo bums around the hospital, he wanders into a cemetery nearby. He meets this girl, White who wants to be friends with him. What’s the catch? She’s a ghost!

Episode 3
He snaps a photo of her to be sure. Hey. She’s in the photo! She finds him interesting and takes a liking for him. But it’s more woes for Leonardo as he is evicted from his rented apartment when the landlord decides to convert the place into a luxury hotel. So that is why he is sleeping in Libra’s HQ? There is also the case of some synthetic drug called Angel Scale going about. Let’s say the unwanted effects are devastating and they need to put a stop to this before this gets out of hand. But no matter how hard they try, they could not find a clue of its trafficking route. There is only one way left for Klaus. Meeting up with K.K., they head into the Otherworld. Klaus is surprised to see Korshakov Ulchenko here although this important human being denies he is so. Both sides enter to see Don Arlelelle Eruca Fulgrouche, one of the big bosses of the Otherworld. They are supposed to play a game of Prosfair each (a complicated game resembling chess from the Otherworld) for a deal. Klaus wants Arlelelle to dissuade Ulchenko from playing but that guy tells him not to keep his nose out of his business. Ulchenko goes to play first. It seems he wants nuclear weapons for his country. If he can beat Arlelelle within 9 hours or force a draw by then, he will grant his wish. Or else, he will pay with his life. Because Ulchenko also wants Klaus disposed, he adds another hour to the game play. Unfortunately, Ulchenko lost and it was only 2 minutes before time. Yeah, with 1,200 years of experience playing the game and all that brains as his body, seriously you think a mere human could beat this monster? He is going to have his life but Klaus tells Arlelelle to hold his horses. Due to their special relationship, he allows to put off the killing until his game is done with Klaus. Klaus wants info on the Angel Scale routes. Okay. 99 hours of game play! Oh sh*t! He also wants Ulchenko’s life to be spared. Arlelelle mentions that guy did not hesitate to eliminate him as part of his request. Why would he save someone like that? Klaus views humans as weak and because of that, they behave in ways devoid of self respect. Even if he himself has his own problems, there is no way he would compromise on his way of life. The match is taking a toll on Klaus as he is bleeding! What kind of game is this?! Eventually Klaus is successful in forcing a draw at the end of his allotted time. With the information given, K.K. contacts all her agents to get their ass and haul up all the culprits and not put Klaus’ efforts to waste. Not too sure if Leonardo got a new place of his own but White is hanging out with him and enjoys his company.

Episode 4
Libra is hanging out at the bar. Leonardo doesn’t seem to be in the groove. Awkward. Perhaps he thought a change in pace would be great so when he mentions earlier on he saw someone giving of a bright red wing shaped-like wings, it got everyone’s damn attention! Care to say that again? To put it shortly, Leonardo saw a vampire and this calls for a specialist. Blitz T. Abrams is a close friend of Klaus and an expert in these vampires known as Blood Breeds. Only catch? Disaster happens around him! No wonder Zapp is looking so scared. He shows a suitcase containing a severed hand of a vampire clutching tightly to a piece of paper. They believe it contains true names of the Elder 13. Many agents and men have died trying to take the scrap off but to no avail. They want Leonardo to use his eyes to peek into the names. He gets blown back after that and then he starts seeing sparks everywhere. Seems his vision has gone overdrive (seeing more than he should) so they are taking this chance to head to their supposed lair to take a glimpse of how they look like. Peeking down at the chasm at the centre of Hellsalem’s Lot, what he sees is not 1 or 13 of them but thousands of them! An emergency call just came. Seems the subway is being attacked by Elder class vampires. Steven and K.K. head there first to buy time for Klaus and the rest to return but they got owned. As the video is being streamed live by Chain, Klaus wants Leonardo to use his eyes to see their weaknesses. Klaus arrives in time to show off yet another of his blood martial arts and seals them by mentioning their true name.

Episode 5
White is just like any other woman. When she’s mad, she won’t say. Leonardo has to guess. And damn right when she says it’s nothing, it means something! Apparently Leonardo has ‘experience’ in this case because Michella was like that too. Women… Zapp and Leonardo are riding on a bike when a huge monster truck (literally) starts gobbling up vehicles. Klaus and Abrams quickly go release Dog Hummer because Aligura is after him. Ali who? The women who altered Hummer’s body. You see, he is fused with this talking blood named Deldro Brody. When Leonardo gets thrown off Zapp’s scooter, he is hanging by a thread on the monster truck that is Aligura’s base. Leonardo has to pray ever so hard for Klaus to rescue him because he certainly can’t stand hearing her torturing love stories. Like how she has a boyfriend named Deldro but since he wasn’t that handsome, she found good looking Hummer and then chop Deldro’s blood and put it into Hummer. There. Two in one. She even forces Leonardo to talk about his love stories. Despite that guy doesn’t have any love or crush, she tries to force it out of him and to confess to whoever that girl he is getting closer lately. Hummer and Deldro turn into a giant monster to fight Aligura’s truck but get blown away by the force of their own punch! It did stop the truck in its tracks for a while but in no time it is up and running. Steven then contacts Leonardo to tell him they’re going to blast the truck away. Before you jump to conclusions, he wants Leonardo to use his eyes to control and lead the truck to the park. He does so as the rest of Libra display their special powers to help guide the truck to where Hummer and Deldro are waiting. Gathering all the blood in the fist and punching it away in the plainest form, the truck starts disintegrating in midair. Its debris rain all over Hellsalem’s Lot and although there are many casualties, we couldn’t care the least bit because all our heroes survive, right? After Leonardo is discharged from hospital after a few stitches. He is supposed to go home and sleep but he screws that and instead goes to sneak White out of the hospital to bring her to a movie. I believe this movie is supposed to be comedy but she starts crying and apologizing to him! So as not to make her feel bad, he too mentions his heart strings were pulled because it reminded him of his family. His sister is the strongest and always took care of him. Just pathetic. White disagrees and thinks he is a nice guy.

Episode 6
As Leonardo is going to cross the street, a truck hits a white mushroom head kid! Don’t worry, he is okay since his body is like rubber. Nej (short for Amagranoff Luozontam Ouv Lee Nej) wants his burger! The truck driven by those burger guys (I’ll just call them Blondie and Blackie) aren’t really that remorseful although they give him a half eaten burger as compensation. On another day, Leonardo catches Blondie and Blackie selling burgers to Nej at a very marked up price. He doesn’t mind getting ripped off because he loves burgers. Leonardo then decides to buy burgers on his behalf and soon they become burger buddies spending time together as well as eating lots of burgers. Yum. Things get a little serious when Nej doesn’t remember her mother. Or rather, he somewhat knows her but mother doesn’t remember giving birth to him. Blondie and Blackie are in deep debt sh*t. So deep that Blackie soiled his pants. Blondie had to wear a gas mask. Then they ram into Nej again. Blackie is so mad that he takes out his frustrations beating that mushroom kid. He continues beating and beating till his head turns red and finally explodes into spores. Instantly everyone collapses. Scared Blondie pulls Blackie back and escapes. This incident is reported as mass fainting followed by amnesia. Blondie seems to get an idea when Blackie doesn’t remember a few hours before. When Leonardo learns of this incident, he goes to find Nej. Luckily he manages to find him and he looks alright. But then Blondie hits Leonardo on the back with a bat. When Leonardo wakes up, he sees the duo hitting Nej with all their might. Blondie thinks if the spores are released, they can make their loan shark forget their debt. Blondie knows because he saw it with his own eyes what happened. When they won’t stop, Leonardo uses his eyes to control them. Blondie is not happy he did something and hits him on the head. The pool of blood was enough to make Nej furious as he blows up into spores. No time for the duo to get their gas mask. When Leonardo wakes up, he couldn’t remember how he got in hospital or anything that happened 2 weeks before. He still continues to buy burgers but couldn’t understand why he buys for 2 people. Eating it makes him cry. In a case of déjà vu, he sees Nej getting hit by a truck again and mushroom kid wants his burger. He relents and their friendship starts over again. Leonardo returns home and surprised to see White talking to her big brother, Black. Leonardo remembers seeing him at the subway (during the vampire episode). Black likes him and instantly becomes his friend.

Episode 7
Leonardo hangs out with Black. He asks about White’s condition and it seems she has a bad heart condition. Now Leonardo feels bad for taking her out that night. When he returns to Libra, he receives a call from Zapp that he is in trouble and begging for Klaus to come rescue. Of course he goes on his way and surprisingly the place is an underground battle arena. It seems this is a ploy by Zapp to clear his debts but that depends on Klaus’ performance. He is cutting a deal with this arena’s boss, Ozmaldo. Klaus’ first opponent is human and he knocks him out with one punch! One punch man?! The next opponent alien and is taken out after a few punches. Now the crowd loves him and Klaus is forced to stay and fight more opponents. Leonardo hears from one of the contenders that Zapp has a hand in it. Also, there is this ranting about this underground fist fight. Despite all the dangerous crimes in Hellsalem’s Lot, nothing beats a good fist brawler. And it looks like Klaus is getting into that mood as he takes down wave after wave of champions! They should just hand him the belt already. He is so good that Ozmaldo steps into the ring himself. The final boss? After trading punches, Klaus uses his best punch that blows off his head! Oh wait. There is a little demon inside it?! Everyone is shocked. Leonardo’s eyes determine he is a vampire. The demon reveals he was only using this corpse and he didn’t kill him in the first place. But he is satisfied to have fought Klaus and leaves. Zapp cries crocodile tears over his gratefulness of being saved. And Klaus is glad he isn’t hurt! But that scumbag shows his true colours thinking Klaus is tired and this would be his chance to beat him up. Too bad Zapp got owned as usual. After Leonardo picks up Black and sends him home, the latter tells him White is a good person despite the crazy things she says and hopes he will be good to her. Black then seems to meet up with Femt and reveals his plan to end something. Also revealed is his true form as Blank and one of the 13 kings.

Episode 8
Black tells Leonardo a little history about New York’s Great Collapse. It could have been worse had not Casters stop the spread. It seems his parents were Casters but Black doesn’t want much to do with it anymore. Not what he had went through once. Something about his parents leaving his sister in his care before perishing. Zapp must be living the good life. Wine, women and junk food? No wonder he is getting fat! But Chain warns him that her friend, Angelica has called her about some creep visiting the fast food chain she works and keeps harassing her for her number. We can guess who that stalker is. Then they get a call from Fang Hunter HQ that some bloodline gate was opened in India and now New York is being targeted. A hunter is currently engaging in mortal combat with a vampire. As Libra rushes towards the scene, the epic power fight is turning New York into one big demolition wasteland! Eventually the hunter, Master Raju Jugei Shizuyoshi uses all his powers but the vampire enclosed himself into a womb egg for regeneration. Libra acknowledges Jugei’s awesome powers but he berates Libra for having this fat useless indiscipline subordinate (that’s you Zapp) and all other insults that would make a grown man cry. He wants to take Zapp as his disciple to train him. Everyone knows there is hell to pay so if Zapp wants to continue staying here, he must destroy the egg. It is virtually impossible to get close to it because it will attack anyone in its radius. So how the hell is he going to solve this? Just thinking of the training hell is not enough. He must do something. Chain gets a call from Angelica that she needs to see this Zapp guy and she’s getting wet just thinking about him. Suddenly Zapp in a flash uses all his skills to cut the egg. So awesome that Jugei is praising him as his best disciple. Zapp goes to answer Angelica’s call but it is just a time teller. The egg is still intact and not even Leonardo’s eyes can see anything inside. They think its other half of the body is operating independently somewhere else. Jugei says his other disciple is bringing it here by plane now. Meanwhile, I think there is some sort of bipolar argument between Black and Blank about something happening to White. Black wants him to remember the deal to leave his sister alone in exchange for whatever things to be done onto him. However Blank says he didn’t do anything and it is White that is doing things on her own.

Episode 9
As the plane enters Hellsalem’s Lot, some giant tentacle crushes it to pieces. Even when it crash lands, the vampire half continues to attack. Leonardo is trying hard to see his full name (he is only halfway there) as Klaus and Zapp fight him off. Once Leonardo has finished, Hummer and Deldro get him out of there while the rest continue to fend off the menace. Leonardo thought he saw a strange aura from the plane. It turns out to be a fishman, Zed O’Brien and Jugei’s disciple. Zapp can’t help laugh his ass off at his texture and such. It might look like Jugei is purposely letting the vampire reunite and join back with his other half but it is so that Klaus can seal him as a whole once and for all. Jugei praises their competency and leaves Zed in their care. Fishman must be the most shocked at this decision. Abandoned? Meanwhile, Blank has been watching and betting the entire spectacle with Femt and Aligura. Because it failed, Femt is calling him a liar and such. Blank is happy that Aligura saved his day when she lends him some device. A flashback shows White and Black up against some entity. Black told it to take his body and do whatever he wants with it and leave his sister out of this. In turn, he got possessed by Blank. White, who was experiencing chest pains during the epic showdown, now wakes up in her room with Blank by her side. He gives her the device supposedly to take Leonardo’s eyes. However White says she wants to become friends with Leonardo although Blank tells her it is impossible since everything has been set and the bets placed. More flashbacks of White and Black’s younger days. Dad was probably drunk when he suggested his children to be nicknamed White and Black. Though, Mary (White’s real name) agreed to it. Despite they are different, they are still so similar. They are twins after all. Dad wants her to help William (Black) if he is about to make a mistake. It is just their wish for them to be always happy.

Episode 10
Just when Leonardo is about to sink his teeth into a decent meal of juicy hamburger set, suddenly a large concrete slab crashes into the diner. He could have been squished had not Zapp and Zed act fast to save him. Outside is Klaus facing a thousand alien enemies in mecha suits. Great timing. Time to help out. To find out how it all came to this, we go back earlier in the day when Leonardo, Zapp and Zed head out to eat for lunch break. However every damn place they go, the food is either disgusting, creepy, can-you-even-eat-that kind of feeling and in worst cases the food eats you. WTF?! Though, ironically Zed isn’t fazed and is fine eating just about anything. Sorry, the duo will have to pass. Next! They thought this fine dining restaurant would be an end to their food woes but they were wrong. Nothing to do with the food, though. The chef seems to be having affair problems with his wife and mistress. And they’re fighting in open! What is worst than hearing this drama to make your food taste bad? Having their blood spill on your food! Meanwhile Klaus and Steven see Daniel Law about some upcoming mafia group trying to stir more trouble in this city. Intelligence has it that a thousand power suits meant for China went missing and it could be stolen by that group. He is requesting their help for manpower to stop this. Looks like Klaus is all itching to get into the action. Then they go see League of High Order Spirituals (LHOS), an influential group of Casters that raised the barrier to halt the Great Collapse, for more information. I guess all is lost so Leonardo and co just head back to their usual diner to order the usual. The rest is history. The Elder of LHOS also told Klaus and co that one of the barriers has been damaged. It is not their fault or all the fighting. Ever since the barriers were raised, there was one person whose whereabouts elude them. The Caster couple in charge then had perished and nobody knew what happened to them although their children survived. Leonardo sees White praying in the abandoned chapel. But Blank spoils the mood by calling her a liar because she is praying for her own sake and still hoping for salvation after all that has happened. White then gets serious and tells Leonardo to give him his eyes.

Episode 10.5
This is a special recap episode. In the form of a radio programme trying to give some advice to a troubled caller (Leonardo going under the alias of Tragedy of L!), we hear mostly about Leonardo’s experience ever since coming to Hellsalem’s Lot, from the people he works with to the misadventures he had. I guess it was so traumatic that the radio host had to calm him down from time to time. Although the scenes are mostly recycled, it is amusing to hear what they talk about although basically it is just recap. We learn that the reason Leonardo is here is to find a cure to Michella’s eyesight, the reason he came to possess Eyes of God in exchange for her eyesight. The remaining half of the series has Leonardo talking about his meeting with White. It is then the interview narrations stop and thus the recycled important montage and clips pertaining to White and Black (and Blank), their past to their current goal of taking Leonardo’s Eyes of God so Blank will return her brother as agreed.

Episode 11
Time for a big flashback as told by White. The Macbeth family has always been Casters. Therefore when Mary was born, she was somewhat the black sheep as she is the only one without such power. However her parents accepted and loved her as much but this only made her more miserable. Will on the other hand had full powers but he was a cry-baby and a wimp. One day he stopped using his powers and Mary wasn’t happy because of that he got bullied and accepted it. When she complains to her dad, he continues to believe Will is strong and he doesn’t have to become a Caster if he doesn’t want to. He talks about an important incident that made Will want to stop using his power. Mary took up photography not because she likes it but since anyone can die, she thought photos would still be around. When bullies took her camera, Will went to get it back. They threw it in the river as he dived in to save it. Although he was rescued and hospitalized, nothing life threatening. Mary started crying about how worried she was. He should just use his damn powers. She won’t know what to do if he had died. Will then reveals about the perfect mud ball Mary once made. So perfect that it made him jealous and blew it away with his power. But Mary wasn’t irked. Instead of crying, she went to happily recreate another one. He felt ashamed of misusing his power and vowed that he will not use them again until he becomes stronger. He shows her a picture he took of her while drooling as she slept. She is crying as thanks and gives her brother a big hug. The siblings become closer until that Great Collapse incident. Mary narrates about Casters need not to be big or strong. They just need something they had all along. That is why White will now take Leonardo’s eyes and get Will back. She cannot live in a world without him. After slapping the goggles onto him, Blank takes Leonardo as he narrates about death being the privilege of the living. As he is immortal and forgotten by death, it made him despair thinking he is not truly alive. He uses Leonardo’s eyes to cast a great havoc over Hellsalem’s Lot. White must be feeling guilty as she goes through Leonardo’s camera photos. Is that why her heart is in pain? With Sonic appearing next to her, she pleads for the monkey to save Leonardo. Change of heart? And letting a monkey do it? Blank continues to tell Leonardo about his bad luck in meeting White as a ghost. The barrier in place of her heart is what is keeping her alive. It is her parents’ last resort to save her. Lingering attachment is also what keeps the siblings alive. Blank then shoots unconscious White in her heart. Femt is pleased with the beginning of the Second Collapse.

Episode 12
A 50 minute finale, Femt wants Leonardo to start destroying the world. Casters are trying to fix the barriers all over Hellsalem’s Lot but apparently there is a missing piece and Libra is requested to help look for them as well as for Leonardo. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. For those old enough to remember the Great Collapse 3 years ago, the same thing might be happening all over again although it looks slightly different this time. It is deduced that Mary is the final piece in the barrier and she herself is the barrier. Something must have happened to her and her family that her life was fused with the barrier. Femt goes to see Blank who isn’t pleased that he let Leonardo go. Because that kid wasn’t interested to play any of their games. Femt wanted to wager if Leonardo won, he would answer any questions but Leonardo wasn’t interested because those questions weren’t probably for him. Besides, it doesn’t make any difference seeing that he is going to die anyway. Just the question of in here or out there. Femt also knows Blank to be some sort of silent observer throughout time and mankind’s history. He only set feet on stage after the Great Collapse. He thinks he needs more nonsense. Chaos begins all over Hellsalem’s Lot as the buildings shuffle like Rubik’s Cube and the road just uprooted like as though gravity went on vacation. Oh, there are ghouls attacking the place too. Our Libra members become Resident Evil protagonists to whack all of them. Femt and Aligura are watching this entertainment from their haven. Meanwhile Klaus confronts Blank at the top of the floating pile. They note they aren’t the ones they are supposed to meet. Because Klaus is supposed to see Will. Not sure if Blank is trying to kill Klaus and himself but the former is doing a good job in preventing that since he is here to save Will from himself. There is some talk about light and hope but I’m not really interested in that crap.

Leonardo emerges from his captive and not really happy to see the chaos. Sonic is here to show him the video of White pleading for Leonardo to be saved. Erm, shouldn’t the monkey give the video to Klaus or Libra? Anyway it gave Leonardo the motivation to save the day. So put on your running shoes as he runs through the chaos. Along the way, he encounters several Libra members who help protect and clear the way for him. Some like Zed wants him to know he is an ordinary kid like he thinks he is. A kind and ordinary kid that will not hesitate to risk his life to save his friend. And some like Zapp is the only dude whom Leonardo doesn’t hesitate to beat up because he nearly killed him while despatching the ghouls. Leonardo panics when one of his eyes cracks. He is unconfident he can finish the job. But Zapp just tells him off to just do it. As long as he has his life and back in one piece, it’ll be okay, right? Blank assures semi-defeated Klaus that even if he dies here, his successor would carry on his ideal because of the determination in his eyes. Leonardo has finally arrived and he disagrees with that. So is he going to kill Blank with his eyes? He isn’t sure. He isn’t sure if that is right too. As long as he is alive, he has got that time to think about it. So the next time they meet, he’ll give a better answer. Leonardo uses his Eyes of God to separate Black. Once he hears the whiny kid cry he wants to live, Leonardo calls out to White about never giving up to reach the light. Her soul will never be defeated. Since her other half hasn’t given up, she shouldn’t just yet.

The chaos all over in a blink of an eye. White wakes up with Leonardo by her side. He knows her secret so it’s okay. Telling her that light line again, but if the light is too strong sometimes, he will help guide her as many times as it takes. Leonardo then head butts Blank to draw out Black. Brother and sister reunite. Black tries to act tough like he doesn’t care about the world but White tells him to shut up and be the brave brother she once knew. Blah, blah, blah. More reconciliation. They’ll always be together. Don’t give up. Yeah, we get it. Black then transfers whatever powers he has into White’s body so that she will be able to put up a new barrier. She claims her love for him and their parents helped her weathered through the 3 years. White returns into her barrier form and with the barrier finally complete, LHOS can now rejoice and finally rest because the day is saved. Yeah, Elder had to work overtime and almost had karoushi, eh? Klaus praises Leonardo for his work. He is the only one who could have saved them. His reaction? An emotional cry. Wow. I guess he was never complimented like this before. In the aftermath, this entire season might be just one freaking long ass letter he wrote to Michella. And now I am wondering how the heck can she read all that if she is blind! Or is that the universe in her eyes? Anyway, he writes to tell her he is fine and hopes to tell her all in words what he experienced. Oh God…

OVA
Steven is addressing his Libra comrades. They are about to attend dinner with some Sultan at some fancy posh restaurant. He reminds them not to be rude because if this goes through, they will receive annual funding of 3 million! So that’s why… As the food is created by the best chefs from both worlds, Leonardo and Zapp find it hard to contain their ecstasy! The food is damn freaking good! I’m glad they held it in instead of ‘vomiting’ it all out on the Sultan. K.K. might look calm and composed but inside she is going crazy! But Zed doesn’t seem to have such nonsense. Raw fish isn’t his thing. He’s not a cannibal. Because of that, Leonardo and Zapp try to fight over his food till mad Steven hints they can share. Remember, don’t be rude. Before the next food arrives, Leonardo excuses himself to the toilet and warns everyone not to touch his portion! Such cheap friendship. Steven is already having a hard time trying to control himself from the food ecstasy. The others are also going crazy with their own flashbacks. Worse… Zapp and the Sultan are like best drinking buddies talking about women! So uncouth… Oh well… Klaus realizes Leonardo has been gone too long and at the same time a bunch of terrorists are trying to storm in at the front gate. Leonardo realizes he is lost because the space of this restaurant keeps shifting. He has the bad luck to meet Femt. However Leonardo is able to tell when the dimension is shifting and this saves Femt a few times. Not sure if Femt is feigning if he knows Leonardo or not as he is wondering if they met before. They finally reach the front gate just when the terrorists are about to come in. Femt uses his demons to kill them all. Femt then heads back in and assures Leonardo he loves this place and respects the restaurant’s rules. He wants him to forget this incident and that they have never met. When Leonardo returns, he finds Klaus and Steven outside their dining room. It seems everyone inside has gone crazy from the food and has to be restrained! Definitely food to die for.

Local Alien World, A Living Nightmare
There was this big issue about the last episode being delayed. Apparently the excuse given was that the final episode was too long to fit into the usual half an hour time slot, thus the indefinite delay. I am not sure if this is some sort of publicity stunt because keeping viewers waiting for the finale this way is a big no-no. Because except for this announcement, there was nothing else mentioned about when it was going to be aired of if this final episode was going to be a DVD only episode. Heck, I even remembering reading a statement on the website that the staff will only air the finale once everybody loses interest in it and when they are too busy watching other animes to give a sh*t! That might not be the exact words but it amounted to something like that. To me, I think it was just arrogant. I’m not a fan of the series even after watching it but since I was interested to even watch it, I think that kind of excuse was just plain dumb.

Eventually the last episode was aired 4 months later and it took almost an hour for this finale. So was it that spectacular? Okay. At least it wasn’t bad. My thoughts that if the time slot and duration of the series were the problem, shouldn’t they just split the final episode into 2 episodes? It will still be under the 13 episode per season, right? Then we did not need to have that recap episode in the first place. Maybe they don’t want to ruin the continuity of it but heck, they’ve just ruined that continuity by suddenly halting to stop airing the final episode months earlier. So what difference does it make? Even if they split the episodes and pissed us off that the real final episode will only be released as an OVA, it wouldn’t be as bad. Although, it is still as bad to do it that way. But to delay it like this method so as to maybe gauge if people still cared about the series is just plain wrong. It is a bold unique way to make people talk about the series (if they still cared) but I certainly wouldn’t be proud to be part of it (this was also actually stated in their statement) if I were to do it this way.

One of the things I find to have mixed feelings is the filler-like episodes of most of the episodes. I am not saying that the stories of each episode are boring as they are quite entertaining in their own right. Like that lunch hour searching for the right place to eat. That was hilarious. A place with so many eateries and yet not a single suitable one! Just like a drop of water in the ocean, huh? Because of this standalone-like episodes, I somewhat felt it diminishes the epic greatness of this series. There is no ‘continuity’ in the plot as we are shown such fillers and misadventures of the Libra members. Even if there is a plot, it is subtle and ‘cameo’ in the initial episodes. I’m sure it is for the build up for the climax especially with that White and Black story just brooding to explode, which of course became the story of the final arc. But of course, once you get into the pace of the series, you start accepting that you shouldn’t be taking this show all too seriously. That is why we have so much weirdness in everything here. They throw in such amusing ‘fillers’ amidst the developing plot. At least this way it is better than to have a great but confusing plot that is hard to understand. The series may have its own terms but they aren’t that hard to remember since from time to time there will be quite a comprehensive and brief explanation being shown across the screen to explain some of the new terminologies that viewers just come across in the episode.

Leonardo feels a bit lacking because other than his mission to help find back Michella’s eyes, this guy feels like someone who is playing the role of a tsukkomi. You know, a retort. So much so I feel he is somewhat very similar to that character in Gintama, Shinpachi. There is another reason why I said so but more on this later. So as far as this season is concerned, looks like his quest to find her cure is still a long way to go. I am sure Klaus will keep his end of the bargain but that will be another story. Heh. Maybe play another Prosfair with Arlelelle for the answer? Back to Leonardo, it is quite hard for me to see how this guy is pivotal in ending the chaos that almost begun. We are given the perception about his Eyes of God that are so important. I don’t even understand its true potential. Or why his damn sister would even trade it for him. Maybe because I don’t have such farsightedness and vision so I can’t really see it. I don’t even understand how his eyes were the catalyst in turning this everyday nightmare to become and even nightmarish nightmare. Not that it matters to Leonardo anyway because life has been hell since he first came here. He has just gotten used to all that nonsense.

Zapp, this guy is actually a joker and his secret hidden role is this series’ comic relief dude. I mean, take a look at this guy. No doubt he has got great fighting capabilities but that is all that is cool about him. Because if you notice, the more he tries to act tough and the more he opens his mouth, the more stupid he becomes. The longer it gets, the dumber his character looks. It isn’t entirely a bad thing since he made me laugh a handful of times but if you were to take him seriously right now at the end of everything, I think it would be hard. Had he not been a show off, he would have been a great and respected character like Klaus. From that brazen Leonardo’s pizza usurping scheme to that fast food worker harassment, this guy is just one big idiot. Don’t even get me started about how he thinks he can take on Klaus thinking he is not on his guard. Of all the members of Libra, this guy’s attitude makes him the most interesting. Really.

But if you want to look into character development of the series, the other characters of Libra just feels lacking. Perhaps of the many side characters in this series that you won’t care about help contribute to this. Like Klaus is the strong and reliable gentleman of Libra but nothing much more is known about this guy. Nothing much more is known about the other Libra members like Chain or Steven. While Libra’s second-in-command seems to be a shady guy thanks to his mysterious connections to just about everything, is it me or does Chain seems to fail in many of her part of a mission? Then there is K.K. as a strong kickass woman whom you’ll wonder if she admires Klaus or has a crush on him. They should have more scenes of her with her big guns. Man, she looks kickass firing those. And newcomer Zed is like, uhm, strangely calm and serious fish dude. He came in late as a member due to circumstances and it made his character even suffer from making a great late impact. Sonic? Not too sure if he is Libra’s mascot aside being Leonardo’s pet that doesn’t do much. Overall, the Libra members don’t really leave much impression seeing the way how the stories are executed as it slowly focuses on White and Black.

The biggest mysteries are the vampire breeds themselves. Who are these breeds and what are they are certainly captivating. We have seen some of Libra members engaging in a few of them and it took really a lot of everything just to fight on par with them, which is basically no sweat on those vampires’ terms. I thought they would be the antagonist of the season but with White and Black and that barrier crap thingy, I guess maybe it is for another story and another season. But even more disappointingly, Femt and Aligura whom I thought would make a better impact than they are. I don’t really know what they are up too except that perhaps for being so bored with Hellsalem’s Lot that seeing chaos is the only kick they get. So what happened to them at the end? I don’t see them screaming in frustration yet another chaos thwarted or their enjoyment ended too soon or perhaps they are satisfied with all the destruction that they just decided to go back and sleep quietly. Yeah right. So it is a shame for such psychotic characters to be given this kind of treatment.

The action scenes are quite good and with all the super powers with some of the characters, you can bet that there will be one hell of a big explosion, blood, chaos and destruction along the way. The great flashy impact and effect of the big battle can be felt. It just boggles me how Hellsalem’s Lot will get fixed and repaired. No wonder the place looks like a decimated slum. But still, if it has been many years since the Great Collapse and the blending of aliens within human society, why do many parts of the city still look like they are standing nicely? Especially if some sort of devastation is seen every day, it just boggles me the rate of patching up the city to function as normal (well, sort of) instead of becoming a lawless ruin. I know, Libra and alien technology that make Hellsalem’s Lot still standing. But the buildings still look like of human design than of alien culture. The other thing about the action sequences are when Klaus takes on the enemy. This guy has a few variations of his Brain Grid Blood Battle Style (pattern numbers that I can’t seem to remember) and some even with freaking tongue twisting names (they’re in German actually), they’re just freaking huge when materialized and epic that it just feels like game over to the poor enemy who is at the receiving end of it. No chance.

The art and drawing are quite good. Looking at the streets of ex-New York actually does make it look like walking in the streets of one (unlike that fake Miami city in Miami Guns, no?). So if you have this perception that New York is one big depressing dangerous slum, well, with the way it is shown here, I am sure you’ll believe in it even further. Other stuffs like the effects and background scenery (like the cemetery garden near the hospital) are gorgeous but I won’t go so far as to say they are a masterpiece that would make you go wow for days to come. Sometimes I feel that with the many alien characters in Hellsalem’s Lot, it is like a big place where rejected ideas of alien designs go to. Get what I mean? It’s like the producer has asked his team and perhaps they in turn asked others to draw designs of aliens. Who cares. Just draw them. And as a result, you have a mish-mash of one of the weirdest and most bizarre aliens ever seen as an excuse to populate Hellsalem’s Lot with them. Some of the character designs of Libra felt like I have seen them somewhere before like Steven looking awfully close to Cowboy Bebop’s Spike but without the afro. I’m too lazy at this point to think about the rest, though.

A reason why I said I found Leonardo to be similarly close to Gintama’s Shinpachi is because he is voiced by the same seiyuu, Daisuke Sakaguchi. If you have watched Gintama, you would be familiar with all the stupid antics and especially that Shinpachi character who is the voice of reasoning that nobody listens to as well as the glasses character whose main role is to do retorts and rebukes. At times when Leonardo does his rebuking role, the way Daisuke Sakaguchi pulls off that retorting screaming voice, it just sounded so freaking familiar. Even in his deadpan voice of such retorts, I thought Shinpachi transported himself into this anime after having had it for not being taken seriously enough in Gintama. Haha!

Rie Kugimiya is familiar playing dual roles of Black and White (or Mary and Will if you prefer) although she doesn’t go into her trademark tsundere role. There are other seiyuus that I recognized such as Yu Kobayashi as Chain (she sounds quite flat here since she doesn’t go into her crazy trademark voice), Rikiya Koyama as Klaus, Kazuya Nakai as Zapp, Akira Ishida as Femt (he is really enjoying his role as a villain, isn’t he?), Mamoru Miyano as Hummer, Keiji Fujiwara as Deldro and Nana Mizuki as Michella. Then there is Ikue Ohtani as Nej. It is refreshing to hear her voice other than that yellow blob in Pokemon or that tanuki, oops I mean reindeer in One Piece. There are other popular seiyuus lending their voice here as I found out later but they are just minor background characters and I probably didn’t notice thanks to the myriad of casts. They include Yuuki Kaiji, Miyuki Sawashiro and especially my favourite Mamiko Noto. Wait a minute. She was in this anime???!!! I MUST GO BACK TO THAT EPISODE AND I FIND HER CAMEO!!!!!!!!!! Yup, it’s that vampire villainess. Hey wait a minute… ANOTHER SHORT CAMEO ROLE MAMIKO NOTO GETS KILLED OFF!!! WTFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As the cast list is long since the series is filled with lots of minor background characters whom you’ll never care about, let me just list down some of the recurring ones whom I don’t recognize. They are Ai Orikasa as K.K. (Shizuka in Working!!! S3), Hikaru Midorikawa as Zed (Lancer in Fate/Zero), Mitsuru Miyano as Abrams (Ayame in Fruits Basket), Akio Ohtsuka as Abrams (titular character of Black Jack) and Satomi Koorogi as Aligura (Himawari in Crayon Shin-chan series). I didn’t realize that even Sonic has a seiyuu attached. It must be the easiest job ever seeing the monkey has no lines and does not frequently make noises. Yuuma Uchida (Nagisa in Classroom Crisis) is behind Sonic’s voice.

The opening theme Hello, World is quite an excellent rock piece that gives you a feel of what this anime is going to be about. The only odd thing about it is that it is sung by this group named Bump Of Chicken. Wait. What?! WTF?! I don’t know about the group but having this kind of name feels more than just raising an eyebrow or two. But I prefer the ending theme, Sugar Song To Bitter Step by Unison Square Garden (I thought Daisuke Sakaguchi was the voice behind the leading vocals but I was wrong). Despite its name, this is a very upbeat and jazzy piece with a funky feel to it. It is quite catchy that you might even want to join all the characters dressed like the Blues Brothers as seen in the ending credits animation in one big strange dance. Whatever that works, huh? Yeah, they are just having fun, aren’t they? Some of the songs also have that jazzy feel to it and a sultry insert song totally in English, On My Own by Ai Ninomiya that is just lovely.

Overall, perhaps another season will do more justice seeing this has quite the potential but seemingly falls short thanks to the single cour of the series that just takes away the interesting character development and in-depth interaction between the Libra members. I don’t mind the filler-like episodes since they were quite funny and amusing but at least they could have weaved the characters better into them. But if you are in for the artistic and flashy exaggerated fights, then this series would be an entertaining value. Maybe this kind of nonsense is the in-thing and trend for thrills and spill as opposed to your typical linear storylines. Yeah. To borrow and edit what Femt has said, I think all of us are in need of such nonsense. A little bit of chaos once in a while is good for everybody, don’t you think?

And so it is here. The third season of girls in high tech combat gear, singing their songs while in the midst of kicking ass cute and colourful but dangerous creatures that would turn you into carbon at the mere touch. Yes, people. Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX finally made the airwaves after 2 years since the second season ended. Oh God. That feels like an awful long time. And you know what this means for me. Forgetting a big chunk of what happened in the predecessors. Well, at least the fine details but overall I’m still okay. So what is new in this season? Well, if you consider a new enemy but with the same ol’ goal of destruction and the same ol’ singing technology to defeat them. Yeah, let the music save the world again.

Episode 1
Remember the pod that Nastassja ride up to space to sacrifice herself to save the world in last season? Well, due to orders from UN, they are to retrieve whatever technological remains and her corpse. The shuttle that retrieved it is experiencing malfunctions and is free falling from the atmosphere. It is projected to crash through the Mount Everest area. That is where our Symphogear ladies come in. In this exhilarating high speed action to stop the speeding shuttle, they had to cut a mountain in half! OMG! It is no longer one of the tallest mountains in the world! WTF?! And though it rips through a town, major damage is prevented when they successfully put a stop dead in its tracks. Phew. Thank goodness. As narrated, Genjurou and his team now head a paranormal disaster relief force called SONG under the UN. Hibiki and her friends continue their daily school lives. Kirika and Shirabe are also joining them as they are on probation. Everyone converges to watch Tsubasa and Maria’s concert live in London. Maria isn’t as free as you think she is. Thanks to her part in last season’s crime, she is also under some probation and forced to be a heroic idol putting on charitable concerts for a righteous cause so some parties could save face. After the concert, a series of deadly attacks occur. Genjurou quickly sorties the Symphogear girls. Maria is ambushed by Phara Suyuf who is an Autoscorer. Tsubasa comes to her aid. Hibiki is tasked to save the trapped people in the building that is caught on fire. After that, she is confronted with this witch loli, Carol Malus Dienheim. At first she thought she was a lost child but she then displays her alchemy powers and claims it will shatter the world and slaughter miracles. And there’s this tragic flashback about Carol’s dad being burnt at the stake under suspicions for practising witchcraft. His last words were for her to live on and experience more of the world. I hope she didn’t take dad’s words the wrong way.

Episode 2
Hibiki refuses to change because she believes her Symphogear is to help others and not fight. This only makes Carol mad. Chris faces off with another Autoscorer, Leiur Darahim. After Chris almost gets dropped by several yachts, Elfnein approaches her. She has been looking for the Symphogear girls to help her in her quest to protect the girl from Carol’s alchemy. Meanwhile Garie Tuman might look like a cute goth loli walking around. But be careful. She is sucking the life force out of others! Kirika and Shirabe who were told to hold the fort and not come into battle because they do not have suitable Gears and Linkers to fight, can’t just stand by and watch their friends fight alone. Hibiki continues to provoke Carol by not engaging in battle. She wants to know why Carol wants to fight. There’s something unclear about her being spied on an invasion of privacy but ultimately she says it is a task left behind by her father. Yeah, I think she really did get the wrong idea. Since Garie has collected enough memories, time to withdraw. Hibiki collapses shortly. Tsubasa and Maria escape but no matter where they go, Phara is always ahead. She can summon Noise to fight them. To everyone’s shock, upon contact, Tsubasa’ Gear starts to disintegrate. Similarly, the same thing is happening to Chris.

Episode 3
As Elfnein explains, those were Alca-Noise created to dissect the world. Kirika and Shirabe transform to retrieve Chris and Elfnein. Carol orders the other Autoscorers in the battlefield to withdraw so our heroines can thank their lucky stars they are safe for now. Maria is about to be taken into custody by the agents. She contacts Genjurou and wants to formally transfer to SONG. Although she doesn’t have her own Gear, she cannot remain a false idol in this crisis. Tsubasa also retires from her music business temporary to return to SONG. There is some explanation about their Relics but all I understand it cannot be fixed. With Ryouko gone, nobody knows how to fix them. The only Gear left is Hibiki’s. Kirika and Shirabe’s are not official as it put a lot o f strain on their bodies without a proper Linker and sync rates. Garie kisses Micha Jawkan to transfer all the collected memories into her and activates her to life. Carol believes Micha is their strongest fighter. Elfnein explains what she knows. Under Carol’s orders, she constructed some giant apparatus. One day she discovered it was supposed to destroy the world and fled to try and end her plan. Alca-Noise is originally based on a recipe for creating Noise and it can destroy anything including Symphogear. Thus, Carol’s next step is to construct a giant apparatus designed to turn that power on the world. Unfortunately, Elfnein was created as her homunculus and only ‘installed’ the necessary power and knowledge for the construction. She doesn’t have the specifics but she does know Chateau de Tiffauges is close to completion. That is why she has brought this Relic, Dwerg Dain that is capable of thwarting Alca-Noise and Carol’s alchemy power. Later Maria and Hibiki got into an argument. Maria views her as arrogant despite having the power to call forth Symphogear and yet she won’t use it. Garie appears before Hibiki and her friends. She is going to force her to fight by summoning Noise. But the most shocking thing is when Hibiki cannot sing! Gungnir won’t respond to her and this means she cannot transform. Yeah, even the enemy is freaking shocked-cum-disappointed with this development.

Episode 4
Garie is going to target Hibiki’s friends but one of them mentions not to drag them into this and that they aren’t her friends. It’s just a ploy so when Garie lets them go, they make a run for it. Garie sets her Noise upon them. Before Hibiki can be toasted, here comes Maria flying into the scene (thanks to Ogawa’s awesome driving). She grabs Hibiki’s Gear and transforms to fight and defeat all the Noise. When she is about to face Garie, she is at her limit and reverts back to normal. Garie is so disappointed that she just retreats. Although Marie is bleeding from overstraining, Hibiki snatches back her Gear and screams it isn’t supposed to be used that way. This is her Gungnir and she is the one who is supposed to use it. Wow. Did she wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Well, maybe. She can’t sleep that night since she is in a dilemma about her songs her people so Miku has to assure her that her songs don’t. Her friends even think if Hibiki remembers the reason why she couldn’t sing, maybe she’ll sing again. Maria, Kirika and Shirabe visit Nastassja’s grave and they want to be stronger. Elfnein tells Genjurou and the girls about her Project Ignite. Theoretically putting some alchemy into their Gear to have a fighting chance. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. Alca-Noise is detected. Micha leads the Noise chasing after Hibiki and Miku. When Miku is cornered at an abandoned building, she makes a last plea to Hibiki how her songs saved people and that she loves them. Miku is about to die and this causes Hibiki to become desperate. She starts singing and this allows her to transform. She realizes she was trying to run away from her responsibility. Now she will not. After saving Miku, she kicks some Noise ass and even gives Micha a run for her money. Just when Hibiki strikes the most devastating blow, Micha turns out to be a water illusion. The real Micha fires a powerful shot that blasts Hibiki into the sky and shatters her Gear. Hibiki dead?!

Episode 5
Hibiki is wheeled into ICU. The rest hope and believe this won’t kill her because we always know she’ll bounce back, right? Right?! Well, it’s been a week and Hibiki is still under coma. Time to panic? Thanks to Genjurou’s brother who is also Tsubasa’s father, Yatsuhiro manages to pull some strings as a high government official to get external power sources to maintain their operation as currently there is a concurrent worldwide energy maintenance. Elfnein is making significant progress with her Project Ignite. She dreams of Carol’s memories of her times with her father. His last dying words is the reason Elfnein will protect the world from Carol as she wants to find out what the answer was. With Alca-Noise detected destroying energy generators worldwide, Kirika and Shirabe sneak into some medical room to get prototype Linkers so they can fight them. These prototypes left behind by Kanade help reduce the recoil of their Gear and go easy on their body. As a team, their attacks are more devastating and effective. Despite the good news that Hibiki is now awake (after another round of her own tragic family past) and grateful to Miku for all that she has done, Micha enters the fray and gives them a run for their money. Kirika becomes her first victim when her Gear is destroyed. With their power drastically reduced, Micha summons Alca-Noise to toy with Shirabe till she is cornered and once her Gear is destroyed too, all that is left for her is to succumb to fate while Kirika is reduced to screaming for anybody to help. You don’t say because here comes Tsubasa and Chris with their brand new Gear. Looks like Elfnein finished in time. Another reason to thank your lucky stars.

Episode 6
Thanks to Project Ignite, not only the damaged Gears are repaired, it also boosts its output power. They are able to fight on par with Micha till Carol enters the fray. She tells Micha to retreat because the plan’s progression is utmost important and she will take care of this. Carol summons her harp weapon that summons some Relic and transforms her into an adult version to fight. She is very powerful thanks to the memories she absorbed as fuel and since she has been living for a long time, yes, she is that freaking powerful. Tsubasa and Chris are down so they initiate an Ignite module, Dainsleif. It stabs their hearts. The pain is very immense and they are in risk of going berserks like how Hibiki did last season. But that is the essential of this module. To bring out that berserk power but the risk is suicidal if they cannot handle it. They are forced to face their past nightmares and regrets. Although they pull each other out from the abyss, the synchronization failed. Carol then unleashes Alca-Noise to destroy the city if they can’t get back up and fight. Now Hibiki enters the fray. Elfnein has given back her repaired Gungnir and she is all set to go. Once again, the trio activates Dainsleif. The reward for surpassing that painful madness? A cooler and darker outfit! To prove how powerful they are, Carol unleashes 3,000 Alca-Noise so that they could just wipe them out with their freaking awesome firepower. Then Carol also tries to show off her awesome power and kills some of her Alca-Noise in the way. The combined effort of the trio finally bring down Carol. Hibiki asks her reason to destroy the world. Can’t remember. So long ago that now it has become her reason to fight. Carol won’t leave Hibiki in peace and reminds her that her song cannot save anyone before burning herself. Hibiki may be left traumatized but she stays strong and prove her wrong.

Episode 7
Elfnein gives Maria and co their upgraded Gear. I suppose the girls are supposed to train but when the beach is so tempting, they can’t help have fun. And call it part of their training. That’s why I can’t blame Elfnein for asking Hibiki to properly train because despite their new Gear has extra protective layers, it is still dangerous. Then Garie pops up to attack. What better way to train via the real deal. Garie throws Alca-Noise to separate the rest so she could target Maria. She thought wrong if she doesn’t have her Gear. Maria uses it to transform and fight back. She thought of using Dainsleif to finish the fight but she failed to overcome her darkness and now becomes a wild beast. Garie defeats her and feels so disappointed that she just retreats. While everyone else discusses the Autoscorers retreating instead of finishing them off each time and the mystery they can still move about with Carol’s orders, Maria is alone thinking about her weak self. Elfnein tries to encourage her when Garie returns for another rematch. Although still weak, Maria remembers what she thought to Elfnein. Despite Elfnein had no fighting abilities, she still acted bravely in the face of danger. True strength is being yourself. Activating Dainsleif this time, Maria overcomes her weakness and powers up into a cool suit to beat up Garie and finishing her off for good. During this fight, Phara has snuck into the base and stole some chip. The girls continue playing their sparklers. Hibiki is made to go buy snacks. Miku accompanies her. But at the convenience store, they are shocked to see Hibiki’s dad. Her first reaction? Run away!

Episode 8
When Hibiki calms down, she meets her father. Looks like he wants to start all over again after realizing that she has been in the media as a hero saving the world. However she still blames him for leaving the family when they needed him most and leaves. This guy couldn’t get more despicable than he is. He asks Hibiki to pay his bill! Phara returns with the stolen data of some Photosphere. It contains data of the world’s ley lines that Nastassja used to focus Phonic gain for Frontier. Hibiki is still angry as she joins Shirabe and Kirika to fight Alca-Noise. She takes out her frustrations by doing a lot of damage but when she realizes that she might also be responsible for the family’s breakup, Micha owns her. The others come to her rescue and could have lost had not Micha had orders to retreat. The girls are thankfully alright but Kirika and Shirabe are fighting that they think the other is being a burden. Hibiki apologizes for letting them get involved in her personal matter. Oh, now Miku feels responsible too. So it’s everybody’s fault and yet nobody’s? Genjurou discovers a plot by the Autoscorers to map their power routes. After the destruction of power supplies, they have been sending additional energy to government facilities as compensation. Micha returns to fight Kirika and Shirabe. Again they think they’re getting in each other’s way. But then they realize all that thought was because they care about each other. Other people got mad at them because they care about them. Yeah. Okay. Whatever. This gives them the motivation to use Dainsleif as they power up and combine their powers to destroy Micha. Later the duo are reprimanded by Genjurou and Chris for being too reckless. Surprisingly they feel remorseful so they let them off the hook. Carol has revived back in the base. After learning Garie and Micha has died glorious deaths, it is time to hasten Apocalypse and slaughter every last miracle.

Episode 9
Genjurou has deduced there might be 2 spots the enemy might attack. Neptune’s Palace, the secret of the most secret of all bases hidden underwater that houses all dangerous and unknown and unanalyzed materials. As keystones of shrines around the country are being destroyed to disrupt the ley lines, the other location is no other than Tsubasa’s childhood home. I guess it’s like going home to see papa, eh? Tsubasa and Maria are tasked for this one. Let’s say Tsubasa and Yatsuhiro’s relationship aren’t the warmest. Don’t expect to see any father-daughter hugs and kisses. More of the kind that says, “You’re still able? Do your job then”. Even Maria got upset on Tsubasa’s behalf on this. Phara then attacks. Although Tsubasa fights her, her sword breaks because Phara’s ability is that no sword can destroy her. Once she destroys the keystone, she retreats. Genjurou saw this coming that the enemy is also attacking Neptune’s Palace simultaneously. He sends Chris, Kirika and Shirabe to face off with Leiur and Carol. Elfnein believes Carol is after Yantra Sarvasva which has awesome controlling mechanism and properties. It is essential in her world destruction plan. Once Tsubasa has recovered, Yatsuhiro shows them lots of research works some German company who created their Symphogear suit, analysis of the Alca-Noise and alchemy. Whatever. Sounds too technical. Since Tsubasa is fine, he wants her to take it elsewhere to analyse further. Time for Maria to get upset again…

Tsubasa brings Maria to her old room. It’s a big mess! And it was from 10 years ago! Hey… Not dusty? Tsubasa explains her thorny relationship with her dad. It all began when grandpa couldn’t decide an heir to the family. Neither Yatsuhiro nor Genjurou were chosen and instead he chose Tsubasa right after she was born. She didn’t understand but later found out she wasn’t her father’s daughter. To keep the family’s blood pure, grandpa forced her mom to bear his child. That’s Tsubasa. So grandpa is her real dad?! Tsubasa kept fighting in hopes Yatsuhiro would accept her. But if this is all she has to show, it must be disappointing. Phara returns to attack Tsubasa particularly. Again, she loses. Tsubasa feels useless till Yatsuhiro surprisingly tells her to sing and not be afraid to hold her dreams. Since Tsubasa hasn’t guessed it yet, Maria tells her Yatsuhiro hasn’t abandoned her. That speckles room? He cleaned it for the last 10 years! He held on his memories for her by holding on to her room! He also distanced her from the family so she could achieve her dream. Complicated … Tsubasa revives and uses Dainsleif to power up and sing again. But can she defeat Phara with a sword? That is not a sword. Those are her wings which carry her dreams! Oh gosh! She just defeated Phara’s concept just like that? And with that too, she cuts Phara in half. Carol has got her hands on Yantra Sarvasva. Chris and co attack relentlessly. When a missile is going to hit Carol, guess who stopped it with only a bare hand? IT’S DR VER!!! OMG! THIS BASTARD IS STILL ALIVE??????!!!!!!! If you’re wondering where Hibiki is, she is resting. Could have been nothing if not her father kept calling her! Look at the miscalls in her log!!! OMG! Stalker material! She shuts off her phone. Ah, true peace…

Episode 10
Kirika and Shirabe stop Chris from going all out because they fear killing Ver would mean no more Linkers as he is the only one who knows how to make them. But still, she doesn’t care and had to be stopped for her recklessness. This allowed the villains to get away. This has Chris very mad as she views she doesn’t need her juniors help and can solve this herself. Elfnein wonders why Carol is still moving forward with her plan since Yantra Sarvasva has been destroyed. She remembers confronting Carol about destroying the world which isn’t part of the deal. So she thinks. She told her that father wouldn’t want the end of the world but Carol snapped back at the clone for calling herself his daughter. Ver tells us why he is still alive. Because his left hand is now Nephilim, he is treated as an object after being recovered and imprisoned at Neptune’s Palace. As Genjurou leads Chris and co to catch up on the villains, it dawned to him it is like they know the area well. Like as though somebody hacked HQ. Could it be there is a mole among them? Turns out to be Elfnein! OMG! However Elfnein is unsure herself. Carol’s projection reveals because she is a clone, she can hack her senses so unwittingly Elfnein has been projecting information back to her. The reason the Autoscorers continue to attack the Symphogear ladies is because their cursed melody is essential to the destruction of the world. Yes, Ignite module has been part of their plan. Whenever they use it, the Autoscorers will record them and send it to Carol. Therefore they don’t need the Gear users in the end. Although Phara is disabled, she had enough time to explain all that to Maria and Tsubasa before self destructing. Elfnein feels so guilty, she wants to be killed off. But kind Genjurou reminds her about her mission to thwart Carol’s plan. Leiur fights Chris and co so Carol and Ver could escape. When Kirika and Shirabe got knocked out, this leaves Chris an emotional wreck. She is afraid of being alone again in this cruel world, blah, blah, blah. But the juniors manage to tell her about relying on her and learning new things. This gives Chris the motivation to use Dainsleif and blow the crap out of Leiur. Thanks to Kirika and Shirabe’s cooperation, they manage to seal off the section instead of being blown up together. But now the place is crumbling so they rush and return to the main ship. As they race to surface, a giant humanoid monster is chasing them. Once on the surface, the monster chops the ship in half!

