Date A Live III

July 6, 2019

Wait. What?! Right now?! It has been a long time since so I never thought Date A Live III would actually materialize. It has been 5 years since the second season graced the TV screens and 4 years since that Mayuri Judgment movie came out. You bet that I would have certainly forgotten a lot from the first 2 seasons and even more so I didn’t see the movie so I might have missed out something. Maybe. I guess when they bring back a seemingly popular series after being in absentia for very long, I suppose there must be something great or epic happening, right? I hope so.

Episode 1
We start off so as to remind us the harem Shido has accumulated. Yup, they made him some horrible looking stew. Eat up, Shido. Fortunately, they didn’t turn this into a cliché because despite its looks, it actually tastes good! Even Origami is here on a short notice to contribute. But this will have to continue later as it is mission time. A Spirit is detected at an abandoned park where a spacequake occurred 30 years ago. Shido goes down to the ground to find this Spirit, the witch-like Natsumi who seems to be quite interested in him (which girl wouldn’t?). So a series of choice pops up and oddly the Ratatoskr didn’t choose the ‘fondle your boobs’ option and chose the ‘I am lost’ route. Natsumi asks if she is pretty and of course he says yes. Natsumi is very happy but the AST is here. Natsumi uses her magic to turn them into… Harmless cute animal pyjamas? However she used too much magic and this causes some disturbance. In that short period, Natsumi reverts to her true form and she becomes angry that Shido saw her. She thinks he is playing dumb and vows to turn his life upside down. When Shido attends school, all the girls accuse him of being a pervert! Even his teacher Tamae and that gay friend, Tonomachi! Of course his twisted harem like Touka and Origami would’ve preferred him to give heads up before lashing out his carnal desires. It doesn’t take long for Shido to realize there is a doppelganger going around doing bad deeds to sully his name. Confronting his clone at the rooftop, of course she is Natsumi in perfect disguise. She wants Shido to leave this town forever and she’ll take his place. Because everyone will get confused if there are 2 of them around. Touka and Origami enter. Oh no. The game of who is the real Shido begins. However the duo can sniff out the fake. Touka can smell the difference while Origami has memorized Shido’s habitual patterns (like blinking) right to the dot! Sore loser Natsumi will not accept this defeat. But she’ll be back. A few days later, no movements were detected from her. But Kotori gives him a letter from Natsumi. She wants to play a game. There are photos of 12 people (his harem, including Tonomachi!). Natsumi is impersonating one of them and failure to guess which one will result in one randomly disappearing until there are none.

Episode 2
Westcott is in a meeting in London. The board accuses him about turning Japan into a warzone. They pass a resolution to dismiss him but all those in support have their hands chopped off!!! Shido, Kotori and Reine discuss about Natsumi’s challenge. Shido maintains that Natsumi isn’t the kind who will disappear someone forever. He remains positive if he guesses right, all will return. So the only way to tell who she is impersonating is to date them all. The first is Touka and the moment Shido accuses her as Natsumi, she becomes mad. Who the f*ck is this Natsumi girl???!!! Oh dear. Just stepped on a live wire. He manages to bluff her it is some lovely greeting. But something is still wrong with Touka. There is an all you can eat buffet and she’s not excited? She’s even holding back on her portions. When he learns a TV programme said guys don’t like girls who eat too much, Shido corrects her that he prefers girls who can happily eat lots of food. With that, Touka returns to being a glutton. I guess she’s not Natsumi. Next date is Yoshino and she’s quite happy to eat pancakes with him. Definitely Yoshino alright. I guess we skip his date with Tonomachi since Shido himself doesn’t even want to consider that as one. Night fall and his final date for today is Yuzuru. She asks the question if he prefers her or Kaguya more. Since he cannot decide, Yuzuru replies she would have been happy had he picked either. But his chicken answer disappointed her. She also hopes if Kaguya asks the same question, she wants him to choose her. She might also ask the same things she did. Kaguya might not look like it but she likes Shido as much as she does. It feels like some sort of death flag when Yuzuru hopes he will take care of Kaguya and then runs away. Next morning, Shido answers the door only to find a frantic Kaguya. Yuzuru has been missing since last night. As all the 12 candidates have a video watching over them 24/7 (creepy), they see footage on Yuzuru. At midnight, Natsumi’s broom absorbs her. Shido maintains his trust in Natsumi but will end this game soon.

Episode 3
Shido is now dating Kotori. He knows she is the real deal when he snatches away her ribbons and she turns into a tantrum throwing kid. We see snippets of Shido dating other girls (Tamae even going so far as to seek him to register their marriage!) and the highlight of those dates is with Kaguya. After lying on his lap, she starts crying since she is worried for Yuzuru. She begs for him to save her. I don’t know why previously Natsumi never gave him a chance to guess and just absorbed a few people. Now she is giving him that chance? Shido thinks hard and thinks it is Yoshino. Wrong answer. For the next few days, a few more people have gone missing. Until after Touka goes missing did it really start to hit Shido hard. The only ones left who haven’t been taken by Natsumi are Kotori, Origami, Kaguya and Miku. Shouldn’t they have done this in the first place after Yuzuru went missing? Gather everyone, tell them the truth and find a solution. Instead of waiting for this desperate hour. As they discuss, Origami finds this game weird. With the pool growing smaller, it makes their chances of answering correct increase. Why would Natsumi put herself in such a disadvantage? Time is up and Natsumi is generous to give Shido 3 tries. He picks Yuzuru since she was the first to go. Wrong answer. Origami ‘dies’. Can Kotori answer on his behalf? Because she chooses Tonomachi! Dead wrong. Kaguya gets it. Miku is so scared and leaves her hairpin with him if worst case scenario happens. She hopes he will remember her with this piece. But this hint suddenly has Shido realizing the true answer. He knows that despite Natsumi says she is impersonating someone in the 12 pictures, it doesn’t necessarily one of the 12 people. It must be someone that she is confident he will not ever pick. And that person is Yoshinon. Because this rabbit is just Yoshino’s hand puppet, he now remembers it was acting on its own (it should not be able to see what Yoshino can’t). Natsumi is devastated with his correct answer and all the missing people are spit back out. Since this disrupted her power. Now everyone sees her true form. She’s a loli? Being the sore loser she is, she will not let all of them get away. She turns all the girls into young children.

Episode 4
I guess Shido has got it tough now that he has to babysit little girls! Heck, they even follow him to school and claim they are his daughters! Of course Shido gives an excuse that they are his relative’s but I don’t think they want to believe him. But Natsumi is up to her mischief again. Randomly changing the outfit of the girls and even turning their house into some funfair. This though, enables Reine to pinpoint Natsumi’s whereabouts. Westcott gives Ellen the green light to go Spirit hunting. Her first target is Natsumi. So when Ellen and her AST girls corner her, Natsumi just turns them into lolis. However this doesn’t startle Ellen a bit as she slashes her. Natsumi becomes afraid in seeing her own blood and pleads for her life. Ellen is about to deal the finishing blow but Shido and his mini harem are here to save her. With Miku’s help, they mind control the other AST girls to hold Ellen down to buy time for their escape. Meanwhile Origami receives a call that she will be punished. Thanks for the heads up because this gives her time to escape from the agents. With Natsumi in custody, Shido goes to talk to her. She is conflicted that he came to her aid despite all the bad things she has done to him. It seems she has low self-confidence over her true loli form. She thinks nobody listens to her in this form and Shido the same because he called her pretty in that busty mode. Had she appeared before him in this loli form first, she believes he would have ignored her too. She thinks he is lying when he says even her loli form has some charming points. She won’t be fooled by this. But soon, Shido and his harem give Natsumi a special makeover. They will transform her the best they can. If they succeed, they win. Natsumi becomes the cutest loli under their care. However she is now very conflicted because it is her loss if she is cute! Too much to handle for today. Meanwhile Ellen contacts Origami and wants her to work for her under DEM Industries. She refuses, citing she will not join any organization that harms Shido. But when she offers info that would allow her to avenge her parents’ death, she has no choice but to accept.

Episode 5
Natsumi has stabilized but still thinks everybody is lying. Kotori talks to the girls and tries to get them to think the same like her. That is, badmouthing Natsumi as an ugly brat. However none of them think so and believe it is Kotori who is something wrong. Even Shido is thinking they shouldn’t confine Natsumi and should let her eat with them. This makes Kotori mad and runs away. Of course that was Natsumi in disguise as the real Kotori calls since well, Natsumi has somehow escaped her room. Shido looks around and returns home only to see Ellen waiting. She wants him to hand over Natsumi or else he will ruin his home and family. Nice timing for a call to evacuate. It seems those vengeful board is trying to drop a satellite on this town to get their revenge on Westcott. Everyone is evacuated but Shido continues to look for Natsumi. Fraxinus tries to blow it out of the sky but there is some barrier. Hence, Kotori transforms into Efreet to blast it out of the sky. It works. Oh, there is a second satellite dropping! She is out of power and wants Shido to evacuate but you know, stubborn guy is willing to put his life at risk just for a witch girl. He even uses Sandalphon but no effect and he too is out of strength. Kotori has to beg the other Spirit girls to save her brother. Meanwhile Ellen returns to Westcott and is stumped he still hasn’t evacuated. He is confident the plan will fail. But just in case, he wants to use and put her to the test. The Spirits combine their powers to push the satellite away since exploding it too close to town will be dangerous. However, bogeys are here to stall the Spirits. With their hands tight, who else is going to save them? Natsumi! She easily turns the satellite into some harmless cartoon. Natsumi tries to act tough but Shido is only glad that she is unhurt. I guess this is it for Natsumi. She admits all her wrongdoings and starts crying. Shido hopes she could be his friend and she cries harder! WTF?! The Spirits too can’t leave Natsumi alone and want to be Shido’s friend. Why the heck did they ‘downgrade’ themselves? Do they want to be his lover? Natsumi learns the sealing process. Though embarrassed, she gets it over quickly by kissing him. Can’t rest yet as a bomb is now literally being dropped! Who saves them this time? Origami!

Episode 6
Perhaps Shido should have seen this coming. Sexy Natsumi trying to seduce him in bed. Foreplay folly only stopped thanks to Kotori. Then it descends into some petty argument of sexiness and boobs. On to a serious note, Shido is in shock when he hears Tamae announcing that Origami has suddenly transferred out to a school in England. Shido then connects the dots that she might have joined DEM Industries since she was wearing their power suit. So desperate that during lunch he goes to her place. Empty. Despair? Like as though it was a trap for him as he gets kidnapped. Kotori receives word of Shido’s sudden disappearance and wants him found before the end of the school day. Shido finds himself tied in a room. The perpetrator no other than Origami. Although she admits she joined DEM Industries, these actions are of her own and not Westcott’s orders. She has finally found the resolve to kill the Spirits. Not just the Spirits that killed her parents, but all of them. Hence, she abducted him to keep him out. To her, all Spirits are the same and to prevent future tragedies like her, all Spirits will die. Shido argues that Touka and co have changed and all they want is to lead normal lives. That is the reason Origami couldn’t accept. To accept living together with the likes of Touka. Origami begins her plan by sounding a fake spacequake alert to evacuate the people. Now she can kill the Spirits with no interference. Touka and co are shocked at Origami’s resolve. They don’t want to fight her but are forced to since they can see she is dead serious in killing them. Meanwhile Ratatoskr is about to head and retrieve the Spirits but is intercepted by Goetia, DEM Industries’ ship. Ellen contacts them and gives them a chance to run. She also relays a message for Woodman. They call him a traitor and will make him pay. With nobody on Fraxinus turning away, they prepare to fight back but Goetia easily blasts them. Meanwhile Touka is down for the count.

Episode 7
Did Origami return just to laugh at Shido? Actually it’s Natsumi. Yoshino and Natsumi were wandering around town and spotted Shido and Origami, hence the tailing game. We see Origami owning the Spirits. With Touka hell bent on protecting those important to her, her Spirit power returns and is able to defeat Origami. Origami laments all that she has thrown away have been wasted when a voice asks her if she wants power. Of course. With that, Origami is now a Spirit. Stronger than before, she renews her vow to kill all Spirits before killing herself. Touka can’t fight and protect at the same time so she has the rest get away. The power Spirit fight gets on the way but further damage is prevented when Shido calls out to them. I guess Origami isn’t in the mood anymore and flies away. Shido learns what happened from Touka as they all recuperate in the infirmary. Shido has to seal Touka’s power and you know that means kissing. I guess it is better here in this room than out in the public. If only the other damn Spirits weren’t so eager in being peeping toms. Meanwhile our favourite Spirit, Kurumi is seen frolicking around town. Origami then approaches her.

Episode 8
It seems she wants Kurumi to use one of her powers, Yod Beth to send her back 5 years in time to stop the death of her parents. What is she going to do if Kurumi refuses? Bug her until she agrees! I guess Kurumi is smart enough not to deal with that crap and decides to agree to it. After all, she needs somebody as a guinea pig for her Yod Beth. Origami returns in time just before the spacequake. She confronts the supposed Phantom although we cannot see or hear her properly thanks to ‘interference’. Origami is so hell bent in destroying her without reason to reason, that she realizes too late that she was the one who killed her parents! Well, now that comes full circle. ‘Funny’ to know that Origami hating and vowing to kill the Spirit was actually her future self. Phantom flees after satisfied that she has achieved her goal. Back in current time, the moon goes black and suddenly Origami starts raining down attacks randomly. So she’s no longer a Spirit but an Inverse? Oh sh*t! It took down Fraxinus (for the second time) but this time did it kill Kotori on board?! It’s Shido cue to go save Origami and end this madness and you know it’s his job since the other Spirits fend off the other attacks to make a path to her. They also have to deal with Ellen who wants to harvest her. But Shido loses his chance to kiss and seal her because Origami’s face up close looks like a hagged old woman! Yikes! I can see why any guy would freak out and fall right down to hell!!! Because of that, Kurumi traps him as now it is the right time to set forth her goal. No amount of begging is going to make her let you go, Shido. She fires Yod Beth into him. Shido finds himself back 5 years in time. Sorry Tamae, this boy whom you don’t know is not trying to hit on you. Since Shido is clueless, Kurumi lets him in on what’s happening. The only way to reverse the disaster unfolding in the present is to deal with Origami’s past. He must reverse it. So why is she doing this? Looks like the future is destroyed and Kurumi is holding on to that hope that history can be changed. Wait. This is Kurumi? Our Kurumi?!

Episode 9
Shido almost blunders when he tries to take a shortcut and a neighbour thinks he is a suspicious person. Somehow he manages to use Natsumi’s power to transform himself into a kid to allay the suspicions. With Origami’s battle with Phantom now at hand, Shido is too late as he witnesses and now understands why Origami turned out so. So he hugs loli Origami and tries to convince her that he will shoulder all her burdens. Although she accepts, however this anger is only hers to carry. He will have fun and be sad on her behalf until she kills that Spirit. Oddly, Kurumi feels regret that had she not used Yod Beth in the first place, this wouldn’t have happened. So she didn’t see this coming? However Kurumi believes there is still a way to correct this. Because her old self was nearby the incident, Shido goes to see that Kurumi. She is of course on her guard at this stranger. Shido convinces her to touch him so as to contact Kurumi of the present. She is to fire Yod Beth into Shido to send him back again in time. Just right before that incident again. Shido thinks of a plan. They cannot prevent Origami from seeing her parents’ death because that would be just shifting her grudge to someone else. Hence Shido goes to ‘stalk’ Kotori. As much as he wants to stop her from contacting Phantom, he can’t. So after Phantom turned her into a Spirit and causing the adjacent place to burn, Shido’s plan is to talk to Phantom. However it seems she recognizes him and runs away. But soon she decides to confront him. Even though this is not her true form but it’s better than talking to censors. Who this girl? But Phantom claims she knows him and cannot obey his wishes. She hopes to meet again when the time is right. Phantom goes off to fight with Origami and with history at risk of repeating itself, Shido this time pushes Origami’s parents away and gets vaporized on their behalf. But the next thing he knows, he wakes up in bed in his house. Looks peaceful. But he can’t contact Kurumi anymore. Did he save the day?

Episode 10
Everyone is normal. Kotori tells him today’s date and it is the day after Origami went Inverse. But in school, it seems nobody knows about Origami. This has Shido to believe Origami of this world doesn’t hold a grudge against Spirits and is living happily with her parents. But why he looking so sad? Because of that, some of his Spirit harem thinks he has girlfriend issues. WTF Natsumi’s idea to dress up in a naked apron to cheer him up? Shido then learns of a terrifying Spirit known as Devil. Rather, she is an Inverse. Not surprisingly, she looks like Origami. Back to depression again. But next day, shocking news for him as Origami is a new transfer student in his class! She is shocked to see him. Shido finds out more that Origami did join AST but retired a while ago. So if her parents were saved, why did she join AST? Hence he talks to her directly. Her initial shock was because he looked like the person who saved her 5 years ago. Remember, Shido got vaporized. Shido lies that person is his older brother. It makes her sad but also grateful because her family got to live together. Although unfortunately her parents died in an accident 4 years ago. She joined AST so as not to have more tragic cases like his ‘brother’. However she doesn’t understand when he asks her becoming a Spirit. Later after Shido wakes up from resting, surprise to see Kurumi here? She plans to shoot Yod Beth at Origami to see what happened. Why now? Because she couldn’t get close to the original. When Origami stumbles into Kurumi, she transforms into Devil and attacks. Kurumi lost?! Origami reverts to her normal state and has no recollection of what just happened.

Episode 11
With Origami not sure why she spaces out from time to time, Kurumi admits at this rate it is hard to discover why Origami turned Inverse. Shido tells Kotori and Reine what happened. Reine theorizes her memories split into 2. As soon as she senses a Spirit, she awakens as an Inverse type. The plan is to seal her as a Spirit but looks like Shido already agreed to go on a date with her. With Fraxinus doing that date sim option thingy, Shido wants to try a different route. Like taking her to a love hotel?! Just joking. But it spiked her happiness level. He then takes her to a shop selling weird things and unknowingly she buys those products. Even when shopping for clothes, she unknowingly wears a doggy ears swimsuit? During lunch, she tries to lick his spoon and when accidentally spilling water over his shirt, the moment he shows his abs she starts snapping away! She claims her body is moving on its own? At the end of the day, Origami feels confused. She is still sad about Shido’s ‘brother’ but he claims he would have done the same thing. With Origami’s happiness level at max, time to seal the deal but WTF the wooden barrier breaks and she falls off. Shido saves her but got his hands scratched and bleeding. Because of that she becomes a Spirit? Locking herself inside an armour cocoon, Shido tries to break through but it’s too tough. Yeah, Fraxinus is shot down again. Shido can’t run away and let the town be destroyed so he is going to keep trying even if it seems futile. Not if his other Spirit harem can help path a way to reach her. Meanwhile Origami is inside her consciousness and sees her other Devil self. When she touches her, they receive memories from both their worlds. Devil relates the truth that she can never take back the sin of killing her parents. Before Origami falls into despair, Shido’s voice can be heard. Must have said all the right words. You’re not alone. Always here for you. I’ll always save you no matter how much she is in despair. No matter how many times he has to rewrite history. Works like a charm. Origami reaches out to him. She accepts the fact the sin of killing her parents will never go away and Shido agrees that is her burden to bear. She admits she doesn’t love him but only relied on him. Honoured, it is exactly why he was able to save her. Finally he seals her with a kiss. With Origami back in class, you know it’s the Origami we know because she tries to wipe Shido’s tears with her crotch! Yeah, she claims the swimsuit retains moisture better. Though she did claim she never loved him, that is why she can begin her true love for him now. Oh boy. Let the harem fight begin too.

Episode 12
Woah. Shido suddenly super strong and fast? And then he collapses. The source is because his Spirit harem is hanging around him, their Spirit power is causing his body to overheat. A simple kiss is enough to seal it. No time to be shy because Shido just escaped. Worse, he is now a lady killer flirting with any women he sees! WTF is this short cheesy musical segment?! I guess Ellen got the rudest shock with Shido being such a cool cat, it reduces Ellen to some embarrassed b*tch. Get him back next time, huh? When the other girls come and want to seal his power, he throws them a condition. They must make him fall for them and a reason enough to kiss them. Roles reversed now. So we have the Spirit harem taking turns to swoon him. The twins go first. Eating an ice cream yuri style helps with the cream dropping all over their body. Score! Natsumi tries to seduce him in her busty body but she ran out of power and now the swimsuit is hanging loose over her loli body. Score! Yoshino massages him and shows him her swimsuit underneath? That is also score?! It’s classy and elegant time and with Kotori being such a lady, that is enough to score. Even Miku just saying a few words is enough to score. And she didn’t even do anything. Origami tries to spike his drink but the bartender mixes it up. Damn. Now she’s drunk, she’s so cute falling all over him. Score! Save the best for last because now it’s Touka. She feels uneasy about this but before she could do her usual stuff (eating of course) with him, looks like Shido has prematurely overheated. WTF did he just do a Kamehameha and turn Super Saiyan???!!! The girls chase this raging beast. Kotori is inclined to use some weapon to shoot him down but Origami and Touka stop her. There are better ways to solve this. Yeah, let’s not resort to violence, shall we? With the help of Kurumi restraining him, eventually the girls manage to land some cheap kiss on him (WTF?!) and the last ‘boss’ is Touka. Braving his attacks, she realizes this feeling called love inside her for him and that Shido has been suffering like this to reach out to them. Finally, a decent kiss. Touka won the lottery because she gets to be with Shido recuperating in hospital. She is the only one who didn’t manage to make him swoon in the contest so I guess this is fair. It must be her lucky day because a second great kiss is coming! It’s safe to say Touka won, no?

The Spirit Is Willing But The Boy/Trash Is Weak
Oh dear. The final episode was the lamest, the cheesiest, the most WTF and the worst ever. But it is also the most fun! Because, who really gives a damn at this point? Imagine, this is what this series would have been had it actually followed this route of the most cliché harem trope with Shido being turned into a typical main character harem douchebag. I don’t think it will get past the first season if it ruined the series went along with that kind cheesiness. Even though it somewhat reminds us that it should be Shido x Touka but the ending felt somewhat completed. Uh huh. The sudden abrupt ending with them kissing felt like there was something missing. Why the heck did Kurumi not kiss Shido???!!! Our favourite Spirit and she is the only one left out of the kissing spree?! I suppose she will always remain the rebel until the end.

I read that many hated and criticized this season because of how they trashed and butchered the final arc of this season. If you find that there are things that you don’t really understand (like yours truly), perhaps you can blame this. After all, if you want to watch the third season, it is best you have watched the previous seasons because knowledge of what has happened so far and the settings of this world is very important if you want to enjoy understand this season. To be fair, the series want to advance its plot and can’t be spending an extra episode to refresh our memories or introduce newbies to the series. Yeah, best you go back and watch everything again. Ain’t nobody got time for that! But sad to say, the third season doesn’t fair as well as the disappointing second season and could be the death knell of this series for good.

This season is split into 2 arcs. The first arc being the typical add-another-Spirit-into-Shido’s harem and the second bringing one of the main characters officially into Shido’s harem. Yeah. That’s how I see it. Lucky bastard. Initially I thought the Natsumi arc was going to be the arc that would set the rest of the season. I don’t know how I started coming up with the theory of one episode for Shido to date the possible candidate. Hence an elimination of a character/candidate per episode. I thought this was going to be super boring if they are going to follow through this formula. It isn’t impossible because, what is the name of this series again? Thankfully Natsumi’s cheeky guessing game was cut short and I suppose I also got a bit disappointed because it didn’t really amount to anything much. I thought it would drag on a few more episodes since Yuzuru got the bulk of that focus so I thought some of the other characters might have their chance too. None. Yeah, they literally speed run through this game. It certainly would have been interesting to see Shido on a date with Tamae?

Hence Natsumi becomes a mere side supporting character once she officially becomes part of Shido’s Spirit harem. What is better than having a loli? Why, having 2 lolis! Because Yoshino is the meek kind, we need to have the kind that is bratty. I see no other Spirit having this character so okay, let’s make bratty Natsumi part of the gang. The other Spirits also suffer thanks to Origami’s arc taking the entire second half. Touka, Yoshino, Yuzuru, Kaguya and Miku fall way off into the side-lines as the only non-Spirit girl deals with her issues and becomes a Spirit. I guess it is such a waste for these Spirit characters and they are just around for some comical issues and to remind us that Shido has a harem. Sometimes to ex machina certain situations because Shido as a normal high school kid can’t do everything himself. The last episode didn’t do any justice as it was just rushed. Trying to give his ballooning Spirit harem some flirting time with Shido but it comes off as a big fail and waste of time. So miniscule and ridiculous their screen time, might as well not have this crap in the first place. Oh well, having some sort of crap is better than having no crap at all!

Despite Kurumi only making limited appearances, I suppose she is the reason why we find this series a little bit tolerable. Okay, maybe not for all of us. But yeah, the enigmatic Kurumi is perhaps why many keep having hope for this series and that she should just own every other Spirit and become Shido’s only one. Oh well. Not in this world and timeline. Maybe in some other’s if history and the world was rewrote in another way under different circumstances. Could be possible considering Kurumi’s Spirit powers that there might be a world where she gets Shido all by herself and none of those lame Spirit b*tches in the way.

Remember Mana? No. Not to worry. I don’t even remember her until I was going through my previous blog! Oh dear. Who the f*ck is she?! She is supposed to be Origami’s AST comrade and I don’t see her appearing anywhere in this season. I don’t remember what happened to her the last time but I guess she was so insignificant with no role to play, they might have completely cut her out from this season. Other characters like Westcott and Woodman feel like red herring. It’s like they’ve got a plan for something but so far, nothing to show for. At least nothing important or significant that I can see. Last and not least, got to say that girl who is part of the 3 stooges who only says one single line is still f*cking amusing. Majihiku wa!

Origami’s arc is timely and a focus on her character is much needed. However it doesn’t feel as interesting. Because I predicted and saw it from 100 miles away that she was the Spirit that killed her parents. Cue to drag out the drama after she falls into despair from some emotional brownie points. Who knows, she could actually be Phantom herself from another timeline or future. Might not be confident with this conspiracy theory but it is still a possibility. Though, not a very high one. With Shido rewriting history, we get to see a very different side of Origami. She wasn’t the weird pervert that we always know but a meek and very shy girl. She is so different that she might as well be a very different character. Either way, even if the mind forgets, the body doesn’t. Hence it could be the only explanation why that meek Origami’s body started doing weird perverted things on its own. It’s like between the devil and the deep blue sea. Would we rather have this nice girl Origami or the bold weirdo Origami? Well… I’d rather have Kurumi!!! Damn you people, give us another Kurumi OVA, will ‘ya?!

Art and animation I believe remains constant with its previous seasons but is it me or do I feel that there is a drop in quality? For one, I thought that all the characters look a bit younger than they are. For example like Shido, at certain angles he looks a bit like a kid and at other times just a bit weird. Even some of the scenes showing the Spirits, it’s like they lack details and I thought they just gave up and hope we didn’t notice. Well, I did. Perhaps the different production studios for different seasons were the reason? AIC Plus+ did the first season followed by Production IMS in the second. This time it is animated by J.C. Staff. Seriously, do they not have any animes to animate? Sure, they have their hands full with the To Aru series, then they had High Score Girl and Hangyakusei Million Arthur, One Punch Man S2 and the upcoming DanMachi S2 to deal with. Oh yeah. Big company, many stuffs, more projects, more money. Makes sense.

Sweet Arms have been singing this series’ opener for the last 2 seasons. They’re back again for the third. I Swear isn’t a cover of All-4-One’s 1994 hit single. But I rather hear All-4-One’s piece than this bland generic anime pop. The same can be said for the ending theme, Last Promise by Erii Yamazaki. Sounds pretty generic and nothing special. This season’s seiyuu joining the line-up are Ayumi Mano as Natsumi (Esaka in Ore Ga Suki Nano Wa Imouto Dakedo Imouto Ja Nai) and the recognizable Kana Hanazawa as Phantom. Speaking of which, it is odd and further fuels my suspicions that this Phantom character is not the real Phantom because in the ending credits, Phantom’s seiyuu is marked as “???” whereas Kana Hanazawa’s character is also marked as “???”. Something looks shady here…

Overall, the third season didn’t really do any justice to make amends of the poor showing of the second season and further drove a nail into its coffin. It’s like they want to bury this series for good. Not even Kurumi’s Yod Beth for a different world to rewrite this crap can save this season. Because ultimately even if another parallel world that this third season was good exists, it still doesn’t hide the fact that some bad sh*t has happened and we have to shoulder the burden and accept that the third season was awful. Yeah. Thanks Origami. We learnt something from your past. Accept and move on. Sometimes it feels like Shido is the Date A Live series and Origami coming up with those damn weird pranks represents the production team trying to screw him up. Or Shido being a douchebag and trying to screw with the ladies. Not impressed. Screwed us up alright. Many say that you’d be better off reading the light novels but considering myself who doesn’t like to read, looks like it is dead end for me. Ironically, the most relevant line to sum up this season and our sentiments come from a certain irrelevant minor character. Yup. Majihiku wa.

Conception

February 24, 2019

With a name like that, I’m sure that you must be curious and suspicious. Yes, people. Conception might be adapted from the video game of the same name and if you guess that you are supposed to date and charm women and have them bear your child, you are correct. But wait. This is not an eroge! Not even close. Hence those anticipating sex scenes would surely be disappointed. Yeah, I warn you first. Sounds mind boggling that you can conceive a child (for the purpose of fighting baddies in this world) without procreating and conceiving the normal way. So hey, this isn’t even close to porn so it’s safe for everyone, right? I wonder if this was how Virgin Mary bore Jesus of Nazareth.

Episode 1
Every guy’s worst nightmare to hear from their girl: I’m pregnant! That is what Itsuki Yuge hears from Mahiru Konatsuki. However they have not been doing naughty things together so rest assured Itsuki is not the father. Then who? Great timing for them to be sucked up into a portal. Inside a strange labyrinth, Itsuki continues what she was saying. There is no father! Holy mother! You mean she is like Virgin Mary?! However she took pregnancy kits and looked up online and she did show some symptoms of pregnancy. But she has yet to see a doctor as she is scared. Suddenly her body feels pain as she throws up a monster. Good thing Itsuki somehow manages to materialize a sword and kill it. Breaking out of this dark place, they stumble into this bear tanuki creature, Mana. Along with court scholar Narcisstes, they welcome them to this parallel magic world called Granvania. They are taken to see the king, Shangri La who immediately tells them Granvania is in danger and hence they are summoned for their help. Itsuki and Mahiru have marks on their body and they are called Visitors. They have powers that can only save Granvania. Itsuki is taken to see the court doctor. Next thing he knows, he is tied up in his underwear! Our sexy nurse Reone explains his body contains all 12 emblems of the zodiac constellations. At this time of year, Impurities fill the labyrinth and it is a Visitor’s job to purify the monsters they have turned into. Of course there is the big boss to deal with. Itsuki won’t be dealing with this alone as he has the 12 priestesses (each representing a zodiac) to aid him. Reone is one of them (Scorpio) and so is Mahiru (Virgo). Mahiru isn’t pregnant but rather Impurities build up in her body and she expelled them. That’s why she felt like she had pregnant symptoms. Phew. Now comes the best part. Itsuki must perform a Love Ritual with any of the priestesses to give birth to a Star Child since the priestesses cannot stand directly against Impurities. In short, sex! Oh yeah, Mana is really excited about this part, isn’t she? I guess this is where we say action speaks louder than words! So cut the explanation and let’s get it on! Reone suggests doing it with someone familiar. So first potential Star Child from Itsuki x Mahiru. Well, the duo don’t seem that all surprised and embarrassed. Just a bit. But nothing that would already shock them. Yeah, they’ve come to this crazy world, sex seems so normal compared to it all. Since they’re starting off slow, Mana tries to be pushy but isn’t she just wanting to grope Mahiru? So okay, let’s start. You’ve got your ‘reason’ that sex is necessary so that you can go home. So what are you waiting for?!

Episode 2
Suddenly! A Star Child is born! WTF?! No penetration was made. As explained, Love Ritual isn’t a sexual act and the mere emotional bonding and physical contact is enough to bear one. F*CK!!! SO DISAPPOINTED!!! And so the first Star Child is born, Virgo (Kingdom Hearts’ Sora rip-off?). But off Virgo goes to a foster home to be trained. Because Itsuki has a more important mission to f*ck, I mean to create other Star Children. So they are brought to meet other maidens: Arie (Aries – duh), Tarua (Taurus – double duh), Lilith (Gemini – wait, you mean this split personality is not Libra?!), Ruka (Cancer – you mean not Cancerina or something?), Femiruna (Leo – you mean not even Leona?), Mirei (Libra – I give up), Sue (Sagittarius – it’s so random now), Falun (Capricorn – yup, totally pulling it out of the air now), Collete (Aquarius – sighs…) and Yuzuha (Pisces – wow, so random it sounds fishy). But the best one is Mana retorting herself as the constellation of lewdness! All celebrate a huge welcome party and we can guess the next Star Child because we see Itsuki and Ruka spending some time together. Though, the latter is like tsundere and claims she can read minds. So she won’t bear his child if he has dirty thoughts? You mean your pride is more important than saving the world? Good news. She can’t read his mind! Not being from Granvania must be the greatest excuse. Then we see Mahiru getting a bit drunk so she can flirt a little with Itsuki. Also, an excuse to prop up some promise they made 10 years ago. As usual, guys don’t remember… More Mana mischief as we see her rubbing Itsuki’s dick just to turn him on! But this is a lesson for him not to underestimate the labyrinth as it will be the most dangerous place. WTF?! Yeah, I think Mana is the most dangerous one. Visiting the foster home, Itsuki sees Virgo being trained by Alfie. Nice boobs. So he can’t cheat on anybody else except for the maidens? Boring. Later seeing Ruka being nice to children somewhat has Itsuki now asking her to f*ck him. Oops, I mean do the Love Ritual. You mean that is enough to get in her pants? Yeah, some more talking about what they want in their future for their Star Child so it doesn’t look like outright sex. So are they going to troll us with no sex?! Damn, Itsuki taking off her clothes! WHY YOU TROLL US AGAIN???!!! And hence Cancer is born. Soon Shangri La gives Itsuki the Star Wards to seal the Impurities as well as conveniently open the door to the labyrinth. Does Itsuki think he is strong enough to fight an Impurity with just 2 Star Children?! They easily get owned and the young ones get turned into dolls. They retreat and I suppose this lessons only serves to motivate Itsuki to go f*ck the other maidens. Oops, I mean make more Star Children.

Episode 3
Once out of the labyrinth, the Star Children are fine and healed. Wait a minute. Why is Itsuki and co going back to the labyrinth if he thought he needed more Star Children and training?! Of course they lose again! So seeing Narcisstes for advice, he says the only chance now is for a Double Love Ritual. You mean an orgy?! Yeah, let Mana explain the juicy details. To help heal Itsuki’s wounds, Mana sets him up to go with Mahiru to the hotspring. So this guy is shy to get into the water with her when he has already been up close and personal with her body?! Anyway, I suppose this scene is supposed to play up some little doll thing she keeps, something related to the promise. I guess it isn’t important now. Mana then tries to set them up to make love in some transparent carriage and Itsuki only rebukes because of his different view it should be seen from the inside and not from the outside. Mahiru is not impressed. Did he just make her mad? So no sex? Besides, can she have another Star Child? Virgo II? So Itsuki sees Reone to heal some of the harder wounds. She learns about the Double Love Ritual and because of one single line Itsuki said that reminded her of her late younger brother, so she is willing to be his partner?! Got to speed things up. Hence Itsuki goes to find another ‘participant’ and lucky him he sees professional dancer Falun doing her hot moves. A little talk here and there and since she is the kind who can’t stay at one place or else she’ll suffocate, Itsuki turns on his seductive cheesy one liner charms (thanks to the guidebook Mana provided him) that he’ll take her to a better place and see things she has never seen before. OMG! She bought it! I guess we’re desperate. And so our Double Love Ritual begins with Reone and Falun. Naked ladies so sexy that Itsuki climaxed before even starting?! WTF?! Thank goodness sex isn’t the prerequisite so we can still get it on. And we welcome Scorpi and Capri to the family. Man, Itsuki must be so good that Reone and Falun are so tired out and can’t move! With this new party, Itsuki and the Star Children enter the labyrinth and manage to defeat the level boss. Finally! As a sign that this level is clear, Itsuki offers a Star Ward to the altar. I guess back to the surface to make more babies for now. Better hurry because an ominous roar is heard coming from the labyrinth’s depths.

Episode 4
So this weird hentai-like simulation opener (all the females have Mana’s face!) is so that Mana could set up Itsuki with Arie? Too bad it’s not her episode. Instead, Itsuki notices shy Yuzuha unable to get some bread. Because Japanese crowd is notorious for fighting over limited bread. So Itsuki goes to see her at her home as he learns she is a painter and this disturbing fact she feels safe sleeping in a coffin! That’s right. A coffin. They agree to eat lunch at the park tomorrow and what do you know? Yuzuha brought her coffin! Hitsugi No Yuzuha? Of course inside are painting materials. However this somewhat attracts some unwarranted comments from by-passers. This disheartens Yuzuha as she runs home in tears. The actual fault lies with Mana because she is doing some weird bird fornication thingy. WTF, MANA???!!! Lost, Itsuki seeks Arie for help as he learns more about Yuzuha being born with a frail body and hence this sleep illness (WTF?!) that she has (that has also no cure) means she hasn’t long to live. You serious?! That is why she feels safe sleeping in a coffin so when she dies, she won’t bother anyone. :’(. Oh Itsuki, can you give your support now? Itsuki then sees repentant Mana trying to make a coffin. But is this just an ulterior motive so they can get it on in coffins? But Itsuki approves this idea! So he goes back to talk with Yuzuha and his sincere words to hang out together with their coffins give her some confidence back. So they have fun together and she feels so relaxed that she sleeps on his thighs instead of her coffin. I guess with this flag cleared and ‘permission’ obtained, Yuzuha feels the need to give him something in return. What better way for him to have another Star Child, right? Yeah. Not so shy anymore, eh? Later Mana gives Itsuki a gift for Arie. He hands it to her as thanks but it contains some BDSM equipment that is to Arie’s fetish. So now the holy woman’s true colours have shown.

Episode 5
Wow. Just another Star Child allows Itsuki to defeat another Impurity. In fact, this is the third one already! Since he is so busy fighting in the labyrinth and haven’t had time to see his maidens, an excuse for Mana to organize a beach outing! Beach episode! On their way there, they see this playboy guy, Seiya trying to hit on the maidens. It seems the maidens noticed he has been stalking them one by one. At the beach, Itsuki and Lilith notice Seiya’s narcissist attitude. Making her fear him is that her fortune telling shows he is her destined lover. Because Lilith’s fortune telling is accurate and Itsuki doesn’t somewhat believe in it, this hurts Lilith as her other personality pops out, Lillie. She berates Itsuki but even so he still won’t believe. Nevertheless he gives it a try but Lilith sees something fearful and won’t tell him. Lillie is the one who discloses the fortune telling reveals Itsuki’s death. Itsuki isn’t shocked or anything. Hey, it’s not like he believes fortune telling, no? As fortune telling can also be used to prevent misfortunes, Lilith tries to change fate. Not sure what she did but Mana gave Seiya some climatic lotion rub and thus she is no longer targeted by him? With Itsuki believing in fortune telling now, so that is just the prerequisite needed for him to f*ck?! Oh my. Can a person with split personality split physical just for sex?! Is this considered Double Love Ritual or single? Damn my libido so confused! Later Itsuki visits the foster home to check on his kids only to see Seiya stalking Arie who is spying on him. When Itsuki materializes his sword to go after Seiya, Arie swoons. Then she goes to buy a naginata she ordered. We see her hidden secret: A room filled with weapons! Later Seiya comes to seek refuge in the church. She hears out his problem and after learning his secret, she also tell hers. So this sex trolling scene is actually Arie making topless Seiya pose while holding weapons? So this is her fetish? Of course he falls over her and Itsuki comes in to misinterpret everything. Luckily Arie clears the misunderstanding and this means showing her hidden weapon collection room. Fearing Itsuki would find her weird, he is impressed with it instead. So now she makes him pose with the weapons? Since he is amazed with her hobby, he now wants to have her Star Child?! Damn, that came out of nowhere! But this make out will be different because if you remember Arie is a sadist… Whipping time!!! I guess it’s sometimes good to have a different sexual experience. Later we see Seiya’s secret that even horrifies Mana: His target is Itsuki!!! Didn’t see this gay stuff coming!!! Yeah, it’s sometimes good to have different sexual experience… Say, if they make out, will they have a (gay) Star Child?! NO WAY!!!

