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!

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