Episode 11
Chris destroys the monster. That was easy. Though, Elfnein was slightly injured. Meanwhile Hibiki sums up her courage to meet daddy again. He wants their family to get back again but he is afraid of seeing mom?! WTF?! Has he got no balls?! And Hibiki was ready to give him a second chance… The sky cracks. Here comes Chateau activated by Ver. You know, Hibiki’s dad is a real dick. He is recording this Armageddon tool and thinking how much he can sell on social media! If the world is still around… Because Ver considers Carol’s goal of destroying the world pathetic, he will take over her reigns as hero. Before he can start his hero ranting crap, Carol stabs him. You tell it to him, sister. Side characters can never be heroes! Carol goes down to Hibiki to bring her more despair. Although her dad might did a surprise move by pushing his daughter to safety, that’s all to it. He now runs away like a coward as Carol targets him. How shameful. Not even Hibiki has words to answer that. But wait. Daddy isn’t just running around for fun. He is using this as diversion so Hibiki could escape. The line that seals it when he says if he wants the family to work, she has to be part of it. This makes Hibiki that his words were always what kept her going when it was tough. He has always been looking out for her. Wow. All the faith restored in just a split second. Hibiki revives and transforms to fight Carol. Carol will kill her father then but thankfully Hibiki’s pals have arrived to help. After daddy is ushered to safety (he is brought back on Genjurou’s ship where he continues to watch his daughter because like he literally said, he won’t take his eyes off her), Carol transforms into her adult version and starts her destructive damage. She can continue singing her swan song without straining her body. Chateau resonates like a tuning fork, amplifying her song and causing one hell of a big energy blast! While Hibiki’s team fights the powerful Carol, Maria’s team heads up to Chateau to try and stop it. But looks like they’ve got lots of Alca-Noise to deal with. To their surprise, they see Nastassja before them. What the heck is this series bringing back dead people?

Episode 12
Nastassja tells Maria her hands are tainted and cannot be saved. Doing so means only finding salvation for herself. Kirika and Shirabe don’t want her to be duped by this fake and take her and run. Carol explains about some history between songs and alchemy. So songs destroy the world? I don’t get it. Maria’s team stumble upon Ver. I knew he wasn’t dead. He has lost a lot of blood and can’t control Chateau. So he is going to work with them to destroy Chateau. Yes, this means taking all of them onboard as well. When Nastassja confronts Maria again, Maria denies her and she turns into Fine, a dark culmination of Maria’s mistakes. Elfnein contacts Ver to give him the blueprint of the Photosphere. You know characters are going to sacrifice themselves when they start saying goodbye. That’s what Maria’s team say to Hibiki’s team. Before you know it, Chateau explodes. Carol is left in despair that her world destruction plan is in tatters. Elfnein tries to convince Carol that this is not what father wants. Carol still believes in her revenge to overcome her grief. After all, he left them questions without answers. Elfnein further explains about alchemy. Its goal of understanding and harmony. Therefore father’s solution is forgiveness even if the world rejected him. This is what he wanted to tell them. You think Carol would learn her lesson. But no. She is going to use all her power to destroy the present even if it means risking all her memories. Hibiki and co have no choice but to use Ignite to fight her. Even unlocking their safety they still cannot do much damage as they get blown away. Carol’s Phonic gain alone has 7 billion swan songs!!! And then… They hear Maria and co singing! I knew it was too good to kill them off. Apparently Ver saved them so they could tell his tale of how great a hero is for saving the world. Sure, she’ll tell the world about him being the worst hero. There you go… Bye Ver. The Symphogear girls start singing and there’s lot of power blasting whatever. Seems they are using Carol’s Phonic gain against her. With Elfnein giving her final miracle, it has the Symphogear girls in new sparkling bright outfits! Hey wait. I thought I’ve seen these outfits before at the end of last season?

Episode 13
More numbers. More power. Even armed with a miracle. You think that’s enough to beat Carol? Carol tells her dad’s story whereby he created medicine for a plagued village. But they show their thanks by burning him because he isn’t a guy who is supposed to bring miracles. That’s why every miracle is a curse to her and she’ll destroy every last one of them. She sends out more Alca-Noise or the Symphogear girls to fight but that is just for their warm up and distraction so that Carol has more time to power up and summon a mecha dragon. Zoids? More power lights exchanged by both sides. Carol starts to falter when memories of her dad resurface. Thinking it is trying to stop her, she’ll even burn them to burn everything. The Symphogear girls focus all their power to Hibiki so she could save Carol. Even when Carol is defeated, she remains adamant her songs cannot save anybody. She refuses to be saved. Hibiki desperately reaches out her hand. Carol sees Elfnein reaching out to her but it turned into her dad. I guess his words were enough to save her (in reality, it is Hibiki taking her hand). But the dragon exploded and everything within the 12km radius is decimated! Wasteland from Fallout 4? In the aftermath, miraculously no civilians died (at least it was not stated). Our Symphogear girls are alive but Carol is nowhere to be found. They casually chat with Elfnein like as though they are best friends in the world. But after everyone leaves, Hibiki cries alone in the toilet and Miku provides a shoulder to cry on. That night, Carol visits Elfnein. She doesn’t remember who she is. Wait. She can’t recall her name but she could find this room? Despite losing her memories, all Carol could see was Elfnein’s face so she thought she might get answers if she sees her. Elfnein talks about their dad but it seems Elfnein’s body cannot last any much longer. She thought she would gladly die for the world but now she feels she wants to live. We get our yuri moment when they kiss. It’s such a heart stopping move that Elfnein’s heart literally stops. The other girls rush in. Elfnein is gone. Carol is standing there. But wait. It’s not Carol. It’s Elfnein in Carol’s body! So happy they can’t resist a group hug. So… Carol + Elfnein = Ca-nein-> Canine? Just kidding… End scenes show Hibiki getting along well with her dad. Chris exerting her senior muscles while supervising Kirika and Shirabe over summer homework. Maria and Tsubasa fly to England together. Elfnein is now working at SONG. Finally, Hibiki’s dad sums up his courage to make up with mom. Since both adults are hesitating, Hibiki takes the initiative to join their hands. She’s never letting go. I mean, not in the literal sense.

Symphogear GX Zesshoushinai

Just like last season, these are short skits lasting around 8 minutes each that you get when you buy the DVDs. If you can’t get enough of the girls, the fun continues in bite size and in chibi form.

OVA 1
Taking place mostly after the Frontier incident, Hibiki complains about studying for the test but then she realizes this is something normal and thus is happy to conclude she has returned to her everyday life. Genjurou receives report about the sunken pieces of Frontier. While majority of its parts are useless or destroyed, they find a torn letter with some sort of mysterious poem on it. They have formed a special team to decipher it. Maria, Kirika and Shirabe are in prison. Shirabe seems to be greatly anticipating when the clock strikes 12. Because this is when the food is served. And boy, do prison food tastes good? Must be the kind of prison they’re in. Heck, they’ve been treated to very good meals that Maria can’t help curse her luck during their time at FIS because they only had meals they could only dream of. Therefore she is in a dilemma to continue being stubborn so they can be locked in prison and get served good food. Hibiki, Miku and Chris watch Tsubasa perform on TV as well as her blunders on variety show. When Hibiki and co visit Maria and co, Tsubasa notes how they have become well rounded in terms of thinking. But they misinterpret it as becoming fat due to the inactivity of lying around in prison! Tsubasa’s graduation day looms and she will fly off to London after that to fulfil her dream of singing on stage there. Tsubasa teases being worried for Chris because she will tend to hide her tears. Chris embarrassingly protests that and counters back that Tsubasa is the one who will cry at the graduation ceremony. Tsubasa in turn refutes that because a sword doesn’t cry. Then at the ceremony she couldn’t stop crying. Chris can’t make fun of her after hearing her tears were because she can’t stand the thought of being separated from everyone. This too infects Chris as she starts crying. But save the crying for later because they get a message about a space shuttle re-entry having difficulties. Time to go on a mission one last time together.

OVA 2
After Maria graduates and leaves to become a UN agent, she seeks a favour from Chris to look after Kirika and Shirabe because she figured she is the best person to guide them around and to make them feel at home. Chris is not amused that she has got such a reputation and when she finds out Hibiki was responsible in giving Maria that impression, she punches her! Call it memory rage! Chris tries to dictate how Hibiki and Miku should address her but since it got so confusing and nobody is listening, she just lets them call her however they please. Chris and co take Kirika and Shirabe to tour the school. However they already know the layout of the school so well when they learnt it during the infiltration that they feel bad of spoiling it. Just go with the flow. As they explain the several facilities, the duo cannot help think this is some sort of elaborated Symphogear training ground. You think too much… Tsubasa has arrived in England and awaiting her new challenge. Then Ogawa hands her a list of variety shows she will participate in. Not the kind of challenge she is looking for? Maria reads her contract as an undercover singer and feels like a hero. She feels proud but when the thought of Tsubasa crosses her mind, she feels she can’t compare to her. Tsubasa and Maria call each other. Each feeling awkward in their conversation. Tsubasa tells her about receiving so many variety jobs that she has trouble deciding which ones to reject. Eventually they decide to work with each other and sing on stage together. They heave a sigh of relief to have a friend saviour. Chris is cleaning her place and complaining while she is at it because her friends will be coming over. But she seems happy with the thought of having them over.

OVA 3
Finally an episode for Carol and her Autoscorers. Taking place before the start of this season, Carol is not pleased that despite using her own thought patterns to create her Autoscorers’ AI, she feels ashamed to see them pose like that. Garie reasons how people want to see cool final bosses-like pose but it just pisses Carol off to think just that. Yuri moment! Garie kisses Phara and Leiur to bring them alive. Carol watches this and is embarrassed and reminds to mind where they do it. But Garie argues they are based off her AI so she herself might actually like public display of affection. Carol’s plan begins by setting loose Elfnein. But she is so busy doing last minute checks that Carol just tells her off to just escape, damn it! And since she is being such a klutz even in escaping, Carol orders Leiur to chase her out in pretence of attacking her but without giving away their intentions. Leiur feels clashed because Elfnein looks like Carol and her conscience might stop her from doing so. Since when did Carol program conscience into her? Phara and Leiur discuss about random and fair use of rock-scissors-paper and lottery ladder. This is just to show off their statistic knowledge. The Autoscorers comment on Micha’s weird pose. Micha thinks it is cool despite not knowing its meaning so the rest think it could only mean Carol came up with it. Garie is not too happy Micha continues to bug her. This time her ribbon came undone and because of those monstrous hands, she can’t tie them back. Ironic for an ultimate Autoscorer she can’t do the simplest things. But I suppose Garie had a change of heart when Micha claims she’ll be pretty much useless without her around and fixes her ribbon so she can stop saying ‘stupid’ things.

OVA 4
Maria and Tsubasa are on a plane back to Japan. Maria thinks the rest will start teasing her when she returns and fears facing them. But luckily she manages to give off that asserting feel thanks to the in-flight food. Miku and Hibiki are cooking and eating beef stroganoff. I think Hibiki’s cooking is horrible but she is forcing herself to eat it so as to remember the taste and not make the same mistake in the future. During the time when Maria chides Hibiki for running away from using Gungnir, the reason Hibiki can’t look her in the eye is because her face is covered in blood! Chris imagines using Hibiki’s Gungnir but couldn’t stand the fact it is yellow. However she sniggers like a maniac dreaming about using Kirika and Shirabe’s Gears. Tsubasa too seems to be ‘depressed’ because she also knows what Chris is thinking and had those same thoughts as well. A time when Hibiki, Tsubasa and Chris unleash Dainsleif to fight against Carol, the process was so painful to watch that Kirika and Shirabe wonder if the trio have become the sheath instead of unsheathing the weapon. Kirika didn’t realize she was thinking aloud and embarrassed everybody when she thought of how much she loves Shirabe. The girls are in special training so Miku starts snapping photos of Hibiki like a mad paparazzi. For documentation purposes? You mean for her own collection, that is. Kirika and Shirabe and treading slowly and carefully in the water. They wonder how Ogawa does it by running on the water while carrying them. Simple. That f*cking guy is Jesus Christ! Just kidding!

Elegy Of Alchemy, Requiem Of Delirium
So let me guess. If they ever going to make another season, we now have Elfnein as part of the team? Yeah, the team is expanding and getting bigger and bigger the more seasons it gets. And I suppose if that happens, they’ll resurrect her Autoscorers and reform them into good guys too? Yeah well, we’ll leave that for another time. As far as this season goes, I guess it would be what Symphogear fans would expect. The songs, the action, the girls in tight fitting combat gear. Despite the ending is a happy one without much of a cliff-hanger (I believe it is time for our heroines to have a relaxing time that they deserved and earned from all the suffering they’ve been through this season even if it is just shown for 5 seconds at the end), there is of course still that little threat seeing Genjurou and Yatsuhiro were discussing about the emerging threat from Europe considering the great ol’ America has fallen.

I suppose they try to shake things up a little by introducing enemies that somewhat do not use the Symphogear technology but ancient alchemy. Because something feels a bit wrong when you see the enemies always getting the better of the girls but yet they do not finish them off but come back to fight them another day. I suppose it is to show that they are not perfect and instead of always expecting the Symphogear girls to come out tops each time, they finally meet their match in a stronger enemy. Sometimes it feels like a big training stint to power up the girls because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Heck, I thought they might pull off this shocking revelation that Carol and the Autoscorers are actually the good guys on their side, just playing the villains so that our Symphogear girls, the last saviours of mankind could power up greatly and defeat and even bigger villain. Too bad it wasn’t as complicated as that.

I’m sure they are trying to add some drama effect this season too. Because last season we had Miku almost turning into a baddie and for this season, we had Hibiki’s father returning to ruin her life again. At first looks he passes off as no more than a parasitic selfish jerk whom viewers would instantly love to hate. Heh. At least Ver was a bad guy but what is worse than that is a father who dared to come back into her daughter’s life without any sort of repentance. But since we cannot have jerks like him in this show especially if he is to live and be reunited with Hibiki in the end, suddenly he redeems himself by having a change in character. And before you know it, he is the best dad in the world at least from Hibiki’s renewed point of view. Yeah, with all those cool fatherly lines at the end, it is hard to cast him as a douchebag anymore from the way he shows his remorse and worries while watching over Hibiki’s final fight. To sum it up, he isn’t the perfect or the best father role model ever but he is still Hibiki’s dad no matter what. Aww… Time for a big warm hug?

Then there is Tsubasa’s case too about her estranged father and such but that felt a little rushed seeing her case wasn’t as bad as Hibiki. I’m sure they would have done something for Chris too if her parents weren’t dead. Either ways, our girls reconciling with their father seems to be the turning point and motivation that encourages them to fight better. So I’m guessing this season’s theme is all about the father, eh? Yeah well, Genjurou as the father figure didn’t do pretty much just like last season except commanding in his ship and watching over the girls. But still, a father figure nevertheless. Maybe a mother figure for Maria, Kirika and Shirabe. And when we have Hibiki’s family back on track again, they decide to add the theme of family in addition to all that. Fathers, friends, family… F*cking fabulous!

I can’t say much about the villainesses for this season because Carol’s excuse to destroy the world just because they burnt her fire doesn’t seem like a good justification for Armageddon. Of course, from Carol’s point of view, her father is the world and everything and natural if your dad is killed by dickheads, you’d definitely want to watch the world burn too. And her Autoscorers I thought they were just fancy posing mannequins in fancy dresses that would make them look like models for a photo shoot. They lack any deep personality except maybe for Micha who is probable to most psycho of the lot. But that itself pales in comparison to the madness of Ver.

I had this thought that the series was going to bring back dead characters because when they did it for Carol (seriously, how can the big little boss die so early and before her Autoscorers did), I didn’t expect they would bring Ver and Nastassja back although the latter is just some sort of clone. Hey, Hibiki nearly died and she came back. I know, she’s the heroine. Heck, I thought at this rate they might even bring back Ryouko (at least yet another Fine’s reincarnation) and even Kanade and Serena! Thank God they didn’t. But I find it pretty annoying that characters who are supposed to be dead should stay dead no matter how popular or favourite that character is in my books. Because doing so just makes it feel cheap. That kind of twist and revelation doesn’t work these days in today’s stories. So I guess they had the ‘decency’ to kill off Ver (again) and even if Carol’s gone, at least she lives on in Elfnein. Like I said earlier, if they really tried bringing back dead characters, maybe next season we would have Autoscorers joining their ranks.

In every episode there is guaranteed to be some sort of action from the Symphogear girls. I can’t recall how exaggerated the actions were in the previous seasons but with the third season, they get more power ups and the more powerful they get, the more colourful their songs and beams are. As seen in the big final epic battle. Yeah, sometimes I think it is one heck of a big magic light show and the only difference is that you can’t stay too close and be in awe of those magnificent lights because they will kill you. Otherwise, the unique display of each of the Symphogear girls’ skill sets are still an amusing watch as each comes in their own typesetting font style and move names. With the threat of Carol and Autoscorers, Noise (or Alca-Noise as they are now termed this season) seems to be a very distant threat now. It is like they have become enemies our girls to warm up and the obligatory little minions they must fight before battling the stage boss.

Many of the casts from the previous seasons are retained. New ones joining the line up are Inori Minase as Carol (Nagisa in Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa), Misaki Kuno as Elfnein (Hawk in Nanatsu No Taizai), Shizuka Ishigami as Leiur (Stella in Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry), Masumi Tazawa as Phara (Saionji in Yamada-kun And The Seven Witches), Shiori Izawa as Micha (Tanpopo in Witch Craft Works), Michiyo Murase as Garie (Slywia in Schwarzesmarken), Kazuhiro Yamaji as Yatsuhiro (Senor Pink in One Piece) and Toshihiko Seki as Hibiki’s dad (Senketsu in Kill La Kill).

Just like in previous seasons, the ever great Nana Mizuki as usual sings the opening theme. Exterminate doesn’t sound that all different from its predecessors. Displaying her powerful vocals as well as the fast paced techno rock music that permeates throughout the entire series. The main ending theme, Rebirth-day by Ayahi Takagaki also follows this same pattern. But breaking that pattern is Bayonet Charge, a duet by both of them. This special ending theme is more of hard rock. Then there is Glorious Break by Nana Mizuki which is more dramatic sounding with all the choir voices and orchestra music in the background. Like in previous seasons too, the insert songs of the girls singing are aplenty. I believe there is as much if not more insert songs than last season although from what I can see from the list is that most of them are remix variations from the main ones. Well, not that I noticed which ones stand out since I can’t be focusing my senses to both that battle and the songs. And since I can’t really hear what they are singing, I guess I’ll be concentrating on the power fights instead.

Overall, if you are a fan of the series or a big fan of any one or more of the famous seiyuus-cum-singers, then you’ll probably enjoy and feel nostalgic for the sequel that mostly many might have forgotten over the years. It would just be another ordinary show of girls in tight sci-fi outfits fighting villains via singing for casual viewers who has at least watched the previous 2 seasons. Newcomers jumping in might be confused with what they’re seeing without all that back story. This series is still worth a shot if it gets another season. But of course it cannot go on forever and like everything else, has to come to an end one day. Even the once popular American Idol is now over, right? So when it does happen for this series, let us hope they will bow out with grace with their swan song.

Houkago No Pleiades

October 16, 2015

They really did it. After debuting as an ONA a few years ago, Houkago No Pleiades has now received a proper adaptation as a TV series albeit it is only 1 cour. Just like the vast space that is expanding at a fast rate (theoretically, that is), the TV series has also expanded from just approximately 4 episodes of 6 minutes each into a dozen episodes that lasts your usual 24 minutes of screen time each. I might not remember much since the last time I watched the ONA but reading back from my blog, there are some familiar elements that they have taken and expended the storyline. And yeah, I’m thinking of a possible reason why it took them so long to give this series a proper anime adaptation is because it is time to promote the Subaru cars that this anime was intended to in the first place. Car sales haven’t been good, eh? Oh, don’t expect to see Subaru car models around. It will be sending wrong and bad messages if you see underage girls driving in Subaru models. Really.

Episode 1
From the sounds of it, Subaru loves watching the stars. On her way to the observatory, before her is a sick boy, Minato. They talk about things like how Subaru wants to see a meteor shower tonight and wants to invite him but feels awkward an embarrassed. Her wish to see the meteor shower is dashed when it is raining. She didn’t see a cute blob next to her so she steps on it, causing it to bounce and somehow ‘steal’ her compass. She follows it to a classroom and when she opens the door, she is surprised to see 4 girls in white magical outfit. One of them is her friend, Aoi. They are also surprised that Subaru can see them and despite they think Subaru is the chosen saviour, Aoi dismisses this because it is common knowledge that Subaru is a slow retard. But this blob which is their president and from the Pleiades star believes she is the one (you can’t hear a thing this blob mumbles and is translated by Nanako). He gives Nanako a drive shaft (a sophisticated broom stick that sounds like a motorcar) and before she knows it, she is already flying with it in the sky and transforming into her own magical girl outfit. A large star (sea urchin?) is falling from the sky. The girls claim this is fragments of the engine they need to collect. I don’t know what Subaru and Aoi are arguing about leaving each other behind by transferring to another school but they failed their mission and bounced right back into the classroom. Turns out the girls have never successfully captured an engine before so how can they explain perfectly to Subaru what they should do? But with Subaru believing that everybody can do it, I guess it’s time to try again. As explained, this is part of the president’s engine when he crashed land on Earth 7 years ago. They’re trying to gather them so he can go back to his planet. They are going to do some magic barrier to stop it. Everything is working fine till a dark star zooms pasts them, breaking their formation. Although Subaru manages to get the shrunken fragment, the dark star continues to target her until it directly collides into her. Turns out to be a guy who blames Subaru to be clumsy. Then he flies away to the dark side of the moon. But everyone is happy that Subaru has successfully captured their first fragment and believe she is their saviour. A big bonus for Subaru is that now she is able to see the meteor shower. Well, they’re floating above the clouds so why not?

Episode 2
Is it a coincidence that Subaru and Aoi seem to be heading to school and doing things at the same spot? Even their seat in class. Yup, nobody remembers if this spot belongs to Subaru or Aoi. Why so complicated? Itsuki just brings in an extra table. There, settled. Later President explains about something to do with the intertwining destinies from his accident 7 years ago that caused all 5 of them to gather at the same spot. All of them are in the same world. To cut that complicated story short, if they collect all the fragments, their threads of fate will return to normal. The girls teach Subaru how to use her drive shaft but demonstrating won’t be enough. Aoi becomes her guide but I think Subaru needs a break since she’s getting a little sick for flying too fast. She remembers she needs to return the observatory key and again she sees Minato there. He returns to her the broken telescope filter she forgot to take the last time but she gives it to him since it is of no use to her. They talk about people changing so Minato suggests they should become friends. Subaru returns to Aoi and wants to continue her flying lessons while reconciling their friendship. Hikaru, Itsuki and Nanako spot a variable star in the distance and think they are fine collecting it on their own. Till that dark guy intervenes and it causes the star to split into 2 although the centrifugal force is making them spin. Subaru and Aoi now enter the fray and from what their friends explain, they need stop them both at the exact same time. Time to put what you learn to use. Remembering an old childhood song, they start singing it and their perfect synchronization has them capture the stars. But now the stars are being drawn to each other. Using speed and altitude, they manage to stop them from colliding. Then the dark guy snatches Subaru’s portion and claims these fragments are his. I guess he is cocky to believe that he can outwit and take the rest from them any time. Yeah, that’s enough for today. He’ll be back next time. Subaru blames herself for being a retard but Aoi consoles her and promises to protect her next time. More good news because while the duo was training, Hikaru and the rest have applied for a permanent clubroom. Under the guise of a cosplay research club with President as their, erm, president, they’ve got a place to call home. Hey, if nobody can see President or the girls (when they are transformed), how did they nominate President as the president? How the heck did it get approved anyway? President spits out a jar so they can put all the fragments they collected in it.

Episode 3
The dark guy just beat the girls to collect a fragment all by himself. All thanks to Subaru being nervous. So I guess the girls are in no mood for celebration back at their clubroom. Then there is this lecture by President about possible potentials that I don’t think rocket scientists can understand. Just STFU. Even more gloom for Subaru when she sees her dad assembling parts of some machine together. Although he mentions the power they produce if properly assembled, Subaru can’t help cry after thinking it is still defective no matter how many parts you put together. As Subaru is in her cleaning duties, she stumbles into the observatory and talks with Minato again. Relating the problem she is facing, he tells her he is free to decide and hesitate. She might be afraid but is she sure she is the only one afraid? The girls detect another fragment over the ocean. They are perfect in obtaining it but the dark guy usurps them and steals their hard work. Hikaru fights back and this causes the fragment to go missing. To take out their frustrations, Hikaru suggests going swimming and invites him. You think he wants to join them? Well, it seems Nanako detects the fragment at the bottom of the ocean so put on your swimsuits and dive in. I wonder how they can breathe… They need to be calm and not startle while collecting it. To their surprise, the dark guy joins them! But it wasn’t him that startled the fragment. A passing eel tickles their feet. It then becomes a giant waterspout that reaches far above the stratosphere. Itsuki finds she cannot go higher than a certain altitude. Adios, dark guy is going ahead. With tips from Subaru, Itsuki uses the wind and transforms her drive shaft into some vacuum cleaner and links the others to tag along. It is a race to grab the fragment and with teamwork, the girls win. With the waterspout dissipating, the girls are now floating in space. I wonder how they can breathe… Dark guy isn’t giving up yet but I don’t know what Subaru is ranting about in this heartfelt speech of hers. She wants to be with her friends, blah, blah, blah. I guess she was nervous that she accidentally bumps her butt in his face! He has had it and lets them off for today. So the girls admire space as they float down. I don’t give a damn what the blob is trying to say. When Aoi notes they are like Cinderellas gathered by a glass slipper, the rest tease her for having a cute side. Well, they admit they aren’t any different from her and feel happy. Lastly, Subaru remembers her father comforting her about people aren’t like manufactured parts and don’t have to settle by taking only 1 shape.

Episode 4
The girls are amazed that Hikaru can precisely identify the piano notes just by hearing them. President then detects a fragment orbiting the moon so the girls undergo training to fly at higher mach and also some g-force training. Wow. Magical girls doing it like a piece of cake. It is decided to retrieve the fragment on Thursday but Subaru notes there is a concert by Hikaru’s accomplished parents she wants to attend. However Hikaru points out on that day there is no concert. Seems they have discovered some planet and want to use that day to send piano music towards it. If they only knew there was an alien already here… Subaru goes back to class but stumbles into the observatory. She finds it hard to explain things to him but he believes she has never lied to him. That is why when she says she is going to the moon, he believes her. So the girls make their flight there. Of course, the dark guy too. During the fight, their magic barrier dissipates and Hikaru finds herself in a dream. She knows she is in one because the moon is made of cheese! And there is Subaru too being a retard. Hikaru talks about her little problem that she is a nobody. When a certain song is heard emitting from Earth, Hikaru becomes scared and covers her ears. She is returned to reality and Subaru recognizes this song as the one composed by Hikaru’s parents. Could they know she is at the moon? Well, she did left a note she was going there. Hikaru further reveals that when she was young, one day she was sick and she heard the sound of the piano from her father’s room. The piano tone sounded like it was troubled over something. Hikaru was surprised she could see a note and added it, knowing it was the note daddy was searching for. But later she started feeling scared that the note would cause him trouble. She couldn’t bear to hear it and has never heard the full song. Her parents achieved their dreams on their own and she didn’t want to interfere. Subaru can tell her father is playing like this to let her hear it and knows she was interfering then. As they go trap the fragment, somehow dark guy is drawn-cum-forced into helping them. Once the fragment is captured, he is blown away. Like no more need for him, eh? Hikaru’s parents are happy the song reached their daughter and the moon. They believe she is there because she has never lied to them. The girls are surprised to realize they are back in the clubroom. They are shocked to see tears from Hikaru although she tries to change the subject. Tears of joy?

Episode 5
Aoi is furious. Thank to the blob fooling around in class, a minor accident led to Aoi being casted to play the prince role in a theatre festival. Of course without a doubt the princess will be played by Itsuki by a near unanimous vote. The play they will be putting up is The Lady In The Tower whereby a princess of a certain nation has the power to materialize whatever she says. It was good at first till she summoned a lion and was locked away in the tower. A long time passed and a prince journeyed to come make her wish come true but she is gone. He heard her last words that she wanted to disappear. Aoi gets motivated to design a beautiful gown for a princess as they start their work in making the dress. As Subaru returns the log book, again she wanders into the observatory and sees Minato before her. She wonders if this is a dream because he is always there. He notes that if he is a resident of her dream, all she needs to do is wake up. But where would he end up then? Later Subaru talks to Itsuki as the latter reveals she has no wish or dream because it would only cause trouble for someone else. Long ago when she was more of a tomboy than anything, she fell off a tree and her parents blamed her brother for not stopping her. She thought this scar on her forehead was a punishment and warning (a reason why she kept the bangs). President finds another fragment and this time whisks them away to Jupiter. I love it how the girls describe the space bodies like as though they’re some desserts. Chocolate chip cookies, lemon sherbet, milk tea… Mmm… Makes me hungry… The fragment is hard to spot since it is in the midst of Saturn’s rocky rings. But looks like the dark guy is here too because somehow they pulled him over when they went into overdrive. So another competition to get the fragment begins. Itsuki has an idea to search for the fragment faster. I don’t know. Putting holes in the rings? When it is spotted, Itsuki and the dark dude make a final dash and I suppose Itsuki has a longer reach than him. Yeah, he is calling it foul for her playing rough! Nobody said anything about the rules, did they? Back on Earth, our girls are next in their play. The shocking part isn’t the ending rewritten that the prince saved the princess but rather Itsuki who always wanted to play the prince part is now casted as one. Aoi plays the princess and she doesn’t look comfortable in this girly role. Making Itsuki happier when she spots her brother watching.

Episode 6
A band of light is visible in the sky. President explains that is actually his spaceship! They are running out of time and need as many engine fragments as possible. Then there is this mumbo-jumbo of his species trying to find a decent place to live but space was too far. Their technology allowed them to select their desired outcome and so they chose nothing (because by living means you have to make choices). Now they exist outside the laws of space as they are frozen in time on an endless journey. WTF?! Who writes this crap?! Anyway, the accident 7 years ago caused their ship to lose the ability to escape the laws of space and the ship is at risk of falling apart without the power source. The engine has split into 13 fragments. The tally right now is that they have 5 and the dark guy 3. Despite not having all the parts, President will do all he can to create the engine with the available fragments. It’ll be bad if the ship materializes. It can crash into the entire planet! When Subaru is left behind in the clubroom, she sees an earring belonging to Minato and a familiar fragment. Isn’t this the one that the dark guy has? She touches it and the trap activates. The entire school is now barricaded in a magic barrier. Seems he used his own fragment as bait. The other girls cannot enter and need Subaru to find a way to open from within. Dark guy is already inside searching for the fragments. But when Subaru bumps into him, she runs away as fast as her drive shaft could and ends up in the observatory. Because she is in panic, her scatterbrain words have Minato confused. He doesn’t understand about a thing about the fragments. When she shows his earring, he starts feeling pain. He points her the direction to get out and claims he will be fine. When dark guy comes into the observatory, he sees the earring but the moment he picks it up, it turns into poison gas. Subaru manages to open the observatory door and let her friends in. President wants the girls to keep him busy while he finishes the engine. However he has the entire school building floating in space. He shoots his magic to destroy it and wants the girls to hand over the fragment. They won’t but he easily takes them with his telekinesis power. President wants the girls to use their drive shafts as spark plugs to start the engine. However it is not powerful enough. Dark guy doesn’t care what happens to everything so long he has got the fragments. Subaru’s earnest feelings of whatsoever has the space light glow so bright that it blows him away and seal the ship. He is now in the observatory and being confronted by Minato who says he has to go now. President is happy that they got back their fragments including those that were in dark guy’s hands. But they have to continue finding the remaining fragments since this measure is only temporary. When Subaru returns to the observatory, it is dark and wilted. She takes the flower Minato left behind and hopes they’ll meet again.

Episode 7
Subaru is planting the flower and her friends wonder if she has joined the gardening club. But she looks so gloomy… Aoi goes to talk to her as Subaru explains about this Minato person she met but nothing more that she knows of. However this left Aoi upset because as her friend she never told her anything. Subaru stumbles upon Minato doing his gardening. Seems he is cold and indifferent to her. She tries to refresh his memories about the greenhouse-cum-observatory but he says the school has no such place. President detects another fragment but this one is acting like a comet and is going to crash into the sun. Well, you know what to do before it is too late. I wonder how roast octopus tastes like… And it seems that dark guy is also here to take the fragment. Predictable… As they being their operation, the friends can tell something has happened between Subaru and Aoi. Were they fighting? With a lot of flashbacks on their pasts, etc, it finally took the friends to scold them about hesitating after coming this far. Long story short with all that additional flashbacks, they patch up their relationship and finish the job. Yeah, they’re closer than ever like the fight never happened. I’ll always be with you, I want to protect you… That kind of stuff that friends say to each other. Later when Subaru and Aoi compare their necklace charm they gave each other, looks like the missing parts are also exactly the same. They realize they both received a treasure from a precious friend and were never left behind. Next time Subaru sees Minato, she sums up her courage to get his attention. He thinks she is mistaking him for somebody else but Subaru says even so, she learnt something from her friend. That Minato is still Minato. He is glad she has managed to find another way to open the door and Subaru welcomes him back.

Episode 8
With Subaru spending more time with Minato, the rest wonder if their club is going to be disbanded. Furthermore, aren’t they looking quite close to each other that it gives out that po-warm feeling? Is that a new word? President detects another fragment but it is at the edge of the Solar System. Somehow the previous methods in reaching there won’t work and they will need to send one person there via the power of their drive shafts at the speed of 0.25 light years (equivalent to 3 months). Who can skip school for that long? Apparently Nanako volunteers. Since she is going to be gone, President disguises as Nanako’s substitute but with a preset of phrases, can they fool everyone? Nanako believes they can! So our friends see off Nanako as she begins her 3 month journey. The friends borrow Hikaru’s parents’ telescope to see where Nanako is at now. Nanako has finally past the final planet in our solar system. I guess all that loneliness has her think back about her past. She is always alone and adults are liars. Apparently her mom left with her brother to travel around the world. They said they’ll be back for her but they never did. That is why she believes no matter who you love or how much, you’ll be alone again. Naturally? But she can’t help think about Subaru and co despite arguing that being alone suits her best. Suddenly there is an unknown planet before her. She never knew a planet existed this far. Has it been sitting alone without anyone noticing? Oh sh*t! Nanako discovered a planet! She names it Apate, after the goddess of fraud and despair. She tries to communicate to her friends and bets they would love to see this. Subaru and co receive Nanako’s message and instantly teleport to where she is! Everyone is happily reunited. Nanako remembers she found a glowing stone, cracked it open and a shapeless light communicating with her telepathically. It took the cute octopus form we see because Nanako imagined it to be so as it was the alien her brother drew. Nanako realizes despite being alone, memories with everyone will never disappear. Time to grab the fragment but that dark guy is here. How the heck does he do it every time?! The struggle to get the fragment somewhat has it activate the planet’s sea of hydrogen. All that mumbo-jumbo from president means that this planet will be reborn into a star. So our sun won’t be lonely anymore? After grabbing the fragment, everyone suddenly finds themselves in the clubroom and on the day Nanako left. Apparently one of the ways to come back is for someone to wish hard enough to return to this moment. It might be Nanako because today is her birthday. Wow. They reverse a 3 month timeline just like that? Now they’ve got to take the test again…

Episode 9
The school’s cultural festival is here and the girls realize they don’t even know what their club does aside serving as a disguise to collect fragments. That is when Subaru remembers she is from the astronomy club! As President is worried the dark guy might show up to steal the fragments again, Subaru suggests letting her keep in her planetarium club since not many people have access to the room and is always locked. When Subaru wants to be excused to go help do a planetarium for her astronomy club, it starts ringing alarm bells for the rest. Is she rendezvousing with a boy?! Just in time. There is a best couple contest too… Although Minato is not from the astronomy club, he is helping her out as repayment for her help in his gardening. Little does Subaru know, Nanako has been secretly taking photos of them as in item! Subaru and Minato test their planetarium. Why experience an artificial one when you can have the real one! Yeah, Minato takes her through an amazing space journey. No Subaru, you’re not dreaming. Minato explains that sci-fi crap because of that not existing in the laws of space, it makes them able to be here but at the same time not here. WTF?! Save the crap. Let’s just call it magic. Meanwhile the friends are outside the planetarium and their minds running while thinking of that do-not-disturb sign outside. They’re tempted to see but Itsuki won’t allow them to interfere. She turns hypocrite as she wants to know or else she cannot sleep tonight. But when they open the door, nobody is there. The space trip continues as Minato shows her a cluster of blue Pleiades stars and her name bears the same meaning. Then a journey to a lively centre of stars. Everything is so bright that space doesn’t look dark. This has Subaru ponder the limits of space. He mentions they can enjoy this now because they won’t remember it all when they get back. Subaru recognizes this feeling. When she was young and used to visit grandma at hospital, one day she got lost and stumbled into a room. This young boy (Minato) showed her visuals of space and even lets her experience the real deal. He says it’s magic. They had fun learning and discovering space together but shortly after that, the boy was gone. She never knew his name and only remembered it just now. Eh, wait. Minato is crying? Subaru wonders if they don’t go back, does this mean they can remember all this? OMG! Did they kiss?! When he reveals he was that boy, they’re already back in the room and Subaru doesn’t know why she is crying. After they leave, Minato returns to get the key. The fragments hidden in the clock resonates with his earring and float around. He now remembers. Looks like it is time to say goodbye to Subaru.

Episode 10
Minato proclaims he is cursed and that his memories can only exist within himself. Subaru suddenly transforms. She returns to the room and sees Minato turned into that dark guy (which is hardly surprising). From what he says, Subaru realizes he doesn’t recognize her. By the time the other girls come, he has stolen all the fragments and blasts up to space and uses it to attract the 12th piece. The girls give chase but find they ran out of ‘fuel’. It seems the fragments enhanced their power but now that it’s gone, they need to combine their drive shafts and only has room for one. Guess who is going? As Minato floats in space, he remembers his times in the hospital. One day some superhero boy jumped into his window. He is shocked Minato could see him. He explains he is collecting crystals since their engine is broken and leaking energy to repair it. As he wants to be named, Minato calls him Elnath, the second star of Taurus. He also gives Minato some fancy prince outfit. I suppose this is to have magic effects? Every night they go out hunting for those crystals as Elnath explains about possible potentials that their spaceship is hovering in between. He also akin humans to this. Especially infants when they have a lot of potentials before their host taking shape. Once they do so, those other lost potentials become this crystal and disappear, amounting to nothing. Shortly, Subaru came into his room. Now she is here pleading him to return to fragments but Minato sounds bitter about that alien boy who was just a coward and abandoned those once he knew had no choice left that would save them. If this world won’t accept him, then he’ll abandon it.

More flashbacks surrounding the time young Minato spent with Subaru. Minato had hope after meeting her. One night, Minato felt confident he could capture a fragment but his magic collapsed. Next thing he knows, he sees himself in ICU and on life support. He becomes sad that all that he experienced were just illusions. He becomes disillusioned of using the fragments to choose another potential from the past. Elnath warns him the engine is designed to move towards the future and if he denies his present self, his magic will become cursed. Minato turns Elnath into a rock when he tries to stop him. As hard as Minato tries to get the fragment, he loses his consciousness till he disappears. His other self in hospital fell asleep for who knows how long. While flowers bloom from the crystals, he knew the only thing that wasn’t an illusion when Subaru opened the door to the observatory. But if she doesn’t remember what happened and he continuing to curse himself, if he disappears, all this will just be an illusion. Therefore Minato is going to gather all the fragments to disappear from this world. Subaru doesn’t want him to do that and reverts to her normal form. Now you recognize her? After he pushes away, he gets stabbed by the fragment. He thinks she is also cursing herself like him because her wish might be to collect the fragments forever. Minato disappears and only the fragment remains. Subaru returns to her friends with all the fragments but she doesn’t look happy.

Episode 11
It seems Subaru has lost her magic and cannot see President. Her drive shaft is now a normal compass and more crap from President about lost potentials that will never return. But the girls cannot stay gloomy because the cultural festival is about to start. Everyone carry their duty well especially Subaru doing a great planetarium show. Father is so happy that he cried that he never realized she has changed this much. Oddly, this makes Subaru start crying. Did he say the wrong word? Why is ‘change’ such a taboo word? Subaru sees the unattended garden. Even Minato’s classmate doesn’t even remember Minato’s name anymore. Subaru is happy to find the flower and picks it up. President speaks to the other girls about the final fragment that is getting further and further away at the speed of light. They’re going to use some dark energy to leap and jump at the speed of light to catch it. Well, this method sounds more magical than sci-fi. The girls leap and leap and notice the lesser stars as they go further. President says they’re only getting farther from the fragment at this rate. They might not even obtain it. Then there is even this crap that if they don’t collect the final one, it means the laws of the universe forbade them. Currently it is operating slightly at their favour because of their earnest wish deep in their hearts. This is proven when their wishes, big or small have come true. This means if they cannot collect the last fragment, it means they didn’t wish for it. It means it was President’s mistake to turn them into magical girls. WTF???!!! Sounds more of fantasy than science. Of course the girls say that they really want to do this. That counts, right? Subaru is opening doors in hopes something familiar will pop out. Nothing. More flashbacks about her younger days with Minato. On one of their space journeys, she had a star decoration but felt sad she couldn’t hang it up. Where the heck can you hang it up?! In return, Minato gave her his tiny star fragment. The next door she opens, it is Minato in ICU. She is happy to see him holding on to her star decoration. That is when her star fragment lights up. She is whisked to where the real Minato is, in the deep depths of space. Hmm… Subaru and Minato swap outfit colours? He explains he didn’t avoid choosing but rather lost that ability to choose. He’ll gather all the fragments and disappear. In that case, she’ll open the door as many times as it takes. He flies off telling her to go where she wants to go. Her friends happened to warp by and are glad to reunite with her. President is amazed at this new magic Subaru has. Subaru has renewed confidence to go capture the last fragment.

Episode 12
In the final jump they make, they reach a strong gravitational lens and all that mumbo-jumbo President said can be easily summarise this phenomenon: It’s a black hole! The fragment is inside it and they feel it could be impossible to gather all the fragments in this universe. Don’t quit now that you’ve come this far. President gives each of them a couple of fragment pieces and they are going to use it to draw out the last one. Because President lacks the power like them, they need a final sixth member to pull this off. Immediately Subaru can only think of Minato. She sees him trying his luck inside the black hole and goes to catch him. Seems Minato doesn’t mind being swallowed and erased by the black hole if he fails. Although he betrayed her, Subaru doesn’t want to forget all the warmth she experienced with him. Because no matter how many universes she has been, there will always be one Minato to her. If he can’t make himself happy then she’ll do it. Hey wait a minute. Aren’t guys supposed to be the one to say this kind of lines? If that doesn’t convince him, this kiss will! OMG! THEY KISSED! Friends in shock! Why the heck is Itsuki covering Aoi’s eyes?! With Minato joining the girls, he turns to President and wonders when he turned into a blob. Apparently President was Elnath but you can’t blame him for not recognizing Minato because he has changed so much since. President’s giant spaceship appears. It is still broken and they’re going to use this chance to fix it. From what I gather, they’re going to fight fire with fire. Meaning, they’re going to use the engine fragments to draw out the last fragment by making another black hole. With all their might, they do the greatest pull ever in the universe. Literally. Now they find themselves in completely empty space. Did they fail? Actually they passed through the black hole and were able to barely get the final fragment that President used to fix his ship. Minato is confused that they possess the power to control probability but rejected the act of choice. President says it is only true in his universe. He points out their next destination, another universe. As long as there is hope they can continue their journey crossing whole universes. Minato realized he only cursed himself by looking at the past and got them involved. The girls realize Minato was trying to save those crystals, potential life that was never born into this world. President will continue this goal of his in the next universe. This is possible thanks to them going beyond the universe’s laws to gather the fragments. That itself is magic! I’m feeling the irony here. President likes to give them something as thanks.

After the ship blasts off, the gang sees multiple threads believed to be possibilities of their world. Of course no matter what kind of possible futures there are, it all boils down to a single source and that is where they are going. So they’re going back in time where Earth was just created? OMG! The first humans on the planet were them! The ‘gift’ granted by President is that they can start over at any point in time as they wish. All the friends make a wish they would like to have the good traits that they each have but importantly they were there because they helped each other a lot and they want to become themselves. So our girls say their goodbye in this final bag of drama and emotions till they are all finally separated. Minato is surprised that he is with Subaru. Remember about her promise that she will make him happy? Oh great. So he is stuck with her forever? Haha! They sit together watching the sunset till she falls asleep. Subaru wakes up back in her home and she remembers about the meteor shower tonight. As she heads off, she sees Aoi alighting from the bus. They talk and Aoi admits she decided to take an exam to enrol in this school because she liked the uniform but was too shy to say it. Subaru hands her a flyer for the meteor shower watching. As she distributes the flyer at school, a group of interested people that includes Hikaru, Itsuki and Nanako gather to seek more information. Minato is seen in his ICU although I’m not sure if he is sleeping or in comatose state. Subaru narrates about the stars in the sky, the long time they spent passing each other, repeating the lonely sadness and joy of meeting each other. Each time she looks up, it makes her think of the people she has still yet to meet somewhere and those who look up and think the same and the stars that watch over them all from up there.

Reach For The Stars
I may not remember much from my initial watching of the ONA series but when I look back at my blog for reference, my sentiments for most of what has been done in the TV series are mostly the same. For example, I still find the bright shining stars of space to be still awesome and magnificent. This I find is the biggest draw for me in the series. Though, I am not sure if they are real images or hand drawn. They’re fascinating nevertheless. Also, not forgetting the funny and amusing gibberish way that President talks (you might want to argue it is alien language that he is speaking, thus our ears cannot understand) and instantly being translated by Nanako. Therefore, the TV series I feel is somewhat a ‘proper’ expansion of the ONA version.

Of course there are some things which I found a bit silly and not enjoyable (from my own personal views, of course). Mainly it is the sci-fi gibberish when President/Nanako starts explaining to them. Maybe it is partly my fault in thinking that this is just going to be a simple magical girl plot and perhaps it is. But they put in sci-fi explanations that some even sounds like magic. Like as though they pluck it out from the air but put it in a way that it sounds convincing enough to sound like sci-fi. Each time President starts ranting about that, my mind just automatically turn off and I would just smile and be amused at the fast way he is yapping. Yeah, then I can say “You’re talking too fast, I don’t know what you’re saying!”. But it is also interesting to note that if feels like they are weaving together sci-fi and magic. But that is just about it. Because thinking about mixing both genres reminds me of that nightmarish To Aru Majutsu No Index. Uh huh. Science and magic clash… One big confusion!

Therefore it is both interesting and yet confusing to hear about the possible overlapping possibilities that affect everything that exists in the universe. So if you don’t want to be bound by the laws of space, just exist outside it! Simple, no? With Minato having this thinking of going back to the past and finding another possible future that suits him feels like in a video game where you go back to an earlier save point and redoing things differently again. So if he keeps doing this again and again, doesn’t this mean that he was never meant to have a possible future? Oh heck. Why so confusing? Just exist outside the laws of space and everything will be fine! I think.

The other silly thing which I find is whenever the girls manage to detect and find a fragment, the evil version of Minato will be there. All the time! Like as though he knew the girls would be after this piece and hence always pops up slightly later than them just to annoy them and then challenge to get the fragment. Sometimes it feels like as though he has a spy camera put in the clubroom and listening to the girls’ talk, which is why he somehow knows when and where to be there. Always. I mean, there are other fragments spread out throughout the Solar System and they have to bump into each other for that same targeted piece. Coincidence? Yeah, big coincidence alright. A big coincidence to have some magical girl action bits.

The other thing is President’s ability to warp the girls if he has discovered a fragment that is in outer space. I believe they want to put some variety in the way the girls travel to space to reach that fragment. It would be boring if they use the same method every time, right? Besides, I am sure they’re trying to hint about this idiom about the journey instead of the destination. You won’t get to see the magnificent space if you take the short cut of just warping there. Yeah, there is some sort of sci-fi explanation from President about the method to use to get there but you know, it sounds so confusing that I wasn’t listening anymore. I just know they’ll get there.

Then there is how President speaks via Nanako’s translation. I noticed their mouths move at the same time. Logically speaking, if you are going to translate or even exactly say the words that someone tells you through the phone or whatever receiver, there is going to be some sort of time lag. But in this case, it is almost instant like as though 2 mouths are speaking at the exact same time! This isn’t actually a big deal but I thought it makes this Pleiades translation thingy a bit unrealistic since it is being done exactly at the same time. Like as though Nanako’s words are to drown out the muffled chipmunk voice that President spews. Because if you wait for President to finish and then hear Nanako translate, it’s like wasting time, isn’t it? Cut the chatter and let’s go find the fragments! Heh. If only President’s sci-fi explanations weren’t that confusing. Maybe it sounds so because it has to be put in human tongue. Besides, I am not sure if Nanako herself is the one putting up a dramatic act or acting out as per President’s emotions because sometimes she does get dramatic during the speeches.

Despite the expansion of this anime, somehow I just feel the characters are not that very in-depth. Just scratching the surface. Sure, they have one episode to focus on a character and their past issue but that itself doesn’t amount to anything much. Because at the end of it all, the usual lesson of friendship and togetherness is the lesson of the day. Like Hikaru’s trauma when hearing a certain piece of her parents’ music, Nanako’s penchant to think that everybody will be eventually alone and thus an excuse to give herself to be isolated from the rest and Itsuki’s ‘I-have-no-dreams’ just because that way it will satisfy everyone by not bringing up trouble.

Aoi is like a bag of emotions but at least she is being true and honest to them. Somehow she always ends up as Minato’s saviour and perhaps it is the laws of the universe that dictates so. Yeah, I think this is an easier way of putting it. Whereas Minato isn’t exactly the antagonist of the series despite seemingly starting out as one and is just a confused boy who only wanted a place to belong. And he can always count on being by Subaru’s side as the place he will always belong to. Laws of the universe? Yeah, just put the blame and excuse on this. How convenient. And I suppose that is the exact same reason why in the final parting scene, President was able to speak with his own bloody mouth instead of using Nanako as a translator. Now we can’t always blame him for speaking gibberish, can we? And he was also able to switch between his blob form and Elnath boy form with ease. Or is this just in the eyes of the beholder, the girls seeing him as a blob and Minato sees him as a boy?