Episode 6
I guess eventually this will come sooner or later: Can Itsuki f*ck a loli?! Don’t worry. Anime allows it! But Itsuki feels he can’t taint the pure Shoujo Alps girl of Collete. Yeah, even Collete has a feeling he helps her out in her bakery so that he could f*ck her! She’s not stupid! Anyway, this aside, her bakery has no customers and she believes she is talentless in baking bread unlike her grandpa. But there is another reason why her business is not so good. After Alfie brings the Star Children here for some much needed business, a couple of mean demons enter to harass Collete. They are workers of Lunch Pack, packed lunches that are currently popular in Granvania and putting many bakery out of business. They want this location and threaten Collete to give it up. However the Star Children tell them off and this really hurts their feelings as they run away?! WTF???!!! Mana reveals that Femiruna’s family runs Lunch Pack and if Itsuki talks to her, maybe she will help. Unfortunately there is nothing she could do but since he is so desperate, he accidentally causes her to slip as she knocks her head on the table! Oh dear! So the best solution? WTF Itsuki kidnaps her and puts her in a storeroom at Collete’s place?! I know hurting a maiden is a crime but didn’t he make it worse? So he wears a paper bag over his face while he leaves Collete’s bread for her to eat?! He can’t speak clearly, no wonder confused Femiruna is afraid of him. Oddly, Collete continues to bake more and Itsuki should have at least suspect something when she doesn’t eat any (she fears it is poisoned and he will do something to her body). I wonder how long she can last. Not long. Soon Itsuki takes off his paper bag (finally!) and tells her how much she needs to take care of herself. Well, if you dropped this charade and explained it properly… Because Itsuki cared about her, Femiruna starts falling for him! WTF logic is this?! Stockholm Syndrome?! Because she notes all men who get close to her are only after her father’s money and power. So the first guy to really pay attention to her? Oh yeah. He lets her feed her. In this storeroom? Couldn’t they change the place? Heck, he even bathes her here! WTF?! So are they going to do it here? Luckily, sex is sacred so they get a better room. Does Itsuki need to ruin it with this paper bag act? See how the lioness pounce on this guy! Meanwhile Collete’s grandpa gives her his recipes for her school festival. Aim for the ace! Yeah, he should’ve passed down his wisdom a long time ago.

Episode 7
Tarua seeks Mana’s advice because as a delivery girl, she can’t delivery all her letters in time. What’s the problem? Because she is so fast, she is slow. WTF?! Read that again… Meanwhile, Collete tells Itsuki that somebody tore the last page of her grandpa’s happy bread recipe. Old geezer doesn’t remember it and at this rate their bakery will close. Don’t worry. There’s always trial and error. Ironically we see Collete making lots of bread sexual innuendoes. Like how she wants him to tell her which body part he likes the best and he thought of getting away with (bread) ears and when she makes an ear out of bread but isn’t good enough, care to bite the real one? Oh Collete, don’t complain if he starts raping you! She goes on to make breads that look like certain reproductive anatomy and even eats them suggestively! It’s a wonder Itsuki hasn’t raped her yet. After more weird bread combos, she realizes the ultimate happy bread is made via coupling. You know, putting a sausage in a bun hole… WTF?! There you have it. Your Happy Chikuwa Sausage Bread! Although their bread is a sell-out at the festival, it seems Lunch Pack has appointed Mahiru and Yuzuha to represent them to sell theirs. And when theirs is not enough, guess what Femiruna gives for free? Panties! The more you can grab, the more pantsu you get. WTF?! Collete is so thankful to Itsuki that she wants to f*ck him?! Gee, that really escalated quickly. Yeah, the coupling just turned real. But this strange chikuwa dress as foreplay? Whatever. Happy coupling. Later Tarua hands Itsuki a letter. It’s obviously shady and by Mana as it leads him to some shady room where he is forced to train to become a delivery man. Yeah, unbelievable training methods I wonder how he can master it all in a short time. So once he passed, he is tasked to deliver a letter to Tarua. He finds her trying to find a lost letter in the mud. He helps out and realizes they’re looking in the wrong place. Yeah, how the heck did it end up the tree? Tarua is happy but first she has to finish deliver the letters. Many hands make light work as Itsuki helps her. Somehow Tarua wrote a letter for Itsuki. A thankful letter for his help and also stating how much she likes him. In turn, he writes back that he wants to have her Star Child. Straight to the point. Yeah… I hope this session won’t zoom by quickly. On a trivial note: Colette holds the record of most pantsu grabbed: 99! You mean it’s not 69 for this cheeky horny loli?

Episode 8
Mana hosts The Bachelor! Only one of the 12 maidens will win Itsuki’s heart and get to do the ultimate Love Ritual with him! Yeah, I somewhat had a feeling this series was resembling that reality TV one anyway… As you know, there are a couple of maidens not doing it with Itsuki yet and hence the first contestant to date him in this reality TV is Sue. She loves animals and we hear her sad background how her parents died while protecting her from Impurities. She still feels sad and can’t accept that they’re gone and that’s why she has all these animals as company. Damn, so sad can we even get to a make out scene? Stupid Mana letting the animals feed on her body with food isn’t turning anyone on… So if Itsuki feeds you his sushi, it means you are a candidate for his love making? Oh well, at least Sue got it. Mana then has the other contestants climb up slippery stairs while covered with suspicious white sticky substance. In the end, Mirei wins. Her reward is that she gets to bathe with Itsuki. Because she cannot see without her glasses, this increases her reliance to Itsuki as well as her sensitivity. Also meaning more suggestive flirting and she’s bold with it because she thinks it will help in her research. Whatever. And hence she gets the sushi too. He also dates other contestants but since he already done it with them, I guess we’re not going to have a repeat. Itsuki prepares to make out with Sue. Cat girl is lonely and wants his company to survive. This foreplay is borderline kinky and sad. Can they even make out? With Itsuki promising to stay by her side, blah, blah, blah, the mood is good enough for them to get going but wait! Mana suggests doing a Double Love Ritual with Mirei! Sue is embarrassed in having a threesome but don’t worry, Mirei has a potion that will make you bolder and hornier! And now let the orgy begin! This also means all of Sue’s animals start outraging Mana’s modesty. Yeah, this is so f*cked up… With a full set of Star Children, but why does Alfie feel sad once Itsuki’s mission is over, he’ll have to go home? Oh, it’s that roar again. Everyone assembles at the palace. Narcisstes’ research indicates there’s a 13th phantom. Too bad they haven’t found the entrance to it yet and the big bad Impurity will still revive. I guess this means Itsuki is a lucky guy that he gets to f*ck a 13th girl, right? Well… Mana points out it doesn’t necessarily needs to be female and suggests the 13th could be Narcisstes or Seiya! BL to increase female viewership! Is Itsuki serious accepting it or is he just trolling Mana?!

Episode 9
Suddenly Itsuki is uncomfortably looking at men?! Men everywhere! Mana trying to turn him into gay?! Will Itsuki be gay by the end of this episode! Itsuki keep bumping into Seiya means is he the destined one?! So when Itsuki starts questioning if this is even possible between men, Mana tells him off for being a homophobe! No siree, can’t have that kind of offensive thinking today! And we’ve already broke the fourth wall last episode hinting it would be a man so let’s get on with it! So it’s either this or beastiality. I’m sure he isn’t willing to do it with one of Sue’s horses then. Finally he gives in and such great timing Seiya is here. Yeah, the duo ‘dated’ and Itsuki feels even odder because now it is roles reversal. Seiya is getting on to him while Itsuki feels cornered like he did to those maidens. Eventually Itsuki can’t take the heat and baulks. He can’t accept the fact he almost gave birth to a Star Child! Can a man actually do that?! I guess no gay time. Mana then takes him to Narcisstes and this guy seems pretty understanding about his circumstances until he asks him about documents of a book that contains sexual positions!!! No gay time for this one either! With Itsuki more depressed, Mana tells her back story that she was once an Impurity created by a magician who tried to experiment on a way to coexist but died. Left all alone, Mana was going to be killed by the government but a Visitor saved him. Hence she is alive today and serves Granvania. That Visitor is Shangri La. Itsuki feels bad for him and does this mean Itsuki is into beastiality now?! Too bad for you Mana, he leaves you hanging because with his eyes opened, he is now willing to take on a man! Hooray! No more homophobe! Itsuki has to pick between Seiya and Narcisstes but he will have them both! My, greedy aren’t we? But in the end, nothing happened. The biggest troll reveal as Mana says you can’t do a Love Ritual between men! So was all this wasted?! Actually all this was to help level up Itsuki because now that he is open minded, he can start to find the 13th maiden with fresh feelings. Yeah, feelings are so complicated. Or maybe he just simply got trolled. Too bad folks. No gay time ever. But here is some consolation of Itsuki spending some (gay) beach time with Seiya and Narcisstes. Here, even some weird haiku about not being man or woman because love is all around.

Episode 10
Itsuki is trying to guess the 13th maiden. I think we all know who. But Itsuki even thinks it is Mana but can’t be because she is too lewd and FAT!!!! Oh dear. Fatphobe! But first Itsuki goes practice with Alfie and the Star Children to fight the 12th Impurity boss. After a hard fought battle, they win but nothing happens. Suddenly the labyrinth starts acting up and a light shoots out. As explained, this is the sign of 13th phantom’s awakening and this means Itsuki must expedite to find the 13th maiden. As you all would have guessed, even Alfie knows she is the 13th maiden but she tries to do up a few charms to make Itsuki notice her but all fail. Meanwhile Itsuki and Mana are advertising in the streets for the 13th maiden. I don’t think anybody gives a damn. They thought they heard Alfie’s voice. However she is drowned out by a stupid crowd of swooning girls crowding over Seiya. Recruitment failed. Attraction drive failed. As Alfie rues her chances, annoyed Mana goes to pick her up. She’s been waiting for her to show up as the 13th maiden! But Alfie won’t go to meet Itsuki like this. She gives a video for Itsuki to watch first. Itsuki is then told Alfie is the maiden he is looking for. Mana even breaks the fourth wall saying her face was in the opening credits and how we viewers already know! Anyway, the video is some trendy retro romance drama. So Alfie wants her romance trendy? I don’t think Itsuki has a choice. So uhm, the trendy date looks like we have a trendy car ride by the beach and then a trendy romantic Italian candlelit dinner. But the trendiness ends when Itsuki wants to go back to Alfie’s place. Is he trying to get lucky? He is amazed with all the retro trendy idol posters on the wall. They talk about a few things including Itsuki’s parents died in an accident. She feels sad. Then he sees he guidebook and strategies for the Star Children. The clincher is this cute dress he gives her as a present (why Mana sounds disappointed he thought Itsuki made it for his ‘secret hobby’?). The mood is so right and you can tell they are so lovey-dovey with each other that it’s making Mana jealously mad! Can they make out now? Not if Alfie’s stomach gives way! Yeah, some indigestion over the paper charms she ate earlier on. But now that is out of the way, it’s time to welcome the 13th Star Child.

Episode 11
Mana trolling us with this scene of Itsuki and Alfie making out isn’t some pay per view exclusive or some virus uploading trick. After Alfie’s Star Child is born (the most normal looking of them all), Alfie tires out. Is this an after-sex joke? So as Itsuki searches for some idol present to cheer her up, Shangri La summons him to the palace to tell him a secret. Guess what? You cannot defeat the 13th phantom! WTF?! Doesn’t that render the Star Children useless then?! Based on some legendary texts (yeah, bad handwriting), the only way is to seal it. Long story short, Itsuki must be a sacrifice for that sealing! Yeah, it sure made all that maiden thingy look redundant now. Mana overheard it and tries to act her normal pervy self but he is in no mood. So as though like this is going to be his last time, he goes around to help and make happy the other maidens. He even gives some doll charm to Mahiru. Man, this is sure some big bad death flag he is opening to. Itsuki returns to nurse Alfie and once she is well, she tells him a secret. Oh, not she too. She is actually born of a Visitor and a maiden! However her mom was killed by Impurities. So she was a Star Child born with maiden powers but lost them after the Love Ritual? WTF?! I’m so confused! You mean it’s like she lost her virginity?! And why is she such a hot babe instead of looking retarded like other Star Children?! Do Star Children even grow up?! WTF?! I’M SO FREAKING CONFUSED!!! For more confusion, Alfie then does some idol concert and variety show skit to motivate Itsuki. Like… WTF???!!! Last but not least, Itsuki has never forgotten about Mana so here is the present she has been waiting for. Oh my goodness… Don’t tell me… He wants to perform Love Ritual with her???!!!! OMFG!!!! Has Itsuki lost his mind that he is into beastiality now???!!! It’s true!!! But wait. If this isn’t Love Ritual and no Star Child is born, you mean this is just purely sex!!! OMFG!!! ITSUKI YOU BASTARD!!! 13 CUTE GIRLS ONLY EXIST FOR YOUR LOVE RITUAL BUT THIS PERVY TANUKI IT’S LIKE YOU HAVE REAL SEX???!!! WTF, MAN???!!! It’s just so freaking weird, dude. Morning comes and Itsuki now has the resolve to seal the 13th phantom. After that great sex, why not?

Episode 12
Shangri La now tells the maidens to help Itsuki by doing their Star Ritual to seal him forever. Yeah… Meanwhile Itsuki and Mana have headed into the labyrinth to fight the 13th phantom. So now it is conveniently found? The maidens reluctantly begin their ritual. Because it is either Itsuki is gone or the entire Granvania gone. Eventually Mahiru can’t bear the thought of sacrificing him and breaks the ritual. Yeah, might as well destroy Granvania. No fun without Itsuki, right? And of course we can’t have Granvania destroyed too so please ask if there is another way. Oh, conveniently there is?! If the Visitor truly bonds with all the maidens, a power to rid the Impurities can be obtained. However there is no proof of this flimsy reason and too much of a gamble. So you’re saying sacrificing Itsuki has better results because of ‘evidence’. Screw the former because everybody’s going to go with this. Yeah, should have just picked this in the first place. Thanks to the interrupted ritual, Itsuki who was fighting the 13th phantom and got ‘caught’ by the ritual, the 13th phantom has escaped. This is where the Star Children come in to fight. But they’re not alone. The maidens help channel their power to transform them into… 3 cheap mini mechas! Itsuki is alive thanks to Mana’s protection. Mana can still sound erotic but just to troll him to drink some invigorating juice to help save the world. With Itsuki reuniting with the maidens, he changed his mind about being sealed. Yeah, he want to have fun with all of them. So can we expect the biggest orgy after this?!

Before the fight gets too boring, suddenly Alfie takes a hit meant for Itsuki. Some last words here and there (you mean the baddie waited for them to finish their talk?). Yeah, time to get emotional. Alfie’s last wish is to be happy. So what does Itsuki give her? A kiss! And then Alfie disappears. OMG! YOU MEAN SHE REALLY DIED?! Oh well, this makes him mad as he powers up to obtain the Ophiuchus sign. Plus, with the maidens synchronizing with him, Itsuki combines with the Star Children to become… An ever cheaper mecha! At this point, the 13th phantom shows its true form (a discount mutated version of Overlord’s Ains?). He grabs Itsuki and wants him to join the dark side. They can go spread despair over the world because Itsuki too must have felt superior when he defiled the ladies, right? Can’t argue with that. But of course Itsuki rejects. You killed one of his girls and he is going to pay. So Alfie’s Star Child prays for some holy spear for Itsuki to stab through him? The Star Children then ‘sacrifice’ themselves to seal the 13th phantom forever. With Granvania safe, Mahiru talks to Itsuki that she wants to go home. She might miss the people here but it’s where she came from. He agrees. So as they leave, the other maidens come to say goodbye. So why the long face? Eventually they realize they don’t want to part with him and go with him! If that isn’t enough, Alfie and the Star Children are somewhat alive and also follow him to this world. WTF?! Mana has taken a humanoid form. Cute as she can be but she is still pervy. So now everybody is living on Earth but the ultimate f*ckery in the end is how Itsuki marries all of them and wants to bear their children! You mean he needs more children???!!! IS THIS EVEN LEGAL???!!! WTF???!!!!

Foreplay Folly – The Fault In Our (Horny) Stars: A Star (Child) Is Born
WTF???!!! WHAT THE FFFFFFUUUUUUUU????!!!! I was expecting a cheesy ending but I didn’t f*cking expect this gross harem ‘bad’ ending! Yeah, good for Itsuki. He has all the girls in his world now. It makes you think if Granvania must be a lonely place because now they are over a dozen girls shop. Think about this. Granvania is going to partly falter without them. For example, with Collete gone, who the f*ck is going to run the bakery?! Who is going to deliver the mails now that Sue is no longer around?! Granvania would be stuck with just old men and hot men and now they can all get yaoi with each other. Oh Seiya, looks like Narcisstes is the only option for you and you can add Shangri La for a threesome if you want. If that’s the case, was it better to just destroy Granvania? Looks like when the next round of Impurities hit them, it will be mostly from deprived jealous guys. Meanwhile other jealous guys in Itsuki’s school will be green with envy that suddenly he has babes from all walks of life clinging on to him. And he is already done them in! F*ck off you cherry boys. Itsuki is already in a league of his own!

You know, the whole concept of this conception thingy seems to be one big flimsy plot. I did not play the game so I am not sure if the game’s mechanics and settings are any better. But I think it would be even if it is just slightly since the video game had a sequel with completely new characters. But as far as this animated adaptation is concerned, the plot to have a Visitor make Star Children feels like a poorly written plot. An excuse so that we could have some sort of fake make-out scene and foreplay folly. Uh huh. I don’t know if this is sexy or funny but either way, when it comes to those scenes, it was also mind boggling.

The fact that you could create a Star Child from all those bonding because of the Impurities build up crap thingy feels a lot like a weak excuse so we can have those tasty delicious foreplay scenes. Which isn’t much either, by the way. Just a slight teasing and showing of our characters who are going to make out in their undies and that’s about it. I know it would feel awkward if they make out fully clothed but if no penetration was even required, why the heck do they need to strip? Maybe in the heat of the passion that is where the Star Child is born. In a way they put so much focus on making a child that every episode is literally named around making a child. Please bear my child. Try having my child. Will you have my child. Let’s give birth together. You get the idea. Like, WTF?! You think making babies is easy?!

There are probably a lot of mind boggling questions I would love to ask especially the workings of this world and other stuffs that don’t make much sense. So much so that this series has the cheek to break its fourth wall to tell us to go visit their official website to find out more details about it! I suppose they don’t want to bore us with some legendary explanation and want us to go look it up ourselves while the episode is dedicated to some boring dating simulation. Yeah… So maybe I could find the reason why Alfie didn’t die and the Star Children obtaining their freedom (who is sealing the 13th phantom then?) but I don’t want to confuse myself any further. Plus, the site is in Japanese and I’m too lazy to Google translate. Yeah… And then the questions keep piling on like if Mana is an Impurity but is able to transform into a human, Alfie a Star Child but not really looking like a typical Star Child, Shangri La was once a Visitor, you just forget about everything and accept it all without questions. Life is so much easier that way.

Because I don’t understand if this Impurity thing was so bad and they need to seal or defeat it quickly, but yet you see the people of Granvania going on with their daily lives happily! Like as though there is no urgency. Do they put all their faith in the Visitor? Because I’m sure past records have shown the success rate is high because otherwise had the Visitor failed, no more Granvania. Even more mind boggling is how the maidens are chosen (yeah, suddenly that horoscope sign popped up somewhere on their body, so you must be the chosen one). You think that they would at least all stay and work together once they are identified. But noooooo. After their initial introducing, they carry on living their individual lives. Like, WTF?! Like as though they are waiting for Itsuki to come seduce them. Turn by turn. And to say that these maidens cannot fight directly and only produce Star Child is also very paper thin excuse. Every time Itsuki and the Star Children venture into the labyrinth, at least the most they could do is be there as support? I know, don’t want to put them in danger as they don’t have martial arts background. But still, it shows that the maidens don’t care and they’re just there to serve as plot device for some fake sexy fanservice! I keep thinking it is only a matter of time Granvania will fall…

So basically in most episodes follow somewhat a similar pattern as Itsuki will try to bond with the girl in focus before performing the Love Ritual. The problem is that it just doesn’t feel satisfying. Maybe the series doesn’t take itself seriously even when it comes to this part. But the fact that it is supposed to be somewhat like a dating simulation but it comes off as rushed and unsatisfying. I mean, there are actually 12 maidens already and since there is the 13th and some guys to troll us for possible BL, how else do you think they can fit all of that into a dozen episodes? That is why it feels pretty wasted and rushed that many episodes featured 2 maidens. Like as though they need to quickly move forward the plot and hence ‘fast forward’ and rush this dating thingy. I don’t expect it to last for a few episodes like Amagami SS or Seiren but if the series is going to feature a guy bonding with his harem, such hastiness is very much frowned upon and dilutes the worth of the series.

Therefore it feels like the Star Children are one of the most important and forgettable characters and plots here. They feel more like just plot conveniences. When the series started, I was under the impression that we are going to see how the Star Children fight against the Impurities. Even if it is not the main thing, at least make it look important. Heck, even the first episode felt like a big troll. Itsuki suddenly pulling out his magic sword to fight a monster. I thought that was going to be the staple of the series. However many of the plot for this part of fighting Impurities in the labyrinth is mostly skipped. Suddenly you see Itsuki and his Star Children conquering the labyrinth and making the offerings to seal the Star Ward. Wow. It looks so easy. And with the subsequent episodes suddenly turning into some cheesy second rate dating sim, I guess screw this part and give me more faux foreplay. Oh yeah, bring on those sexy scenes, baby!

Hence the characters feel more like tools for plot conveniences. If you ever think that there was a series that treats its females like objects, this show can be considered to be a close one. Because as you can see of how rushed everything is, the maiden in focus is given one (some half) episode of prominence. After her Star Child is born, she is not really heard of again. At least not as prominent as when Itsuki seduced her. That is the most limelight she’ll ever get. Then she’ll be tossed and become part of the background, almost and nearly forgotten. That is why I don’t feel the bond of Itsuki and the girls. Everything happens to fast! You know it’s bad when you come too fast, right?! ;p. I feel sorry that despite each of them have different backgrounds, they feel so shallow here. It just feels like a stepping stone for the Love Ritual. An excuse why Itsuki is going to bang them. So what Femiruna’s family runs Lunch Pack? So what Collete runs a bakery? So what Falun is a dancer? So what Sue wants to be a good delivery girl? It all doesn’t matter once Itsuki f*cks them. Yeah, I make it sound like Itsuki penetrate these girls in my paragraphs but rest assured it is just for dramatization effect. No wonder they want to follow Itsuki. He is the only one who can make them feel good! Damn Itsuki, you could run a pimp house!

Even more sorry state for the Star Children. As I’ve said before, they are born to fight Impurities and right after birth, they are taken to a foster home to be trained. Like, you mean mama doesn’t even care about them!? It’s like after the ‘mothers’ gave birth to them, they toss them away too. Not their responsibility anymore. Like WTF?! And what the heck will happen to them once the Impurities are all sealed? Will they all die and disappear? That will be sad if that happens. Because I sure don’t see Star Children from the last time around (even that was assuming decades ago). So yeah, the women and children of this kingdom are so forsaken!!! Somebody think of the women and children!!!

I also think there was a missed opportunity when they decide to bring about the 13th maiden and hence the 13th Star Child. Because they should have brought in the Ophiuchus as Alfie’s star sign. Oh wait. They did in the end. But a little too late. Ophiuchus is often believed to be the 13th zodiac and there are debates whether it should be included in the horoscope or just a pseudo member. But I can’t see how this serpent bearer would fit for Alfie’s personality. It’s not like she’s a snake, right? Oh right. She stole a kiss from Itsuki before her fake dying moments. Sneaky snakey… But heck, I don’t think many of the other girls also represent the zodiac they are assigned for. Like Collete who is more of a baker than anything to do with Aquarius. At least make her a waitress who pours water for the customers she waits. And how the heck can one associate Ruka with Cancer? Unless you tell me those twintails are like a crab’s claws. Too vague!

For better or worse, cheeky and mischievous Mana is indeed the ‘best’ character of the series and my favourite. Her tendency to break the fourth wall, make sleazy cheesy horny jokes at every moment must be some sort of talent. This is the reason why the series is so funny and interesting because of how easily Mana breaks into this slutty mode, trying to turn on Itsuki. Maybe she has some pent up sexual frustrations and that’s why you see her being kinky on purpose. Only if she was such a gorgeous human being, she would have easily been the fapping material of many! It is this same reason why the show is cheesy and sucks in some other ways. Once a pervert, always a pervert. Then they try to give Mana some background like she is an Impurity. Like, does that even really matter at this point? Are we supposed to sympathize with her? Maybe that’s why she has such impure thoughts. Haha! But Mana, carry on being you. We love you that way. I don’t even want to think how Itsuki made out with her… Mana acting all shy and blushing whether real or not, just feels so creepy… Imagine if a Star Child was actually conceived between them, it would be so disturbing. But now thankfully Mana is in her oh so cute human form and that would make making out (if that should ever happen) easier to palate. Not going the beastiality way.

Itsuki as the only other character aside Mana to appear in every episode, I feel his main character status has reduced him into a pathetic state. Just like the maidens, his role exists just as a tool for plot convenience. Oh, so what’s this that if he doesn’t save Granvania and get the job done, he won’t return back to his own world? Hence an excuse to go around seducing the maidens and then make out with her. He has got it so good in this world, I say screw his own world and continue living here. Do you not see he bums around a lot? It’s not like he has a real job or rent to take care of anyway. I see Mahiru is blending in pretty well. Since they don’t show her much so I’m assuming she must be getting along fine in this world. To show Itsuki isn’t such a sleazy guy going around banging chicks, that is why the final arc plot for the much needed drama to make him feel like he is on a guilt trip. I’ve shagged all the ladies (and a creature) that I can, now it’s time to contribute with my sacrifice. Don’t worry girls, he is not the only one with a dick in Granvania. But since he is the one taking their first time, I guess we can’t have him go that way either. And since he saved the day and has the maidens coming with him (pun not intended), it’s like this guy only has a win-win situation. As long as you make the ladies feel good, damn they will follow you anywhere.

The other guys here feel like as though they are a troll for some BL trap. Why else do you have this Seiya dude who is probably charming and a playboy with other girls, for Itsuki in that one episode to feel like he is going to fall for him? Trap! And then for a guy like Narcisstes, to even have this kind of name, I mean, WTF???!!! And why does Shangri La not look like a proper king because when I see him I thought he is some uncle pretending to be a king. Yeah… Oddly, assuming if Shangri La and Narcisstes have tackled this Impurities menace in the past (not too sure its frequency but from the way they said it, it happened before), they should have some sort of experience and knowledge about the past to help deal with the current situation. Therefore I am again screaming plot convenience about this 13th phantom crap. You mean it never happened before?! I don’t know how big the royal library is or if Narcisstes is doing his research wrongly because suddenly they pull out this legendary crap out of thin air. Like, are you sure you’re serious in dealing with this sh*t? I have a speculation why Shangri La as an ex-Visitor is now king of Granvania. It’s because he did not have any women who wants to sleep with him so he prefers to stay back here and rule over others! I mean, have you even seen the queen?! It’s not like she was ever mentioned she died or anything! Oh Itsuki, you should really count your blessings.

Art and animation feel average and pretty standard. I don’t know, is it me that the characters have this one kind look? This anime is animated by the veteran anime studio of Gonzo. They are still going strong in producing a lot of anime series every season but it must just be coincidence that the recent seasons the animes from them aren’t of my taste and hence didn’t catch their work for a while. While some of the maidens’ design look like cosplay themes (Ruka the miko priestess, Reone the nurse), it is the designs of the Star Children that feel pretty weird. It feels like as though they were the result of some mutation went wrong hence some look like a chibi retard. Serious.

For the voice acting part, my favourite is of course Mana who is voiced by Yurin (Honey in Space Dandy). She is so freaking awesome sounding as the sleazy perverted creature and really sounds the part. She sounds like she is having fun with all this that it is just convincing. She could be the next Satomi Arai if you ask me. But kudos to her for doing a great voice acting job because it is never a dull moment hearing Mana talk in her unique, uhm, accent? Surprising to hear Kana Asumi as Lilith and Lillie because I haven’t heard her in a while and thought she has retired. But she is more subdued here and even her Lillie counterpart doesn’t match the exuberance of her trademark like Nyaruko. The other recognizable seiyuu is Eri Kitamura as Sue. Yeah, she also sounds subdued here but it’s all part of her character role. Sho Hayami as the 13th phantom feels wasted in his role since the baddie isn’t looking all that menacing and cheap.

The other casts are Yuuki Ono as Itsuki (Kiyotaka in Da Capo II), Emiri Katou as Mahiru (Akatsuki in Log Horizon), Aya Endo as Arie (Tchaikovsky in ClassicaLoid), Riho Sugiyama as Tarua (Tanis in Frankenstein Family), Makiko Ohmoto as Ruka (Miki in Tenshi Na Konamaiki), Saki Fujita as Femiruna (Ymir in Shingeki No Kyojin), Sanae Kobayashi as Mirei (Ennis in Baccano), Yuriko Yamaguchi as Reone (Robin in One Piece), Kazusa Aranami as Falun (Fujiko in Dorei-ku The Animation), Asami Shimoda as Collete (Rin in Infinite Stratos), Yukiyo Fujii as Yuzuha (Harumi in Citrus), Ai Kakuma as Alfie (Julis in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk), Kengo Kawanashi as Seiya (Rei in 3-gatsu No Lion), Daisuke Hirakawa as Narcisstes (Makoto in School Days) and Kenichirou Matsuda as Shangri La (Gordon in Black Clover).

The opening theme is Star Light, Star Bright by Nano. Although this piece is passable and not bad, I wonder if it fits this series or not. You see, this rock piece sounds suitable if the anime was more like an action shonen adventure or fantasy like Naruto or Black Clover. So hearing this while keeping in mind the genre of this series makes me feel weird. But it cannot be as weird as the ending theme. The aptly named Desires by Manami Numakura is not only a techno rock frenzy but the freaky part is the animation. We see strange cardboard cut outs of Mana with macho man body doing very weird dances! The kind of exuberant energetic dance that you wonder if she is doing some sort of sacrificial ritual! This part comes off both funny and creepy because the surreal visuals somewhat remind me of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica (the part the magical girls fight the witches). Yikes! I’m definitely not getting a boner in seeing this one. If their goal is to make me go WTF and feel crept out, they certainly succeeded in doing that.

Overall, this series trolled and teased us a lot with some suggestive and steamy scenes. We get our hopes up in seeing the make-out scenes and despite being rewarded with just that, that’s all we ever get. Disappointed, you damn dirty perverts! But I have to admit that I had fun and some laughs while watching this series, thanks to the horniness of a certain bear tanuki, thank you. It’s not the best nor sexy anime of the season of the year but it does give a different take and angle on the fanservice aspect. No cheap cheesy pantsu shots or boob shots to get the job done. Just some horny and suggestive remarks and trolling of the sexy bits is enough to make us feel anticipated, horny and disappointed all together. Then we all laugh it off after we’ve been had yet again. But I’m sure this isn’t going to cut it as an excuse when you really knock up a girl. I think we missed the concept of conception here.

Seiren

August 6, 2017

If you like dating multiple girls but do not really want to go as far as to have all of them at one go (that is what we call a harem), there was an anime or two that a few years back that featured the same protagonist dating different girls in different routes. So what if you are sick of all those girls? Well, you just design and create new ones! And so this were my thoughts when Amagami SS got a sequel spinoff in the name of Seiren. Despite the setting takes place in the Amagami SS world and many years down the road after the original, it involves a new main character and a whole new bunch of girls but with the same dating and relationship format. Yeah, we always know that the guy always get the girl(s) in the end.

Hikari Tsuneki’s Arc

Episode 1
Shouichi Kamita can’t be serious when he lists down being a horned beetle as his first career choice! Even his best friend, Ikuo Nanasaki knows he would write something this dumb. Shouichi is having trouble studying what more deciding what he wants to become. He returns to his class only to find Hikari Tsuneki sitting on his desk. Her friends, Yukie Takato and Youko Kikuchi tell her not to take her frustrations out on him since she lost in some Miss Santa contest to his sister, Tomoe. She claims she’s not and doing this because she likes to tease him. Shouichi keeps staring at his desk since it was where Hikari put her butt. He realizes she is giving him that stare. Next day, the cafeteria is crowded so Hikari and co usher him to come eat with them. He knows he is going to be in for lots of teasing and true enough they did just that. They heard what he wrote for his career choice and think he should become some porn manga artist. When he dismisses it, they think he is gay since he is always with Ikuo. You just can’t win… When the guys are studying at the library, Hikari comes to bug Ikuo to teach her and Shouichi sees it like as though she is flirting with him. Later Ikuo tells Shouichi that Hikari may be into older men because his sister spotted him going out with one. So? Rest be assured that she isn’t into kids like them. Shouichi studies hard that he did decently for the tests. Those girls tease he should teach them sometimes. This prompts Kyouko Touno to note how popular Shouichi is with girls. So she wants his help to study sometimes?

Ikuo invites him to his summer cram course in some resort. He declines but will keep that in mind. They then hang out with their senior, Tatsuya Araki. This guy is carefree unlike other seniors who are studying hard for the next level. Shouichi gets worried after he learns Hikari and co also somewhat admire Araki. And there’s something about going on a trip with him and other seniors as well. Shouichi on his way home sees Hikari working at a cafe. The older man she is supposedly dating must be the owner. He gets jealous thinking he too can get a girlfriend if he worked part time. But seriously, he sees her making progress in life and he can’t fall behind. So he calls Ikuo to take up on his invitation for the cram course. The entire place is booked for it. Ikuo tells Shouichi not to be so stiff as he points out to some of the nation’s top students here and they too are just like them trying to have some fun. Shouichi thought he spotted a woman in a kimono across the window but after he looks back she is gone. Please say it isn’t so. Ikuo better stop scaring him with that rumours about a third year who killed herself. Shouichi becomes disheartened because he bombed his pop quiz. Didn’t realize it was this tough, eh? What’s a sad guy got to do but to fantasize Hikari feeding him meat in a swimsuit. As he opens the window for fresh air, he gets the biggest scare of his life because a girl crawled in like a vengeful Japanese spirit!

Episode 2
She is actually Hikari and no, she isn’t a ghost. She relates her story that she was ‘abducted’ here to study (her parents found out and didn’t like her working part time) and since she didn’t like it, she tried running away. Yeah, bad luck of getting attack by deer. Since her entire clothes are wet, she borrows his jersey. I’m sure he is trying to peep at her sweet parts but try not to make it so obvious. When she leaves his room, he notices a few people giving him that look. Next day, Shouichi and Ikuo join Hikari and Mako Yoshida during lunch. Both girls are the only ones in a special class for problem kids. Despite Hikari getting punished for trying to escape class and being made to clean toilets, she still doesn’t learn her lesson. Hate studying so much, do you? At the laundry, she washes the jersey as Mako talks to her about rumours swirling around. Everyone views her as a b*tch for walking around in her boyfriend’s jersey. Hikari somehow likes the sound of it so she exaggerates (or rather lies) about Shouichi getting down and dirty with her. Meanwhile Shouichi hears a couple of elite girls, Miu Hiyama and Touka Maruishi badmouthing about Hikari. They too think she is a b*tch trying to show off her boyfriend and distract them from their studies. Remember Shouichi’s scream? They thought Shouichi was screaming about sticking it in all the way! Shouichi almost scares them when he pops out from his hiding between the vending machine to correct them. Heck, now they think he is doing something kinky with it. Worse, Hikari is here and presents his cleaned jersey. She acts like his girlfriend so those girls are not going to lose out too. Lose out to what? Hikari seems to love adding fuel to the rumours since it shows everyone is getting stressed up from the studies. But to show she is sorry for causing him troubles, she is going to make a midnight snack for him. With Ikuo and Mako invited, Hikari makes a Spanish omelette. It’s her first time cooking for someone right and thankfully she got it right with the utensils too. This has Mako quip that Shouichi has got a wife because he has a girl who washes and cooks for him. He almost chokes and even more when Hikari teases if he wants to marry her. No wonder she loves messing with him. Because Hikari still wants to try and escape, Shouichi allows her to continue wearing his jersey (avoid deer attack?). He would be too worried about her to study so he isn’t going to let her go. She lets him do the dishes instead but hints she’ll stay here a little longer since the weather is going to get worse.

Episode 3
Now that Hikari and Mako officially join Shouichi’s class, Hikari flirts with him and makes everyone jealous. She shuts them up by unzipping her top to reveal her sexy tank top. That night as he is studying in his room, he thought somebody was trying to break down his door. It’s Hikari and she is bored so she came. He gets conscious when she drinks from his ramen bowl because it’s like an indirect kiss. And in his jersey. So this guy is in love with himself? Just kidding! He knows she is here to distract him so he tells her off everyone is studying hard and she’ll fall behind everyone. She doesn’t care as she doesn’t believe in comparing with others. So she tries to study in his place. He notices her soles. So is this his fetish or what? As expected, Hikari cannot retain her attention. She is so bored as she complains she could have been on a beach hitting on handsome hunks. Then she teases him if he would like to see her bikini. I’m sure we do. She takes him to the men’s bath. The usual teasing when they soak in. When somebody is coming in, Hikari goes into hiding and wants him to be a man to think of something. He has until she runs out of breath! So here comes the teacher. Not impressed he is bathing so late. Then he notices his erection and with Shouichi claiming he wants to scrub his back, the teacher freaks out at this gay moment and runs away! Hikari is so impressed that she passes out?! He walks her back to her room. She cheekily invites him in but changes her mind after her lingerie is seen hanging to dry. So they take a walk as he asks about her lying about her family trip. This leads to him asking if he likes Araki. She dismisses and he thinks it is that cafe owner. Suddenly Hikari is mad. She thinks he is the one who ratted on her because somebody reported it to school and that’s how her parents found out. He denies it and she doesn’t hold it against him. She explains the owner is already married. Ever since, Shouichi has not talk much with her and thinks she suspects him. When the course is over and the students prepare to leave, Ikuo doesn’t see Mako leaving with the group. Shouichi sees her in the window. Could it be she is a ghost?! Actually she woke up late and is forced to repeat her classes. She even talks back to the teacher who is now squirming over his near gay assault encounter! Yukie calls Hikari and from the way she talks she can tell she has fallen from someone even if she denies it. Shouichi on his way to school sees Hikari ahead. But she doesn’t look happy. Further up is Yukie clinging on to Araki’s arms. Are they dating? Shouichi believes Hikari still suspects him.

Episode 4
Ikuo must be in good mood to ask Shouichi if there is anyone he likes. What a way to make his day. When Hikari returns Shouichi his jersey, she hopes he will not tell anyone they were together at the summer course. Of all people, she doesn’t want Yukie to find out as she is a sharp girl. This prompts him to ask if she fears losing Araki to her if people start gossiping about them. This leads to an argument whereby she takes back his jersey and he won’t accept it back till he hears a proper explanation. Huh? Makoto Kamizaki of the discipline committee tries to break them up thinking they are an arguing couple. Don’t worry. She’s quite meek. Apparently there have been lots couples taking their first step into adulthood in weird places around school. Like the rabbit shed. Noticing she mentioned something about a person ratting out a student who worked illegally, Hikari threatens a little to extract a bit more information about the mole. She knows who she is and confronts Yukie. Not sure what she is doing to Araki at the rabbit shed but she is dominating and he is scared! So much so that guy thanks Shouichi as a saviour and leaves him with both girls! Hikari asks straight about the reporting. Simple. Araki seemed to be into Hikari so she wanted her out of the way. All is fair in the game of love, right? But what’s mind blowing is how they solve this so diplomatically without being b*tches. Unbelievable! They even continue to be friends and don’t blame each other! Truly amazing?! After that Hikari cooks for Shouichi her omelette as a way to make up for suspecting him. Hikari had a hunch it was Yukie all along but she only confirmed it after that talk. She didn’t tell him everything at first as she tries not to get him involved. She would rather die than doubt Yukie after suspecting him. He calls her thoughtful and this makes her blush.

They continue hanging out at the beach and for some nostalgic reason, they play catch ball. Of course it goes into the sea, Shouichi tries to get it but ends up getting wet. She too tries to help but also ends up wet. In literal sense. Drenched clothes. Don’t look. You’re a pervert. And all that leads to her pushing him down and commenting how this is turning her on. Sand in his ears. Can’t hear. Let her take it out for you. How does it feel like to kiss underwater? I bet it must be salty… No point making out in the sea so they change to dry clothes. You guessed it, his jersey again. Shouichi tells himself it is now or never to confess. But before he could say a thing, she goes first. Thankful for her parents. First time she cooked and washed for others. Wants to study culinary arts to be more confident in herself. Oh, did I mention that place is overseas? Oh yeah. Shouichi must be real sad. So sad that he is almost this close to tears! Can’t blame her. She says it is him who motivated her to take this path. So while it’s heart wrenching to see his disappointed face, here is a kiss on the cheek to make things up. As narrated, Yukie soon broke up with Araki because something about that guy cares for animals more than her?! Furry lover?! Thanks to that, Yukie and Hikari are normal friends again. The events has made Shouichi know what he wants to do. 5 years later as he works part time at the cafe trying to be a step closer to become a registered dietician nutritionist (sounds so complicated), Hikari pays the place a visit and she just came back from training in Spain. I bet her omelettes are top notched now.