If this series is in collaboration with Subaru, where are the car models you ask? Well, they might not appear visually in the anime but at least they’re being heard. Noticed the drive shafts that the girls ride on? Don’t they sound like the engine of a car whenever they accelerate? Yup. As I found out, those are actual recordings from real Subaru vehicles. That is how a Subaru vehicle sounds like. Personally, I can’t tell the difference with other brands so it doesn’t really matter. Besides, doesn’t it sound odd to have magical brooms sounding like car engines? Yeah, you will be wondering where is would the carburettor, pistons, crankshaft or spark plugs located inside this thin stick. Unless they just have a chip inside to produce that kind of sound just for effects.

The art and drawing remains constant with the ONA. Nice cute looking magical girls in equally cute white magical outfits (but each with different hat types for differentiation?). Other than the majestic space, the other thing nice is the special magic effects you see when the girls release their magic. Not as spectacular as space but it provides eye candy with ooohhhs and aaaahhhhs. In addition to that, the mi-intermission provides cute water colour paintings of the characters in the series. There are a few scenes that utilize CG but this is minimal.

All the casts who lend their voice for the ONA are retained for the TV adaptation. They are Natsumi Takamori as Subaru (Misaki in Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo), Houko Kuwashima as Minato (Sango in Inu Yasha), Ayuru Oohashi as Aoi (Ayumu in Hoshizora E Kakaru Hashi), Saki Fujita doubling as Nanako and President (Ao in Yozakura Quartet series), Yui Makino as Hikaru (Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle) and Kanako Tateno as Itsuki (Kiyomi in Iriya No Sora, UFO No Natsu). There are a couple of new casts of course and some of them are recognizable like Yui Horie as Elnath and Yuuki Kaji as Minori’s classmate. The opening theme is Stella-rium by Kano and the ending theme is Koko Kara, Kanata Kara by Fragment.

Overall, this isn’t a bad anime but there is nothing unique that will make it stand out maybe except for the starry stars of space. The laws of space in the works? Those who have watched the ONA previously should see this one to get a complete picture of the series. If you’re still interested in the series, that is. It is still nevertheless a simple magical girl tale of friendship and togetherness. Helping their alien friend out to return to his universe and in the mean time having loads of fun discovering the mysteries of space that scientists and astronomers have been working hard and being left stumped over the centuries. Yeah. Don’t play-play. These girls discovered a new planet and even travelled to the far edges of space! They make it sound so simple with magic. Don’t go blaming it on the laws of space again.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san F

July 24, 2015

OMG! It’s finally here! Oh wait. Sort of. Just when I thought they have made a third season, instead Haiyore! Nyaruko-san F is just a single OVA episode. Oh what the heck. Better than nothing. Because it feels like a long time that I have seen this perverted Cthulu (actually it is just about a year ago). I am thinking they put the alphabet F in this title because it sounds like a certain kitchen utensil that can also sound as close to a certain profanity. Yeah… But I can guess what this OVA about. That certain Nyarlathotep is still trying to gun for that human boy she is very much infatuated with. Will she get closer or will she get pushed further away? Will he accept her or will he get one step closer in losing his sanity? Only one way to find out.

Switch On! Chaos Incoming!
FINALLY! IT HAS HAPPENED!!! Nyaruko and Mahiro are getting married! OMG! OMFG!!! After exchanging wedding vows, it is the very much awaited wedding kiss. And suddenly!!! It was all just a freaking dream!!! Nightmare for Mahiro, though. I knew it! Too good to be true! Of course the first thing he thinks is to blame Nyaruko. After all, who else could be responsible for such indecent dream but her weird inventions? He goes to confront her but I guess she and the rest are busy watching and making some sort of video that parodies Love Live. As he questions her, it seems she genuinely doesn’t know about it. This makes him harder to say what it was but Nyaruko thinks it is something horny and as usual wants to get down and dirty. As expected, jealous Kuuko and Hasuta also want a piece of him. Before Nyaruko could make her dream come true, Mahiro’s trusty fork puts things in order. Tamao and Yoichi come by to bring everybody to play a survival game attraction that is currently trending. After having their drinks while waiting to play, now it is time to pair up. Who is the lucky person who will get to be with Mahiro? Nyaruko! Oh yes! Too bad for Hasuta who had to end up with Yoichi and Kuuko with Tamao. At least Yoriko is happy to pair up with Shantakkun. So our pairs face off with weird puzzles and obstacles before reaching the exit. Mahiro and Nyaruko came out last but something seems off about them. They sound docile. Normal? Well, I suppose I might be over-thinking because nobody notices any oddities. Or maybe they’re just plain stupid.

True enough, the real Mahiro and Nyaruko are in some cave and being made to fight monsters. Whatever weapons Nyaruko takes out, it disappears. A weird block appears and explains that the space nano-machines have taken effect (it was in the drinks during the wait). In 1 hour, Nyaruko will lose all her powers and memories, leaving her body as just an empty shell. It seems the block wants Nyaruko and the other freeloader aliens to join up with her in some entertainment. Since Nyaruko disagrees, they are told to clear this mission of making it outside. Otherwise they lose. The duo start fighting the monsters but it seems Nyaruko is losing her strength and memories for real. She can’t remember who Kuuko and Hasuta are. Then she takes a hit to protect Mahiro. Oh, now he is very worried about her. How ironic since he didn’t care the least bit about her this morning. After Tamao and Yoichi leave the cakes house, the rest confront that fake Mahiro and Nyaruko. They didn’t want the duo to get involved and waited for them to leave. The imposters turn into their monster form and attack. Of course they are no match for our heroes. They head back to the attraction thinking the real Mahiro and Nyaruko are still there.

Mahiro carries Nyaruko as he tells her all the stories that they have been through. Sweet. But isn’t that going to take long? However she thinks there are no bad memories of her and feels sorry for making him go through all that sh*t. Oh, now he says he could never hate her? In the final room, the block gives them some maths quiz to answer. Seriously, I don’t even know what she is asking. With the timer counting down and Nyaruko already weakening, Mahiro panics on what to do. Then he gives up. He’ll get everyone to join her so long as she gives Nyaruko back her strength and memories. But Nyaruko doesn’t want him to do that as it will make him a criminal. This guy now thinks like her. It will be alright as long as nobody finds out! Oh wait. Isn’t that her line? Oh sh*t. She can’t remember! She promises that even if she loses her memories, she will not lose her feelings for him because she loves him very much. And for the first time ever, Mahiro is the one initiating the kiss! Not because he is reluctant or anything but his true blue feelings has him kiss her! The second time, they are freed from this place. The others find them lying in an empty lot.

It seems the culprit behind this is no other than Atoko. She is satisfied with what she has seen and will wait some more for them to ripen. In the aftermath, Mahiro and Nyaruko have no recollection on what happened on that day. I guess it is both a good and bad thing. The attraction establishment has also disappeared. In class, Mahiro receives a strange note from Atoko about the space nano-machines that were infecting Nyaruko were destroyed thanks to the anti-space vaccine inside his body. That joining up thingy was just a joke. Although Mahiro cannot understand what this is all about, the rest do understand or rather misinterpret that Mahiro has injected his bodily fluids inside Nyaruko! Big misunderstanding time! Now everybody wants him to inject his fluids into them. But the most shocking ender to it all is how Nyaruko steals a kiss on Mahiro’s lips!

All Forked Up!
It was enjoyable. It didn’t disappoint. It was freaking fun! Maybe that is one of the good things when you have just a single OVA. But now I want more! Looks like I will have to wait. Just like if Nyaruko would get Mahiro to love her back genuinely. Well, 2 major things that made this OVA likable. Firstly, the romantic scenes between Mahiro and Nyaruko. So it takes something that put Nyaruko in great danger only to make Mahiro return Nyaruko’s love? So it proves that this guy doesn’t actually hate her. All the while we’ve seen him being annoyed only because Nyaruko herself is being annoying as a pestering pervert. So had she been gentler like what we saw, Mahiro may have opened up more for her. But that won’t be the fun Nyaruko we all know anymore, right? This is not the first time seeing such genuine romantic feelings between Mahiro and Nyaruko. In the past seasons there are such scenes but with this one, it serves to remind and reinforce us (and give us hope) that one day we will see that wedding dream that we saw at the start.

Secondly, the first real appearance of Atoko. For those who have been watching this series ever since it made its ONA debut many years ago, you would remember that when the ONA adapted into the series, it dropped a couple of characters. Atoko was one of them and despite I remember she was only being mentioned in name in the second season, it was such a delight to see her making her first appearance here. Man, I think she looks gorgeous in her bishoujo form especially in that black kimono. Hopefully we could see more of her and the other characters if there is ever another season or OVAs.

The opening theme, Haiyore Once Nyagain and the ending theme, Kitto Engage are super fun to listen to and it doesn’t lose its trademark wacky liveliness and exuberance. Although throughout the seasons, most of the songs sound ‘one kind’ and have that similar feel, but I don’t think they are overall that bad. Overall, this OVA did a good job in reinforcing my love for the Nyaruko series. No, not to the point that I would want to desperately marry her! As long as Nyaruko and the gang do not change much, I am sure that love of mine won’t too. Because if they do, I will be whipping out my forks and start stabbing, if they know what is good for them!

I remember long ago how it was a funny that I used to have some sort of liking towards pony tail hairstyles. Not to the point that I was obsessed with it and turned into some sort of indecent stalker, but let’s say I pretty much prefer this type of hairstyle during my younger days. I don’t know what happened along the way because it doesn’t matter anymore and it is not like I have developed liking for any other hairstyles either. I guess things do change as you grow older. What made me remember of this little peculiar fixation of mine? If not for Ore, Twintails Ni Narimasu, this memory would certainly be long forgotten, sitting somewhere in the deep and dark corners of my brain.

So if you are one of those lucky people like the main character in this series who have a certain preferences for a particular hairstyle, twintails that is, you should be happy to know that this anime is plentiful and abundant to this hairstyle. In a way, it pays tribute and glorifies the pair of symmetrical side bundles. Or in the perspective of others, a cheap excuse for yet another silly season of perverted fetish. Yes, people. This show may split camps of those for twintails and those against. Because with the setting that twintails are the most powerful traits in the world and aliens from another world are trying to conquer it all for themselves, it makes Godzilla looking like a boring old monster.

Episode 1
Souji Mitsuka must really love the new high school he is in because coincidentally there lots of twintails. The most charming of them all is of course the student council president, Erina Shindou. And the not so charming one would be his childhood friend Aika Tsube. This guy loves twintails so much that he wants to form a twintail club and the teacher accidentally read it aloud in class… Oh dear. After school as Souji and Aika hang out at Souji’s mom’s cafe, a suspicious busty lady is watching them. Thouars wants Souji to put on a bracelet as it is an emergency. She makes it sound so lewd. Desperate enough that she will do anything for him! Even twintails? Well, more than that. He can grope her boobs. When she mentions twintails will be eliminated from the world, our concerned boy sits up. She puts the bracelet on him and whisks them away near some convention hall. There is a senior from their school who is unconscious. She lost her twintail and doesn’t even remember having such hairstyle. Oh the horror! Thouars explains aliens named Elemerians attack and stole her twintails trait by taking away her love for it. And here they are attacking all the women with twintails. I don’t know what the deal is for this Lizardgildy but he is infatuated with this twintail loli and wants to give all his dolls to her?! The last straw came when Erina is also abducted and had her twintails stolen. That does it. Thouars explains to him how to use the bracelet, Tail Gear which produces a combat suit to increase his physical abilities. Souji wastes no time in transforming. But wait! Why the heck is he transformed into a twintail loli???!!! Who cares about that trade off crap explanation? Oh what the heck. It’s the twintails look he loves, right? Lizardgildy orders his underlings to take out this loli, Tail Red. She is strong enough to hammer some of the underlings. Impressed by her strength, Lizardgildy wants her to hold a doll?! WTF?! Tail Red then materializes a sword to strike him. Still not down? Don’t worry. There’s more. She shoots some beam to paralyze him and then a flaming sword to cut and finish him once and for all. Lizardgildy knows he is dying and wants to touch her beautiful twintail. Just die! She picks up a strange little pyramid after his death. After she destroys the equipment, all the girls have their twintails returned. Erina is grateful for her bravery and all. She wonders if they will meet again. As long as you love twintails.

Episode 2
The Elemerians’ big boss, Draggildy wants to know which of his henchman is going out next but since they’re too busy arguing over their fetish to go with twintails, they will decide it through a fight. Giant jenga? Souji wakes up in his room and seeks an explanation. Elemerians are part of a race called Ultimegil and after taking over countless parallel worlds, they set their sights on this one. What they seek are trait powers called Elemera which they feed on. When you are obsessed in love with something or fetish, those are trait powers. It seems the most powerful ones are twintails. Thus Tail Gear is an anti-Elemerian weapon based on that trait power and the only thing that could defeat them. As for why he turns into a girl… It is Thouars fetish! Got a problem with that? Besides, he loves twintails, right? So it shouldn’t be that bad if he becomes one. As for the pyramid, it is the crystallization of Lizardgildy’s basic trait power. He likes girls holding dolls. Ugh. However Souji finds it odd because if he steals that trait power, the girl will no longer love dolls and isn’t ironic that there will be no more girls holding dolls? Thouars admits they are paradoxical creatures. Souji wants her to tell about herself. Her world was completely invaded. Although Ultimegil do not loot or kill, the stealing of trait powers that leave you bleak and without hope is most cruel. Souji thinks defeating them will return them to normal like what he did but she points out if it is not done within 24 hours, it will become permanent. Not wanting another world to fall prey to them, she decides to protect this one. And Souji is getting passionate about it too. Don’t want to forever lose his twintail love, eh?

What Thouars now need is a secret base under his house and she can finish it by tonight. All she needs is his mom, Miharu’s permission. Miharu heard everything and gives her approval. She knows that incident reported on TV is them and it is her dream to become a heroine. Well, was. Because she became a mother, she passed that dream to her unborn child who is now getting a chance to realize it. WTF. More depressing, his late father had the same dream too. Aika doesn’t want aunty to accept strangers but it seems Miharu is okay in letting Thouars sleep in the same bed with Souji! All she wants to see is her son get a girlfriend and although she would have preferred it with Aika (you denying it?) she sees Thouars has a good eye and doesn’t mind her getting horny and pushing down her son! This mother… Aika warns Souji to not let his guard down because Thouars certainly has not revealed all of herself. If she said her planet was completely annihilated, how did she acquire the twintail trait to make Tail Gear? Next day in class, Souji’s classmates are abuzz about Tail Red. It’s all over the internet, pictures and videos. Yeah. They love her! Even those who love big boobs have converted to like this loli! Souji tries to stop them but they think he wants to monopolize Tail Red for himself for they know he is the biggest twintail lover. Erina calls everyone to assemble at the gym. She rants about Tail Red and being saved by her. Yeah, she’s fawning over her… As the new heroine of this era, her family will do all they can to support her. Everyone gives their approval! Oh dear. Shortly, Draggildy makes an announcement throughout the world that he is after their trait power so do not resist and harm shall not come to them. This pisses off Souji because if love is taken away, it is not a peaceful world but a bleak and boring one. Thouars contacts Souji that Elemerians are spotted in a neighbourhood school. Time to transform and get into action. Turtlegildy has fetish for bloomers and he is going to get them when Tail Red arrives in a flash and takes him out! Holy cow! That was super fast! But now the big trouble comes. All the girls mob over Tail Red and start taking pictures and selfies! They really love her. A new superstar is born and is continue to make headlines around the world for the second day in a row.

Episode 3
Thouars shows them her underground base. Because there are millions of Ultimegil left, can Tail Red take on everyone by herself? Well, there is one more Tail Gear left although the suitable candidate is a violent person. Tail Red goes into action saving the world from Elemerians. This causes her reputation to become even more popular and there is even a stage play dedicated to her! It goes without saying there are lots of fansites about her. Thouars shows Aika a secret camera hidden in the toilet. Because Souji might have this idea of wondering if he can take off the outfit after transformation. Yeah. Curious about a girl’s body? After he transforms… He only touches and fawns over his twintail… Disappointed? Next day, Tail Red faces off with Foxgildy. However his trait power is ribbons as he ties her up and even materializes a very similar looking doll like her. Tail Red cannot do anything about it since her love for twintails means she cannot destroy those with such hairstyle even if it’s a fake. So this is her doom? Even creepier is this hallucination of Foxgildy playing with this doll in a bathroom scene! No wonder Tail Red is creeping out and paralyzed. Aika wonders if Thouars can do anything about this situation. When she hints about Aika’s power in Tail Gear on par with Souji, it occurred to Aika that the candidate she mentioned was referring to her! Thouars gives lots of fake excuses why she didn’t want to let her have this Tail Gear. From viewing her as a precious friend so as not to put her in danger to wanting to do filthy things with him during maintenance to only those with big busts can wear it as well as not wanting Souji to hate her if she lets Aika fight. Thouars wants Aika to promise to let her have her horny ways with Souji in exchange for the bracelet but Aika won’t give in and beats her up. It is time for Tail Blue to make her debut! She doesn’t care about ribbons or the fake doll and easily destroys them without hesitation. Using Turtlegildy’s pyramid which has gravity powers to pin him down before she destroys him with her spear. Even in that last moment Foxgildy could enjoy his hallucinations of ribbons… Might as well make it as nice death. When the reporters come rushing, Tail Blue takes Tail Red and fly away. But the next time this gets onto the news… Aika isn’t going to be too happy. Because it glorifies Tail Red’s bravery while mocking Tail Blue as a violent girl who may have an ulterior motive of wanting to stand out by imitating Tail Red. And how does Aika vent her anger? On Thouars, of course.

Episode 4
Souji is happy that his twintail club application has been approved. Erina is also glad that Tail Red has got a partner to fight with and someone to support in battles. With so many Ultimegil defeated, Draggildy wants only to bravest to head into battle. Swangildy offers to be next but he must pass a test. I am not sure about Draggildy taking his laptop and examining his nurse eroge of some route. Anyway he lost and this means Draggildy himself will head into battle. Tail Red is given the sneak attack by Draggildy who claims he is the ultimate twintail lover in the universe. As they fight, Tail Red could sense he has this skilled twintail swordsmanship (WTF?!). He also notices Tail Blue and although she reminds him of the last person he fought in the previous world, the only difference is their boob size. He warns them that wearing Tail Gear like this would bring about the end of the world, just like the last. Because everybody becomes infatuated with it and this twintail trait that Ultimegil is looking for took control over the world. It is like the twintails start out as goddess of saviour but without realizing it turn into a goddess of destruction. This makes Tail Blue wonder why Thouars let them continue fighting if she knew the same thing was going to happen. Draggildy is telling them because he could feel Tail Red’s love for twintails and didn’t want to fight with any dirty tricks. This way they won’t fall into despair when they learn everything when their world is in ruin. Just when Tail Red is about to end all the talking and do some butt kicking, here comes the mysterious Masked Twintail (Thouars actually) interrupting and prolonging the talk…

She explains about Ultimegil’s real goal is not looking for the ultimate twintails to steal their trait power but to make the one with the strongest twintail trait their enemy. As this method was done in the previous world, Thouars used this leaked technology to develop Tail Gear to fight them back without realizing she has been used. Thouars was that person who fought against them but since she gave away her twintail trait, the reason they cannot sense her. Because she cannot stand to see people losing the twintail trait till there were none left in her world, she too casted away her own twintail and used them as core to build another Tail Gear. Tail Blue is sorry for doubting her. But this doesn’t change the fact that with double twintails, the effect will spread twice as fast in this world. To Tail Red, as long as you have hair long enough to tie up on both sides, twintails can be made. So enough of the chatter and let’s fight! Tail Blue handles the small fries while Tail Red fights Draggildy. Tail Red is able to wound his back so Draggildy shows his love for twintails by putting it on the line. Yup, this guy has got long beautiful twintails too! In the end, Draggildy who thought he had cornered Tail Red is taken by surprise when she has another sword. They’re not twintails for nothing. He is cut in half and feels honoured to be defeated by the ultimate twintail. He hopes they will meet again one day. As long as you love twintails.

Episode 5
Mikoto Sakuragawa who is Erina’s personal maid, becomes Souji and Aika’s new homeroom assistant teacher. If that isn’t bad enough, Thouars is a transfer student in their class! Asking about Mikoto’s move as assistant teacher, she finds that with all the strange people and happenings around, she became one to help protect the school. Also, she is the twintail club’s advisor. Erina takes a look around their clubroom and asks Souji’s about his love for twintail. He thinks it’s a test to see how deep his love for it. She also notices his bracelet and touches it although nothing happened. She reminds him that although the nation is griped in Tail Red fever, he shouldn’t wear such fancy accessories to school. Meanwhile those Ultimegil guys are pondering their next move. Sparrowgildy is glad that the ultimate Ultimegil warriors are here, Krakegildy and Leviagildy. But they’re arguing about small and big boobs! They have sent their subordinates to Earth to see who is more worthy. There is also word that Darkgrasper, the subordinate directly under their boss will be coming. Buffalogildy attacks a supermarket where Erina and Mikoto are shopping. Thankfully here come the twintail heroines. Because Buffalogildy has penchant for big boobs, this pisses off Tail Blue as she easily fights and defeats him. He feels sad to be defeated by a flat chest… Because the pyramid Buffalogildy contains some hybrid gear as well as big boobs trait, Aika is begging Thouars to make a new bracelet for her. Thouars teases her to apologize and she actually did! On her knees! Now this is getting creepy. That desperate, huh? Once it is done, happy Aika tests it out but nothing happens. Maybe it is because she lacks boobs so she cannot add them to her trait? How sad… Dashed dreams. She can’t even have big boobs when she transforms. Souji deduces that it isn’t the bracelet but more of her heart that is rejecting other bracelets and preventing her transformation.

Lightning strikes the same place twice. Because yet again at the same supermarket spot, Crabgildy attacks Erina and Mikoto. Crabgildy has penchant for necks. Just like history repeating itself, the twintail heroines arrive. But Tail Blue has a hard time fighting him since he has this great ability to whisk behind your back. How else could he admire those delicious napes? Tail Red takes Erina to safety. Erina knew she would come to rescue her again and knows she is Souji. Tail Red tries to dismiss it but Erina can tell by the genuine bracelet. This is not a replica. With the secret out of the bag, Tail Red reverts back to Souji and he thinks of letting her try the new Tail Gear because she is often targeted by Ultimegil. Souji believes she can transform as her love for twintails is great. And Erina transforms into a busty and curvaceous Tail Yellow! Jealous Aika wants to switch right now! But since Erina is so happy that this has been her dream to become a hero of justice, I guess Aika lets her have it. Meanwhile all the Elemerians gather to meet the mysterious Darkgrasper whom they have never seen. They are shocked to see her as a human girl.

Episode 6
With stronger armour and arsenal, Tail Yellow is going to teach Crabgildy a lesson. However she only fires blanks. It is Tail Blue who finishes him. Krakegildy and Leviagildy are lamenting their subordinates’ defeat. Because Darkgrasper has been staying silent, they fear and believe she will eliminate everyone in a unit that fails. It is time to put away boob size difference and get rid of the twintail menace first. In the clubroom, Erina returns Tail Gear to Souji and feels she has no right to fight alongside him. She reveals she actually hates twintails. Shock! She only wears it because her mother insisted it and this trait is enshrined in the family’s doctrine (WTF?!). But Souji doesn’t think she really hates them. He asks the reason she loves heroes so much. It is perhaps the same as his love for twintails. He isn’t actually fighting to protect the world but just twintails. In a way, that also made him help protect the world. Erina also wants to protect the girl. But how can she do it if she can’t manifest her twintail power? Thouars suggests a special training. A couple of Elemerians are detected so Aika believes she can handle them by herself. Tail Blue encounters Krakegildy and Leviagildy. Krakegildy admires her flat chest (taboo word for her) but since he is fighting for the fate of his subordinates, he will defeat her with his full strength. And the worst nightmare for Tail Blue: Tentacles!!! OMG! Tentacle rape scene?

I’m sure Tail Red is trying to motivate her with lots of words to show her true self but still, you need action as damning proof. Thouars suggests she throw a huge rock at her. When the rock lands, Erina blasts and destroys it to smithereens. Tail Red points out the twintail power she felt in her heart. It dawned to her that everyone may have been looking at Erina as a cute pet because of her role as student council president. Everyone could be probably looking at Tail Red the same way. Erina is happy-cum-embarrassed. Then it is like her inner kinky fetish awakened. Calling Tail Red her master, she wants more of herself to be seen. She starts firing all her arsenal. I’m not sure if she is turning into some exhibitionist since she drops her armour after firing her weapon. They get an emergency call from Tail Blue. But when they arrive on scene, they see her violently and furiously beating the Elemerians up. Ironically Leviagildy the big boobs lover bear the brunt and got destroyed. She has used up too much energy and collapses. Flashback reveals they were gloating about small boobs and this riled her up and broke free of their tentacles. Krakegildy wants revenge and ties up Tail Red. Thus it is Tail Yellow’s debut to show what she’s got. Yeah. She’s going to show everything! Fire and strip! But her dropped armour soon combines into a giant cannon that not only paralyzes Krakegildy but charges Tail Yellows flying kick and creates a giant hole in his chest. How can it be flat when there is none! Tail Red is impressed and believes that this is proof she doesn’t hate twintails. After she collapses from using too much power, Darkgrasper appears before them. She congratulates them on their victory. At first glance, she looks like she might be wearing Tail Gear but it is the tenacious armour, Glass Gear powered by her love for glasses. She made it in admiration for Thouars. She is here to pick up Thouars because she wants her to join their side.

Episode 7
Darkgrasper mistakes Tail Red to be Thouars because she is wearing her armour. Through a communicator, Thouars has Tail Red repeat after her so as not to raise suspicions. I doubt it… Because Darkgrasper is puzzled about her missing boobs and is being told they disappeared in between dimensions while fighting Ultimegil! Darkgrasper’s ranting about small boobs feel like insults. I wonder how long Tail Blue can hold it in. Darkgrasper wants her email address but Thouars won’t give it to her. Darkgrasper says she didn’t become the Ultimegil’s general to become enemies but to bring her back. Therefore she’ll never give up. Oh, her address is the same as it used to be. While the Elemerians are watching videos of the Twintails, Darkgrasper appears to announce they are now under her command. Some do not believe a human girl is fit to be their commander. One attacks but is swiftly cut up by her dark scythe, Darkness Glaive. Se forces everyone to take her address. Once she retires to her room, she starts curling up and shivering about everyone’s weird fetishes. Mega Neptune Mk II AKA Megane made some QR scan codes to help her out and even advises her to be nice since those guys aren’t used to girls. At the clubroom, Souji is infatuated to see a twintail idol in glasses debuting, Anko Iisuna. Looks familiar? But an Elemerian is detected on the south island so as our gang heads there, they are greeted by Darkgrasper’s lips loving subordinate, Papilongildy. As usual they fight and Tail Yellow goes berserk with her fire and strip method till he is destroyed. Too bad they can’t interrogate a dead bug now as they realize that this might be just a setup by Darkgrasper to measure Tail Yellow’s powers.

Of course you would have guessed Anko is Darkgrasper (who is also the top idol in 20 different worlds) and after another recording session, she remembers her producer Kerberosgildy who is a braid lover wanted her to wear it even if it means treason. He fears that twintails are spreading so much that there won’t be anywhere left for braids. However Darkgrasper told him her goal is to spread glasses and twintails and since it has come down to this, they fight. No prizes to guess who won. When Erina sees Aika beating up Thouars, she thinks they are very close and wants to be hit too! Am I thinking what her awakening is coming to? Since she won’t, she turns to Souji for it. He touches her face but she wants to be hit harder! Thouars has an idea what is going on and whispers to the girls about Souji being shy about touching women. Even Miharu approves of whatever they’re doing! Thouars suggestion to cure Souji is to find him the finest porn magazines! And it is just too damn weird to see the student council president asking everyone in school if they know anything about porn!!!!!!!! OMG!!! WTF???!!! Odd at first but soon the guys let up in their kinky fetishes… She’s really taking those notes down. Thouars reasoning: It will help increase the twintails team spirit. That’s why she is working hard despite her shame. Meanwhile Erina’s mother, Emu (no, she’s not a bird) feels her daughter has been neglecting her practice lately. It is time to arrange a boy for her to meet.

Episode 8
Owlgildy finds a piece of old ‘literature’ from Anko about glasses and breasts. It really tears him up. Erina is having sleepless nights after trying to research porn. Those bags under her eyes may just give the wrong idea… Mikoto wants Souji to tail Erina from a distance and keep watch since Erina intends to buy a porn magazine together. Why not her? She has a marriage proposal to sabotage. She makes him sign a contract. After Souji sees Erina entering the adult section of a bookstore, he sees Owlgildy distributing literature. Upon seeing Erina in the bookstore, he becomes impressed. Of course this means it is time for Tail Red to get into action and beat the crap out of him. Owlgildy mentions he is an old soldier and ones who hold a rare trait. He loves literature. It is one of the many traits dying out in this world. He is sad that books today have become so manga-like and nothing but girls in skimpy clothes. But Tail Red isn’t swayed. Just like her love for twintails, she chides him off as he isn’t the one who will decide what literature is and what’s not. Twintails are her literature! Before Owlgildy succumbs to his fate, he is appalled to learn that Erina is buying a porn magazine. He cannot believe such a knowledgeable girl is doing so. His last dying words: It is not him who is dead. Literature is! Once Erina is out, it seems she did not buy any. Why? Simple. You can’t buy them until you are 18 years old! Erina feels sad she cannot do anything to repay them but Souji says they have already accepted her as their comrade and in the event if she still feels there is a gap between them, always remember that twintails are what will always bring them together. To commemorate this friendship, Thouars gives each one a handphone. That night, Emu calls Erina for a talk. The next day, Souji becomes so devastated to see the ‘new’ Erina that he fell on his knees proclaiming that he had failed to protect her twintails!!! WTF???!!! Seems Erina has let loose her twintails hairstyle.

As Mikoto explains, this is Erina’s way to show her defiance to her mom who is also this school’s chairwoman. Although the marriage proposal is resolved, it is more about Emu finding out about her porn search. In fact, she actually approved it! So what’s the deal? As Erina is busy with several activities, she believes her life is in disorder and has arranged a new marriage proposal. Mikoto brings Souji to the office where mother and daughter and discussing this. At first Souji is stunned by the awesome twintails of Emu. Then he barges in to argue and stand on Erina’s behalf. He claims he knows her twintails better than her! He believes despite their disagreement, Erina shouldn’t take it out on her twintails. He also has seen how much Erina has grown and doing important things right now. As the way things are going right now, she might neglect her work and such. He believes she will find these experiences irreplaceable in her future. Emu is impressed that such a gentleman still exists. He wants Erina to marry him! Either him or her earlier marriage proposal. With Erina having nothing against it. The case is solved. Outside, Mitsuka has successfully kept Thouars from intervening because the latter is furious claiming Souji’s virginity belongs to her! What about Aika? Is she okay with this? Well, she thinks Erina is a nice person and the first one to praise Tail Blue. So it’s okay. Really? So why run away like a tsundere? I’m not sure what Darkgrasper is having withdrawal symptoms over Thouars so Megane lets her see an album filled with her pictures. Darkgrasper is appalled that even in all her photos, her twintails are missing. Is this the power when one losses the twintail trait? Then it hit her. Tail Red is not Thouars but that suspicious masked person behind. Now why didn’t she think about it before? Souji notices glasses are gaining popularity. He also notices Anko emphasising it more than herself. Then it hit him. Anko is Darkgrasper! Now why didn’t he think about it before? By spreading the glasses trait as an idol, she is helping Ultimegil’s world conquest move forward.

Episode 9
Darkgrasper thinks Tail Red stole Thouars’ twintail traits because she is obsessed with her. She’ll pay… Souji and the girls are looking over Anko’s goods. Erina discovers a hidden message in the weird lyrics of one of her songs. It reads out as “I love you, Thouars”. They deduce this is a declaration of war and that her concert that she will be holding means taking her fans hostage and putting glasses on them. As they head down to the hall, they are surprised Darkgrasper is waiting for them. So who is that performing on stage? It’s just hologram. Their concerns are unfounded when it is learnt Darkgrasper is just holding her concert for her dear fans she loves so much. Nothing sinister behind it. But Darkgrasper blames Tail Red for stealing Thouars from her. The telltale sign was Tail Red pretending to be Thouars then. Although the trio cooperate to fight her, they are still no match. Darkgrasper is going to put on special glasses on Tail Red that she can never take off. It will blur her love for twintails. That’s like living hell! Before she could, here comes Thouars. She tells the truth that she willingly gave them her powers and thus her twintails. However Darkgrasper sees it as they have brainwashed her. No choice, Thouars will have to fight her. How? By hugging her. At least this got her defence down. Darkgrasper may have twisted love but who’d expect Thouars to have something this twisted too as she invites her to grope he boobs! Then again, we know she is that twisted. Seeing that Thouars doesn’t need any more rescuing, Darkgrasper will push forward her plan of putting glasses on all human beings. She explains her love for glasses and how it is disappearing in this world (because everyone is wearing contacts). She joined Ultimegil under a condition that glasses trait will not be taken away. So in all the worlds, other traits are stolen and glasses are the only ones left. This is how she protects them. Her ultimate goal is to make Thouars wear these specially made glasses. Giving you the creeps, eh?

Tail Red’s love for twintails is what she needs to protect this world. Darkgrasper still isn’t convinced and sends the trio into another dimension where they can live out their fantasies. Thouars orders her to bring them back and threatens she will start to hate her. She is not swayed because she will make her love her no matter what. Souji is in a dream. A dream come true because Aika and Erina love him! And he got his harem of twintails! However when Thouars is seen willing to tie a twintail for him, that is when he realizes all this is fake. Thouars can never put on twintails no matter how much she wants to. With great determination, Souji bursts out from the dream and back into reality. Tail Red is furious. In a world with darkness and fake twintails, her twintails are the light! The trio combine their armour into one big weapon to blast away Darkgrasper before she could even react. Wait a minute. Only her clothes get blown away? Her hair and glasses still intact? Truly behold the power of twintails and glasses. Megane comes to pick her up and the girls are surprised this robot is very polite. Before it’s time to go, Darkgrasper kisses Tail Red! Gasp! First kiss stolen by the most unlikely person! She gives her email address and says her goodbye to Thouars. Looks like Tail Red stole her heart. Heh. The worst part is that she makes it look like Thouars is the one who got dumped.

Episode 10
Spidergildy returns from some battle and wants to put his skills to the test by fighting the twintail trio. Darkgrasper asks if he has ever kissed before. She causes a racket when she reveals she has kissed Tail Red. You should see her room filled with Tail Red merchandise! It’s like she turned into a whole new level as a stalker. Aika must be wondering about Souji’s first kiss. He doesn’t think that yuri kiss counts because they’re girls and it’s some form of greeting. Really? The trio are called into action when Spidergildy seems like terrorizing an all-girls’ school. Actually he has trap fetish and is watching a pair of traps taking out their romance! Because of this trait, Tail Blue wants to handle this alone. Unfortunately Spidergildy thinks Tail Blue is a trap! That flatness… Beast mode unleashed! Although with the combined might, in the end, Tail Red is defeated, Spidergildy didn’t finish them off and retreats. Is everything okay? The start of strange things… Firstly, Souji wakes up finding himself transformed as Tail Red. Could it be he unconsciously transformed during his sleep? And then Erina has a dog collar and leash on her neck! She wants Souji to take her for a walk! Oddly, she could take dog orders from anybody so Thouars is having fun ordering her around. And the strangest of them all is Souji complimenting Aika’s lips instead of her twintail! Oh my! Could it be that he has finally started to show interest in her as a girl? Yeah. Crazy, right? Spidergildy heard that his subordinate, Fleagildy has gone down alone to defeat the twintail trio because there are rumours circulating that Spidergildy ran away when he didn’t finish them. This is to clear his name.

Miharu knows what is happening and urges Aika to push forward with her determination on the line. She suggests making a bet with Souji during their next fight. And so we see Tail Blue furiously stepping on Fleagildy because as usual, that taboo word of flat… Even better for Fleagildy who loves legs and to be stepped on. Harder, please! It is not so surprising that she finished him off without even using a single ounce of her power. News of his defeat reaches Spidergildy and he feels sad and wrong about his decision. He fled that time was because he saw the true power of twintails and needed time to make special preparations. Now he regrets that and is thinking of using that. Footage of Aika’s monstrous beating of Fleagildy is all over TV and as usual they mock if she is human or beast. Riles you up, eh? Except for Thouars who is laughing her ass off like as though this is Comedy Central. Even Mikoto doesn’t want Erina to be close to her for fear she might get influenced! Another strange dream for Souji. Darkgrasper is about to kiss him. He stops her in time when he notices Tail Red watching him. She runs away as he desperately tries to explain himself. Wait a minute. Doesn’t it feel like he is running away from himself? When Aika goes to wake him up, she thinks he unconsciously transformed again. But who the heck is this girl?! Souji claims to be him but it looks like Tail Red but all grown up and busty!

Episode 11
Nobody is panicking now that Souji is a girl. It’s like they’re already accepting him to stay as one. Thouars gets her usual punishment when she teases Aika that Souji has bigger boobs even in girl form. Now there is the problem of going to toilet. Souji doesn’t know how to! Erina wants to go with him and drinks Thouars’ laxative. Too late. Aika brings Souji along. Watching another video on Anko’s performance, they think she is planning on another operation to take Souji’s lips again. Time to get into action with another Elemerian detected. Wormgildy who is Spidergildy’s disciple also has a trap trait. While his master is in training to obtain a special power, he is here to show how powerful he is. Since Aika doesn’t like slimy tentacle stuffs, she has to sit this one out while Tail Red fights him alone (Tail Yellow is evacuating others). However as Darkgrasper watches, she feels Tail Red isn’t fighting like her usual. In fact, she is struggling a lot. It took Tail Blue to finish off Wormgildy. Later as Tail Red is brooding by herself, Darkgrasper visits her and conveys her disappointment. Back home, Aika helps Souji bath. Souji acts like it is the end of the world when Aika releases her twintails. You need to properly care for your hair, right? Don’t want those twintails to just pop off. It is that feeling of losing something when Souji unties her hair for the first time. Aika dries her hair as she reminds her that Tail Gear doesn’t protect their twintails in normal form. Souji laments he doesn’t know much about twintails since she conveniently gets it only when transformed. Thouars gives Souji her pair of hair clips that she used to wear when she had twintails. The Elemerians are sad Wormgildy is no more (are they all trap fetish?!) so Snailgildy goes down to challenge Tail Red and avenge Wormgildy whom he loves more than anyone else. Tail Red is still weak and in fact weaker than before. It took Tail Blue and Tail Yellow to defeat him. Although Snailgildy’s shell saved him from the devastating attack, it is only a matter of time it will crack. Before he dies, he warns them about Spidergildy undergoing some training to obtain a special power and the next fight will be their last. Tail Red is depressed that she is weaker than before. She feels she has been paying more attention to girls than twintails. She screams out loud she has betrayed twintails. Just sad… Spidergildy has finished his training. He sheds his skin for a slicker look. A new look means a new name, Arachnegildy. He takes his trap blade (WTF?!) and prepares for battle.

Episode 12
Gloomy Souji girl… Can’t even tie a decent twintail. She really thinks twintails have abandoned her but of course Aika gives her a reality check that this is her first time doing it and thus not perfect. No matter how deep his love for twintails is, he still needs experience. The girls help teach Souji how to tie her hair. Arachnegildy sees Darkgrasper to state his intention to fight Tail Red. Darkgrasper gives the green light to even kill her since she is no longer fit to be her future wife. And so Arachnegildy descends on our world using some tornado to turn men into twintail girls! The horror! Aika and Erina head into action and don’t want to bother Souji (who is trying hard tying his twintail). They think they are good enough to handle this spider dude but they’re wrong. When Souji realizes the girls nowhere around, it dawned to her what is happening. She quickly rushes down to the scene. Thouars wanted to stop her but Miharu allows Souji to go into battle because she believes in her. Just before Tail Blue and Tail Yellow lose, here comes Tail Red to save the day. However Arachnegildy could not sense any love within her and can easily strike her down. True enough that happens. In that split second, Souji experiences some out-of-body experience and in some plain, he meets his inner twintail god! He is told that twintails didn’t abandon him but rather he has abandoned himself. He has merely lost sight of his own love and felt guilty about accepting the warmth of the girls. It made his true love for twintails waver. Then there’s some talk about true love and looking for false absolutes isn’t true strength. It banishes all hesitation in Souji. Now he is ready to fight.

Back in reality, Arachnegildy could feel the sudden change in Tail Red. It’s like she changed in that split second. Those hair clips from Thouars start to shine and power her up. This allows her to wield 2 swords and be even more agile than the enemy. She can even transform into different types of twintail mode that gives him a different set of powers, although it is only for a limited time. But that is enough for him to slash Arachnegildy who in his last words has seen the true meaning of twintails and that Tail Red’s is the ultimate! Yeah, whatever. The world is saved and even happier ending as Souji returns to a normal guy. As for Darkgrasper, she has to temporary say goodbye to her love for now because as the big boss instructed, they have to go quell some rebels. This means, Ultimegil will leave Earth to another dimension. And so, normal and peaceful days lie ahead for Souji and his girls so much so his mom supports him either way (picking someone or harem route). But why is Thouars still hanging around now that the Elemerian threat is gone? Well, she had something to do. Her soul is connected to Souji and now she wants to connect their bodies! Oh no you don’t. Even with the threat over, our twintail heroes still want to keep Tail Gear on as proof of their love.

Have The World By The (Twin)Tail!
Is this really the end? Till the next time. Like we care. Whoever that menacing rebel Darkgrasper is supposed to face off sounds interesting but if has got nothing to do with the twintail story, then I suppose it isn’t relevant anyhow. Even other stuffs like the supposed engagement between Souji and Erina remains a mystery because it is not like we hear Souji really accepting or refusing it. Notwithstanding all that, for the time being, Earth is safe from the danger of fetish feeding Elemerians and more importantly the twintails of the world have been protected! I suppose this season itself is enough of all the twintails to last a lifetime. Either you get sick of it (those who aren’t into twintails) or you will crave for more. Well, it is a good thing that I didn’t convert into one. Phew.

When you watch this show, you shouldn’t be taking things seriously. In fact, you shouldn’t at all. So if you are watching this with anticipation that this series will be some funny comedy (may not be the best but it still is) and without any high expectations, then you are safe from the pangs of disappointment. I mean, we should already get the hint from the start that the power of twintails is the most powerful trait of all and the only one that can be used to fight against Ultimegil. Ridiculous as it sounds, right? Even more preposterous that every Elemerian encountered, they have some sort of fetish only peculiar to humans. Just funny…

And speaking of fetish, there are quite a number of them here in addition to the twintail mania. It feels like there is some sort of hidden meaning to tell us that such fetishes are personal. I know they want to worship twintails but at the same time they don’t want to leave out other twisted fetishes like common ones such as boobs and not so common ones like ribbons. It goes to show that humans are really the most twisted creatures when it comes to this department and they subtly illustrate this via different Elemerians. It is even funnier to think that such perverted and horny aliens exist throughout the galaxy and parallel worlds! Now do you understand why old Hollywood monster movies always have aliens, creatures and other beasts coveting our women?

The silliest fact is about just how the simple twintail hairstyle can be the difference in giving you power or the most desired thing. Take for example Elemerians. They love twintails so much. I know there is a perfect way without resorting to Tail Gear to defeat those menace: Untie your twintails and let your hair down! Or at least try put on a different hairstyle. It’s so easy, right? Heck, even if you untie one side and leave the other alone, the hairstyle is no longer considered twintail and thus no twintail power, right? And besides, why can’t Thouars just tie her hair for the twintail effect? Silly isn’t it if you consider how easy it is to tie it up (aside from tying it up neatly and beautifully). So why can’t she not get her twintails back again? I don’t understand. Yeah. Twintails. Such a deep and profound subject not to be taken lightly and only those who care enough will understand the mystery behind it. And I always thought that twintails = tsundere. Typical stereotype on twintails…

Heck, I guess they’re trying to go all out in this being a funny show so much so that the next episode preview feels like the funniest segments. In some previews, we hear sexual innuendoes and subtexts (from you know who) and even breaking the fourth wall about not even enough time to do the real preview and later on, rebuking other random characters to be in this segment and narrating it. Yeah. Even Elemerians get a chance. All is fair, no?

Don’t expect much from the character development because they’re typically the same from day one. Souji’s unwavering love for twintails can either be considered amazing obsession or just plain ridiculous. Well, someone’s fetish isn’t to be taken lightly off. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Then there is brute Aika who is only remembered for 2 things: Her violent manner and her desperation for boobs. Feels like a running joke, huh? No matter what she does, the public will always view Tail Blue with scorn but shower Tail Red with lots of love. Even though they both have twintails… I guess this shows the world isn’t such a twintail mania after all. And you can’t mention how flat she is or else she becomes scarier than the devil. Erina feels like still waters run deep because ever since she became Tail Yellow, it’s like another fetish deep inside her awakens. It is just strange to see a model student council president going around interviewing about porn and then wanted to be treated like a dog. Blame the strict family upbringing? And what kind of screwed up family would have twintails as a must in their family creed?! All Mikoto can do is to watch over her… Mind boggling fact that Emu accepts her daughter’s porn fascination but not her seemingly ‘disorderly’ life (which hasn’t exactly happened)? How screwed up is that?

Thouars feel like the joker of the group despite being the scientist and inventor of the pack. Her attitude is already one kind. Always having horny thoughts for Souji and the fact that she loves teasing Aika and bearing the brunt of her raw power have some sort become a running joke of the series. Almost in every episode, Aika takes out her frustrations on this busty lady by giving her some sort of submission or noogie. Whether it is Thouars’ fault in instigating or fanning the fire (which is the cases in many instances), she always gets it. I guess she never learns. Even there was one time she created a robot for Aika to whack but it was broken so easily that I guess it feels it is better to get herself whacked than making multiple of those punching bags. There are things that technology cannot even solve. Darkgrasper feels like she has a hidden personality. Before her Ultimegil subordinates and our heroines, she puts up this commanding presence that is truly worthy of a villainess. However in her own room, she becomes like some sort of nervous breakdown girl wearing her jersey and only Megane as her comfort. And she has this odd request to get email addresses. It’s like she is desperate to have friends. I think she is. Yeah well, nobody is perfect. Come to think of it, now that is gone, what will the fans of Anko do? Won’t they find her ‘disappearance’ mind boggling? Oh, who cares?

This series almost became a harem. In fact, is it a closet harem? Because we can see many of the main girls in the series taking a liking for Souji. We already have Aika as the typical childhood friend and tsundere. Then we have the perverted Thouars who is gunning for his virginity. But this might be just lust instead of true love. Then there is the suspicious case of Erina who seems to have her masochistic side awakening and thus it might be because nobody ‘hits’ her like Souji/Tail Red does. Finally I am not sure if this counts but what the heck anyway since Darkgrasper is now infatuated with Tail Red. Even though it just signals yuri but they’re the same person, right? Oh yeah. What kind of anime where you can get hints of romance of harem, trap and yuri all in one? And since Souji can turn into a twintail loli, does this count as a girl of his harem? Because I am sure that he will pick Tail Red first since who can provide first class twintail caressing to himself by himself? I don’t want to rule out Mikoto as well because there are a couple of scenes that hints to us that she is desperately trying to hook up with someone. When she first became the assistant teacher, she was handing out marriage forms to those with older brothers or a single father! Then there was this one time she tried to slip a marriage form to Souji while he was signing a contract or when she was teaching him to tie her hair.

There are a few moments of fanservice too but it isn’t that great so as to take your attention away from the twintail. I mean, it would do this series a great disservice if the fanservice element is more attractive than the twintail. From the way the design of the power suits to a handful of bath scenes as well as Tail Yellow’s odd power up manner of stripping her armour like as though she could be getting orgasmic anytime and not to mention Thouars huge boobs too. What a great satisfying dish with twintails as the main course and fanservice as toppings and desserts.

Action wise, because we have cute girls in power suits that look nearly as skimpy, I suppose this is a side distraction for us in addition to the twintails. I mean, it would be a waste not to see the girls go in action when you have power suits that give you awesome powers. The moves seem okay at first but they are not very varied and you’ll be noticing the trio using the same finishing moves over and over again to finish off the Elemerians. Like Tail Red’s flaming sword, Tail Blue’s water spear and the ultimate flying kick charged up by her armour from Tail Yellow. I suppose why change when this sure-win tactic works. Always. Even funnier how some Elemerians only get a handful of seconds of screen time before being easily destroyed. No justice. Heck, should there be for them? Especially when they are out to get our twintails?! Better meet your doom quick. Otherwise, how will there be enough time to showcase so many Gildy family monsters and make them the ‘monster of the week’?

Drawing and art style of course have our girls cute in twintails. Heck, everyone in twintails must be cute and beautiful! Although some of the characters sometimes have this silly look on their face especially Erina (because she is innocent and all, right?) and Thouars (because she is a big pervert, right?). But sometimes I can’t help feel that the twintail girls resemble other twintail characters like Erina have this uncanny resemblance to Seitokai Yakuindomo’s Suzu. Initially, I thought when Aika first transformed into Tail Blue, she looked like Hatsune Miku! Then there is Tail Red looking like a cross between Hidan No Aria’s Aria and Date A Live’s Kotori. I don’t know, looking at Anko somehow reminds me of Date A Live’s Kurumi. Also, the power suits that the twintail trio wear somewhat reminds me of the ones in Vividred Operation. Colourful and powerful. Senki Zesshou Symphogear also comes to mind but I am more inclined to think of Vividred Operation. They could have added more twintail characters and to the colour group. Tail Green, Tail Brown, Tail Orange, Tail Purple, Tail White and yeah, Tail Black. I also noticed that in the later episodes, animation quality drops a bit. If you look closer, you can see the character designs having less details and a bit simpler. They thought we would be fixated on the twintails on won’t notice?

As for the Elemerians, I suppose their designs are enough for me to consider that they are worthy to be ‘monster of the week’ for sentai programmes. I suppose that every sentai show past and present, when you design monsters, you will end up designing one that looks like a certain animal. So why not have the aliens, the Gildy family in particular here to follow traits of certain animals and named it after them? Some of the leader type Elemerians like Draggildy, Spidergildy, Krakegildy and Leviagildy have designs that make them look ferocious and thus cool in this sense. Some are just comical like Wormgildy. Other low level Elemerians in the background feels like free for all. Because you can’t make head or tail on what kind of animal or monster they are and could be mash ups of something. Heck, I though one of them looked like Jar Jar Binks! Serious! What kind of animal is he based on anyway? Speaking of which, what kind of animal is Draggildy? Hmm… A drag… That means… Oh God…

Voice acting feels pretty decent with some I recognized like Cho as Sparrowgildy, Yukari Tamura as Megane (although something feels like a mismatch for her squeaky cute voice as an armoured robot) and Rie Kugimiya making a small cameo as one of the twintail girls. If there is this hint of familiarity behind Wormgildy’s ‘squeaky gay’ voice, like I have heard it somewhere before, it took me a while to remember this was Galaxy Angel’s Normad (Mika Kanai). Unfortunately I did not for Youko Hikasa who was behind Darkgrasper/Anko and Kikuko Inoue as Emu. The rest of the casts include Nobunaga Shimazaki as Souji (Kaito in Ano Natsu De Matteru), Sumire Uesaka as Tail Red (Tamaki in GJ-Bu), Yuka Aisaka as Aika/Tail Blue (Muse in Amagi Brilliant Park), Chinatsu Akasaki as Erina/Tail Yellow (Maki in Love Lab), Maaya Uchida as Thouars (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Mao as Mikoto (Kazumi in Gokukoku No Brynhilder), Hiromi Igarashi as Miharu (Hina in Papa No Iu Koto Wo Kikinasai), Shou Hayami as Spidergildy/Arachnegildy (Tokiomi in Fate/Zero) and Tetsu Inada as Draggildy (Ioryogi in Kobato). The opening theme is Gimme Revolution by Maaya Uchida while the ending theme is Tail On Twin Tails by the twintail trio. Both are lively and rock based to give you that mood to get into the twintail action.