Tooru Miyamae’s Arc

Episode 5
Shouichi, Ikuo and Araki are at their secret spot playing a deer raising simulation game. Yes, really. Tooru Miyamae stumbles upon them and it seems she is also a fan of that game. She wants to trade an item with Shouichi. She would love to stay longer with them had not her friends, Tomoe and Shiori Nagasawa come to pick her up for club activities. Shouichi has thought a lot about letting Tooru join their group. Well, she is already waiting for them at their spot. But somehow they end up at a karaoke and Tooru shows her singing chops for a tokusatsu song including poses! The guys would love to join in had they know more than just anime and game songs. Then the trading begins. Araki notices the items she has a fit for PvP games. Does she like such games? So happen games she loves to play are PvP. They talk about a new PvP game releasing, MiliBun. They decide to go get it. First time bloopers include Araki focusing too much on Tooru’s character’s ass and they both fell from a bridge, Shouichi getting friendly fired by Ikuo who in turn got killed from the back. Tough luck. Shouichi gets preferential treatment from Tooru because she makes a handmade strap of the game’s character for him. When they hit the arcade to get limited edition of its merchandise via crane game, Shouichi and Tooru notice an old retro mecha game, GusGal. They play against a couple of young boys, Takeshi and Wataru but Tooru is ruthless in defeating them with headshots! Shouichi gives them the strap as compensation and tells them to play the crane game to show off to girls. Huh? Shouichi realizes too late he gave away the strap (she doesn’t mind) but also lectures her for being too strict on kids and at this rate nobody will play with her. Because GusGal gave her the thrills of old times, she hopes Shouichi could be her partner to become better.

Episode 6
Shouichi tries to introduce Tooru to a (boring) bus simulator since too much GusGal is eating up his money. Too bad GusGal is the only game to quench her thrill. When Shouichi passes by the cram school, he sees Ikuo acting like a stalker before meeting up with Tooru. Does he have a thing for her too? So he goes to ask Tomoe about what the girls think about him. Lots of good stuffs. I guess he doesn’t want to hear his. Tooru has become popular enough to warrant a crowd watching her play. That is when Takeshi comes back to challenge her but he brought his sister this time: Hikari. Oh my. Hikari is such a badass chick. Makoto who is there to keep watch on students, try to calm them down but was promptly told off by Hikari. She then runs away and bangs into the glass door?! Funny girl. Tooru-Shouichi in the end defeat Hikari-Takeshi. Meanwhile Makoto is relishing the photos she took from the booth. Too bad she stumbles upon her discipline committee president, Ruise Sanjou who is not pleased she is slacking. Araki and Ikuo are addicted to the bus game when they spot Makoto profusely apologizing to Ruise. They signal to Shouichi to buy time for him to get out. They make a run for it and continue their b*tch confrontation at the back alley. Nothing untoward happens as Hikari warns Shouichi if he continues to hang out with Tooru, infighting would be the least of his problems. Shouichi ignores that and hangs out with her to find out more about her relationship with Hikari. They were friends in middle school. Tooru returns to her deer simulator and it seems there is a special event for her deer to have an offspring if she mates it with another player. Guess who? Oh, Shouichi you make it sound so misconstrued. “I’m nervous with just the thought of producing a baby with you”. There’s more after that. “I didn’t know it took this long”. “It was my first time”. Shouichi notices she likes to eat his stuffs so he feeds her his cherry if she promises not to do it again. In school, Araki and Ikuo have been punished by the discipline committee to clean the rabbit shed. But Araki is more than happy to do it and made Ruise lost it. They advise Shouichi to stay away from the arcades at least till after the exams as the committee will be keeping a close eye on the place. Shouichi then asks about that cram school incident. Ikuo explains he thought an old classmate looked like a character from MiliBun and tried to make sure but stumbled upon Tooru. The guys can tell Shouichi likes Tooru from the day she traded items with him. Of course he denies anything like it.

Episode 7
Since Tooru hasn’t been coming to school for days, Shouichi asks Hikari about what she meant the other day. Hikari and Tooru were once part of a small group of gamer girls. Naturally some boys flocked to them but Tooru was the more popular one. As the guys started to impress her, they had their egos crushed when Tooru beat them flat. Soon they went away and the girls hated her. Hikari tried to warn her but she didn’t listen. That’s why Hikari tried to warn him then and was worried he would also have his ego crushed. When Shouichi finally calls Tooru, she invites him to play GusGal at her place since the arcade is off limits. He is welcomed in by her older brother, Souta who used to be a gamer himself. He felt guilty for turning Tooru into one as boys used to flock over to play games. That’s why she couldn’t make any normal girl friends till Tomoe came along. He shows him an old video of Tooru in a quiz show. She looked very boyish. Of course she shuts it off. In her room, she gives him one of the many handmade dolls. He notices her delicate craftsmanship and thinks she should become one. When she learns what happened to Araki and Ikuo, she can’t help feel guilty since they won’t be gaming together for a while. Later Tooru calls Hikari to settle their score but she won’t. Hikari has already given up on games a long time ago and hints that she already has a better ‘partner’ than her. Shouichi brings Tooru to a secluded arcade building. If playing this asteroid co-op game is too cramped, maybe this football game is better. Sorry Tooru, you can’t kill people in a football game. I guess she was too rough on the controller that she got a cut on a finger. He helps treat it as she starts lamenting how she only thinks of games and makes everyone worry. He hopes she can rely on him when needed. Shouichi waits at the usual spot, nervous if Tooru would show up. She did. She shows him a deer mascot she made that she will be selling at ComiMa. She asks if he would like to help. Of course. She gives him a ticket to the place. He thinks it looks like a date. Does he want to go out on a date with her? If he helps out. Shiori hates to cut in on their happiness as she confronts Tooru about this. She always turned her down but easily accepts when it is Shouichi? Both sides introduce each other and they hope to work together at ComiMa.

Episode 8
At ComiMa, Shouichi couldn’t recognize Tooru at first because she is in a cosplay of a MiliBun character. She’s a bit embarrassed by it. Yeah, a white fluffy patch on her vagina area (which is part of the character’s design), I can see why… Shouichi and Tooru are to man the deer mascot booth. Tooru is a bit stiff in promoting it and Shouichi trying to cover for her just made it worse so the customers left. When Tooru is swamped by photographers and her costume is having trouble, Tomoe distracts those snapping perverts as she cosplays as a very sexy skin revealing GusGal character. Shouichi takes Tooru to the toilet area as they try to figure out the zipper problem. Guess what? It goes all the way down to her ass! Oh my. A few hentai-like poses she makes so that she could let Shouichi get a clear view of where the zipper is?! Once he finds it, she can do it by herself. Once done, they head back out and Tooru regains her confidence. After a successful event, the gang coincidentally eat at the café Hikari works at. She isn’t so pleased, though. Hikari is impressed Tooru cosplay there so Tomoe invites her to do cosplay sometimes. I think she will have second thoughts after seeing that sexy GusGal outfit. Tooru gives Shouichi a handmade GusGal mascot as thanks. She reveals she got this deer mascot idea after Tooru gave away her strap and she saw Takeshi continue to display it on his bag. She wanted to make things that could make others happy.

As they leave, Hikari threatens Shouichi not to tell this up to anybody so he thought of calming her down by complimenting how good she looks in her apron. This makes Tooru want to go home alone. He walks home with her as she ‘complains’ he complimented Hikari but not her who was in cosplay all day. Get the hint? Shouichi reminds her of their promised date. That outing was the date?! With Tomoe and Shiori doesn’t count. Would you consider a date if her brother tagged along? He wants to go on a date now since she said she is preparing for exams tomorrow. Besides, he wants to tell his feelings. So much for the surprise. While at it, might as well confess he loves her. Unfortunately she rejects him. Seeing the disappointment on his face, she kisses his neck?! And then sucks his neck!? WTF?! So she noticed his growing Adam’s apple and wanted to attack his weak spot?! I thought every guy’s weakness is their balls… Yeah, it would be hentai if she attacked that. Haha! Anyway, she explains from the events that have happened, Shouichi always came after her. She hopes he will continue to come after her. Big hint. The moment is right for them to give a real kiss. Next day, Shouichi tells Araki and Ikuo that they are seeing each other although keeping it platonic so as to let her concentrate on her studies. They tease him if he has gotten this far with her. Then this happens… Tooru comes running to tell them their baby is born! The one where they mated at that back alley! Oh Shouichi, did you really do it?! Oh, it’s that deer simulator… Phew. 10 years later, we see Shouichi and Tooru already married having a little cute daughter. She is a kindergarten teacher and he is a school bus driver. Wait. What?!

Kyouko Touno’s Arc

Episode 9
Hikari and co notice Kyouko outside the classroom looking for Shouichi. Seems she wants to show him a new magical girl manga release for the first time in 2 years since it went into hiatus. Hikari thought he is pretty childish to still read such stuffs but Kyouko who is his childhood friend only has him to talk such things with. Later as the duo see how the style and content of the manga has become more fanservice and gorier, Shouichi is surprised that Tomoe is seen with this trek club guy (Captain Trek?). He threatens him to keep this meeting a secret. After school, the duo see Takashi playing some GusGal transformation with his friend, Rin. Since Rin isn’t good at it, Shouichi demonstrates some magical girl pose that is equally as cool. Back home, Shouichi asks Tomoe about today. Did she get confessed again? Don’t worry. Tomoe isn’t looking for romance. Actually Captain Trek was trying to ask her to introduce him to Kyouko. Seems he is asking for advice about the home economics club. Something about he got swindled after paying money to make him a man. As Tomoe is friends with the club president, he was wondering if he could get his money back. The home economics club sounds like they’re doing shady business because you can trade in old clothes for some spare change.

Kyouko reflects on Shouichi’s words about her being still stuck as a middle school girl. So she takes her entire magical girl collection to dump it by the park? Rin takes a look but gets scared after seeing its fanservice and gore level. Luckily Koharu Uno and Nao Tokioka appease the little one with their handicraft magic. Koharu talks to Kyouko about this dumping so she relates how her childhood friend has grown up and grown out of these things. If that’s the case, Koharu invites her to join the home economics club to enhance her feminine charms to in his heart. Kyouko is here and she has brought Shouichi too. Koharu and Nao didn’t really think this guy would be her childhood friend. They kick him out to wait since the club is only for girls. The first order of business? Stripping Kyouko? Turns out the girls put on a lovely kimono for moon viewing. They explain the club’s goal is more than just this and to find ways to enrich life. Kyouko remembers Shouichi’s cross-dressing. It’s really depressing remembering he was so cute that Ikuo who thought he was Kyouko’s friend, flipped his skirt, got shocked at what he saw and lost his memories! Worse, Kyouko’s mom spanked him after that. Shouichi’s notices Kyouko’s beauty when the moonlight is brighter. He then asks why the club buys used clothes as he doesn’t want Kyouko joining a shady club. Here comes Shiori, the club’s ex-president to explain that their club budget can’t cover for expenses so they take in used clothes, reuse its fabric to resell them. That was how they made Tomoe’s Santa’s outfit. As for Captain Trek, he handed to them to make a banner. They were only following exactly his lousy drawing so he started complaining about the design. Too bad. No refunds. Kyouko has decided to join this club.

Episode 10
Shouichi originally had plans to spend Christmas Eve with Ikuo. But the latter apologizes because now he has plans with a girl he fell in love during the summer course! Meanwhile Ruise is trying to force the home economics club to decorate the Christmas tree for the school’s festival. She makes a deal to pardon them of their ‘offenses’ starting from the previous year. Shouichi walks into the club only to see Kyouko sleeping in her cosplay outfit. She was modelling for them when they head out to look for materials for the tree. She lets him try the cake she makes but because she has made a lot of them, she is a bit cake fatigued by now. I guess there goes his plans to ask her out for cake. Thus Shouichi goes to ask Hikari for advice. She is surprised he got a girl date on Christmas Eve. So as she dispenses her ‘wisdom’, Shouichi looks up on adult themes for Christmas as recommended. Love hotel. Oops. He returns to the club as Ruise was just leaving angrily. Turns out she didn’t like the design on Koharu and Nao. What the heck is this horror occult tree?! Shouichi and Kyouko are kicked out when they suggest bringing their old underwear when they require more used fabric. Seriously… Back at his place, Kyouko tries his old pyjamas which seems to almost fit. As she is the only child, she feels envious about hand-me-downs. Shouichi tries his luck again as he walks with Kyouko, trying to ask her out. Accidentally he shows the love hotel search. Oops. Mood ruined? Anyway she has duties during that day so she can’t go with him. At least he asks how she views him. More than a friend but rather a nice next door girl. Huh??? Apparently this was watched by Koharu and Nao. This embarrasses the hell out of Kyouko. But she also asks if boys get horny on Christmas Day. WTF?! Then when they see Shouichi cornering Ikuo, they think the shock of the rejection was too much that he desperately turned gay! WTF?! Then they see Hikari for advice. Yeah, her ‘wisdom’ again lets them know boys are horny on Christmas. Then she continues to brag about a certain guy trying to ask her out but she turned him down so he started asking other girls. This somehow makes Kyouko frustrated as she leaves. Did she say the wrong thing? Koharu and Nao try to cheer Kyouko up. Maybe she doesn’t need men. A big dakimakura or cats! Actually Kyouko isn’t sad. She knows Shouichi is too much of a coward to ask Hikari out (at least not in this arc) even out of desperation. She doesn’t mind him dating others but she never wanted him getting mocked because of her and she won’t know what to do if that happens. Kyouko can’t sleep that night and to take her mind off it, she starts knitting.

Episode 11
Kyouko should have known better to cross the road when she is sleepy. Luckily Shouichi was here to pull her back. Kyouko asks him if he managed to ask anybody out for Christmas Eve after that. Nah. He went karaoke with Araki. He tried to hit on Hikari and her friends but they rejected him. After Kyouko is assured he will stay her good childhood friend forever, she hands him her handmade knitted pants. Weird… He agrees to accompany her shopping but he didn’t realize it is shopping for lingerie! Weirder… He tries to be ‘manly’ by teasing her he can’t tell if the pantsu looks good on her or not if she doesn’t put it on. And she takes up his offer! Don’t back down now. Well, she just put it over her skirt. Don’t stare too long… Ruise is pleased the home economics club finally decorated the tree. They won’t tell what materials they used. Trade secret. But I think I know… True enough! Used underwear! Never let her know… Kyouko thanks her resourcefulness ever since joining the club and it was worth it. Shouichi praises her and that he can’t keep treating her like a middle school girl. When Shouichi goes home, he sees Ikuo wearing some sentai mask and trying to act out but fails miserably! Apparently the girl he asked out turned him down. He is very sad as he wanted to be more than just friends. Shouichi feels his pain and understands. In fact he views Ikuo as manlier than himself. It’s that reason why a certain childhood friend writes him off as a girl next door. He wants to be a man like Ikuo. Kyouko messes up the cake she is making in her club. We know what is bothering her. They thought there is a spy from the disciplinary committee eavesdropping outside. But Miu is glad she has found the home economics club and wants to borrow some soy sauce. Shuouichi tries to do some muscle training in his room. But thoughts of Kyouko frustrates him. Tomoe comes in to see what the ruckus is all about and misinterprets seeing him holding the knitted underpants. She promises to forget all about it. Shouichi continues his manly training till dawn. He refuses to regret anything this Christmas Eve.

Episode 12
Hikari is sexy in a reindeer outfit. She is turning on the boys that they are confident she can win the Miss Santa contest. Because of that, nobody is helping Yukie at the stall. But here comes Shouichi (cowboy aura?) to help. Then he goes visit Kyouko helping to sell cakes at the home economics club’s stall. He wants to tell something to her and is willing to wait no matter how late her work finishes. Ooh… Meanwhile Tooru wins the contest with a maskless hero outfit. Hikari is so disappointed. Koharu and Nao realize they were made to do the decorations because Shiori’s name was on the bulletin list of people who got into college on recommendation. Does this mean they did all that for nothing? Also revealed is that Rin is Ruise’s little sister. When Kyouko finally meets Shouichi, he gets down to business that he wants to go out with her. So she wants to think about it while eating her oden hot? As the bench is cold, she is disappointed he is putting it as a seat cover instead of wearing it. He sits on it, she sits between his legs. Well, it’s getting closer… We hear Kyouko say silly things like announcing she is wearing pink panties (why tell him? Because would you prefer she tell some other guy, duh!) and she took him to the lingerie store because of Koharu’s advice that showing your pantsu is a way to cheer a boy up (definitely duped there). We also hear her ask silly questions like do boys want girls that bad on Christmas Eve. Enough with the nonsense because Shouichi says he wants her. He wants her to look at him more than a childhood friend. As a man. Then naturally here comes the confession, the hug and the kiss, all well timed to the fireworks display. Koharu and Nao are spying on this. They are ‘sad’ that they now cannot sell lewd dakimakura of Kyouko to his broken heart. The oddest part is Shouichi letting Kyouko wear the red underwear while carrying her. Because he already got her as the best Christmas present. 10 years down the road, they are married and look as young as they are 10 years ago. They also have a daughter who looks like a mini version of Kyouko.

No Sex Siren
If this entire season feels somewhat ‘short’ and ‘incomplete’ and because you noticed that in the opening credits animation and the early promotional poster, there seems to be 6 girls but you only get 3 of them here, it was stated that there are plans to have these ‘missing’ girls, namely Miu, Makoto and Ruise to have their own arcs in the future. Therefore my guess that this ‘short’ season of the new sequel spinoff is just to test market and to see how well and receptive the audiences are for this bunch of new characters before ‘wasting’ money, energy and time to do another season. It is a reason why they make short cameo appearances here and there that doesn’t have any bearing whatsoever on the story of that arc. While I look forward for Makoto’s adaptation because she seems like a funny klutz girl, I’m not too sure about Miu and Ruise. I mean, of all the other girls that have the equal potential to be the main heroine, they chose some seemingly arrogant elite girl from another school who is now a new transfer student as seen in Kyouko’s arc and a strict dominating gloomy I-can-see-those-bags-under-your-eyes girl (like as though she stayed up all night playing with herself. Holy sh*t!). I think I can envision how it is going to play out here.

But let me not get ahead too far of myself with all that speculation. As for this season itself, well, there isn’t anything new or fresh to the concept except for the characters and the method that it is laid out to achieve that same end goal of scoring with the girl. Therefore I can say that Seiren is just Amagami SS masked in a different wardrobe to see if it can retain old fans and rein in new one. I think. Of course to make it not look like it is completely without any relation to the original, not only it takes place in the same school but Ikuo is the younger brother of Ai from the original Amagami SS and if you remember Haruka’s arc whereby she and Junichi did something close to raunchy in the rabbit shed which led to strict moral rules being implemented, this was referred to in one of those episodes. So wait. This sequel spinoff takes place as a result of Haruka’s arc? Yeah, now we know who Junichi really ended up with.

How should I comment on the characters? It is a given that each of the main heroines are given their distinctive personality so that it won’t feel that Shouichi is dating the same kind of girl but with a different face and name. Like Hikari is the cheeky, mischievous and sporting strong independent woman who loves to tease Shouichi. Among all the girls, she feels like she is the ‘staple’ character in every arc because she pops up frequent enough. Then there is the gamer girl senior who seems to lack emotions but rather she isn’t good with communicating with others. Finally the cute and a bit child-like at times Kyouko. See the wide range of personalities there? Yeah, they even went as far as to have Shouichi date girls with varying seniority too. A senior, the same classmate and a junior childhood friend.

Shouichi feels like any other generic male protagonist of a romance comedy drama. Good guy, nice guy, shy guy, plain guy. Nothing that really breaks the mould. It just goes to show that sometimes you don’t need money, fame, good looks or any super special talents to land a girl. Oh heck. This isn’t the real world in the first place. Him landing the girl in the end sometimes makes us long time single otaku jealous or you can look at it in a positive way that it gives us hope that all is not lost. Oh heck. Who am I kidding? This is just anime. This is just entertainment. This isn’t real. :’(. At least this season, ‘the other guy’ Ikuo is more sensible compared to the ‘best friend’ Umehara. Araki has this potential to be a comic relief character because of his love for animals especially the rabbit shed. Girls can never beat his love for bunnies… Unless you’re a bunny girl, maybe?

I wonder if they’re going to make a one off episode featuring the lesser girls. For example in Amagami SS we had Junichi’s little sister and that stalker girl if you remember was the one primarily responsible for his fear of being lonely on Christmas Eve. Because now if I think about it, Shouichi doesn’t suffer from such problems like Junichi. His worries about his future and studies aren’t as ‘devastating’ compared to Junichi’s scarred heart. Yeah, remember that guy used to lock himself in his planetarium (read: closet) dreading that day. Oh Shouichi, you have it better than your predecessor.

As Seiren means honesty, purity and integrity in Japanese, let’s be honest that despite this series being listed in its synopsis as a campus romantic comedy of pure relationships, there are a few bits of fanservice and some that even go WTF. Like that strange dream of Hikari sniffing on his legs while he takes a dump, zoom-ins on her ass, Tooru’s cosplay wardrobe malfunction involving a zipper and Kyouko’s Superman-red-underwear-knitting and the blatant straight in the face is-my-pantsu-cute-enough-for-you statement. Seriously, which girl ever takes a guy out to shop for lingerie and even asks him with a straight face if he does the same with his sister and mom! WTF?! I’m starting to think Kyouko might sometimes see him as a girl as she does label him as the girl next door. Yeah…

The art and animation certainly do feel like it is the same as Amagami SS despite a different studio helming the animation. In fact, 2 studios collaborated to make this. This isn’t the first time Studio Gokumi and AXsiZ joined hands as they also did Koukaku No Pandora and Wagamama High Spec together. (Amagami SS was animated by AIC if you’re wondering). I suppose there are enough differentiation between the characters so as not to have us confused why some characters look so similar with the original. Oh wait a minute. Don’t Koharu and Nao look very much like the tea club duo in Amagami SS? Damn… And doesn’t Kyouko look like Tsukasa? Double damn… Tooru is like Ai with long hair… Triple damn! Which means Hikari and Haruka are… Oh forget it. Certain girls look alike their predecessors. Heck, even Kyouko and Tomoe look close enough that I get confused between them. Enough said. I think Captain Trek is the oddest looking one. He looks different enough from the rest and it feels like as though he was dropped in from another anime series and currently trapped in the wrong anime. Really. I guess this explains why he doesn’t get any girls…

A new line-up of casts for this series in which I only recognize Ayane Sakura as Hikari. Her bratty and cheeky voice sure fits her character perfectly. The rest of the casts are Atsushi Tamaru as Shouichi (Ayato in Gakuen Toshi Asterisk), Shino Shimoji as Tooru (Akari in Aikatsu), Juri Kimura as Kyouko (Eruna in Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku), Ryouta Asari as Ikuo (Alma Karma in D. Gray-man Hallow), Manami Numakura as Tomoe (Riko in Love Lab), Takuya Eguchi as Araki (Hikigaya in Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Come Wa Machigatteiru), Honoka Kuroki as Ruise (debut role), Shiori Mikami as Makoto (Krista in Shingeki No Kyojin), Shiori Izawa as Miu (Moka in Kuzu No Honkai), Kentarou Tone as Souta (Akira Hattori in Bakuman), Saki Fujita as Yukie (Inami in Working!!), Yukiyo Fujii as Youko (Latifa in Amagi Brilliant Park), Yuka Ootsubo as Koharu (Kyouko in YuruYuri) and Hitomi Harada as Nao (Nori in Hidamari Sketch series).

The opening is Kimi No Hana by Hanako Oku. Sounds rather okay and suits the pace of this series nicely. But I still very much prefer the first season’s opener of Amagami SS, I Love. Just like in the original, each ending theme is tailored and sung by the heroine of that arc. So we have the lively and energetic rock based Shunkan Happening for Hikari’s arc, the slow rock of Muteki Megami for Tooru’s arc and the cute anime pop of Koi No Theory for Kyouko’s arc. It seems that there are special ending themes for the arc’s final for the heroines too. They are mostly slow ballads such as Hikari’s Akaneiro Ni Kakushite and Tooru’s Kimi To Yozora To Fortune To.

Overall, if you want a reasonable romantic comedy of the season without having to resort to cheap NTR soft porn (looking at you Kuzu No Honkai) or cheap blatant fanservice (looking at you Okusama Ga Seitokaichou+) or cheap cheesy romance drama (looking at you Fuuka) or cheap first person 2D VR (looking at you One Room) or cheap supernatural harem (looking at you Rewrite) or even that cheap revenge dating (looking at you Masamune-kun No Revenge) and if you’re not really into reverse harem (looking at you Watashi Ga Motete Dosunda) or kindergarten kids dating (looking at you 12-sai Chicchana Mune No Tokimeki), Seiren still provides a decent and down to earth option and alternative. Some say that it is an inferior version to Amagami SS since it offers nothing new as the same tested formula is being used all over again. Well, it is true if you point out the fact that Amagami SS had more episodes and seasons, thus they have better character development. Or maybe those people couldn’t find any best girl to top their best girl in Amagami SS… Yeah, it will still always be Haruka for me. Too bad some can’t find the same love for this series like how Shouichi found his for his girls. At least somebody won the love lottery (thrice) so it can’t be that bad, right?

Because Kurumi who was one of the best Spirits around didn’t get lots of screen time in the second season, I guess they try to justify it by making Date A Live II: Encore OVA. This OVA has Kurumi in the spotlight and goes back to the time when Shido dated her during the Tanabata festival. Shido and Kurumi dating? What more, a wedding hall? Is that possible? Is something sinister behind this date? Well if you know Kurumi, you would feel there is something suspicious behind her actions. Or maybe this is her sincere feelings and she just really want to date him. Maybe. Or not.

Date A Kurumi
Shido bumps into Kurumi in the streets and she begs to him that she wants to go on a date with him. She even promises that she is not here to hurt him whatsoever. Of course after the last event (back in season 1), he is still suspicious. However seeing her cry (crocodile tears not?) and there is a different air around her, he agrees. She is so happy that for this moment he belongs to her and nobody else. As they walk around, he heard her saying how delicious he is. Turns out she was referring to some stall selling castella snacks. Kurumi is having lots of fun being with him. She brings him to the planetarium as he continues to remain suspicious of her although everything about her today feels like a normal girl. The planetarium hall features the Orihime and Hikoboshi stars so Kurumi talks about the once a year meeting the lovers have. She feels that due to the infrequency, their love vow will soon fade. However Shido believes they aren’t forgetting each other and believe are still meeting each other behind the backs of everyone. This causes Kurumi to laugh so hard that he had to take her out of the hall to calm down. Then there is this wedding exhibition in which she wants to dress up in and take pictures for memories.

Meanwhile Kotori, Touka and Yoshino are at the festival too looking for Shido. They stop by to write their wishes on the tanzaku. Kotori wrote she wanted to marry Shido but quickly erased and changed it to something else when Touka spots it. Then they split up to look for Shido. Yoshino sees Shido and Kurumi entering the wedding hall together. As she spies outside, Kurumi notices her and goes to talk to her. Kurumi thinks she has seen her before. When Yoshino asks about their relationship, Kurumi might have exaggerated with lots of ambiguity that she knows every inch of Shido’s body and something from him infiltrated her body and now he is taking responsibility. This is too hot for Yoshino to handle as she runs away. Shido returns saying that the clerk won’t allow them to dress up but Kurumi went to whisper to her and in an instant the clerk gives them the best service. The duo are fabulous in their white wedding outfits as Shido learns Kurumi told the clerk that she has a terminal illness and has not much longer to live. Total lies but it worked. The clerk snaps a picture of them.

Yoshino reports back to the rest and from the way she explains it, Kotori is freaking pissed that some hot girl seduced her brother (skirt flipping and hot passionate one night stand included) and is making him take responsibility by marrying her. Look at how her face is contorting. Scary. Shido and Kurumi are now writing their wish. He spots the tanzaku of the other girls. His wish is for spacequakes to disappear. Kurumi won’t let him see hers and she learns the belief that the higher you place your tanzaku, the higher chance your wish comes true. However she knows time is up. She hopes he will not forget her. That is when the real Kurumi appears. She is not pleased that her clone disobeyed her orders, what more fell in love with him. Kurumi explains her clones are made out of her past sentiments and experiences so this one might be from the one during that face off at the rooftop back in season one. Kurumi kills her clone by making her fall into a portal. The clone’s last words is that she had fun. The other girls show up to protect Shido who is reeling from the shock. But Kurumi isn’t here to fight them and has done what she has come to do. Shido is frustrated that Kurumi came to see him knowing the real one will come kill her. She chose to defy her absolute will for a few hours of memories. When he sees her tanzaku, he quickly runs to the highest spot to tie it. This dangerous act has him fall off although Touka catches him. Kurumi’s wish is to see him once more. With that, Shido will never forget her.

Date For The Moment
Feels like an OVA for the first season, don’t you think? No twins and no Miku. Even worse, no Origami. But that is because she had her own spotlight for the first season’s OVA. Nevertheless as far as this OVA is concerned, I guess it feels okay although that ending feels a little tragic. Most of us would be thinking if there is some sort of trickery to this date and how Shido is going to get screwed up in this trap. And what do you know? It wasn’t the real Kurumi but a part of her. Therefore it feels a little sad that this nice Kurumi had to die in the end but it somehow gives an idea of Kurumi’s character over time. It goes to show that even deep down inside the heart of the worst Spirit, there is still hope. There is still a part of her that loves Shido and can be saved no matter how small that part is. So maybe that wish she made will come true one day? We hope. We prefer this Kurumi to the dangerous one, no? Or is the dangerous one more exciting because of her bold flirtatious seduction? Well Shido, maybe you can find some backdoor and meet her again behind the scenes and everyone’s back. Just don’t let the real Kurumi find out.

Date A Live II

December 13, 2014

Remember when terrible beings that have the potential to destroy the entire Earth, there are only 2 ways to go about it. Either you take the offensive by eliminating them or you take the soft approach by dating them and make them feel happy. Yeah. Thank goodness they are cute pretty girls. And so with the continuation of the sequel, Date A Live II, our main protagonist whose life isn’t anywhere near being an ordinary high school student anymore, continues with this mission to save the world via pacifist route, dating hostile beings known as Spirits. Thus in a way amassing a harem of Spirits that will eventually lead down the road of catfights. More Spirits. More girls into the harem. More conflicting feelings, blah, blah, blah. Can’t get enough of those, can’t we?

Episode 1
We are reminded about the devastated spacequake that killed millions 30 years ago. And now, Shido is about to have his own ‘quake’ because Touka’s mood levels are decreasing as she accidentally spilled water on Shido’s book and fears he might hate her. And there is Yoshino accidentally freezing the bathtub and Yoshinon is stuck inside. Ah, Shido. He’s such a busy guy… Meanwhile Origami is facing sanctions in her military court. However she is lucky to get 2 months suspension. She then texts Shido to meet. That guy goes out to see her on pretence he is going to the supermarket (otherwise, you know who will become freaking upset). Because Origami looks like a stalker, she brings him to another private place to talk. The girl’s toilet. WTF. After explaining her judgment, she mentions she is still not convinced that Kotori who is also Efreet is not the one who killed her parents as claimed by Shido. There is no proof. However she would want to avoid killing his sister too. She also mentions she was sure she killed him back then. So she asks is he human. He believes he is. Because if he is a Spirit, there may be orders that she will have to eliminate him. Then she reminds him about the school trip. Touka finds a packed suitcase in Shido’s room. She thinks he is running away. Because that drama serial about a guy leaving her lover is playing right now. With her mood levels dropping, she rushes out to find him while Kotori and her Ratatoskr crew can’t seem to connect to Shido. When Touka finds him, she sees him coming out of the toilet with Origami. Naive emo girl believes all the ambiguous words the scheming emotionless b*tch says. Touka is so sad thinking Shido is bored living with her that she runs away. When Kotori finally manages to contact him, the obvious way to calm Touka down is to date her. That is what their organization is for. This is what he is supposed to do. This is what this anime is about. At first she tries to sulk but we know she is itching to go on a date. However the soy sauce bread she wanted is sold out. Everywhere they go, none are left! Sulking level… It turns out the dumb Kannadzuki bought it all and is thus ordered to bring them to Shido.

Once everything returns to normal, back home Shido notices his suitcase broken and decides to go fix it. Touka’s suspicion level is on the rise again. Uh huh. The TV drama is now playing the guy is cheating his wife with a hot babe. Oh God. Here we go again. She rushes out only to find Shido meeting Origami at the station. Yeah. She even has such a vivid imagination and put words in his mouth that he is leaving her. She steals his suitcase and runs away. Her level is so bad that the alert to take shelter is sounded. Shido catches up to her and had to assure her, cross his heart he isn’t going anywhere. The suitcase is for their school trip next week. And no, he is not tired of living with her, dummy. Touka might have calmed down but since her energy has reached critical level, it is going out of control. It seems all humanity’s hope rests on him. Otherwise Touka will be powerful enough to annihilate herself and the city. Shido pushes himself towards Touka despite a strong barrier pushing him away. Coupled with assuring words that he will always accept her and believe in him, they finally come together and everything stabilizes with a kiss. Meanwhile Isaac Westcott gets a report on Touka’s whereabouts. They were tracking her 3 months ago when she disappeared and now she is a high school student. He has Ellen Mira Mathers to do the job as he views her the best Wizard in history. Also, Kurumi is back. She still isn’t giving up on that guy as she needs him to use Yod Beth, Zafkiel’s final bullet. She will find the first Spirit who appeared on Earth 30 years ago who brought every other Spirit and kill him. She shoots herself to clone herself.

Episode 2
Even before the school trip begins, Touka and Origami are arguing. What else? Shido. Touka is dressed as a boy in hopes of being able to share the same room with Shido. But Origami is ‘smarter’. She’ll have Shido turn into a girl instead! Oh God… Will they ever stop bickering? Till Tamae tells them they can sit next to him in the airplane. Well, it’s definitely not good for him. Caught between the bickering girls. Again. Ellen is also onboard the plane disguised as a journalist so any pictures she snaps of Shido and the girls can be passed off as nothing suspicious. She also reports back to some general in an airship. Too bad she always gets hounded by the 3 stooges. A storm suddenly kicks up on the island. Touka bears the brunt of getting hit by heavy metal appliances. Ouch. As Shido tries to bring her away, he sees a couple of Spirits fighting in the storm. Twins, Kaguya and Yuzuru are fighting each other trying (including silly verbal accusations) to be the better Yamai. Shido is so annoyed by it that he yells for them to stop. Bad idea? Now that they have got their attention on him, Kaguya hits upon a brilliant idea. As the many battles they fought, they have equal number of wins and losses and almost as much draws, they are running out of ways to fight. Meaning? Imagine the surprise of everyone when they see this pair of twins trying to seduce Shido!!! He will be the judge who decides the winner! WTF?! Reine informs the twins are new transfer students. Tamae certainly didn’t here of this. And in this match of seduction, they continue to argue who is cuter and put down the other. Oh Shido, you must be the most annoyed because he is in the centre of it all. Is there a mute button somewhere?

They explain to him the reason for their fighting. They were once a single Spirit called Yamai but for some reason they split. Once they will become one again and the winner’s will have her mind remain. The loser’s mind disappears. Hah. The responsibility in choosing one of them is getting heavier, no? Shido thought he could relax by himself early in the hotspring but here are the twins again! Arguing! Cut this guy some slack! What the heck are they doing in the men’s section?! They don’t care. Because the argument and trading of insults continue for a good 4 minutes!!! OMFG! You think Shido is safe when somebody is coming in? That somebody is Touka! Could she have messed up the gender section? Actually the twins switched the signs before Shido came in and then switch back after. So technically the twins didn’t enter the wrong bath. Surprisingly Touka isn’t mad with his flirting. But more girls are coming! I don’t know how Touka is going to hide him behind her back because it isn’t going to work as the other girls approach her. She distracts them temporarily for Shido to run but he runs to the cliff. Accidentally Touka bumps him over. Long way down… So he returns to Reine, half naked and cold… Not a prank… Ellen reports to her higher ups about some unforeseen circumstances but the plan tonight shall proceed. The Bandersnatches will be on standby.

Episode 3
The seduction continues! Oh yeah! The twins are getting physical with him in his bed!!! I’m going to love this!!! Origami and Touka are also arguing over Shido but they’re doing it elsewhere and not near him. That’s why the twins are the best, huh? By the time Shido can’t take anymore ‘abuse’, he runs out and bumps into Tamae. In his birthday suit. Things are just going downhill… As part of Reine’s plan, Shido is to date them both so that he will be able to control them to a certain degree. Reine has also given communicators to the twins in pretence of helping them. So here is his first battle: Putting lotion on their back. As usual, they toss and turn and have their fair share of having Shido putting it on. Thank goodness he has 2 hands. I don’t know. Is putting lotion very climaxing? Now that is what you call Hand of God. Ellen once again follows Origami and Touka but yet again is foiled by the unwitting 3 stooges. Touka and Origami join Shido and the twins and it seems the twins know the girls because of last night’s ‘master-servant’ bonding whatever. With Reine, they split into teams to play beach volleyball. The twins seem like they do not have full cooperation but after being mocked, they power up (at the expense of poor Shido getting slam with the ball in his face) to counter attack. They’re so happy and dancing together before they realize they’re getting too friendly with each other and back off.

Shido gets a surprise. On separate occasions, the twins personally come to talk to him and want him to choose the other! They are saying good things about the other and really want the other to live. They started fighting because they thought the other was superior. So he better choose the other or they’ll wipe out this island with his friends. What a fine mess. Either way he can’t really choose now, right? Before we forget that this show also has Touka in the running, we see her and Shido having a little quality time talking together at the beach that night. She could tell he is troubled so he reveals the problem about the twins. Touka could understand their actions because she would have done the same. But bad news. The twins heard it and are not pleased. They’re really pissed. I guess having a third party judging them wasn’t a good idea. Back to square one. Transforming into their S&M outfit with equally badass weapons, they take it to the skies and continue their battle. Well, it’s kicking up a storm. Origami spots a Bandersnatch before her as it attacks. Because Kotori isn’t around, Kannadzuki assumes control and has his team to deploy Yggdra Folium. This causes Fraxinus to become visible for a while. The enemy ship spots them and the general orders to take it down.

Episode 4
Kannadzuki orders his team to concentrate the energy to some spot to increase defence in that area despite leaving other areas unprotected. He revels each time Fraxinus gets hit. He’s a masochist, remember? The crew calls Kotori for help but she says no worries. Believe in Kannadzuki. Oddly too, the enemy fires exactly at all the coordinates he predicted. Now it’s their turn to attack back. Although they miss, the enemy general is frustrated and orders to charge into their area. If the twins are already a handful, Shido and Touka have to deal with Ellen and her Bandersnatches. She wants to see how strong Touka is and transforms into her AST uniform to fight her. Touka lost and is to be apprehended. Shido felt hopeless just like the last time but in his desperate attempt to save her, suddenly Sandalphon materializes in his hand as he cuts down the Bandersnatches. The enemy ship gets hit by some cannon. From what I understand, because they cross some line, Yggdra Folium which was kept hidden activated and fired. Their control centre takes a hit and because of that, the Bandersnatches that Ellen orders to take in both Touka and Shido malfunctions. This allows the duo to escape. Unfortunately for Ellen, she falls prey to another hole dug by the 3 stooges earlier on. That’s the end for her today. How anti-climax…

Now Shido and Touka can deal with the twins who are still fighting. They’re still not listening. Shido can’t seem to get Sandalphon to work so Touka teaches him how to embrace the sword with his wish for the angel to answer him. The swing breaks up the twins and gets their attention. Now screaming to them to stop, although the twins don’t consider him involved anymore, he never said he quit being their judge. He has decided who will be the true Yamai. Both! They’re not impressed so Shido gives them 3 choices. The first 2 is to let the other absorb into the other while the third one is they lose their Spirit powers and become human. Please give him a chance to save them both. After all that screaming and pleading, it would be in bad taste to ignore what he said. So the twins reconcile, make up, talk nicely like how sisters should, apologize that they lied about wanting to die because they want to live too, etc. Then they had to be interrupted by the enemy who is going to take them all in and sends out all the Bandersnatches they have. Bad move. Because this scene is to show us how the twins can combine their weapon into one badass weapon that kickass. It blasts right through the enemy ship. Flawless victory! Origami wakes up with Reine by her side. She is safe but laments she was not strong enough to protect Shido and wants to become stronger. In the aftermath, the twins thank Shido. With a double kiss! Little do they know this is his way of sealing their power and you know what that means. They’re buck naked. It gets worse when Touka comes in and the twins make it as though he assaulted them. Well Shido, this is the path you chose, right? Ellen reports back to Westcott as she confirms about Touka. He is happy with her work and orders her return. Meanwhile Kotori sees Elliot Baldwin Woodman, the founder of Ratatoskr and Kotori’s benefactor. He heard Shido has summoned and angel. Action must be taken soon otherwise all the Spirits they sealed will once again face disaster. If it comes down to it, Kotori will kill Shido herself.

Episode 5
Just when Origami’s commander lifts her suspension, here comes in another colleague not happy with some arrangement that some members of DEM Industries will be transferring into AST as an independent unit. Well, AST has failed to capture a single Spirit, right? Folks, meet Jessica Bailey, the leader of this independent unit. While Shido is running an errand for some upcoming grand festival, the spacequake alert sounds. They track it down to a stage and see the Spirit called Diva otherwise known as Miku Izayoi the idol. When Shido approaches her, she becomes very upset. Her moods start decreasing as she throws verbal abuses at him. He could have died when she throws him off the stage but the AST is here to take her on. She fights them before fleeing. Back at Fraxinus, we learn that Miku despite being an idol making a huge wave 6 months ago with all her songs becoming hits, it is strange she has yet to make a single public appearance and her simple data like birthday and hometown remain unknown. As for Miku’s harsh treatment on Shido, it’s because she is a lesbian who loves girls. So what now? Kotori gives the approval for Shido to cross-dress! Folks, meet Shiori! Oh yeah. Origami must have something awakened in her since she is snapping photos on Shiori like mad. Not to mention under the skirt! So Shiori goes to see Miku and thankfully she doesn’t have aversion to tomboys since it is Hard for a Shido to act like a girl. The strike up a conversation and in no time they become friends. Shiori even gets the privilege to attend her private afternoon tea that she has once a week with her favourite girls. I guess Shido has to go, huh?

Things are looking good during the tea when Miku wants Shiori to transfer to her school. Don’t worry about money or grades. She can arrange them. Miku tries to use her voice to mind control Shiori but it doesn’t work. She senses something amiss and deduces Shiori must be a Spirit or Wizard trying to kill her because no human can disobey her. Since lying will make things worse, Shiori tells the truth that ‘she’ is neither but a human who can seal Spirits. Mentioning ‘her’ past records of already sealing 5 Spirits, if Miku allows Shiori to seal and save her, she can continue to live this life without having AST pursuing her. But Miku doesn’t think it is necessary as she likes it this way. The spacequake she caused was on purpose since she felt the urge to sing in that arena. She might have killed her friends but she believes they’ll be happy to die for her. This is when Shiori loses ‘her’ cool. ‘She’ chides her revolting arrogance and hates her. Shiori is going to get everyone in the world to deny her. Miku suggest they play a game. For the festival if Shiori’s school wins, Shiori can seal her power. Otherwise all the Spirits Shiori sealed and including ‘her’ will be hers. The challenge will be singing on stage. Unfair advantage? It’s lucky ‘she’ already got a chance. Meanwhile an AST member doesn’t approve of Jessica’s plan of fighting Touka in the crowded area during the festival. Furthermore, a human’s name (Shido) is on the target list too. Well, if there is anything bugging her, take it to the higher ups. Oh, there is also an order to keep this a secret from Origami.

Episode 6
Finally! Mana appears. In a hospital bed. Too bad she got taken away by some agents. That’s all the screen time she will have today. I don’t know how but the 3 stooges recruited Shiori, Touka and Origami into their band for the festival. Touka is sad that the drum part she wanted is already taken but is more than happy to settle for the tambourine. Oh… Origami sings well! While Origami is in the locker, her AST colleague on pretence of talking to herself speaks about Jessica’s plan. She leaves it in Origami’s hands. As the festival begins, Shiori and the girls are doing a maid cafe first. Maids! Even the twins are here to help out. Miku pays a visit and wants to date Shiori. Things seem to be going on well as long Shiori doesn’t lose her cool. Too bad that won’t last long because during a shooting gallery when Miku fails to shoot a target, she uses her voice for the stall owner to give her the prize. Shiori is not amused because this is like stealing. Miku believes they are honoured to give it to her and besides, humans are playthings. Now this just riles Shiori up. ‘She’ will prove and show what humans can do and is more determined to win. Miku dares her. If ‘she’ can get on the stage, that is. Shiori will soon find out what that means since only Touka is with ‘her’ at the backstage. The 3 stooges claim they don’t want to perform anymore since Miku told them not to. She got them. Since she’s going to play dirty, might as well put their own rules as well. Kotori authorizes the use of using a recorder and Shiori will have to lip synch.

They also cut the power when Miku is on stage. However she transforms into her Spirit outfit and the concert resumes. Everyone is so awed with her performance that Shiori suddenly believes there is no chance of winning. Hey, where is your confidence? Thankfully the twins are here to help fill in. Meanwhile, Jessica and her DEM Wizards arrive at the city and are about to start their mission when before them is Origami. She is shocked that Origami is wielding a forbidden and failed but very destructive weapon, White Licorice. Jessica changes their orders to take her down but they can’t even touch her. Not even Bandersnatches reinforcements can take her down. You go girl! Jessica calls for backup but the AST girls feign she called the wrong number. Besides, they got orders from their superiors not to fight, right? Shiori and co take to the stage. This should be easier than the dating, right? Well… As it begins, the vocal track is missing. It got damaged during the concurrent attack. Looks like Shiori will have to get by ‘herself’. Shiori starts panicking when Touka starts singing. Hey, she’s good. Go with the flow! Their performance is a blast. Meanwhile Origami continues to kick as so much so Jessica is getting desperate and firing all she’s got. Of course Origami is at her limit and starts bleeding. Jessica relishes giving some pay back.

Episode 7
Miku’s school wins the stage performance! Miku is so confident in counting her chickens till the announcement that Shido’s school wins the overall festival. She cannot believe this. Shiori had to explain about friendship and teamwork but Miku is clearly a sore loser and will not accept this. She materializes a giant organ and controls everyone in the hall. Miku is going to have her way with Shiori when so happen she felt upon something odd while prodding his body. OMFG! Shiori is a boy! Oh, the horror! Shiori will pay for this deception. Shiori can’t get close to Miku as she summons Yoshino and the twins to protect her. They also attack Shiori but surprisingly Touka saves ‘her’. She isn’t infected because she had ear monitors in both ears because she feared she lose her rhythm and tempo during the performance. Shiori calls Fraxinus for help but unfortunately Kotori and most of the crew are hypnotized. Kotori is going to use her cannon and blast everything but is knocked out by Mana. Jessica is on the verge of defeating Origami but here comes Mana, defecting from DEM Industries and kicking her butt real good. She gives warning and lets them off. Shiori and Touka’s problem is compounded when Ellen joins in the scene. Since Jessica’s team failed to complete their mission, she’ll retrieve them. Touka throws Shiori away and fights Ellen. Unfortunately she gets captured and finds herself strapped in a chair in their base. Interrogation time. As night falls, the town is in chaos as all the mind controlled people are looking for Shido. He is hiding in some building when he is approached by Kurumi. She knows he is in a pinch. Shido begs for her help. She brings him to Miku’s place since nobody will be around and the plan is to get her out of the way. In her room, Kurumi fools around wanting Shido to wear a bra. She would really love to see him up close cross-dressed. Some cliché moments of Kurumi falling over him and that little wound on his face just begs the scene of her licking it. Shido then sees a CD of Tsukino Yoimachi lying around. Kurumi puts the CD and a picture frame between her head and her Zafkiel gun. Don’t worry. She’s not doing kamikaze. The bullet gives her memories held by anything it pierces. After that, they head back to the stage to face head on with Miku. Because this is the best way to bring him to Miku. But how he wants to reason with her, he’s on his own. Well, first they got to get past those brainwashed people surrounding them.

Episode 8
Kurumi puts some spell all over the area that has everyone caught in her shadow unable to move. However they could still do so if Miku orders them. Kurumi summons her clones to fight the onslaught. She then lets Shido and Miku talk out together in some empty space while she holds down the rest. Miku is not pleased to be with Shido. But Shido is pleading for Miku to join forces with him to go save Touka. This serves to enrage Miku further as she thinks he is bluffing because she doesn’t believe he would care someone so much. Before Shido could find the reason why she hates humanity, time is up and Kurumi pulls them out. Time for a tactical retreat. Kurumi praises Shido for what he is trying to do (what’s with the cheek licking and ear nibbling seduction?). The next plan now is to infiltrate DEM Industries’ building. Westcott sees Touka and doesn’t hesitate to claim he wants her power. However she is too stable for him to execute his plans. He lists down all the things that might cause her pain and hits bull’s eye when she reacts to the suggestion of someone she loves dies before her. Shido is the one closest to her, right? Looks like it’s set. Shido and Kurumi are outside the building when the spacequake alert sounds. It is not that another Spirit is around. It is a sign they don’t want the public to see how nasty things are going to get. Tons of Bandersnatches and Wizards are going to take the duo down. Change of plans. Kurumi will stall them with her clones while Shido infiltrates. But first, Mana shoots Kurumi down although we know this isn’t enough to kill her. The grudge still runs deep. Looks like she’ll guide Shido in and is really happy to see him. How many episodes has it been since she last saw him?

Miku is still annoyed by the fact that Shido cares a lot about Touka and demands some truthful answers from her controlled girls. She gets even more annoyed to hear that Shido is the kind who doesn’t hesitate to put his life on the line to save someone dear. Kotori and Fraxinus crew return to normal. Kotori feels bad for trying to kill him earlier. But she is still against him going Rambo into the headquarters. She reluctantly agrees since she knows he won’t back down and will help as much as she can. But when he is inside the building, he is on his own. Mana is forced to fight Jessica using another forbidden dangerous prototype weapon, Red Licorice. Origami’s friend won’t let her go into battle. However since she has lost everything (being suspended again and all), all the more reason why she must go to Shido’s side. If she dies, it is the end of her. Her friend threatens to kill herself if she does but Origami knows she won’t do it because it would hurt her. And so her friend also gives in to help out a little. Shido is tracked down by Wizards and pinned down. Because he wishes to save Touka so much, Sandalphon materializes in his hands. Convenient. And it leaves a devastating destruction in its wake! Even though Shido gets wounded by a stab in his hips, he continues to trudge on with his thoughts only about Touka. Why are his insides glowing???!!! I don’t remember. But could it be something to do with absorbing Efreet (in last season)?

Episode 9
Shido grows weaker the more Wizards he takes on. Surprisingly he gets help from Miku! She sounds like a tsundere that she’s not doing this because of the promise but rather she wants Touka in her collection. Jessica is going crazy. Friend or foe, she blasts everything just to get Mana. It gets worse for Mana since Ellen drops in to help. Now that it’s her turn to be in a pinch, it’s time for Origami to return the favour and save her. Shido and Mana make their way up as they talk about things. Miku still doesn’t believe him really wanting to save Touka from his heart and tries to make a deal. If he gives Touka to her, she’ll let him get any girls he wants. Shido scolds her. His scary face enough to make her think twice about saying that again. Shido can’t understand why she hates humans so much. Wasn’t she once human too? A Spirit named Phantom gave her Spirit powers. She is surprised he knows about this. Then she lets us know how she came to be. She was an average idol who felt happy her voice reached others. Her career is blooming and would have if she had not turned down a TV offer. Actually her manager wanted to ‘introduce’ her to his friend in a TV production. She refused as she was happy enough to have people hear her song. This led to a magazine making up horrible rumours about her. Her manager didn’t do anything and worse, her fans reacted to it. Even so, she still believed in her voice. Then her worst nightmare came true. She lost her voice. Shido sympathizes with her but surely she can’t blame all of humanity for it. He believes there is someone out there who truly heard her voice and the humanity she sees is nothing more than an illusion she made up.

Still not convinced, Miku loves the voice she has now as she will always be top idol. Shido wants to hear her sing without those hypnotizing tricks and he will definitely hear it. He heard her CD and realized how much effort she put in. Miku still doesn’t believe because all her fans who betrayed her said the same thing and none of them helped. Shido says if all of what she said is true, he will be the one to save her. After all that talking and slashing their way through waves after waves of Wizards that don’t really matter, they finally reach the quarantine room. Despite Origami pulling some tricks to fight Ellen, she is still no match for the greatest Wizard. She could have been done in if not yet another help from a cannon fired by Fraxinus. Origami breaks free from her grasp. It is Origami’s lucky day since Ellen abandons the match and returns to Westcott. That guy greets Miku and Shido. Learning who Shido is, he starts laughing and finally understands everything. That woman must have planned everything out. Although he frees Touka, there is a strong glass barrier between them. While they’re so happy to see each other, I suppose Shido didn’t realize Ellen has crept up on him and stabbed him from behind! The main show has begun. Westcott gives Ellen permission to kill Shido and wants Touka to summon her Astral Dress and Angel. Touka becomes desperate. Slashing her Sandalphon against the glass that doesn’t even do a bit of a scratch. She will do anything for Shido to be spared. Anything for him to be saved. But too late. At that moment she blacks out. All her Spiritual energy turns negative. Maximum. Kotori fears Sephirot Inversion is happening. Dark creepy aura seeps all over the building and Westcott is happy the Demon Lord is back.

Episode 10
Shido is still alive but Touka has turned into a badass Spirit. So badass that she’s just scary. She has no memories of her life as Touka. Westcott is pleased because now Ellen gets to kill Touka and become the best of the best in history. Meanwhile Jessica continues to go berserk. From the way she says things, she is jealous that she wasn’t chosen like Mana or Origami. Because of that, cool and composed Mana defeat her and even soothes her she has Westcott’s approval that she is strong. Yeah. Strongest in her head maybe. Ellen fights Touka but cannot defeat her since she is not in top condition. Her wound during Origami’s fight is opening up again after she protects Westcott. So it is best to retreat. Westcott doesn’t mind since they have lots of time. I mean, he has been waiting for so long so what is waiting a little longer more for him. Shido doesn’t get any answer how Westcott knows him since they flee the scene. Oh sure. Now leave the kids to clean up the mess because Touka is now targeting them. Kotori is now able to connect with Shido but there is nothing she can do to help and the best bet is to draw out Touka via affection. You know the usual drill. Miku tries to bind Touka with her voice but it doesn’t work. It’s like her life is flashing before her eyes when Touka prepares to get rid of her. All she wanted was someone who loved her. Don’t they all? You know what this means when Yoshino and the twins are freed from Miku’s spell? No, she’s not dead. To her surprise, Shido protects her. She couldn’t believe he actually lived up to his promise. This act also has Touka start wavering but in no time she is back to her dark side. She is going to obliterate him in this instant but gets distracted by Yoshino. Miku hugs Shido and wants him to save Touka. Of course. It goes without saying. Don’t worry, he’ll be back. He has got a promise to keep, remember?

Touka unleashes a devastating blow in a single swing that cuts the city in half!!!!!!!!!!! FREAKING POWERFUL!!!!! If you think Shido is gone, think again. The twins save him. Now it’s his turn. He goes up to Touka but won’t attack. He kisses her! In addition to sealing those powers, Touka’s memories slowly regain and before you know it, her energy levels stabilize and she’s back to the Touka we all know and love. Hooray! The day is saved! Kurumi disappears back into the darkness since the target she is looking for is not in this city. In the aftermath, Miku is all over Shido! Woah! What a big change! She is making him a big exception and calls him her darling! She feels comfortable around him and believes in him as he fulfilled his promise. Well, this is better than being a b*tch, right? Better for us. Not for him. She then kisses him by her own initiative to seal her power and in the process becomes naked. Touka happen to walk in… What the heck is Shido doing? Good thing is that a catfight won’t happen because it is time for Miku to put up her concert. Her voice fills the hall and the crowd cheers aloud for her. She couldn’t be happier as she thanks everybody. Trouble starts when she starts thanking her darling. Wow. Sudden silence. Shido, now sh*t is going to hit the fan! His harem girls are interrogating him on this. So… Is this better than fighting Spirits destroying the world? Only difference is, guys don’t usually win in this harem catfights. Shido is going to need all the dating skills he have…

Date To Live
Something feels incomplete and insufficient… Well, firstly there are only 10 episodes, which coincidentally is the same number of fingers I have on both hands (read sarcasm). While this season may have added several Spirits to Shido’s harem, it fails to advance further the plot especially about Kotori’s past being a Spirit and some other big revelation which I don’t quite remember at this point. Westcott and Ellen’s appearance as antagonist and that short scene of Kotori meeting Woodman also feel like it serves to build up something in the future but as far as this season is concerned, it was all building up between a showdown between Shido and Touka since last season’s ender we had Origami going berserk and attacking. So now it is Touka’s turn so that our hero can do something about it and prove that the power of love and dating is indeed much better than all that hatred and fighting. Right? All you need to do is just kiss your enemy and peace will reign.

The most amusing characters to ever pop up are the twins. They are the big stars for this season. They are absolutely hilarious and a riot. I love the way they prod, and exchange insults with each other while vying for Shido’s affection. Sometimes it feels like they are more interested in putting each other down instead of winning over Shido. But that is their way of showing love for each other. Odd. They make twin seduction look so sexy. Is it no surprise that Shido wants both of them instead of being absorbed into the other? Because half a twin is not as fun as both of them. It is just tad sad that after their arc, they have been reduced to side characters. It would have been great if they become part of Shido’s active harem. Uh huh. After the twins are no longer the focus, it feels like the series ‘died down’ and it wasn’t as fun as it was supposed to be anymore.

Is it me or that Miku is a spoof of that popular Vocaloid character, Hatsune Miku? Notice the same first name and the same profession as idols? Big coincidence? Only, Hatsune Miku is much cuter because I thought Miku is a little chubby…Whoops! Plus, Miku hating humanity especially men is a big minus point and that takes away her cutie charm. Unless you are one of those masochistic kind then there is nothing much to say. I believe Miku although has accepted Shido whole-heartedly, I don’t think she has gotten over her abhorrence over men. She might be seen giving her whole-hearted performance in the end to her fans that consist evenly of both genders but that is only she can’t see their faces clearly on stage. Even so, I think she doesn’t detest guys like she does in the beginning although there would still be feelings of disgust. The exception is of course Shido. He is always the exception for any reason, right? That’s why all the Spirits and non-Spirit girls alike love him.

Well, it’s great that Shido has added a few more Spirits to his harem but this season doesn’t feel like he went on a date with them or any of the existing ones. Except for the first episode where that short dating scene feels like it is supposedly to remind us what this show is about and how it works. Because clearly missing are the ‘fun’ and oddly hilarious choices that appear on the date that Shido is supposed to follow through as picked by those ‘experts’ in Ratatoskr. The twins are a great addition to his harem although personally I would have preferred them to be more active instead of being side-lined. I think they can be top runners for Shido instead of the usual Touka and Origami. But I have a hunch it would eventually be Shido x Touka not only based on the final episode’s event but a big hint in the ending credits animation as well. See them holding hands? I get a feeling Miku too would become part of his harem despite her initial tsundere-like attitude and her displaced hatred towards men. But I knew Shido could do the job ;p. Because it would be sad and a waste if Miku didn’t end up liking him as we don’t need another Spirit who really isn’t part of the harem as we already have Kurumi in that role (not by his side often, that is). Sure, she likes him in her twisted manner but not the kind that harem lovers would want. After all, that is why we watch this series, right? Besides, the dating parts are the most hilarious parts of the show anyway.

Other returning characters feel identifiable with their quirky traits like Touka who is still the gullible and naive Spirit (docile form, that is) and most likely always loses out to Origami’s sly tactics. It is fun to see them arguing to get Shido’s attention but too bad there aren’t many of such instances and only confined to the beginning. Then there is Kotori for a big majority of this season is confined in Fraxinus. She has never meet Shido in person for this entire season except for that short scene back home back in the first episode. Kannadzuki continues to be the biggest idiot and an even bigger masochist (because during Miku’s mind control over town, it was obvious that he loves the physical abuse as Kotori’s chair when he is clearly not hypnotized at all) but surprisingly shows lots of competency when Kotori isn’t around when Fraxinus is in a pinch. It goes to show that he isn’t a total idiot after all. But seriously, his role still feels like a comic relief more than anything.

However once more, Yoshino again feels very much underutilized. It is like she doesn’t even matter anymore. I thought this season will at least give her some decent screen time although I won’t be hoping much. Unfortunately she has been reduced to a mere side character whose existence is mainly watching some TV soap opera in the first half. Like as though this was necessary so we don’t forget she actually exists. And then comes the second half, she became an underling of Miku. Oh sure. What a way to treat your loli Spirit. Hope you don’t earn her icy wrath or the rage of her fans. Kurumi’s role in this season also feels forced although she does play a little significant role in Miku’s arc (in helping to discover Miku’s true past as a human). My big guess is that she is looking for Woodman or Westcott. Guys like them are most likely to be involved in something big or that smells of conspiracy on a galactic scale, right? But other than that, we enjoy watching Kurumi make her bold seduction moves on Shido (is he just stunned when she does all that?) because all of us guys would love to have such girlfriend do such on us (if you have one, that is).

Mana also feels a little redundant. Just like last season, appearing only after halfway of the series. Again it feels like she is brought in so that we remember this onii-chan loving girl still exists. And when she does appear, she goes into battle. What happened to her in the end? Don’t know. Same case with Origami. In the beginning it looks like this girl may have some decent screen time but ever since Miku’s arc, she has been reduced to a mere side character. Like as though she and Mana are in this arc plot just to stop Jessica. Uh huh. It feels like why Jessica is here too in the first place. For Mana and Origami to put up a fight with. In the end, it doesn’t really matter for them because I don’t know what happened to Origami after her lost duel with Ellen. She gets picked up by the twins and that’s the last you’ll ever see of her. Heck, she wasn’t even with Shido and his Spirit harem during Miku’s concert. Where the heck are you Origami? From what I can see, overall Origami’s life is spiralling out of control, don’t you agree? Now that she is most likely to be suspended or kicked out of AST, the only reason she has to live for is Shido. He is her sanity but sometimes she loves teasing him so much that it makes her look like she is the crazy one. We all know how crazy Origami can be when she is before Shido, right?

The 3 stooges are around and it feels like they have more screen time than the first season. Also I noticed that third girl whose line will forever be “Majihiku wa” (Gross) is more talkative than ever despite she only says the same thing over and over again. Whether it is something happy or sad, it is always “Majihiku wa”! So ironic that even when she puts up her smiling face and in favourable conditions that she can be heard saying this. What the heck is it that is so gross? It’s like God forgot to calibrate her vocals and had it stuck there therefore she can’t say anything more than this. And it’s like everyone ‘understands’ or don’t give a damn each time she says this. Uh huh. It’s also like a cue that it is her turn to speak after the first 2 stooges had their lines. Feels complete, huh?

Although the action parts this season doesn’t disappoint, it isn’t anything to shout about either. The twins in particular have a lot of firepower in their weapons despite they dress like S&M queens in their Spirit form. Miku’s weapon doesn’t feel like the offensive kind because mostly she brainwashes and mind controls others. Even her organ pipes that shoot out sound waves doesn’t feel as badass as the other Spirits. Some fights involving AST and Wizards also feel forced because like I said, it is one of the few scenes were AST members like Mana and Origami (as well as Kurumi’s clones) can shine and do some ass kicking. Otherwise their fight feels like a slight distraction from what is going on. How else can both of them whip asses of so many AST counterparts and Wizards? Sure, whatever weaponry they have is superior to what all those low ranking counterparts. It shows our heroines are clearly underestimated or the higher ups don’t think much of them and armed them with less powerful technologies. But we’re not here for the action, right? More harem please!

New and joining the line-up this season are Maaya Uchida (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai) as Kaguya and Sarah Emi Bridcutt as Yuzuru (Asuka in Mondaijitachi Ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sou Desu Yo Ne). Hearing Miku at first felt familiar and I couldn’t put my finger on where have I heard this voice before. Only subsequently I guessed it right it is Minori Chihara (I got lucky, huh?). As long as she doesn’t put up her dead expression like Nagato in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu, Chiaki in Minami-ke, Horizon in Kyoukai Senjou No Horizon or Hina in Busou Shinki, I think it will be hard for me to guess her. Of course she has voiced characters like Miku such as Touka in Saki and Mitsuki in Kyoukai No Kanata. Other new casts include Shizuka Itou as Ellen (Haruka in Amagami SS), Yuko Kaida as Jessica (Ryoumou in Ikkitousen), Ryotaro Okiayu as Westcott (Byakuya in Bleach) and Jouji Nakata as Woodman (Kirei in Fate/Stay Night).

Sweet Arms who did the opening theme for last season once more sings the opener for this sequel entitled Trust In You, a dramatic rock pop piece. Kaori Sadohara sings the ending theme, Day To Story, which sounds more serious (because it has “Dead or alive” in is lyrics) compared to last season’s ending piece that I found a little funny. At least last season there were a handful of special ending themes but there is only one this season, My Treasure by Minori Chihara which is the song Miku sang in her concert in the last episode. What do you expect with mere 10 episodes? Oh yeah. 2 episodes short is a lot… Oh, I also thought that the other damning verdict that Yoshino is completely side-lined is because since her seiyuu, Iori Nomizu sung most of the ending themes in the first season but here she has none. It would have been amusing had there been a duet of Kaguya and Yuzuru as a special ending theme but…

Overall, this season might have a lot of missed opportunities and it leaves a lot to be desired. But it isn’t all that bad and it is still fun in its own right although personally I thought it falls short compared to the first season. It might seem silly that you date something or someone that is deemed a global threat and you seal that power with a kiss but this is much better than going for genocide, right? After all, Spirits are like humans too because they have feelings and want to be loved. Overflowing negative and unstable emotions are bad and can destroy. If you think about it, feelings of humans in real life resemble closely to the Spirits here. Because, say if you forget your wife or girlfriend’s anniversary or birthday (it may be trivial to you but such events are anything but trivial to them), then you’d expect hell to come. Winter is coming. The world is going to end. And everything calms down back to normalcy once you make it up to them. Pretty similar, huh?

Date A Live OVA

February 21, 2014

Because there wasn’t enough screen time for Shido x Origami, Date A Live OVA serves to do just that. Well, at least for the first half of it. And yes, also as an appetizer before the start of the second season. You need to refresh your memory and whip up your appetite before the second round of main course arrives, right? Well, don’t bother about the serious plot or any kind of storyline development in this OVA. Because this OVA serves to do what its name suggests: Date. Yeah. Shido on a date. That’s what we all are here to watch, right?

Date To Date
It starts off with Shido telling Origami that he is a lolicon. Guess what? Origami approves! Then he goes on to elaborate the extreme mother complex and siscon fetish he has to the point that average viewers would find it repulsive that he mentions about putting her panties over his face. And so? Origami approves! But his playboy excuse of visiting go-go girls doing the lambada dance pouring champagne all over did invoke some sort of reaction. Exterminate all of them! Shido is now panicking. Kotori tells him not to lose it as they’re in the middle of a date. So it all began when Origami wants to go out with him and he has no chance to say no. Because he felt guilty of giving her the wrong idea that he likes her, he can’t toy with her feelings anymore. Kotori will help him out and suggests he makes her hate him. At the park where she waits, Shido enters the scene and as instructed, does not compliment her dress. So what should she dress? Let the experts handle the options… The results? Dress in a swimsuit with dog ears and tails! Think Origami will hit and hate him? She runs off to the store and comes back dressed as one! There is such a store nearby? Instructions to mock her got worse. She really gets down on all fours and acts like a dog! She then steals his belt and uses it as her collar! I wonder what everyone in public will think. They’re into this kind of play, eh? At the café, Origami wants to go to the toilet but Kotori instructs him not to let her. Her reaction? He wants her to do it right in front of him?! She’s really going to do it when Shido tries to stop her but trips. He accidentally rips her skirt. She’s willing to get down and dirty with him. This confirms it. ORIGAMI IS A PERVERT!!!!!!! The only way left is to date her and then dump her. So Shido is left to practice his lines. Meanwhile, Touka was sent on a shopping errand so as not to interfere with the date. Because there is an item on the list she is not familiar, she calls Shido for help. Unknowingly, she hears him say those break up lines. It hurts. Shido realizes too late it is Touka on the other line. A mini explosion is heard nearby. Shido is forced to go sooth her because if her mental spirit declines, it will become unstable and you know what kind of disaster will happen. Shido finds the park she is at a mini crater. He becomes the smooth talker that he doesn’t hate her and will forever be with her. Although this cheers Touka up, suddenly Origami comes hugging Shido. She heard everything and is certain what Shido said was towards her (somehow Shido left his handphone on when Origami called him earlier about his whereabouts). The girls get into an argument as Kotori discovers Origami’s enjoyment level has topped up to the maximum. She really enjoyed everything, didn’t she?

Now it’s Shido’s turn to date Touka. After all, you can’t leave this pair out. We see Touka taking out her frustrations at the video arcade. Yeah. She even destroyed the machine. Felt good, no? It all began when as usual in class, Touka and Origami are at each other’s neck again. Accusing the other for being in the way. Because Shido wasn’t paying attention to this, he receives word from Kotori that Touka’s mental condition is becoming unstable. The Spirit power he sealed may flow back in reverse so it’s good to let her let out some stress. And that means taking her out to the video arcade. For every game she plays, Origami is envisioned as the enemy as Touka happily takes this b*tch out. Including breaking the machine. That really hits the spot. Don’t worry. Ratatoskr has made arrangements with the video arcade to replace damaged machines. Reine detects that despite Touka’s mental spirit improving, her uneasy stats remain high like as though she is worried about something. Touka wants Shido to take a photo with her but since she is too embarrassed she takes it alone. Then at the crane game, Touka wants to do it by herself or else it won’t mean a thing. Though she it is successful, it got stuck halfway. Leave it to her to beat up the machine! There you go. At the end of the day, Touka gives the handphone strap prize to him and hopes he won’t hate her. Where did she get this idea? Origami told her that humans will not accept Spirits who will destroy this world. Therefore Shido hates Spirits too. Of course Shido brushes that off. If he really hated her, he wouldn’t have dated her. Really? Really. Really for real? Really for really for real? Really for really for really for really for real? Yeah. We get the point, Touka. And so her uneasiness fades away as he lets her keep the prize. Back in class, everyone notices her good mood. She ambiguously explains how Shido took her to a fun place and there was hitting that made her feel ecstasy! It felt so good! Everyone is starting to suspect what kind of freakish hobby they had when the picture falls out from the pocket. It’s Touka posing naked! Why naked? Because Reine told her to do that when taking photos. Shido runs for his life before the class bays for his blood. Along the way Origami stops him to hand him her handphone strap which she won at the same crane game yesterday. Now they’ve got a matching set. When Touka sees it, she notes it is a matching set too.

Date To Dead…
As far as this single OVA is concerned, everything was pretty much fun. The dating woes he has to do just to settle the issue. I suppose this is what happens when you let a bunch of ‘experts’ make the decision instead of yourself. But would it be better if Shido made his own? At least Shido didn’t try to date both of them at the same time. That would have been a real disaster. Origami’s over the top weirdness would make everyone confirm that she is some sort of masochistic pervert. Maybe she’ll only be in this mode with Shido around. She is not shy or embarrassed to do what he wants, which actually throws Shido off his balance. And she does it with great confidence despite that deadpan face. That’s what makes her scary. You don’t know what she is thinking or going to do. But expect her to do the unexpected. It is going to be really interesting to see this girl sticking around in his harem. Touka on the other hand felt and sounded like a total (cute) retard from start till finish. The kind that needs reassurances from Shido if she’s going to stay happy like a child. So much so in a way that I may have forgotten that she was a Spirit with the possibility to destroy Earth with those spacequakes. But isn’t Touka mostly like that after her powers were sealed by Shido? Well, there weren’t any other dangers for them to transform and fight so I guess we won’t see her serious side. Fans of Yoshino would be sorely disappointed that she doesn’t make a single appearance here (the opening credits do not count). Though, as far as I remember she isn’t the front runner for Shido’s attention compared to Touka and Origami. So when it comes down to dating girls, you must be prepared for the unexpected. Know the girl you are dating and always be yourself. See, I’m already an expert.

Date A Live

October 20, 2013

I thought the premise of this show was interesting, if not then, amusing. In Date A Live, a terrible space phenomenon called spacequakes has been devastating the planet and causing lots of casualties as well as damage in properties. A short moment of destruction can annihilate all the hard work and development that we put in over the decades. But that’s not the point. It is discovered that a mysterious female race from outer space crashing into Earth is the cause of these spacequakes. Of course the obvious solution is to eliminate them so they will not cause any future disaster. However there is an organization that believes in saving them without having to resort to taking lives. How? Date them. Make them fall in love. Yes. You read that right. And so that is why I find it ironic that to save the world from the most dangerous things from space, you use dating and love to win over them. Funny, right? I guess they’re trying to tell us that violence is not the answer and that love and peace are the way. But really. Trying to teach those beings about love and date when we ourselves don’t resort to such? What are we taking them and ourselves for? Oh what the heck. You’ll never know if you don’t try. Besides, who wouldn’t want to date such beings if they look like cute girls. Yeah. Thank God they look like cute anime girls.

So as you have guessed, there is this single guy who is the main protagonist of this harem show that will have the power to date several of these beings known as Spirits under the watchful eye of the organization. See how lucky this guy is? Well, what good would Earth be when it is destroyed and no more girls left to date? Can I trade places with him? Which brings me to this other amusing thing during the course of the ‘date’. I don’t know what programme they use but at ‘critical points’ whereby you are supposed to make a decision that determines the course of where the date is going (those who play dating simulations might understand this better), they can actually pick up the choices of that girl for his next course of action. It’s really like playing a dating simulation but in real life, eh? What happens if you don’t pick one of those choices and opt for something not listed? Hmm… It’s not really addressed here but really, this choice selection is amusing. If only guys had such a useful programme to tell them and narrow down what to do next, I think lots of dates will end up well. Or maybe not. What good is a guy if he can’t think and make his own decisions and needs to rely on onscreen choices for his next move? That’ll be a step close to a bad end, right?

Episode 1
30 years ago, a devastating spacequake claimed the lives of millions and devastated the land between China and Mongolia. Shido Itsuka gets a typical wakeup call from his sister, Kotori. He manages to scare her off with some tickling virus threat. Shido narrates about the spacequake that happened 30 years ago. For the next 6 months, it happened frequently all over the world and the place they are staying now is one of it. Why it happened remains a mystery. It died down but the phenomenon started again 5 years ago and this time it seems to be happening more frequently in Japan. Shido sees off Kotori and they promise to meet at the diner after school. A group of watching girls (3 stooges) think he has sister complex. Gross. Shido’s friend, Hiroto Tonomachi greets him and the girls think they also swing this way. Gross. In class, Tonomachi shows Shido his girlfriend: A girl from a dating sim. That still counts, right? Shido is puzzled that the genius beauty who sits next to him, Origami Tobiichi knows him. Tamae Okamine becomes the class’ homeroom teacher. During recess, a warning that a spacequake is approaching the area so everyone evacuates to the nearby underground shelter. Shido is worried about Kotori and to his dismay, his GPS tracks her position still at the diner. He rushes off to find her only to get caught in a spacequake. At least at the edge of it. In the centre of the crater, there is this beautiful babe that seems to have jumped out from a fantasy battle manga. She almost kills him with her sword because she thinks he is out to kill her. However her attention is turned to a group of space babes (like as though they jumped out from some space battle manga) who are attacking her. Shido couldn’t understand why the fantasy battle girl looks so sad despite being very strong. Shido recognizes one of the space babes as Origami. The girls fight and the impact was so great that everything whites out.

When Shido opens his eyes, he is being treated by the analysis officer, Reine Murasame. I’m sure he has tons of questions to ask so Reine takes him to see the vice commander, Kyouhei Kannadzuki (I think he is a masochist). Even more shocking, he sees Kotori as the commander of this organization, Ratatoskr. Besides, she is not the cute little sister she knows but an arrogant insulting brat. She starts explaining that battle fantasy girl is called a Spirit and is responsible for spacequakes. Each time they come to Earth, a phenomenon like this happens. Those space babes are called AST. Anti-Spirit Team. They are part of JSDF and their job is to kill Spirits. There is another way to kill them and that requires Shido’s help. He will start that training tomorrow. This is too much for him to take but Shido is told to shut up and obey. All this from his sister? Who is she really anyway? He is still concerned about her waiting at the diner so she calls him a fool for believing that. About her tracker, they are actually flying in a ship called Fraxinus hovering above the diner. And so Reine becomes Tamae’s assistant in class (feels like Reine has not enough sleep). So why did she become that? So that she’ll be able to reach him in case anything happens. And this training Shido is supposed to undergo… Is it some kind of dating sim? Yes it is but with Shido as the main star. From the unenthusiastic narrative, I can guess that the goal of this sim is to have Shido date the Spirits so that they would stop the spacequakes when they realize the world looks much better in love. WTF. Later, Origami confronts Shido and wants him to forget ever having seen her or the entire thing. She has a grudge against the Spirit because 5 years ago her parents were killed.

Episode 2
Shido completes a route of the dating sim! Hooray! In school, he thought Reine was going to seduce him but it turns out she was just putting a mini invisible earpiece. Shido’s first training is to seduce Tamae. Why? If he can’t date a human, how can he expect to date a Spirit? Some logic. Since Shido is nervous, the girls provide him backup on what to say. Like how he compliments every part of her including her book. Then he said the wrong thing that flips her switch: He wants to marry her! Suddenly Tamae becomes the ambitious woman looking forward to it. Run away while you still can! Shido bumps into Origami whom Kotori thinks would be another good training. Origami agrees to everything what Shido is made to say (including sniffing the PE uniform). She also agrees to go out with him on a date. Just then the spacequake alert sounds. This time the school is the centre of the hit.  Because AST can’t engage indoors, this is Shido’s chance to put to good use his training. He agrees to help out since he doesn’t want to see that expression on Princess (codename for that fantasy battle girl). Kotori assures him she has ‘experts’ in the field of relationships to help him out. More like losers if you ask me. Multiple marriages, divorces, grudges and obsessions… Yeah. Real experts alright. Shido confronts Princess and she nearly kills him. He tries to convince her he is not the enemy when Kotori detects Princess’ mental state. It turns out to be 3 choices like you see in dating sims. Serious? She even has her experts to select which choice! Wrong choice and it’s bye-bye. Well, Shido almost got killed several times anyway. I guess he shouldn’t listen to those blokes.

Princess is not convinced he is not here to kill her but he finally catches her attention when he says he wants to talk to her and will never reject her. Princess turns into a tsundere… Needing to come up with a suitable name for her, Kotori thinks her ‘experts’ aren’t enough and seeks the opinion of the people of the world. At least those who are playing that dating sim. None are good. Till Shido suggests Touka. Princess likes it. Actually that naming sense came from because he first met her on the tenth of this month. AST moves in to shoot Touka once she is visible but her shield protects her. She wants Shido to escape but he asserts he is her to talk to her. And so while they’re firing away, the duo talk. Touka doesn’t remember who she is. All she remembers is that when she first materialized here, there were mech people trying to kill her. Kotori detects Touka’s mood meter as very high and wants Shido to ask her on a date. She has her entire crew egging him to do that. AST stops shooting when they realize Touka is not coming out. Once Origami gets a clear view that Touka is talking to Shido, she flies in between them. She thinks he has been held hostage. Both girls prepare for another power fight. In the end, Origami lost, injured and was stretchered away. Her superior chides her for such recklessness and the next time she could pay with her life. Next day, Shido visits the devastated school. Like it’s all a dream. Then he hears Touka calling him. What the? Why is she here? Why is there no spacequake alert? Seems she is looking forward to the date he is talking about. She is eager to go on one. Since her fantasy battle outfit won’t do, Shido has her transform into his school’s uniform. There. Looks much better.

Episode 3
Suddenly… Touka is like an eager beaver happy girl on a date! She isn’t the sad Spirit like we know her. She is curious with everything. She eats everything. She has fun with everything. Is this what a date is all about? Not quite as Shido puts it. Yeah. True dates are complex, eh? They enter an expensive diner and Shido is surprised to see Kotori and her Ratatoskr team as spies. I think they’re enjoying watching the date too. After giving Touka an overkill meal (does she have a Black Hole as stomach?), they are made to head south. The residential area is turned into a makeshift shopping arcade. Conveniently they are the 100,000th customer so they get to eat everything for free. Good news for Touka, yeah? Origami has been spying on them but she can’t get into gear since Kotori has been trying to interfere with their communication. Touka wins the grand prize to the Dream Park. Uhm… Why does it look like a love hotel?! Touka wants to go in. Shido doesn’t. He takes her to play a crane game instead. They try their best to get a bread pillow. They lost by an inch but Touka got so worked up that she yells at the machine that they tried so hard. And it’s like it listened to her and fall out. I don’t know if Ratatoskr had a hand in this. Shido and Touka talk at the park. Origami has gotten into her gear and is observing them from afar. She finds it odd that a boy is dating a Spirit. Nothing of this sort has happened before. Then she gets the green light from her superior to take her out.

Shido convinces Touka that on today’s ‘date’, nobody tried to kill her. She understands why AST was after her. She tried to destroy this beautiful planet. She thinks she shouldn’t be here. Shido disagrees because she didn’t cause any spacequake today. Touka is not convinced it won’t happen again. Shido will teach her and provide her with shelter and food. Still not convinced? If the world rejects her, he will accept her more. Just when she is about to grab his hand, Shido senses something amiss. Origami has fired a shot but Shido uses his body to shield Touka (there goes the bread pillow too). OMG! Is Shido dead?! That pool of blood… Origami is in shock. Shido is in shock. Then it turns into despair. And then anger. She concludes the world rejected her and summons her battle gear. Screw this world! Summoning Sandalphon, she swings her giant sword, Halvanhelev at the direction of the sniper. I think the mountain was nearly flattened. While Origami is sitting in shock that she is no different than a Spirit for killing a human, enraged Touka strikes and strikes Halvanhelev at her. Only her barrier is what is protecting her from being killed. Of course it won’t last forever. At this rate, the entire city might be flattened. Kotori is unfazed. Unlike her team, she is confident Shido won’t die so easily. Suddenly something sparks from within Shido and he revives! What the?! Origami is about to accept death when Shido is sent flying in that direction. Touka’s priority is to catch him. Surprise to see him alive? But Halvanhelev is going critical and will cause a massive spacequake. How do you stop overloading it? Kotori taught him a method. They need to kiss. Shido stammers while he explains what a kiss is. No time for long chat. Touka makes the first bold move to kiss him on the lips. Everything calms down and reverts to normal. That includes disintegrating Touka’s clothes. Stark naked. But she is worried if he would take her out on another date. Of course. Happy once more. Finally, Tamae introduces Touka as a new transfer student in Shido’s class.