I don’t know in the future if there are any more animes that will be produced based on certain fetish. I am sure this isn’t the first one as there are many animes in the past having their themes on a certain fetish but weren’t as ‘profound’ as this one. Really. So you watch this anime only for the laughs or you are one of those deviants who really love the twintails. Because saving and protecting the world from evil aliens with similar strange fetishes is something we can be proud of even though it is just a sick delusion. Now if only they made an anime for those with fetish for maids… SOMEBODY MAKE THAT RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!

Space Dandy S2

May 23, 2015

I suppose the vast and infinite space is not enough to confine all the wacky and weird adventures into one season. That is why we have more of such adventures in the second season of Space Dandy S2. Our titular character who is an alien hunter is still on the job of registering rare aliens and getting his big reward payout but seems to be getting into lots of misadventures while at it. Is all that really worth the trouble considering his laidback and easygoing personality? You’d even wonder if he is serious in doing his job. It is hard to believe that he is believed by some parties to hold the key and fate of the entire universe. Well like they say. Some things are more than just meet the eye.

Episode 1
Yet another space alien registration by Dandy. Who is he going to fool this time by bringing a cow? Meow and QT fear Scarlet is going to get mad at them but surprisingly she talks it out with them that she has never seen a worse alien hunter like them. She advises them to take a good look at themselves and perhaps make a career change. The universe is big and the possibilities are endless. So as the trio discuss about this and maybe getting a little too carried away with their fantasies, Dandy spots a stray hair of his own and starts pulling it. How long will it last? Before they know it, they are tossed into some warp hole or something. Finding themselves in a desert world, before them is a heroic version of themselves. Yeah, this Dandy has got the babe. The heroic team attacks as our dumb ones take refuge. Then there is a stray hair on QT. What happens if you pull it? Another warp. This time in another universe where Dandy and co are space truckers. And then another stray hair but from a magazine. They never learn do they? There is this comic hero version of Dandy. So this process goes on and on and there’s this crap explanation about parallel universes or something. This means lots of Dandy versions from ninja Dandy to gay Dandy to female Dandy to Titan Dandy. You name it, you’ve got it. I don’t know how many strings they have pulled but Aloha Oe is now filled with all their different counterparts. It’s utter chaos. What do you do at times like these? Head to Boobies, of course! Even Honey is confused if all the Dandys are his brothers or relatives or something. But as the days continue, things starting to become inconsistent. For example, a job with 7 days off a week. Some theory says that because all the Dandys are in this world, the inconsistencies of the universe will grow unless the Dandys are returned to their original universe via that stray hair which is actually some cosmic string. Speaking of it, everything has a cosmic string. Of course nobody dares touch it for fear it would bring more disaster. However can they live with the crowdedness that is already this bad? Then there is this gloomy Dandy who just want to die, Meow who is some future killer robot ready to go explode and QT who is a nerd who thinks he is a robot. At this point all the Dandys decide to take a gamble on the cosmic string. Don’t want to live the rest of their days with this gloomy Dandy, don’t they? They burn the cosmic string and in the aftermath of a bright explosion, all the Dandys return to their original universe. The only Dandy left remaining in this universe we know is the gloomy one. The new Dandy for the rest of the season?

Episode 2
There is this puppet called Ukulele Man who wants to make others laugh but it’s not working. Time for drastic measures. Meanwhile Dandy and Meow are in an argument over some song. This has Meow note that Dandy would win a misunderstanding contest if there was one. Dandy announces the disbandment of their team and goes off alone. He receives a letter for him and jumps to a conclusion that some girl needs him at a party. What else is there to wait if he is needed? Elsewhere, Dr Gel laments his failure each time he encounters Dandy. It is suggested to go back in time via River of Time and change the course of history then. Dandy crash lands on some planet and meets some capybara alien who tells him about the River of Time in the upper atmosphere that flows from past to future, etc. Does he care about all that? All he wants to know is the direction to the party. Meanwhile Meow and QT have traced Dandy and also end up on that planet. The stumble upon Ukulele Man and after his performance, they are turned into stone. Dandy is at the mansion and meets Ukulele Man. He doesn’t care about his past of being born and dying alone because all he wants is the girl who needs him. He learns there is no such girl and Ukulele sent that letter as he wants his smile. He shows him his backyard containing lots of creatures turned to stone. He likes collecting smiles but none of them were quite right till he saw Dandy’s. He is perfect and once he has it, he will be able to make others smile. Dandy is devastated to see Meow and QT part of the collection. There is no way he could smile after seeing his friends like this. Ukulele Man tries to make him smile but luckily Dandy trips and breaks the spell. He takes his friends and run. He thinks throwing them back into the River of Time will turn them back to normal. As he rides the waves, Dr Gel is here to get him. However he is smashed by a ship emerging from the wave. He is brought back in time to his beloved mother. He goes to his mama but she slaps him thinking him for being a pervert. Ukulele Man hasn’t given up yet. He is going to look for Dandy’s past and get that smiling Dandy. The moment that Dandy is pulled out, the present one will disappear. He is on the verge of doing it when Dandy quickly runs up to him and gives a good kick that cracks his mask. Ukulele Man accepts his fate that smiles aren’t for him but Dandy comments he is putting on his best smile. After Ukulele Man burns up, all that is left is his ukulele.

Episode 3
Dandy and co are so hungry and scouring around for food. But what did Dandy buy with his money? A teleport device in a form of a flashlight. It’s no wonder Meow is just blowing his top. Accidentally flashing the light on his head, suddenly it disappears to a mysterious planet. Dandy sees a fish relaxing. The fish is shocked to see Dandy. He explains about this planet becoming a satellite after being pulled by gravity by a nearby planet. The planet starts moving but all Dandy cares about that this fish is a rare alien (at this point he got his entire body back). Care to come with him to the registration centre? Meanwhile QT and Meow have located Dandy’s head. It’s very far away. Meow accidentally uses the flashlight on the mirror and it teleports him to that weird planet. Inside the underground of that planet, the fish explains he came to this planet 10 years ago to investigate but his ride crashed and has been stuck ever since. Meow is too hungry to think… Fish looks good… But the fish promises to come with them to the register centre if they help him get back to his planet. Because he needs to warn them about some incoming sun that will burn it up. He has made some ship but it is too heavy to be brought to the surface. Easy. Just use the flashlight. But now the flashlight is out of batteries which are believed to be very rare. The fish says it is abundant on his home planet. As they ride the ship up to the planet, the fish reneges on his promise and hops off. Meow tries to catch and eat it but the fish slips back to his home planet. What to do now? Dandy is so carefree that he just sits around confident he’ll come back. The fish goes back to his people to warn them but it seems hundreds of years have passed and things have changed. They laugh at him and send him away. After Meow takes a bunch of batteries, it is starting to feel hot around here. The sun is coming! The fish is so angry that he wishes for everyone to be burnt. He himself doesn’t care to be scorched! Meow grabs him. But grilled fish already? Just in time. Dandy could have been scorched by the sun too if not for Dr Gel’s ship that provided a little shade. Of course his bad timing to capture Dandy means he gets burnt by the sun too. Enough time to for Dandy and Meow to use the flashlight to return to Aloha Oe. It is discovered this alien fish is indeed rare. But they can’t register it now seeing it has become grilled fish. Oh well, what else better to do than eat it, right? Mmm… Tasty! Best fish ever?

Episode 4
Thanks to some social media, Dandy decides to become a transfer student to some posh high school to get the babes. You know how this will go, right? Because the first girl he meets is some Plain Jane geek. Now what you’re looking for? As Dandy goes around flirting, he doesn’t realize the pecking order that this school is bound with. There is a caste system decided by your sense of rhythm and singing. Thus the queen bee, her jocks and groupies start singing about it. Oh God. They’re turning this into a musical. That is what the rest of this episode is going to be. They sing from the popular groups to those unpopular ones like geeks and otakus. Eventually Dandy is tossed away to the unpopular side. His school life going to end this way? Well, only a week more to graduation. So we see Dandy cheating on his test (swapping test sheets) and joining other curriculums. QT and Meow come to check on him as they disguise as janitors. They remind him to catch a rare alien in this school, the reason he transferred in. Did he forget? But more important for Dandy is the prom. He tries to ask girls to be his date but gets beaten up. That’s their rejection. Eventually he has to settle for Plain Jane. They go on some power training that makes you wonder if they’re entering some martial arts tournament or something. Prom night. Queen bee and her underlings sing about how mighty she is. Till Dandy and Plain Jane show up. They mock Plain Jane and make her feel embarrassed but Dandy tells everyone she has something they all don’t have. Her ass. What?! Musical time. Queen bee sings about herself. Dandy waxes lyrical about asses! Eventually the unpopular ones join in to sing about their nerdy side. Even QT and Meow join in. Soon it becomes a musical about all is all, everything is everything. Viva all! Everyone including the popular ones join in this one big musical finale. And so Dandy graduates. It has only been a week but it felt like 3 years. Yeah right. Plain Jane goes up to Dandy as she forgot to give him her graduation present. A kiss on the cheek! Oh Dandy! As they ponder which high school to transfer next, they think they have forgotten something important. They sure did. Plain Jane turns out to be that rare alien…

Episode 5
It’s fishing for the Aloha Oe trio. Meow suggests if they’re doing this, why not make some big bucks fishing the legendary Munagi fish. Seems it is wanted on the registration department’s list and they’ll pay big bucks for this. So let’s get moving! Since Aloha Oe is stuck in some space kelp, Dandy goes off first and lands on some muddy planet and befriends a little kid, Ersimme. But his grandpa, L’delise seems the unfriendly type. Dandy continues to fish with Ersimme but Munagi remains elusive. One day Dandy almost got sucked into a whirlpool but L’delise saves him. He warns Dandy to give up and go home because many fools in the past tried to catch Munagi but earned its wrath and died. Like hell Dandy will go home empty handed. As they continue fishing, some non-believers mock Dandy and mention the strange guy L’delise that everybody keeps away from. He is the only one who believes in that legend and it will never come because this planet has no moon (it is said Munagi will surface when there is a blue moon that appears once in only 3600 years). One stormy day, L’delise goes missing and Ersimme believes he went out to catch Munagi. When Dandy mentions the legend might just be bull, the look in Ersimme eyes says it all. He believes L’delise never told a lie and he believes in him. I guess they have to go save him. Suddenly a blue moon appears (actually it is a passing comet). Here comes Munagi! L’delise tries to reel it in but couldn’t. Dandy is holding on tightly so as not to let it escape. QT and Meow arrive in their swan boat to warn Dandy about the comet but were made to help pull. Soon, the rest of the villagers also help pull. Even the non-believers believe now. L’delise gives Dandy the honours to reel it and shoot the arrow but when he does, his leg gets caught up in the string. Munagi and the other similar fish ride the upstream back up into the comet. As narrated, they came from this planet and centuries ago and now have found their way back to their home. When the storm is gone, Ersimme is sad Dandy is dead. But don’t cry now, here he is safe and sound. I guess old man shows his relief by arguing with him. They get along so well? So on another fishing day for the Aloha Oe trio, yet another déjà vu when Meow suggests making some money fishing another legendary fish. Going for the catch? Well, they might just let a big one nearby get away…

Episode 6
After watching an intergalactic wrestling match, Honey is kidnapped by Dr Gel. He is going to extract bits of information she has on Dandy into a machine. Scarlet is talking to her colleague Pine-pine that she cannot find the right guy so the latter suggests to go to a space mixer. Dandy has been obsessively chasing a rare and impossible to find Cloudian alien so much so he is malnourished and talking crazy stuffs about love. Not that he isn’t crazy when normal either. QT suggests a free all-you-can-eat buffet on some planet. Why didn’t he say so? Pine-pine takes Scarlet to this buffet too and she is disappointed they are only here to eat. And she does just that to take out her frustrations. But since the buffet is only for females, how the heck did Dandy and Meow get through? I suppose the host is gay and understands their predicament even if it is a blatant lie. Scarlet leaves but is tipsy. A Cloudian named Gentle Nobra catches her and she is taken in by his good looks and gentlemanly ways. Dandy sees her being taken into Gentle’s cloud castle but since he is full, he feels like not doing anything. Not even going after the Cloudian. So they hang out at boobies and when QT explains Cloudians takes in depressed women and makes them feel better, Dandy jumps the gun that Scarlet will be dumped after a one night stand and is going to rescue her. So we’re back to the Cloudian hunt? Meanwhile Dr Gel’s machine explodes since it doesn’t have enough memory. Honey suggests super giga mega drive one as she reveals she is a half Cloudian.

Scarlet is suspicious of Gentle and wonders why he is doing this. Cloudian feels sad that his good intentions are always viewed as scorn. Scarlet apologizes for being rude as her job makes her overly suspicious of people. When the Aloha Oe gang arrives, they are treated with first class hospitality. Scarlet is surprised to see him here as Dandy vows to capture Gentle. He accepts this as a gentlemanly challenge when suddenly a distress video of Honey is received. She wants Dandy to save her. Gentle recognizes her and goes off to rescue with Dandy tagging along. Seems this is a trap that Honey came up with. Dr Gel praises her and introduces her to Perry but the admiral is not pleased. Because Cloudians have the ability to download data and is he going to let her leave after having all of Gogol Empire’s secrets? The only way is to kill her. Gentle’s cloud castle captures Dr Gel’s ship. Scarlet is frustrated and ends up drinking with Meow since she was left behind. And the guys were just fighting over her. Suddenly Honey knocks out Dr Gel with a wrestling move and teleports back down. Dr Gel’s army fire at the cloud castle to destroy it. Dandy saves Scarlet and she might have seen something manly in him. They crash land as Gentle and Honey meet for the first time. They are half siblings. Honey’s real name is Lady Nobra. Gentle says he has lost his cloud and only a small piece is left. When Dandy is going to capture and register him, Scarlet lets him know that a Cloudian without a cloud is like a normal alien. Worthless. Gentle vows to go on a journey and rebuild his cloud and show it to her. Honey offers a ride home. The Aloha Oe trio squeeze in and Scarlet beats them up for their inconsideration and selfishness.

Episode 7
Johnny is the high commander of the Jaicro Empire. Because he has to make a decision that decides the fate of the universe, he tells his subordinates to gather more solid evidence before he makes his decision. Despite all this, nobody knows the secret life of Johnny. He is a rockstar wannabe. So when he first met Dandy in the toilet (because he was humming), they started fighting but soon become brothers when they realize they had the same charm. Yup. Friendly as ever. Johnny suggests starting a band. Johnny will play the guitar while Dandy on vocals. And before you know it, QT on drums and Meow on bass. Can they even play? However Johnny and Dandy spend their time arguing about everything rather than practising. From the band’s name to trying to take the spotlight. Just everything. All talking about big dreams and nothing gets going. Till Honey suggests they should just call themselves Dropkix because they’ve been drop kicking each other all the time. They like it. But where will they get their first song for their first little gig? Leave it to Johnny to write the song. He is waiting… Waiting for it to come. A few misses till he finally hits a catchy piece. Their first little gig has less audience than their band members… Despite being their only song, they played it for 2 hours! No wonder the owner got mad. But their rebellious side means they fight back and this is what caught the eye of a big label recording company.

When they are to make their first big debut gig, it seems the attack on Gogol Empire is on that same day. This is the day they should attack but it seems Johnny is in a dilemma. Not because this war will cause massive casualties. Oh, how is he going to choose? War or gig? And so he chose… He apologizes to Dandy that he can’t make their debut. He reveals his real position and everything but Dandy punches him. All that doesn’t matter when he is on stage. He is scared and running away. Johnny doesn’t care and walks out. And Dandy doesn’t even know what a commander means. Some part time job in some company, huh? And so that big gig debut day is here. Dropkix is already running late on schedule because Dandy is waiting for Johnny to show up. The crowd is unhappy. Johnny is on his way to attack Gogol Empire. But then his heart… All that is left now is for his attack order but wait… Where is Johnny?! Dandy is going to imitate the guitar with his voice but the crowd just hates it. Suddenly Johnny comes crashing into the concert! Let’s get this gig going. The crowd goes wild as they play their only hit. Of course in the midst of the craziness, they catch fire and when it starts to rain, the equipment got electrocuted and Johnny’s ship goes boom. Yeah. One hell of a blast concert. This legendary debut concert became their last. They broke up after the gig. While Dandy is upset about the boxes of Dropkix t-shirts and should send some to Johnny but do they know where he lives? The most important part is that little do they know that they prevented a galactic war and secretly saved the universe. Oh yeah. Hard rock saved the space.

Episode 8
Dandy… Is dead?! Well, he seems to be lying in a casket and flowing through a river. He wakes up in a strange land with strange buildings and creatures. It’s no surprised he is spooked. He goes around on a weird scooter looking for somebody and meets this strange creature, Ferdinand. You looking for somebody? He is somebody. Oh well… Claiming he is hungry, Ferdinand brings him around. He observes his surroundings. A couple in fine dining talking about the significance of living when death only awaits and also if microorganisms and bacteria have no reason to live, what makes you think others have? Also, there is this weird choir singing about death too. The food tastes awful and it seems in this world, it is eat or be eaten. When helicopter-like creatures fly above, Ferdinand hides them. They are Nightporters and it will be a bother if they see him. Dandy falls asleep when he hears an angel play her guitar. When he wakes up, he is captured by Nightporters. They view him peculiar and will terminate him. Dandy is panicking as he realizes they have no reflection and are ghosts. Next thing we know, Ferdinand is accompanying him to his funeral. Eh? He has him think about it that he is dead. Dandy realizes he thought he was hungry but isn’t. He thought he was tired but not sleepy. Ferdinand explains people who aren’t used to being dead repeat actions of the living unconsciously. Some don’t realize it for hundreds of years.

There is this cube that serves as a recorder of one’s last memories before death. Seems Aloha Oe entered some dark nebula when they tried to head to a planet to capture some rare alien. Ferdinand adds that with everything dead, there is no need for sadness. But Dandy didn’t take that too well. This means there is no joy too. He doesn’t want that. He still wants food and boobs! He runs away and bumps into a girl in a cable car. He wants her to take him away from here. Up or down? Down might mean hell so up! At the top, she reveals she is the only living being here. She is not God but the planet itself. As she is curious of this planet, the reason Nightporters are scouting around. Long ago, the civilization here destroyed each other. Nothing is left. However this planet has some sort of magnetic pull of souls and dead souls gather here. She was all alone till he came. There is a way for him to go back and that is to use up all this planet’s energy. She does so as Dandy wonders why she is doing this. Because she loves him. Even at this point he can be cheesy. Yeah, he notes he is handsome and she too isn’t that bad. But all this doesn’t matter. Because where dead or alive, he will always be himself. Aloha Oe manages to pull out of the dark nebula safely. Dandy is seen sleeping so comfortably that the rest doesn’t want to wake him up. The final mind boggling scene sees Dandy returning to that world in a white suit and this makes the girl very happy.

Episode 9
Saturday Night Fever?! It all began when Aloha Oe heard they could enter some dancing contest that is held once several centuries to win big bucks as well as get a rare Dancingian alien while they’re at it. Two birds with a stone. However the planet is dead and deserted. At a records store, Dandy buys a record but the clerk warns him not to play it due to some effect. Then they head over to the tourist centre as the chief remembers the good ol’ days when the planet was teeming with life and the festival at its heydays. Most residents have relocated to another planet and none have seen a Dancingian in centuries. Only his mother who is in coma for the last 300 years is the last person believed to have seen one. Dandy is about to leave but the chief gets desperate and thinks the way he walks is a dancing move. He forced Dandy to participate and pretend to be a Dancingian. The prize money is fake just to lure in the people and it is a fixed game since each time a Dancingian always wins. So with great advertising, people start to take notice. However the number of participants are paltry… Meanwhile, the most related question ever asked in this season: Bea is depressed because they never know the reason they chase Dandy and always end up getting blown away. Dr Gel thinks he is stressed and needs a vacation. Suddenly they are hit and run by a UFO. Dr Gel is not going to let this off the hook. As the dancing starts, the UFO descends and it seems he might be the real Dancingian, Ton Jravolta! Groovy baby! Everybody starts dancing to his tune but jealous Dandy won’t be outplayed by him. He claims his dancing is outdated compared to his. So what is he going to dance? He forces QT and Meow to become a record player. Uhm… That song… The kind of song you hear when you seek an audience with a king… And what’s this ballad thingy Dandy is trying to dance? So as everybody starts dancing to this weird dance, little do they know the record is having a growth acceleration effect. Everything is growing old and withering fast. Including our dancers. Reversing the record means reversing the effect but don’t go too far till you become babies. The chief’s mom awakes from her coma and sees the true Dancingian. Not Dandy or Jravolta. The latter is just some dance crazy alien. The true Dancingian are actually plants of this planet ‘dancing’ in the grace of their light. So beautiful that Dr Gel and Bea don’t even need to take a vacation anymore. Has your soul been purified? Dandy and Jravolta won’t lose and start dancing. They release and exhibit some sort of power powerful enough to destroy the universe (yup, Dr Gel gets blown away again) and create a new one. So while hundreds of millions of years passed, our guys are in some whatever form still happily dancing.

Episode 10
Another rejected alien registration. However Scarlet has part time job for him. Pretend to be her boyfriend to stop her ex-boyfriend from following her. Don’t worry, he’ll be compensated. Dandy doesn’t want it but Meow and QT accept it on his behalf. I mean, they’re broke, right? And so here they are on this holiday planet. Scarlet has even drawn up a contract between them so no funny moves, mister. But why pick him? Does this mean she likes him? She clears the air even if they are the last humans in the universe, she will never fall in love with him. So one the first few days of their date, Dandy is being an idiot taking stuffs without permission from kids to use them and then trying to take rare aliens he discovered back to the registration centre. Scarlet is off duty and won’t let him do that. Even when Dandy is flirting with others, Scarlet gets mad. No, that chase scene certainly doesn’t look like a lover’s chase. On the third day as they watch the fireworks, part of the fireworks turn out to be from Scarlet’s ex-boyfriend, Dolph (you mean that Lungdren fellow?) in a huge mecha. The night ends without anything exciting for them. Scarlet retires in her home but her screams draw Dandy. There is a spider in her toilet. A nasty alien spider! Dandy starts shooting everything till her home is decimated. At least he got the spider. Scarlet starts laughing and then they suddenly click when they realize they love the same martial arts series by that Chuck guy (you mean that Norris fellow?).

For the next few days, they date like a real couple and it is smooth sailing. So when Dandy flirts with Honey, you can tell that she is mad although she doesn’t say it. One day, Dolph comes to pick Scarlet up. He punches Dandy in the face and believes she is doing this to make him jealous. He becomes crazy thinking they love each other so much. Dandy punches him back and takes Scarlet to run. He blames her for not being straight with Dolph and there is only one way to stop this. Dandy kisses her. Dolph goes crazy and starts shooting everything. Thankfully he got arrested and a restraining order to stay away from Scarlet. Dandy can’t believe she dated that kind of guy. She thinks she is just bad luck with guys and always falling for losers. In that case, this means she won’t fall for Dandy, right? She didn’t answer. They end the contract and part ways. See you at the registration centre next time. QT and Meow are so happy for being paid that they want to party. But Dandy and Scarlet are just feeling gloomy. There is one day left in their original schedule to meet at the bar. Looks like they won’t make it. Or will day? Scarlet is there drinking alone, writing Dandy’s name on the water vapour. Dandy on the other hand takes that Chuck movie and rushes all the way down. By the time he arrives, she is already gone but he carries on looking for her. It’s like the gears of fate doesn’t want them to meet because it’s like yet so near, yet so far kinda situation. They never got to see each other. So it’s the usual cold reception at the registration counter when Dandy yet again brings another rejected alien. But could there be love lingering in their hearts? Maybe.

Episode 11
Hmm… A break up scene between Dandy and Catherine? Meanwhile there is some strange 2D universe appearing and it is absorbing any 3D stuffs it touches into its universe. Among them are Dr Gel and his fleet. So when this 2D universe threat is known, Dandy isn’t happy because it brings back bad memories. And the past might have caught up with him because here is Catherine! She is some 4D block? Honey is interested in knowing their past love. It’s already history, right? Seems Catherine ran off with Paul. They have already broken up one he ascended the throne. Why? Because Paul is 2D. Apparently that difference in dimension was too much for their relationship. However now he is back trying to take her back and thus his universe appearing here. Honey seems to not want to give up on Paul because he is a prince, which worth more than any rare alien. Catherine wonders if Dandy has found out about the secret of warping. Because with Paul here, he must have figured out something. Dr Gel is inside the 2D world and thinks of destroying the warp drive. It may send them back or annihilate this universe. But as a scientist he can’t contain his happiness over this mystery and wants to test it out. Because Paul can roll up the universe, Dandy and co crack their heads on how to get in. Honey whom everyone has ignored thinking she’s an annoying b*tch suggests to just poke through. Now why didn’t they think of that?

With a gigantic scissors, Aloha Oe cuts through the core. They see Paul quivering in his throne. Honey is disappointed that Paul is just a rectangle. He is 2D. What do you expect? Dr Gel intercepts a message from Paul intended for Catherine. Seems he wants them to go back the way it was and doesn’t care about the throne. He was wrong about everything. Dr Gel doesn’t care about this melodrama and fires into the warp driver. However inside it is the power of 1D as it absorbs them and the universe. Self destruction? Catherine thought she heard Paul’s voice calling to her. Catherine tells Dandy how Paul sealed the 1D power inside the warp drive to power his 2D universe here. She notes Paul is alright although he is sealed inside the 1D universe. Dandy has figured out the secret of warping. It doesn’t exist. Let me see if I understand this. They say you are conscious of yourself in one universe and assume there is another you in another universe, you believe it is yourself when you are conscious there. Therefore you might have felt that you have warped to another universe when it is actually your conscious awakening somewhere else. Thus both are different as you can’t sense the switch in between. Therefore to Catherine who is 4D, she knows this Dandy is not the same Dandy she fell in love with. Though, in Dandy’s eyes she is the same Catherine she fell in love with. As for why Catherine went with Paul, it is because Dandy arrived at this secret all by himself but Paul couldn’t make it on his own. Lastly, Dr Gel is in more serious sh*t because 0D is going to absorb him!!!!!!!! Reduced into nothingness…

Episode 12
Dandy is in a trial for the murder of Guy Reginald?! It is believed that when Reginald’s wife, Rose came back home from work, she found her husband on the floor dead. A baseball mark was on his head as the baseball rolled over to Dandy’s feet. Wrong place, wrong time? Well, there’s a mask besides the baseball too. So both the defendant and prosecution present their cases and arguments, calling forth witnesses like Scarlet, Meow, QT and Rose to take the stand. Despite what they say seems to be ambiguous enough to point all the guilty evidence to Dandy, that guy has remained silent for the entire time. Because Reginald is a rare alien, could he have been desperate this time to land the reward? Further evidence shows the baseball bears the name of Hiroshi. Although he and his friend Jack were playing baseball, they have never seen Dandy before and came from a faraway planet. Where is the logic to steal a baseball from a faraway planet just to commit this murder? Examining the ball, there are no traces of Dandy’s DNA but some Pyonium particle in which Professor Duran explains it as some god particle that is able to bend space and time. New evidence shows Rose has a life insurance policy taken out on Reginald. The payout is more than the registration reward. She is recalled to the stand and further evidence shows that she has bought strange weapons from an online site. As she has worked at Boobies before, Honey is called to the stand to testify. Seems Rose and Dandy did make contact and it fuels speculation that they are in cohorts to kill Reginald. Rose causes an uproar and maintains she is innocent and didn’t kill her husband and her interaction with Dandy was purely as a customer. However prosecutors claim that since Dandy is an alien hunter, killing Reginald would mean negligence on the job and thus a lighter sentence. She is taken away.

But they are still puzzled about the baseball from faraway. Duran explains Pyonium could response to strong emotions and perhaps like intent to kill, causing it to travel through space. Thus the reason it is found on the baseball. It is time for closing statements and Dandy still remains silent. As the jury deliberate, they see Hiroshi’s social media account which has lots of murderous words and intent. The judge reads out the statement. He points out Hiroshi is the one with murderous intent. Jack cannot believe it but that is when Hiroshi snaps. When they were playing baseball, Hiroshi was filled with all that rage. He hit the baseball Jack threw at him with all that killing intent. The baseball disappeared before his face. Hiroshi than admits that Jack blocked him from his social media account. He is upset he was just pretending to be his friend. Boys fighting… Well, at least it doesn’t look like they’re trying to kill each other. The judge clears Rose’s name that she bought those weapons for her husband. Her husband is a famous masked wrestler but had lost his job and since had fallen on hard times, he thought of making a comeback by playing the villain. That’s where she bought those weapons as a birthday surprise to him. Because he was a famous wrestler, she was trying to protect his identity and not reveal it. Suddenly everyone receives news that Reginald has woke up. Seems he has some sleeping condition that has him sleep for long periods. Because he is a rare alien, they thought he was dead. And if you’re wondering why Dandy has been silent all this while, now he has broken it. His first sound… HE WAS ASLEEP THE ENTIRE TIME!!! WTFFFFFF???!!! Didn’t even know what is going on, eh? The court is adjourned although everyone is still puzzled why the ball appeared before Dandy. Suddenly Gogol Empire soldiers surround Dandy.

Episode 13
Dandy alone is taken to Gogol Empire’s base. Scarlet and Honey joint QT and Meow to go rescue Dandy. Finally Dr Gel can properly meet him face to face. It is revealed Dandy possesses Pyonium and is going to extract it from him. You think Dandy is playing dumb? I think he genuinely doesn’t know. Don’t care either. Duran is a scientist for Jaicro Empire as he reports to Johnny about Dandy being made up of Pyonium instead of DNA. At this rate, the universe will fall into Gogol Empire’s hands. Johnny orders for an all-out attack. Perry commends Dr Gel for retrieving Dandy. After extracting his Pyonium, they will use it to activate some super weapon. It is explained there are countless universes and its parallels. Nobody passes through them but only cosmic strings bind them together and pull them out into another. Pyonium controls those strings and if you can manipulate them, you become ruler of the universe. In other words, God. When Jaicro Empire launches a surprise attack on Gogol Empire’s base, suddenly a twist. Bea shoots Dr Gel! OMG! He is a spy from Jaicro Empire and will be taking Dandy as his. Before you can reel from this shocking revelation, here is another shock. Bea calls his comrades to say he has got Dandy. However he is sick of them and is defecting! Holy sh*t! All for himself! I guess the power is too tempting to be given away to your boss. Johnny faces off with Perry as we see the latter’s true form turns out to be an old guy in a suit! Another revelation?! But this part is mind boggling. Because Dr Gel grows into some giant and grasps Bea in his fist to crush him. Or did Bea shrink? I don’t know. The traitor died. Our Aloha Oe crew have the ride of their lives through the maze of the base before reaching Dandy and rescuing him.

In Dr Gel’s dying breathe, he tells Dandy to stop the weapon or else it will be the end of the universe. Dandy wants his ship but since it was destroyed during that ‘ride’, Dr Gel allows him to use his. This time Dandy will go alone. Because they have risked their lives to come rescue him, he can’t let them throw it away now. And so Dandy rides the Statue Of Liberty (the entire body instead of just the head) towards the weapon as it begins its destructive power. Dandy is weakening and burning up the closer he gets. But when he sees Scarlet’s panties from his monitor, he powers up (don’t even ask) and this is where you toss away your logic. Because now he ejects out and gets naked while accelerating at great speed towards the weapon before destroying it with his super punch. Everyone and everything gets blown away by the beautiful light. Dandy hears the voice of God (the narrator actually) talking to him. He is being told he might have forgotten about his other selves in other universes. But he is one who has the ability to conceivably be one and the same while simultaneously existing in all other parallel universes. So now what? Since the universe is collapsing, a new one will be born. He wants a successor and Dandy is worthy to become to next God. Oh wow. But Dandy realizes this means he won’t have a physical body and can’t go to Boobies anymore. He doesn’t want it and declines to be God! OMFG! Are you thinking straight?! Oh what the heck. So what will happen with a universe without a God? Everything explodes. Don’t ask. I also don’t know. And 14.8 billion years later, Dandy is riding Aloha Oe as usual through space.

To Go Where No Dandy Has Gone Before, Baby!
OMG! What in blazes?! Everything was a big revelation in the end?! I was hoping something like this but that was long ago back in the first season. So when all the random standalone episodes came in, I gave up of ever something of this epic happening in the end. Then bam! This. Mind blowing. So it seems like all those episodes weren’t just trolls. If you think about it, they are somewhat connected to it all although it can be very loosely and indirectly. Episode after episode as we have seen is made as though they look like fillers so it was really amazing that everything, the revelations and the truth all came out in one big blast in the final episode. A fitting final if I should say. But is that really the end since a big question mark hangs over whether it would be continued in the final scene. Who knows? Maybe God Dandy can tell us.

So now when you think about Dandy, everything starts to make sense. Because at first he might look like some easygoing guy who just wants to show off and have fun. Even if he seems serious in his job, he doesn’t actually look like it. If you noticed, Dandy is a guy seemingly capable of a lot of things (maybe except catching rare aliens). A lot may seem useless but hey, he can still do it, right? From being a surfer, a racer, to some dancer and heck, a high school student! How is this even possible? Even if he isn’t that good but heck, at least he could do it. With certain mind boggling episodes dropping hints like multiple Dandys and parallel dimensions, it just looks like they are random nonsensical episodes but beneath all that have something to do with Dandy itself. Wished you have paid more attention to Dandy instead of writing him off as some loser main character, eh? Therefore with this, it explains a great deal of why Dandy gets into a lot of adventures across the universe and why certain episodes start with a big reset like as though the consequences of the previous never had any effect to begin with.

Because of this, it is arguably that Dandy is ultimately the coolest character. Why? Simply because he rejects the offer to be God! You only have to be an idiot to do something like that but that is what makes you cool, right? Well, it proves that being God isn’t everything. Call Dandy an idiot but at least you have got to admire his simple ways even if might seem distasteful to some. Ah, the simple pleasures in life. If a guy can’t be happy hanging out at a diner flirting with sexy waitresses, I don’t know what happiness is then. But just a thought, if Dandy does become God, he can be anything he wants, right? This means he can still materialize himself like he is now and create Boobies or whatever things he wants and go patron it. Doh! Regretting it? So from someone whom we all never think highly to begin with and at most some sort of joker, it is considerably quite a feat for him to be elevated to this status. Whether or not you respect him after this, it is for sure we will see him in a different light now. Ironically as the most important person in the universe, he is also the most blur case and I am sure he isn’t playing dumb. That is Dandy for you.

Notwithstanding to the connection of the plot, with many of the episodes acting as standalones, there were a few that are really interesting like that episode they turned almost the entire episode into a high school music. It’s refreshing to see them dancing and singing their way through. Even starting the season off with multiple Dandys also feels unique. The strange planet of the dead is also intriguing and perhaps making you think about what is life and death. The courtroom drama is also not bad because it kept me on my feet trying to guess what is happening despite that Pyonium stuff boggling my mind even further only till what it really is, is revealed in the final episode. I suppose even if a big majority of the plot doesn’t go anywhere, the randomness of such episodes is enough to keep you amused. But sometimes you might be annoyed by how such episode ends. Because just like last season, they end abruptly or leave their fates hanging or with the kind of consequences that make you wonder how they are going to untie it in the next episode. And then your worries are unfounded because they do a complete reset like as though all those stuffs never happened. But as hinted at the end, multiple parallel worlds… Some things aren’t just for the human minds to understand.

But there are some episodes I thought just felt a little unsatisfying. For example the one that reveals Honey’s origins. Maybe it is just that, nothing much. I thought she would play some sort of important role towards the end of the series thanks to this revelation but I suppose Dandy is still the more important factor. Just a troll, huh? Also, there were a couple of episodes hinting about the romance between Dandy and Scarlet. They’re just teasing us and nothing more than that. I would love to see more of this and if it really goes somewhere because although I know Dandy is the kind that usually won’t end up with the girls, but at the end of it, perhaps someone like Scarlet or even Honey is worthy enough to be it. And imagine if Scarlet is dating God… Yeah, I can’t imagine that.

Thus the other supporting and side characters don’t seem to matter much this season. It is understandable that given the way the series is, you’ll see lots of characters appearing for a single episode and then that’s it. Because with so many living beings in the universe and not counting parallel worlds or other dimensions, you can’t really care for them all. But for QT and Meow, it feels like they have been pretty much sidelined for this season. Not to say that they don’t appear much, what I meant was the impact they made on this season. I just don’t feel it here. Maybe it is because they had their fair screen time in the last season so sidekicks are shoved aside to pave way for the bigger hero. I think. Even with Scarlet and Honey feel like they have more decent appearance in this season, overall it just fails to make a deeper impact. Not even Perry’s true identity or Johnny did any justice. Thanks to the finale, you start thinking this season is all nothing but Dandy. At least there is a closure to Dr Gel and Bea’s case because otherwise we would have forever seen them as running joke materials, antagonists who are only meant to be blown away by the sheer bad luck for chasing Dandy and never getting him.

Art and drawing are still okay although there are times where I feel that certain episodes have an obvious drop in quality. Like as though they hand it over to different producers to animate it and then it becomes obvious. However this might be to fit the visuals world of that world of that episode. For example like that fishing episode in which the art subsequently resembles more like traditional Japanese paper art. Some were cartoonish and some were filled with lush flora while some serve an interesting concept especially that episode on Dandy’s ‘death’. It is really different and unique to see such alien and fantasy world that is neither here nor there. Then of course there is that 2D retro pixel style art which brings back memories of my younger days playing such early space shooter video games.

With the same seiyuus of the main and supporting characters retained, considering the standalone-like episodes, this means a bunch of other seiyuus lending their voice for a particular character in a particular episode and then never to be heard of again. This also means those who played guest characters in the first season won’t be coming back in this one since their character never appeared again. For the more popular ones that I recognized, this season we have Hiroshi Kamiya as Johnny, Megumi Hayashibara as Pine-pine, Kazuya Nakai as Dolph, Miyuki Sawashiro as Catherine and Sayaka Ohara as Rose.

Looks like they used the same opening and ending theme for this season. However after halfway through, they use a new ending theme for an episode. With a little variety between then, some of them sound pretty cool. Like Kanchigai Lonely Night by Dropkix has a very catchy rock ‘n’ roll tune. Personally I feel this is the best of the lot. Then there is the groovy disco-like song named after this series’ name by Zen-La Rock featuring Yomeiri Land. If you feel like dancing a little to your retro Saturday Night Fever, this is it. There are a couple of instrumentals too like White House by Ogre You Asshole (WTF is this group name?!) and All The Thing’s I Am… Worried by Mito. The former isn’t some fanfare for an American President but instead sounds like a slow and alien-like Hawaiian string instrument while the latter feels like some eerie, dramatic and enigmatic piece that is suitable for space adventure games. Seaside Driving by Seiichi Nagai is also an instrumental piece and perhaps the better instrumental one since this is a casual and fun piece that makes you dream of wanting to be at the, well, seaside. Finally for the final episode, there is Space Fun Club by Zen-La Rock featuring Robochuu which sounds more like R&B with a little funky rap. Some of the insert songs are great too like that All Is All (Viva All) in the musical episode and the romantic jazzy I’m Losing You by BTB for Dandy and Scarlet’s dating episode.

Overall, two seasons of Dandy is sure one heck of a space adventure. It has almost everything. Sci-fi, space action, comedy, romance, drama and whatever genres you can think of, it is here. Yeah, when they put in the musical, everything else seems plausible. If you like space themed shows with weirdness and randomness and then a big mind blowing finale, this series is just for you. But remember to come back to Earth once you are done. Just like space itself, I suppose all of us has infinite possibilities. The biggest lesson of all is the age old saying of never judge a book by its cover. For all you know, the douchebag that annoys the hell out of you and a jerk that you hate so much might turn out to be God or the next one. So always be nice. Be dandy! Be groovy baby! See ‘ya in the next alternate dimension. If you remember, that is.

Black Bullet

April 25, 2015

Are you the kind of guy craving for action and fights? But at the same time do you have a thing for lolis? Yes. It might seem contradicting or just freaking weird that an action crazy macho guy teaming up with a loli to fight and save humanity from alien bugs. What kind of a sick perverted story is this?! Well, don’t hold your breath now because it really did happen. At least in Black Bullet. Hah. You thought I was going to mention about some perverted lolicon series, are you? Well, this series isn’t some ecchi loli show but filled with action and sci-fi elements that would make most of us prefer to go back to our safer loli genres of seeing them do cute things and go “Awwww…” and cuddle them every time that happens. Otherwise, prepare to face the grim dystopian future whereby a certain group of lolis are hated and discriminated by the public in general but ironically are the ones who hold the key to save humanity from invading alien bugs. Yeah. Why didn’t the bugs just wipe out humanity in the first place and save us all this loli discriminating trouble. The world can go to hell and burn in it for all we care if you hate lolis that much!

Episode 1
When Rentarou Satomi was young, he had a close encounter with a Gastrea when it attacked the refugee camp. He heard a voice telling him to survive if he doesn’t want to die. Well, duh! Ten years later, he is now a Civil Security officer heading to an apartment believed to have confirmed Gastrea. Apparently some army guys didn’t want him to hog the glory so they went in first and paid the price. However their massacre wasn’t due to Gastrea but this masked man, Kagetane Hiruko. They fight but Rentarou is no match. He leaves after getting a call but tells Rentarou that he will be the one to destroy this world. Rentarou’s loli partner, Enju Aihara (also self proclaimed future fiancée) is furious that she fell off his bicycle and he didn’t have the decency to pick her up. Along the way she meets a guy infected with Gastrea seeking for help. She can only look with pity because it is already at an advanced stage beyond help. A stage one spider model Gastrea bursts out from its host’s body. Rentarou arrives in time to fire his special bullets made out of Varanium, the only material that could defeat those beings and prevent their regeneration. As explained, Enju is an Initiator, those born to fight Gastrea while Rentarou is a Promoter, those in charge of keeping Initiators under control. The duo leave the messy clean up to the detectives since they need to rush for some time limited cheap sale. Thanks to that, their agency boss, Kisara Tendou is furious that because of that, they lost their reward and compensation from the police. Uhm, maybe she just felt left out that she wanted to join in the sale too. Business is slow because their office is located in a shady area. Can’t complain if the rent is cheap, right? When Kisara brings up the subject if he still thinks about his parents, he becomes upset. He is still sensitive all these years when people talk about it because they died in that war.

Rentarou goes to see Sumire Muroto who is a Gastrea researcher. And a quirky person. Are scientists all like that? She chides him for being lazy because he left the Varanium bullet shells he shot at the scene. She hints if he doesn’t buck up, Kisara won’t look his way. On to serious business, they discuss about the source of infection. Since there are no reports, there will be more victims at this rate. Sumire also explains how the Gastrea virus rewrites DNA in an irregular way. That’s why it can become strong and faster in a short time. Back home, Enju is probably trying to train herself to become his future wife. It’s not play time yet as Rentarou injects her daily shot. After meal, it must be a tired day so he instantly goes to bed. Active loli not happy… Get the hint! She won’t let him sleep yet… Even when morning comes, Enju can still talk dirty trying to corrupt his mind or something. At least they can still laugh and be happy. All Rentarou want is for Enju to lead a normal life. He gives her a lift to school. Then he explains to us Gastrea virus normally spread among humans through bodily fluids. But there are rare cases they enter the mouth of a pregnant woman and infecting their child. They become Cursed Children. All of them are born girls and have red eyes. Although the virus is inside their body, some inhibiting factor makes its corrosion at a slower rate. However there are many who refuse to recognize such children as human. Ten years ago when a parasitic life form from space called Gastrea infected humanity and nearly caused extinction, humans surround themselves within giant monoliths made out of Varanium and they managed to survive staying within it. Now humanity is gradually arming themselves to fight back against Gastrea. At the core of it are Enju and the Cursed Children, the Initiators. Peace is maintained thanks to those girls inheriting Gastrea’s regeneration and physical abilities. They might be hated and a curse Gastrea put upon humanity. However they are mankind’s last hope against them. In an abandoned section of Tokyo, a large group of Cursed Children watches longingly.

Episode 2
All the Promoters and Initiators are called to an important meeting. This hulk Promoter, Shougen Ikuma doesn’t like the young punk Rentarou is and they almost fight if not for Shougen’s boss, Mikajima telling him to stop or else. The meeting is initiated when Seitenshi, the ruler of Tokyo appears on the screen. Beside her is Kikunojo Tendou, Kisara’s grandpa and Rentarou’s adoptive father after his parents died. Seitenshi has 2 missions for everyone. Find the source of the Gastrea infection and bring back a case. As a matter of privacy, she will not mention its contents. Kisara is of course suspicious. Why call all the top pairs to hunt down for such a case. It must contain something very dangerous, right? Suddenly Kagetane is heard giving his opinion. How did he sneak inside? He introduces his daughter, Kohina who is also his Initiator. He makes known his intention that he is joining the race to retrieve the case which has Inheritance of the Seven Stars. He makes a bet with them. If he gets it first, they will all pay with their lives. Everyone attacks him but their bullets cannot penetrate his barrier. Everyone starts panicking when Kagetane reveals himself to be from the 787th Mechanization Special Unit of SDF eastern division, an Anti-Gastrea unit and New Humanity Creation Plan survivor. He returns the bullets to everyone, killing many of them. After he leaves, Seitenshi adds another condition that they must retrieve the case before Kagetane for its contents can destroy the monoliths. It is something meant to be sealed away. While Rentarou and Enju are walking through the shopping district, they see a Cursed Child being chased and beaten for stealing. Enju wanted to help but Rentarou stops her. She becomes upset he didn’t save her and calls him a liar that despite he claims to be a champion of justice, he cannot do anything. Of course this invokes his inner conscience so he goes off to save that child. But to his horror, he sees the authorities shooting and killing her at some deserted building. Luckily she is still breathing so he sends her to the doctor and assures he will pay her bill. Living expenses are going to be tight this month.

On his way back, he encounters Kagetane and Kohina. Father orders daughter to chop off his arm. Luckily Enju is here to aid him but Kagetane will not allow bloodthirsty Kohina to kill her. Kagetane offers Rentarou to join forces with him by explaining the discrimination and double standards of this area. He has seen it with his own eyes. Humanity should just face extinction and greater beings like them shall become the next rulers. Rentarou rejects his proposal. Kagetane warns he will face reality soon enough. Visit Enju’s school tomorrow and he shall see. When he does, it seems rumours that Enju is a Cursed Child has spread. Everyone is keeping away from her so much so Enju ran away. Of course he is upset with everything but there is nothing much he can do but go find her. He makes his way to the sewers of the underground district. The Cursed Children may not know her but they think the elder who takes care of them may know. Matsuzaki believes in teaching these girls how to control their emotions so their red eyes won’t show so they can live in society. As for Enju, he hasn’t seen her. The thinks his Initiator ran out on him and would be better to get a replacement. Just contact IISO and make a new contract with a new Initiator. Because to many Promoters, Initiators are just tools for fighting. Oh. He might just said the taboo word. Rentarou raises his voice that his relationship with Enju has nothing to do with Initiator or Promoter. He remembers her heart was closed when they first met. But once the ice was broken, they became like how you see they were. They’re always together. He leaves to continue his search. Matsuzaki hints to hidden Enju nearby that she is lucky to have a nice man like him. Sure you want to let him go?

Episode 3
Sumire must have fallen asleep while listening to Rentarou’s ‘boring’ complaints about the discrimination. She talks about some believing Gastrea is like God’s Messengers trying to clean up humanity responsible for the world’s resources deterioration and destruction. Rentarou is adamant Enju is human but is told if she knows it herself as Cursed Children are abandoned children who never knew their parents. The world views them as scorn. Who are going to teach and guide them? At least they are a family. Rentarou receives a call from the teacher that Enju showed up at school. All the kids are trying to keep her away. Rentarou will have her change school but she is not willing as she has made so many friends. Well, these aren’t her friends anymore. Rentarou and Enju are called for another mission. This time the source of the infection. In the midst of the dense jungle, there is a spider model Gastrea. Enju quickly fights and defeats it as proof she protected her school friends. As they hug, Rentarou assures he will always be by her side even if the entire world doesn’t accept her. Before they could retrieve the case, Kagetane and Kohina attack them. Rentarou gets a taste of his special crushing move. He forces Enju to run away although she promises to come back with help. Kohina stabs Rentarou before Kagetane shoots him. Luckily our hero can’t die. He is alive in hospital with Kisara by his side. Enju sleeping by his side. Better thank her for bringing him here. Kisara reports Kagetane has taken the case which contains materials to summon stage five Gastrea. When Gastrea reaches that stage, not even Varanium could stop them and it will be the end of humanity. Kagetane has escaped to outside the barrier and believed to be trying to summon it.

Seitenshi personally calls Rentarou to inform him that she would like him to participate in a mission to hunt down Kagetane. Sumire drops lots of weapon gifts for him. He mentions about that dream he had while unconscious. Sumire operated on him 10 years ago and gave him a choice. Sumire doesn’t expect to be forgiven but Rentarou says he never once thought of resenting her. Rentarou and Enju are dropped into the thick jungle and barely escape from a rampaging Gastrea. They see a hut nearby but find Kayo Senju alone. She is Shougen’s Initiator. Noticing her hand is wounded, he bandages it. Why is Enju jealous? Things can get complicated when another woman is involved. Enough said. Kayo explains her team is supposed to be on the vanguard but because Shougen is the action type, he went ahead first. They encountered a Gastrea and without thinking she set off explosives and that’s when they got separated. Although she got injected by Gastrea’s fluid, it is a very small amount and no need to worry or any corrosion. Kayo is touched Rentarou is worried about her and feels envious of Enju. She adds that she was made to kill when Shougen ordered her to do so to another pair because he won’t let any other pair have the reward for killing Kagetane. She was scared. Rentarou tells her that nothing is scarier about getting used to killing. When you kill someone and won’t be punished, that’s when people forget all about punishment. Kayo notes his mysterious eyes. Kind but yet scary. However she wants to believe in his words although she can think of many ways to counter it. Shougen calls Kayo to meet up because he has found Kagetane. As they make their way, they see the Stairway to Heaven, a weapon of mass destruction and symbol of the Stolen Generation’s hatred. She thinks what is going on right now is an attempt to revive it.

Episode 4
Kayo fights the dozens of Gastrea in the forest for the duo to advance. When they arrive, they see slaughtered Civil Servants. Shougen seems to be panicking without his sword. Oh, it’s right there. In his back. Thank Kagetane and Kohina for the massacre. Meanwhile Seitenshi has called Kisara for her help. She believes Rentarou will win. For sure. How can she? 10 years ago when Gastrea killed her parents, Rentarou protected her and cost him his right arm, right leg and left eye. On the verge of death, he was taken to Sumire who operated on him. Those artificial limbs are made from Varanium. He is able to get a little edge over Kagetane with this and reintroduces himself. Looks like Rentarou is another survivor of the New Humanity Creation Plan. As they fight, Kagetane offers him to join him once more. Another rejection. In that case, die. Rentarou is bleeding like mad and remembers the AGV experimental drugs created from Gastrea virus that Sumire gave him. It gives human regenerative abilities but there is a 20% chance he will turn into Gastrea. He stabs all the syringes into his gut!!! Don’t care all about that when he can’t stand to see Enju crying, can’t he? He regenerates and powers up so badass that he pounds Kagetane like no tomorrow. He even lands his finishing drop kick blow, cracking his mask and plunging him into the depths of the ocean. Victory! Kohina has become in shock state that she is no longer a threat. However Kisara calls as there is now a bigger problem. A stage five Gastrea has appeared. The only way to defeat it is to use Stairway to Heaven. Approved by Seitenshi. And Rentarou is going to do it. I’m not sure about that technical mumbo-jumbo about this railgun module shooting some Varanium that not even stage 5 Gastrea can survive. But heck, what choice do they have left?

And you think it is easy just activating it? Here comes the load of problems. It always happens at such crucial moments. There are no Varanium bullets in the chamber, some coolant is leaked and the magnetic fields mean it cannot be remotely controlled. Just great. Rentarou sacrifices his right arm to load as the bullet. Now he has to fire the damn thing accurately. He is reluctant for fear he might miss and hit the city but Enju tells him you won’t know if you don’t try. Who else is going to save the world? If words of a loli can’t motivate you, I don’t know what can. He aims. He fires. He hits! Victory! Well, who could miss it because that Gastrea was freaking huge, right? Later Rentarou goes back down to the forest to see Gastrea bodies around. Kayo defeated them but her corrosion rate is above 50%. She has not much time left. She didn’t run away because she didn’t want him to die for he was the one who acknowledged her existence. She is very grateful and wants to die as a human. Knowing he has not many friends, she’ll be one. Hope you’ll save the world. Reluctantly, he pulls the trigger. Back in Tokyo, he confronts Kikunojo. He knows information was leaked by some minister who just hanged himself in his cell. That minister is Kikunojo’s subordinate. Rentarou accuses him of trying to promote discrimination when Seitenshi is trying to pass an equality law for Cursed Children. Heck, he summoned a stage 5 Gastrea to stop the passing of this law! Kikunojo could not forget how Gastrea took his wife’s life. He views them as destroyer of mankind. Rentarou views them as humans. He won’t kill him as gratitude for saving his life 10 years ago. Later he confronts Seitenshi. He has peaked into the case and saw parts of a tricycle inside. How can this bring world destruction? What is Gastrea anyway? She cannot say. She hints that if the hierarchy were to improve, Civil Security pairs would be given special rights like top secret information. She wants them to rise through the ranks and when they do, he’ll find out the reason he was born and who he truly is. Enju is happy to hear that her corrosion rate remains at 24%. But you know how good poker face and liar he is. It has dramatically increased to 42%.

Episode 5
Kisara says there is a bodyguard job for Rentarou. Seitenshi picked him herself for the job since Kikunojo is temporarily overseas. Seitenshi explains the details of the job. She would like him to station himself beside him for the rest of the informal meeting. But she already has bodyguards, so why hire him? I think I know… Anyway he is introduced to them and the head, Takuto Yasuwaki. Rentarou isn’t on friendly terms and won’t shake his hands. Because he is only here to listen to the job details and hasn’t agreed to do it. Later Yasuwaki and his men corner him in the toilet. He wants him to not take the job as the spot next to Seitenshi belongs to him. Rentarou doesn’t take orders from him. Yasuwaki orders his men to break his limbs but he fights back. They have to flee when the guard heard gunshots. Yasuwaki is so mad probably because Rentarou’s bullet scratched his pretty face. He’ll kill him. And like the rebellious person he is, Rentarou agrees to take on the job. On his way out, he sees several men trying to bully a loli! WTF?! Can’t let a girl whose bicycle run over your toes go? They flee when Rentarou flashes his Civil Security badge. Tina Sprout is impressed. He is her superhero. Oh no. I have a bad feeling about this… He notices her taking caffeine as it is hard for her to stay awake in the day. She trolls with him about the things she did this morning and he knows she is lying. Her best reply: Why, he knows her better than herself! More trolling when she calls his number he gave her just to confirm he isn’t lying and that she actually knows where she lives. Later Tina gets a call from her master and her mission is to assassinate Seitenshi. That night she puts on her best dress and getting stuffs ready. The policeman doesn’t think a young girl should be out alone by herself. Tina’s master tells her to kill him. Well, the very wrecked police car says it all…

Back home, Miori Shiba collapses in front of Rentarou’s door due to her cold. This is followed by Kisara who is hungry. Rentarou knows this is trouble because both these girls hate each other! I can see what this is coming to. Miori is the daughter of a large scale weapons company president who supplies Varanium bullets. Miori begins her sarcasm as Kisara tries to ignore. But when Miori starts getting flirty and that Rentarou belongs to her, time to settle this sh*t. Because tonight’s dinner lacks some delicious seasoning: Miori’s blood. And so the catfight begins as Rentarou moves his table aside so as not to waste food. Good move. But goodbye his rental deposit. Rentarou escorts Seitenshi to see President Sougen Saitake. He is the area’s head and among the 5 area heads who united their respective areas after the Gastrea war, Saitake is the most dangerous of them all. In the meeting, Saitake blames Rentarou for destroying the railgun module as he planned to send it up to the moon. Seems his target isn’t just Gastrea. He has this vision that after Gastrea is eliminated, a new leader of the new world is needed. His goal is that and will get all the power he wants and eliminate those in the way. He believes his will is Japan’s and that Japan’s will is his. Well, he didn’t say he was God, right? Seitenshi is of course depressed but praises Rentarou for not yielding to him. Because Japan produces the most Varanium thanks to its archipelago of volcanic islands, he believes Saitake is supplying that person with Varanium to get money and weapons. She wants Rentarou to continuously be her bodyguard as this area is not safe and can foresee high ranking assassinations. She wants to be the embodiment of peace and show that she is not just talk. When Enju wakes up, she has a bad feeling. True enough, Rentarou protects Seitenshi from a sniper’s fire. Enju deflects another shot as the bodyguards escort her into a building. Rentarou can sense the enemy is gone and wonder who that person is. Because we all know she is Tina. She reports her failure to her master but will get the job done. Since it was too far, she couldn’t see the skilled bodyguard’s face that protected Seitenshi. I’m sure she’ll do soon.

Episode 6
I don’t know if Rentarou has got a new loli pet because he is giving her food. And because she is so clumsy, he couldn’t stand her spilling anymore food and feeds her. Yup. She loves it. Enough to make her say she loves him because nobody has been this kind to her ever since her parents died. A call ends their meeting. Her master has a mission for her: Kill Kisara. If you’re wondering why Kisara is armed to her teeth, she’s not going to fight Gastrea. She’s going to neutralize Miori! She won’t get her chance since Miori takes Rentarou into her place and warns any damages will be billed to her company. Miori has analyzed the sniping incident but still cannot identify the sniper. He pleads for her help to research on Saitake. And this is where the flirting begins… I guess Kisara couldn’t take it anymore. Bill or no bill, she’s going to kill that woman. But she is left speechless when Miori put words into Rentarou’s mouth that he would join her company if she offered herself to him. Sumire had a good laugh hearing this. Why on earth did he tell her this in the first place? Sumire talks about the other prodigies in charge of the New Humanity Creation Plan. Aside from her, there is one from Australia, America and Germany. The plan is to create mechanized soldiers to fight Gastrea but after realizing the high extent of Cursed Children’s fighting abilities, the project was scraped. Many of the mechanized soldiers were relieved of their duties and became Promoters. Rentarou already defeated a mechanized soldier under the German prodigy: Kagetane.

Tina barges into Kisara’s office and starts making Swiss cheese out of the place. Kisara fights back but loses. She notices Tina’s hands shaking. Is she afraid to kill? As Tina strangles her, Kisara is calling out Rentarou’s name to save her. And like a true hero, here he is. Imagine their shock and disappointment when they realize each other’s identity. Big irony, isn’t it? The standoff ends with Tina escaping. Kisara is treated at the hospital. And all that talk about vengeance and pain suddenly turns into something flirty. She ‘learnt’ something by ‘observing’ Miori and wants Rentarou to hold her hand. This is what she learnt? But she’s already so embarrassed that she could die. It isn’t that Rentarou turned into a pervert and starts groping her boobs. It’s Enju. Rentarou continues his bodyguard job on Seitenshi. He is very sure Saitake is behind this attack. Even so, there is no possible reason for Seitenshi to just cancel this meeting. Rentarou is mad. He didn’t take up this job to die for her. He’ll protect her. Definitely. As she gets out of the car, Yasuwaki is b*tching about the low end car she has to travel. They had to switch for diversion. Can’t you at least understand that? Suddenly Rentarou hears a familiar sound. It’s going to be a sniper attack. Get down! After a few shots, Rentarou gets hit in the arm protecting her. Enju goes off alone, confident she can catch Tina and take her down. But after she leaves, Seitenshi realizes the enemy’s name and does her research to reveal Tina is one of the mechanized soldiers and a high ranking one. In short, if Enju fights her alone, she will be killed. Call her back now! I hope the phone is working. It is. Hello? Hello? No answer. It could only mean one thing… Tina picked up that call. More devastation for Rentarou…

Episode 7
Enju is in ICU and won’t awake at least for any 2 days. Worse, Seitenshi is scheduled to meet Saitake for another meeting tomorrow. Rentarou can’t take it anymore and collapses. Lucky for him, Kisara is there to catch him. Is this how she would like to catch her guy? If things aren’t getting bad enough, here comes Yasuwaki rubbing into Rentarou’s face about his new protection plan that doesn’t involve him. Rentarou doesn’t give a damn and threatens him to come up with a false plan and leak it because he will still be protecting Seitenshi whether he likes it or not. Rentarou does his simulated training and thanks to some Varanium implant in his eye, he sees worldly movements slower than they should and thus his lightning speed reflex. Although his power level is at 2200%, it is a far cry from Enju’s 8600% which is way below than Tina’s 12900%! Holy sh*t! What kind of power level is that?! Tina’s non-killing action weighs heavily on Rentarou’s mind. He thinks she is trying to avoid killing as much as possible since she could have easily killed her targets. Tina receives info about the security plan from her master, Ayn Rand who is the American prodigy for the New Humanity Creation Plan. Tina senses something wrong in the plan because there is a spot in the route as though it was intentional for a perfect shot. Rand tells her Rentarou and Enju are still alive and warns if she fails her mission, she will commit suicide. Tina even gives Rentarou a courtesy call to end this. You won’t know if you don’t try.

Rentarou enters the building and fights off floating ‘eyeballs’ that serve as eyes for Tina to remotely control various heavy machine guns situated at certain points of the building. Eventually it comes down to man versus loli. Unfortunately Rentarou lost. But his luck changes when Enju’s face flashes before his mind. His misfired flash grenade activates and this temporarily blinds Tina (since she has night visions, it is very blinding). Now it is Rentarou’s turn for some loli abuse as he hammers her down the floors. She wants him to finish her as she doesn’t want her body which is filled with technology to be taken alive. However he won’t kill her. Because she saved Enju. So thank you. As he carries her out and will try to plead for a lenient sentence, Tina thinks she has lost her reason of existence (she only exists to fight). She wants him to take responsibility. It all comes down to this, huh? Maybe Rentarou doesn’t have to because Tina is shot in the heart! By Yasuwaki! After guiding Seitenshi safely to her place, he is here on his own to take care of things. He is going to find out how many ordinary lead bullets will take to kill a Cursed Child and see Rentarou’s distressed face. Suddenly here comes Seitenshi. Wasn’t she supposed to be at the meeting? Well, after hearing Yasuwaki acting on his own, she stepped out of the meeting early. As she is indebted to Rentarou, she asks him what he wants. Power. The power to protect. She raises his rank to 300. Now he can have access to top rank classified information and ranks hire than Yasuwaki. Now this guy is scared. He should be. Because Rentarou shoots off a finger of his! And warns never to come near Tina again. Ever. A week later, Saitake went home upset after feeling abandoned at the meeting. Rentarou couldn’t find any connection with Saitake and Rand. Tina is under Seitenshi’s care and under interrogation. But he’ll get a pleasant surprise when he returns to office. Tina is working as an office assistant! Kisara found her too cute to resist and hired her. Hey, even Enju loves her. Ironically, they almost got killed by this loli. Rentarou’s headache just turned up a notch and he doesn’t want to take responsibility for this. Aha! What did he say about responsibility over Tina?!

Episode 8
Rentarou agrees to be the teacher for Matsuzaki’s lolis. Boy, they are an enthusiastic bunch asking lots of questions. Nothing to do with the syllabus, though. They’re asking about Rentarou’s marriage to Enju, Kisara’s big boobs, if she is dating Rentarou, etc. Since she denies everything, it is a big boost for Enju. Oh yeah. But Seitenshi has urgent news. A stage four Gastrea called Aldebaran has destroyed a monolith. Another one is found to be injected with some Varanium corroding fluid and will be destroyed in 6 days. Construction of the monolith has begun but it will take 9 days. According to their analysis, 2000 Gastrea outside will flood and destroy Tokyo by then. This information is withheld from the public to prevent panic. She wants Rentarou to form an adjuvant, a squad system with a team of Civil Security agents working with JASDF. During the time the monolith is destroyed and the new one created, there will be a big battle. They must fight to prevent every Gastrea from coming in. This fight will decide the fate of Tokyo. That night when Tina can’t sleep, she talks to Rentarou and knows about the monoliths. She also mentions the old her as died in a battle with him. With this new life, it is all his to do whatever he wants. He explains he formed an agency with Kisara a year ago because of his hatred for Gastrea. But when he first saw Enju’s eyes, it was the eyes of those being betrayed by humans so many times that it was so much colder than theirs. So he changed. Enju changed. Then Kisara changed. Next morning when Kisara is here to pick Tina up, that loli crawls out from his lower half. With her ambiguous words that ‘last night was fun’ and ‘she learnt new things’, Kisara cannot resist calling the cops and Enju is devastated she beat her to it. And what the hell is this Tina night version?! All a big misunderstanding, don’t you agree?

News that the leader of the movement who wants to expel Cursed Children is killed. This will make the new Gastrea law impossible to pass now. Rentarou takes Tina out to the city and she treats it like a date. Gotta have fun, right? They see a blind Cursed Child begging for money. Rentarou is curious that she shouldn’t have any illness but it seems she pour lead into her eyes because her mom hates those red eyes. Rentarou doesn’t want her to come around here for a few days (because anti-Cursed Children protest is gaining momentum) and gives her some cold hard cash. Rentarou then begins his adjuvant recruiting spree. He goes to see Tamaki Katagiri but his Initiator, Yuzuki doesn’t like this pervert and starts insulting him. Anyway Rentarou reveals the top secret info and brings shock to Katagiri. It is not the money anymore. So won’t he fight for Rentarou’s sake? Since he won’t work for those weaker than he is, the only way is to fight. Needless to say when Rentarou gets serious, he wins. Yuzuki might be moving around like a fly as opposed to Tina just standing there. After her analysis, a single move is just what she needs to defeat her. Yuzuki is frustrated but with Tina humble in victory, Yuzuki starts loving her and wants to marry her! With that, Katagiri joins Rentarou.

Episode 9
Rentarou brings Tina to see Sumire. Tina mentions that a handful of people will come after her and she doesn’t want to inconvenience them. Rentarou tells her that they are not so weak that she needs to worry about it. Sumire’s translation: She is vital in his loli harem programme. For real?! Later Rentarou and Sumire discuss their different approach in changing the world. A world where people don’t have to wake up in fear of Gastrea. Sumire then shows him some data that he got with his level. It is believed that the records of Gastrea are supposed to be destroyed but here they are. It means somebody is trying to conceal them. Kisara interrupts to tell him to watch the news. Since the weakening of the monolith is all over the news, Seitenshi is holding an emergency press conference to quell the panic but the press grill her about knowing such information beforehand. Rentarou and Enju go around searching for more members for their adjuvant. Either they are very unsuitable or have joined other teams. They see a dead Civil Servant by the tracks and nearby a fight is about to erupt. Rentarou recognizes Shouma Nagisawa and his Initiator, Midori Fuse. Shouma easily defeats the rowdy challenger. Shouma hasn’t forgotten about Rentarou. In fact, Shouma was Rentarou’s senior back at the Tendou dojo but one day suddenly left for no reason. The answer is simple. He felt he was not up to it. Shouma has heard of Rentarou’s achievements recently and is more than happy to join his team. Although 3 pairs is the minimum required for a team, Rentarou feels he wants 5 pairs to cover all blind spots and the maximum he can direct. Well, they don’t need to start looking because Kisara is going to join them with Tina as her Initiator. Although Tina’s rank was revoked, Kisara personally pleaded to Seitenshi to have it reinstated. It took a while for Kisara to realize Shouma is here but Rentarou takes her away because he doesn’t want her to risk her health fighting. Everyone is called to assemble by the commander, Nagamasa Gado. He revs up everyone about protecting this area. But Rentarou throws him a question during Q&A. Their distance between camp and the battle is quite far. As they won’t act till they only get a call from the army, how sure is he that they will be called? Shouldn’t they move closer to the action and respond faster to the military’s call? I don’t think it got answered but Rentarou and Kisara have another round talking to each other, sorting out their feelings. Kisara wants him to abandon her if she ever gets in the way. Of course you know he can’t do that. And what seems to look like a confession scene from Rentarou, it is unceremoniously interrupted by the rest who were watching…

Episode 10
Even in busy times, Rentarou can still conduct classes. He has them write what they want to be in the future. I should have seen this coming. Enju’s answer… To marry Rentarou and kiss him. Gee, Tina’s answer is pretty much to same too. Rentarou is kind enough to have a field trip for the girls. They feel sad they won’t be around for the next festival so he assures them that they will be fighting and protecting them. The girls are pleased and pass him. They even admit some want to marry him! Oh God. The rivalry just went up a few notches. That night, Kisara brings Rentarou to the monolith. It is so brittle that touching it is enough to break. They wonder why this monolith is particularly targeted by Aldebaran. Maybe it is weak and needs rest after injecting such corrosive fluid. Still, Kisara will do some investigation on it. With a romantic moment to spare, Kisara has Rentarou lie next to her. He didn’t have the guts to hold her hand till she mentions about her fear that her happiness now will end one day. He assures he will protect her and they are not going anywhere. Next day, Rentarou sees the blind girl being harassed by the public. He uses his authority to chase them away. When results of Kisara’s investigation return, she is not pleased and burns it. Rentarou picks up what is left and reads this monolith was built at the end of the Gastrea war on orders by Kazumitsu, Kisara’s brother. As Rentarou and Enju leave for yet another class, they are surprised to see police barricading the place. The area has been bombed (believed to be by people who have a grudge against Cursed Children). Rentarou identifies all the dead bodies of his students at the morgue. Enju remains stubborn to go see them but is left screaming and crying. Rentarou becomes depressed. Disillusioned. Angry. A call from Kisara to wake him up. She tells him they are Civil Servants and must serve justice. If they manage to save Tokyo, it might help change hatred and people’s thinking even if it is little. They are fighting for that change and even if this job stinks, it is worth fighting for. Just then, the monolith collapses. A day early, huh? Well, nobody took into account the wind conditions. Rentarou picks up Enju. She is totally like a zombie but has to pick herself up to go fight.

Episode 11
The JASDF seems to be winning. Or are they? Big explosions. Tanks being thrown and the swarm of invading Gastrea. Not good. Rentarou realizes certain Gastrea creatures are going to flank them and they will be annihilated this way. Even if it means disobeying direct orders, they head to destroy that deployment. When they return, they see teams being slaughtered by what it is called a Spear of Light. Then there’s Aldebaran. However it seems to command the other Gastrea to retreat. The casualties are high. It is even worse to think that those killed by Gastrea will turn into one of them and they’ll be fighting them again. After doing what they can to nurse the wounded, Rentarou’s adjuvant discuss about the effects of those who survived the Spear of Light. There are hints of mercury in it. Tina’s floating eyeballs detected a very huge Gastrea shooting that light kilometres away. Rentarou is summoned by Gado who lost a leg during the fight (he claims he let them have it). Rentarou deduces that some sort of pheromones is making the Gastrea strong. The JASDF were winning and then suddenly they lost. Gastrea formed a wall trying to protect Aldebaran when it was hurt. So if they destroy Aldebaran, they destroy the Gastrea pack. Gado lets him know something. There is no way to kill Aldebaran. It is immortal. He was there, very sure his Varanium blade sliced into its core and heart but he saw it regenerate. Also, the Spear of Light Gastrea as they nickname it Pleiades is also a great threat like Aldebaran. They must destroy it too. Which brings him to this ‘difficult’ decision. Because Rentarou’s team disobeyed direct orders, his adjuvant is disbanded and he will face capital punishment. His mission is to infiltrate enemy territory and destroy Pleiades alone. His team will be spared then. It’s like a suicide mission, no? No choice, Rentarou leaves that night and Kisara knows something is wrong. He isn’t just going to the toilet with all that baggage. She wants them to run away but where else can they run? If they don’t stop this now, they’ll die no matter where they run. And so Rentarou is in enemy territory and being attacked by Gastrea dogs. He thought he is done for but is saved by an unlikely source. Guess who is back? Kagetane and Kohina are still alive. Rentarou remains sceptical despite they treat him. He wonders why he is always wearing a mask but is asked back does he really want to see his face? No. Wise choice. He’ll regret it if he does. Kagetane wants him to join his side but Rentarou again will not. Kagetane is very sure he will come to his side. Next day as Rentarou gets a move on, Kagetane mentions he has encountered Pleiades last night and points its direction. Why is he helping? Because he likes him. Yeah. Like him so much that he is following him too, eh?

Episode 12
Pleiades is found and originally Rentarou wanted to blast it with its explosives but his backpack fell into the river during the Gastrea attack. The only way is for Rentarou and Kagetane to combine their powers and destroy it. Though successful, it awakens Aldebaran and the other Gastrea hordes as they make their move. Rentarou contacts Seitenshi that Pleiades has been defeated and requests for fire support. The JASDF starts bombing and scatter the Gastrea swarm. Rentarou witnesses that Aldebaran still moves despite being mutilated. Is it really immortal? When Rentarou is reunited with his group, he is being told Gado died in battle and the rules state the next highest officer will take charge. That person is no other than Rentarou. Kagetane and Kohina return to the camp and the other teams are not happy to see them (they are the ones who killed a Civil Servant by the tracks because he wanted to start a fight). Kohina just wants to cut Enju and everybody… Rentarou tells everyone to back down since they shouldn’t be arguing among themselves and find a way to fight Gastrea. Kagetane will be watching his move as the next commander. More crisis hit Rentarou at it is learnt that Midori has been infected with Gastrea virus while she was trying to save an Initiator. Her corrosion rate is already at a dangerous level. Kagetane wants him to kill her because he once fought him to maintain world order and since this is the world he wished for, he must make amends. Rentarou goes talk to Midori in bed. She thinks Kisara has a dark side but believes as long as Rentarou is their leader, she’ll be okay. Then she goes off to toilet and it took a while for Rentarou to realize something is wrong. When he goes looking for her, he finds her dead smiling corpse by the tree. Shouma is sad that they were very similar. They were lonely and contracted each other to remedy each other’s loneliness. He reveals he did not leave the dojo but was excommunicated because of some move he modified that was not allowed by the master. It is the reason why he joined the Civil Servant. He regrets not killing her sooner since he was her partner. Rentarou is about to get emotional but Shouma tells him to avenge her death by killing Aldebaran.

Rentarou becomes the next commander but some of the teams want to run away. Instantly he takes Kisara’s sword and stabs his arm! Others try to kill him but Kagetane protects him. His actions might have gone too far but as he explains, everyone is fearing Gastrea at this rate that they will not be able to fight. He is willing to be the sole object of hatred and fear so that they will not fear Gastrea. He doesn’t need anyone right now but of course Kisara will always be by his side even if the world turns against him. Gado’s Initiator, Asaka Mibu does not have confidence in Rentarou being their leader but Rentarou points out their loss twice under Gado because of his wrong tactics. She is going to kill him for mocking him but Shouma stops her. He proposes they temporarily team up till Aldebaran is defeated. I know Kisara is on Rentarou’s side on almost anything but this has got to be it when he hires Miori as his tactician! No time to b*tch about it. She has created a super power EP bomb that will destroy Aldebaran for sure. However there is a catch. They need to blast a hole in its super hard shell and detonate inside its body. Where the hell in this world there is such a super piercing weapon that can do that? There is one: Rentarou. Okay. It is calculated that Aldebaran will arrive at the Flames of Revolution location. This is where the final battle will commence. Everyone makes the final preparations but Enju is having this sad feeling. This was one of the places they had their field trip with the Cursed Children (and where some proposed to him). Rentarou’s words of encouragement make her feel better. With Kagetane and Kohina joining his adjuvant, Rentarou is confident he has all the cards he needs to win this battle. But another problem is cropping up. Yasuwaki has his men have throw batteries into the sea as he plans Rentarou’s downfall. This guy should just die.

Episode 13
Gastrea is going to be here any minute and the batteries aren’t here. They’re screwed if it doesn’t. Suddenly festival lanterns are seen floating in the sky. As Seitenshi explains, they are lighted by the people, their prayers and will to live. Tokyo’s future rests in their hands. With the much needed motivation, the Civil Servants begin their assault on the Gastrea onslaught. Rentarou’s adjuvant provides support to him to reach Aldebaran whereby he uses his Varanium limbs to make a big hole in it and plant the EP bomb. Once in, everyone run and hide. However… There is an error and the bomb won’t go off. F*ck this sh*t! There is only one way. From the way he says goodbye to Enju and knocks her out, Rentarou are you trying to be a hero?! He is going to use shock to restart it but he needs to be at touching distance for that to happen. But before he could get close, the Varanium corroding liquid from Aldebaran takes his leg. Shouma is going to complete his mission since his ability is suitable to destroy the enemy from the inside. Oh, so now he wants to be a hero? Just like Aldebaran, Shouma believes his rogue techniques should be buried with it. And so Shouma becomes a martyr. There is nothing Rentarou can do about it. The explosion was huge enough that it looked like an atomic bomb. Enju is relieved to see Rentarou alive. She explains after Aldebaran is killed, the remaining Gastrea started acting strangely and scattered. They were easily disposed off. Now the bunch of JSDF helicopters arrive with the batteries. What’s the use now? So many have died. In the aftermath, Seitenshi makes her public announcement of their victory as the monolith’s construction is close to complete.

Kazumitsu sees Kisara and they are not happy to see each other. She throws him some evidence book as promised and he is unhappy that he thought he had gotten rid of them all. Kisara’s research shows that this monolith was ordered by him but at the same time there were other ingredients mixed into the Varanium, thus weakening it. With inferior materials used, he pocketed the rest of the money and bought his way to the minister post he is holding now. Kazumitsu admits it even to a point that a villain like him will not perish! So I guess it’s time to fight to the death. It’s inevitable. Kazumitsu wants to shut her mouth and erase evidence while Kisara wants revenge over her parents’ death. She uses a move she created to slice off his left leg! She makes this chicken spill the beans. He reveals there were 5 involved. Him, his 3 other brothers and Kikunojo. There were very similar of such incidents in the past. That is how Tendou obtained its current status. When their father has had it and threatened to expose the darkness of the Tendou family, that Gastrea attack in the heart of Tokyo 10 years ago was planned to rid of them all. It seems like Kisara spared his life and the way he thanks her for it is so freaking annoying. But little did he know that Kisara struck a deadly second strike that splits his face in half!!! OMFG!!! Why the delay?! Was it made to activate after he tells the truth?! Kisara is like so happy that she exacted revenge and justice for her parents but not Rentarou. That was just execution. This makes Kisara telling him his justice will never win. He failed to slay Kikunojo unlike her who could slay Kazumitsu. She can do it because she is evil. His fist of justice can never touch her evil and it is this evil that will overpower evil. Kisara is so freaking scary that Rentarou is just afraid. He fears she will become his enemy. Rentarou and Enju are on their way to Seitenshi’s conferment ceremony. She makes him promise that he mustn’t fight alone, they must do things together and never to knock her out. When she wonders the deaths of the Cursed Children and Shouma was painful and if there was anything they could do, Rentarou breaks down uncontrollably and hugs her. No, it isn’t because he missed his loli. He fears he might become unaffected by the deaths of others. He wants Enju to always stay by his side. Of course. No 2 ways about it.

Biting The Bullet
As always. Every anime that ends like this always has potential but you know, that depends on a lot of factors. Monetary factors. Ah yes. Reality is pretty much the same. But as far as this season is concerned, I guess as always. My typical answer of okay. It has its fair share of action-cum-bloody violence, fair share of funny moments, hinting moments of romance and loli harem (say what?) and of course the dark side and politics of humans. Lots of things unresolved, several question marks, some potential development in the plot especially about the big and mysterious Tendou family who may be the biggest crook and devil that humanity ever have in their midst. It’s like they are playing God and both the angel and the devil together.

It makes you wonder if the real threats are actually Gastrea or humans themselves. Although both are a serious threat to the survival of humanity, something deep in our guts tells us that humans are the biggest danger instead of Gastrea. Because as you have seen the political manoeuvres and underhanded tactics that politicians and influential people at the top employ for whatever selfish desires they have. Some going as far as to reveal and admit themselves as a big villain. Don’t look at those top people. Look at the public at how they scorn the Cursed Children when it is believed that they are the key to help defeat Gastrea. Even in times of crisis, they need to find a scapegoat and somebody to discriminate. So even if humanity is saved from Gastrea, is it worth the effort? Is there hope? Well, if looking at the big picture scares you and gives you the ultimate creeps, then look at it at a smaller scale. Because for people like Rentarou and Enju, there are little things that are worth fighting for and that is what counts.

Character wise, Rentarou and Enju are the main stars of the series although I expected to see them bonding (not the S&M type, mind you) and interact with each other a lot, towards the end of the series, somehow I just don’t feel that they have bonded closer. What I mean is that they have always been close together. They do things together and stay by each other’s side. So much so you don’t feel any sort of further development between the duo. For Rentarou, you can see he is a very conflicted guy. He is in lots of stress and very much in a dilemma. He has so much anger that if it all bursts out, it could be equivalent to the EP bomb. No, seriously, angst and frustration is how you best describe Rentarou’s behaviour. He wants to do the best he can but circumstances and his hands are tied meaning he has very limited options to go about. He is torn between the ideals and justice he believes in as well as the expectations and results in reality. What is justice? Can such fairytale justice be done in the real world? So can you not blame him for looking weary and sounding tired? Like he is hard bitten by the weather. There are sides that you don’t even see or rarely see of him like how he breaks down and cries. At least this proves that he still has a human heart and is rational enough to think that killing other humans is still bad no matter the reason and that it should never be something one should get used to. All the bitter experience as we see serve only to make him stronger and hopefully a happy ending awaits. Hopefully. Enju may look like a happy loli most of the time but there are unseen pain and trauma that we don’t know. All Rentarou wants is for her to lead a normal happy life but will society allow it? Therefore Rentarou and Enju both make a great pair as they support and change each other for the better. At least we know they’ll always be together. But I wonder how long that will last because if you remember, Enju’s corrosion rate is at a dangerous level. Forgot about that, did we?

Other characters are okay too but with the short duration of the series, most of them are not fleshed out well as they don’t really leave any emotional impact (because we get most of them from Rentarou). Some are surprising like in Kisara’s case, we see how much she changed or at least her true colours shown. The fight against Gastrea must have taken a toll on her that she has crossed over to the dark side to get things done. Is she no better than the crooks on the other side? While her rational is to fight fire with fire (thus evil with evil), but the way I see it she is just losing herself deeper into the spiral of madness that it will be impossible for her or even Rentarou to pull her out. I feel Tina has toned down after her arc and became Kisara’s Initiator. Before that she was pretty ruthless and initially a great troller to Rentarou in her ditzy form. Funny girl. Then there is Shouma whom I thought his late introduction was somewhat rushed. Then they killed him off. Felt like very rushed too. Is that the role of his character? I mean, Midori died, his temporarily alliance with Asaka felt like nothing (it’s as good as if he didn’t team up with anyone at all), what is there left for this sad guy? Since Rentarou is the main hero, I guess poor Shouma have to take his sacrificing spot. Katagiri and Yuzuki are also a formidable pair but the lack of their screen time don’t do them any justice. Same case for Sumire and Miori. Is that scientist just someone to listen and laugh at Rentarou’s stories while maintaining his routine checkups and the daughter of Varanium supplying weapons company just to give some catfight tension and a reason we can have an explosive finale?

Kagetane and Kohina are the biggest puzzle and question mark. I felt that it wasn’t the end of him when he ‘died’ since how can such a mysterious just get killed off like that? Well, it happens to some characters but not this guy. Then true enough, he is back. It is uncertain if they have joined the fight against Gastrea or something just temporarily as they seek something entertaining while observing Rentarou. You can’t tell what is on their mind and definitely you can’t tell whether they are friend or foe. Perhaps he is doing it all for Rentarou in hopes that one day he would join his side. Otherwise, always look over your shoulders when this guy is around. He hides something more hideous than the mask that covers his face. Kohina is cute and deadly as she just wants to cut things up. If she wasn’t a Cursed Child, she would have turned into an excellent serial killer.

The character that everybody would love to hate is Yasuwaki. First this guy is obsessed about Seitenshi and then when Rentarou got into the picture, he becomes obsessed in taking him out. So what happened to his fate? I guess nobody caught him for that act of betrayal. I hope this guy just gets killed in some Gastrea war. Or a simple road accident would suffice. People like him are giving humanity a bad name. It’s ironic that bozos like him live longer. Last but not least, Seitenshi seems to be putting up a pretty good expressionless poker face because I feel deep down inside she is just hurting like hell. I suppose this is the price to pay for being a public figure. So much so I thought she is stuck with that emotionless face or too much Gastrea and deaths caused her face muscles to harden. She is one of those few people who trusts and wants to help Rentarou but she is not the highest ranking person so her hands are tied too.

One of the biggest things that boggle me is the creation of the monolith. No, not the process or how it is made. I couldn’t care less about it. It makes me wonder why they don’t make more of those monoliths. I mean, make it a continuous process. Slowly and gradually, place the newly made monoliths and spread them out further to reclaim more land. Simple. So I don’t understand why they have to wait for the last minute to make one and they even know they don’t even have time to make the deadline. I know it’s for action’s sake but that’s a different story. Maybe there are greed, political restrictions and insufficient material. Humanity’s fate is hanging on a thin thread and humans can still bicker about politics and the likes? It’s a wonder they’re still alive this far. As for limited resources, perhaps this is more feasible reason. You don’t see Civil Servants wasting precious Varanium bullets or the army even using them and just sparingly. Which brings me to this question: Where the heck do they mine those Varanium bullets? Are they created in the lab or something if they are not natural minerals?

Of course there are other very technical stuffs that I never understood like the rankings and all. I don’t know how high that number can reach and because I do not comprehend it all, it is like the number doesn’t have an impact on me. In other words, I do not feel the awe or worry every time they mention about this ranking thing. Is a higher number good or bad? I don’t know. It sounds so confusing. Even more mind boggling is the power percentage that exceeds 100% and going into five digits and possibly more. What the heck is the use of percentage that we learnt in school then?! Then there are those sci-fi terms (including those in battles) and the convoluted politics and history that I feel if you are a fan of the series, you would understand and appreciate it better and in depth. For me, my mind has already automatically shut itself off and stopped thinking about it. Really. Too much information not only in the sci-fi aspects but the plot as well that never develops or go anywhere so it makes you wonder why the need to mention and bring them up in the first place.

The romance factor feels like a near miss. I don’t know if there should be one in this series seeing everything is so bleak that people aren’t in the mood for romance. Life has to go on. But it feels like a distraction and something fleeting about Rentarou and Kisara’s case because there are a handful of moments that may hint and indicate something about their feelings for each other. This is just highly speculation and those scenes may want to make us think so. Because usually they get interrupted and we never see and hear the rest of the full story of it. But with the turn of events of their different definitions of justice at the end of the series, looks like love doesn’t seem like the closest thing that you would imagine Rentarou and Kisara to be with. However we can safely assume that Kisara does have a thing for Rentarou because of the catfight clash with Miori. I thought this was the amusing part of the series and hoped to see more. Too bad. I’m such a sadist. Unless in extreme case scenario that they don’t really like Rentarou and are just using him to spite each other. Because as we can see, they get really worked up if the other gets flirty with him. Or simply they just like him.

Then there is the loli harem that one might worry that Rentarou might be amassing. Uh huh. When those Cursed Children under him started liking him, there are hints that Rentarou would have more lolis to add to his list. But they got bombed and killed off. And here I thought there was this curse that lolis who get close to Rentarou will receive some death fate because Kayo started the ball rolling and Tina would have continued this streak had not Rentarou gave her another lease of life. And then that group of Cursed Children and finally Midori (although she isn’t directly connected to Rentarou but he is part of the adjuvant, which makes her more or less the same). I suppose Yuzuki is the only exception since she loves her brother more. Unless she’s a tsundere…

The action is also rather okay and should satisfy action junkies although I won’t go so far as to say they are hardcore. But satisfying enough if you want to watch Rentarou and Enju (or some other lolis Cursed Children) kick ass. It is nice to see that some of the Cursed Children having a unique ability of their own depending the type of animal they are modelled to like Enju has great jumping abilities like a rabbit and Kohina a mantis type model since she likes slicing stuffs. The other mind boggling thing for me is Rentarou’s martial arts and combat skill. I know he learns those super punching and kicking moves from his Tendou dojo but the names of his special moves he unleashes feel funny. Sometimes it sounds grand but most of the time it feels like he is pulling out some super moves that you’d see only in Dragonball. So okay, he himself can be considered a superhero considering his artificial and enhanced limbs. But anyway, honestly I thought the names of his moves just sounds one kind. The same case with Kisara’s sword style. But be warned that there are scenes which may be too graphic as they have gory blood spill. Well, at least better than all the action and killing but lacking blood. Where’s the realism in that?

Drawing and art style feels pretty standard and conventional. Except the fact that the Cursed Children have this very loli look. I mean, when you first look at them (and all of them), you would think that they have this look of a toddler. Smooth baby face, if I should say. So how can people hate those lolis especially their own mothers? Red eyes are one thing but doesn’t the cuteness of them overwhelm everything else? I guess when you have to live in fear of alien bugs, nothing is cute anymore. In addition to the usual 2D hand drawn animation, CGI effects are also used but this is particularly on certain Gastrea creatures like Aldebaran and Pleiades. Speaking of Gastrea, some of their designs look creepy. This is basically part of me who is adverse to bugs so seeing their monstrous design is scary but thankfully not enough to give me nightmares. Hmm… Now come to think of it, these bugs may seem worthy of appearing in Starship Troopers… At first I thought certain character designs like Kisara reminded me of the anime Unbreakable Machine Doll. However this anime is animated by Kinema Citrus and not Lerche. They did series such as Barakamon, Code: Breaker, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and Yuyushiki.

Voice acting is rather okay with familiar voices such as Yuuki Kaji as Rentarou, Yui Horie as Kisara, Rikiya Koyama as Kagetane, Aoi Yuuki as Kohina and Shinichiro Miki as Shouma. Some need a little time for me to identify like Aki Toyosaki as Seitenshi, Ami Koshimizu as Miori and Yuko Kaida as Sumire. As for the rest, they include Rina Hidaka as Enju (Airi in Ro-Kyu-Bu), Tomoyo Kurosawa as Tina (Sylphy in Amagi Brilliant Park), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Katagiri (Shichika in Katanagatari), Rumi Ookubo as Yuzuki (Hibachi in Mushibugyou), Inori Minase as Asaka (Suzu in Love Lab), Tesshou Genda as Gado (Optimus Prime in Transformers), Yui Ogura as Midori (Komurasaki in Unbreakable Machine Doll), Subaru Kimura as Yasuwaki (Kanba in Mawaru Penguindrum), Unshou Ishizuka as Saitake (Dr Gel in Space Dandy) and Megumi Han as Kayo (titular character in Mushibugyou).

If the opening theme which is the same name of this anime title sounds very familiar, then perhaps you might have watched To Aru Kagaku No Railgun before. That’s right. Fripside sings the opening theme and the rock techno beat has that familiar feel to all the openings that they have sung in that latter anime. The ending theme, Tokohana by Nagi Yanagi although is rock based, its opener has that eerie feel seeing the eerie hymn-like voices. But once the rock music gets going, you’ll forget that it is ever a creepy song. A slower ballad gives a different overall feel although Wasurenai Tame Ni For Lotus by Nagi Yanagi is only for the final episode.

Overall, this series may do well in its action parts but other than that has lots of missed opportunities and several unintentional ‘funny’ stuffs may have turned it into something substandard and cheap instead of something you should be taking seriously. Funny stuffs as in Rentarou’s nearly loli harem, the nearly catfight between Kisara and Miori and the best part is that Rentarou cannot be bothered to stop them because he knows he can’t, the nearly suggestive hentai moments when you see Gastrea spider squirt out white sticky things on lolis and of course the absolutely most absurd and unbelievable of them all, a certain politician and big brother’s head splitting in half after spilling enough hints. And he doesn’t even realize it till it starts to have that exploding feeling. Geez… I don’t know if you should cringe or laugh because certainly some of those funny stuffs are meant to be serious. Really. Seriously. Yeah well, this kind of black humour may be the new black and in a way gave this series a black eye. A black day for comedy and humanity? Well, the devil is not so black as he is painted. There is always hope if you give it a chance.

Space Dandy

November 30, 2014

Fancy travelling the vast universe and discovering different types of aliens? And while you are at it, why not make some money and register aliens that mankind that has never seen before? Not possible, you say? Then I guess we can all just be content in watching Space Dandy. In the distant future where man has been able to travel the galaxies, it also led to the discovery many aliens and thus mankind’s mission to ‘register’ them. Think of it as cataloguing and recording them. The rarer and uncommon the species, the bigger the payout. As such, our main protagonist is known as an alien hunter and goes around in search for rare aliens to sustain his dandy lifestyle. But with his easygoing personality, can he get the job done? It’s not as easy as you think it is, baby.

I don’t think I have heard of the word dandy for a long time or even used it for who knows how long. As there are many definitions that go with it, a person who is dandy is said to be placing importance and styles and fashionable appearance. Well, if you have a main character that is also named after this term and his pompadour hairstyle sticking out like a sore thumb, I guess it must be it. Doing my minimal research on Wikipedia, the last time dandyism was in fashion was during the 18th and 19th century in Europe, mainly England and France. Trying to apply this dandyism concept into some modern sci-fi adventure comedy? Well, let’s say the character goes strictly by the definition rather than that past culture. Sporting a jacket and casual t-shirt, pants and boots, he seems more like a modern fashion man, doesn’t he?

Episode 1
Dandy is ranting about a woman’s butt which is a better measurement for a fine woman rather than her boobs. I don’t think his fellow crewmate, QT some vacuum cleaner looking machine would understand. Dandy is an alien hunter and his job is to scour the galaxies to find rare or undiscovered alien species for registration. As part of this mission, he makes his usual visit to Boobies, an intergalactic restaurant with sexy babes as waitress. Camouflaging on the job, huh? Why does he look like he is flirting with the waitress Honey? Weird aliens abound. Sexy scanty babes abound. Because QT is an old model, he doesn’t have an updated database and have to resort to reading a book. They spot a Betelgeusian alien. It is a common species but something there is something different about him. There is some weird mark on his face. Could he be another different race? They go speak to him (who is in the midst of taking secret perverted shots of the waitresses). He flees so Dandy gives chase and brings havoc to those around them. Then he realizes the mark on his face is just a sticker that one gets when one orders some special drink. Dandy got one too. We take a slight detour about some narration, a battle between the forces of Gogol Empire and Jaicro Empire to conquer the universe. Dr Gel is a scientist of Gogol Empire and with his assistant, Bea, they are under orders from the ruler of Gogol Empire, Admiral Perry to hunt down Dandy. Because that guy seems to hold the key to Gogol Empire and perhaps the entire universe. That carefree guy holds the key? What are the chances? And speaking of which, they have just discovered his location. His Seventh Fleet has just arrived on scene. Dandy and QT discuss if they can trick the registration department to register this Betelgeusian whom they call Meow. He messes around with the warp instruments and their spaceship, Aloha Oe goes into warp drive. Dr Gel thinks they have been spotted and thus initiated their escape. The crew is in some space-time distortion. They grab hold of the comic string which warps them to some other part of the galaxy. Dr Gel is forced to admit defeat since he lost track of Dandy. Try again next week? Dandy and Meow go down to check out the planet below. All I know is, there are lots of ferocious aliens who want to eat them. They fight, they run and there is even some mecha who bursts out of the rocks to fight a gigantic alien. An alien is accidentally transported back to Aloha Oe. Dandy tells QT about some last move manoeuvre. A super powerful explosive switch that is enough to blow the entire planet to bits. WHAT?! Just great. Now everyone gets to die. BOOOM!!!

Episode 2
Ignoring what happened at the last episode, Dandy’s aliens are rejected at the registration department. Desperate, he tosses Meow in but the database has 58.6 billion registered Betelgeusian! I guess this means no reward money. Dandy is going to seek solace in some ramen of his but finds it missing. Worse, Meow the freeloader just ate it. Dandy is going to suck him out to space so Meow tells him about some legendary phantom ramen. Since he is not sure of the exact shop, looks like they’re hopping from one restaurant to another just to find its elusive taste. Eventually they run out of money. How are they going to pay for this? Dandy sees this pretty babe, Scarlet and tries to charm her into lending him some money. WTF. But the army of Dr Gel storms into the place. Scarlett kicks their butt and puts that idiot Dandy to shame. So the pattern gets like this. Each ramen place they visit, Dr Gel’s army would surround them and they would have to run for their lives. Rinse and repeat. How do they know of their position every time? Well, Meow posted a selfie of them eating at the place and uploaded it on a social website. No wonder. Dandy throws his handphone out into space. So when Dr Gel has his latest position, he realizes he has been bamboozled since he only sees the handphone floating in space. Then in some place, they finally discover that phantom ramen taste which has that other-dimensional flavour. It should be since they’re making it from another dimension! Dandy and Meow barge into the mysterious chute that sends them into another dimension. An old alien guy is serving ramen in his lone stall. Something about how the taste came about because it went through the wormhole but got stale. He barely remembers about his youth. He was some punk and accidentally killed his girlfriend. He wandered around till he ended up on Earth and some nice guy introduced him to ramen. He was touched by this flavour. To atone himself, he ran away to this dimension to sell ramen and cannot go back. The special taste is from his teardrops. Because the wormhole is closing, they have to finish up quickly. Dandy has with his but Meow hasn’t. Dandy offers the old guy to come back with them but he is staying. I don’t know why Meow can’t eat while he is running so much so he spills everything. They make it back in time. Dandy teases Meow he didn’t get to taste it but he accepts him as part of his crew.

Episode 3
Dandy might have passed this registration had he not blooper. Yeah, trying to put Meow in some suit and disguise to pass him off as a rare alien. Rejected! No reward money. This means no food, right? Don’t worry. QT has mail ordered some food from the other end of the universe. It has expired 10,000 light years ago! Care to eat it? Plus, it is a bargain. But 1 get 365 free! Wow! You won’t find such a good deal anywhere. Dandy has saved up his Boobies point card for some special service. However it expires in 2.5 hours. Just great. The nearest Boobies is so far away (almost three hours to get there, that is) so Dandy is desperate and activates the warp despite it being broken. It has them emerge and crash land in some alien world. Are there Boobies on this planet, is his first concern. They go check it out only to find a pretty babe, Mamitas being chased by scary ferocious aliens. Dandy tries to show off and become a hero but I guess fighting these guys head to head isn’t such a good idea. So run! The guys try to appeal to her as she tells her sob story of her ship broke down nearby. Dandy suggests she can come aboard theirs so perhaps they can scour her ship to for parts to replace theirs. Dr Gel and his fleet have surrounded the planet. But Bea points out the most dangerous man-eating alien on it. Dr Gel orders everyone to retreat and feels relieved he doesn’t want to be eaten alive. That alien is… Mamitas! Literally a man eater, no? Dandy sees those aliens hanging outside the ship and goes to fight them. However his ray gun ran out of batteries. Something feels odd about them so QT has him set the translator to hear what they are saying. They are actually trying to warn him of the Deathgerian alien who will eat them. When they get hungry, they will change into their other form. Speaking of which, it is that time. Bye. Mamitas approaches Meow and turns into a boobs monster! Too bad the dim-witted cat got eaten alive! Dandy and QT rush and escape in their mini ship, Little Aloha. Are they fine leaving their friend behind? Because Meow has the Boobies point card with him. Instantly Dandy turns back and is going to be a hero to save his fellow crew member. Little Aloha turns into Hawaii Yankee, some dandy mecha to fight off the Deathgerian. But the Deathgerian sucks and eats everything it could get its hands on. Including those bunch of expired food. Not even the stomach of a mighty alien could stand the staleness of food past its expiry date. They slam the rest of it into its throat for ultimate victory. Now that the Deathgerian has become palm size, they register it and it is approved. With the reward money, there is no need for the Boobies point card anymore. Heck, they can’t even remember the other thing they lost…

Episode 4
The gang has captured a Stiltonian alien but notices something different. It is much opposite of the species they know. Could it be a rare one? Time to send it in to the registry department. Little do they know that something sinister will happen after Meow gets bitten. He looks pale, slow and is groaning. Dandy thinks he is sick rather than suspecting anything. They send him to hospital and the doctor finds it fascinating since he is like dead and will be admitted for observation. Dandy wants to be hospitalized too only wants to flirt with the sexy nurses… That night, Meow bites the nurse. Perry has given mercenaries to Dr Gel to capture Dandy. Next day, when Dandy and QT visit the hospital, there is blood everywhere. Everything’s messed up. Everyone is so zombie… Still don’t suspect anything? The mercenaries barge in but are overwhelmed by the zombies. Even Dr Gel gets bitten as he thinks Dandy set this up. Finally it dawned to Dandy that everyone is a zombie so he uses QT as a shield! Robots don’t turn into zombies, right? Wrong! QT is now a zombie! He makes his escape to the rooftop and flees in the helicopter in the nick of time. However the pilot is a zombie too… We hear a narration of Dandy and co’s zombie life. They love eating raw meat and watching zombie movies. Slow. Despair. Groaning. Since they don’t know how to find a way to turn back, they ask somebody who has been one for some time: The Stiltonian. Life as a zombie isn’t that bad. He advices them to take yoghurt and ironically it enhances their life quality. However being a zombie has its downside. They are too slow to capture rare aliens so they are running low on cash. Dandy remembers he signed up for a life insurance policy and bugged the company till they approve he is dead. Yeah, how can you be dead yourself when you’re talking to them? With the money, they can go patron Boobies. Honey hasn’t seen them around for some time that she heard rumours that they were dead! You don’t say… Too slow to grab her ass… But thank goodness zombies are not discriminated in space. As for Dr Gel, because Perry couldn’t understand a singly zombie word and the money wasted on this operation, he blows the ship up! With the rise of zombies, it also emerges zombie hunters hired by insurance companies to take them out with a single shot to the head. Naturally Dandy is targeted but he is one lucky bastard since other aliens walk into the path or he slips. Eventually the zombie hunter turns into a zombie and infects the insurance company too. Peace for zombies reigns again and soon the entire universe is united into a single race of zombies. Zombies for equality! No more differences! Have you become one too?

Episode 5
Yet again ignoring the aftermath of last episode, this time Dandy is to apprehend a Gentooan alien. He is surprised to see a little girl but this little Gentooan, Adelie switches his body with her stuffed doll (this alien has this capability although only once every 1 day). However Dandy fights back. Soon he reverts back and he is going to register her and make some money. But where the heck is Aloha Oe? Towed away for parking violation. QT and Meow are stranded as they cannot pay the fine. The only way is to take some transport to the registry department, get the money and come back here. Adelie wants to cut a deal. If he brings him somewhere first, she’ll go quietly to the registration centre. Or else she’ll cry pervert. And so begins the duo’s road trip. Initially they hated each other but gradually got along. They even do road shows to earn some money. One night he heard her crying in her sleep calling for her mother. The place she has him bring is her grandpa. But a different person occupies it. She feels sad as she explains that Gentooans lived isolated for fear baddies would take advantage of their power. She only lived with her mother but she died. Her only other known relative is her grandpa. That night, Dandy is adamant to go to Boobies and leaves Adelie home alone. Actually he goes out to gather information on her grandpa’s whereabouts. Next day, he takes her to a train station and thinks of buying her a present. Adelie thinks this is goodbye and is tossing her away since she is a bother. She is upset that she uses her power on him. She goes off to cry alone but a couple of alien hunters whom she humiliated earlier on are going to kidnap her and get some payback. Dandy in the stuffed doll tries to chase after them. Adelie’s call for him made him push harder as he propels into the train to knock out one of them. However time is up and they switched back. The other alien hunter is going to get nasty but grandpa knocks him out. Later he explains to Adelie that Dandy found and contacted him to meet up. Dandy leaves them tangerines for their journey and says goodbye. What about the registration department? Isn’t he going to take her there for some reward money? Well, he’ll just have to find some other alien. She hopes she can come aboard Aloha Oe one day but he only admits busty adult babes. What if she is grows up? If she’s big boobs and curvy assed sexy. In that case, she’ll grow up fast.