Episode 4
On a rainy day, Shido helps a little girl in cloak up. But she gets afraid and doesn’t want him to touch her. In class, Origami apologizes to Shido. What does this scene look like? A genius bowing her head to a nobody? Shido is facing competition from Touka and Origami to taste their cookies. Oh yeah. Let the harem fight begin. This is why we watch this show, right? So competitive that the duo are right down to technicalities on whose cookie he ate faster. When he goes home, he is surprised to see Touka in the shower. As explained by Kotori, she is living here. Didn’t Shido say it was okay for her to stay? Unless that was just part of the act. Oh, Reine is here too. They explain after he kissed Touka, he sealed her Spirit power. There is an invisible link called Pass between them now. Why he is the only one who can do this is unknown but the analysis on him indicated that he is able to do the sealing. That’s why he was chosen. But the seal can be broken and her power returns if her mental state becomes unstable. Since she is more at ease with him, she will stay here till a proper home for Spirits is built. Apparently Touka isn’t the only Spirit. There are others too. So consider this as his training. I wonder if Shido can withstand all the hijinks situation. Why is it every time it has to be that ‘coincidental’ meeting in the toilet? Must be a tiring day, huh? Even more tiring when there is this harem competition in class! Touka and Origami want to eat lunch with him. Can they all eat lunch together? Suddenly the spacequake alert is sounded. Shido goes off to Fraxinus while Touka is left in Tamae’s care. Since Touka’s powers are sealed, she is nothing than a normal girl. Reine doesn’t want Touka to be exposed to the battles that will stress her.

The Spirit detected this time is Hermit (little cloak girl). Shido says he has met her before but there was no spacequake disturbance detected at that time. Because AST is indiscriminately firing at Hermit while she is just running, Shido wants to save this girl. I guess it’s another date. Shido meets Hermit inside a shopping complex. However it is Hermit’s hand puppet rabbit, Yoshinon that is doing the talking. Bratty and sarcastic. Of course there is that interface on the choice of reply. Once more, the ‘experts’ have their say but all the options end up in a tie so Kotori tells Shido to go for the arrogant and challenging choice. Yoshinon finds him funny but when he mentions about ventriloquism, the mood suddenly sinks. Kotori warns the need to cheer her up so he changes the topic and ask her out on a date. Hermit is fooling around and slips, she falls on him and their lips met. But a dangerous aura is detected nearby. It is Touka! She was worried about him and slipped out to look for him. And what did she find? He is fooling around with another girl and kissed her! This is going to be sticky. Her Spirit powers are returning. Yoshinon did not help either as it sarcastically teases Touka that Shido got bored with her. Touka naively got dragged into the rabbit’s pace. Touka grabs Yoshinon away. Hermit tries to grab the rabbit back but she is not giving it back to her. Her mood is sinking very fast and Shido hopes Touka could give it back to her. She misinterprets he is on Hermit’s side. But too late, Hermit summons her giant monster bunny, Zadkiel and rampages through the place via its icy attack. She breaks through outside. AST fires but lost her. Although Shido is slightly injured, I guess Touka is still hurting inside her heart. Man, this is going to be troublesome.

Episode 5
Touka locks herself in her room and won’t see Shido. So she gets some counselling from Reine about her ‘love’ problem. Reine says the kiss was an accident and if Shido didn’t care for her, he would not have saved her from that icy attack then. Shido finds Hermit in the rain. Seems she is looking for Yoshinon that she has lost during AST’s attack. He will help her to look for it and learns her name is Yoshino. Shido brings her back home since her stomach is growling. While he is making her food, Yoshino explains that Yoshinon is her ideal and hero. As she is too timid, the rabbit has all the qualities she wanted. She flusters when Shido says he likes her the way she is now. As for why she doesn’t attack back, she hates being hurt and doesn’t like scary things. When things get scary, that’s why Yoshinon is always there to be her hero. It makes her feel okay. Shido vows to find Yoshinon but the rabbit will no longer be her hero because he will be its replacement. He tries to apologize for that accidental kiss. I don’t know why he has to demonstrate to explain what a kiss is. Touka barges in ready to apologize but sees this… Back to square one. Yoshino disappears from sight. Shido gets a call from Kotori saying she has found Yoshinon. It is in Origami’s place. She picked it up after the last battle. He makes his way there and it’s like she expected him. Why in a maid outfit? And the tea… Looks like poison. It is poison! Almost died. She goes on top of him and tries to seduce him. But in exchange in removing herself, he wants him to address her by her first name like he did for Touka. So that is what’s bugging her? When she goes off to take a shower (of all times), he starts looking for Yoshinon and finds some of her possessions questionable. Still waters run deep… When she comes out, she questions him about the time he died. She was sure she shot him. Though he doesn’t know, he asks back if she had talk to a Spirit before. There may be bad Spirits but Touka and Yoshino are nice ones. He wants to save them and doesn’t want Origami to kill them as she is a nice person too. Origami gets a mission call so Shido asks one last question if she would attack a Spirit who had lost her power. All she says is that she cannot disregard a superior’s order for her personal feeling.

AST chases Yoshino all over town. She becomes so scared that she summons Zadkiel before she gets killed. Its icy breath freezes the city over and AST can’t come near her. Shido tries to talk to Yoshino but a blast from Origami hits Zadkiel. It is preparing to fire at Shido’s way. Touka sees this and knows he won’t survive the direct hit. She summons Sandalphon to protect him. She apologizes for what happened but Shido needs her help now to save Yoshino. It is not that she is more important than her. She is also a Spirit like her and he promised he would save her. Touka realized she forget he once saved her. AST realizes the icy barrier is getting thicker and more dangerous. With Touka in the picture, AST shifts their priority to capture her. Kotori warns Shido about entering the barrier because his healing may not be fast enough as it is not a single shot but multiple blasts. If Yoshino detects his Spirit Force, she will freeze him solid and won’t heal in time. Shido realizes some Spirit power is doing the fast healing but he is going in anyway. He finally reaches Yoshino in the middle of the blizzard to bring her Yoshinon. He barely made it and is injured all over. Thankfully his healing kicks in. Yoshino is happy and grateful for him. Shido is hesitating about sealing her power with a kiss. But this time Yoshino believes in him and makes her first bold move to kiss him. All the ice melts away and the bright blue sky returns. Oh, I forgot that the sealing also makes the loli naked… Later Kotori shows Shido a place that they have made for Spirits. Touka will finally move out and live here with Yoshino.

Episode 6
Shido seeks permission from Kotori to take the Spirits to Tenguu Gokuraku Hotspring since they wanted to visit one. Kotori approves as they’ll do anything to keep the Spirits happy. Because Kannadzuki is being his usual annoying masochistic lolicon, Kotori punishes him to dig a hole for a week. Due to the recent Spirit counter attack screw ups, Origami’s superior, Captain is being reprimanded by her higher up. Because of that and the increase in Spirit attacks, the company trip she has been looking forward to is cancelled. Bad mood… “I hate Spirits!”. Don’t worry. Her colleagues had planned something to reward her and invite Captain to Tenguu Gokuraku Hotspring. She’s so looking forward to it. But Origami disagrees because if they have such free time, they should be training. Till she receives a call from Shido that he is unable to return some book. In the background she hears Touka pestering him to start their trip. So pissed that Origami crushed the can juice with her hand. So did that change her mind? Reine drives the gang but since Shido is paying more attention to Yoshino and the rabbit (because he sits closer to them), Touka got jealous and her stomping not only breaks the floor but the entire road beneath her! Now they have to walk the entire way. The AST girls are ready to head for the hotspring. Yup. Captain is definitely looking forward to it seeing all the bathing equipment and booze she is bringing. Likewise Origami too. Only, she has all those spying and sniping equipment. Suddenly the train they are on crashes. So it is a long journey by foot. Ratatoskr love ‘experts’ detect AST around and think it would be bad if they meet the Spirits. They go into battle mode to prevent AST from reaching the hotspring by blocking all the paths.

Shido and co are surprised to see Kotori at the hotspring. She’s here to watch them? Why not do it from Fraxinus? Ah, she wants to join them, right? Nothing will stop between Captain and her hotspring so she blows one of the walls with her C4. Ratatoskr can’t let them pass and initiates all the traps that include sticky glue, nettings, sleeping gas and food missiles. Just WTF. Captain won’t be intimated and goes on the offensive. I think she is running wild. One of the stray missiles hit Shido’s group and this causes Yoshinon to fly away. Sad Yoshino starts crying and the only way is to find the rabbit again. Looks like it’s a job for Shido. Captain continues to be stressed out that something is trying to stop her from relaxing in the hotspring. She snaps and continues her berserk destruction (including her scary aunty ranting). All the AST girls must obey her in fighting back because if there are any remaining ammos left, she’ll shoot it up their ass! When Shido finds Yoshinon, a large gourd missile slams into him. Luckily, Touka’s barrier protected him. AST is stumped to see Touka but before any big battle can start, Touka disappears with Shido. Yoshino is grateful that Yoshinon is back but its head fell apart into the hotspring. Oh no. Here comes the bad mood again. Yeah, the hotspring is frozen. At the end of the day when Captain is relishing she will finally be able to relax in the hotspring, I think her colleagues are starting to realize how scary she can be. But too bad they won’t get too because due to Yoshino’s freezing, they become frozen in ice. Bummer. However there is some good news. Kannadzuki’s digging has hit upon a natural hotspring. Finally Shido and co can soak themselves in this mini hotspring in the middle of nowhere.

Episode 7
All AST members are down. Origami is the last one left facing off with Second Lieutenant Mana Takamiya. But Origami is not match for a person who has experience killing a Spirit. When they are rewatching the video of Hermit’s rampage, Mana sees Shido and realizes that is her brother. Say what? Mana wants to know Origami’s relationship with him. They are lovers. So she claims. Shido’s class gets another transfer student. Kurumi Tokisaki is a real looker that gets all the boys howling. She admits she is a Spirit and wants somebody to show her around school. Not just anybody. She wants Shido to be the one. Sorry Tonomachi, it’s not you. AST analyses Kurumi and it is confirmed that she is not just a Spirit. She is an evil one as she has killed many people with her own hands in addition to spacequakes. So Kotori wants Shido to win her heart over before AST butts in. But it looks like Kurumi is doing the seducing. Origami and Touka spy on Shido giving Kurumi a tour. Can’t let him flirt with more girls, eh? During the course, because of Kannadzuki’s annoyance, it made Kotori say the wrong option so Shido asks Kurumi to show her panties! Surprisingly she will gladly do so but shy boy stops her. He asks her about being a Spirit but she knows he is playing dumb. She knows about him and admits she fell in love with him at first sight. She wants to spend time with him and this makes her happy. Probably Origami and Touka can’t take more of Kurumi’s flirts and drop out from the closet they are hiding. I don’t know if they’re trying to be funny because they try to give the same reason (lack of iron, that is) to hint Shido to hold their hand (not the butt, silly Touka). Kurumi soon leaves alone and is grateful for the time spent. Shido feels Origami and Touka might have saved him. While Kurumi is walking home, she bumps into several punks. They want to get funny with her and she agrees. They get the wrong idea since she agrees to do it in a more secluded space rather in the open. Little do they know, they were all slaughtered. It’s such a bloody alley. Shortly, Mana confronts her and realizes she is too late to stop her eating mess. She calls Kurumi, Nightmare.

Shido is on his way home when he sees Mana. He doesn’t know her but she hugs him and proclaims him as her nii-sama. Back home, Kotori wants to know the meaning of this. So we learn Shido and Kotori aren’t blood related. The Itsuka family took Shido in when he was young. Shido admits he doesn’t remember her but the feeling is same for Mana. She doesn’t remember her past. So how does she know he is her nii-sama? She has a locket that has their picture. She doesn’t think it is some boy who looks like him either. She is so happy to reunite with him and wants to hug but Kotori won’t allow it. But why kick Shido away? Mana guarantees she is not here to steal him but hits a nerve when she says Kotori is no match for a real sister. Soon it descends into an argument between blood and adopted sister. The Spirits do not understand a single thing they are arguing. Perhaps some sort of food? So what does Shido has to say about this natural versus imitation sister thingy? He wants to meet Mana’s guardians but she can’t. Without giving away too much, she mentions about living in a dorm in her workplace before taking her leave. Next day, Origami is sure Kurumi will never come to school again but to her surprise, she comes in late. Kotori calls Shido to the physics room. He is shown a video. No, not the sequel to the dating sim. It is Mana’s confrontation with Kurumi at the alley. Origami and the other AST members are on standby. Mana kills Kurumi and slices up to pieces! Gross out! Kurumi was confirmed killed. So why has she shown up this morning in school? Big mystery. Origami confronts Kurumi herself. The mention about her being killed, Kurumi knows she was the one with Mana. She summons her ghost hands to hold back Origami. Kurumi claims cleaning her body last night was futile. Her goal is Shido. She knows Origami is in love with him but mocks her feelings aren’t as strong as hers. He is the best man. A wonderful man. Very delicious looking. She wants him. She yearns for him. She wants to make him hers. She wants to be one with him. Yeah, yeah. We get what you’re saying.

Episode 8
Kurumi happily accepts Shido’s request for a date tomorrow at 10.30am. Well, all part of the plan. But Origami wants to know what Shido talked to Kurumi. He won’t say and excuses himself. Origami remembers Kurumi wanted to devour her too but she’ll only do that after Shido. Shido walks home with Touka. Suddenly she locks the door and draws the curtains. She starts seducing him. Shido no choice had to take the aquarium tickets she placed in her cleavage. She is happy that this method to ask him out for a date worked. Because the 3 stooges misinterpreted she was down due to Shido’s negligence and told her this sure effective way to get to him. I guess he has to see her tomorrow at 10am. Shortly, he gets a call from Origami who doesn’t think he should be alone. He has no choice but to meet her tomorrow at 11am. Wow. This guy is fully booked. Kotori and Ratatoskr will gladly support him and monitor his dating schedule. Something tells me they’re going to enjoy seeing this. So the date plan begins with Shido meeting Touka. He is stunned by her cute clothes. While touring the aquarium, it is time to meet Kurumi so Shido has to feign that toilet move. Kotori has her ‘experts’ choose which destination to go for Kurumi’s date. Because it is a tie for option 1 and 2, Kotori opts for the third one: The lingerie shop. Shido is even forced to choose an underwear set for her in which she tries it on. Speechless… His troubles are compounded when the 3 stooges catches him around. Now he has to leave to meet Origami. Toilet excuse again? Since they have time before the movie, Origami and Shido go have light lunch. Origami is serious that she wants him to stay with her. Because Shido is taking too long, Touka starts looking for him. I guess that is cue for Shido to make his move. Nature is calling him…

And so the date rotation between the 3 girls seems pretty hectic. Round and round they go. I wonder if the toilet excuse is getting old. If it’s not bad enough, he has to stay clear of the 3 stooges. Thankfully Yoshino was around to distract them. While Kurumi is waiting at the park, she sees several bullies shooting pellets at a helpless kitten. She wants to join in but would like to change the target. Just then, all the monitors watching Kurumi went blank. Kotori and her team try to get it fix. Elsewhere, the dreaded inevitable happens. Origami and Touka bump into each other and somewhat find out they are dating Shido at this moment. Origami realizes if that is the case and that guy is not with either of them, could it be there is another girl he is dating now? Shido is at the park looking for Kurumi. He stumbles upon the trees filled with blood. It is so gross that he lets loose a sickening scream! I think he really needs to use the toilet to vomit this time. He is forced to witness Kurumi in the midst of shooting holes through the last bully’s body. Shido wanted to escape but he is too weak after seeing the revolting scene. Kurumi uses he ghost hands to hold him down. She is about to enjoy him when suddenly she is flung away like as though she got air punched and air kicked away. It is Mana arriving on scene.

Episode 9
Shido is surprised to see Mana in her battle gear. Mana mercilessly shoots and kills Kurumi. I guess Shido has seen enough blood for today. How can Mana be so calm in killing somebody? That’s not a person to begin with. Kurumi AKA Nightmare is a special Spirit. No matter how many times you kill her, she always comes back and starts killing. It is Mana’s job to hunt her down and kill her. Over and over again. Shido is thrown out of the place. Just when Origami and Touka find him, he is not feeling well and wants to go home. But it seems Touka wants to continue their date. When Shido feels better, he feels the need to stop Kurumi from killing more people. But he doesn’t know how to approach her since she is a different Spirit. Touka says she is not different at all. The Spirits are all the same. She believes if Shido shows her the caring side of the world it may just work out. And that is the only difference between them. Next morning in school, as expected, Kurumi is around. Shido makes his stand. He will save her. He will stop her from killing. He will stop Mana from killing her. Of course Kurumi is not convinced and would like to test how true his statement is. Mana and Kotori confront each other. They seem to know about each other’s identity now. But Kotori knows a little more on her and especially that AST company Mana works for. Apparently Mana herself doesn’t know this bit. When Reine analyzed her saliva, her body had been infused with excessive amount of magical energy and has 10 years to live. They have to cut short their chatter as an intense Spirit wave is detected at school. Everyone has been knocked out under this barrier except for Shido because he possesses the seal of Touka and Yoshino as it works like some sort of divine Spirit protection. Kurumi summons Shido to the rooftop. Origami looks like she is not affected due to her suit but she is stopped by Kurumi. Elsewhere, Touka summons enough courage to call upon part of her battle gear and move. She barely dodges a sniping shot from Kurumi.

Shido confronts Kurumi at the rooftop. She explains this barrier sucks out time of those who tread in her shadow. There is a clock in her left eye and it represents her time. This is her Spirit power but it uses a large amount of her time each time she uses it, thus the need to replenish it via external source (the killings). Of course she views Shido as special and wants to devour him. Before that, she wants him to retract his statement of saving her. There is no way he will give his love to someone this scary. If he does so, she’ll remove the barrier. Shido wants her to remove the barrier and will not give up on her. Kurumi threatens by summoning a spacequake. Shido gets information that Kurumi is more afraid of him so he tells her that she shouldn’t involve others if her goal is to eat him. Then he threatens to kill himself. She isn’t convinced so he jumps from the building. Kurumi saves him and this proves that he is indeed a valuable hostage. Kurumi is forced to stop the spacequake and release the barrier otherwise he will bite his own tongue and die. Then he persuades her to start anew. Give herself a chance to enjoy life. He guarantees he can make it happen and no matter how wrong she is, that is not a reason for him not to save her. Kurumi is taken in by his words and is going to give him a chance when her ghost hand stabs her stomach, killing her. Another Kurumi? Mana arrives on scene to cut off Kurumi’s hand. With Touka and Origami arriving too, you think Kurumi is outnumbered? She summons Zafkiel the giant clock. Her hand is restored back to perfect. In fact, her true power is turning back time. She can also teleport, slow down Mana’s time so she can put bullets into her body. Kurumi materializes more of her selves and they are her from different time axis. It is a reason why Mana can never truly kill her. She has everyone bound by her clones and is going to summon a spacequake to do a biggest massacre. Suddenly the spacequake is knocked away. Kotori discloses that by using a tremor of a similar scale to hit a spacequake, they will cancel out each other. And why is it everybody is so surprised to see Kotori in her goddess form? Nobody thought she was a Spirit, huh? Well that giant flaming axe of hers, Camael convince you?

Episode 10
A power battle between Kurumi and Kotori begins. Kurumi thought she had the upper hand with her clones and thought she had killed Kurumi with a point blank shot to her forehead. But she revives and goes on the offensive. Camael turns into some powerful cannon and it took all Kurumi got to protect herself (her clones were done in). Kotori wants to fight to the death but Kurumi is unable to continue. In that case, Kotori will just kill her. Shido knows this isn’t Ratatoskr’s principle as they’re supposed to save Spirits without them. However his words couldn’t reach her. It’s like she’s a different person hell bent on killing. Shido steps in front of Kurumi to shield her from the blast. Did Kotori’s sanity come back a second too late? Next thing he knows, he is in the infirmary. He is worried about the girls and everybody so Reine had to calm him down by smothering him in her boobs. She tells him unconscious Mana and Origami were retrieved by AST, Kurumi escaped while Touka although injured insisted staying by Shido’s side till she tires out. He is brought to where Kotori is. First thing on the agenda is that he asks if she is a Spirit. She is human but data indicates she is a Spirit. In other words, she is a human with Spirit powers. She is definitely born into the Itsuka family but an incident 5 years ago made her into one. Certain parts of Shido’s memories return. He remembers trying to save Kotori from flames but was blown away. It is probably then some of her Spirit powers transferred into him. The odd part was she cannot remember why or how this happen. Subsequently after that, she was picked up by Ratatoskr and learnt about Spirits. She decided to save them. As for how she suppressed her power, it was Shido who sealed it. Funny. He can’t remember. Oddly too, he has this unexplained ability to seal Spirit’s power that’s why Ratatoskr drafted him. Kotori then punches him in the gut as reminder how frail his life is. Had she not regain her sanity then and move away the cannon, he would have died instantly. Shido learns when Kotori is in her Spirit form, she is not herself. She has the urge to destroy things and has no recollection when she is in that form (maybe this explains why she doesn’t remember her past well too). She is distraught she might have killed people then. So since Shido needs to seal it, I guess we know the usual way just like he did with the other spirits. Date her, make her fall in love with him.

Shido is forced to leave when Kotori is not feeling too well. Happy Touka is glad to find him but he is in no mood to talk. Because Reine told him Kotori can withstand having her Spirit energy for 2 more days before she will turn into a different person and will never revert back. In that time, Shido must go on a date with her as their last resort to save Kotori. Shido visits the hospital for Mana but the staff won’t let him in on a single detail. Origami is there so she talks to him. Mana has been treated in a very highly classified manner. That is all she can say. Origami is not happy that Touka is doing fine and since Shido sounded like he is only here for Mana, she feigns she is too weak and forces him to carry her back to her room. She gets motion sickness on wheelchair? Liar! She takes advantage of his kindness by clinging hard on his body and other questionable stuffs that we don’t get to see. She won’t let him go because she forces him to cut apples and feed her. He is smart enough not to do it mouth to mouth as requested but she sucks his fingers!!! That will even do!!! She’s really enjoying licking it!!! I think this tastes much better than the apple, no? More Origami seduction follows… Just when he is about to leave, Origami wants to know about a new Spirit in flames and kimono she saw before she passed out. Shido lies that he passed out too and doesn’t know a thing. Why is she interested? Because 5 years ago, that Spirit called Efreet set fire to a neighbouring town killing her parents. Oh dear… Sense her murderous intent? She’s serious. She’s been waiting for this day to kill that Spirit with her own hands. She joined AST just for this purpose and now after all these years, she has found that Spirit. It’s a small world after all…

Episode 11
Shido is in a dilemma. He thinks hard on Kotori and Origami’s words and putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Can it be that? Because they don’t remember much of their past, they do not know what the truth is. Reine tells Shido that it is decided the water amusement park will be their place of date tomorrow. But first he must undergo some training. Buying swimsuits with Touka and Yoshino? How is this training? Well, since his eyes wandered off to the 3 stooges who happen to be there trying out, I guess you can say this is some sort of danger they can’t risk by having him look at other girls besides Kotori. Touka seeks explanation about the swimsuit so Origami conveniently explains to her the military way. Military Zapped Ultimate Grind Instrument. Cleverly abbreviated as Mi-Zu-Gi. Origami is here to talk to Touka about the fire Spirit. She will be grateful if she knows anything. Touka won’t tell her anything so Origami had to put up her cute plea. So cute that it’s just creepy. What does Touka know? Red. Strong. Fwoosh. Is that all? WTF. Useless. Now for the more daunting task. Shido must judge which one of them looks better in their swimsuit. The winner gets to date him. How did it descend into this? The competition is fierce but Origami is always a step ahead of Touka. Finally they hear Yoshino having trouble tying her swimsuit string with one hand. We have a winner. You can’t beat such moe, can’t you? Back at the base, because Shido laments if he has some sort of knowledge how he first sealed Kotori. Kannadzuki shows him a confiscated video of the great fire then. Kotori is in the picture but Shido sees something amiss. Kannadzuki doesn’t see anything suspicious but Shido is positive that the blurry thing in front of Kotori was somebody. He doesn’t know but he feels it is definitely a person. Suddenly he passes out.

Luckily Shido is ready for Kotori’s date the next day. She is her usual insulting and sarcastic little sister. But this won’t be a date with just 2 of them. Touka and Yoshino are tagging along too as instructed by Reine. Oh… I’m sure Kotori is ‘looking forward’ to it. So at the water park, it is time for Shido to comment on Kotori’s swimsuit. ‘Experts’, input please. It is obvious to go for the first choice of complimenting but Kannadzuki as the acting officer decides to use the one that compliments her small boobs instead. Lolicon! The ‘experts’ turn on him. After riding down the water slide and stopping for lunch, Shido checks with Reine for the stats. No decline but no improvement either. At this rate, he can’t save her. Kotori leaves the table. Touka and Yoshino wonder if Shido had a fight with her because it seems he loosens up when Kotori leaves. Shido leaves to get some fresh air and seek advice if he is too tense. Then he sees Kotori slumping behind the vending machine with Reine by her side. Reine doesn’t want to administer more drugs into her (it’s already 50 times her normal dosage!). Kotori is confident it won’t kill her as she is a Spirit. Besides, this might be her last chance to be with Shido as herself. Later Shido confronts Reine about this. She reveals Kotori has been like that since she regained her Spirit power. But this is done on her request. Kotori didn’t tell him as she didn’t want him to date her out of pity. Reine hopes he never heard this. When Kotori returns, Shido plans to take her to the indoor amusement park. To prove this is not orders from Ratatoskr, he throws away his ear piece. Don’t worry about Touka and Yoshino. They’re having a blast with some water ride. Meanwhile Captain shows Origami a new mecha suit, White Licorice. Powerful enough to kill a Spirit. But too bad Origami can’t use it due to political and technological reasons. When Captain brings up the matter of that fire footage, Origami wants to see it. She is shocked to see Kotori in the picture. Then it turns to hatred. Right under her nose, eh?

Episode 12
Kotori is not good with rides. But Shido’s cheeky face is relishing to see her reaction. Funny. As a Spirit who zips around in the air at high speed, she is afraid of the roller coaster? As a Ratatoskr commander taking on Spirits, she is afraid of the haunted house? Touka learns from Yoshino that Kotori is a Spirit (the latter was probably eavesdropping). They want to help them out but Yoshino thinks it is best that they stay out of this one. Meanwhile, White Licorice has gone missing in the blink of an eye. Tons of its ammunition too. We all know who to point our fingers to. While taking a break, Kotori gets nervous thinking Shido wants to kiss him. She almost jumped the gun but what he wanted was to ask her a question. Before that could happen, Kotori is blown into smithereens! Look who is here? One mad AST girl. Shido is unaffected as she was protecting him in a barrier. But Kotori can’t die that easy, right? And so while the crowd runs helter-skelter, our girls engage in a powerful battle enough to destroy the amusement park and turn it into some mish-mash. Did she care about the innocent people’s safety first? Apparently all she got on her mind is to kill Efreet. Shido’s scream for them to stop fell on deaf ears. Seriously, are those hot headed girls going to simply listen to him? Touka and Yoshino hear blasting sounds. They know they can’t interfere but eventually their urge to go help is stronger. Obviously Kotori is stronger. So strong that Origami had to turn and run because Kotori is going crazy, losing her mind like a mad killer at each passing moment. But because of her condition and her weakened state, it allows Origami to pound back and cause further wreckage. Origami has captured Kotori and is about to kill her but Shido comes in between them. He persuades hard he doesn’t want her to turn into a different person like Mana. Also, it is Efreet the Spirit of Flames she is gunning for revenge and not Kotori the human. However Origami is damn certain that Kotori = Efreet. Nothing will change her mind. Shido continues to stand his ground.

Thanks to this ‘stalling’, Touka and Yoshino is able to distract Origami to let Shido have enough time to escape with Kotori. It’s Touka’s turn to try and convince Origami. She makes her remember that awful feeling when she almost killed Shido. That same awful feeling when her parents were murdered. Does she intend to make Shido go through that? Shido can’t contact Reine for Kotori’s stats so he is forced to rush and make Kotori reveal her feelings. Does she love him? Yes! And always! Love him more than anyone else in the world. When they kiss, the memories on that fateful day 5 years ago become clearer. But no time to stop and think. They have to continue running with Origami not hot on their heels. Origami sees the Shido’s back being healed after the fragments of the blast injure it. Shido once again tells her that it is Efreet and not Kotori his sister who killed her parents. If she still refuses to believe that, then kill him. Because he has absorbed Efreet’s power. I’m sure Origami would love to but she has taken in heavy damage and passes out. In the aftermath back at Fraxinus, Reine apologizes about her poor judgment. Shido and Kotori shouldn’t have gone on a date to begin with and he should have kissed and sealed her power when he woke up. Just that, Kotori was looking forward very much to this date that she thought it was necessary. She shows Kotori’s stats that were never changed. Her love for him was always at maximum level. Kotori dismisses everything as error. If anybody agrees, they’ll be penalized. Sorry, Shido. Computer error. The tsundere is always right. Although Kotori now remembers some of her memories, she feels the need to store such information outside their heads as they can’t rule out the possibility of their memories being erased. She wonders if Shido meant what he said about loving her. Of course he does. As his sister. Tsundere kick! Origami is retrieved by AST but strapped onto the bed like a dangerous mental patient. Shido thanks Touka for their assistance. Touka wants him to save another Spirit if she appears. But not kiss her. How to complete sealing then? Since Touka wants a kiss, Shido no choice has to oblige and the watching Ratatoskr crew are encouraging them. Sorry to disappoint. But Yoshinon got the kiss anyway.

Dating Woes Dead Ahead
Not really the end for now. I suppose there are lots of things that are not resolved yet so it is no surprise that right at the end of the final episode, the announcement of the second season has been given the green light. When Shido and Kotori emerge victorious over the battle with Origami, it doesn’t show that Origami has actually turned over a new leaf yet. From the way I look at it, she still harbours very deep hatred and revenge for Efreet. It is going to take a lot more effort to make her open her eyes. Until the real identity of Efreet has been revealed, Origami will eye Kotori as her prey and I’m sure this would put a damper to the harem factor that we partly look forward with. There is also unfinished business with Kurumi since the last fight didn’t end with any clear victor. I bet that she will be another handful like Origami before she comes over to the good side. Mana has been out of the picture after Kurumi’s battle but I doubt that her role will end just there. Of course with Kotori now having fragments of her memory returned, it still remains in question about her transformation into a Spirit and the killings she did when she went berserk. Based on the few clips seen for next season’s production, it looks like there will be more Spirits and crazier outrageous battle. It is going to get tougher from this point. I guess they’re trying to say dating and fighting are the same because you put your very life on the line! Haha! Even if this season feels incomplete and somewhat a chaotic mess, it is still a fun watch. The harem part, that is.

So just like about everything else, there is something mysterious within Shido that he himself doesn’t know. Something that can seal the power of Spirits. It doesn’t help since he can’t remember much either. I suppose when he first sealed Kotori, I thought it was the same like how he sealed all the Spirits: Sealed with a kiss. Isn’t that how it is supposed to be done? Unless there is a more ‘passionate’ way to seal it because so far all we’ve seen are kisses on the lips and the Spirit will become docile. But I don’t think any kiss will do because if it was, Shido wouldn’t have to go through all that dating schedule and stealing kisses would just do. Besides, that would be plain rude to force kiss a girl even if she is a Spirit. Despite not being humans, they have feelings too and as seen as proof, Touka and Yoshino did quite nicely to fit into society albeit with a little quirks here and there. So I conclude that in order to seal a Spirit there needs to be several conditions to fulfil before it turns into another spacequake disaster. 1) You need to get them into the mood and raise their stats (playing dating sims might help); 2) When everything and the mood are right, go in for the kill (with a kiss, that is); 3) You must be Shido. I guess the last qualification disqualifies the rest of us, eh? Yeah. Only Shido can do it. Somehow. And the way I see this typical nice guy who cares for everyone around him, I think he wants to and will be saving ALL of the Spirits. Good or bad, he still wants to give them a chance. That isn’t entirely a bad thing although the problem of harem woes might creep up if every Spirit he seals ends up falling in love with him. What a way to gun for a harem route. I wonder if he had such experience while he was playing his dating sims.

I have to admit that the harem part whereby the girls are somewhat fighting over the attention of Shido is what I looked forward and enjoyed most (because I’m a ‘loser’ too). It was fun seeing the main rivalry between Touka and Origami although the cool taciturn latter always seem to have the upper hand on the naive former. It’s like their personalities are poles apart (and poor Shido is caught in between). Ever since Touka’s power has been sealed, so tame she is that you might actually forget that she was a menacing Spirit that once caused the spacequake in the vicinity. She becomes a gullible and simple girl and is eager to do lots of stuffs that have to do with dates. On the other hand, Origami doesn’t seem to show her emotions and if she did, it makes her feel creepy. Otherwise, extreme. Not used to it. Especially the part whereby she surprised us by licking Shido’s finger in her hospital room. Didn’t see that one coming. If this is just part of her true nature and feelings for Shido, I think there will be something a lot darker if surfaced. When she falls into despair, you can really see the wretched look on her face. And when she is angry and hell bent on revenge, nothing will change her mind. It’s like she’s willing to sacrifice the ones she loves just for the mission she lives out for.

As for now, so far Touka and Origami looks like the front runners if ever Shido realizes he is in a harem. I thought Yoshino would add to the mix but ever since she toned down, she’s just hanging around. I thought at least when Shido saved her, she would realize Shido would be her new hero as he mentioned and not rely on Yoshinon too much. But I guess she still needs her puppet rabbit and the show needs some sort of animal mascot. Besides, if Yoshino does join the harem rat race, it would somehow look bad on Shido and make it look as though he is a lolicon. He already doesn’t have a good reputation among the 3 stooges, this one will make it worse. Speaking of them, I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence but I seem to notice that each time they are around, Shido is there as well. I won’t go so far to say that they are stalking him or have feelings for him (not that I can tell) but it feels more than just coincidence. Especially one of them whose vocabulary and lines are only limited to “Majihiku” (“Gross”). Has she no other word to say? Everything Shido does is gross. It’s like the programmers forgot to install more lexicon into her brain.

Back to the harem factor, I also thought Mana’s appearance halfway through the series would tip the scales of the harem balance. Her brotherly love seems genuine and might steal Shido’s heart if Touka and Origami are not careful. But then… She got taken out so I don’t think she’ll be back in action for a while. As for Kotori, they do love each other but officially it seems only as siblings. One is a tsundere and the other a big brother. If they can’t see past that relationship, then I figure it is a good thing for Touka and Origami to lead a 2-horse race for Shido. I won’t discount Kurumi but since she has not turned over a new leaf yet, chances are pretty slim as far as this harem matter is concerned. Otherwise, she might be the one taking the lead and increasing it because of her boldness that would leave everyone else pretty much speechless and hesitating. So all the main girls here (except Mana) got their moment in dating Shido. I figure he should be an expert in this area now. A promising romantic. A smooth talker. At least his words got through to the heart of the girls he dated. Yes, even Kurumi. Only if her other clones didn’t kill her off and null his efforts. Can Shido do it all over again for her? All of her clones? That will take forever, right?

The other side characters are amusing. Reine doesn’t look like she has much sleep and the way she talks so drowsy feels like as though she could just fall asleep halfway in the midst of the conversation. Thankfully she didn’t. Was she up all night playing or programming dating sims? That’s just my speculation. Kannadzuki at first looked like he is going to be quite a reliable second in command till his true colours of being a lolicon is revealed. Then he turns out to be more of a comical role than anything else. He never learns about his lolicon habit and always gets punished by Kotori. But at least it shows that he has unwavering loyalty to his preference. Okay, that may sound like a bad thing. Then there are those Ratatoskr love ‘experts’. I still find it funny that they are dubbed experts in this area but I guess you can only gain valuable experience from bitter events and encounters. What doesn’t kill you make you stronger. At least they’ve shown to be much better characters than Kannadzuki. But still… Are they the best people to make choices for dating? I can bet Shido’s romance life is screwed if he listens to every choice they pick. So it’s best to go with his guts, no? Tonomachi going steady with his 2D girlfriend indicates that he might have given up on 3D women but when Kurumi came into the picture it looked like there was hope until… Reality is such a disappointment, huh? No wonder guys like him seek solace in 2D girls. They’ll never reject you! We all know well the one word we can’t say to Tamae. At least not until she finds Mr Right and gets hitched.

Watching this kind of show, one (like yours truly) would have expected some fanservice scenes. I suppose saying that it was done well would give an inaccurate picture of what I mean. Taking the overall flow of the story, characters and the action involved, everything was pretty much balanced out with its lively pacing so it doesn’t feel overwhelming in one area from the other. In short, the fanservice is sufficient and provides timely eye candy as to how some of the funny moments (like Touka’s naivety) provide comic relief moments and as to how the mecha action satiate your , uhm, mecha action palate. So, no mind blowing fanservice just some typical ones like the hotspring episode (but you rarely see our main girls dipping inside), the swimsuit purchasing episode and perhaps the lingerie scene by Kurumi should be the most stimulating one. If you are into her, that is. But no beach episode, though. Well, the water amusement park was close enough.

The battle scenes are quite okay but if you are dealing with powerful beings that can literally shake the face of this planet, you would be expecting some power battles. It feels like they are of a grand scale since you’ve got AST with their mecha firepower while the Spirits each with their own abilities that feels infused with magic. The weapons that they materialize are huge and you don’t expect a sword 5 times your size to do minimal damage, right? The size must be of proportionate if not bigger in its damage for ooh-ahh-wowee effect. So you’ll see some swinging and blasting action while the girls duke it out and somehow the city gets partly decimated. It makes no difference than having a spacequake in the first place, eh? At least it won’t be as bad as a spacequake because when that happens, everything will just become a huge barren crater. Eventually it is the power of words that move the heart and calm everything down. Yeah. The tongue is mightier than the sword in this case. A very cost effective weapon. No R&D costs. Just sincerity from the heart. Therefore we can learn from this lesson that we can resolve things better and more peacefully through dialogue instead of destructive action that gets us nowhere. The designs of the Spirits clothes aren’t too bad like Touka’s battle fantasy type and Kurumi’s gothic style. Somehow AST’s battle gears remind me of those Busou Shinki. It boggles my mind that when they wear such gear, they are close to naked. Shouldn’t they be armed up to their eyeballs? I know. Little fanservice. But I figure that those mech equipment they carry must be heavy so they’ve got to be ‘lighter’ in other departments. Maybe.

Marina Inoue as Touka, when she was hostile, she had that dominating sounding voice like Yozora from Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai or Laura from Infinite Stratos. Then when she turned friendly, she sounded more like Kana of Minami-ke. Ayana Taketatsu seems fitting as Kotori because she also voiced similar characters like Kirino in OreImo, Rinka in Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru and Eclair in Dog Days. It took me a while to recognize Asami Sanada as Kurumi. I felt a certain familiarity in that voice before I realized it’s that voice of Kanako from Maria+Holic and Sawako from K-ON! Here, she sounds a little creepier which fits Kurumi’s nature as a dangerous Spirit. Other casts include Iori Nomizu as Yoshino (Haruna in Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka, Funko in Upotte), Misuzu Togashi as Origami (Minatsu in Seitokai No Ichizon, Ichiroku in Upotte), Aya Endo as Reine (Matsu in Sekirei, Mire in Upotte), Misato as Mana (Eru in Upotte), Kaori Sadohara as Tamae (Shigu in Upotte) (What’s with the Upotte alumnae? I promise, no more Upotte casts), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Shido (Kaito in Ano Natsu De Matteru), Takehito Koyasu as Kannadzuki (Takasugi in Gintama) and Anri Katsu as Tonomachi (Tsuchimikado in To Aru Majutsu No Index).

The opening theme by Sweet Arms is the same name of this series and sounds like generic rock. As most of the ending themes are sung by Iori Nomizu, I find the main ending theme to be quite funny. Save The World has lyrics like “Before the world ends, kiss or kill me” and “Save the world with something that isn’t exactly love”. It is even funnier the way the tune of this song plays out. Ironically despite the song sung by Yoshino’s seiyuu, the entire ending credits animation is on Touka. Well, maybe Iori Nomizu had a funny voice. Hearing her sing this remind me of how she sang as Haruna in Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka. Funny and horrible. Oops… The other ending theme, this time entitled Save My Heart (lasting for only 2 episodes) which sounds like any other anime pop (again, the ending credits only feature Touka who is running somewhere – will she ever reach Shido’s heart?). Finally, Strawberry Rain flows to a slower beat and we have Yoshino in the picture this time. However this song is only featured for one episode. The only ending song not sung by Iori Nomizu is Hatsukoi Winding Road by Kayoko Tsumita, Risako Murai and Midori Tsukimiya, the special ending piece for the first episode. Actually it is not so much of a song. It’s just those dating sim girls talking (basically about this anime’s premise and Shido’s ‘job’) throughout the duration while the music is being played in the background.