Episode 6
While QT is cleaning Dandy’s room, he sees his surfboards so he starts ranting about his romance of who knows what. They arrive at their target planet, a planet strife in war for 10,000 years. Aloha Oe gets hit and crashes. As Dandy and Meow search for aliens separately, they get kidnapped. An alien strips Dandy to his underwear and finds him a comrade. Likewise, another alien trusts Meow because he is wearing a vest. Going back and forth between both sides, we learn that both sides hate each other just because one wears underwear and the other only dons a vest. This is the 10,000 years worth of war? Oh, they are the last ones remaining. Dandy and Meow want to register them but they won’t leave the planet fearing the other would take advantage. Heck, they even have a designated time to start their battle and accuse each other of bringing help. I understand they hate each other to the point of wanting kill the other but why does Dandy and Meow even need to fight each other?! And when time is up, they go home. WTF. They report to QT who suggests that they should do a peace treaty. And once the ship is fixed, they can bring them both in to register. Great idea. So at their respective aliens, they try to convince them to come to terms. Heck, they can’t even remember why the war started and they each have a secret bomb that will blow the planet apart. But the aliens like their idea and give it a shot. The peace treaty is signed but now the tough moment is to have them exchanged their prized possession. Reluctantly they take off their underwear or vest but eventually couldn’t put them on. Negotiations break down when they resume fighting. They start shooting each other. There goes the treaty. But why does Dandy and Meow have to fight too? Once the ammo runs out, they resort to throwing rocks. They got crushed by its weight. Before their last dying breath, they initiate the bomb. The planet is going to explode… Yeah… You guys can stop fighting now. Because QT is escaping himself. Going to leave those guys to their fate? I don’t know where they can run since the planet is crumbling. QT throws the surfboard down and Dandy rides it like the wave into space with Meow clinging on as they leave the collapsing planet.

Episode 7
Dandy is thrilled that all the babes at Boobies are happy he has returned. Actually they are in love with Prince, a genius racer. Jealous Dandy decides to race too and narrates his life as a racer. I thought he was a surfer? Before this no-holds-barred race starts, not only Prince mocks Dandy but his companions to who seem to be better looking counterparts of Dandy’s. Like this Mickey Mouse clone, Squeak and the high specs robot, Z. As the race is televised, Dr Gel sees it and is going to hunt him down. The race begins with favourites Prince in the early lead. Dandy ‘cheats’ by using blasts from others to propel him faster and further. As they go through checkpoints after checkpoints and battling other racers/obstacles along the way, Dandy manages to catch up and even gives Prince the middle finger, distracting him and getting him temporarily stuck in a trap. During the pit stop, Dandy is first but since Meow is a klutz, he is just slow in filling up. Putting everything inside as fuel? Squeak puts a bomb under Aloha Oe. Prince might have come in last but with his team’s efficiency, he comes from behind to leave first. Now Dandy is dead last. He accidentally sets off some explosion that sends him propelling further. Dr Gel has finally caught up and when he surpasses Dandy, he is so happy. What was his mission again? Then he crashes. Try again next time. Dandy and Prince are neck to neck to the finish line. So fast and furious that they cut a planet in half! Prince has never felt anything like this before… He thinks… He is in LOVE???!!! Squeak then presses the detonator. Combined with the weird fuel ingredients that Meow put in (siew mai?), whatever mumbo-jumbo ‘scientific’ explanation the narrator said, it caused some reaction that hurls Dandy faster than the speed of light. So fast that he arrived in the future. 5.67 billion years to be exact! He sees a Buddha version of himself. WTF?! Is this victory?!

Episode 8
Bea shows and demonstrates to Dr Gel some DJ mixer that doubles as some missile shooter. Dr Gel is worried because of the claims they will get and Perry will blow his top since he is such a cheapskate. Too late. He’s got the claims. Dandy is detected so Dr Gel makes this excuse to go warp. See ‘ya. Oh, did Perry fire them? On this junk planet, Dandy is looking for new aliens but stumbles upon a dog. He thought she is an alien in disguise but turns out to be a real dog. They become best friends. Taken in by those puppy dog eyes? Anyway Meow isn’t happy and is quite jealous. A new crew member? Better than that freeloader. They play a lot and the dog feels satisfied with their company and dies. Surprisingly the most emotional one is Meow because he too likes her and wanted to play with her too. Tsundere? Just then a couple of fleas hop from the dead dog onto Meow. Dandy creates a rocket to launch the dog’s body into space. Back on Aloha Oe, Meow is scratching like mad. But the fleas had to abandon Meow since he is too smelly. QT spots them and tries to get them. They escape and try to latch onto Dandy. One of them gets killed when Dandy combs his hair. The other brother possesses QT and goes on a rampage. They throw everything they’ve got till the flea drops out. Dandy then stomps on it. QT is too late to explain he can’t kill it. Because if the flea dies, this planet will fall apart because their suits were holding things together. But the planet falling apart can’t be that bad, right? Well, if you consider turning into a black hole and sucking every damn thing in as not a bad sign. So better warp the hell out of here! Dandy even had time to fantasize all the beautiful busty babes he met. In the warp, Aloha Oe passes by Dr Gel’s ship. And that poor baddie just got sucked into the black hole. He thinks Dandy set this up. Not even the DJ mixer could save him. Curses! Aloha Oe comes out somewhere safe. Dandy is appalled that Meow stinks like hell.

Episode 9
The gang arrive at a planet filled with plants. They believe there is a rare alien named Code D. QT initiates the upgraded transporter. However it causes them to land randomly. Dandy is being brought by plants to who knows what this strange place is. He meets some plant, Dr H who thought he was an unusual plant. Dr H also has a daughter called 033H. As explained, the plants evolved to a point it overruns the planet and there are several plant countries. Dandy hangs out and explores the place with 033H while Meow seems to be given the best treatment by some little plant blobs. Trying to fatten him up? So when Dandy decides to go get Code D who is located at the dangerous north, Dr H and 033H tag along. They get arrested by some plant friend of Dr H who governs this area for trying to do something this dangerous. Seems they were once in a group that researched Code D but when Dr H reported Code D is dangerous, he was taken off the group. However a friend of theirs helps them escape and they continue their journey. More strange places, more strange plants. Just totally weird. Like you’re high on drugs on something. Finally they reach the north and Dandy can only go it alone. He sees Code D is just some rock and after he hauls it out, the entire planet starts to devolve. As explained by Dr H, Code D was a meteorite that crashed here and they were unable to control it. Now they are going back to their original form. This is not the end but a new beginning. Dandy is back on his ship, I guess he is lamenting he can’t trade a rock for the reward. Yeah, he’s sick of plants.

Episode 10
Since Aloha Oe is having some problems, they land on the nearby planet to get it fix. This happens to be Meow’s home planet. Against his wishes, Dandy and QT go pay his family a visit. Seems like a pretty normal family but Meow feels like he doesn’t want to come back despite the nostalgic memories. They bum around all day and hang out at the bar where Meow’s school’s most popular girl, Katie is working as a hostess. The next scene seems to repeat itself and before we can cry that Haruhi rip-off, the narrator tells us that we are in a loop thanks to this planet’s strong magnetic field that twists space and time. So every day is the same day. By the 108th loop, our heroes could sense and tell what is happening next. They think they have super powers! He narrator had to tell them off and remind them it is a loop. So the trio are the only ones aware of the loop and at this rate, they’ll be stuck on this planet forever since Aloha Oe won’t get fixed. Dandy quickly tries to find a solution. They meet Meow’s junior high friends and borrow their super car that could ride into space. Unfortunately it exploded. And so the loop continues. They find out Meow’s dream was to be like his dad who is a metal worker. Meow even goes to help him out in his factory. Will it be okay to live like this forever? Better find a solution quick. His friends suggest looking up at Yahoo but it tells them to Google it! But really, just tear off a page in the calendar? Hmm… Seems pretty tough. Can’t even rip a page. Since there is some electromagnetic coming out of it, they think this is the cause of the loop. They do all sorts of ridiculous stuffs to break it but it’s tougher than diamond. I guess anybody would be discouraged by it. So when they’re drunk in the bar, Meow even think living this boring life isn’t so bad. He could marry Katie and have a family. That was a joke, right? But Katie says she is lesbian! Motivation to break the calendar? It’s still not coming off. Meow’s dad offer to help and using his metal equipment to drill it, it finally comes off! Hooray! The loop breaks and the gang is now about to leave but why is Meow feeling reluctant? Dad tells him to go with them and live the life he wants. And the ironic part is that now they’re back in space, they’re doing the same thing of procrastinating to find rare aliens and bumming around. They don’t need any time loop for this…

Episode 11
Scarlet who is working at the rare aliens registration counter wants Dandy to open this box that he claims contains a rare alien. He can’t. Because they’ll forget. Oh, really? So how come they remember that they forget? Once she opens the box, the alarm goes off for a short while before things return to normal. Everybody doesn’t seem to remember after that but inside that box is a book. Dr Gel is so engrossed in his science theory that he didn’t realize Perry called. Anyway he wants to attack the library planet of Lagado since they charged him for failing to return a book. So why not just returning it? It was stolen. But their surveillance captured the thieves (Dandy and co?) stealing that book which is entitled Secrets of the Cosmos for Dummies. Dandy goes through the book and finds a ticket voucher to Lagado. Thinking it is some free meal and stay, he decides to go there. They appear right in the middle of Gogol’s attempt to invade Lagado. Bea has taken control since Dr Gel is still engrossed. But Aloha Oe wipes out almost all their ships! When they land down on the planet, Dandy thinks he is being duped because the all-you-can-eat could be just data, something that QT enjoys. He is going to rip the book but the alien guards surround him. As explained and revealed, the book itself is the true and rare alien. The book is the ruler of this planet! Her wish is to travel the galaxies and learn, it stores away all information in its bodily form, which is the ticket. Her chance came when Perry stole her. Well, Dandy doesn’t remember doing everything because their memories are erased. Since her biggest disadvantage is unable to move, she controls the minds of others to move around or do things. She even has others think and solve problems for her because thinking herself would use up too much energy which she uses to sustain her life. Suddenly all Gogol ships are under attack. Dr Gel has finally solved the puzzle. Now we know why the truth of the universe is never known because it means death for those who understands! And now they are going to meet it! All the theories that Dr Gel wrote teleports into that book. She thanks Dandy for everything and as token of gratitude, she gives Dandy this box and warns not to open it too early. So it’s déjà vu again because Dandy is arguing with Scarlet about this box. Same thing happens. Only this time a video tape is inside. This loop continues to floppy discs, laser discs, CDs and drags the entire galaxy into some war. Of course, we don’t remember it, do we?

Episode 12
Dandy is appalled at the paltry reward over this alien so Scarlet tells them off about the fees to pay them for their reward. They should go get a real rare alien instead of bringing in trash like this. Say, a Chameleonian. This one is worth millions! Better get started, baby. However as warned, nobody knows its true form since it always shift shapes. So they go fishing for one and it seems QT got hooked (no pun intended) on this sport. QT becomes a fishing expert and even fishes up some rare black tsuchinoko while our guys think they’ve hit jackpot when they get a real chameleon. Of course it is just a real chameleon as Scarlet ticks them off again. That night, tsuchinoko evolves into something… Next day, the crew accuses each other for using their stuffs. Dandy deduces there is another person onboard and even takes a roll call. Heck, they didn’t even realize that suspicious old guy following and imitating them! Only when QT realizes his tsuchinoko is missing and they’re freaking dumbfounded to see that old guy. Now the chase begins. Dandy feels odd there are 2 Meows and captures the later one. Scarlet analyzes he is just a normal Betelgeusian. Back to the hunt on Aloha Oe, each time they got tricked because they didn’t realize the Chameleonian could change into their furniture. Don’t they realize they never had such furniture? Now there are 2 QTs. Catch them both! At the registration, the Chameleonian escapes and this has Scarlet ticking them off for yet another prank. But there is another Scarlet coming by. Could she be… They get rough with her. Turns out she is the real one and now they are banned from coming. Back on Aloha Oe, there are 2 Dandys! Which is which? How can you tell? The only way is to do a pop quiz. Seems both of them are getting correct answers. So it descends into an argument of who-are-you-I-am-you. In the process, the Chameleonian loses track of who he really is and the real Dandy couldn’t care less because no matter how many of himself there is, it’s no problem for him. Yeah, conclusion not reached. Dr Gel has developed some super weapon that will get Dandy once and for all. When both Dandys are out walking, Dr Gel used his machine to pick one of them. As you would have expected… There are 2 Dr Gels now! Who are you?! This causes Dr Gel to descend into a spiralling madness to question who he is. Dandy and co are at their usual at Boobies. The crew wonders if he is the fake one. And the narration leaves us in a teaser as it tells us that everyone including ourselves could be a Chameleonian.

Episode 13
Finally. An episode where QT is the star. Do robots fall in love? Well, this is what happened when QT meets this cute coffee maker, Maker. Can you say he got short circuited? So every day he makes a frequent visit and even sneaks her out one night to go see town (Maker can’t really move). I don’t know, is a coffee maker that heavy? QT seems struggling unless he isn’t fully charged. One day, QT finds Maker along with the cash register called, well uhm, Register, gone. As he found out, there are special police in this town and a law that states that machines that have been found to have emotions will be rendered useless and dumped into a huge floating island. While Aloha Oe is a mess without QT around, the vacuum cleaner sneaks on to the island in hopes of finding Maker. He finds Toaster who shows him some secret dance party that all the dumped appliances are doing. This isn’t any ordinary dance but a revolutionary dance. There is Register manning the DJ and making music like no other. QT is happy that Maker is here too. Toaster then makes his revolutionary speech. In short, they are going to show those life forms that they are not garbage. The age of appliance is here! Toaster along with Register merges into a giant robot that is going to terrorize the city and wipe out all living things. Maker starts crying and laments she couldn’t stop Register. She begs for somebody to stop him. QT feels heartbreak for the first time and realizes Maker is in love with Register. Nevertheless QT rushes to go stop the robot but is of course is no match. Then whatever secret weapon Dr Gel has been preparing-cum-trolling us as seen throughout this episode, suddenly starts malfunctioning dangerously (maybe he spilled his water) and its beam hits QT down on the planet. It turns QT giant size. Now we can have our giant mecha battle. Both robots smack, grapple and pummel each other till they’re a total wreck. Well at least they’re still alive. And so are the living beings. So QT is back on Aloha Oe all busted up, enjoying a cup of coffee. Well, he got short circuited.

To Infinity And Beyond, Baby!
I figure that with everything so random and without a proper storyline to follow, there are going to be lots more crazy adventures. This means more room to have ‘creative’ and no-brainer adventures for our Aloha Oe crew. That’s right. A sequel as mentioned in the final episode and by this time this blog is up, it’s already done and dusted. Needless to say, I’ll be catching the second season too and just for the time being I will be taking a little breather just to let things settle down before starting up again. Sometimes it is good to give things a rest instead of going on and on and on and on and on and on and on like certain 3 digit anime series that will probably never end. Uh huh. You’ll have a higher probability of finding an end to the universe than these series. Haha!

Many would think this series is some sort of successor for Cowboy Bebop even if that series was created by the same person, Shinichirou Watanabe. Just that this one is more of dandy compared to the bluesy Cowboy Bebop. Besides the space theme, another obvious point is how each episode stands alone by itself, just like the format of Cowboy Bebop. And I suppose this is what prevents it to be an epic anime too? However unlike my feelings for Cowboy Bebop in which the episodic feels of each episodes diminishes its epic-ness, I don’t feel the same for Space Dandy perhaps at the back of my mind I was thinking this was going to be some funny nonsensical series. Yup. I didn’t take many of the things seriously and stopped after realizing that what happened at the end of each episode doesn’t have some sort of consequences in the next. It’s like they hit the reset button and left it there as it is. It was displeasing at first but as I said, once I stopped caring and get into the flow of it, somehow everything just feels fine. Because deep down in my heart, lady luck would always be on Dandy’s side no matter the outcome. If not, que sera sera.

Thanks to the random and episodic nature of the series, character development is hard to see. I mean, everybody could guess by the end of the first episode that Dandy is going to be your annoying dandy hero, right? He loves to flirt especially making his frequent visits to Boobies and when it comes down to his job, he is a failure. Well, sometimes he doesn’t fail but generally speaking if you want to measure him for his success, there won’t be much of any records to speak by. However Dandy has shown a caring side of him like when he decided to forgo a reward just to let Adelie reunite with her grandpa. Touching. So all is not lost. There is some decent humanity in him. But don’t hope to much either ;p. Similar to him is Meow who sometimes feels like his partner in crime whenever he is not his sparring partner. He has got to be the best sidekick or crew member ever since all he mostly does is just bum around like a freeloader. Yeah. That’s why ‘best sidekick in the galaxy’. Lastly making up the trio is QT. Although he seems smarter, responsible (the only one who does a lot of things) and more rational than the living duo, sometimes he is a little goofy but that is because if you based it on robot logic. They can never understand humans or how living things act or think. The trio could be the new space age Three Stooges the way they go about with their antics.

Then there is this mysterious antagonist, Dr Gel. As far as this season is concerned, the reason for wanting to capture Dandy or how he plays a key role in whatever their plans are is not cleared. Maybe it is something I hope to see in the next season. Therefore, Dr Gel and Bea’s role in this season seems to be more comical than menacing. At first it starts out like they have this serious, grand and ‘never fail’ plan or weapon that will capture Dandy once and for all only to be comically beaten in the end. Because just like Wil E. Coyote, he ends up always on the losing side no matter what. The best part is Dandy does not even lift a finger to get Dr Gel into such screwed up predicament! Even better, Dandy does not even know who he is! It never really crossed his mind that somebody is out to get his ass. I don’t know if Dr Gel and Bea are the only ones assigned by Perry to catch Dandy. After so many failures and money spent for nothing (hey, Perry is a miser, isn’t he?), he should have cut costs or hire somebody who will get the job done. Or like they say, if you want something done, do it yourself. But then again, it defeats the purpose why you are the big bad boss in the first place. You get to order people around, though the results may leave you seething in anger…

I thought Scarlet was going to play some major role somewhere towards the end since her kung fu ass kicking babe in an early episode made it look like she is just more than a pretty face sitting behind the register counter inspecting all sorts of aliens brought in. And when she had a couple of cameos in the end, she turned into an annoyed register ticking off Dandy for his un-seriousness. Where’s the ass kicking babe I want to see? The other minor characters that don’t recur only appear for that single episode and although it doesn’t seem much, in a way it helps to further develop the Aloha Oe trio. Otherwise, we wouldn’t know that Dandy has a soft spot to help a lonely child reunite with her grandpa or Meow and his family back home or even QT falling in love and doing incomprehensible stuffs (from a robot’s point of view, that is) in the name of love.

Action wise, they are rather good and some of them are pretty outrageous but of course in the name of comedy. Even if they don’t make sense or set your hearts thumping and pumping with adrenaline, at least they are worth a good laugh. Because it’s just incredulous. That’s what being dandy is all about? And there are a few moments of fanservice especially with the girls at Boobies. Well, human girls at least. Alien Boobies girls don’t look very appetizing… However to Dandy as long as they got boobs and ass, they’ll do. Good thing he doesn’t discriminate but on the other hand it just shows his true colour as a womanizer. But anyway, that is what I thought Honey is all about. You got a sweet dumb blonde-like girl to smile and serve you while you smile and try to take quick glimpses at her cleavage or curvy ass. Mmm… You know why they keep coming back to Boobies now, don’t you?

The art and drawing is passable and decent. Sometimes with so many aliens around, I have this feeling that the producers were just trying to get creative in designing all sorts of weird aliens. Some really looking so odd that it boggles your mind. It’s like as though they have some competition who can design the aliens and those rejected ones are casted as background extras. It’s like anything goes. So if I submit my horrible drawing of some alien, chances are it can be featured here even if it is just a 5 seconds cameo. Really. With so many vast alien worlds, there are some that would look like our own and even share the same culture. While the quality is consistent, I thought that some of them aren’t. Like that plant planet episode, everything was so abstract and it feels like as though they didn’t put enough effort or had enough time to complete it and passed it off as it is. It was weird although at the same time refreshing because it is just different. But overall, the visuals are okay with lots of flashy stuffs during certain action scenes so it’s not that all bad. The mid-intermission is also interesting as in each episode there are different designs on the series’ title. One was even a spot the difference!

Junichi Suwabe is cool as the voice of Dandy. Just like how he voices many cool guys like Atobe in Prince Of Tennis, Ren in Uta No Prince-sama series and Archer in Fate/Stay Night. At first I thought Mika Kanai was the voice of QT because she sounded very similar to Galaxy Angel’s Normad. Just without the computerized sounding voice. To my error, it is Uki Satake instead. So far her only other roles are Mikia in Soredemo Sekai Wa Utsukushii and Kite in Hunter x Hunter (2011). Hiroyuki Yoshino as Meow sounds familiar since he is the voice of Bossun in Sket Dance but without all that screaming. Other main casts include Houko Kuwashima as Scarlet (Tomoyo in Clannad), Yurin as Honey (Nana in Bokura Ga Ita), Unshou Ishizuka as Dr Gel (Bunta in Initial D), Kousuke Hatakeya as Bea (Ginkaku in Uchouten Kazoku) and Banjou Ginga as Perry (Zaha Torte in Bakuretsu Hunters).

Due to the random adventures in every episode, there is a large casts for other small roles. Some cameo by other seiyuus I recognized include Kana Hanazawa (as Adelie), Ayana Taketatsu (Mamitas), Mamiko Noto (Z), Yuuki Kaji (Prince), Aya Hirano (Maker), Tomoko Kaneda (033H), Rikiya Koyama (one of those flea brothers) and Kappei Yamaguchi (one of those Lagado aliens books). The opening theme is Viva Namida by Yasuyuki Okamura. It tries to give that dandy feel with some psychedelic colours and that funky beat. Well, it’s not bad but won’t end up as one of my favourites. The ending theme is Welcome To The X Dimension by Etsuko Yakushimaru. Despite having this disco feel to it, it feels odd as the singer feels more like whispering than singing. Even weirder are the odd equations in some of the scenes. Later I found out they are references to some American physicist’s quantum physics theory of many worlds. Whatever. Not like I would understand it anyway.

Overall, this series is a pleasant watch if you can get by the little shameless fanservice (because it makes you think men are just thinking about boobs and sex, which is partly true), the nonsense, the randomness of each episode and the big reset factor at the start of each other, ignoring all that has happened before. Well, this is supposed to be something fun to watch instead of cracking your brains over some convoluted plot that will leave you more like a zombie in the end than anything. Strange things already happen among us humans, what more even stranger and weirder things occurring throughout the galaxy that don’t make sense. At least I know this one can make me laugh. I hope the next season will bring in bigger laughs and even more outrageous adventures. Then I can laugh all I want because in space, nobody can hear you laugh.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W

October 4, 2014

Finally it’s here! The crawling chaos and love! Do I have this habit of waiting for a long period of time till I watch my favourite over the top nonsensical slapstick comedy animes? Do I really need to wait till the anime is long over passed several seasons before I start watching it? Saving the best for last? I don’t know. After all that long wait and experience in watching Gintama’s second and third season, I’m doing something similar to Nyaruko’s sequel too, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W. Yeah, W means getting wet and wild in this crazy second season. Okay, maybe not wet but you can bet it is going to be as wild, if not wilder than the first season that had me laughing so hard with all the parodies and silly antics from the bunch. As I read the synopsis, it feels like everybody wants somebody. Nyaruko wants Mahiro. Hasuta too wants Mahiro. Kuuko wants Nyaruko. But all Mahiro wants is his sanity and peace and quiet. He doesn’t want to be their love toy but with the stubborn alien trio freeloading in his home, will he finally lose it all this time?

Episode 1
It begins with a parody of Bewitched. Yeah. Nyaruko’s video-cum-report of what happened so far to her Planetary Defence Organization. All lies! So we hear them talk about Nyaruko’s forms and she would like to show us her true form by undressing herself! Then they argue about having Mahiro’s baby. Same ol’, same ol’. Because they can summon things from a different dimension, Mahiro suggests they could use that space to live instead of staying in his living room. As they are being dumb perverts again, Mahiro takes out his fork and reminds them about the mightiest weapon in the universe! Don’t underestimate it! Puts them in their place fast. Nyaruko decides to order it online when she receives a message from her chief saying that an illegal alien just entered Earth and wants her to investigate and report immediately. But nothing is more important for her than to further her relationship with Mahiro. With Tamao’s support, she makes an urgent excuse to go to the infirmary with Mahiro for an hour to make babies. The teacher pretends not to hear it. But does that mean he gave his permission? And since they’re getting annoying, here’s the fork again. Nyaruko gets more advice from Tamao how to pull it off successfully. First she lures Mahiro with something very important to talk. He realizes it is a trap when they enter a locker but he can’t escape or scream since they are in the girls’ changing room! Checkmate! Nyaruko gets ready to kiss him. Has Mahiro finally lost?! Will his virginity be over for real?! Thankfully Kuuko and Hasuta open a portal to make him fall through.

Instead of going home, they pester Mahiro to take a detour. That means paying a visit to the anime store, right? Let your fetish run wild! Especially that gay book that Hasuta picked which has Mahiro’s face on it! I don’t know about the explanation about his face being loved by aliens that is why it is used in such genre. They start fighting over to buy this book but eventually pissed Mahiro buys it. And burns it! Should have burnt the entire stock just to be safe. Next they patron the maid and butler cafe where the dummy perverts are working as part time. In this cafe too is Tsuruko, the author of that gay book. She flusters upon seeing Mahiro and feels the need to get his autograph. The cafe is also running a rock-scissors-paper tournament event for the employees and the winner gets to be the centre of some idol group. But that is not the main issue because the final has Nyaruko against Kuuko. And they know the other like the back of their hand. Yeah. They start using their fist and fight instead. During the commotion, Tsuruko thinks of getting close and get Mahiro’s autograph. She trips and lands up in the middle of the stage where she gets in the crossfire of Nyaruko and Kuuko’s devastating explosive contact. Boom! In the end, the chief congratulates Nyaruko about taking care of the illegal alien (Tsuruko) but she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. All is well, ends well? The package Nyaruko ordered arrives. But she gets a call and from the looks of her face, looks like something is screwed up.

Episode 2
That call was a reminder for a library book overdue. And so Mahiro is dragged along 430 light years away to the Great Library of Celaeno said to have all the wisdom of the universe just because Nyaruko doesn’t want to be lonely. Hasuta once worked as a librarian so he offers to return it. He also helps Mahiro search for something and help input keywords. First word “Nyaruko” and the pervert is impressed he wants to know all about her. It would be even better and personal if it’s in bed. Second word “Kuuko” and that pervert is equally thrilled. Third word “Age” and immediately the guys are restrained. Some knowledge is not necessary to know. Anyway the database froze up. Suddenly they see Library Forces storming in. Something big must be happening so they tail them out of curiosity only to see all of them down. Nearby, a couple of thieves ransacking the place. It’s time for Nyaruko’s crowbar and Kuuko’s lasers to make their debut but they get owned by their Dhalsim limb stretching and Buggy’s limb splitting ability. When Hasuta uses his wind and reinforcements arrive, the duo withdraw as they can come back here later. Mahiro pats Hasuta’s head as thanks for protecting him so Nyaruko and Kuuko also want some. Since he only has 2 hands, it becomes a patting frenzy. He can be a DJ at this rate… Back on Earth, Mahiro helps comb Hasuta’s hair while Nyaruko tells exaggerated lies to Tamao about her progressing relationship and they tease Yoichi about his student council president role. Later as they eat at Luhy’s takoyaki stand, Nyaruko mentions the thieves’ identity has been revealed but no arrest were made. They are of the Zhar and Lloigor race. Nyaruko and Kuuko get a call from their boss. No, it’s not about approving their maternity leave. Seems Zhar and Lloigor have been spotted landing in Myanmar. Since they entered illegally, it is Nyaruko’s job not to let it slide. Once more, Mahiro is dragged into this mission as the gang rides on Shantakkun. They arrive at the Isle of Stars within the Lake of Dread in the ancient city of Alaozar. Zhar and Lloigor are seen chanting prayers.

Episode 3
Tamao calls Nyaruko who in the middle of something important. She sounds like having sex with Mahiro! Of course it was just all made up. They’re surrounded by monsters! Don’t worry. Let Nyaruko’s trusty crowbar to do the job. Everyone realizes Nyaruko has not returned the book yet and from past experience (read: Last season), this always leads to foreshadow of something. With Zhar and Lloigor making their appearance, they aren’t going to be good aliens and turn themselves in. Nyaruko and Kuuko didn’t hold back and throw bombs at them! To their surprise, they revive but combined as one. I’m sure Nyaruko wanted to throw more bombs at them but their pen starts reacting. Not to Nyaruko’s book but the book in Mahiro’s pocket! It seems he accidentally took the book out from the library during the commotion with the Library Forces. Oh Mahiro, how can you be so careless? This only gives Nyaruko a chance to criticise you with that foreshadowing thingy. That book is actually a memo pad as Zhar-Lloigor starts scribbling in it. When writing inside it, it will create a deity based on your specifications. The Great Monkey Alaozaru materializes. They are doing this because since rare and endangered species are slowly being taken off the list, they won’t get any more funding and what better way than to continue this by creating their own endangered species.

Alaozaru has all the great attributes they wanted but they forgot to make it obedient. This means it won’t listen to their orders and starts rampaging. Mahiro knocks out the duo with his fork while the rest fight it. But they aren’t making any progress since the monster monkey is tough. Nyaruko forces Hasuta to fight and changes him into his true heroic form. Even with his great Cyclone Effect, the monkey still revives after taking lots of damage. Even when the trio combine their power for a devastating what-the-hell-did-they-call-this-move finishing blow. It resurrects and has its damaged parts regenerate. Our heroes are tired and are reduced to only running around to avoid its smash. Is this the end of them? That’s when Mahiro takes a look into the memo pad. Yeah, looks like children scribbles, don’t they? Sure, they might have written how powerful and immortal this monkey is but Mahiro notices an eraser at the tip of this pen… Could it be? When he starts erasing everything, the monkey disappears. There. Easily done. In the aftermath, the duo thieves are arrested but some news of a criminal barricading himself in Celaeno holding hostages and demanding a certain book. Nyaruko gets word from her chief to go return that book and while at it, negotiate with the criminal. Mahiro won’t be dragged into this mess again and tells her to go herself. But Nyaruko prefers to tell Tamao about some exaggerated adventure. Interesting enough to take down notes?

Episode 4
Tamao puts on makeup but realizes it’s not like she’s going to show this to anybody. Mahiro is going shopping on his day off but the freeloaders want to follow too. Just some forking reminder… On the way, Tsuruko sees Mahiro and ditches her job just to follow him to get his autograph. At the same time, Yoichi impresses the crowd with his perfect bowling and snooker games. Also, Shantakkun is on some RPG adventure with Yoriko. Mahiro and co somehow stop at the haunted house attraction first. And you know what this means about being scared… But their fear is true when they realized the thing that Mahiro is buying at the store: Forks!!! Cheap sale! Great bargain! Oh sh*t! On the way back, it is now or never for Tsuruko so she makes her dash but bumps into Yoichi. Her fans start taking this the wrong way that she has a boyfriend and feel disappointed. Worse, they start snapping pictures of her. One day after school, Nyaruko meets up with Tamao at the cafe just to get more love advice because her relationship with Mahiro isn’t improving. Even when she told him she is sneaking somewhere suspicious, he was smiling and gave the thumbs up. It’s like telling her to go ahead and he doesn’t give a damn. Whatever advice that Tamao said was already put in motion and failed. Tamao is surprised that Nyaruko has already kissed him (from last season) but nothing more happened after that. It’s like he forgot all about it too. Tamao puts it in a way that Mahiro doesn’t hate her and all that is left is to get him to fall for her. Because her strongest feature is the number of moves she has, if one time doesn’t work, try it 10 times or 100. In short, if you don’t succeed at first, try, try and try again. Quantity is better than quality! It made Nyaruko feel so good and happy that she ordered a jumbo parfait to celebrate. Back home, Tamao laments she has no chance of winning because Nyaruko is so cute. She gets some words of comfort from Isuka that good things are coming her way. Isurugi is forced to work hard under Isuka. He gets blamed for causing Yoichi trouble and need to send him happy waves to Yoichi like she does to Tamao. He claims he did put up all the flags and even Tsuruko to get close to him but figures he is not into women. Isuka’s conclusion is just simple: He’s not working hard enough!

Episode 5
Nyaruko is beating Kuuko in some card game. With this, she can take back the contract she wrote when she was young to her about giving her mind, body and soul to Kuuko. Because Nyaruko is spamming some joker move, Mahiro can’t take it anymore and uses mommy’s vacuum to suck it all up! He reminds Nyaruko about the package she ordered about the living space. She hooks up the dial on a door that allows them to enter one of their rooms depending on the dial. Because they’re taking too long, Mahiro goes check on them. Hasuta’s room looks normal but he can’t help notice strange putty things in the corners. Hasuta warns some things are better off not knowing. Next, he visits Kuuko’s room. Lots of Nyaruko’s memorabilia and she is in the midst of making out with a big Nyaruko pillow. Pretend you didn’t see that, okay? Finally, the most worrying one, Nyaruko. Acting like a housewife. You know what is going to happen next. She purposely spills drinks on him so he must take a bath. Yup. She’s waiting for him in it and the door is locked. Will he lose it this time? He is forced to sit in the same bathtub with her but facing the other way. Things are pretty much toned down instead of Nyaruko running wild. She answers his question that she fell in love with him at first sight and will continue to pursue him until he gives in. Mahiro murmurs the biggest hint that probably would have made them a couple. If she wasn’t only this forceful. Oh, if only Nyaruko heard that. Suddenly the water gets hotter. Did Nyaruko change the temperature? No. Apparently Kuuko is burning with jealousy outside. Enough to melt the door down! Before the girls can start their power battle that could break just about anything, everything is put to a crashing halt with Mahiro’s fork. Convenient. They are made to reflect their actions when somebody is at the door. A scary b*tch proclaiming Mahiro is already dead!

She turns out to be Kuune and Kuuko’s cousin. First thing she does is to start molesting Kuuko and touch all her sensitive points till she climaxes. I know. WTF. She is part of the Planetary Defence Organization and sent here to observe Kuuko’s work attitude. But everything looks fine, right? She also gives Kuuko a message from her dad who wants her to attend a marriage interview. She turns it down and Kuune happily burns it away. After all, Kuuko is going to marry Kuune, right? She even plays a recording proof of Kuuko saying that. However Kuuko says she will not marry her and has somebody she loves. Kuune wants to know that person but Kuuko is reluctant to say. Mahiro learns from Kuuko (who is partially hiding) that because both their races are sworn enemies, it might bring lots of shame to her whole family. Kuune might even give false reports and drag Kuuko out of this house. Hey, that doesn’t seem like a bad idea, right? Suddenly Kuuko announces that Mahiro is her lover and the one she will marry! While Kuune is knocked out in shock, Kuuko explains this is just an act and hopes they can help her out since she doesn’t want to leave this house and loves everyone here. I’m sure that heartfelt speech has everyone agreeing to it. Even if Nyaruko doesn’t want to. Of course she is forced to in exchange for that contract. While cooking dinner, Kuuko asks Mahiro if he really likes Nyaruko. This causes him to accidentally cut his finger. She sucks it to disinfect the wound. She understands why Nyaruko likes him because of his kindness despite his temper. Therefore she will take both him and Nyaruko as she can take on 4 at a time! That just ruined it. During dinner, Kuune is suspicious that they are putting an act so Kuuko is going to prove it by sleeping with him! I wonder how Nyaruko is handling all this. Not good. But keep holding it in… So Kuune goes to talk to her sister in her room and try to convince she is a much better lover than he is because she knows all her sensitive spots. But all Kuuko can think of is that Mahiro isn’t such a bad person after all.

Episode 6
Jealousy abounds when Kuuko cleans Mahiro’s ear… Since Kuune is not convinced, Kuuko says today they are going on a date. Of course Nyaruko throws a tantrum about this and prefers that woman to be kicked out. Mahiro won’t abandon ship that easily and wants her not to interfere today. So we have the gang tailing the duo. Kuune still isn’t convinced as he interrupts Mahiro trying to feed Kuuko his crepe. She lets him have hers. They take a look at engagement rings and even find a book to name their baby. During lunch, Nyaruko confronts him. She can’t take it anymore. She looks serious. She goes about ranting that she loves him more than anything and that it is a pain to watch them act like that even though everything is just an act. He should understand how those watching him feel. In that case, why not just go home then? This causes Nyaruko to sink into depression for the rest of the day. That night when Kuune hogs Kuuko to play some game till morning, Mahiro finds Nyaruko waiting in the dark in his room. What now? After pushing him onto bed and getting on top of him, she lets loose a series of frustrations like if he just sees her as somebody convenient, she tries her best to be his type and that she still doesn’t know how he feels for her. In short, she loves him and didn’t do anything wrong. Seeing Nyaruko cry like that is just heart breaking. As much as I want to think it is crocodile tears, I don’t think it is. It’s real. To answer her question if he likes her, he puts it this way. He doesn’t hate her because if he did, he would have kicked her out of the house long ago and wouldn’t even bother about that space room thingy. He hints it is okay for her to keep loving him as long as she doesn’t go overboard. He apologizes for saying harsh things this afternoon. It was well enough to make Nyaruko happy again. Next day, she is back to her normal self and exaggerating the lies of Mahiro being a beast on her. They go get Kuuko and she really stayed up all night playing the game. Kuune is asleep so Nyaruko gets this idea to remove the dial from the door. She’ll be trap in there for a while. Nyaruko can’t be a much happier girl walking with Mahiro to school. She needs all the replenishing she can get.

Episode 7
Nyaruko is back at full force trying to seduce Mahiro and the same with Kuuko over Nyaruko since Kuune is currently trapped. When the cat is away… Yoriko won prizes to the indoor pool park via lottery. Yeah. It’s time for swimsuits. Despite being an indoor pool, Nyaruko wants Mahiro to put sunscreen on her. Since she insists, Mahiro has Kuuko do the honours. Groping time. Till Yoichi who is working as a part time life guard tells them that sunscreen is prohibited. Nyaruko fools around in the water ride till they get washed away to a deserted island?! Going to start a new story all by themselves? Too bad they’re still in the indoor pool. Kuuko comes crashing in and wants to start her own Adam and Even with Nyaruko. While the duo are at it, Hasuta feels hungry so with Yoriko, they go eat at the takoyaki stall that Luhy has opened here. Tamao is also working part time for her and she gets the wrong idea that Mahiro is here to see her since Nyaruko is not around. Of course she gets disappointed and laments he doesn’t understand a girl’s feelings. Tamao gives Mahiro boxes of takoyaki so he can deliver them to Kuuko and Nyaruko. He finds Kuuko playing dead and only wanting CPR from Nyaruko. But she can’t resist the takoyaki and eats them. She thinks he is still playing dating and reminds him Kuune is not around so he can stop. She seems to be taking advantage of his kindness but this is interrupted by Nyaruko. She is happy to receive her share of takoyaki but the box is empty. Kuuko ate it all. They’re going to settle this once and for all. Uh huh. Another epic battle is looming that it’s scaring away the other people. So epic that the weather turns dark! At times like this, Mahiro wishes Hasuta is around but he is busy keeping Luhy company since the latter took up his advice to have some fun together (she leaves the stall to Tamao). I don’t know, does Luhy have a thing for Hasuta? Mahiro doesn’t have his forks and he can’t use plastic ones either. Suddenly the girls are nailed down by forks and lightning! It’s Yoriko! But Yoichi warns her about the use of lightning indoors. In the aftermath, Nyaruko and Kuuko are left reflecting their actions. Like as though they’re in some depressing trance. Mahiro hopes Yoriko won’t win any more lotteries but speaking of which, here are a couple of more tickets to some ruins…

Episode 8
This is Shantakkun’s most prominent episode. Because Nyaruko is not around, Mahiro can’t understand what she says. Kuuko’s lens deciphers it as she wants to be useful to Mahiro. She gives her eat some candy that turns her into a loli! Happy Shantakkun glomps all over Mahiro when Nyaruko comes in appalled to see him cheating on her. She wants to get horny but the fork… Since Shantakkun wants to do something, she becomes a maid and takes care of everything easily. Mahiro decides to go out alone (Nyaruko and Kuuko are in some stubborn video game) but doesn’t want Shantakkun to come along since it is dangerous with all those cars outside. So she waits and his handphone rings. A voicemail is left by Yoichi. Shantakkun feels the need to deliver the handphone to Mahiro and heads out. Nyaruko calls Mahiro and is shocked to hear Shantakkun’s voice. Even more shocking is that she thinks they are in some red light district because Shantakkun describes naked women all around. She’s in an adult section of the bookstore. So Nyaruko and Kuuko head straight down there and learn the truth. Nyaruko praises her and wants to take it over from here but Shantakkun wants to continue this mission herself. The duo start chasing her all over but get distracted by some rare anime merchandise and begin fighting over it. Shantakkun is lost and the sea of people is scaring her. Mahiro realizes he forgot his handphone and calls home. Hasuta picks up and tells him what happened. So he calls his handphone and Shantakkun is relieved to hear his voice. If he could only understand. Thankfully, they are just metres away from each other. She hands him his handphone and he calls Yoichi who wants to let him know he found the book he is looking for on the internet but the price went up. Mahiro thanks her and since they are out, why not have some fun? Man, I bet Nyaruko has never spent this much genuine fun time with Mahiro before. Can you say Shantakkun usurp her? As Mahiro carries tired and sleeping Shantakkun back, it is narrated that she realizes why she wants to be useful to him. Because she has feelings for him as a woman. She reverts to her beast form. Before Mahiro can go to bed, he has to put up with annoying Nyaruko who wants to give him her nightly service. This is how she wants to be of use to him? If not, a goodnight kiss? That’s why a fork always comes in handy in such situations… Meanwhile… Kuune has finally escaped from the room!

Episode 9
Yet again, Nyaruko is spamming the winning joker move against Kuuko. Then they realize the door on the seal and that Kuune is gone. Oh no… Kuuko is particularly fearful of what Kuune can do. The way she describes her vengeful attacks… Mahiro will help act as her lover when it comes down to it. Nyaruko is jealous but she did agree to help out. At school, they see everyone in some intense analogue game. It’s like they’re under some hypnotic spell. When they are attacked by human versions of mobile turrets, they think Kuune is behind this. After beating up this little army, they enter the principal’s room to find Agent Clark Ashton Smith, a fellow Cthugan like Kuuko. Since he won’t say much, they think his client is Kuuko. He has some strong barrier so attacking him directly is useless. Since this is getting nowhere, he explains his experiment of bringing the evolution of humans to the next level. He suggests taking part in an intellectual contest whereby if they win, everyone goes free otherwise they must participate in this experiment too. They will be playing cards and the smirk on Mahiro and Nyaruko’s face indicates their win is in the bag. Because Nyaruko is the king of spamming those joker moves! Smith was the one who shuffled, right? He can’t accept this and considers this game invalid and switches to mahjong. Again Nyaruko pulls off incredible winning moves. How about darts? Mahiro is adept with the fork, right? Triple wins! Smith can’t believe all this as his glasses start to malfunction. Believing it to be the barrier’s source, Nyaruko beats him up to disable the barrier permanently.

In the end, they are disappointed he doesn’t even know who Kuune is. He works for the biggest card game company in the universe and was tasked to acquire know-how in Earth’s analogue games so they can sell and make money throughout the universe. Mahiro gives Kuuko permission to burn him. As they wonder where Kuuko went, Nyaruko gets close to Mahiro. Speaking of Kuune, here she comes swooping down and hugging Kuuko. Apparently she was at some gaming event to get a limited edition item. Of course she sees the close proximity between Mahiro and Nyaruko and suspects everything was just a lie and act to trick her. Before her fire aura can burn anything down, Kuuko steps up and is going to prove they are lovers. She kisses Mahiro on the cheek! Shocking! Kuune is so devastated (to the point she could even tell the exact location of the kiss) because in Cthugan tradition, this is a ritual of love! So shocked that she disappears. The end of Kuune for good? But now we have to deal with Nyaruko who probably is trying to wipe off that kiss till Mahiro’s face gets rubbed off. Kuuko apologizes for everything but Mahiro doesn’t mind. She gives the sweetest smile ever! And jealous Nyaruko continues to bug Mahiro for a big kiss.

Episode 10
Nyaruko is sick. No, really. And it’s not love sick or going crazy. She caught a fever. What’s with those funny sneezes? Too bad she can’t go school with them and have to stay in bed. She stays since Mahiro hints he is worried. Tamao isn’t so pleased that Mahiro isn’t by her side and dropping hints of what this would make of her. Despite him saying it’s better with all the quietness, we can tell that he is worried. Nyaruko gets a call from her chief that aliens are spotted illegally entering Earth at the Arctic. Mahiro wants her to rest and let Kuuko and Hasuta take care of this one. Nyaruko gives a disturbing smile and thinks she shouldn’t get better because Mahiro is treating her very nice. Instead of staying by her side, it’s best for Mahiro to tag along with the rest to the Arctic. They see an alien plant and an entire Migo alien army. From what the big boss said, he has been eyeing Earth’s resources since the dinosaurs and plans to dig up its rare resources so he could sell it and make a profit. Just so he can visit some favourite cabaret idol of his. Mahiro gives his permission for the duo to attack and they do not hold back. But when the boss grabs Shantakkun as hostage and subsequently the duo, Nyaruko pops up to save the day. Can’t have this show without her, eh? Yeah, she’s probably feeling bored stuck in bed. Conveniently because nobody else can understand Shantakkun, she puts words in her mouth not to care for her and to go ahead and attack. She’ll gladly be the sacrifice! Clearly, Shantakkun’s reaction is much the opposite… Nyaruko goes full steam ahead but before she can do anything, she crashes. Her fever just went up. Because her coughing and sneezing are scaring the aliens, this reminds Mahiro about what Hasuta said about aliens not immune to Earth’s viruses. He makes her cough and sneeze at them. Seems to be working till the boss tells them they have been vaccinated! Damn. And Nyaruko starts collapsing. Out of options, all they can do now is watch helplessly. Suddenly Nyaruko’s handphone rings. This causes the alien’s head to burst and die! WTF?! Mahiro remembers Nyaruko’s words about powerful aliens having random weaknesses. But this? They put it on the amplifier and all the aliens’ head goes pop. Bloody splatter. Next day, Mahiro tells Nyaruko to cut the sick act because she is definitely better. She doesn’t want to because Mahiro was so nice to her. This causes the rest to pretend to have caught Nyaruko’s illness just so to get his kindness. Meanwhile Nyaruko’s handphone rings again and the chief is calling for he to turn in her report. Unknown to them, the Migo army surrounding Earth as though they’re preparing for a full scale invasion, suddenly starts popping…

Episode 11
Nyaruko explains to Mahiro the Banshin, some security system that defends the deities of Dreamlands. It is being rebuilt since the last time her dumb brother destroyed it and killed everyone. It will take about 500 years to be completed! Yoriko gathers everyone to go camping. Learning Nyaruko was the one who prepared the food ingredients, Mahiro won’t take a bite. Not even the chocolate package believed to be sent by her friend, Atoko. You’re missing out on the great stuff. During the walk, they find a seemingly haunted mansion in the woods. With all the silly ghost story rumours, they’re just itching to get inside it. Before that, everyone except Mahiro starts to hiccup strangely. Nyaruko starts fantasizing her future with Mahiro but he knows better than to keep away from her. Suddenly Hasuta claims he got separated from Luhy and wants to get horny with him! Meanwhile Luhy tries to do some S&M play with Nyaruko. Mahiro may have gotten away from Hasuta but now he has Tamao to deal with. She’s professing her love to him! Thanks to Kuuko, his chastity is saved but now he wants her to repay with his body! She can stop playing this fiancée thingy. Nyaruko managed to subdue Luhy in some bondage punishment to fend off Kuuko before she takes her beloved. While they’re at it, Yoriko and Shantakkun also own up their love for Mahiro! What is wrong with these people?!

Nyaruko takes Mahiro and run when all the sick lovers start chasing them. She throws a bomb but Yoriko bats it back. After the explosion, the duo are missing. They are actually hiding in a cave. Nyaruko got a call from Atoko saying there was love potion laced in the chocolates. You fall in love with the first person you talk with after the hiccup. The effects last for an hour. Nyaruko denies this was part of her plan because if it was, she wouldn’t have let others eat it. Besides, she would prefer him to love her from his heart instead of relying on some potion. Woah. Nyaruko actually sounded so cool. But Nyaruko did take them too, right? Apparently her love for him is much stronger than any love potion. That sounded even cooler! So cool that it made Mahiro blush. This special moment is ruined when those sickos return to get horny. And then one big hiccup to return back to normal. The effects are off and they have no recollection of what they are doing. As they prepare to head home, Nyaruko receives a report that Banshin has been completed. Eh? So fast? Lastly we see Tsuruko finally finished her manuscript. She used that mansion as her work place and struggled to complete it. Thus the reason why we see spooky stuffs like ink blots all over the carpet. She encounters Yoichi fishing (I suppose the rest must have forgotten about him). Then he hiccups. Fish for you, love? Wait a minute. He only hiccups now?

Episode 12
Nyaruko calls her chief about the super fast completion of Banshin. Because of this, Nyaruko and co must leave Earth as soon as tomorrow otherwise their stay will be considered as illegal and will be branded as criminals! She’s furious. She doesn’t care if she becomes some sort of criminal. Does Mahiro want them to leave? His answer? It can’t be helped… Nyaruko just feels disappointed. With Yoriko mentioning her intent to see Banshin, the gang decides to make a trip there by sleeping. Hey, that’s how you get to Dreamlands, right? At Onyx Castle, they are met with N’tse-Kaambl and Bast of the Planetary Defence Organization’s Dreamlands Management Division. They will be their guide. Nyaruko is just gloomy all the way during the tour as the duo explain the newly upgraded and efficient Banshin. So efficient that agents like them are no longer needed to stay on Earth to weed out illegal alien entries. Although Yoriko doesn’t mind the aliens staying at her place longer, it is a law that staying on Earth is only allowed for official business. Disobeying it will be treated as a serious crime. Nodens (or somebody that looks like him) is in charge of developing Banshin. He shows them around the system that builds Banshin and this really gets to Nyaruko since it is a sign she would really have to leave Mahiro’s side. Once Nodens unveil the new Banshin and thinks of demonstrating it in a battle, Nyaruko suddenly gets the brightest idea ever. She wants to help test out the Banshin. What better way than to test its efficiency against them? If the Banshin loses to them, that means it cannot protect the gods and thus they will get to stay on Earth. Yeah, they’re going to smash it real good.

At the plains, Kuune and Luhy are witnessing this battle as spectators. Kuune is absolutely drunk. Nyaruko and co go all out to destroy it but of course it is as tough as ever. Banshin goes berserk when it targets and attacks Mahiro! It won’t do as Nodens tells him too and even wipes him out along with Bast! It is revealed Banshin is modelled after the most powerful deity on Earth: Nyaruko! Just great. Now the robot is obsessed over Mahiro too. Nyaruko won’t mind destroying it if Mahiro gives her a kiss. Or make babies. Is that blackmail? With Hasuta and Kuuko wanting a piece of the reward too, Yoriko announces that they will get a pat from him if they are successful. That is enough motivation for them to go into kick ass mode. Even if Banshin threatens to kill Mahiro and then itself just so he wouldn’t belong to anyone else in its twisted love, Mahiro tells everyone to hurry up to destroy this thing. I guess you can say their love is greater. With Banshin broken, looks like they have to keep guarding Dreamlands for now. Mahiro pats them as promised but they want seconds. Can’t get enough. The gang hang out and have fun at full force. Mahiro finally tries Nyaruko’s cooking and she is happy this is a sign he will marry her. As usual, the others want to same too. Nyaruko dreams of triggering more events but Mahiro hopes she won’t. Because no matter what happens, they are just going to find some other way to continue living here. Damn right they will. Happy Nyaruko hugs Mahiro and vows never to leave him. Good or bad news?