So the next time when aliens from outer space stop by our planet and are bent on total invasion or world destruction, maybe we should take a cue from this anime to date them, make them fall in love with us, make them feel how beautiful this world is. Well, aside from civil war and pollution, that is. Nobody is that perfect. Who knows? We might just become good friends with highly advanced aliens. That is rather fine and I would also love to be part of it. But provided if they look like pretty 2D anime girls. Please… You don’t expect me to date those grey aliens, don’t you? Those types can be sent to Area 51 for classified experiments that I couldn’t care less. Remember, when the world is about to end at the hands of aliens, don’t show hostility, but the power of love! But I wonder why we can’t have a peaceful resolve if we date more than one girl… That sounds like a guaranteed formula for war. I guess some things aren’t meant to be shared equally or to be even shared that way.

Amagami SS Plus

October 27, 2012

Once you have gotten the girl, it isn’t really the end of it yet. Now this is where the hard part comes in. The next task is to of course maintain that love and relationship so it will last till the end of time. I don’t want to say ‘last as long as possible’ because it is a bad indicator that the relationship will end. And even if forever does seem impossible but heck, that seems to sound way better. Thus when Amagami SS Plus sequel came into the scene in early 2012, it is interesting to see how our main protagonist guy will preserve his relationship. Will he get a fairytale ending (at least for this season) or will it suddenly turn into a bad end? Let’s hope it is the former.

For this season, looks like the number of episodes have been halved. So from 24 + 2 episodes in the first season, now we have 12 + 1 episodes. I guess it’s a sign to say that there isn’t really much to tell as 2 episodes are only dedicated to a girl. I mean, if it was 4 episodes per girl like the prequel, I think it might bore the hell out of viewers because it follows mostly the same concept. Instead of Junichi trying to woo the girl of give love a second chance, he is trying to enhance their relationship and make memorable memories. So yeah, nothing is really new here and preferably you should watch this after watching the first season because it makes more sense. To spice things up, they are starting the order of the girls’ appearance from reverse now.

Tsukasa Ayatsuji’s Arc
Episode 1
What’s this?! They’re starting off with Tsukasa giving Junichi a back scrub in the toilet?! How hot can this get?! Turns out to be Junichi’s dream after all. No harm dreaming, right? If only Miya didn’t wake him up… F*ck!!! So in school, the elections for the student council president draws nearer and Tsukasa is one of the candidates for that post. She is going to be president so it will look good on her resume when she enters university. Yeah, that dream of hers never changed. The other candidates in the fray being Sae, Noriko Kurosawa and Seiji Hanazono. However their school rules have it that the elected president gets to choose his/her vice and guess what? It’s okay that Tsukasa has Junichi as her vice president but what’s this? Kurosawa also listed Junichi as hers?! I remember Tsukasa has a darker personality… Oh Junichi, how can you explain it all when you yourself don’t know what’s going on. As Kaoru puts it, Kurosawa is trying to do a public confession. So obviously Junichi has got lots of his mind trying to figure out why Kurosawa did so and Tsukasa may know the reason why. She’s out to get her. By putting down his name, she is trying to provoke and put her down. Tsukasa is confident that all she has to do is win and that once tomorrow’s survey comes out, Kurosawa will know her place, just how far she lags behind her. Life has a strange way of springing surprises because when the polls are out, Kurosawa is leading by a mile! Worse, Tsukasa is in a lowly third place! (Hanazono raked in second place). How could this be?! Isn’t Tsukasa more popular for doing many things during the Founder’s Festival? Well, that scheming look in Kurosawa’s eyes sure indicate this is going to be one hell of a fight. It’s not over yet. Tsukasa isn’t going to be put down by this although Junichi is naturally worried. She thinks she persuaded her dad who is a city council member to convince people to vote for her. So the election campaign is in full swing as all candidates go all out to woo voters (does Sae think she can garner more votes in a swimsuit? It’s Miya’s idea by the way). Junichi suddenly gets an idea after the wind almost lifts up Tsukasa’s skirt. Huh? Anyway he thinks she should have an election poster to make more impact. So Junichi starts taking photos of Tsukasa and even persuading her to get into all sorts of poses. Naughty, naughty… Till he saw her ferocious face, he tripped on all the camera equipment… The second survey results come out and though Kurosawa continues to lead, Tsukasa has made headway and closes the gap. Though the posters worked, partly it’s because Hanazono’s exposure of his porn mags has his female voters turned against him. Now he is dead in last place. Good looks can only get you so far. It’s safe to say he is out of the running. Unless a miracle happens. Not likely for a side character! Kurosawa and her friends discuss the need to turn things around. And quick. Seems like she is going to resort to that. Her friends see Junichi and convince him to meet Kurosawa behind the school because she wants to talk to him. Then they purposely spread rumours so it will reach Tsukasa’s ear that Kurosawa will be finally confessing to Junichi. Junichi sees Kurosawa and the latter puts up an award-winning confession act in front of him. Her friends signal Tsukasa’s arrival and like they say, curiosity kills the cat. This is cue for Kurosawa to suddenly jump into his arms and her hands holding his cheek. Want to bet Tsukasa saw all that?

Episode 2
The demons are coming out from Tsukasa! Not. All she did was pull Junichi away. They need to talk. Oh sh*t. Inside the shed, Junichi tries to explain but Tsukasa shuts him up with a kiss! Woah! Didn’t see this coming! She’s not made because he almost kissed Kurosawa but rather he fell for that simple trick. It’s obviously a trap to shake them up. So in order for him not to fall for such trap again, she makes him swear an oath that will have him kiss no other than Tsukasa. Maybe he should just ask for more kisses… Tsukasa’s friends give her a sash with written support from everyone from her class. During the speech, Sae must be making the crowd laugh with her shy speech. Tsukasa is next and to calm her nerves down, she hugs Junichi from the back. On the rostrum, she lets her flare flow and everyone is captivated by her speech. On the day the results are out, the winner is… Drum rolls please… Heartbeat, heartbeat… The winner is… TSUKASA!!! The class celebrates her victory but she attributes her win to them because without their support, she wouldn’t have made it this far. Miya also celebrates Sae’s result. It might be dismal but the reason why she was running for presidency was to cure her shyness. Well, not that I could see any improvements anyway. Kurosawa sits dejectedly in class after her loss. Then she admits she’ll use any underhanded tactics next time to steal Junichi away from Tsukasa! OMG! So was Junichi her target in the first place? Junichi walks home with Tsukasa and a stray dog is coming their way. Junichi feels he needs to be a hero and protect her and becomes the decoy to get the dog away. Too bad he didn’t see where he is heading and falls into the river. Probably this is a blessing in disguise because Tsukasa invites him to her house to clean himself up. And her parents are not home… Is his dream coming true? Well, she might not be naked only with a towel like he dreamt but the swimsuit is good enough. She scrubs his back and even giving him a few ‘service’. She hopes he can keep his other promise of not kissing other girls. Sure, if you give him lots of good kiss, I see no reason why he would. Here’s one for a start… So graduation looms for the third years and Tsukasa becomes the next student council president. It’s going to get busy but with Junichi by her side, she’ll definitely get by.

Rihoko Sakurai’s Arc
Episode 3
Sleepy head Rihoko could’ve slept much longer if not for her friend Kanae coming to wake her up. It’s been several months since Junichi has become part of the Tea Club. She won’t be lonely as her seniors have already graduated. Even Kanae can’t stand how slow Rihoko is in advancing her relationship with Junichi. It might seem that they’re a couple but they aren’t actually going anywhere. Better do something fast because the semesters will come and go in the blink of an eye. Because Junichi thinks she has gained some weight, she weighs herself and Junichi pulls a little prank by stepping on the scale to make her heavier. Of course he can’t look at her weight too. She remembers when they were in elementary school, they challenged each other’s height. That was the only time Rihoko was taller than him and won. I don’t know why, he thought of measuring their chest size to see who is bigger?! WTF?! Of course Rihoko will win even if they’re not the melons they are right now. Yeah, Junichi takes one right now and from his expression, it must have exceeded his expectations. Later Junichi seems to be feeling the heat wave. Since his uncle strained his back, his parents are away and he dreads eating Miya’s horrible cooking. Rihoko suggests she could come over and cook for him. Oh, please do! So happy Rihoko dresses herself up to go shopping for ingredients that evening and bumps into her seniors, Ruriko and Manaka manning a fish stall. It’s part of their university assignment for some ecological research. After learning there is no progress whatsoever with Junichi, they give her an eel which supposedly cures his heat fatigue. On the house. They also advise her to make some lotus roots but Rihoko remembers being tricked by the same choux creme incident (from last season) and doesn’t buy their story. But they use ‘trust’ and ‘friendship’ to make her believe them again. Easy meat. And the eel doesn’t really cure one’s heat fatigue. It’s for virility and they hope Junichi will get ‘it’ up! Rihoko is on her way home when she bumps into a classmate, Makabe. He was the guy seen earlier trying to get a girlfriend before his summer ends. He suddenly realizes how pretty Rihoko is. Junichi at the store thought he saw them both. At the alley, Makabe confesses he likes her and wants to go out with her. However Rihoko is reluctant as she says there is someone she likes. Even if the train noise drowns out what she says, I’m pretty sure we know who that guy is, right?

Episode 4
Makabe shows he is not a jerk so he lets her go but cautions her not to regret rejecting him. Don’t worry, she won’t. But did Junichi witness all that? Makabe resumes his hitting spree but when he realizes the next girl is Haruka, he decides not to play play and runs away. Hey! What’s so bad about her?! Rihoko arrives at Junichi’s place and cooks a decent meal. Junichi wanted to ask her about that incident so he indirectly asks about seeing many couples during summer. She’s too slow to understand, he’s too shy to ask directly. So nothing that we want to hear gets answered. After that wonderful dinner, Junichi offers to help clean up. Probably Rihoko wanted to confess something important but noisy Miya came in with news that she’s going out with Sae and Ai tomorrow to the amusement park. After having shaved ice for dessert, it suddenly starts raining heavily so Miya suggests Rihoko stay for tonight. While she takes a bath, Junichi goes over a photo album and remembers all the nice childhood memories he had with her. Rihoko wears Junichi’s clothes because I guess it’s probably ‘big’ enough to fit her. In the dead of the night, Miya sleep walks to the toilet but she didn’t really go to the toilet and almost pulled down her pants in Junichi’s room! I’m speculating, in her dream, the toilet is his room? After that commotion, Rihoko can’t sleep and wanted to knock on Junichi’s door but finds him sitting at the veranda. They talk about the good ol’ times and play some sparklers. Rihoko probably wanted to take this chance to say something important but she accidentally got her sparklers on his feet. One tumble leads to another and he ends up on top of her. Their face is so close that they could’ve, you know, that. Once they’ve composed themselves, Junichi beats Rihoko into admitting that he likes her. He never notices it because they have always been so close. Yeah, like just now. He realizes he has always been in love with her and wants to be with her from now on. Forever. And finally the moment we have all been waiting for. After 2 seasons, they kissed! Wohoo!!! Finally they’ve become a couple! Morning comes and Miya wonders why their faces are so red. Maybe the tea is hot…

Ai Nanasaki’s Arc
Episode 5
Junichi and Ai lovey-dovey by the beach? Well, I guess they need it since Junichi has been attending cram schools and Ai is busy as the captain of her swimming club. They hope they can spend time together on Christmas Eve. Ai visits Junichi who has been studying up late for his exams. So naturally he is still in bed. Guess what? He pulls her in! What are they doing underneath the sheets?! Naughty, naughty! In class, Umehara is so desperate that he needs a girlfriend that he seeks Junichi’s help. Too desperate that he fell onto him. Gay scene? Junichi goes to see Ai at her swimming club but he gets caught since there is this rule that boys aren’t allowed when the girls are using. Her friends hope she could cut him some slack since at this time, they notice she has been anxiously looking at the entrance like as though she’s hoping for someone to turn up. They let him off with a warning. However Junichi is surprised that Miya has joined the club. Miya doesn’t want Ai to let her brother go easily and accuses him of peeping at their swimsuits. He wasn’t convincing enough to make them believe in him (his nose bleed was a dead giveaway). We’ll leave you to your imagination on the punishment he got. So on the way home, Ai forgives him after he explains himself but has him accompany her to go shopping. Junichi is resting at the infirmary as Ai comes to see him. He thought he could sleep better if he slept on her belly while she sings a lullaby. Is he serious? No wait. Is she serious to agree? What if people come in and see them in such an embarrassing manner? Just draw the curtains! And so, Ai puts Junichi’s head on her belly but her hands over his eyes since this is really an embarrassing scene. It might look like porn… Ai’s lullaby works like a charm and Junichi is sleeping like a baby. Ai is looking forward to Christmas Eve when Junichi starts apologizing. Seems the results of his mock exam are bad. And all those who don’t do well will be sent to some rigorous boot camp. More like hell camp the way he puts it. This means they can’t be together on Christmas Eve. So the duo work hard in their respective areas that they have no time to see each other. It’s taking a toll on Ai as she starts missing him. Then she gets bad news from Miya. Last night the camp people showed up at their doorstep and whisked Junichi away to camp. His camp starts early because those who do badly will have to well, start early.

Episode 6
While Founder’s Festival is underway, Ai can’t help think back the good times they’ve spent together (scenes from last season to refresh your memory). As for Junichi, he really is in hell camp because he’s taking mock exams right at night! After the festival, Ai turns down to sleepover with Miya and Sae since she remembers she needs to buy a present for her brother, Ikuo. She sees the Grasshopper Mask toy, the exact one from last year and is forced to remember how lonely she is without him. But her eyes are not deceiving her when Junichi pops up from behind. Seems he has escaped from camp because he wanted so bad to see her. Of course he finished all that he needs to do for the day. So all is not lost for Christmas Eve as they get to spend some time together. Umehara is still without a girlfriend. So desperate that he yells his frustrations out in the middle of the streets. He is surprised to see Junichi and Ai together. Then a couple of guys from the camp bump into him and ask him if they have seen this kid in the picture (Junichi). Umehara points the other direction to send the guys away. This is his Christmas present to him. I guess he’s a good friend after all. Just that he doesn’t seem to be a hit with the girls. Junichi and Ai have their fun outing and they didn’t realize they have walked into the love hotel area. An awkward silence between them before their homeroom teacher Maya pops up. She just came out from the spa saloon ahead. They make a run but before she could catch them, she heard Umehara calling her. He thought she was some cute babe till he realizes she is his teacher… At the hilltop catching their breath, snow starts falling. Ai spills out how lonely she was when he wasn’t around and has become weak. He assures nothing will change and that they’ll always be together. Okay, maybe he needs to get back to boot camp before they realize he is missing. Well, I thought they knew he’s already gone. Heck, think about that later. To cap it all, they share a wonderful kiss. Finally they watch the fireworks from his room and hope they can do this every year. Watching the fireworks, that is.

Kaoru Tanamachi’s Arc
Episode 7
Eh? Shouldn’t it be Sae’s turn? Anyway we see Kaoru and Junichi working part time at a live hero play of Grasshopper Mask. Because Junichi is acting as the bad monsters, he didn’t like how Kaoru is enjoying all this as he gets beaten up by the hero. He devises his own plan to mess with Kaoru and turn the tables on her. Wow. Fanservice for the grown ups… Hey! This is supposed to be a kid’s show! This was what happened. In class, Junichi is sketching a scenery from his window. Kaoru offers to complete it, sits between his legs and starts drawing! The way she is moving her body is just stimulating Junichi! I thought she was very close in impersonating Death Note’s Kira… Oh, everybody saw that too. Later when Kaoru talks to Keiko, seems that even though they’ve become a couple, they’ve been doing the same things as they did as before. In short, nothing that progresses their relationship to the next level. Keiko suggests they take a trip and what wonderful way to make some memories in their final year of high school. Sure, Junichi’s mind is filled with lewd scenes of the kind of outfits Kaoru will be wearing but really, he has no money. So how? Get a part time job. So this is where they got the Grasshopper Mask job thingy and since they blundered everything, they only got half the pay. So it’s either they get another job or they don’t go on a trip. But wait! There is still hope because Kaoru spots a flyer of a really cheap bus tour holiday plan. So cheap that they can even get on it tomorrow. Junichi and Umehara hang out together and since the latter will be on sushi training, he thinks Junichi will be on man training. For that, Junichi gives him a stash of porn to keep him company. Hey, that’s what friends are for. The bus tour leaves at midnight and Kaoru has got all the snacks she want for the trip. Because Kaoru lost to Junichi in a race to see who could reach the bus first, he metes out her punishment. She needs to eat the chocolate part of the cookie without touching his lips. What’s with this lame idea? Kaoru tries her best to bite off the chocolate bit but their ambiguous moaning, groaning and steamy vague position has awakened the other passengers from their slumber. Wow! They must be curious to see something hot and passionate going on! Kaoru manages to bite the chocolate part off and the watching crowd is relieved. Oops! Get back to your seats quickly! The bus makes a stop so Kaoru quickly goes down to get all the limited-time snacks she can get. She just bought too many… To avoid being a laughing stock by others, she covers it all on their seats with a blanket.  Seeing they have time, she wants to try some eel dish. Perhaps they lost track of time and when it’s time to go, the bus conductor thinks Junichi and Kaoru are sleeping since they’ve got the blankets entirely pulled over. Since all is aboard, it’s time to move on. So when Junichi and Kaoru return, they are of course shocked that the bus is gone. They’ve been left behind! Junichi calls the tour company but nobody works at this dead of the night. Then he tries Miya. But that sleepy head is in dream land and returns to her dream without even answering the phone. There goes their only hope. Heck, was she ever one? Sure, they are both alone now. Yes, only them together. But what are they going to do!?

Episode 8
Thankfully a kind trucker hitches them a ride to the nearest train station. The duo continue to argue and blame the other so the trucker notes how they are like a couple. Well, couples quarrel a lot naturally, right? He gives them advice of having the compassion to support each other in life’s journey. He drops them off at a hotspring inn for them to stay for the night. Hmm… Looks creepy. If Kaoru’s not afraid of ghosts, why is she clinging behind Junichi’s back? The inn hostess is kind enough to let them stay. In fact, they’re the only ones. Then they heard strange noises and investigate. They see silhouette of the hostess chopping things up!!! She’s just preparing their meal. Phew. While they take a bath separately, Junichi heard Kaoru’s scream and rushes in. She saw ‘everything’ and tells him to leave. On second thought, maybe he should stay. Then she saw the monkey stealing her bra and stands up. Now he sees ‘everything’. Well, that’s his scream of pain. When it’s bed time, the duo are embarrassed since the hostess has set their bed next to each other. After leaving a gap in between, Kaoru talks about their blurring line between being friends or lovers, that’s why she wanted to find out on this trip. Oh. Junichi fell asleep. Next morning as they leave, Junichi realizes he forgot his wallet. He left it at the phone booth after calling Miya. To save the embarrassment, Kaoru pays but they barely have any money left. Then they start arguing (again) and blame each other (again). They just walk along as their relationship gets strained. Then it starts raining and Junichi trips. Kaoru shows concern. Thankfully he is fine. Taking the nearest shelter at rundown bus stop, I guess it’s Junichi’s fault for ogling at her chest (because she’s not wearing a bra) and got slapped. Kaoru starts laughing because it left a hand mark on his face! This loosens her up and she apologizes for all the mistakes she made and even putting the blame on him. She wants to start anew and have fun from now on. Then the rain suddenly stops and an old guy on a bicycle thankfully passes by. He says the bus will never come as this is an abandoned stop. Yeah, they would’ve been waiting here for the rest of their lives. So when Junichi manages to find a decent phone booth and calls Miya again, that noisy girl didn’t give him a chance to talk because she is so panicky that the tour company called her this morning and that they’re holding their luggage and… Oops. Time has run out. So has their money. Since they’re at the beach, they might have some fun here. Kaoru realizes she has a lot of fun when she’s with him. Then she kisses him and could’ve lasted longer if Umehara didn’t call out to them. Hey, if he’s on a boat at sea, how can he spot them on the beach? Junichi is happy because they are saved. Thanks to Umehara’s sushi training, they now have a ride back home. In class, Kaoru thanks Keiko for her suggestion. Then she hands over the sketch she finished for Junichi. It’s a picture of a silhouette couple on a beach together against the sunset backdrop. She feels she needs to fix something and sits on between his legs again. Deja vu? Isn’t she embarrassed? Not really. Because that’s how they are like.

Sae Nakata’s Arc
Episode 9
What the heck is this filming? Junichi recording Sae in a bear outfit? Anyway it’s good to have that narrator back too. So after 10 months together, Sae is able to converse normally with others (she no longer sees the cafeteria ladies as vending machines!) and isn’t afraid of small dogs (albeit she still have issues with bigger ones, she now has a little doggie of her own). Because of last year Best Couple Contest, Sae’s popularity has sky-rocketed. Lots of guys really find her cute but what bugs Junichi more is that they don’t think this plain guy could be her girlfriend. So desperate to prove them wrong, he even comes up with a plan to choose exactly what Sae wants to eat and escort her flawlessly. Seems like a nice plan. In theory. But does she even know what she likes? Hmm… Tough choice. Gather all the memories you can about her. But one choice leads to a tougher one. What sauce does she like? What dressing does she like? Hurry up because the queue is getting longer and the people are getting impatient. So it’s either he gets them all (to play safe) or he finds out from the cafeteria lady. Which is not a good thing because somebody else other than him knows what your girlfriend likes. Worse, Sae even knows what he likes to drink. So much for not knowing likes and dislikes of your girl, eh? Sae and Junichi visit the shrine. She makes a wish but refuses to tell him what it is. This bothers him very much. Then at home, Miya has breaking news. Seems Sae will be having a marriage meeting today! Junichi fears her wish was probably for them to break up. Junichi is going to stop that meeting and save her from the hands of evil. Eh? What? That is, if he could find her in this freaking huge hotel. So paranoid that he interrupts a cake cutting ceremony of a wedding couple. He thought he saw shades of Sae in her. Boo! Then he finds her with a guy at the lakes. You thought he is going to make a heroic entrance but he tripped. Ouch. Then talking out, he learns it is a marriage meeting between their dogs. Since Sae remembered she told Miya about it, Junichi could imagine how his sister screwed up. Yeah, probably she wasn’t paying attention and when she thought about it, she got it all mixed up and panicked. So while the duo sit together, obviously they’re too embarrassed to say what they want in their hearts. Frustrating, isn’t it? Finally Junichi admits that he got scared if she actually married someone else. However Sae says she wouldn’t do so with someone else because she made a wish. A wish to be with him forever. When she made it at the shrine, she couldn’t tell him as she believes wishes won’t come true if you say it out. But trouble is not over yet. Seems at school Sae is in a pinch. Due to her popularity, she has been chosen as the committee president for Founder’s Festival. Junichi thinks he is the only one who could help her and that she should go for it. Since she has his support, she’ll gladly go with it and starts calling him ‘instructor’. Ah, that title. Brings back good memories, eh?

Episode 10
That wish of being called ‘instructor’ isn’t materializing and he’s not much help either since Tsukasa has been helping Sae quite a lot. He sinks into depression and watching videos he filmed of Sae (animal outfits video lah!), he suddenly gets an idea. He wants to follow her closely and record all her work in his camera. So the filming gets underway and Sae has much on her hands. So much so Junichi hears from Miya that Sae has collapsed! He rushes to see her sleeping at the infirmary. She’s sleep talking and screamed. Bad timing because Miya thought he did something bad on her. Once Sae is up, she reveals she was working up late last night and decided to rest here. And as for her dream, she couldn’t really say. Why is she blushing? Sae continues to work hard and Junichi to film hard as the festival closes in. Then Sae experiences her first crisis. The drama club wants an increase in budget since they need to get new costumes for the festival. Then there are other clubs too that also request for additional budget as their equipment is getting old. Sae starts to feel the pressure that she is not cut out for this job and of course Junichi is worried because he can do nothing to help her. Then talking with Tsukasa, she advises that he should talk it out with Sae instead of wanting to solve everything or keeping to himself. He gets the motivation needed to not just be by her side but to also support her. Junichi shows Sae the footage he has. He’s covered almost everything she did. Like as though he’s a stalker… He says she could talk to him if she needs any help. She wants him to continue following and filming her closely. Sae solves the drama club’s problem by renting costumes from the shopping district and if that is not enough, she can help sew some for them. Sae initiates Founder’s Festival and at the backstage before the Best Couple Contest is about to start, she sees Ai and Miya going up as a pair. In cat outfits? Will that even work? Oh well, Umehara still hasn’t give up with Toroko fish partner. I guess everything goes, huh? More surprisingly, Sae molests Miya who finds it ticklish! Role reversal! Once everyone is on stage, Junichi comes to see Sae. He gives her a present and asks what she would like. Well, she says they haven’t kissed for a long time. Did he hear that right? And without further delay, here is to the long awaited kiss they’ve been waiting for. Have another go while you’re at it. And what’s this? I didn’t think they would put an 8-years-down-the-road epilogue. Junichi and Sae are married. They’ve got a daughter that pretty looks like a mini version of Sae! Kawaii!!! They have got another kid coming soon! Sae notes this is another wish she had made the other day at the shrine. For them to be together forever as a family watching the hero play. Well, some parts don’t really grow up.

Haruka Morishima’s Arc
Episode 11
I guess they saved the best for last, eh? Yeah, my favourite girl’s turn is up! Instead of starting from the 10-years-later when her arc last ended, Junichi is happy for Haruka being her girlfriend after they have officially become a couple a few months ago. Haruka happens to see the wedding gown being displayed at the store and asks Junichi when he will come to meet her parents. Oh… Of course he couldn’t answer and perhaps it was his cute reaction she wanted to see. Haruka talks to Hibiki and a magazine article features a chapel in England where her grandparents got married. It was a whirlwind romance for them as he suddenly proposed to her after graduation and they got married. Haruka always wanted to tell her British relative, Jessica how she yearned for this kind of wedding. Speaking of which, her boyfriend also did something similar to her in very similar circumstances. So was this the reason why Haruka made Junichi look at the wedding dress and meet her parents? Well, she only remembered this proposal thingy just now but it would be even better if Junichi did the same. She doesn’t want Hibiki to tell Junichi since it will make her look like begging. Speaking of the devil, here he comes. So what did Hibiki tell him? About Jessica. How does she look like? Just imagine Haruka, only with blonde hair and green eyes. It’s like a clone… The next thing Junichi knows, he is playing mock wedding with Haruka and Hibiki as the priest. Well, I guess to calm those jittery nerves, what better way to practice, eh? Everything goes according to what should happen in wedding procession. Till the kissing part. The duo were about to go ahead with it for real but Hibiki couldn’t stand watching them and breaks them up! But what Junichi is thinking is the wedding night! Oh yeah. The wedding night alright! Before he knows it, they are in a mock play of Haruka expecting her first child with Hibiki as the doctor. Eh? What happened to the part in between? The ‘process’ in making the child? Damn. Junichi was looking forward to that, eh? Then they’re playing mock family and Hibiki is now their ‘daughter’. Wow. She really took on so many roles. Hibiki is embarrassed that they actually played this right in the middle of the school cafeteria. Hibiki as the ‘daughter’ asks her ‘father’ how she met ‘mother’. Junichi is embarrassed so he replies that’s a secret. Disappointed?

Well, Haruka seems disappointed so on their way home, she isn’t in the mood to talk to Junichi. Then they meet Jessica and she knows about Junichi since Haruka frequently talks about him. She even pecks him on his cheek without hesitation! Even if it’s a greeting, make sure you mind your manners in Japan, okay? Jessica is here to attend her graduation ceremony. She’s about to spill how she might end up like grandma but she got the hint not to. Back home, Haruka explains why she wants to keep it a secret from him. Jessica supports her but cautions she is running out of time. Junichi is so deep in his thoughts that he isn’t paying attention to what Miya is saying to him. Why is he imagining a blonde version of Miya?! He worries after she graduates, he won’t get much chance to see her. Haruka seems down too. Junichi thinks it’s his fault for stopping that ‘game’ halfway. He suggests continuing but she’ll think about it. I guess some of his friends want to cheer Junichi up but it feels like they’re taking advantage of him. Kaoru inviting him to work part time at her cafe. Rihoko hoping he would join the tea club. Junichi gets a call from Jessica. She is going to Kyoto for some sightseeing. But that’s not the reason she called. She tells him Haruka is lonely and if he is too slow, there are plenty of guys back in England who might take her away. I guess this guy really get the idea he needs to act fast. He takes Haruka to the shed and reiterates he loves her and is not going to lose to those English guys. Was it necessary to repeat all their names? Haruka assures him those guys were from a long time ago and that she belongs to only him. Haruka is happy he brought her back to this place where they did that kissing on a certain odd place (who couldn’t remember that scene from last season?). But she’s not going to let him do it again. Haha. Haruka mentions about wanting to make memories by seeing this place one last time before she graduates. She didn’t expect this wish to come true. Since Haruka is back to her happy self, Junichi summons his courage to invite her to his house.

Episode 12
Since Junichi’s parents are away on an overseas trip and Miya is staying at her friends place, I guess this leaves them home alone, eh? And what better way to practice living as a newly married couple. Well, Junichi’s nervous but Haruka’s just cool and having fun. Then when he learns she is staying over, Junichi is starting to fantasize all the things they would do. Yeah, even that steamy one. Can’t wait to get to that part, eh? But wait. Can he really handle it all? After that toes-tickling-under-the-kotatsu fun, Haruka takes a bath. I guess Junichi clearly remembers his lesson about last Christmas whereby he lost the chance to peep at Haruka. Yeah, he’s got another one now. To peep or not to peep. It’s decided. He’s going to do it. Unfortunately he chickened out and out Haruka comes in a… See-through negligee! WOW! For the sake of his mental stability, he hopes she could change into something less ‘provoking’ but she says she is dressed this way because she wants him to see it! Oh my. Here’s another dilemma for Junichi. To see or not to see. Oh man. This is tough. Okay. He’s going to see! By the time he turns around, Haruka has changed into her normal pyjamas. Disappointed or relief? Later that night when they can’t sleep, Haruka tells Junichi something she forgot to say. After her graduation, she’ll be returning to England since her grandparents are asking. Junichi is worried but she pats his head. Junichi sinks into depression and realizes the words Haruka said did point to this. He sees Hibiki and asks if she knows of Haruka’s departure. Since she does, he wants to know why she kept it a secret from him. Hibiki doesn’t know the answer and instead asks him back what he is going to do. Is he going to let her return to England without asking her what’s going on? Can he still call her his boyfriend that way?

Junichi calls Haruka to talk to her but Jessica pick up. Kyoto trip was fun, right? Anyway she can’t let him talk to Haruka. She explains Haruka was reluctant to return to England and he was the reason why she did not want to. That’s why Jessica is here to take her back. So if he allows him to talk to Haruka, it may make her long for Japan and it’ll be bad if she ends up running away. Haruka may not return for a while if she gets back to England. Or she may never come back at all. Jessica doesn’t want him to misinterpret that he is against their relationship and is actually rooting for them. She wants him to think what he should do to stop her from leaving. And obviously I guess Jessica was lying to her teeth because she tells Haruka to expect something interesting. Besides, Haruka will only return to England for a week. Yeah, it may seem like an eternity if lovers don’t see each other that long. Then graduation day looms and the shocking part is that Junichi has been invited up to the stage as the student representative to give his speech. Wasn’t it supposed to be Tsukasa? Well, he begged so much that she relented. First, Junichi starts off generally but I guess he is implying the wonderful days he spent with Haruka. Then he mentions with enough details the things they did together! Wow. Won’t that be embarrassing telling it to everybody despite everyone knowing they’re dating? The first rejection, the second rejection, the leapfrog, the search for dog photos in the library, the swimsuit incident, etc. Hell! If it was me, I would be so embarrassed that I would die on the spot! Thank goodness he didn’t mention about that kissing scene. Suddenly Junichi screams at the top of his voice that he loves Haruka and wants to marry her! OMG! The crowd goes wild! Even Miya is cheering how cool her nii-nii is! This graduation ceremony has become an elaborated proposal scene! Haruka is so happy that she runs up on stage to kiss him. Wohoo!!! This beats the boring old graduation ceremony anytime! Maya hopes they will stop because it’s making her jealous. Oops. Don’t mind her. Keep going. Have another one for the road. And it’s a fairytale ending for them as Junichi and Haruka are soon married at the chapel. Wow man. Haruka looks lovely in her white wedding dress!

Miya Tachibana’s Arc
Episode 13
Despite being Miya’s arc, it feels like a short reunion of all the other Amagami SS girls. Miya is going to a newly opened hotspring facility and females get to use it free of charge as commemoration for their opening. See Junichi’s face contorted to the perverted side after fantasizing about Sae’s bust and Ai’s slender curves? Miya? She has nothing. “Stupid nii-nii!”. You can guess this is a fanservice episode of the girls visiting the hotspring. So the first thing Miya tells her friends when she meets up at them outside the hotspring is how perverted Junichi is. Do they want to hear that? What about breasts size? Well, Miya just couldn’t resist in molesting Sae, couldn’t she? Then they hear Rihoko scream. I guess she saw something horrifying: Her weight. She tries to hide it from Miya. That bad, huh? Jessica is also with Haruka and Hibiki at the hotsprings since Haruka needs to take a breather from studying for the exams. After this, it will be hell… Kaoru takes a dip in a hotspring supposed to improve the size of one’s breasts. Tsukasa is also there and she has second thoughts about coming in but Kaoru persuades her not to pretend. After all, they’re ‘comrades’, right? The duo have soaked for too long but can’t find the ‘guts’ to admit and get out. It’s getting pretty hot, you know? And they’d die of embarrassment if any big breasts ladies come in. Speaking of which, here comes Haruka and co. Kaoru and Tsukasa feel relief when Miya and Ai follow next but when they see Sae, that must’ve been the last straw. Kaoru ‘stops’ Sae from getting it since it’s already ‘big enough’ while Tsukasa convinces Haruka and co to try the other cute baths. Hibiki can tell their motive and brings the big boobs to another place. So the ‘smaller’ ones make an alliance as Miya describes the fluffy marshmallow feel of Sae’s boobs.

Rihoko and Kanae are letting the Doctor Fish nibble at their feet but Rihoko feels ticklish. Ai and Miya have left so Kaoru and Tsukasa continue to be stubborn in not moving out and start laughing like maniacs. I think the heat has really gotten into their head. Elsewhere, Risa and Keiko talk about their rejected loves. And from the way Risa says things, she still harbours some feelings for Junichi. Speaking of that guy, Umehara visits him knowing that Miya is away with her friends so they’re going to have a viewing party of porn mags and videos! Miya enters a rejuvenating sauna and sees Maya sweating it out. Since she can’t take the heat, she leaves. Maya continues to persevere in hopes the effect will make her younger again and then… You can guess what she wants for this single woman, right? I hope the heat won’t get to her head. So Kaoru and Tsukasa almost got heatstroke as they have their feet massage along with Ai and Rihoko. Rihoko knows about Junichi’s bathing habits and this causes the girls to be alert that she bathed with him. Well, that was when they were younger as childhood friends. But of course. As Miya freshens herself up with milk, she is surprised to see Maya turned into a kid! For real?! Did the sauna really work? Coincidentally, that was just another kid named Maya. Our real Maya is still the same single woman. I don’t think she looks any younger. Since Miya believes the effect was real, she thinks the bath salt she got for Junichi will work too. Back home she gives it to her brother to soak in his own mini hotspring (in the bathtub lah). When Junichi comes out, he is enlightened! So pure! Free of the world’s desires! He is going to turn over a new leaf by burning all his porn collection and this includes those he borrowed from Umehara! Seems the bath salt has abstinence formula in it. OMG! It worked?! However Miya panics and doesn’t want this reborn Junichi to rush things! She wants her old perverted brother back!!! I know. Where’s the fun if he’s all clean and good, right?

Specials
Short 3 minute specials that come with the DVD. Little extra scenes to see Junichi with his girl. Little extra scenes to warm our hearts or make us grin with what they do. Do I need to say more? Just watch it.

Special 1: Tsukasa – I guess Junichi needs to take more pictures of her for the election poster and convinces her with that convincing and passionate speech to get dressed in different outfits and do different poses. Tsukasa is embarrassed but she goes with the flow while Junichi is just snapping away like as though he is a professional shutterbug for a porn magazine. Tsukasa is tired (who wouldn’t after making all those hot poses?), Junichi has her do a final pose and wants to close her eyes. He sees how sweet her lips are and can’t resist the temptation to kiss! I’m sure that took her by surprise. In the end, Junichi uses Tsukasa in her ordinary school uniform in the poster because going standard was the best idea. It’s actually his secret ploy to have those photos for his secret stash. But easy come, easy go because Tsukasa confiscates them.

Special 2: Rihoko – The sudden rain has Junichi and Rihoko seek shelter in a phone booth. You know how such booths are only made to have one person, right? Yeah, they’re so close to each other in that cramp space that the only thing that came between them is Rihoko’s boobs. Haha! Their face got too close so embarrassed Rihoko takes a step back only to fall out of the booth. Junichi quickly pulls her in and they end up in a hugging position. Imagine if someone they know sees this. Don’t worry, the glass is all fogged up so feel free to hug as long as you want. And while you’re at it, you can kiss too! And make it longer! Rihoko feels ironic that they’ve been together for so long and have never made such memories like this. Well, it’s going to be memorable from now on. The rain stops and snow soon starts falling. I guess they’re all warmed up to walk home hand in hand.

Special 3: Ai Junichi falls sick so Ai is at his place to nurse him. She is worried since he has been studying hard for his exams and will do her best to nurse him back to health. I guess being sick too has its benefits, eh? Junichi tastes her delicious porridge but has to put up with the awful ginger tea. Medicine isn’t supposed to taste good, right? Now all he needs is a good rest. Junichi says when he was sick as a kid, his parents used to sleep with him to make him sweat out and speed up his recovery. So? He pulls Ai underneath the blankets with him! OMG! My mind is going wild thinking just what he is doing to her underneath those sheets! I want to see! Good news: Junichi recovered. Bad news: Ai caught his cold. Feel guilty passing the flu to her? Well, he doesn’t mind getting it from her again since he wants to do that pulling in and give it back to her. Hehe… Hey, it’s not good passing around or recycling the cold!

Special 4: Kaoru – Taking place during their stay at the hotspring inn, Junichi wakes up that night to go to the toilet only to see Kaoru sleeping in a tempting position. Plus, she’s a little ‘revealing’. His heart is racing if he should take this chance. After all, they’re already a couple and took this trip to have some time together. So what’s it going to be? Here comes Junichi! Kaoru happened to opened her eyes small enough to see what’s going on. She may look like she’s sleeping but her heart is panicking what the hell is this guy doing. Feeling a little breezy and her blanket not over her, it hit her she must be in quite an embarrassing position. Maybe she’ll just go with the flow and make some memories. Not this kind of memories! His hands are inching closer… Closer… Closer… And… He covers the blanket over her. Disappointed? Then he pecks her forehead and leaves. Kaoru woke up and thought felt a little bit scary, she thanks Junichi for these kinds of memories don’t come too often.

Special 5: Sae – This is a Little Red Riding Hood movie which stars Sae in all the roles. Yes, she is everybody. We see Red Riding Hood (in a swimsuit?) on her way to grandma’s place when she meets a hungry bear who wants to eat her. Despite being a big bear, it was polite enough to apologize that she wants to eat her. Then all the other animals came to offer themselves to be the bear’s food. I’m not sure what the last animal was because it was Sae on a bed and in her lingerie undressing! I think somebody else wants to ‘eat’ her. The bear felt guilty and bad by her actions but Red Riding Hood considers her with a heart of gold and invites her to grandma’s house. So along with all the other animals, they skip along over there. Happy ending. Junichi is very satisfied with the outcome and wants to do more tales featuring her! I hope he doesn’t get any weird ideas.

Special 6: Haruka – The best girl with the best scene! Woot! Haruka bathing! Yeah! She’s staying at Junichi’s place and her heart is beating with excitement. Mine too. She hopes Junichi will come to peep on her (I want to!) and imagines several scenarios to surprise him that includes spraying him with hot water, throwing a tub or pretend she is not him and then surprise him from the back to make him slip on the soap and fall into the bath. Yeah, she’ll go with the last one. Wait and wait… But he’s not turning up. What a disappointment. By the time Junichi decides to head in, Haruka already comes out. However her see-through negligee is too much for him to look as he blushes. I guess that’s the kind of cute reaction she wants to see. After all, she can’t bring herself to hate him if he comes to peek or not. So about changing her negligee? She brought it along so she can show it to him… I love this girl.

Sweet Dessert Bites…
I guess this sequel was fun in its own ways as they try to give a setting variety to the different girls so it won’t be boring and monotonous in seeing how Junichi would maintain the relationship. It’s like having your sweet dessert after the main course. We had a new character introduced and love rival in Tsukasa’s arc, a conclusion to Rihoko’s arc to make her finally a couple with Junichi, Ai’s arc focuses on the loneliness when the duo had to be away from each other due to circumstances, a change of scenery for Kaoru’s arc as I believe many of the settings are around their neighbourhood so it was refreshing that the setting this time was somewhere else further, Sae’s arc mostly centres on Junichi and his insecurities wondering if he has what he takes to be his girl, Haruka’s arc felt like a big practice act for the big day. And no Risa arc? What happened to that stalker girl? I thought in her arc, Junichi became a couple with her? It would have been interesting to see how her arc plays out too. Seeing that the number of episodes is halved for each girl in this season, since Risa only had 1 episode, maybe she’ll get half an episode? So I suppose that won’t be enough and thus no reason why she needs a sequel for herself. But it won’t hurt if I conjure up what her arc would possibly be, right? Maybe she’ll become an over-protective girl and ‘gets rid’ of any girls who come close to him. Even his friends. And sister. On second thought, I don’t want this to turn into a murder-cum-horror-cum-yandere series. So yeah. Maybe it’s okay to leave her out of this season.

Well, there’s nothing much I could say for the characters since most of them are still the same people we know from last time. Just with some minor changes, that’s all. But the only interesting new character that intrigues me is Kurosawa. I really wanted to know if she really likes Junichi and the reason why she wanted to steal him away from Tsukasa. Or does she really have a grudge towards her and will try to take her down and that means taking away her boyfriend. I definitely remember she wasn’t in the first season so by introducing a new character that rivals Tsukasa was a surprise. Also in this season, Tsukasa doesn’t really show her other dark personality too often. I guess the fun is gone once Junichi and us know about it. Rihoko still has her weight problems but I don’t see her munch snacks as much as she used to before. Maybe the focus was on her trying to sort out her feelings for Junichi. Of course for Sae (specifically her arc, that is), she has opened up with more confidence and not the shy and timid girl we once knew. Because Kaoru’s arc was a trip, we don’t really get to see her doing her part time job. Ai is still the cool and calm swimming club member but we see her displaying a lot of worrying and anxiety in her arc. And Haruka is still spunky, lively and of course lovely (which coincidentally is her middle and mother’s maiden name). If Hibiki had trouble dealing with 1 Haruka, now with Jessica in the picture, she’s got her trouble doubled. Even if they are half the world apart, I guess their genes are strong enough to display to same spunky nature. Maya and Umehara are still trying hard to score with the opposite gender and my guess is that they’ll need a little spin-off of their own if they are ever to achieve that. If viewers care enough to make producers notice and produce them of course.

Because Junichi is already going out with the girls, we don’t see him having this fear when Christmas approaches. It was a traumatic experience for him to be dumped and girlfriendless on that day Jesus Christ was born. It’s as though if I didn’t read back my previous blog, it wouldn’t even have crossed my mind that Junichi had this phobia on this day. I guess you can say that love made him overcome that. So for this sequel, the romance factor is up as we see some really close moments with Junichi and the girl of the arc. Like bathing together with Tsukasa, Ai allowing Junichi to use her belly as his pillow, that passionate ambiguous ‘kissing’ scene in the bus with Kaoru, every second of filming he recorded on Sae’s committee work for the festival and the ultimate public proposal he did for Haruka. It gives the feel that they are taking another step closer to each other than before. Of course for Miya’s arc, he wasn’t a siscon in the prequel so I guess it’s only right (of course it should) that he shouldn’t break some taboo and fall for his own sister. That will be just too awkward for this series.

The next episode preview segment is still amusing like its prequel. Well, at least some of them. For instance my favourite one was right at the end of the first episode whereby Tsukasa explains the use of a boxing mouthpiece, which she so happen to carry in her pocket. Get where she is going at? Junichi, you better put it in your mouth and grit your teeth hard with it! Brace yourself for impact for fooling around with another girl! I’m sure he knows the outcome considering the scary face he mentions Tsukasa was putting on. Other ‘previews’ include teasing Junichi of changing to another girl (that’s how this show plays about when an arc ends, right?), assuming Junichi has already died and ascended to heaven (too much cram school can be detrimental to your health), Sae calling Junichi all the great titles and he is really loving it (“Champion Junichi!!!”) and worrying if the episode title “Sexy” is really appropriate (how else would you describe Haruka’s epic first half?). Anyway it’s either the characters are having fun themselves or love messing about with Junichi. The lead guy always has it tough. For the fanservice part, it depends on how you view it. The game itself doesn’t have explicit adult contents so I guess as far as the anime goes, the furthest it would go would be to show the girls clad in towel. That’s really nothing. Really.

Azusa, who did the opening themes for the first season, returns to do this season’s opening theme. Entitled Check My Soul, though this is a nice pop piece, I feel that it lacks the oomph that the first season’s first opening piece had. Nevertheless it is still has a memorable tune even though it didn’t make me want to shuffle my feet or sing along like I Love did. As for the ending theme, there are no character songs. Meaning, there are no songs sung by the seiyuu of the particular heroine in focus of her arc. I guess this is only economical because you won’t want to burst your budget by having them sing a song that would probably last for a couple of episodes. Of course, I’m speculating that. Unless you are the crazy kind of anime which changes every ending theme for every episode, so I suppose it’s enough that we have experienced them for the first season. So for this sequel, we have a fixed ending theme from of course, Azusa. The slow and calming pop balled of Kokuhaku sounds rather okay for a love-romance genre. Also, this season doesn’t feature any insert songs.

I’m not sure if they’ll produce a third season. Chances are they might not since this show has reached its peak. Unless they want to focus on the other supporting characters but I suppose that is also unlikely. What more is there to tell? I certainly don’t want to see troubles that would rock their relationship which will ultimately lead to break up. If I wanted to see that, real life offers a much realistic ‘show’. I’m watching this to feel good for a happy fairytale ending. If only real life was just as bliss as this, how happy the entire world would be. Of course love isn’t as straightforward and predictable as everyone think it should be. I might still be single and girlfriendless now but perhaps in some other alternate universe(s) I would have racked up a cutie for myself and possible a gorgeous harem. Beautiful ladies aplenty. Dream on. Yeah. How I wish I was that other me…

Amagami SS

February 5, 2012

I’m sure many of us guys would love to have the idea of having a few girls by our side simultaneously. That’s what we call a harem. However if that is not possible, don’t despair as there is an alternative to it. It’s called multi-arc branching. You’ll know what I mean if you watch Amagami SS, the anime that has been adapted from the dating simulation of the same name. Well, to put this multi-arc branching in a nutshell, you can date all the girls you want in mind. But only one at a time and in a different ‘universe’. After every ‘success’ scored with a girl, everything pretty much resets as you restart doing everything from scratch again for the other girl. So is multi-arc branching the new cool to harem?

Our main lucky guy who is going to shag, oops, I mean date the lucky pretty heroines of the series is Junichi Tachibana. However he had a bad spell with love because his supposed girlfriend stood him up on their date on Christmas Eve 2 years ago. Ever since, he has been heartbroken and is wary and a cynic when it comes to the topic of love. However we all know love works in mysterious ways and time heals or sorts of wounds (maybe not everything but the pangs of love is one of them) so you can expect and hope Junichi to believe in the miracle of love once more.

For the TV series, there are 24 episodes and 6 heroines. If you do the simple arithmetic maths, you’ll find that each heroine will be dedicated 4 episodes each to strut their stuff and make love happen (please not this is not anything close to an ecchi series). The heroines are (in chronological order) Haruka Morishima, Kaoru Tanamachi, Sae Nakata, Ai Nanashi, Rihoko Sakurai and Tsukasa Ayatsuji. When a particular heroine is the main focus of her arc, the other heroines (and their supporting friends) too make their appearance albeit on a minor scale and are not directly related to the happenings of that arc. I guess this is to remind us that they still exist or a little ‘distraction’ away from the main dish.

Haruka Morishima’s Arc
In episode 1, Junichi is still reeling from the traumatic effects of his date disaster 2 years ago that he has made his closet his own personal universe recluse. See the stars in his closet? It’s like a mini planetarium. His little sister, Miya tries to get him out so that he can go to school. On his way, he meets his friend, Masayoshi Umehara and they both share a secret passion for… porn. Well, I guess at least he isn’t totally ‘dead’ yet. They also spot the popular and pretty Haruka with her friend Hibiki Tsukahara. Seems Haruka was popular enough to have many guys confessing to her but she rejects them all. During recess, Junichi lost a game to Kaoru and Umehara so he has to go buy bread for them. He helps shy Sae purchase her bread from the ‘unruly’ crowd. On his way back, he drops the breads (because he only has 2 hands to carry all of them) and stumbles upon Haruka. She notices he has lovely eyes. After she leaves, Junichi feels he is in heaven since he got to talk to her. Yeah, she smells good too. After school, he is looking for Umehara and was told by Tsukasa that he may be at the library. Well, he didn’t bump into him but Haruka. He offers to carry all the books on cute puppies that she borrowed. Then they meet Hibiki who is appalled Haruka didn’t even know his name and made him carry this much books. She didn’t mind because she knew she could rely on him as he is a really nice person. When a pretty girl says that to you, you have got to be an idiot not to give love a second chance. And yes, Junichi starts liking her. Now it’s Haruka’s turn to crash on him because as Junichi and the guys play some leapfrog game, she jumps on Junichi! After school, Junichi sees her sitting alone at the fountain and offers her his disposable hand warmer. Finally Junichi sums up his courage to say he likes her. She didn’t panic (because she had lots of prior experience, remember?) and though finding him interesting, she told him no. Because she prefers someone older and reliable. Well, Junichi doesn’t look like the part. Junichi trudges his way back home and returns to his recluse. Maybe this isn’t going to work after all.

Poor Junichi didn’t get much sleep that bags are forming underneath his eyes in episode 2. He goes to the infirmary to see Haruka sleeping there. She’s actually not sick, just borrowing the bed after staying up late watching TV. So she’s a normal girl too. Junichi is visibly down so he asks if they could continue to talk as normal. He starts getting happy when she mentions she is interested in him. But this mixed signal doesn’t mean she has totally rejected him yet, right? Anyway Haruka wishes they both get along. He asks what other traits she looks for in a guy. Tough, charismatic, fascinating, cool… It’s going to be tough to qualify in her books. Junichi is taking out his pro-wrestling moves on Umehara when Haruka wants to join in only to be stopped by Hibiki. Haruka suggests for all of them to walk home together. They talk about Haruka being busy recently running all over school to reject confession (that popular, eh?) so what about cases of somebody confessing twice? Don’t know. Never happened before. Oh, it’s that gloomy feeling for Junichi again. Haruka sees Junichi and wonders if he has a girl’s swimsuit. What? Why would he have that? Anyway she wants to take a swim after seeing the swimming class in action. They go borrow one from Ai and after donning on, Hibiki (the swimming club captain) puts her foot down on non-club members taking a dip. To cheer her up, Junichi suggests looking for books on cute puppies at the library. If Junichi hadn’t chance upon Rihoko, he could’ve got the books faster and not make Haruka fall asleep at the table. But he stays with her and lends her his jacket till she wakes up. Junichi is hinting that he won’t give up and doesn’t care how many times she turns him down. What he is afraid most is not getting a reply. She suddenly kisses his eyebrow and notes that since he is so serious, his eyebrows furrowed. They were kinda cute so she kissed them. Stunned…

Now Junichi must be feeling like at the top of the world in episode 3. While he is talking to Kaoru and her friend, Haruka pulls him away. Could this mean she’s jealous? Junichi gets this weird request he wants her to kiss his eyebrows again. More the better. Isn’t that pushing your luck? But she says it’s his turn to kiss her and find a place suitable for it. Think fast! A kiss is on the line. He brings her to a little shed where nobody will find them. Then she wants him to kiss somewhere else on her body. Gulp. Where did he pick? Behind her knee! Of all places why? Something to do with what he saw in the books filled with little puppies. She agrees. Junichi starts but the kiss is dragging longer than usual. Hey, he’s moving on to some other place! If she hadn’t stop him, who knows where his lips might end up. She asks how does it feel (amazing of course lah!) but seems he forgot something in the middle. She won’t tell him till he figures it out. Over the next few days, he can’t get the kiss out of his head and even had the guts to ask and kiss behind her knees once more. Now, he’s like a stalker begging her. Please. Please. PLEASE! Haruka is at a loss and calls Hibiki for advice. The only way to find out is to try and see. Next day, Haruka surprises Junichi by hugging him on his back. Then she wonders if there is anything exciting to eat so he orders a ramen dish. May look ordinary but he is going to make it interesting with some weird scenario that she’s being kidnapped. They even act out a scene that he’s feeding her. Yeah, everybody’s watching… But Haruka is having so much fun she didn’t mind.

Christmas is coming soon in episode 4. Junichi is made to carry bags for Miya and Rihoko’s shopping spree. He spots Haruka and takes up their offer to go to the toilet as excuse to meet her. They spend some time at the arcade when Junichi realizes the need to ask her out on Christmas. He takes her to the park atop a hill (the place Junichi was stood up). Seems Haruka did meet Junichi before at this place. When he was down, she talked to him and it made him feel better. She realized that guy she talked to was him because that day too left a deep impression on her. Haruka learns of his disaster 2 years ago. Then Junichi gets the courage to ask her out on the Eve. She can’t. Eh?! Rejected? Actually her grandparents from England will return on that day and she’ll be celebrating at home. It won’t be a problem if she invites him, right? Of course! On that day, Junichi is nervous because she’s taking him to a hotel. Sure it’s got a nice pool to have some fun but is this the real intention? Actually they’re supposed to meet her parents here. An hour ago. Oh, now they’re late. Better hurry. But don’t sweat it. Haruka takes Junichi up the elevator (he’s got fear of heights) and mentions that flight delays have caused her grandparents to cancel their flight. Her parents? Since they’re not coming, no point turning up. So they’re both alone?! At a hotel?! Well, she didn’t want to waste it. Haruka takes a bath and ‘warns’ him not to peep. Of course that guy is in a dilemma whether to do so or not. Then the lights go out. Don’t worry, Haruka turn them off herself because she thought it was embarrassing. Why is she clad in only a towel?! But she’s rather upset that he didn’t come to peek at her!!!!! F*CK! Wasted chance! Is it a wonder why men sometimes don’t understand women? But now it gets serious. Haruka starts crying and was worried that he may have started losing interest in her. For the first time, she felt she wanted to keep him but felt lonely, scared and waited all this while. Junichi hugs her and confesses he loves her too. There is nobody else he’d rather be with forever. Ten years down the road, the married pair seems to be lively, dramatic and most important of all, they love each other like as though their flame never fizzled out as it started a decade ago.

Kaoru Tanamachi’s Arc
In episode 5, 2 years ago when Junichi left broken-hearted, Kaoru was there to ‘distract’ him and gave her a ride to the bakery. In present time, Kaoru and Junichi are so close friends that they can act out silly manzai comedies that make them look like a married couple. But still if he sees her pantsu, she beats him up. This lands him in the infirmary as Kaoru visits him and is somewhat apologetic. She wants him to meet her at the flower bed at the back of the campus after school. Junichi’s mind is overflowing with thoughts on what Kaoru meant. Would it be a confession or trying out some wrestling move on him? He is so noisy thinking aloud that he disturbed Haruka in the next bed. After school he goes to the back of the school and this is not what he had in mind. Kaoru wants to hear a problem of her friend, Keiko Tanaka and then voice his opinion. Huh? Why him? She chose him the representative of all boys in their school. Yeah, you should be honoured. Seems Keiko confessed to a guy she liked. He didn’t give an answer and she waited for a month when he suddenly popped up and wanted to kiss. Junichi advises that she should write a letter, take an indirect approach instead of being persistent so if she comes across him, he won’t be able to ask her to kiss again. Kaoru is taken aback by his answer. On the way back, Kaoru invites him to patron the cafe she works. Junichi mentions back then he thought she wanted to confess to him but dismisses it himself. Kaoru hits his arm with her bag. True or not? Look at her body language. Junichi is a customer at her cafe. He orders the cheapest thing: A glass of water. But as she is serving other customers, she starts to become clumsy each time she observes Junichi. Back at the shop, she starts flustering about the feelings she is experiencing and her heart won’t stop thumping.

Kaoru is facing a dilemma that she might be in love in episode 6. In class, Junichi sees a commotion between Kaoru and a guy. She was ready to beat him up but Junichi breaks them apart. Later it is revealed that Keiko wrote him a letter but he passed it around and laughed. She was supportive of Keiko though she knew it would turn out like this but lost her cool when he did that. The conversation topic changes with Junichi asking her if there is someone she likes. She’s not going to admit it. For now. So it’s a no. So what do you call their relationship then? Well, they maintain a certain lukewarm distance. Then on a topic of changing their relationship, Kaoru hugs him and their face got to close to each other (okay, it met) before she pushes herself away. She doesn’t count this one. Junichi plans on getting his revenge on her since she ‘stole’ his kiss by tickling her ribs? Since that won’t make him feel better, he is going to kiss her bellybutton. Previously it was the back of the knee, now the bellybutton? What next? As Junichi kisses it (Kaoru covering her shirt over his head!), Miya spots this unholy act and is stunned. Later Kaoru suggests taking a walk in the park so that he could further show off his manly side. They help a couple of boys bring down a shuttlecock stuck in a tree with Kaoru riding on Junichi’s shoulders. He never felt this sensation before. When she leaves, he never realized there was a cute side to her smile. Kaoru is about to meet her mom but gets disheartened when she sees him hanging out with another man.

Kaoru is absent in episode 7 and Junichi wonders if that kiss was his fault. Junichi suspects something amiss when he learns from Keiko that her teacher called her home but was told she never returned last night. He skips school to go look for her. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack. As he whizzes pass several shops, he remembers his outing with Kaoru there. He chances upon the badminton boys and they think it’s his fault for making his girlfriend cry. Oh, she’s at the beach by the way. But when he got there, she’s nowhere to be seen. The only place left is the cafe she works. Yup, she’s there. He waits till she finishes her shift and talks to her. She brings up the unknown man she saw her mom with. She remembers she got into a fight with her because she thought of remarrying. Kaoru doesn’t want a new dad and would rather continue the way things are now. Junichi tries to console her that it’s okay to cry but he got a judo throw. So does she need his help? Well, just stay by his side. After she cools herself down, she calls and talks to her mom. Junichi gives her favourite ice cream to cheer her up and assures he’ll always be by her side supporting her. Back home, he is confused why he is going so far to help her and starts thinking that he might actually be in… Just maybe. Next day Kaoru returns to class and completely recovered. Junichi offers to help carry her printouts so she dumps everything on him. Back to normal, eh?

Umehara and Keiko set Junichi and Kaoru up in episode 8 so that they could talk together. Since he isn’t going to ask, Kaoru fixes the date for them to go out on Christmas Eve. As he waits at the park, Junichi fears she may not turn up. Don’t worry, even if she’s a ‘bad friend’, she isn’t that bad to stand you up. She keeps her promise and shows up. As they make their way up to the Port Tower, they talk about the old memories they had and the crazy things they did. Oh, don’t forget Junichi has a fear of heights. Thankfully he made it to the top. Over a glass floor, they hold hands and watch the snow fall. She starts telling him her feelings and in the end, manages to say she loves him. I guess having 101 good points is still better than having 100 bad points, right? Now it’s Junichi’s turn to make a confession. He wants to be with her forever and also loves her. And they kiss. A proper one on the lips, not the bellybutton mind you. He brings her back to his room and nearly got busted when Miya suspects something amiss but tells him to keep it down while watching his ‘video treasures’. Well, Kaoru found one. She notices his planetarium closet and suggests that they sleep together. Serious?! Serious. How can he sleep like that? Impossible. Next thing he knows, Kaoru is on top of him. They kiss but too long that he couldn’t breathe. Oh, looks like she’s fallen asleep. Just like that? Boring… With that, Kaoru and Junichi’s relationship continue to blossom from now on. Uh… No 10 years down the road finish?

Sae Nakata’s Arc
Of all the arcs, this is the one I enjoyed the most because of the sarcastic and perverted-sounding narrator. Yes, there is a narrator for this arc which makes it fun and turns the dramatic into funny since the previous arc was getting a little tad draggy. Junichi is on his way to school in episode 9 when he spots pretty Sae. Is it her nice body that he got attracted to? During recess, he dropped his wallet after bumping into Haruka. Sae saw it but her soft shy voice couldn’t reach him. She manages to return to him but since she is so shy, she runs away. He can’t keep this off his chest so he decides to go find her and surprisingly, she is Miya’s classmate and friend. If you think Junichi is a pervert, then you can consider Miya one too because she molests Sae’s tender boobs for good luck. WTF?! Junichi later treats Sae to a drink at Kaoru’s cafe as Sae mentions her interest to do a part time job. She has Kaoru help her out to see if there are any vacancies. But bashful Sae whose voice wouldn’t come out even if she screams at the top of her lungs, how is she going to pass the interview? Don’t worry, Junichi will hold a mock interview practice at his home. Seems to be proceeding well till the practice of bringing a drink on a tray. Sae got clumsy and spilled the hot drink over his pants. Natural reaction? Take it off. Then Miya comes in. Let’s say he got more than just being labelled as a pervert. Ooohh. I wonder how many marks are there on his cheek. Though the misunderstood is cleared up, they walk Sae home and also play a game called piggyback rock-scissors-paper. Let’s say Junichi is always the loser and has to piggyback Sae. And he doesn’t mind losing forever since her boobs are pressed against his back. Yeah, this is heaven indeed.

Three weeks later, Sae’s practice has bore fruits. She’s confident in her speech. So long as she’s talking to a VENDING MACHINE!!! Hahaha! To up the level, he has her speak to the cafeteria lady. She flops. To counter this, Junichi has her view all cafeteria ladies as vending machines! Odd but it works! Talking vending machines… The next training is speed changing. Why the science lab? Somebody may walk in. Need to work under stress conditions? Uh… But change into her PE clothes? Then asking her to strip?! Don’t worry, she’s wearing a swimsuit underneath. She slips and falls on top of him. Then Miya comes in. Round 2. Notice both his cheeks with scratch marks? The next training ground is the hotspring. They soak their feet into a pond with those fish nibbling at their feet for therapeutic treatment. Sae is making erotic-like sounds each time the fish nibble so much so Junichi’s mind goes wild and causes him to pass out. With today’s training pass, Sae requests more training so it’s back to his home again. Well, I can guess why there’s another reason why she wants more training. They played some Monopoly game and Sae gets permission from her dad to sleep over. Sae borrows Miya’s pyjamas and Junichi notes how looking at it makes him feel like wanting another sister. But Sae says she doesn’t want to be his sister. This pretty much sums it up, eh?

Because of that, Junichi is bothered by her words and in episode 11, she asks Umehara for advice. Of all people. But Haruka heard him and knows what that means. It means she wants to be his older sister! Unbelievable! Sae seems to have landed a part time job as a waitress in a cafe near Kaoru’s. Junichi and co pay her a visit as customers as she serves them. I guess with Sae totally cute, is there any other reason why Kaoru’s cafe is losing customers? Sae’s like a pro even if she’s clumsy so Umehara teases Junichi that he feels lonely that the student doesn’t need the master anymore. But I don’t think that’s the reason of what he is feeling now. A customer gave Sae some tickets to the amusement park as thanks so she invites Junichi out. After the rides, they go watch a live tokusatsu show, Grasshopper Masks. Sae seems to be a fan of it. During the show, Sae is ‘chosen’ to be the evil squid’s hostage. Yeah, he even thinks she can’t be an elementary first year student for having such a gorgeous body. Junichi can’t stop laughing. At the end, she got a souvenir photo and managed to shake hands with the heroes. During a meal, Junichi’s heart can’t stop racing each time he looks at her. Shy Sae manages to eke out a favour to join the Best Couple Contest during their school’s Founder’s Festival. While waiting at the bus stop, though shy at first, they eventually hold each other’s hands.

But can Junichi do it and confess his love straight to her face? He seems to still have that trauma. But in episode 12, Junichi and Sae are at a cafe (why is he the only guy there?) are trying to finish a large parfait as training to win first place for the contest. The day comes and the participants stream out on stage. I don’t know if this is a joke since Umehara turn up with his life-size fish partner, Toroko. He expects to win like this?! Then a cowboy-lady combo from Hibiki-Haruka team. Junichi and Sae were the last one to come on stage and their bride and groom outfit stuns the crowd speechless. The results are out and the winner turns out to be Hibiki-Haruka with Junichi-Sae taking second place. They won tickets to a private room for a movie. At the cinema, Junichi is calming himself down at the toilet, some cool elderly foreigner (Steven Spielberg?) tells him to sum up his courage and go for it. In English. I wonder if he understands that. Returning to the room, he sees Sae in a stunning sleeveless black dress. She talks about the movie when Junichi realizes that old guy in the toilet he just met is the director of this movie (like I said, Steven Spielberg?). At the end of the movie, Junichi fools around that he is the camera and she the actress. He stumbles and falls over her. She mentions she is happy to spend time with him as he hugs her. After sitting back up properly, Junichi gets the courage to say he loves her and his feelings won’t lose to anyone. Then they kiss. Because Sae puts on the cutest moe face ever, his heart stopped and he died from all her moe-ness. Okay, that was just exaggerating. Later they hold hands at the Christmas tree and Junichi notes that they aren’t just a couple, but lovers. I’m not sure about this ending because Junichi films Sae and Miya in animal costumes. Huh? And wait a minute! No kissing on other body parts? Went straight for the lips, huh?

Ai Nanasaki’s Arc
In episode 13, two years ago when Junichi got rejected, he bumped into Ai who is happy on her way back with her Christmas present to her brother. Two years later, Junichi and Umehara are passing by the park (Junichi needs to find a toilet) when they see Ai jumping from the swing. She thinks they are perverts and threatens to call to cops since they introduced themselves (easier to report to the police, eh?). The guys start panicking but it was just a joke. Who could tell that kind of serious expression she had was a joke. At school, Ai ‘witnesses’ more of Junichi perverts when Kaoru comes up behind that guy and grabs him so he thought of doing the same to her. She also sees him ‘hold up the queue’ at the cafeteria when he can’t decide which lunch he wants to eat. As Ai practises during swimming class, she hears a cat meow. She goes out and thinks it’s Junichi trying to act like a pervert again (he’s looking underneath stairways so he might be mistaken for looking underneath girls’ skirt). The cat is real as Ai teases him if he wants to see underneath her skirt for real. She flips up and of course she’s wearing her swimsuit underneath. Gotcha! Ai knows who Junichi is because she is Miya’s classmate. She advises him to stop being a pervert because she doesn’t want her friend’s brother to be a criminal :). At home, Junichi ignores Miya’s plea to enter the shopping district’s contest to win a grand prize to Hawaii. For his cute sister, please? “You’re even cuter when you keep your mouth shut”. Oops. Because of that, Junichi became a laughing stock in school when words “Win a trip to Hawaii” are scribbled on his forehead. Ai spots this and learns what happened. Ai asks him for a favour to accompany her out shopping later. They got some coupons for the raffles and they won the 6th prize, which is a 500 Yen gift voucher. Well, I guess it’s not a trip to Hawaii, how could he possibly face Miya now? He suggests sharing the voucher since they both won it. As they rest and eat a snack at the beach, Ai seems to be collecting trash as part of the swimming club’s volunteer work to take trash home. She thanks him for the treat as Junichi tries his hand at collecting trash too.

Umehara invites Junichi (Kaoru tagging along too) to see some pretty rumoured chick in episode 14. But Junichi was too noisy at the library and was told to shut it by Ai. Junichi notices Ai studying for next week make-up exams and she has to pass it or else she can’t attend swimming activities. Junichi has great pride in his maths and offers to coach her. Really. Even Tsukasa was pretty much surprised to see Junichi doing so. Seeing that Junichi’s like a kid, Ai wonders if he could reach out to her little brother, Ikuo since they’re both guys and kinda childish. Some reasoning… Junichi is being called by his homeroom teacher, Maya Takahashi that he is slacking lately and coming late to school. His reason? Engrossed in the manga, Beaver Romance of the Three Kingdoms?! True or not, why are his eyes focused on her boobs?! Then when Miya, Ai and Sae are talking on the topic of brothers, Junichi gatecrashes in as he’s looking for Ai. Miya introduces him to her friends but again, why are his eyes fixated on Sae’s boobs?! He even thought how nice if Miya and Ai’s boobs level up to Sae’s! All this boob talk has Sae leaving. As Ai practises swimming, the other swimming club members catch Junichi for peeking. Yeah, I’m thinking he’s really into boobs. Was he really peeking at them? “I wanted to see them, filled with so much energy it’s like they’d explode beautifully like gunpowder any minute!”. Sicko! Then he apologizes to Ai so the rest leave them to talk alone. Ai finishes up as they talk outside. Junichi apologizes for this afternoon’s antics. Actually he was there to tell her that it’d be a good idea to spoil her brother once in a while because back then just like him, all he really wanted was her attention. Ai giggles at his answer and then shows him an Action Belt from Grasshopper Mask. She wanted to give it to Ikuo but he didn’t want last year’s hot item. And since Junichi is like a kid, she thought of giving it to him. Well… Junichi teaches Ai how to play with the toy, including making poses of Grasshopper Mask. She’s pretty convincing so much so a bunch of kids want an encore. She gives the belt to them and they’re very happy. Ai thanks Junichi for everything and when she goes back, she feels much better and thinks Junichi is cute and may be interested in him. Oh, you will be.

Junichi got tickets to the amusement park and is supposed to go with Ai and Ikuo in episode 15. But Ikuo caught a cold so only Ai turns up. After riding several rides, they enter a haunted house. Oddly, Junichi starts seeing visions of Tsukasa. It gets even weirder when they enter a room with a Pharaoh. He lunges at them and the next thing Junichi knows, Ai becomes a miso ramen! WTF?! Junichi feels tempted to ‘eat’ her but he finds himself sucking on her fingers. What is wrong with him? Hmm… I think it was some weird gas Junichi inhaled earlier on. I think. At the park where they first met, Ai is embarrassed that he tried to ‘eat’ her. Then they both ride the swing. She swings faster but Junichi is looking elsewhere…  As punishment, she sits on his lap so he can’t look up her skirt anymore and then KISSES HIM!!! Wow. Not some other body part, but straight to the lips. Next day in school, he is confused if Ai is interested in him. So deep in thought that he didn’t have any reaction to Umehara’s new porn. Junichi is supposed to meet Ai after school but notes she is late. He goes see her at the swimming pool but sees her in tears after an argument with Hibiki. She dives into the pool and he tries to chase her. Yes, he also gets wet. Once he catches her, he hugs her. After calming down and on their way home, Ai lets him know that a junior was selected in her place for a swim meet. Well, she’s got her make-up exam and brother to deal with so her hands are pretty much tied up. But she still won’t give up since she has 2 more years. The reason why she ran away was because she didn’t want Hibiki to see her cry, what more Junichi. However he notes that seeing her different side made him happy. Ai asks if he is free on Christmas and could help out with the swimming club’s oden food cart. Of course. This is the least he could do for causing trouble to the swimming club. Must be that boobs comment.

Ai and Junichi man the oden food cart at Founder’s Festival in episode 16. Why is Haruka trying to steal some oden? Food tasting to make it acceptable to customers? At this rate, she’ll finish everything! Well, looks like Hibiki will have her hands full in making sure she doesn’t do anything funny. The tea club members of Ruriko Yuzuki and Manaka Hiba are causing a ‘commotion’ at the oden stall. Ruriko thinks the swimming club’s fabled oden has fallen in its standards. Ai puts her swimming club’s pride on the line to make the legendary oden. In the end, the duo find it very delicious and this causes an influx of people flocking to their stall to get a great traditional taste of their oden. Another problem crops up when Maya is drunk just having drank sweet sake. Yeah, she’s noisy. Looks like it’s Tsukasa’s job to take her away. At the end of the festival, their oden was a sell-out. Hibiki has them go rest while the others handle the clean up. While they are eating some of their oden, Junichi wonders why she asked him if he was free that day. By bus, she takes him deep into the mountains and they finally arrive at a hotspring. This mountainous area belongs to her grandfather so no worries if they’re trespassing. Ai used to frequent this place when she had muscle aches from swimming practice. Then they go change to take a dip. Wait. They don’t need to change. You can’t soak in a hotspring wearing anything. Yup. Go in naked. Nervous? Well for Ai, she had her towel over her swimsuit so it’s not that bad. Disappointed? They talk about how they did lots of things together even though it was a short time. Finally Ai has something to tell him. Yes, you guessed it. She loves him. She is finding it hard to hide her feelings anymore so Junichi also replies he loves her. Then she suddenly hugs him and her towel came off. She’s not wearing her swimsuit! So they both have their naked bodies against each other. So why did Ai lied about having her swimsuit on? She was embarrassed. But it’s nothing compared to the confession. There’s nothing wrong with them getting very close to each other, right? After all, she loves him very much. Love makes you do these kind of things. I guess the deer will be the only witnesses to their second kiss. So in the aftermath, Ai wakes up sleeping Junichi at the beach. If a girl allows you to use her lap as a pillow, that means they’re officially a couple, right?

Rihoko Sakurai’s Arc
In episode 17, two years ago Rihoko was elated when Junichi asked her out. But it was to buy the girl he likes a present. Though she was disappointed, she felt sorry for what happened. Yes, it’s a one-sided love for Rihoko ever since. Of all the heroines, Rihoko is the sloppiest. I wonder if that’s the understatement. Even if her best friend Kanae Itou takes to trouble to wake her up, she still wants to sleep in. Who else to blame but yourself for being late? She tries to squeeze through a hole in the fence as short cut but her flabby waist means she’s stuck. Lucky Junichi was there to pull her out (yeah, I guess he’s running late too). She blames her thick clothing but as the school bell rings, Junichi slips through the hole. Now what are you going to do girl? Rihoko is also a diet freak. If she could only stick to her diet schedule. She is easily tempted to eat any snacks without remorse and when she is reminded about her diet, she puts it off that she’ll start for real the next time. At this rate, is it a wonder why she’s growing fat? Anyway Kanae must have heard this story of dieting once too often. Yeah, she’s going to slim down enough to slip through that hole. Wouldn’t it be better if she just wakes up early? Meanwhile Umehara and Junichi are in one of their porn discussions and Junichi seems to take a liking for a slightly chubby model that resembles Rihoko. Rihoko comes by to give her handmade cupcakes to him. She doesn’t need it since she’s on a diet. How long would that last? Kanae invites Junichi and Umehara to go skating with them on Sunday. At the tea club with Ruriko and Manaka, Rihoko is tempted to eat choux creme since they invited her. There goes her diet… Ruriko tells her the meaning of its name derived from Hebrew: Love charm. So it’s like a treat you’d give to someone you like when proposing to them. Though it was just a bluff (it’s from a French word that means ‘cabbage with cream’) but Rihoko doesn’t know that. All she is interested is in the delicious choux creme. She remembers her diet and promises to start tomorrow -_-. What Ruriko is concerned about is not only Rihoko’s future but the tea club’s as well since currently the trio are the only ones forming the club and when Ruriko and Manaka graduate next year, Rihoko will be all alone. Plus. Without other members, the club will be disbanded. While Junichi and Umehara are secretly trying to indulge in their porn, they see Rihoko eating choux creme. Junichi reminds her of her diet and she is confident she’ll succeed this time. Hopefully. Better think about it because when the duo pass by the park that they used to play when they’re young, Rihoko tries sliding down but her butt got stuck at the end. And when she weighs herself at home, she thinks the towel is the one making her heavy… Then doing a little stretching, she tires out and decides to start tomorrow… Next day she is running late for school again. She decides to slip through the hole in the fence and to her delight, she manages to pull through! Did her diet work?! Well actually Junichi passed by earlier on and he foresaw this would happen and made the hole a little bigger. Too bad Rihoko got the wrong idea her diet and a few stretches had made her lose weight…

Rihoko is once again a klutz during skating in episode 18. Junichi must have a hard time trying to catch her that he accidentally caught her boobs. Then she slips and falls down, making ‘it’ visible to Junichi. Kanae didn’t think that tactic was bad. I guess she’s trying to play match-make with Rihoko and him. She suggests of using the Founder’s Festival next but on that day Rihoko will be busy with the tea club activities. See how dunce Rihoko is in filling up the application for the festival? So much so she tires out poor Tsukasa! While pervy Junichi is comparing Rihoko’s boobs with the bun he is eating, Ruriko and Manaka make him carry a table top for their kotatsu. They invite him for tea in their club house and you can’t help the way they talk to Junichi it’s like as though they have an ulterior motive for him. They also ask him for help during the festival to carry things since they need a guy’s strength to do so. He can’t turn them down, can’t he? The tea club members discuss their club’s future. Looks grim if Rihoko doesn’t recruit another member. But they have a bright prospect: Junichi. Will he really join? Well, they have a plan. As promised, Junichi helps out the club during the festival. The girls are in their kimono while Junichi and Rihoko are to help distribute flyers. Rihoko asks if he’s interested to join the club but as of now he has no intention doing so. Rihoko doesn’t look worried. Yeah, that’s bugging me. As they spend time together at the festival, they reminisce about their younger days like how Rihoko tried to eat falling snow and Junichi making a snowman with boobs! Maybe his pervertness stamps from here. Then she gives him a pair of knitted gloves as his Christmas present. Though it’s too thin, it fits nicely and warm. Junichi realizes he doesn’t have a present for her but she’s okay with it. In return, if she has anything in mind, she can ask him. Not necessary now but later. Unsure, she calls Kanae for advice. It must be something that even Rihoko would disagree. I bet it’s a kiss or a date.

In episode 19, Junichi are Rihoko are called by Ruriko and Manaka to observe and appreciate the process of making tea in the open air. Then they talk about the prospect of the club next year and Rihoko is adamant she’ll keep the club going. They let Junichi and Rihoko mix tea. It’s understandable it’s tough for him but Rihoko too? I guess all she knows is just eat and eat. Haha. Oh, here’s another bad habit from Rihoko: She can trip even there’s nothing at her feet. As Junichi and Rihoko are at the cafe Kaoru works at, Rihoko keeps staring at Junichi’s cake.  Well, you want it or not? Diet? Heck, you broke it so many times it doesn’t actually matter. Anyway Rihoko has finally thought what she wants: To go to the shrine with him on New Year’s Day. You sure that’s it? And yeah, you can have the cake you’re tempting to have. Junichi bluffs her by saying that Kanae is around the corner. This alerted Rihoko for a moment before realizing she’s been had. He cheekily presses her cheek when she looks the other way and in retaliation, she bites his finger. So what about the diet? She’ll be okay if she works out more. Easier said than done. Well, back home she starts doing some pumping (even that was after Kanae’s reminder) but gave up after the count of 2. That was freaking fast!!! While Junichi is taking a bath, Rihoko is at the doorstep. Miya wasn’t around to answer the door so Junichi had to do it himself. Then his towel came off. Surprise! Junichi makes tea for Rihoko and Miya and it seems his tea making skills may even surpass Rihoko. She has some cheese souffles for them. Isn’t that filled with calories? Don’t worry, she put less sugar in it… Oh dear. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? As midnight looms, Miya the kid falls asleep. Junichi gets prepared to go out but it seems Rihoko can’t resist and sleeps with Miya! What to do? Shrine trip cancelled. But it might be a blessing because they visit it the next morning where there is no crowd. They remember their younger days how Rihoko used to doze off in the middle of homework. Not only that, she took snack breaks more frequent than studying. So are you convinced why she can never slim down? At the shrine, they have their luck reading (Rihoko’s love is forecasted to be uncertain – depends how you interpret it) and Rihoko writes her wishes: A successful diet, new members to join the club and her feelings will reach Junichi some day. Boy, that’s a lot.