OVA
Despite only 15 minutes long, it is the hotspring episode! Yay! Nyaruko fanservice? I don’t know about that but I get a feeling that this feels like a perfect opportunity for Nyaruko to set her horny plans in motion. And so Mahiro and the gang arrive for their much anticipated rest and relax (I doubt it for Mahiro) at the hotspring that coincidentally Luhy is working as part time. This lady sure is on a part time spree. Nyaruko and Kuuko get into a heated video game battle while the rest check out the different types of hotsprings this inn has to offer. The fireflies are sure pretty with their glow. And now Nyaruko begins her nefarious plan to seduce Mahiro by putting some sort of horny mix into the hotspring. If that guy dips into it, he will become all horny over her. So she hides behind the rock, waiting for this chance and get ‘assaulted’. However Mahiro is pretty cautious because you know, the hotspring is of a different colour. Suddenly Hasuta and Kuuko pop out and they want to get horny! Oh no! Nyaruko had to come out of the shadows just to stop the duo and complain about her ruined plans. She has more of those bath mixes and is going to put them all to use. A tussle begins and they fall into the hotspring. Now the colour changes to an even creepier colour. Guess what comes out of it? Mini and chibi Nyaruko, Kuuko and Hasuta clones!!! WTF?! They start chasing Mahiro all over the place until the fork puts them into place. Repent your actions! Should have done that from the start. Meanwhile Yoriko dips in with Luhy in a hotspring that is supposed to make them feel young while Tamao on her own ponders if things are going well between Mahiro and Nyaruko. Mahiro is tired from the farce. Practically it drained his energy when it is supposed to revitalize him. Yoriko suggests he goes take another dip. He didn’t realize Nyaruko was there and overheard how she was sorry for what she did. All she wanted was to take his troubles way and progress their relationship. But to put in those bath mixes? We have a romantic atmosphere with Nyaruko confessing she loves him amidst the beautiful fireworks. Till she ruins it with her horny desires to put in more weird bath mixes. Such misappropriate outburst calls for appropriate action: The fork…

Get The Fork Out!
Although this season is as hell funny as the previous, I feel that something is missing to make it more epic than the first season. I am not saying that this sequel is not as good or it does not measure up to the first season but it feels something lacking to make it truly stand above and more distinguished than the previous season. Maybe it is because there aren’t any real threats that threaten to separate Mahiro and the girls or some space alien trying to kill Mahiro or take control over the world’s entertainment sources and materials like the last time. Even that Banshin completion felt pretty mild and before you know it, it is already over. Nevertheless this season has its fair share of parodies, funny and dumb moments, some action bits and even dramatic scenes that might move your heart even though it might be just crocodile tears. Hey wait. I don’t think Nyaruko being sad and gloomy is pretending to be miserable. It feels real. Sometimes it feels hard if you should feel pity for her since we are so used to see her silly antics and suddenly she is able to do this kind of sad emotion. It really does throw you off. You think she is pulling a fast one but she is not.

The characters in this season are okay too but it is mainly just concentrating on the same main bunch from last season. However this also means that some of the supporting characters like Yoichi, Tamao and Luhy are reduced to just mere extras. I was hoping to see Tamao get into the love polygon but unfortunately she is just staying in the side lines and hoping her best friend Nyaruko would be the one who gets Mahiro’s heart. Is she trying to be noble? I want to see some love triangle harem here! Oops! Yoichi is also reduced to just Mahiro’s friend unlike in the first season whereas at least he had some part since his body was possessed by some sort of idiotic alien who wants to conquer all of Earth’s entertainment. After Luhy’s departure from her video game maker company, she is more toned down working here and there in her takoyaki stall. But the most disappointing in terms of characters was that I was hoping that Nyaruko’s ‘friends’ that appeared in the Flash animation, Nyaruani would be making their appearance here. Atoko is at least mentioned only in name in this season but Nyarue wasn’t in anywhere. Also, that idiotic Nyaruo also didn’t make any appearance except for that brief flashback cameo appearance. Therefore in terms of new characters, it is somewhat disappointing as Kuune and Tsuruko are the only new ones. I guess Mahiro already has his hands full with the old ones. Don’t want to get messier and more complicated with new ones being added to the mix. As for Tsuruko, I thought she would play some sort of an important role towards the end since she makes a cameo appearance on and off. Unfortunately she becomes some sort of a running joke as an alien doujinshi who could never get to meet Mahiro. Yeah, another joker.

Speaking of Mahiro, sometimes I feel that he is like a robot and he has hardened his heart like steel. I can understand that Nyaruko and co are annoying to the last drop so much so he might have unknowingly trained himself not to show any sort of any extreme reactions or emotions otherwise it would be his lost. You know, some people do annoy you just because they love to see your reaction. But during non-fooling around scenes whereby Nyaruko is close to being an emotional wreck and could turn yandere (this part I exaggerated), do you notice that Mahiro didn’t really put up a very concerned expression? It is like as though he is expecting her to flip back to her idiotic self soon. Even when there is a possibility in the final arc that Nyaruko and co may not be able to stay at his place anymore, he didn’t even flinch. Maybe all that nonsense with Nyaruko took the emotion out of him. It’s like he has lost his sanity since whenever he takes out his fork, he almost looks like he turned into a murderor! But still, he has been around her long enough to at tell that she is seriously serious. He doesn’t hate them since he still allows them to stay but there is that feel it would have been better if have their own place to stay instead of his home. Perhaps he is in a dilemma. He doesn’t enjoy their antics that lower his sanity points but he got so used to it that without them, it is such a deafening silence.

The love polygon didn’t go anywhere either. Nyaruko is still totally in love with Mahiro for whatever and every reason that sometimes she gets so desperate and does silly stuffs which makes us label her as a desperate psycho slut. There are some close moments between the duo but Mahiro is so on his guard that he is just unbreakable. Yeah, which reminds me of a certain puppeteer and his sexual harassing machine doll in Unbreakable Machine Doll. Though, Nyaruko is still pretty much a hypocrite when Kuuko does the same perverted advance to her. Kuuko is still gunning for Nyaruko’s ass/privates but this time she is more tolerant to Mahiro and this opens up a new possibility that she might be a bi. Heck, she did say she can take on 4 lovers simultaneously! It’s nice to see that she has an episode or two in focus that opens up this possibility she is more receptive to Mahiro than before. Hasuta still has his yaoi/shonen ai love for Mahiro but that episode with Luhy, it hints that she might have something for that kid. Nothing conclusive after that but it could be another possibility. Also, Hasuta’s heroic form was interesting since it hints he has another personality but too bad it only lasted for that single episode. Now that it is much confirmed that the person Tamao likes is Mahiro (although never mentioned directly), like I said it opens up juicy love polygon possibilities but her decision to become a side spectator puts a damper on this aspect. At least this season we get an episode focused on Shantakkun and that this little creature too is in love with Mahiro albeit of the different kind. I don’t think Kuune has given up on her cousinly love over Kuuko just because of that peck. It’s hard to say since the next we see her after that is being drunk in that final episode which bears no importance whatsoever to her role. Drowning out her woes?

Comedy and the parodies are the biggest factor and main attraction of this season. As such, I believe there is as much parodies in this season as there are in the last. I got to spot a few and I am proud of that little achievement of mine! It’s hard to find a list of parodies to check out those trivia but at least Animenewsnetwork has a pretty decent list if you would like to check it out. Although it feels somewhat incomplete, but this is the most comprehensive you can get. Foreshadowing must also be the comedy theme of this season because they played this theme up a few times. It’s like trying to screw with us some of the foreshadowing events turned out to be something else. That’s supposed to be funny, right? I personally think Nyaruko can be a stand-up comedian if she ever gets fired from her Planetary Defence Organization. No, really. But I figure should would rather be Mahiro’s wife than that. Such a waste of potential. But I guess it is best to follow your heart and love. As for the action, this time round you don’t get to see as much violence of crazy Nyaruko swinging her crowbar and whacking Nightgaunts. Heck, there are no Nightgaunts attacking in this season. And don’t forget Mahiro’s fork that puts those freeloaders in their place.

Koi Wa Chaos No Shimobe Nari by Ushiro Kara Hai Yori Tai G is the opening theme for the second season. It sounds as wacky as the first season’s opening theme but I still prefer Taiyou Iwaku Moe Yo Chaos compared to this one. Although the group dance isn’t much this time, but the act of passing a love bomb just makes you want to go WTF. For this season, there are a handful of ending themes seemingly tailored to the character that sings it. Although they are mostly credited to RAMM, something tells me they are the same seiyuus who voiced the characters in this series. We’ve got Yotte S.O.S. (somehow reminds me of last season’s Zutto Be With You) for Nyaruko, the rap-like Wonder Nanda? Kataomoi for the trio of Nyaruko, Kuuko and Hasuta, Kirai Na Wake Nai Lychee for Tamao, the space Chinese-like Sister, Friend,Lover for Kuuko and Kuune, a typical tokusatsu Masked Rider-like Ai Crusaders†Striver which I believe is for Yoichi and Mahiro and finally the ‘slowest’ song of them all Kimi No Tonari De for the final episode to end it all. Blast Of Fate ~Kaze No Yukue~ is an insert song that very much fits the tokusatsu action during Hasuta’s heroic form.

I don’t know if there is going to be another season and even if it did, I don’t know how long I am going to take to watch it myself. But I do know that this series will definitely be on my watch list if more episodes ever come out in the near or distant future. But don’t take 500 years, okay? I highly recommend this funny series to anyone who loves watching slapstick comedies laced with lots of parodies. It is just like watching Gintama but replaced some of the main characters as crazy perverts. Some may find such ‘entertainment’ as offensive but I guess this goes to show this is why the entertainment source of human is very much coveted by aliens that they would crawl and sneak into our Earth just to immerse themselves in such corrupted materials. Should we be taking pride in that? After all, if those aliens ever do step out of line and get out of hand, just whip out that ol’ trusty fork and fork it to them. It also helps keep your sanity. No, really.

Gintama (cont.)

June 21, 2014

I know it has been over for a long time and this blog is very late but what the heck! I was slowly enjoying every bit of the second season of Gintama. It’s one of the very few long running shows that I wouldn’t mind it would go on forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever… You get the idea. Heck, I think this is the only show that I would want to continue forever. Even though long running anime series that have ended such as Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn, I have a feeling that even if it starts up again, I will get bored of that too. Although Fairy Tail is still interesting, that similar feeling that it will no longer be exciting still worries me and hangs over my head. Need I even say about One Piece? That’s why with the return of Gintama, I was very much delighted. I get to laugh at all the nonsense (from mild to perverted, take your pick), watch all the action and cry at all the drama. This show has everything and a lot more that I could wish for. Now my only wish left is for it to run forever…

Time skip Arc
Well, 2 years have passed since the first season of Gintama ended. And what does Shinpachi find? Everybody has drastically changed and he is the only bugger who didn’t change. Even the unthinkable happened like Otae and Kondo got married. Some just leaves you WTF because Kyuubei and Katsura changed genders and are fighting to be the best transgendered around. Shinpachi is relieved that the only other person who hasn’t change is Hijikata. Just when they’re about to accept the changes, they realize some sort of pimple parasite has been affecting everyone. They go all out to rid of it and in the end, it is revealed that both of them too got parasites. The one who saved them, Gintoki is the only one who actually didn’t have a parasite.

Glasses Arc
Ayame’s glasses accidentally broke so Gintoki has to reluctantly buy her a new pair, much to his annoyance because that woman is acting like her perverted usual. In addition, the glasses are the wrong prescription but she treasures it because it’s a gift from him. This causes her to flop in her ninja missions and her superiors are sending in assassins to rid of her. She almost died and lying in coma. This has Gintoki, Shinpachi and Kagura along with Zenzou to protect her. But are the Yorozuya guys serious because they seem to be goofing off at critical moments. Don’t worry. Because the assassins themselves are pretty goofy. A guy whose ability is swapping pillows, an old guy who loves swapping tight t-shirts and a pair of twins specializing in some sort of snack. So when the real boss appears, cornering them with his assassins, Ayame revives and her new glasses turn her into some super powered super human glass mecha that kicks ass.

Kabukichou Four Devas Arc
A young girl, Pirako Chin is looking for the strongest man in Kabukichou. She thinks he is Gintoki and becomes his underling. Yeah. She is also here to turn this district into a garden of bright red flowers! Of course as revealed, she is the daughter of one of the 4 Devas of Kabukichou, Jirocho and wants to help him take over this town. At the same time, the 4 Devas are in a meeting and as suggested by Kada, call upon a truce and the first one to break it will face the wrath of the others. Otose is made a scapegoat that she has a bone to pick with Jirocho because they were once lovers. Otose’s late husband, Tatsugoro Terada was the police of this area and Jirocho the yakuza. Although both were enemies, they loved and protected this place. Their odd relationship made them also friends and fell in love with the same woman. Of course Tatsugoro won over Otose in the end and as Pirako theorizes the only reason Jirocho left his wife and daughter to come to this town is because he still cares for Otose. Otose is warned to leave this town. But while paying her respect at her husband’s grave, Gintoki sees her in her own pool of blood. He thinks Jirocho was the one responsible and becomes a demon to kill him. Because he made a one-sided promise to protect Otose after her husband’s demise. War is on the verge in this district since Otose is gone (at least lying in hospital). Saigo is forced to tear down Otose’s snack house since his young member is held hostage. But Yorozuya isn’t going to give up and did not leave town as warned. They stayed back to protect the snack bar. They received unlikely help from several other characters from the series. That MADAO guy, that fire fighter, that blacksmith, that hardboiled detective, that old guy who makes robots and even the host guys. Of course everything was a conspiracy by Kada to take over this town. Gintoki and Jirocho battle through Kada’s hordes of assassins to chase her away while the rest at Yorozuya team up with Saigo’s transvestites to deal with her army of assassins (Shinpachi, Kagura and Catherine rescued Saigo’s young lad thereafter). The final showdown between Gintoki and Jirocho ends up with the former in victory (of course). Kada thought she could launch a final attack to bring down everyone but was stopped by Pirako. There could have been a heart warming confession between Jirocho and Otose but since everybody was too busy trying to eavesdrop, it ruined everything. Jirocho gives up his title and everything and goes on a journey with Pirako as her father.

Jugemu arc
Kyuubei is tasked to train a monkey of the Shogun family. Because it doesn’t have a name yet, everyone chips in and it becomes ridiculously long. I salute to everyone who can say its name without screwing up! Yeah, it likes throwing poo too at Gintoki. Of course the monkey grows close to Kyuubei and when it is back in the Shogun’s nephew’s hands, it flees. Kyuubei’s members are forced to find the monkey or their reputation will suffer. The nephew then understood why it ran away and was jealous because he never had friends before and was happy to have this monkey as one. He gives Kyuubei to keep it and in return as favour, adds to its name. Like it needs another extra word to its already hard to pronounce and remember name.

Prison Arc
Gintoki gets framed and thrown into prison. The prison warden makes him the enemy while he somewhat strikes up an unlikely friendship with an old long time prisoner who is always writing to his son that he always looks forward to see. Then there’s this unlikely alliance with the local gang leader, Sachi too. Yeah. Gintoki becomes to new gang leader somehow. The warden wants to strike a deal with Gintoki. For his early release, he wants him to play the troublemaker role. Sure, he is going to do that but in his own way. When the prison is causing riot, Gintoki searches the warden’s office for proof. It is revealed the old man’s son died 10 years ago and the letters he wrote were never delivered. So who has been replying them all this while? The warden himself. He pretended to be the old man’s son to cover his death. So by causing havoc, this old guy’s clemency would be revoked and he can’t get out of prison to see his son. The warden gets beaten up by prisoners who have a grudge over his mistreatment but is rescued by Gintoki. Remember. If he makes trouble, he must set him free. When everything blows over, the warden quits his post and was ‘threatened’ by Gintoki to talk to the old man one last time. From the looks of it, the old guy seems to know it was him all along. Bad handwriting. And yeah. They’ll continue to write to each other.

Love Choris Arc
Shinpachi has been obsessed with his new simulation girlfriend lately. Momo. I guess this is what unpopular boys do when they can’t get a real girlfriend. Can’t distinguish between reality and fantasy. He isn’t the only one. Even Kondo has Sayaka for company. So it is up to Gintoki to bring Shinpachi back or else he would have to face Otae’s wrath. In order not to have any character overlap, Gintoki gets the ugly and horrible Pinko. Why did they even make such character that always has a censor streak over her eyes? And all those who chose this character are weird sickos! Like Tojo and Ayame… Then there is this world tournament to see whose Love Choris is the ultimate wife. Gintoki’s only chance to break Shinpachi’s habit is to enter. See all the world class otaku losers there…  Shinpachi advances to the final with Momo while Sougou’s masochistic ways makes him to finalist for Sayaka’s route. No guesses for Pinko’s one. Just when everyone is putting down Gintoki and Pinko (seriously, are you willing to make love with this ugly b*tch with a dead child behind her back?), suddenly Pinko transforms into a super sexy beautiful and tsundere character!!! Shinpachi isn’t going to lose to Gintoki (Sougou is out seeing he became the S&M victim). And after all that love and illusion lecture by Gintoki and show them the kind of adult love to those virgins, sure, everybody breaks free from this illusion. Because they had enough after Gintoki strips down naked right on stage during his demonstration. Seen enough, haven’t we?

Renho Arc
Elizabeth goes missing and a place card was left behind not to look for her. And as revealed, Elizabeth belonged to a race that lost their world and is seeking to make Earth as their replacement home. He infiltrated this planet by being Katsura’s pet. Yeah, heavily Star Wars and Gundam parody arc. Dark Vader as the big bad boss? And how can you tell from one Elizabeth from another? Oh, the funny hairstyles… Also returning after a long time and helping out our heroes to prevent Earth being taken over is Kaientai led by Sakamoto and his deputy, Mutsu. As Renho Federation closes in on their plan, they drop rain that turns everyone into faces of Elizabeth. Can’t speak… While Mutsu tries to stall with her negotiations, the rest infiltrate the base and get engaged in some weird stuff. They eat video game cartridges? And there is the real Elizabeth who has been promoted. Then there are lots of other stuffs in between which I don’t remember about Elizabeth not really betraying both her homes but to protect what she considers precious who are no other than her friends. Oh, did I mention Elizabeth here has way more spoken dialogue in all of her appearing episodes combined? Every other army in Renho Federation turn against Dark Vader whose actually form turns out to be the entire planet of Renho. We have Gintoki and the rest combining into some mecha too to fight the equally huge Death Star. In the end, our heroes win, the Renho cast away their silly white duck suits (and they all turn out to be middle aged old men in underwear) to live freely. In order to protect his Earth friends, Elizabeth erases their memories. Something tells us they can’t really forget when they see the last of Elizabeth’s face as she departs with her Renho Federation. And then the ultimate revelation… That Elizabeth was just a temporary one and the real one just returned from a long vacation. Everybody beats up Katsura for the trouble they have gone through. But they saved Earth, right? So much about Katsura being a hero for once without being idiotic…

Ski Vacation Arc
It’s that Shogun again. Yeah. This time the gang are forced to look after him when he is here for the ski trip. Once more, the Shogun gets abused like as though it’s his destiny like getting kicked multiple times by Otae or being used as a human snowboard (dicks make good snow brakes?) After all those bloopers, they get lost in the snowy mountains and the Shogun goes missing. They have to organize a search and rescue party. Otherwise heads will roll. I guess with no Shogun as the punching bag, Kondo takes his place. And he has to search for him in his underwear in this worsening blizzard. The rest need to take care of themselves first and find a place of refuge otherwise they can’t find the Shogun if they’re dead. So when they finally find a cabin to take refuge, the Shogun is there but the insults towards him didn’t stop. It ends with big disaster when they argue how to keep the Shogun warm with their body warmth and he is pummelled out into the snow again. And although everything returns back to normal, the Shogun loves the snow so much that he is back again with a new skiing style. Going airborne and naked like a human snowboard?

Scandal Arc
After a night of heavy drinking, Gintoki finds himself in a very difficult situation. Did he have an affair with Otose, Otae, Ayame, Kyuubei, Tsukuyo and even Hasegawa?! Deep sh*t. He can’t even remember but is forced to take responsibility. Zenzou is willing to help him out but there is so many a guy can take because Gintoki has to live with them without all of them noticing! And they’re all living in the same place next to each other! That’s going to be tough even for a harem series. I don’t know how he put up with his schedule but it’s torturous. A good lesson why people shouldn’t be six-timing. And then he has to go on a date with all of them somehow all at the same time. It’s like God is screwing with his life and enjoying it. Zenzou manages to help out using fake dolls and thankfully enough, the dumb girls took the bait. Gintoki is forced to take over control of the dolls when Zenzou goes to the toilet. All hell breaks loose and the ladies realize they’ve been duped. Gintoki is tied to a tree for days. It made him realized. He was so worried about his own ass that he never thought about them. All this started because of that one moment of irresponsibility. He’ll quit drinking. With that confession, it turns out to be the biggest prank ever just to make him promise that! His expression is priceless! Worth it? Definitely. Everyone cooperate and teach him a lesson after he went on a rampage in his drunken state. Even after this prank, Gintoki is in no mood to drink ever again. Till he finds out from Hasegawa that he really did him over. Suddenly he rushes to the next store to get the strongest liquor he can find! Oh sh*t! Even with Hasegawa drinking so much to forget and he can’t, it could mean…

Host Club Arc
Kyoshiro is going to quit his host club because of a mysterious lady, Yagami who supposedly brings death if she ever visits a host club the second time. Since she did declare she will be visiting Takamagahara again, his other host guys have quit in fear and so Yorozuya and the rest need to find a way to handle Yagami when she arrives. They try recruiting others for the host job like the Shinsengumi, Otae and even Hasegawa but more importantly can they even be a proper host? Things get out of hand when Tsukuyo and Saigo’s people cause things to go out of trouble, putting Kyoshiro out of commission. Gintoki has balls shrink and wants to flee this joint but Yagami has arrived. No way out. Yagami joins the rowdy group of girls who doesn’t hesitate to ‘bully’ her. I guess everybody is drunk. The host guys are having a hard time cleaning up this mess when everything leads to chaos. Yagami then leaves even without seeing Kyoshiro. She clears the misunderstanding about the rumours. Because she has no place to go and have no friends, she goes from bar to bar. By that time, the rumours of her spread. Till she met Kyoshiro and his smile was different. It was for everyone and not just for her. She came back to see that smile again. Yagami didn’t have to leave empty handed. In fact, she was welcomed back to Takamagahara by Kyoshiro for the third time. This time she’s got everyone as her drinking partner.

Thorny Arc
Mimawarigumi is an elite police force joined by those from the elite. Thus the useless failure and troublemaker son of the noble family, Tetsunosuke Sasaki is sent to join Shinsengumi under Hijikata’s wing. A big pain in the ass at first but after encountering Tetsunosuke’s older brother, Isaburou who is the commander of Mimawarigumi and self-proclaim big fan of the Shinsengumi, Hijikata’s view change. After all, Isaburou talks bad about Tetsunosuke like he is a stain that ruins the family’s name. It’s odd that without those shades, Tetsunosuke looks like a clean cut cherry boy. He takes it upon himself to learn from Hijikata and do whatever he wants. Hijikata also remembers his own bloody past. He had a brother named Tamegoro whom he admired. One day thugs set fire on the village and Tamegoro lost his eyes while protecting him. Hijikata turned into a rampaging demon and slaughtered everyone. From that day he was known as Thorny and had to leave and couldn’t be with his brother. Hijikata tasks Tetsunosuke to hand a letter to Tamegoro and he promises to deliver it. At the same time, Isaburou hired Gintoki to infiltrate some gang planning to do some large scale terrorist act. This same gang was the bunch Tetsunosuke used to hang out with and he gets kidnapped by them. This sets Shinsengumi and Mimawarigumi on collision course. The latter uses this excuse to wipe out Tetsunosuke seeing he has ties with the separatist and couldn’t care what happens to him or the terrorist while pinning the blame on Shinsengumi. This puts both sides against each other with Hijikata against Isaburou and Sougou fighting with Nobume, a deadpan female whose swords can cut through anything like hot knife through butter. It gets chaotic with Gintoki in the picture. Time to do things his way. Once Tetsunosuke is saved, the demons clash. The terrorists find it hard to escape as they are caught in between. Shinsengumi switches clothes with Mimawarigumi to cause confusion. Sougou-Nobume match ends with Nobume tricked into cutting all the pillars and the building crumbles. Shinsengumi makes a deal with Isaburou to call this a draw and avert the crisis. He has no choice. Tetsunosuke goes to complete his letter delivery mission at his grave only to see Tamegoro’s wife. Seems the brothers communicated via letters. Although Tamegoro is blind, he was always eager for his letters. That’s why she reads it for him. But they’re all blank… Probably all they want to know is if he is still alive. That’s all that matters. Actually, maybe it’s because Hijikata doesn’t know what to always write…

Other episodes:
Episode 204: Kagura has problems giving Gintoki and Shinpachi her Valentine’s Day chocolates and enlists Ayame, Otae and Tsukuyo to help out but they too are embarrassed to give their chocolates to Gintoki. I didn’t know this Yorozuya guy is this popular. And even though it seems that they won’t be able to hand it to them directly, eventually they leave it on their doorstep. Surprised to see 4 Valentine chocolates?

Episode 205: This is how Yamazaki ends up hating anpan for the rest of his life, which becomes a running joke for the rest of the series. He is supposed to do a stakeout on some Joi’s member who ran away with their money and is confident he will run into his sister. Every day, he eats the same anpan till he is sick of them. By the time he is hospitalized, it was just a trick to make him off guard. And when Yamazaki’s discharged, he gives them a taste of his anpan revenge. Also, Kondo seems to finally land a date with Otae! Is this true! However bad luck seems to be obstructing him but he won’t let it ruin his date. Finally a meteor is in danger of destroying Earth and he uses his batting skills to hit it away. The pint size meteor hits Otae’s face. Game over.

Episode 206: Catherine has a boyfriend? She is so in love that she turns into a beautiful woman! Who is this woman?! Because Otose seems like she doesn’t approve of it, Catherine elopes with him to start a new snack business as promised. However it was a ruse to dupe her of her money and she is left homeless and penniless. Till Otose comes to bring her back with her open arms and Gintoki goes to teach those swindlers a lesson that conning a woman of her money isn’t evil. He will show them what true evil means…

Episode 215: The only thing I remember about this episode is that Kada has gone senile, being imprisoned by the Harusame after her failed takeover of Kabukichou. There is also an unlikely alliance formed between Kamui and Takasugi.

Episode 216: Yorozuya puts up a ridiculous factory tour of the Patriot (whatever that is) for the kids. You think the kids really believe it? Especially with that tissue box being the main component of the Patriot (whatever the hell this thing is). Can’t blame the kids for giving Gintoki the biggest kick of frustrating when the factory tour turns into some sort of televised life drama. Wasted time but at least it was educational. Yeah. It was all crap!

Episode 217: Remember the Shogun? Yeah. It’s him again, Gintoki and Hasegawa being forced to by Matsudaira to take care of him at the pool without his identity being exposed. Expect all the constant abuses thrown at the Shogun as he tries to fit in. And his very elastic loincloth has the guys bowing down to him with respect…

Episode 218: Yorozuya fights over crab meat! Obviously it is Gintoki and Kagura who are trying all sorts of underhanded tactics to get a piece of the juicy crab legs, much to Shinpachi’s dismay. It becomes an all-out (exaggerated) war to get whatever crab meat left. In the end when everyone agrees to share the crab porridge, it tastes horrible so they get cheap crab flavoured snacks instead.

Episode 219: Kagura helps a guy who wants to be a human punching bag but you know with all those weirdoes around, you can’t help get disappointed. He won’t be getting his punch till finally he sounds like a pervert that will ‘help you forget the bad memories’. Enough to freak that guy out and land him a punch. There, he got it.

Episode 220: Hedoro’s family are visiting the public bath so Gintoki and the rest panic they have some sort of hidden agenda to take over Earth and go all out to give them a warm welcome. As the lie builds on and on, they find it hard to contain it and it involves beating them up, ripping their horns, smashing their heads, etc. And after all that good hospitality, they want to repay it by scrubbing their backs… You know how hard they scrub, right?

Episode 223: Katsura infiltrates Matsudaira’s family to find his weakness. However he ends up saving his daughter (whom Matsudaira is having strained relations with) when the building she is in is hijacked by terrorists. In the end, he somewhat patched up their relationship.

Episode 227: This was inevitable. Sket Dance crossover! They had to return the favour too. So we’ve got jokes about the cross-over seiyuus from both animes and since Gintoki and Bossun really want to be seen as the leader, they go all out forcing the rest in some scavenger hunt. Only the blockheads go all out against each other to grab some fruit that turns their crotch into hammer. Yeah. They got that eventually. Happy?

Episode 230: Kagura really wants a handphone so she could text to Gintoki and Shinpachi. Do they need this when they can just talk face to face? After everyone reluctantly gets a second hand handphone, Kagura spams everyone with text on just about anything. Annoying? Of course her handphone seems to belong to a killer and he wants it back as he has left some valuable information on it. Then the killer turns out to be a shy barber who had left messages he was never able to say for his late wife. It is until Kagura throws a ‘tantrum’ that it is them who aren’t able to say what they want (because she hasn’t received a singly reply from them) that they perhaps realize the importance of communication. Although they give the handphones back to the guy, they still keep the handphone straps and without saying, this makes Kagura happy.

Episode 231: An udon shop owner passes away and Yorozuya and the Shinsengumi attend his funeral. However only Gintoki and Hijikata could see his spirit! They’re trying to remain calm (but fail miserably) and try not to provoke his already restless soul (even failing more miserably). They have been reluctantly task to carry his coffin but it seems parts of him keep sticking out especially his dick. In the end, it was just the dead man’s pleasure to have a fun filled funeral before he passes on to the next world. These guys are always so fun, no? And as his last reward, he lets them have their favourite udon bowl. Savour every last taste of it.

Episode 243: A manga magazine is being put in charge of a difficult manga. All previous editors have gone crazy and being locked up. In order to be assigned to another manga, he needs to find a new artist but none of them inspired till he meets… Gintoki and Sachi! It becomes retorting hell for this editor due to their crazy manga drawing and story. Big shoulder pads? In the end he goes insane and gets locked up too. Anybody would if they had to put up with the duo’s nonsense.

Episode 248: Who wants to be a MADAO-naire?! A chance for penniless middle aged guys to get 10 million Yen! Hasegawa is about to get that chance. A big parody of Slumdog Millionaire, we see how past events of Hasegawa’s life lead him to answer every question correctly. The ironic part is how each correctly answered question, it digs up a traumatic past Hasegawa doesn’t want to remember! Yeah, he was a poor soul even back then getting bullied and mistreated by kids but a kind girl looks up to him because it reminded her of her debt ridden dad who ran away. She remained positive and cheerful while living with him in the streets till she contracted an illness. That’s when Hasegawa entered this game show to win and clear her debt. The organizers think he cheated and try to put in tough nonsensical questions even a newspaper article that came out today! But Hasegawa could answer them all simply because all the questions were related to him. Especially the final answer that asks about that girl’s name! Hasegawa used the lifeline to tell her to live happily. Just when he thought he had cleared her debt, he found out that was just the tip of the iceberg. Now he is told to hurriedly get the rest of it. This sucks… Why? Because he’s a MADAO!

Episode 251: New Year’s Day episode. Gintama bought a curse kotatsu because once you sink in, you can’t leave. And you’re going to feel very lazy about doing anything or moving about even if something you want is just inches out of your reach. It’s the universe underneath! Don’t ask! Just accept it! With everyone except Shinpachi balding and talking like old men, Shinpachi is reduced to retorting hell over their idle chatter as more and more character drop in to share the kotatsu. Finally when everybody wants to relax for good, they realize it is too crowded and not enough space. They start fighting with each other till the kotatsu is destroyed. Everyone returns to normal (complete with hair) and has no memories but Shinpachi has turned into a bald old man, too tired to just end it with a retort.

Episode 252: Even the final episode of the season is not spared. It turns out to be a random episode with the theme of apologizing to viewers and everyone to whom they have offended or made fun out during the entire run of the Gintama series. You’d feel there is no sincerity in it since every apology seems like adding more offense to everything. Gintama style. In the end, they have to admit that they can’t give up the dirty jokes. Because we love them too! Hell, yeah! Gintama forever!

Enchousen

The third season began 6 months after the second season ended. And it couldn’t be more welcoming for a person like me who still loves this show many years down the road. I’m sure they had their reasons in not making it continuous (like they ran out of materials from the manga) or they just like to play pranks and screw with us viewers like they always do. But this Enchousen season slightly differs. Although it only ran for 23 episodes, half of it are rerun episodes from the first season! I’m in a dilemma to whether to call it a bad move or not because although those rerun episodes are picked from one of the funniest standalone episodes and it was good to watch some of them again and remember those laughs (yeah, that Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung was one of the best ones), it wasted some time when they could have put in more materials or at least funny fillers. The only thing ‘added’ was the gorilla creator seen lazing around instead of completing his work and the announcement of the Gintama movie in 2013. Or some pain-in-the-ass teasers-cum-excuses why the second movie is being delayed to summer. Because to coincide with the end of the TV series. HOLY WHAT?! The TV series ends for good???!!! Otherwise, sometimes I feel these reruns are like fillers in between the arcs of this what I believe is the final season in the Gintama series! Gasp! NO! I want it to run forever like Naruto and let that ninja show be the one who ends! And so, just when Gintoki thought he had gone AWOL for 6 months and could return with some excuse that will have his comrades forgive him, an unexpected new hero that has taken over the show…

Kintama Arc
What’s this? A new cool blonde guy, Kintoki Sakata has taken over the show?! This is what you get for being absent for so long. To add salt to injury, everyone in town doesn’t remember Gintoki and this Kintoki guy is a true hero whom everybody loves. He’s got the looks. He’s got charisma. He’s even got the money! Oh sh*t! The perfect hero whom everybody admires indeed! Even the 60 volumes of DVDs, all replaced with Kintoki’s face! Including this season’s opening and ending themes! Did Gintoki ever exist? Was it all only his imagination? Does Gintoki have a place left? What is happening? It seems only Tama and Sadaharu aren’t affected by the hypnosis. Robots and animals not affected, I guess. As revealed, due to Gintoki’s irresponsible ways, Shinpachi and Kagura requested Gengai to create the ultimate robot that covers every flaw that Gintoki has. So now the trio will have to work to regain everyone’s memories but it will be tough because they keep screwing up and Kintoki is always on scene to fix it. It makes Gintoki look like the bad guy, huh? A pretend suicide by Ayame becomes the turning point. When Gintoki dived down to save her, he knew his fellow pals will come to save him. Their body reacted on their own. They can’t explain it but suddenly they felt they might have seen this guy somewhere before. Tama wanted to settle this herself but got busted by Kintoki. Kintoki then frames Gintoki that he was the one who hurt her friends and wants everyone’s help to track him down. This puts Gintoki’s pals in a bind. They feel something is not right but have no choice but to seek him out. Gintoki is forced to put up the biggest fight in his life as everyone in town is now against him. But when Gintoki saves them instead of fighting them, they become all the more confused. With the final showdown with Kintoki at hand, everyone surprises this blonde dude and goes against him. The bonds they had with this silver idiot go deeper than any memories, eh? Although Kintoki can still hypnotized lesser skilled people (read: unimportant extra background characters), he can’t mesmerize the likes of Ayame, Tsukuyo, Kyuubei, Katsura and even Hasegawa. Kintoki reveals his true objective wasn’t to spread his influence throughout the world but to end this anime! Gintoki doesn’t give a damn and beats him up and going to do hara-kiri with him. He is not afraid of the show losing a main character because every idiot in this show is the main character! Shinpachi, Kagura and Otae reconcile with him before Gintoki vanishes…

Mantama Side Arc
What do you get when you don’t have gold or silver anymore? You’ve got this ditzy girl called Mantama in a brand new story and anime of her own! Even her own opening theme! And so it goes that Mantama and Kintoki made some promise to meet each other in the future before the former’s demise. In a world where some strange tower that causes every man’s dick to fall off, Kintoki is the only guy left with the ‘sword’. Other guys become transvestites. He’s the object of every girl’s dream but he only cares for one person whom he made a promise before they were born. And then it’s like destiny. This Mantama-look-a-like becomes a transfer student. But a series of mishaps that involve abusing Kintoki’s ‘sword’ before Mantama truly reunites with Kintoki in class. Turns out it is everybody in Gintama in disguise! Is this their way of getting back at him? Gintoki doesn’t care what happens to him but Shinpachi and Kagura beg for him to be spared and will go around apologizing to everyone. Kintoki realized he was so busy trying to change others that he didn’t realize others were changing him. So is he going to be a follower of silver now? But whatever it is, it’s welcome back Gintoki!

Courtesan of a Nation Arc
Yoshiwara had a famous courtesan named Suzuran. But like everybody else who grows old and hagged. Well, you know what I mean. Just like many women and men who come here to make a dream that lasts for one night, Suzuran has been waiting for that one man to come fulfil that promise. For how many moons has she waited… Yorozuya with Tsukuyo go to find that irresponsible guy and he turns out to be the previous Shogun, Sadasada. How can you easily get into the Shogun’s palace? Easy. Kagura seems to be the best friend of the Shogun’s niece, Soyo. I guess girls will be girls. Not even her personal servant, Rotten Maizou could line her in. Isaburou and his Mimawarigumi are also hired to guard the palace since it is under martial law as lately somebody has been attacking important bakufu officials. Eventually when Tsukuyo gets the chance to ask Sadasada about his promise with Suzuran, turns out this evil bastard was just using her to kill off those against him during his rule. Isaburou gets in injured in the retaliation. Yorozuya, Tsukuyo and Nobume are thrown into prison with the Shinsengumi tasked to execute them by daylight for trying to kill the Shogun. Not until Soyo’s heart breaking story about a certain courtesan and Shogun retainer’s tragic love romance got their ass moving. Maizou and Suzuran fell in love with each other and they made a promise to meet each other. However Sadasada found out about this and ordered him to kill her the next time they meet. As an act of loyalty, Maizou got an arm cut off. Because of his position, Maizou couldn’t go meet Suzuran and had to live with the regret of breaking the promise because if he did, he must kill her. Everyone who heard the story prefers to become wanted criminals to attack and seize this country for the sake of an old woman.

Gintoki is faced with an old foe during the Joi war: Oboro, an assassin and leader of the Tensho and part of the Tendoshu organization. Gintoki could have died from his poison needles till Isaburou and his Mimawarigumi show up to assist. Even Kondo and Shinsengumi join in the fray. Not to mention the entire police force led by Matsudaira attacking against the palace! Wouldn’t this be amounting to treason? Well, the only guy who could summon the entire police force is him: The current Shogun: Shigeshige. He orders his palace guards to stand down and hopes to make it up to Maizou for all the years of his service. Sadasada is still confident he can get out of this scot free and not being judge. But he may need to wait longer till Gintoki finishes his rematch with Oboro. Spurned by the death of his beloved teacher, Shouyou Yoshida, Gintoki gets the much needed strength to defeat Oboro. Tendoshu arrives to pick up Sadasada to ‘judge’ him but Shigeshige resigns as Shogun to take responsibility and drag his uncle down to hell. Eventually his resignation has been rejected and his position reinstated although most likely he has just become an interim ruler since there is something brewing between the Hitotsubashi faction and Tendoshu. Also because, Sadasada who has been imprisoned is killed by Takasugi probably trying to avenge the death of his teacher too. Oboro lives and reports back to the Tendoshu council. He notes their true enemies are the students of Shouyou. Lastly, everyone sets up so that Maizou could go see Suzuran one last time and fulfil their promise before she breathes her last breath.

Beam Saber School Arc
Gintama must really love the Star Wars franchise. Yup. It’s going to pay ‘homage’ again to it in this arc. The ‘big brother’ of Shinpachi and Otae’s dojo who was supposedly dead in a blast when he decided to travel to outer space many years ago, suddenly returns. He is Hajime Obi or simply known as Obi One. Uh huh. You read that right. Coincidence that Hajime means first or one? Though, he is half cyborg and this machine part is keeping him alive. Also, he has become some super sword master throughout the galaxy with his beam saber technique of his. And so it’s nostalgia once more for the siblings because you know, he was a cool big bro and perhaps Otae’s first love. Did I hear that right? His return and vow to help rejuvenate the dojo with his beam saber technique of course sends jealousy bells ringing to Kondo and Kyuubei who view him as a threat to Otae. And now for the conspiracy part. You know those little green Jedi masters? Yeah, they’re the antagonist now. Clad in balaclava, it seems Hajime is a weapon they sent down to Earth because Earth banned some beam thingy that they produce. So now when the conditions are right, the cannon embedded inside Hajime will activate and thus a sign Earth has declared war on the galaxy. That’s when Gintoki comes into the picture to bring the real Hajime back and not this evil Kenofi (Kenobi?) persona or kill him off. As usual, it has got to be Shinpachi who has to overcome and deal with this to move forward. He finally deals the finishing blow and Hajime is proud Shinpachi has grown stronger. Before his demise, he fires the cannon back at those Yoda bastards, who also fire their beam to destroy him. In the end, they destroyed each other. Lots of drama, lots of tears but the important thing is to keep smiling. Even if you’re crying.

Episode 265: ALERT!!! FINAL EPISODE!!! They finally made Sadaharu the star of this last episode. Due to no jobs, this means no money and no food. Heck, they even had to share dog food! Because of that, Sadaharu leaves Yorozuya and despite his stomach growling, he meets an abandoned stray puppy. He takes it upon himself to take care of him as several characters in the show try to take him in but the dogs have to leave since Sadaharu knows he’ll be dead meat if he continues to stay under these sickos. Food is already a major problem and the puppy is sick. Sadaharu is forced to catch and steal fish from every source (no matter how ridiculous). But the puppy’s condition worsens and the hospital isn’t going to take in some stinky dog. He feels bad that Yorozuya is looking for him and Gintoki knows what’s going on. He is on a job from several neighbourhood women who wants him to catch the stray as they fear it may spread disease to other dogs (its owner who is a dog lover died). And leave it to Gintoki’s way to rescue the day and teach Sadaharu a valuable lesson the hardship of having someone in care. Also as a family, they share the good and painful times together. Everything ends well, they get treated in a vet and the puppy is adopted by the dead owner’s relative. And everybody shares the same dog food… Is that what being family is all about?

Platinum Soul
Good things must come to an end… I think I’ve said that before but I guess this time is for real. No word has been said about another season or continue this ridiculous and hilarious series because if you are a seasoned Gintama viewer and know all their ‘dirty tricks’ of trying to troll you, they’ll be back, right? Only this time, they aren’t! It’s really the last episode and the last season! Boo hoo! Why can’t this show go on forever unlike some blonde ninja or pirate with stretchy limbs? Or why can’t it take a hiatus like Fairy Tail and then come back again? Oh wait, it did that once. Why not do it again? I am sure that there are lots of other silly stand alone episodes and interesting arcs that are not animated. Stupid lazy gorilla. Get off your fat furry ass and do more stories. Hah. Blaming somebody is always easier.

This anime has not lost its touch of comedy, action and drama. Everything that you are familiar with the Gintama series are still retained here. Especially the jokes. From making gags that purposely break the fourth wall (that includes scolding, criticizing and insulting their own production crew) to blurting out copyrighted brands (but with a bleep and censor over it) to disgusting but humorous pervy jokes, intense retorts, shameless parodies and witty one-liners that will either have you cringing in disgust or laughing too hard that your stomach hurts. Those who watch Gintama will be familiar with the roller coaster ride of emotions that they put viewers through. One minute it can be all funny nonsense, the next it suddenly turns into an emotional melodrama that will tug some heart strings, you get emotional and want to cry, then suddenly something silly disrupts it all and you’ll be laughing like mad again. Yeah. You may go hysteria while watching this if you are emotionally unstable. But I loved it. Some scenes happen so fast that you haven’t got time to explain to yourself why you’re laughing one second and then sobbing in the next.

For both seasons, I still feel that there is the lack of the major parts of the series’ real antagonists. I thought at least somewhere within the season, they will dedicate another arc for Takasugi and Kamui. Heck, it was just one stinking episode that didn’t really get us anywhere except the fact that they made an alliance. Even there are some juicy and interesting bits about Nobume who once had some sort of connection with Oboro. Alas, we didn’t get to see anything more than that so in this sense it was a little disappointing. Big powerful villains with an equally tragic past with Gintoki didn’t really make an overall impact in the direction of this series? However this doesn’t really dampen my spirit and my overall feel good factor for this series. Because sometimes I think it is best for this show to have comical standalone nonsensical episodes that will make us laugh out loud till our tummy hurts. Yup. I think that would be the best. Perhaps that is what the movie is for? I don’t know and I can’t say since I didn’t go watch it.

Every other character has their good and bad points but this is what makes them quirky and memorable. Some become the butt of jokes and ‘whipping boy’ of the series like Katsura and his stupidity makes you wonder if he can lead his rebel Joi faction to victory. And you thought that the Renho arc would have gave him some sort of redemption but unfortunately like many other characters, they stay the same as they are in the end. Another character ‘beaten up’ left, right, up, down, centre and everywhere is Hasegawa. He has become synonymous with MADAO and nobody pities his homeless or pitiful state. Kondo is another one since he is frequent to stripping naked, being taunted as a gorilla and beaten up by Otae whenever he becomes a stalker. For Yorozuya, Shinpachi is glasses, Kagura the violent and blunt brat and Gintoki the big guy, big man, big brother of everything. He’s got so many sides from being a joker to a lazy person and to a kind person who will protect those dear to him, seemingly so perfect yet so flawed, I suppose that is why he is the series’ main character. You will love and loath everything about him. That’s what makes him cool. Other usual characters are still identifiable with their odd traits like Otae’s disastrous cooking, Sougou’s sadism, Hijikata’s mayonnaise obsession, Kyuubei’s aversion to a man’s touch, Tsukuyo’s low alcohol tolerance and Otose’s heavy smoking. Only ‘new’ to the bizarre personality is Yamazaki’s anpan obsession which has of course become a running joke each time he appears.

Besides the jokes, drama and characters, the action scenes are quite okay. It may not amount to be the best fight scene ever because this is Gintama, it is a mix of everything so you can’t have the best of every genre that it mashes in. It’s fun and exciting to see Gintoki take up his wooden sword as he go head to head with the big bad villain of the arc as well as the rest of his other pals in action. But eventually Gintoki is the main character so he has to be the one having his final fight with the final boss, right? There are going to be lots of blood spilled when the fight gets intense or reached its climax so if you are the kind who is faint-hearted, you might squirm at the sight of seeing the characters vomiting blood from taking the impact. Heck, you shouldn’t be watching this series if you are faint-hearted as the jokes can be really outrageous. The art and drawing are still good and consistent with the first season so there are no complaints from me on this department.

As usual, a variety of opening and ending songs greet and close this series. Mostly the themes are rock based. Some are memorable but some just didn’t get my attention. If I had to pick the best theme for both these seasons, personally it would be Samurai Heart (Some Like It Hot) by Spyair. This rock theme is quite befitting the Kabukichou Four Devas Arc. Tougenkyou Alien by Serial TV Drama (yes, that is the name of this Japanese band) is crazy enough to get you into the insanity world that is of Gintama. Sometimes it makes you want to go “Dah! Dah! Daaaaahhhhh!”. And that opener with those crazy troll face smiles… Classic. Wonderland by Flip is one of the 2 songs that isn’t actually rock based but more of hip hop. It’s like going through a Gintama trip of nostalgia as we see main and supporting characters from all the Gintama episodes, arcs and seasons making their one shot cameo appearance. Trying to say goodbye? The other non-rock song is Moonwalk by Monobright. No, this isn’t a tribute to Michael Jackson and in fact it sounds like an opera tenor singing to an oldies rock ‘n’ roll tune.

Well, I don’t know if Gintama will be animated with more seasons in the future. It’s like telling me to go read the manga which is still ongoing. Heck, I prefer to watch something than read. Although Gintama is not perfect and may not be suitable for everybody, this is one series that mixes up everything and comes out on top without screwing up everything. Heck, even if it did screw up, they can even make a joke out of it or come up with some funny excuses and we will still accept it. But it will be unforgivable if they do not come up with more episodes because I don’t mind waiting for a year or two. Or maybe even in 5 to 10 years. Oh please. Don’t say it’s really over. Screw your production budget and tight schedule. I want more Gintama! I think I know what kind of answer Gintoki will be giving me. Sure, you’ll get your Gintama sequels… Coming real soon, in the year 2114! I’ve been had. Here’s my crazy troll face smile for you! 

Remember those girls in high tech combat gear who sing in the midst of kicking ass? Yeah. Looks like it wasn’t really over yet and thus the sequel, Senki Zesshou Symphogear G. Except for my opening statement, I don’t really remember much about the first season albeit it was released around 2 years ago and how it ended. Big bad villainous girl was defeated and 3/4 of the moon was destroyed just to ensure that. Uhm. Yeah. Something like that. Then you have those funny and colourful creatures called Noise. Despite their odd looking shapes, they are deadly to the touch and if you get into contact with one of them, you instantly turn into carbon. What a way to die. Don’t worry. There will always be the Symphogear girls to save the day. In this sequel, there are new characters, new villains, new twists and new threats to mankind. But the same ol’ girls in the same ol’ high tech combat gear kicking ass. And oh, still singing while they’re at it.

Episode 1
Chris is part of our heroine team now. Along with Hibiki, they are protecting a carriage from a barrage of attacks from Noise. On board the train is Dr John Wayne Vercingetorix or Ver for short (no, not related to that famous cowboy actor) and a precious Relic called Solomon’s Cane. But there is something odd about the Noise. It’s like as though they are being controlled by someone and the timely attack proves they are after Solomon’s Cane. Hibiki’s innovation to destroy the pack of Noise via using a dimensional pocket to slow down the enemy’s movement and then hit them with everything she has from the other side of the wall proves to be highly effective. After Ver has been successfully handed over to the American military, suddenly another Noise attack on the base. Looks like their return to Japan will be delayed. Although the attack is contained, Ver goes missing along with Solomon’s Cane. Back in Japan, the very much anticipated concert duet between Tsubasa and rising newcomer Maria Cadenzavna Eve begins. They put up a worthy show that is being broadcasted live throughout the world. Yeah. I think some of them are crying to see their ‘angels’ perform. After they give their heartfelt speech about their music, there is more from Maria. She summons Noise and takes all the audience as hostage! Tsubasa cannot transform to her Symphogear form or else her identity will be revealed and she could kiss goodbye to her singing career. Maria then announces their organization, Fine has control over Noise and thus claim their rule over the world. In short, world domination. She starts singing and transforms into her Symphogear form. Those who analyzed her wave patterns are surprised to see she has Gungnir. Something similar to Hibiki’s but a black Gungnir?

Episode 2
Maria demands all the world’s countries cede themselves to Fine or get attacked by Noise. Well, that’s not going to be easy, right? Not at least with blockhead politicians at the top. Genjurou receives another update from another incident at a bio research facility in America. All the data were lost in the attack. Tsubasa is not afraid to draw her sword and lose her secret but Ogawa suggests singing some of her healing songs instead of battle songs. Maria releases the concert audience because taking hostage is not her style. Her motherly figure, Nastassja Sergeyevna Tolstaya doesn’t approve of this though Maria assures they haven’t lost any advantage. She will send Shirabe Tsukuyomi and Kirika Akatsuki just in case. Maria attacks Tsubasa and the latter cannot transform as long as the live broadcast is still on. Maria won’t let her leave the stage to transform. Just when she has accepted the faith to lose her secret, suddenly the broadcast is cut off. Thanks to Ogawa doing so at the control room. Now she can transform and strike back. Tsubasa can’t land the final blow as Shirabe and Kirika are here to outnumber her. The odds are even because here comes Hibiki and Chris too. Hibiki doesn’t want to fight and is confident they can resolve things via talking. Shirabe calls her a hypocrite because she doesn’t know the true meaning of suffering. This causes Hibiki to be unable to concentrate in her fight. Because time is not on Maria’s side, Nastassja suggests her girls to get out and unleash their last resort. A huge blob appears and Maria uses her Armed Gear to cut it into many smaller blobs. Because of its insane replication rate, at this rate it will swallow everything. They need to destroy it faster than its replication rate in one shot. Hibiki suggests combining their Swan Song. Battle Harmonics has Hibiki melding all their Swan Songs together into a single melody but it causes her to shoulder the immense burden. The blob is destroyed and Hibiki is crying not because of the after effects. It’s the pain of the heart of Shirabe calling her a hypocrite. Is she?

Episode 3
Nastassja analyzes their harmonic Swan Song that not only magnifies its destructive power but alleviate any stress from imperfect synchronization between body and Relic. It is a reason why they could use this method to destroy falling pieces of the moon and return safely. Those pieces she has used to awaken a beast called Nephilim. A week has passed since the incident and no word or action has come from Fine after that. Ogawa has done lots of tracing and found some unusual large scale medical supplies purchase to fictional sources. He will investigate further. Shirabe is still angry at Hibiki’s remarks. She can’t accept her as the heroine who saved mankind as she carries no burden of her own. Ah well, people like them have their own views and ideals they’re fighting for. It seems Ver is safe and is working for Nastassja. They are discussing their next phase of the plan. Nastassja leaves it to Ver for the next step and the question is will their prey take the bait. Hibiki and co are called in to launch an ambush at an abandoned hospital where the medical supplies were traced. It is believed where the Fine ladies are hiding out. The trio head in and realized this is a trap because the welcoming party is there to greet them. Heavy red mist and an army of Noise. After disposing the small fries, they manage to deflect an attack from Nephilim. Ver is amazed they can react this fast as he puts Nephilim back in its cage. They are surprised to see him defected. Obviously that attack was orchestrated so he could steal Solomon’s Cane and pretend to go missing. Ver explains Solomon’s Cane’s ability is to summon and control Noise and feels he is the one most suited to use it. Chris attacks but due to some lowered sync ratios, the Gears are placing great stress when used. The recoil of heavier attacks could kill them outright. A noise takes Nephilim to cross the sea. Tsubasa chases after it and cuts down the Noise. However it is Maria who retrieves Nephilim. Ver is arrested but he is not afraid. He explains Maria is the newly awakened and reborn Fine.

Episode 4
Our heroines are surprised that the villain of the previous season has returned and reincarnated. But what happens to the real Maria? Nobody knows. Tsubasa continues her fight with her and are equally matched. Chris thinks of doing some backup but Maria too has her backup. Kirika and Shirabe are here to secure Ver. Nastassja wants her girls to evacuate since they have recovered Nephilim. And their ship just pop out from thin air. I wonder what kind of technology they used. Tsubasa is worried Maria might be using some Linker drug like Kanade. Before Chris can fire a shot, the ship vanishes again. Cloaking ability? I thought it would be better if it was teleportation. Otherwise, shouldn’t you feel the wind disturbance if it was just being invisible? Kirika beats up Ver for his reckless act since it could have jeopardized their position. Well, he wanted to have some fun too. Now they have lost that base, it also means they have ran out of food source for Nephilim. It is quiet now since it is full but who knows when it will start going wild again. Genjurou learns Fine is made up of former members of the American military’s scientists, Federal Institute of Symphogear (FIS). Ver was also a member in FIS before Japan made their research public. This facility was also founded by Fine herself when she conspired with the Americans. It’s like she planned out everything from the start. Hibiki and Miku are attending a play of their friends at the cultural festival. Kirika and Shirabe are also there. But it’s not to have fun. Are they? They are to investigate the food source for Nephilim which are Relic fragments. Of course the girls can’t use their pendants since they are an important force. Maria will go take Tsubasa and co’s pendants but Shirabe disagrees. Because the more she uses her power, the stronger Fine’s soul grows and at this rate her real self will fade away. In exchange, they decide to do it on her behalf. And so they are here but can they steal Tsubasa’s pendant without her noticing? By force? Hibiki is surprised to see Chris on stage. Seems her friends put her up to a singing competition. At first she is scared but as she starts singing, the confidence grows. She remembers being transferred here and didn’t fit in but her friends never gave up. Now she is glad to call this place her home. Chris is announced as the winner unless there is somebody from the audience who would like to challenge her. There is. Kirika and Shirabe.

Episode 5
Kirika and Shirabe sing a song from Zwei Wing and that the loser of this competition must do one thing for the winner. Meanwhile special forces have found out Fine’s secret base. Maria is told to handle them but she doesn’t want to kill those normal humans. However it is Ver who goes on a rampage using Solomon’s Cane to kill the troops. When Ver kills a bunch of innocent kids passing by, Maria goes crazy. Right after Kirika and Shirabe finish their song, Nastassja contacts them about being discovered and to rendezvous at a certain location. Tsubasa and co go confront them before they leave school. They can’t fight and risk innocent people getting injured to they promised a duel to settle it in the future. When the Symphogear girls return to base, it is reported that Maria’s black Gungnir is an exact duplicate of Hibiki’s. Ryouko must have stolen it and gave the American government. The mind boggling part is why FIS would go so to make enemies of their home country. Nastassja reminds Maria she has no time to doubt herself. Flashback reveals Maria and her younger sister, Serena were part of an experiment to awaken Nephilim. Without a song, it is hard to control a forcibly awakened Relic. Serena offers to sing her song and believes she has the support of everyone even though Maria was against it. However it resulted in a lab explosion and the scientists were more concerned that an expensive test subject was destroyed instead of saving Serena. In the end, the building collapsed on her while Nastassja saved Maria. Kirika and Shirabe meet up with the rest but were slapped by Nastassja after they mention about the promise fight. She doesn’t want them to think this as a game. Ver thinks they can still turn things around to their favour and make that arranged promised duel. The place is the former site of Kadingir but the Symphogear girls are confronted with Ver instead. Shirabe and Kirika are locked up. The girls put up with Ver’s Noise. He reveals Fine’s plan to save humanity when the moon falls onto Earth. Of course those researching won’t announce it as not to spread panic. Also this means those who know about it are secretly devising a way to save themselves. They are going to use Nephilim to unite the people of the world and form one country and government. Ver makes Hibiki reflect on Shirabe’s hypocrite statement, that her fists may have protected a few but have also taken a lot of lives. In that hesitation, Nephilim bites off Hibiki’s left arm!!

Episode 6
Maria and the girls feel uneasy watching this. Is this what they should be doing? While Nephilim is powering up, Hibiki goes berserk from the shock. She transforms into a dark shadow. So awesome that her left arm materializes. Good as new? She even goes wild and beats up Nephilim, much to Ver’s dismay. The panicky doctor summons his Noise to attack buy crazy Hibiki destroys them all. She continues beating up Nephilim and tears out its heart! She would have gone after Ver too but it took a lot of restraining power for Tsubasa and Chris to hold her back. They notice her left arm very much intact. Nastassja’s condition worsens. Maria does first aid while Kirika and Shirabe reluctantly look for Ver as he is the only one capable of saving her. As Hibiki gets treated, she dreams of being shunned by others. People badmouthed her because she gets paid to fight Noise while others die. She was even called a murderer. Even her home and family got harassed. When Hibiki is discharged, she acts like her usual perky self but Tsubasa is not amused. Genjurou showed her hardened body tissues in Hibiki’s medical check-up. The fragments of Gungnir have spread through her body with continued usage. This Relic fusion will kill her soon. They are in a dilemma because Hibiki is a great asset in keeping FIS at bay and taking out Noises but they can’t let her fight anymore. Therefore Tsubasa acts as meanie telling Hibiki never to fight again because she has become a burden. They can fight without her. Ver like a hermit has finally found Nephilim’s heart. He takes it away like precious gold and with this, he can be hero once again. As Hibiki and friends walk home, they see several cars driven by special agents zooming past the corner. Then they crash. It is Ver and he won’t hand the heart over to everyone. Seeing Hibiki again, he panics and sets forth his Noise. Hibiki protects her friends and to Ver’s astonishment, she can touch the Noise without transforming.

Episode 7
Hibiki feels the power bursting through her body. The more Ver releases his Noise, the more Hibiki destroys them. Before she can do him in, here comes Shirabe and Kirika to his rescue. Hibiki starts feeling pain in her heart. Ver forcefully injects Linker drug into Shirabe and Kirika so they can sing their Swan Song and defeat Hibiki. There is the overdose side effect but Ver threatens that they must do as he says if they want Nastassja saved. Hibiki then sings her Battle Harmonics to leech away the duo’s. This leaves her in a vulnerable state. Kirika and Shirabe would like to finish her off but reinforcements are coming so they must not waste time in completing their objective of bringing Ver back. Hibiki is on the verge of overheating. Tsubasa slices the water tower to cool her down. Hibiki collapses and Tsubasa wonders if she has failed to save her. Ver fixes Nastassja back up to good. Now she has regrets thinking what she was making those good girls do. Ver shows them Nephilim’s heart he has retrieved and has fed it with enough Relics to bring its power back to normal. As this heart is needed to activate Frontier, they have determined the location of Shenshou Jing, something that is needed to release the seal on Frontier. Genjurou tells Miku what is happening with Hibiki’s body. The logic is that Gungnir will stop fusing the less Hibiki fights. But Genjurou says she is Hibiki’s best friend and the strongest link she has to for an ordinary life. Therefore he suspects spending time with her is the only thing that can hold Gungnir back. Nastassja tells Maria she doesn’t have to play Fine anymore as she doesn’t harbour the slightest trace of Fine’s soul in her. It also failed to reincarnate in any of the potential vessels. Shirabe and Kirika are hanging out together at a construction site when the metal beams start to fall on them. Kirika unknowingly unleashes some powerful barrier as protection.

Episode 8
Maria remembers Nastassja told her she was needed to play Fine in order to convince Ver to their side. Now she feels odd that she doesn’t need to do so anymore when they have Nephilim’s heart and Shenshou Jing. Kirika ponders who she saved Shirabe. Did she really do that? She also saw a mysterious woman before her eyes. Could that be who she thinks she is? Nastassja explains Shenshou Jing’s power to camouflage (based on bending light) and exorcise evil. Ver eagerly awaits Nastassja’s result to unseal Frontier. However it turns to disappointment when it doesn’t work. Even more disappointing when she hints she knew it wouldn’t work and it’s like she brought them here just to demonstrate how far they are from unsealing Frontier. That’s why they need to have an important discussion. Ver looking crazily mad… Genjurou’s team detect subtle differences in the official report of the moon’s trajectory. Seems it will fall sooner than later, the reason why FIS is acting now. Hibiki ponders about Tsubasa’s harsh words, especially how she wanted to ban Hibiki from fighting ever again. But she can’t waste her precious time brooding because she’s supposed to be out with Miku. Nastassja and Maria go see US government agents to strike the deal. But soon as they reach the agreement, the agents decide to dispose of them. So much about this thing called negotiation, huh? Suddenly a horde of Noise attack and take out those double crossing agents. Good riddance. However the surrounding area is attacked too. Maria transforms and fights off the US army. They seem to not hesitate to shoot innocent fleeing civilians! This works up Maria as she slaughters them. She blames herself this happened because she couldn’t be Fine’s vessel. Hibiki wants to help a lost boy looking for his mom. Against Miku’s wishes, she compromises that she will not use her power. After doing so, the building starts to collapse. Miku can’t hold onto Hibiki’s hand for long. Miku laments she can’t save her but Hibiki hopes she can let her do her part today and one day when she is really in trouble, she can save her then. Yeah, when will that be? Miku lets go as Hibiki transforms and lands safely below (imagine how hard the impact from the crater she created). When she is about to go rescue Miku, the tower explodes. Shouldn’t both the girls drop together and when Hibiki transforms, she can save her and then land, right? She’s fast enough to do that, no?

Episode 9
Hibiki is depressed so Chris and Tsubasa had to do the cleanup work. Kirika and Shirabe want to know what is going on but Nastassja remains quiet. Ver happily explains about the failed negotiations with the Americans and that Maria isn’t a vessel for Fine. Maria continues that they had second thoughts about saving mankind from the moon’s fall in a decade. Nastassja wanted to get the Americans help by sharing what they knew about Frontier but it backfired. If the negotiations succeeded, they would have lost the upper hand so Ver unleashed Noise and wreck havoc. Maria sides with Ver and believes in his way and brute force can change the world and maintain justice. Miku is alive and imprisoned by them. She was saved by Maria because her situation reminded her of Serena. However Ver ordered Miku to be brought back to base as he has some use for her. Genjurou shows Hibiki a transmitter from Miku. It showed that she got away from a tower and is alive. This brings back Hibiki’s drive and everyone goes on a training stint. Really. Genjurou is singing?! WTF?! Hibiki is passionately excited like her usual self. Tsubasa is calm and Chris is struggling. It’s like she has this I-wish-I-wasn’t-doing-this face. Kirika thinks Fine resides inside her if it’s not Maria. Shirabe says she wants to help Maria and not Fine so Kirika wonders if she is scared because if Maria is not the vessel, one of them might be it. As part of Ver’s plan to get world attention, he lets Noise attack an American warship. Tsubasa and Chris prepare to head out and warn Hibiki to stay back in the base. Shirabe can’t stand the sight of the weak being slaughtered so she goes down to fight the Noise, much to Kirika’s dismay. Then she goes to help her but it’s just a ruse to inject Anti-Linker into her. Ver using Kirika’s feelings of wanting to bring back Shirabe, makes her use the drug that forcibly lower’s her sync ration as it takes effect immediately. Kirika hints that she may cease to be herself any time. She wants to leave something behind and hopes Shirabe won’t forget her. Even if she disappears and the world remains, the memories they have will always be there. That’s why she’ll protect the world as Ver’s wishes. Tsubasa and Chris arrive on scene and have the advantage since Kirika is only fighting. Ver knows a way to tilt the scales back to their favour. He sends Miku in Symphogear into action!

Episode 10
Seems Ver has used Miku to use Shenshou Jing to form a Gear. He manages to persuade her that she can get what her heart desires and he didn’t even use a Linker for it. He used the persuasion of love! What’s love got to do with it?! Chris takes on Miku and although she wins the first round, Miku revives and counter attacks with a super blast. Chris uses her barrier to protect but how long can she last? Before it erases her, Tsubasa grabs everyone and rides upwards away from the beam that disintegrates everything in its path. Ver then unleashes tons of Noise and attack the other battleships. Chris is forced to take care of this menace as Genjurou orders the evacuation of the rest. Kirika seems to be desperate to kill Tsubasa and leave something for Shirabe to remember. This Ogawa must be an amazing guy because he rescues Shirabe and runs on water!!! No kidding! Meanwhile they detect Miku’s Symphogear to disperse all sorts of energy. Meaning, they can’t use Symphogear against her. You can’t fight fire with fire. Hibiki has a plan. Ver too has a plan. Due to Miku’s powerful beam, they can use to break Frontier’s seal. Hibiki confronts Miku and tries to convince her to come home. She won’t till she creates a new world where Hibiki doesn’t have to fight. Hibiki doesn’t want that kind a world. She wants the kind of world where she is enveloped by a warmth of light when she’s by her side. She will fight her to not let that happen. And so they fight. But Hibiki must be quick as she has her limit before she breaks apart. This is part of Hibiki’s plan to use that beam to free Miku. Genjurou forbids her since it is suicide. He forbids her to die. Her reply: She’ll come back alive even if it kills her! Oh, now I’ve heard it all. As Hibiki is starting to show signs of meltdown, Miku realizes this is not what she wants but she can’t control herself. Maria has prepared all the necessary reflectors to beam it down to Frontier. The moment it fires, Hibiki pushes and holds on tightly to Miku. They both get in the path of the beam. The giant Frontier surfaces from the sea. But there is another surprise: Chris shoots Tsubasa!

Episode 11
Shirabe is taken into custody. Frontier is actually bigger than it is and what they’ve seen is just the tip of the iceberg. Miku is doing fine and thanks to that beam, she is cured. Before she can blame herself for hurting Hibiki, Hibiki thanks her that she is the one who saved her and the good news is that the beam also cured Hibiki. Although she cannot summon her Gear anymore, at least she won’t die. In short, she is a normal girl now. As for Chris, she has defected to Ver’s side. She believes that gaining more power will stop fighting in this world. Somehow she did not kill Tsubasa. Did she miss on purpose? Inside Frontier, Ver uses Nephilim’s heart to start it up. Then he injects Linker into his arm and turns it into a monstrous one just to take command of Frontier. Then it’s like some magic hand doing a slam dunk using the moon! WTF?! The Americans think they can take out Frontier with their puny cannons. Well, look at this. Ver controls gravity and floats all the ships before crushing them like tin can. Easy peasy. Maria doubts if this power will save mankind because Ver is excited in playing the last action hero. Worse, his slam dunk move made the moon closer to Earth and escalated its fall. At this rate mankind will be wiped out. Ver disagrees because he will still be alive. Technically, mankind is still saved if there is still one guy, right? And technically too, Ver isn’t human anymore, right? And he has plans for repopulation after that… Maria falls into despair. Since Tsubasa can’t be fighting herself, Hibiki suggests they have another Gear user to fight. They free Shirabe from her cuffs and hopes she will fight alongside them. She still brands Hibiki a hypocrite but even so, Hibiki won’t lie to herself. She wants Shirabe to do whatever wants. They’ll help her save her friends too. Genjurou didn’t see it coming that Hibiki took a ride on Shirabe into a battlefield. He clearly warned and forbade her to fight. She isn’t going to fight. She’s going to help people. Well, well. She knows her way with words now. Tsubasa confronts Chris and they fight. Shirabe meets Kirika and they fight. Hibiki is left to soldier on alone. Shirabe believes in the song in her heart. Ex-comrades and ex-friends fighting, Maris sinks into further despair and blames herself. Nastassja contacts her and informs she has found an ancient heretic way on Frontier that will prevent the moon from falling. But for this final ray of hope, she needs Maria’s song to set it free.

Episode 12
Kirika reveals she is the vessel for Fine. This is all the more reason for Shirabe to stop her. Because they love each other so much that they’re willing to kill each other. Maria broadcasts to the entire world and reveals about her fake portrayal of Fine to everything. She then sings so that she can return the moon back to its normal orbit (some mumbo jumbo from Nastassja that I couldn’t understand). Tsubasa notices a collar on Chris’ neck. She thinks she has been taken hostage. It seems Ver wants Chris to end the match quickly or he won’t hand her Solomon’s Cane and that bomb in her neck will blow up. Chris wants to end this in a single round so both ladies use their ultimate technique on each other. Kirika and Shirabe power up their Gear to the next level in their fight. Shirabe tries to make her understand that a world without her is not what she wants. Kirika is about to strike Shirabe when the latter puts up a strong barrier. Kirika realizes it was Shirabe who had been Fine’s vessel all along. She feels so guilty that she wants to kill herself. Unfortunately Shirabe uses her own body to protect her. See? You’ve killed your own friend. Ver sees Chris next to defeated Tsubasa. However true to his villainous self he won’t hold up the end of his bargain. He tries to activate the bomb but it’s not working. Because it’s broken. During their fight, Tsubasa slashed it. Ver summons Noise and uses Anti-Linker to render Chris unable to use her Gear. I don’t know what she did because she just burst out from her suit and the splinters kill the Noise. Now she’s naked. Oh, the cowardly doctor dropped Solomon’s Cane somewhere and they’re going to die.

Before that happens, Tsubasa revives and disposes the Noise. I don’t understand about the Anti-Linker reducing her stress or something. Ver escapes. Chris apologizes for going off herself but Tsubasa forgives her. She got to see her heroic side. Chris couldn’t understand why she can still trust her just based on her words but because of so, she’ll always be on their side. It’s where she belongs and can call home. Meanwhile Shirabe meets Fine deep in her unconscious mind. It seems Fine has taken the blow for her. As I understand, in this way she could lay low in taking over anyone’s soul. It’s odd that after playing the villain for millennia, she wants to be the hero? That’s why she’s letting Shirabe and the rest do the job and handle this. And so Shirabe comes back alive much to Kirika’s relief. Meanwhile Maria is sinking into despair and feels her song cannot save anyone. Till the doctor knocks her out. Nastassja tries to convince Ver that they can still return the moon to normal but he’s not interested at all. If she really wants to do it so bad, she can fly there herself. He ejects her and sends her flying to the moon! Maria is going to kill him and couldn’t care less if it means killing off humanity. She has no more reason to live. That scared you, Ver? However Hibiki stops her and gives her a pep talk not to give up living. Maria doesn’t listen and strikes but Hibiki catches her blade with her hand. Then when she sings, it’s like she neutralizes Maria’s Gear and she dons Gungnir back again. Maria can’t believe the kind of song Hibiki has. Is it the song from her heart?

Episode 13
Ver as usual becomes a coward and retreats to some operation room. As long as his left hand is a monster, he controls Frontier. Genjurou and Ogawa will find Ver so she leaves it to Hibiki to stop Nephilim’s heart. She meets up with her pals but Ver unleashes Nephilim to kick them out of his ‘garden’. Maria is reeling in depression that she’s useless. Probably she is so depressed that she is seeing visions of Serena. Or maybe she descended from heaven just to give her some encouragement. As they sing together, the world also sings with them. Nastassja (looking very odd that her body is now semi-robot) realizes that with this much Phonic gain, it is possible to put the moon back into orbit. So she contacts Maria to tell her to sing and activate something. Nastassja will sacrifice herself to prevent the moon from falling. Kirika and Shirabe join Hibiki and co in fighting Nephilim. Soon, Maria too. Everyone hold hands and start singing their Swan Song. Can 6 Swan Songs be enough to defeat it? Not just them singing but the entire population of Earth! Ver doesn’t want to be defeated yet so he releases Nephilim’s heart that will go on a rampage and feed on everything. Genjurou knows they can’t do anything about this so he leaves it to the Symphogear girls. He arrests Ver and takes him back to the ship where everyone escapes Frontier-turning-into-Nephilim. Ver wants Genjurou to kill him now and save lots of trouble. However that won’t do because he won’t allow Ver to die a villain who destroyed Earth or a hero who sacrificed himself for his ideals. He will be judged by the law like every other human. You mad, Ver?

With Nephilim an even hideous monster, the Symphogear girls transform and power up into their more powerful form to fight it. However Nephilim is eating their power too. Chris uses Solomon’s Cane to open a portal to the other world. Their plan is to trap it there. However it grabs Maria. She plans to sacrifice herself and be the hero by closing the gate and trapping Nephilim together. Of course the rest won’t let her hog the spotlight and everyone enters the portal together. Now they have infinite Noise to fight. Of course since they have Solomon’s Cane, it is possible to reopen the portal from this side but Maria must keep her focus. She is successful but Nephilim blocks their way. Couldn’t she have opened the portal closer? Then everybody hold hands, unleash some super final ultimate weapon in the form of giant gauntlets and smash through Nephilim and through the portal. Although back on Earth, it’s not over yet because they must close the portal because Nephilim’s explosion comes over and wipes out Earth. But the girls are too tired to move. Who can they rely on? They’ve one more comrade: Miku. She comes running, picks up Solomon’s Cane and throws it back into the portal in the nick of time. Nephilim’s explosion perhaps destroyed all the Noise over there. And once again the day is saved. In the aftermath, it is reported that the moon has gone back to its original trajectory but no contact could be made with Nastassja. Hibiki gives Gungnir Relic back to Maria but the latter views she is a suitable holder for it. Maria and Hibiki say their final goodbyes. The former is glad to have met her. I guess they’re going away to do time for their initial crime too. Ver has already gone cuckoo. Although things are back to normal, some mumbo jumbo they said that the events have prevented humans from understanding one another and in fact it pushes them even further from that. But Hibiki is not worried because as long as there are songs.

OVA 1
This is the first of 2 short OVAs that lasts approximately 13 minutes each and drawn in typical cute chibi fashion. Divided into several short skits and parts over both the seasons, the first OVA starts off with events roughly 2 weeks after at the end of the first season in which the moon was partly destroyed: Tsubasa and Hibiki confined and the latter Hibiki just can’t sit still and can’t help worry about things; Likewise Chris finds Hibiki’s scatterbrain a tad annoying (all she wants is just peace and quiet); Chris reflecting on her actions but feels scared when Tsubasa just stares into her like a creepy stalker; Chris being officially admitted into the team and given a place to live in which Tsubasa and Hibiki got a duplicate key too (privacy not guaranteed!); Chris flustering when Hibiki wants to hold her hand during the announcement of a Noise emergency; When Hibiki finally gets to see Miku, the latter starts hitting her and doesn’t stop. The pain…; Right before the start of the second season, Hibiki explains how Symphogear works (something like a karaoke machine?); Hibiki and Miku relocating to a bigger room in the dorm (Miku having trouble sleeping with Hibiki because she is like her sunshine that shines so bright. Geddit?); Chris getting her allowance but since she doesn’t know what to spend on or squander it like her comrades, she forces Genjurou to tag along. But to buy a Buddhist altar? Maybe she needs somebody to carry it home; Tsubasa pondering on her role in the battlefield while waiting backstage for her show while Ogawa quizzes her on several stuffs to promote her single; Chris using the altar as prayers to her deceased parents.

OVA 2
The second of the OVAs has the skits take place during the second season. This includes Hibiki saying goodbye to Miku for she is assigned with Chris to that escort-cum-protect mission in USA (Miku hints she is afraid she will cheat on her!); Maria taking relishing taking the foods at the table; Maria puts up a snobbish greeting with Tsubasa in the backstage but later feels relieved as she sensed the tenseness and feels she can’t compete against a force like that; On the other hand, Tsubasa thinks she is the cute type; A few days after the terrorist organization began to move, there is another emergency: Tsubasa has received a flood of offers after the broadcast of that quiz show. Ogawa takes the initiative to have her enter more of such variety shows to increase her presence overseas. More burden and work for her; After Maria and co’s abandonment of the abandoned hospital, Kirika and Shirabe end up with cooking duties but can’t help argue putting in the right seasoning. The stubbornness ends when they accidentally finish taste testing the stew; The duo go shopping and lookout for bargain prices but Kirika gets the wrong idea about the mackerel; While sleeping at night, Shirabe is rudely awakened when she notices Kirika giving a deathly stare at her. So she just wants to sleep together? So they end up sleeping with Maria but cause lots of trouble with their cold hands and feet. She’s so warm…; Shirabe worries when Kirika sits with her knees, sometimes her panties are visible; After Chris is bummed out over that training with Genjurou, she wonders this package reward he gave. It’s not candy she hoped for but a DVD of something shocking. She calls Genjurou to give her thanks now she knows it is possible to use firearms at close range; During the time when Frontier rises from the ocean, Miku remembers what Hibiki told her about the workings of Symphogear. Like a karaoke, right? Straight from the user’s heart and mind, right? She took it too literally and screams in fear; After the Frontier incident is resolved, Hibiki becomes a blabbermouth of wanting to be friends with Maria and co. Hmm… Ever notice that Chris is always full of angst most of the time? And lastly, Shirabe hands Kirika a mysterious letter that sends her panicking… Next season?

Sing Your Heart Out!
I didn’t really get all that saving the world crap thingy and even if it was just as simple as the moon falling out of orbit and crashing into Earth, everything else seems to have made it complicated. You know, Noise, Gear, Relic, FIS, America, Japan and anything else in the mix. I guess this is not really the end of it yet because a third season has been announced. Can’t get enough of babes in hard battle suits singing? I suppose there is some sort of allure to them. Maybe that’s why I stick around to watch the second season. Still, it feels odd that the girls really do sing when they’re fighting. It still boggles my mind how they can talk and sing at the same time. Unless there is some sort of tape recorder that plays while they’re in action. But that defeats the purpose of it all since you’re supposed to sing from your heart, right? That’s what they’re trying to focus on here. The song of the heart.

So characters from last season are still as they are with a little development. Hibiki the sunshiny cheerful girl and the one doing most of the battles in the front line. They try to put some drama about her arm bitten off and the fact Gungnir is going to kill her when it spreads throughout her body. In the end, everything was nothing to worry for and Hibiki will be as good as new like before, as though all those bad stuffs never happened to her. Tsubasa now has an even more caring side. She values her teammates preciously. Chris may be a little rough around the edge but it’s good to know that she knows where she belongs and thank goodness it is on the good side. After that hell she went through in the first season, you think she wants a repeat of that? Genjurou plays a lesser role in this season as he is mostly seen commanding his crew from the ship than playing master-cum-trainer role to the girls. However he still keeps an eye out for the girls. I don’t know if Genjurou is supposed to be the manliest of men since he’s got the strength and physical looks for it. Miku has certainly more role to play this season. Already worried about her best friend, she gets to experience what it’s like to be a Symphogear user and even play a part in helping her friends in certain crucial events. You don’t need to have Relics to be a super hero.

As for the new characters, the most ‘amazing’ one goes to the vile and despicable Ver. One word: Crazy. He is everything you would love to hate for in a villain. From being a psychopath who wants to play hero and God by destroying Earth for his own ideal world to a cowardly asshole who runs away when the situation changes the slightest against his favour. The more time passes, the crazier he becomes to a point I think he could end up senile and in a mental institution. Oh wait. He may be already there. So Ver has to be the main baddie since it would be an atrocity and a crime to put a beautiful lady and a couple of lolis as villains. They may have different ideals but eventually they did come together as one. What’s the use of this show if you can’t have all the Symphogear users uniting as one and combating evil? These girls are imperfect too as they have their own insecurities. In a way, it feels a little meh. Maria put up a strong and unyielding performance when she started out as a Fine hostage but then soon falters and caved in to her emotional side after seeing so many mindless deaths. I guess this proves she is human. Kirika and Shirabe have their own torment to deal with too but as it goes to show that as long as you have your friends around to support and believe in you, you’ll do just fine. I’m not sure to rule Nastassja out or not because nobody heard from her again and that she’s coughing so much blood out, by the time she reaches the moon, that will be her final resting place. Then again, that robot suit may be prolonging her life. Still looks funny, though.

The action is still okay though I won’t say it is disappointing or totally awesome. For a casual viewer like me, it was just enough to be passed as entertainment. The Symphogear outfit that they wear sometimes remind me that they are the sci-fi and more violent version of magical girls. Besides, who else can Symphogear girls fight besides Noise and big bad monsters like Nephilim? The American military? Woah. Let us not go there. It’s bad enough that they have been painted like double crossing agents and ‘food sacrifice’ for the Noise. Speaking of Noise, I still find it really funny that their colourful exterior and strange designs. But not as funny as when they touch humans and turn them into carbon. I know it’s not a matter to laugh when people die but it’s the way it was shown. It’s when they rush into the scene and touch the person and they instantly turn black. It’s like they are rushing in to give a big hug and say “Come here ya’ all. Give this Noise a nice big hug”. And upon contact, whoosh! Black carbon. It happens so fast that it looks comical. Maybe they don’t want to bore us with the details of showing us the ‘slower’ deaths and speed things up.

Still one of the amusing things from last season is the way the Symphogear girls unleash their special attacks. When they do so, the name of that attack is displayed on the screen in a flashy style and font. Every one of them seems to have their own design and theme like Tsubasa’s Japanese scroll type, Chris’ metallic Megadeth style, Miku’s very yellowish and flowery light and Kirika’s Halloween feel. Speaking of Kirika, her moves are a mix of alpha-numeric which may sometimes be hard to pronounce such as Kill Juliet which is written as Kill Jul13t and The Slasher Jabberwock which is displayed as Th3 Sl4sh3r J4bb3rwock. The plainest design of them all I think is Shirabe. It’s like just big plain white kanji writing in boring fonts over a plain black boring background. Some are in boring red and they are meant to highlight the Greek letters like alpha, sigma or omega. Boring…

Joining the casts this season include Youko Hikasa as Maria who sounds very much like other similar characters she voiced like Erica in Campione and Rias in High School DxD. Then there is Tomokazu Sugita as Ver and he sounds like having a blast being a crazy doctor. Just imagine an evil version of Gintama’s Gintoki. On second thought, don’t. Then there is Kikuko Inoue who yet once again manages to surprise me with her non-dreamy voice. She must be moving away from that because as Nastassja here, it reminded me of a recent anime I just watched, Ariel in Gen’ei Wo Kakeru Taiyou. Or maybe she’s getting older and no longer eternally 17 years old… Whoops! The rest of the line-up includes Yoshino Nanjou as Shirabe (Kokoro in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Ai Kayano as Kirika (Inori in Guilty Crown) and Yui Horie making her cameo as Serena (titular character in Miss Monochrome).

Just like last season, this season is not short of songs especially the insert songs. If I’m not mistaken, this season has more of them compared to last season since there are a bunch of new Symphogear girls in the fray. All of them I noticed have this techno rock feel which in a way is suitable since you need to get pumping and the adrenaline running if you’re going to sing and fight your way through all those Noise. Personally, the most amusing one of them all I find is Chris (the punk rock of Bye-Bye Lullaby) because of the lyrics. Because it’s like she’s rebuking in her song with lines such as “Go to hell” (the most prominent one), “Piss off” and “You’re trash so let death do the talking”. Telling your enemy that they’re useless and she is the superior one so forget about praying for God’s help because the devil’s here. And she doesn’t care. Yeah. It was really funny from my perspective and yet so fitting. I suppose this is what you need when you beat up your enemies. The words may even be enough to take away your fighting spirit. Or make you laugh. Of course this season’s opening theme is still handled by Nana Mizuki, the rock techno piece of Vitalization still has that vibrant energy but somehow I feel it is not as vibrant as the first season. Ayahi Takagi handles the main ending theme, a typical anime rock, Next Destination. However this time the ending credits animation isn’t some horror fest and feels more like some friendship thingy. Probably it’s because Chris has turned over to the good side. Youko Hikasa is a good singer herself so also has an ending theme albeit it is just the first episode, the dramatic piece mixed with some orchestra effects, Ressou Yari – Gungnir.

Well, I don’t know what else to say. Seems complicated when you put in all the terms and jargon and all the items or stuffs involved just to activate this so that it would lead to that and ultimately causing that effect. Uh huh. Destroying the world is just as tough as saving it. So I am not sure what else is there more for the girls to save when the third season comes. I can speculate about lots of things like the return of Ryouko (maybe she had a change of heart this time and decided to go back to her evil roots), or while they have saved the moon they somehow made the sun come closer and it’s speeding up global warming and heating things up (I know it’s crap, but that is what mainly this show is, right?), or even another dimension where a new breed of intelligent Noise is bent on taking over the world and give the Symphogear girls a run for their money. More characters, new Symphogear girls and more songs to sing. You can’t go wrong when you have cute girls in battle gears singing, right?

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san OVA

December 20, 2013

I know the second season is long gone and over. And my blog is quite late. Even so this is just Haiyore! Nyaruko-san OVA, which is actually the OVA that came out after the first season as some sort of pre-announcement for the second season. Not that I have forgotten. Really. I have my reasons for watching it late. Really. That reason does not include of being tired of Nyaruko’s slutty antics.  Anybody who loves slapstick comedy like Gintama or Sket Dance would surely love Nyaruko. I mean, who wouldn’t love the cute loving Nyarlathotep AKA Nyaruko-san (although her crazy antics are very questionable and never to be followed by anyone, anytime and anywhere). Even more lovable she is voiced by Kana Asumi who really brings out the crazy life in Nyaruko. Don’t you just love her? Maybe not so for Mahiro who is having a hard time trying to control this wild child and prevent himself from being dragged into her typical annoyance and harassment. When you have an alien living under your rooftop (make that several aliens), life is definitely never going to be the same. Need I say why anymore? The OVA lasts only 15 minutes but it is still packed with Nyaruko’s trademark craziness.

Magical Girl Nyaruko-san
Nyaruko and the gang watch a tokusatsu programme and she is very taken in by this transformation thingy. I didn’t know she got this transformation craving. But soon after that, she starts watching a magical girl show and is even more fixated in this genre. Mahiro notes if she would only defeat her enemies this way instead of her gory and violent method. This sets up Nyaruko to flirt with him (hounding him for a kiss while at it) but you know it’s never going to make it. Mahiro suggests Nyaruko to become a magical girl so that she could satisfy her transformation craving. And so Luhy is roped in to teach her since she had some experience doing some magical girl show on a rooftop of some building. Yeah. They figured she knows a lot about it. Because Nyaruko mocks her age of reaching 30’s (that’s very old for a magical girl), Luhy gets pissed and is going to make Nyaruko eat her words. Woah. She’s scary… Even Nyaruko’s scared.

Luhy takes the gang to some alternate time space dimension to train Nyaruko. In this twisted space, 2 hours in normal time outside is worth a month inside here. As the rest don’t want to bother them (I don’t think they can wait that long sticking around here either), they leave and I suppose Nyaruko lost her ultimate motivation (read: Mahiro) to watch her train. You’re on your own. Luhy is going to pound all the magical girl etiquette and mannerism in her. Don’t you dare look down on magical girls… Let the Spartan training begin! Hanyaa! When they finally return, Nyaruko has changed. Hmm… Very nice. Very polite. Nice smile. She longer fears anything. Just like a magical girl, she senses some bad kids in the neighbourhood and rushes to the scene to ‘correct’ them. Oh no. Mahiro knows something isn’t right. He has a hunch the training didn’t go right. See Luhy averting her eyes? That says a lot. You know what this means. Time to check on Nyaruko so that she doesn’t mess up.

Arriving at the construction site, there are many Nightgaunts, the supposed ‘bad kids’ Nyaruko is talking about. We have got the obligatory transformation scene for Nyaruko to transform into a magical girl and her typical magical girl speech to purify those wicked souls. After a little magic incantation, a little magical effects… The Nightgaunts start bleeding like hell! And then she whips out her magical wand, which is actually a decorated crowbar and is going to kill all the bad kids!!! Because good kids are those who have died! She might have saved their souls but she is going to redeem their bodies as well by sending it to Heaven! Oh God. It’s like Nyaruko never changed. Violent and gory. Nyaruko going really crazy this time. I guess Luhy drilled her too much. She might have created a monster. An evil magical girl. As she burns the Nightgaunts, the rest comment how they prefer the old Nyaruko. Kuuko has a suggestion to turn things back to normal. Before Nyaruko gets this idea of ridding this world full of bad kids, she is made to look into some device that is similar to those memory erasing devices you see in MIB (Men In Black). Remember to put your sunglasses on. Nyaruko wakes up back home and has no memories of what happened. She asserts tokusatsu is better than magical girl. And everyone loves this Nyaruko better. Maybe not for Mahiro. Okay, maybe he does too. He just doesn’t show it.

We Love Any Kind Of Nyaruko!
As short as this OVA maybe, it is still enjoyable and fun simply because of Nyaruko. Forgive me if I tend to sound bias since Nyaruko is obviously what makes this series great. Obviously. She’s the star of this show, right? So whether she becomes a magical girl or a tokusatsu hero or some megalomaniac that is hell bent on taking over the world (or even destroying it), Nyaruko will always be Nyaruko and we will love her for all the crazy antics she brings just to make us laugh. They don’t call this the “anime that always creeps up beside you with a smile” for nothing. I notice that Mahiro is reduced to just some guy who seems sluggish throughout this entire OVA. It’s like he is tired and expected Nyaruko’s whims. He even sounded weary in playing the straight guy. Too much Nyaruko has zapped his energy? Well for his case, it is good to not pay too much unnecessary attention to her. You’ll wear yourself out. Maybe that’s why it took me so long to watch the OVA. And perhaps it will take a while before I get my ass moving to watch the second season. Unless Nyaruko comes bugging me every now and then. Then I’ll just fork it to her. Heh…

Let me remind you that I am not a closet mecha fan. Despite over the years I have been watching a handful of mecha themed series, this doesn’t mean that I am a mecha fan. The reason why I watched Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse is because I read despite having mecha elements, it has some romance elements. Besides, it is based on a visual novel and with adult elements. You can see where this is going, right? It is only later that I realized that this anime adaption isn’t really of the original Muv-Luv works but one of its sequels or alternate worlds. A big misconception I had about this being a romance or harem series was my experience with Infinite Stratos. Instead of kids in an academy with mecha for sports, we have young adults from all over the world fighting real menacing aliens with their lives on the line. Amidst the chaos and disorder, romance can still blossom. And so I thought. Romance, yes there is. But it’s not what I hope for it would develop like in Infinite Stratos.

A race of dangerous aliens has drove mankind to the near brink of extinction. To counter these alien threats, giant armed mecha robots have been developed as man’s final defence against them. Of course it isn’t as easy as it seems since you need trained pilots, supplies and lots of other preparations just to go into war. This series focuses on a group of test pilots in a new development project to create the most effective mecha and weapon against the aliens. Their bonds and relationship tested through testing times. Of course the aliens won’t be just the enemy. We all know too well the biggest enemy is our own kind. It’s tough being human…

Episode 1
As narrated, mankind’s first contact with extra-terrestrial beings started in 1967. However they were hostile. Termed as BETA (Being of Extra Terrestrial origin which is an Adversary of the human race), mankind used all they had against BETA but that did not stop them from reaching Earth. Fast forward to 1997 and in the imperial capital of Japan, Kyoto, high school girl Yui Takahashi and her friends are budding pilots of Tactical Surface Fighters (TSF) who will one day help defend their nation and the world against the charge of BETA. As students of the Imperial Guard Training Academy, life seems pretty normal for these high school girls. Yui has an uncle in the Imperial Army whom she respects and he has returned shortly for a visit. Eiji Iwaya gives her some advice since she will soon start her live training and to be patient. They need all the good TSF fighters they can get if they are to prevent BETA from overwhelming their beautiful nation. Yui and her friends start practising on how to pilot TSF and she even had a rival-turned-friend. A fatal accident soon demoralizes some of them. Reports come in that BETA have invaded the Korean Peninsula and are on the verge of advancing to the Japanese islets. In a blink of an eye, they came. One of Yui’s friends become devastated when her boyfriend is killed in action. A big evacuation is ordered as Kyoto becomes the final defence line. Yui and her other trainee friends may have no combat experience so they are tasked to defend the temporary supply base. However the BETA scout group are advancing fast and closing in on the base so it’s time to scramble.

Episode 2
The trainees employ what they learn in training but reality is often a different case. You don’t learn it in classes. So when one by one Yui’s friends gradually gets taken out, the situation becomes crazier. They become desperate. Attacks become too great. The base has fallen. It’s no use trying to hold BETA back as their numbers are increasing. As they make a run, they are still not safe because Laser type BETAs are firing at them and they need to hover as close to the ground. The artillery support from the battleships gives them some reprieve. But when their base instructor is taken out, Yui is left to assume control and leadership on what’s left of her teammates. Kyoto has fallen and overrun by BETA. Yui and friends continue their run when their training instructor shows up in response to their SOS signal. He makes his last stand against BETA so that the girls can escape. However they crash into a giant BETA. When Yui regains consciousness, she gets out of her cockpit to see one of her friends being devoured by Soldier type BETAs. Another friend is trapped in a cockpit and the BETAs are trying to pry it open. She yells to Yui to shoot her but she can’t and misses all her shots. Unfortunately her friend got eaten alive. She is about to share the same fate when a Takemikazuchi type TSF flies in to easily destroy all the BETAs around her. She passes out. When she wakes up in a makeshift hospital, the entire surrounding is decimated. She wonders when the living stopped counting the dead. Is the world walking to the path of extinction? But when she sees a newborn baby amidst the countless corpses, she emotionally breaks down and perhaps there is still hope. Three years later, Yui has hardened up and now the rank of lieutenant in the Imperial Army. She is on her way to Alaska and vows to reject extinction, never to cry like that again.

Episode 3
Americans Yuuya Bridges and Vincent Lowell are on their way to Yukon base in Alaska. Along the way, their plane got caught in a mock battle between hot headed TSF pilots. Yuuya’s quick thinking saves the plane from collision. Yuuya meets his other fellow test pilots of Argos Flight. Swedish Stella Bremer, Nepalese Tarisa Manandal and Italian Valerio “VG” Giacosa. Also on this XFJ Project are Yui, Captain Ibrahim Dogulu from Turkey and Professor Frank Heinemann, the technical advisor of Boening Corp. This project is to help improve the Japanese military’s type 94. Yuuya notices the nations involved in this project are all those who had their country lost to BETA. Their first test to get to know each other is a mock combat. Hot headed Tarisa didn’t like Yuuya as the unit’s leader as he has never been in the front lines like the rest. You can see her clashing with him very often. It’s like she has a big problem. Little girl got a set of big egos, I guess. The mock combat begins with Yuuya-Stellar against Tarisa-VG. Tarisa is so bent on teaching Yuuya a lesson that she forgot all about teamwork and her team lost. The test pilots become good friends at the end of the simulation. Yuuya bumps into Yui and he thought she was amazed by his skill. However to his surprise, she calls him a disappointment.

Episode 4
Yuuya has a hard time controlling his Japanese TSF because of the different philosophies between their countries. So it’s like Yuuya and Yui are on an eternal warpath of arguing. In a simulation fighting BETA, Yuuya is still unable to get used to the controls and slows everyone down and even had them come to cover him. Yuuya complains about the toughness to handle the TSF so Yui shoots him down he lacks talent. On his way back, he meets a little Russian girl, Inia Sestina who seems happy to meet him. She brings him back to her base to meet her family member. It’s Misha. Her teddy bear. However Inia’s partner, Cryska Barchenowa and other Russian personal apprehend Yuuya, thinking he is a spy. Yuuya remembers how his maternal grandpa accusing his mom for marrying a Japanese. He believed he used and threw her away but mommy insisted there Japanese have their good points too. Because Yuuya has half Japanese blood, he is shunned by other kids. Yuuya is on the verge of undergoing Russian style interrogation when some higher ups pulled some strings to get him out of his predicament (think Yui). His test pilots friends (since when is Tarisa so friendly with Yuuya?) come to retrieve him. Once again, Yuuya and Yui are in another argument. Yui explains from his painful past about the unpredictability of BETA and thanks to them, they get to ‘play in training exercises’. Meanwhile Inia takes a bath with Cryska who tells her never to meet Yuuya again. Because they both are the only family they need.

Episode 5
Yuuya still isn’t getting much improvement. On another training simulation, Yuuya chances upon Idar Flight’s Scarlet Twins who are made up of Inia and Cryska. Inia is happy to see him though Cryska doesn’t want him to intrude into their practice zone. More clashes between Yuuya and Yui. He brands the Japanese TSF a piece of junk. He accuses her of ignoring the test pilot and refuses to let anyone die in the TSF he tested. Yui advises him with a Japanese saying that a man and his horse should be one. But since anything she says won’t matter to him, she just walks away. The test pilots chill out at a diner. Tarisa is close friends with the waitress Natalie Duclert from France. Natalie forces Tarisa to dress in a cat maid outfit. Yuuya learns everyone here hates BETA because they lost their country or family to those aliens. Who doesn’t? Yuuya thinks harder as Vincent imparts his advice of the differently built TSF from both America and Japan. Vincent also hints Yuuya to hit on Yui. In another mock battle against BETA, Yuuya this time lets his TSF take control instead of forcing to control it. Then a Takemikazuchi type TSF from the Imperial Army appears. They think Yui wants to hog to spotlight. She easily takes everyone out and Yuuya challenges her to a fight if she hates him that much. Then he pulls off a movement that he himself is surprised. Is this what being one with the machine is all about? Yuuya defeats Yui. He now seems to understand his TSF as his partner and feels they can go to greater heights. Yui is also pleased with the outcome.

Episode 6
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So it seems in addition to performing tests in tropical environment, they also have R&R to boost crew morale. Yeah, swimsuit beach episode. Anyway VG wants to go peep on the ladies. Yuuya declines his invitation. Instead, he ‘warns’ the ladies about somebody suspicious. Wise move. VG got busted. Tarisa starts arguing with Inia when the latter comments she is weak. So the instructor decides to settle this fight via competition. Initially Inia and Tarisa got paired together in a boat race. Since Inia is too scared of the ocean (clinging onto a coconut tree?), Cryska agrees to take her place. Similarly, Yui volunteers so Tarisa leaves it to her. What the hell? While paddling, Yuuya spots Cryska unconscious and jumps to their boat. As a storm is approaching, they paddle to the nearest remote island. If Cryska is out cold is already a handful to carry, Yui’s leg is injured but decides to play heroine and suck it up like as though it is nothing. Eventually Yui orders Yuuya to take Cryska to a cave on higher ground and will catch up later. She falls asleep and has a nightmare of her old friends getting devoured by BETA. Yuuya makes it back to pick up Yui (who made no progress in advancing). She continues to put up a tough façade and chides him for abandoning someone unconscious. Just shut up and let him carry you! Maybe it’s just me or do I sense some jealousy when Yui asks why Yuuya calls Cryska by her first name. When he was captured, her comrades addressed her by that name and naturally he calls her that. Yuuya thought she suspects him of leaking info to the Soviets but she denies and declines to further elaborate. When Yuuya goes to check the boat, Cryska wakes up she wants to ask Yui a question. She wants to know about Yuuya because he interests her. Cat fight coming up?

Episode 7
I guess Yui manages to avoid answering by telling Cryska to ask him herself. Yuuya returns to relay the bad news that their boat has been washed away. Yuuya wants to go gather woods and allows Cryska to accompany him thinking this is a chance for her to ask Yuuya privately. She asks about his opinion on Inia because this has never happened before as Inia thinks a lot about him. Cryska couldn’t understand why Yuuya always fights with Yui since they’re both Japanese but Yuuya disagrees and asserts he is American. When Cryska starts to feel pain and collapses, Yuuya catches her. Cryska reveals she is afraid of the sea. Just like Inia, they have never seen a real one up close and it scares them. Ironically when she is piloting inside a TSF, she is fine. Guess what? Yui comes to check on them and sees this ambiguous scene. Not good. Back in the cave, Yuuya is clueless why there is such high tension between the women. After Yui pretends to go to sleep, Yuuya reveals his father left the family before he was born. That’s why his maternal grandpa has a strong distrust for Japanese. Cryska thinks he is lucky to have parents because she herself doesn’t know hers. They are saved when the search party finds them. As penalty, the ladies are to parade in their swimsuit. I don’t know why Inia got it too but the Scarlet Twins are already flaunting in it. Get ready your cameras and camcorders! Yui finally unveils hers. While Yuuya’s teammates wonder if anything happened between them, Inia wonders if Cryska would like to be Yuuya’s friend. Not interested. Maybe lover? Just kidding.

Episode 8
After the sun and sandy beaches, the project now shifts to the cold and icy frontiers of Kamchatka. No fun. The goal of this joint exercise is to test Type 94 and Active Eagle TSFs and also a new prototype weapon developed by Japan called Type 99 EM Radiation Cannon. Later Yui brings Yuuya to see the railgun that he will be testing. Guaranteed to pack enough power. She reveals some dispute before the scheduling exercise. Some international deal being made backdoor and with no chance the trials to be called off, all they can do is make sure the people sent out come back alive. She adds if he thinks the weapon is slowing him down, feel free to discard it. Yuuya notes how she was pressured to reveal her country’s top secret weapon. But if it’s successful and approved, it will be mass produced and standard equipment worldwide. She doesn’t want to lose Type 94 and more importantly him (as a talented test pilot, that is). He assures he trusts her combat data and will bring it back without a scratch. Cryska and Inia are being bullied by their fellow comrades. Cryska doesn’t understand why they are doing this since they are the same. They dismiss that because there is a difference between Soviet and Russians. While Scarlet Twins are the elite of Russia, these kids are from the other conquered nations of Soviet and are usually the ones sent to the front lines of the battlefield. They are going to rape them when Yuuya happens to be nearby and heard the commotion. He comes to their rescue but the kids now resort to weapons. Till their commander Fikatsia Latrova and her adjutant, Nastassja Ivanova enters to tell them to return and do maintenance check. She even tells off Yuuya to know his place. The next wave of BETA is arriving as everyone sits in the briefing for their next mission. Argos Flight will be paired with some aces of Soviet’s Zhar Battalion. Guess who that ace is? Yup. Lieutenant Colonel Latrova.

Episode 9
After Latrova briefs them, she tells the Argos Flight they can do all the live fire they want from the rear as long as they don