Well things are pretty much the same for Junichi and Rihoko in episode 20. No advancement in their relationship. Even Kanae is starting to think Junichi is dumber than she thought to be. Oh, Rihoko is still at her diet. And still breaking it. Back to square one as always. Junichi thinks of dropping by the tea club (is this a sign?) and learns that Ruriko and Manaka were out trying to recruit Haruka into the club because of her leadership skills. If they win in a contest, she must join them but they lost badly. While Haruka easily summoned a litter of cute puppies while Manaka couldn’t summon a dragonfly. By the way, there are no dragonflies in winter. Besides, isn’t Haruka also graduating with them? Ruriko feels like promoting Rihoko as the new club president but doesn’t have much confidence. So they have this idea of Junichi joining the club and become the new president. Though he’ll just be the figurehead. They’ll throw in Rihoko as a bonus item too. Haha! On the way home, Rihoko’s concern of the club is genuine and she feels she has been taking her seniors for granted and the thought of them graduating never seemed to cross her mind. At least it doesn’t seem very real to her. She needs to do something to repay their kindness. Junichi goes to see Ruriko and Manaka and tells them about Rihoko being lonely after they graduate. This is a chance for them to strike. Mentioning Rihoko is popular among the guys (think not!) but they think Junichi and Rihoko match each other perfect. They try to persuade him with all the things he has done with her and recently he has been visiting the club often. Ruriko hands him the registration form but he got ‘scared’ and leaves. For Valentine’s Day, Rihoko gives Junichi choux creme (because of that Hebrew word still ringing in her mind). Yeah, she had some herself too. Don’t get too disappointed when you weigh yourself later. Too bad Umehara is left out this year because girls like Kaoru and Tsukasa don’t give obligation chocolate as their policy. As the season passes, Rihoko continues to work hard for the club and soon graduation day looms and though Rihoko apologizes for not being able to find new members for the club, the seniors are okay with it and thank her for the wonderful years they had. Rihoko becomes emotional as they hug her and assure they will always look out for her. Then Junichi comes in and he has a surprise. He gives his registration form and looks like he wants to join the club after thinking the tea club won’t last with her around (hope that wasn’t sarcasm). Plus, he wants them to graduate with no worries. Spring arrives as Junichi and Rihoko make arrangements to recruit new members. Ruriko and Manaka pay them a visit to see how they’re doing. Rihoko narrates she is confident that the tea club will grow popular and her feelings will reach Junichi someday. And yes, she still continues dieting. And her tripping.

Hey wait a minute!!! Rihoko’s arc ends just like that without them being a couple?! Wow. This is a surprise. You could say it’s such a ‘sad’ ending for her. I guess there were tell-tale signs. If Junichi and the girl don’t become a couple on Christmas Day, you can forget about it even if you’re way past Valentine’s Day. That is nothing. Plus, Rihoko should have reworded her wish of her feelings reaching Junichi some day. Yes, some day. Looks like today is not the day. Neither is tomorrow. But some day. Some day. What do you expect when Rihoko is being such a slob (although she looks cute when she’s eating food because she looks like a squirrel munching). If she can’t even stick to her diet (or even close), how can she expect a guy to stick to her? And she doesn’t even seem very worried and care-free. Even if it was a cause for concern it was probably because her friends reminded her so she doesn’t want to be seen as a liar. So is she serious? Yeah. Some day…

Tsukasa Ayatsuji’s Arc
A year ago in episode 21, Junichi is still feeling the pangs of love on Christmas Eve. Bust buddy Umehara cheers him up for them loners to hang out at his place for some gaming and porn mag reading party. What else? They even made a vow to find girlfriends and have a fun Christmas the following year. So it’s that time of year again as Tsukasa once more volunteers herself to be the head committee for the Founder’s Festival. To help lessen her burden, Junichi surprisingly volunteers to be her assistant. Junichi works hard with nice Tsukasa guiding him by his side. Helping her with some stuff at the store room, they got accidentally locked in. While waiting for help, they clean up the place and talk about their motivation in joining the committee. Tsukasa, she wants to bring happiness to others while Junichi thought it would be his first step for change so that he wouldn’t run away or feel scared each time this season comes around. At the end of the day, Miya and Sae came by so the duo are lucky not to spend the night alone inside the store room. Would it? On their way home, they chance upon Tsukasa’s older sister, Yukari. However Tsukasa doesn’t seem too happy to meet her though Yukari is rather friendly. Tsukasa quickly takes her away. Next day in school, Junichi is having trouble trying to appease the unhappy crowd with their demands. Can’t take the pressure? He goes to find Tsukasa for help as she is handling supplementary swimming lessons (why the heck is Haruka peeping?!). Later that evening, Junichi finds a dropped notebook in class and browses through to find the name of its owner. Meanwhile Tsukasa has just finished her lessons and finds her notebook missing. She rushes back to the classroom unchanged and sees Junichi looking through it. Upon finding out that he has read it, she pulls his tie and jerks him! WOAH! That sure caught Junichi by surprise. I always suspected Tsukasa was more than meets the eye but I didn’t expect she had this dark personality!

Junichi apologizes in episode 22 and pushes her off, accidentally touching her breast. Then she forces him to come with her to the shrine. With that evil stare, he can’t refuse. Oh, what has he gotten himself into? He tries to explain why he did so but looks like Tsukasa feels it’s a shame that she’s going to lose a classmate! But upon knowing he saw was just schedules and memos, she quickly got embarrassed that it was a misunderstanding. However it’ll be okay if he doesn’t tell anyone this, right? He wouldn’t. I assure you. Using that breast touching defiling excuse is enough to make that guy sweat. Or else he’ll never come back alive. Next day in school, Junichi is puzzled to see Tsukasa putting up her angelic side. He tries to talk to Umehara about it but was caught by Tsukasa. Did he forget about the ‘threat’? Blame yourself if you get killed! But she’s not going to do that. Rather, she’ll have him work his butt off for the festival. And so Junichi works hard like a horse till late one night he sees Tsukasa trying to paint away graffiti on a structure. He wonders why she’s working so hard so she replies it’s to protect her image as the committee chairman and this will lead her to have good recommendations that will get her into college. It’s all about herself, eh? But Tsukasa is amused by Junichi’s behaviour. Knowing her kind of character, people would’ve stayed as far as possible but instead, he continued supporting her. Junichi says because it’s fun and fulfilling. He’s not lying. Tsukasa orders him to go home and get some sleep. Junichi has a feeling that she doesn’t want to go home because she’s been staying late at school finishing work for a few days. Because of that, she falls ill the next day. Junichi pays her a visit as Yukari ushers him in. She is surprised to see him but nevertheless thanks him for the banana and energy drinks. Next day, Tsukasa is regains her health back and it’s back to more committee work (Hibiki and Haruka discussing the possibility of wearing daring outfits for the Miss Santa contest?). Later that evening, Junichi hears Tsukasa’s cries. A dog urinated on her feet. Don’t ask. Junichi carries her to the wash area and she’s embarrassed that people might see them so she calls out Junichi a pervert as she thought he’s groping her butt. Wouldn’t that attract people instead? Back home, Tsukasa finds Junichi a curious person and can’t concentrate on her homework. She thinks she is interested in him. You don’t say?

In episode 23, Maya sees Tsukasa about the festival and suggests she should cut down the activities since they are behind schedule. But she’s confident everything will go well. Tsukasa nags to Junichi about the lecture she got and tries to come up with a solution but couldn’t. Junichi suggests asking their class for help and though they are reluctant, everyone eventually agrees to help out. But a group of girls aren’t happy that they’re stuck with this job and they start accusing Tsukasa she is slacking and that they’re made to do this because she’s flirting with some guy. Junichi tries to explain that all they did was work but was made to shut up. Then Tsukasa snaps. She gives out a creepy laughter and goes into her superiority mode. She makes those girls eat humble pie like how they do nothing but complain and there is nothing about them that’s better than her. Wow. Right in your face! Later at the shrine, Junichi sees Tsukasa burning her notebook. She doesn’t need it anymore and have something more important. She wants Junichi to be her boyfriend, be with her forever. What?! So fast? He’s surprised as I am. Think twice before you get into a relationship with a cunning and manipulative woman. Oh what the heck, just say yes. As proof of the ‘contract’, she wants him to kiss her. Sealed with a kiss, eh? I don’t know if this is a joke or what because Tsukasa’s nose is bleeding. Junichi comments that she could get excited sometimes and he got a slap. In school during PE, Junichi notices those girls are bullying Tsukasa by ganging up on her in dodgeball. But Kaoru steps in to be on her side and even pulls Keiko into it. Junichi must have run finished his 10 laps in record time to even go join them. The bullies give up and leave. That night Junichi knows Tsukasa is staying late for work again and goes to see her in the classroom. She instantly hugs him for her much needed recharge. He suggests they should ask the class for help again but she thinks she can do just fine on her own. But when he mentions it’s not like her, she gets violent with him yelling back what he knows about her. He gives his honest answer and knows she is giving her best for the festival. That’s why she should apologize and ask for everyone’s help. Or else they’ll have to scrap some events. Another slap across his face. That’s for talking like as though he knows everything. She runs away in tears. But surprisingly, Tsukasa swallows her pride, apologizes to her bullies and politely requests their help. They refuse and this brings Tsukasa to tears. However the class is staring and at this rate, they’ll be seen as the villains so they drop the b*tch attitude and agree to help her. Later Junichi sees Tsukasa about her sudden change in character. She says that stubborn girl that he once knew no longer exists anymore. Eh? She has a split personality?

The day of the festival arrives in episode 24. As everyone helps out, Junichi can’t help think about Tsukasa’s answer on her split personality. Though she denies anything near that, she didn’t divulge on anymore further details. Tsukasa and Junichi patrol around the festival as Haruka goes bold with her daring Santa outfit for the Miss Santa contest. Want to bet this is the clincher that she’ll win the title for the third year running? (Spoiler: She did win. Again). Tsukasa changes into her Santa outfit and hands out presents to everyone. Meanwhile Junichi feels gloomy though it’s good news that Tsukasa casted away her dark side. Don’t tell me you’re a masochist. Then he sees Umehara with a lighter and thought he is going to burn himself! Actually he’s just burning his old love letters. Junichi is down and is filled with regret but Umehara comes up with advice that motivates Junichi to go on. And you wonder why he doesn’t have a girlfriend of his own. During the after-event party, Junichi talks to Tsukasa in an empty room. He hugs her from behind and says he loves her. He goes on reiterating the good and bad days they spent together including her good and bad personality. He likes them all and doesn’t want to hear her say a part of her has disappeared. But this only serves to upset Tsukasa as she gives him a 3-hit combo! Step on his feet, punch his jaw and knee kick in the gut! Emotions got the better of her as she explains she was trying hard to get rid of that side because of what he said. But Junichi is glad that the Tsukasa he loves still exists. He hugs her. Drunken Maya spots them from outside. Maybe she drank too much. A male teacher thought he heard somebody screamed but Maya ushers him away. Looks like she knows what’s going on and decides to leave those lovebirds alone. Once Tsukasa calms down, she tells him about her past. It was a big shock to her when she found out Santa Claus never existed and that it was her parents that put the presents under the tree. Then she thought she’d become Santa and though not the real deal, at least she would bring happiness to other people. That’s why she became part of the committee and thought she could make everyone’s Christmas happier through her own efforts. She has been attending the Founder’s Festival since young (it’s open to the public as well) and before she knew it, her goal to bring happiness to everyone changed into one of satisfying herself. Junichi notes that Christmas comes around every year so why not bring happiness to everyone. Including him. Not a bad deal. So for their first step to happiness, I guess the gust of wind was just a prelude for them to kiss and Tsukasa’s turn to say “I love you”. Unlike the first kiss, this isn’t a contract, but a promise. And that mini scene of 10 years down the road is back. Junichi and Tsukasa are married and have a cute little daughter. They visit the festival as they tell her this is the place where they made their promise. Since Junichi is happy, he gets a peck on his cheeks each by his ladies. They wish everyone in this world can be as happy as them on this day.

Risa Kamizaki’s Arc
Eh? There are more heroines? Well, Risa is actually a secret character in the game. So I suppose there is no harm giving her an episode to hog the spotlight. Starting right off at episode 25, Risa confesses to Junichi in the storeroom that she likes him. Guess what? He likes her too. So they become a couple right at the start and end of story. Hah! Just kidding. Risa will do anything to make him happy and wants him to kiss her. However the bell rings so they have to postpone it same time, same place tomorrow. Dang bell. But it’s something that Junichi looks forward too as he makes his way there during recess. Before they continue where they left off, they talk like how Risa has been watching him for a long time (stalker?) and she wonders if he prefers girls with big boobs. It’s an awkward situation for him but it’s okay to her. Yeah, she’s even working hard to make them big. How? That’s a secret ;p. Junichi wants to introduce her to his friends but she disagrees. Instead, this tryst will only be between both of them and nobody must know of it. I guess they can’t forever meet in the storeroom so Junichi meets her at the park where he got stood up 2 years ago at night when there’s no one around. It may not bring pleasant memories but he’ll remember it as the place he had his first date with Risa. With Founder’s Festival around the corner, Junichi wants to tour the festival with her but she seems reluctant. Later alone, Risa really does want to go around the festival with him but she has a reason why she can’t. It seems she has done horrible things to all the girls that have gotten close to him. Each time she sees one of the heroines getting real close to Junichi (see her stalk from just about anywhere, the bush, the pillars…), she calls them, shows them a fake photo that Junichi has a girlfriend. Either this news sends them into shock, agreeing to lay him off so as not to give a wrong impression, or in Tsukasa’s case, doesn’t give a damn about that jerk (yeah, see her true colours too). Though Risa felt bad for deceiving those girls, at least he ‘protected’ him. She notes if that incident did not happen 2 years ago, she could’ve confessed to Junichi normally and all these never would’ve happened. Hmm… Something just bugged me. If Risa was able to intercept the heroines at the crucial time Junichi first helped them, doesn’t it feel like she’s traversing different universes and time of the different arcs? Like Junichi helping Sae at the vending machine or helping Tsukasa with the committee work or visiting Kaoru at her cafe, all these could only happen at a single time and in a single arc, right? But yet here… So mind boggling.

Meanwhile Junichi meets Makihara at the park. She is the girl that stood him up 2 years ago. Junichi wonders why she is able to speak so casually to him when she asks why he didn’t turn up at the place they’re supposed to meet 2 years ago. Junichi is confused because he was waiting at this park all the time. Makihara mentions that a girl told him that he wanted to change the meeting location so she waited in front of the cinema for him. So I see that Risa girl was partly responsible for his traumatic heartbreak. During the festival, Junichi meets Risa back at the storeroom. Risa starts saying she has no right to date him and knowing the truth will only make him hate her. Junichi asserts that he will love her no matter what. So okay. Risa spills everything. However it wasn’t entirely her fault. The reason she lied about changing the meeting place was because she heard Makihara intended to dump him right there and make a joke out of his date invitation in front of her friends. Risa was one of the girls Makihara invited. Of course Risa couldn’t do it because she truly loved Junichi. Either way, Junichi ended up hurt on that day and she felt so guilty that she decided never to confess her feelings to him. But 2 years on, she observed he has moved on and getting friendly with other girls. Then she started thinking, what if Junichi gets hurt again by another girl? That’s when she decided to become his girlfriend and protect him forever (I thought this made her sound over-possessive). She showed the doctored photo because she did not trust any other girls and ended up hurting them, the reason why she doesn’t want anyone to know they’re dating. Risa’s love for him went as far back as elementary school. She was the new kid in town. The school had strict rules about leaving food on one’s tray. She couldn’t handle milk so Junichi the hero drank it for her. It may seem normal but to her, it was something special. Risa apologizes for everything and can’t go with him for the festival. It was a short period but she felt happy to be his girlfriend. She hopes he’ll find a wonderful girlfriend next Christmas. But Junichi isn’t going to accept this crap because it’s like she’s going to give him another lonely Christmas memory. He’s sick of that. He hugs her and says he likes her. He suggests that they go apologize to everyone together and after she came clean with him, he understood how much she loves him. He wants to wrap this up so they can date with no regrets. However Risa wants to do it alone as this is a mess she created. When she’s done, they can go tour the festival. And sign off with a kiss.

Miya Tachibana’s Arc
Oh. So the little sister too has her own episode, eh? Well, I guess it’s for those imouto-con fans. Anyway episode 26 sees Miya trying to wake up Junichi for school. Sleep head doesn’t wake up. And when he does, it’s too late and he even blames her for not doing so. Maybe he was so deep in dream land that he didn’t even remember hearing her. On their way to school, Umehara shows Junichi the latest and hottest porn mag and Junichi is ever so grateful to his porn buddy. How can he act so happy in front of his sister? I know boys will be boys but it’s so disgusting. Miya talks to Ai and Sae about Junichi’s bad habits and asks for their opinion. They find him interesting. What? They think Miya likes her brother a lot since she is worried for him and his future. Yeah, she’s worried he’ll graduate without a girlfriend, talk about porn, oversleep and spend his time in his mini planetarium. But her friends are confident that won’t happen and he’ll do just fine. Miya thinks deep and wonders if Junichi is a different person in school and at home and decides to spy on him. Herald Stalker Number 2. Yeah, she spies on him getting friendly with the heroines. Look at those jealous eyes… Oh, looks like Miya isn’t alone stalking. Risa is doing the same too. Looks like they have the same goal. They stalk from behind trees, stairs, walls and doors to see Junichi getting pretty well with the heroines’ friends too. Wow.  Thanks to stalking expert Risa, Miya is able to spy on bog brother. The stalkers have a little chat and it seems Risa has always thought of Miya as her little sister and allows Miya to call her her big sister. But she disagrees seeing that they’re not blood related. Risa is disappointed and I’m sure her true intention is so that she can get close to Junichi and if his family members accept him, she scores, right? Confused Miya wonders why Junichi is so friendly with many of the girls but yet can’t land a single girlfriend. Then it hit her. That night she confronts him with those suspicious eyes. She asks him if he is gay!!! Plus, she saw him getting close with Umehara about the porn book and was convinced he is one. Junichi vehemently denies and that he likes girls. To top it, he admits he likes perverted stuff. Ah…

Next day Miya and Risa go out together so Miya relays the good news that Junichi isn’t gay. Risa suggests Junichi’s girlfriend should be someone who has been watching him for a long time (hint, hint) and feels Miya should call her big sister. Again she turns her down seeing Risa is her friend. Disappointed yet again. Suddenly a guy from Miya’s neighbouring class shows up and confesses his feelings. But… Miya turns him down. Talking to Miya over it, Risa feels she can consult big sister any time but Miya is not interested and leaves. There goes her plan again. Miya feels confused and perhaps this is what Junichi feels because she too isn’t into love and that kind of stuff. Miya picks up a stray kitten home but Junichi feels she should put it back since their parents do not allow pets and that mother kitty may be looking for her offspring. Miya doesn’t want to leave it alone at the park again so Junichi agrees to help her search for its parent. However they couldn’t find the mother so Miya starts getting depressed. Junichi allows Miya to let the kitten stay for tonight and will try to convince their parents. But then the kitten’s mother show up and the felines happily reunite. Miya is shocked to see the mommy biting the child and thinks it was her fault. But Junichi points out that was just playful bites, a form of expression of love. As they head home, Miya asks if Junichi would look for her if she got lost. Of course he would because she’s his precious little sister. Feeling happy, Miya jumps on his back and gives him a playful bite on his neck! Yikes. That scene looked like she’s a vampire trying to suck his blood. Back home as Miya takes a bath and notes even though Junichi is a slob, pervert and uncool at times, she now understands why he gets along well with many girls. She is confident he can get a girlfriend of his own. Till then, he can play with her. Then Junichi walks into the bathroom naked. Oops. Maybe she should take that last sentence back. So they didn’t end up in an incest relationship, eh? Disappointed or good thing?

Short Animations
These couple of specials come with the DVD and each heroine will be dedicated around 5 minutes with Junichi. Thinks of it as something extra and like a ‘dessert’ after the main course (the TV series). The setting takes place days before Christmas and the festival. And if you keep your eyes peeled, notice how Risa is spying at them at a corner? It’s a hit-or-miss scene so better be quick to spot her!

Haruka – Junichi and Haruka are at the family restaurant as Haruka orders the deluxe Shining Lovers Parfait. It is Junichi’s happiest day till he spots Kaoru coming to serve them the parfait. Worried about her seeing them together, Haruka suggests to hide under the table! Kaoru delivers the parfait and is surprised Junichi ordered this and wonders which lucky girl he brought along. Guess who? Umehara! Haha! No wonder both girls give out a good laugh. After Kaoru leaves, Haruka returns back and was totally amused by his ‘interesting excuse’. Yeah, she totally enjoyed it. They finish the parfait together and though Junichi felt it was delicious, he also felt he lost something… Hope those 2 don’t think he’s gay.

Kaoru – Junichi is surprised to see Kaoru selling Christmas cakes in a sexy Santa outfit. She is as much surprised to see him. Junichi learns she holds 5 part time jobs and his answer is the same as her stepdad’s: They feel she doesn’t need to work. Because Junichi’s eyes are straying to a lower area, Kaoru catches him in the act and forces him to buy a Christmas cake as penalty. Is 2,500 Yen considered cheap and selling at a loss? Plus, she wants him to pay her back with his body! OMG! His body?! Use his body and help her sell the Christmas cakes, that is. In no time, the cakes are sold out. They both had the same idea of asking each other out for Christmas but got embarrassed when they spoke the same time. They drop the subject as Junichi goes away. She thanks him and is looking forward to Christmas with him.

Sae – Oh, that annoying but ‘likeable’ narrator is back! Anyway Junichi is depressed and locks himself in his mini planetarium. Why? It’s his birthday and nobody is at home to celebrate it. No birthday cake, no birthday presents, no birthday celebration, no… Oh wait. Somebody is at the door. It’s Sae! She’s here to wish him happy birthday and hands him his present! How thoughtful. How did she know it’s his birthday? Miya told her. Now the duo are alone in his room. Heartbeat getting faster… Junichi opens his present to see an album. Not just an ordinary album. But an album filled with photos of Sae in cosplay outfits! YEOW!!! Super sexy! Enough to turn Junichi’s mind into a runaway berserk train. Unstoppable. Apparently Sae asked Miya about Junichi’s fetishes and came up with this. I see. Just when Junichi is getting to the juicy part, Sae flips and tries to prevent him from looking. The struggle has him fall on top of her boobs. Best present ever, eh? Does he like it? Of course! Now, which present is he referring to? Junichi escorts Sae home as he is surprised to learn those photos were taken by Miya. I wonder what that sister is up to.

Ai – Because she wasn’t able to go to the swim meet, Ai seems depressed so Junichi has this plan to cheer her up by talking to her. At the place where they first tried to find the cat, Ai remembers this as the place he tried to peek up her skirt! But noticing Ai is still gloomy, Junichi feigns that the cat is here so when she starts looking, he ‘attacks’ her by placing his hands inside her skirt pocket!!!  Skinship, says he? Well, she doesn’t think so. Yeah, it’s so nice and warm he doesn’t want to take it out. And just by moving his hands, it was enough to tickle Ai. Ai needs that pervert to take his hands out because he has to go home and do some chores. How? Step on his feet. That will teach him. She then asks him to accompany her for errands. With that, Junichi is relieved that she feels much happier.

Rihoko – Junichi notices 2 things: The tea club is getting awfully peaceful these days and Rihoko is getting fat. What?! Yeah, it’s that diet lie again. Rihoko notices Junichi drop a nail clipper and proceeds to take off her socks. Uh huh. She wants him to cut her toe nails. She felt ticklish and like a queen. I’m sure she can get use to this. Junichi flusters when he thinks he saw Rihoko’s panties. Well, if you don’t make a fuss then she wouldn’t have notice it too right? Junichi continues cutting her toe nails as she sings some toe nail anthem, supposedly some major festival song. WTF?!

Tsukasa – As Junichi and Tsukasa walk home, she smells sweet and freshly baked melon bread and goes to buy them. But her cunning behaviour has the seller giving her lots of free extras. See what a cute smile of a girl can do? Since Junichi’s hands are full, he can’t eat them. So don’t. Eh? Okay, she’ll feed him. Okay. But she’s just teasing him! And loving it. Each time he is to take a bite, she pulls back and eats it herself. Devil woman. So when Tsukasa finally feeds Junichi for real, she force feeds him! He has to bite the next one even before he finishes swallowing! It’s a torture! You can’t say no when Tsukasa is making that evil stare, right? So poor Junichi has to eat all the heaps of melon bread as appreciation for the seller’s kindness. And somehow that sweet taste of the melon bread became bitter…

The Guy Always Gets The Girl In The End. Sort of…
A happy ending for everyone? Well, this could only happen in a multi-arc branching format. It was fun while it lasted but just when I thought the series has ended for good, I read an announcement that a second season has been given the green light (currently in the midst of its run at the time of this blog). Wow. I wonder how the sequel will play out. Will it be a continuation for the heroines or will it be the heroines’ friends will take centre stage this time or perhaps new characters all together? But let’s not get ahead of ourselves shall we? We’ll cross the bridge when we get there. So for this series, some of the arcs were enjoyable and some close to boring but in the end, it is a happy ending for the main characters. Well, except for Rihoko but her arc didn’t have a bad end either so I guess it still counts as a happy ending.

As mentioned, I particularly enjoyed Sae’s arc the most because of the funny narration. I guess the narrator is only unique to her arc. It would have been too repetitious if we had the joking narrator in every arc. To me, Kaoru and Ai’s arc was the least I enjoyed because there wasn’t anything unique. Rihoko’s arc wasn’t considered that boring because the way things were going in her arc, I was really curious to actually know if they would end up as a couple. They did not so it was a surprise. Haruka remains my favourite girl of the series because she’s pretty (of course!) and the liveliest and sporting one among them all. Man, I would really love to have such a girlfriend. Tsukasa’s one was the most surprising one. I guess that’s why they leave her the last one, eh? Her opposite character was a surprise and shock to anyone who gets to know her so it was quite interesting in a way to see how Junichi could change Tsukasa or she changes herself to fall for him. Her character is probably the most dangerous one and could even surpass Kaoru as being the bad girl of the series. While Kaoru’s actions lean towards playful (and the fact that Junichi knows her for years so it’s like he knows every bad vibes she pulls), Tsukasa’s was just cunning and sly. She has a potential to be a yakuza head or a con woman! But all the heroines in this series are lovable because of their unique personalities. They may have nice personalities but at the same time they are not perfect. Like Haruka may be bubbly and spirited but she is also insecure and fickle, Kaoru sporting and ‘bad friend’ personality but can be unpredictable at times, Sae soft and polite but too much of it can be detrimental to interact with others normally, Ai humble and calm but needs to smile more often, Rihoko a clumsy slob (yes some find that a moe point) which makes it both her good and bad point, and Tsukasa her angelic side that makes her a tidy, polite and systematic lady as opposed to her dark devilish side. Risa may be a stalker but all she wanted was to protect Junichi from getting traumatized again.

When I first looked at the drawing and art of the characters, I had this familiar feeling that I may have seen this kind of character design somewhere before. I couldn’t put my finger on it so I did a little research and found out that the game’s creator, Enterbrain was the same one who created Kimikiss Pure Rouge. No wonder the girls here look familiarly pretty. Furthermore, Amagami SS as I came to know was a spiritual successor for Kimikiss in the sense that though the character and the story may be different and not related, the themes, styles and design are somewhat similar. So you can’t really call it a direct sequel whatsoever. Just like in Kimikiss, this series lacks fanservice. Unless you consider some parts like Ai in her swimsuit and that hotspring event, Kaoru exposing her belly, Haruka in a towel and Sae’s hotspring training trip to be one. Even so, I would consider this mild and nothing ‘stimulating’. Please don’t get the wrong idea about me. Oh, there is perhaps one part you may consider as fanservice. In the ending credits animation, there’ll be a scene in which the heroine will be totally naked but with the necessary parts covered. One of the amusing segments in the series is the next episode preview. Though we have the characters ranting away, sometimes unrelated to what is going on in the next episode, my favourite one was whereby Junichi was dreading the fact that Umehara would become the heroine for the next arc! (It was the start of Ai’s arc and with the title labelled as “Worse”, it’s no wonder Junichi may have gotten the wrong idea, eh?). When the series ended, I happened to notice that there was still a next episode preview! But… It was a preview of the start to Haruka’s arc. So to say, love is looping? On another trivial note, each of the episode titles comes in exactly four hiragana or katana letters. Which means it will be only one word when translated to English. Easy to remember?

Rina Satou was the voice behind Kaoru so initially I had this feeling that she would pop out and become To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s Misaka and do her trademark lightning zap! Who am I kidding? Though she may sound close to that character but is just less tsundere. The girliest of the girliest voice award (if ever there was one) would definitely go to Hiromi Konno who did Sae. Her voice is so soft-spoken that it feels as though she has something stuck in her windpipes and the way she talks is akin to whispering. But this role is so much different from her bratty roles like Akira in Lucky Star, Hakase in Nichijou, Maria in Skip Beat and Letuchaia in Kiddy Girl -and, all of which are somewhat ‘noisy’ lolis. Ryoko Shintani was recognizable as Rihoko since she sounded close to her other ditzy girl roles like Milefeulle in Galaxy Angel series and Himeko in Hime-sama Goyoujin. Besides, her voice is unique enough for me to recognize ‘a hundred miles away’ ;). As for the other casts, they include Tomaki Maeno as Junichi (Touya in White Album, Fujimoto in Kobato), Shizuka Itou as Haruka (Hinagiku in Hayate No Gotoku), Yukana as Ai (Eriko in Dragon Crisis, Teletha in Full Metal Panic), Kaori Nazuka as Tsukasa (Shizuku in Kampfer, Yui in To Love-Ru), Takuma Terashima as Umehara (Teppei in Princess Lover), Kana Asumi as Miya (Poplar in Working, Yuno in Hidamari Sketch), Mai Kadokawa as Risa and Keiko (Illya in Fate/Stay Night), Risa Hayamizu as Maya (Kumiko in Gokusen), Yuu Asakawa as Hibiki (Motoko in Love Hina), Hitomi Harada as Manaka (Himeji in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu), Izumi Satou as Ruriko, Yuki Matsuoka as Kanae (Orihime in Bleach), Aiko Igarashi as Yukari and Jouji Nakata as that pervy narrator (Giroro in Keroro Gunsou).

I prefer the first opening theme, I Love by Azusa. It is catchy and light which fits the pace of this series. However I wish this theme would have remained throughout the series instead of being replaced by the slow-moderate pop ballad of Kimi No Mama De also by Azusa. Though the second opening theme doesn’t sound horrible but I felt it lacks the hip-hop-like appeal that captivated me. As for the ending themes, each of the heroine’s seiyuu does a take of that for their own arc. The songs they sing reflect the personalities of the heroines. For instance, Tsukasa’s Nageki No Tenshi had that darkness ambience (heck, her ending animation had even dark aura coming out!), Kaoru’s Kitto Ashita Wa had a hint of sadness, Rihoko’s Koi Wa Aserazu is carefree and happy while Haruka’s Kimi No Hitomi Ni Koi Shiteru a lively rock beat. Sae’s Anata Shika Mienai sounds as girly as ever and her very soft voice somehow felt like she was whispering in her singing. I thought you need to turn up the volume to hear what she sings. Erm… And also this song resembles very closely to School Rumble’s first ending theme, Onna No Ko Otoko No Ko. Of all the ending themes, Ai’s Koi Wa Mizu-iro is my favourite because of its catchy hip-hop swing-like rhythm. Not to be left out, Risa and Miya also have their own ending themes, Koi No Yukue and Suteki Na Aruhi respectively. Each of the ending credits animation ends with the heroines smiling at the viewers.

Perhaps it is to tell us that love is like a double-edged sword. It can hurt and it can also heal. Sometimes it goes the way we want but most of the times it takes us on an unexpected journey of discovery. Junichi was able to bury the demons past of his and overcome his fear of Christmas when he truly falls in love again. Yeah, six times over. Oh, make that seven if you include Risa’s arc. Yeah, the wonders of multi-arc branching of getting the girls without hurting the feelings of the other. I also dream of having my own 2D harem and multi-arc branching events and stories. But each time, I still end up being a loner on Christmas Day every year. Well, there is always next year to look forward to. And the year after next… At least I’m not afraid when Christmas comes around.

Memories Off

November 11, 2011

Out of all the Memories Off anime series, I only watched the second instalment. And that was a pretty long time ago. I don’t remember exactly why I didn’t watch the rest. Most likely it was unavailable then. Can’t remember. Really. You could say that my memories for this went somewhat off, eh? Anyway it was a good thing that I get to watch the entire series again. Yeah, I get this satisfaction of finally completing a series instead of that puzzling feeling of why I only saw part of it. So here is the first blog on the first instalment of the series.

Adapted from the dating simulation game of the same name, there are only 3 OVA episodes for the first instalment that came out in late 2001. Yeah, around a decade ago. Makes it look so old. But each of the episodes are independent though inter-related. What do I mean? Put it simply, each episode sees the main protagonist guy meet a girl and fall in love with her while overcoming his tragic trauma of the death of his previous girlfriend. Yikes. It’s tough for a guy to move on and forward when the first girl he loves passed away. It is only worse if he takes all the blame himself. But you know about love, it works in a mysterious and magical way. So it’s like each episode is like another alternate world. Another day, another life. Yeah, if real life can only be like that. Oh, we have a word for that scenario: Multi-branching arc.

Episode 1
College student Koyomi Kirishima gets off the train and thinks it’s a nice day to get a boyfriend when Tomoya Mikami and Yue Imasaka bump into her. However they are in a hurry and can’t stay to ‘entertain’ her, much to her dismay. However Tomoya dreads that he’ll receive some punishment from Koyomi especially in his lunch. Rush as they might to school, however they are too late so Tomoya jokingly blames Yue. As Tomoya sleeps on the rooftop, he has a nightmare of his late girlfriend Ayaka Hizuki. Seems she went to fetch him on a rainy day but got involved in a car accident and died. No matter how many times Tomoya screams for her not to come, the inevitable always happen. He is awakened by his friend Shin Inaho. Seems he has missed all of the afternoon class. Shin asks an important question: Is Tomoya dating Yue? That’s the important question? Tomoya scoffs it off as they’re just childhood friends. Nothing more. It should have occurred to him that since Shin has been pestering Tomoya if that is true so many times, you can tell that guy has a crush on her. Tomoya walks out of school with Yue and his words of letting fate and fortune decide his future means he hasn’t studied for tomorrow’s supplementary exam. Yue sees a pregnant cat and gets excited. She puts some Jewel Choco ornament on its collar as it is rumoured if you do so, you’ll end up with a nice person. She then makes a wish. Eventually Tomoya goes to study at the library. Shin comes in and tells him he will confess to Yue at the park. Because of his incessant pestering wondering if Tomoya is okay with this, they get too loud and it descended into a verbal argument. So much so, they didn’t notice the several attempts of librarian, Shion Futami telling them to pipe it down. In the end, she blows her top that she becomes the loudest among them and Tomoya fell off his chair!

Thoughts of Ayaka cloud Tomoya’s mind even during the exam. After that, he sees a letter in his shoe box locker asking if the rain has stopped. He starts to remember how Ayaka promised that she, Tomoya and Yue will always be together. He rushes to the park to see Shin coolly sitting on the bench. He says he has been rejected and Yue has just left. Plus, she said she had someone she liked. He catches up to her and she berates him why did he come since she was going to give up at last and be able to forget everything. She starts crying now that she can’t forget. She felt she didn’t know what to do after Ayaka’s death. Even so, she has always liked him ever since. He promises her that they will always be together so she hugs him. Tomoya and Yue start dating and have fun at the amusement park. However Tomoya starts seeing Ayaka in her. At the end of the day, Yue says she not only had fun today but for the past few weeks. That’s good enough for her and won’t be sad anymore. She knows Tomoya isn’t having fun because in his mind is only Ayaka. She thanks him. But she starts crying. Tears of joy? Think not. She runs away. In class, Tomoya sees visions of Ayaka (in angel form). She asks if she is going to forget her. He vehemently protests that he will not but she fades away. Then he sees a picture of the 3 of them when he was young. He remembers how Yue comforted him when Ayaka passed away. He was clearly depressed. He learns Yue has gone out to buy stuff for the cultural festival but hasn’t come back since 2 hours ago. He rushes out in the rain to find her. He ponders why Yue wasn’t able to realize that she too is in his heart just like Ayaka. The sound of the ambulance and Yue’s umbrella on the roadside was enough to make him fall into distraught. However she was using the umbrella to shield the abandoned kittens. She starts to panic. But Tomoya gives her a quick kiss (so quick it makes me wonder if their lips met). He thought he had lost another one and doesn’t want her to disappear. He assures she is always in her heart. He confesses that he has liked her for a long time. He apologizes that he wasn’t able to tell as he puts on the Choco Jewel on her finger. Happy Yue hugs him as she confesses she likes him. Probably they should go somewhere warmer to hug… In the end, Tomoya has to adopt the kittens. But he’s going to teach them to take care of themselves. But it’s his way to say that he’s lazy to feed them. Yeah, he thinks to need to feed himself first because he’s poor. Ayaka gives off a happy smile from the rooftop.

Episode 2
Tomoya and Yue rush to school but bump into Shion, causing her to drop her books. Though Yue scrapped her knee, it wasn’t serious. Yue chides Tomoya for not recognizing their classmate Shion, the transfer student. However Shion doesn’t recognize Tomoya too! Koyomi seems to be having a hard time managing the crowd at her bread booth. Hope she didn’t collecting the wrong payment amount. Tomoya finally got his and as he goes out to enjoy his lunch, he sees Ayaka sitting on the bench. However she turns out to be Shion. Guess what? She doesn’t remember who he is! Anyway she leaves thinking she prefers to be alone when Tomoya wants to finish his lunch. He notices she left behind her tumbler and as he is about to dig in, he realizes Koyomi messed up his order. Tomoya falls asleep during English class and dreams about Ayaka. She’s asking whether he has read a book called Force. Something about the hero who doesn’t realize the hidden power he has. She thinks Tomoya is similar to the hero. He is rudely awakened by the teacher who wants him to read the text but since he is lost, Shion does it flawlessly. However Shion gets annoyed when the teacher calls her a foreigner. As for Tomoya’s punishment, he is to translate 10 pages of the book and hand it in. Oh boy. Tomoya is worried about his assignment but his friends suggest asking Shion. Then he remembers he forgot to return her tumbler. He does so at the library but at first she didn’t remember who he is! Seriously?!  However she is grateful because she thought she had lost her mom’s keepsake. He then requests her to tutor him English. During tutoring, she seems to be fascinated with this samurai thingy and wonders if there any around. But Tomoya learns that it was probably an amusement park with people dressed up as samurais. Shion gets disappointed and says she hates Japan now. WHAT?! How can you hate the land of anime, manga and video games?!

Later Tomoya obtains free passes to Marine Land (by winning from Koyomi) and plans to use this to apologize to Shion. Then Yue hands him Shion’s handkerchief so that he can hand it back to her. He waits at the library but falls slowly asleep and dreams of sleeping on Ayaka’s lap. He is abruptly awakened by Shion who is taken by surprise when he suddenly gets up. He returns her handkerchief and offers to help clean the library but seems she has already done everything. However she says he can help out tomorrow. Tomoya asks if there are any interesting books to read so she recommends Force and lends hers. Urm, I think he already got that book. Next day after Tomoya helps out Shion, she brings him to pick thorny chestnuts since her dad is returning tomorrow. She didn’t realize they can buy this at the store so the orchard farmer comes chasing them. Run for your lives! While resting at a safe distance, Tomoya makes up an unbelievable storey that they picked too much that’s why the chestnut fairy got met. However he says that this orchard belongs to one of his relatives and will apologize later. Shion starts laughing and notes that he is nice even to someone like her. Tomoya and Shion enjoy their time in time. Then resting on a bench, he invites her to Marine Land as he thinks there will be some people in samurai suits. She agrees. Then while dining at a cafe, the waitress accidentally slips and it’s as though she is going to spill all over Shion. Tomoya is faster than The Flash (really!) that he covers Shion and gets soaked instead. However Shion seems upset rather than grateful. She doesn’t like the idea of being too nice to him. Urm? WTF?! She runs out but Tomoya chases her and catches up. She says this is not the real her and is just wearing a mask. As revealed, Shion’s dad moves from place to place all over the job due to his archaeology job. But when she got back to Japan, all the kids bullied and tormented her just because she’s not Japanese. That’s when she decided not to have any relationships with anyone. She will wear this mask each time she comes to Japan. She was planning to do the same this time till she met Tomoya. She can’t stop thinking about him. Now breaking down, Shion continues she’s afraid to let him see her true self but wants to be with him. So why does he care about her? Simple. Because he loves her. Whether she puts on the mask or not, he loves her. He wants her to take off her mask and move forward together. To start it off, they should go dating tomorrow.

Back home, Tomoya reads and finds Force interesting when he gets a call from Shion. She profusely apologizes that she can’t go with him tomorrow and will say no further. But Tomoya says he will wait for her till she shows up. Tomoya did wait but she didn’t turn up. On his way back, he meets Shin who relates a message from Shion. Seems her dad is leaving this country today due to his job. He frantically searches for Shion in the crowded city. What are the chances? He sees vision of Ayaka and remembers she said about the hero’s hidden ability: Luck. Yup, that’s what he’s got as he finally manages to meet Shion. They both embrace. Shion in tears really wants to be with him. Out of nowhere she gets a call from her dad saying that she can stay since she has made a precious friend. Boyfriend rather. How convenient? How does he know? Well, he was part of the crowd and saw his daughter’s true feelings. Tomoya and Shion kiss. Maybe they should get a room instead of boldly exhibiting in public. Tomoya and Shion go through the events they had done over the past half year. As Ayaka’s words echoes to Tomoya: All he has to do is be right there. That’s enough for her to let her be herself. Shion notes that his power is the hope he gives.

Episode 3
Tomoya sits alone in the train as he heads for school. Something unusual has happened. In a train which is usually packed with all kinds of people, there is no one else but him. What kind of conspiracy is this? Has everyone been abducted by aliens? Or maybe he may have just woken up late. But he’s not the only one in the coach as a few seats away, he spots Minamo Ibuki. As the train arrives at its destination, Minamo was engrossed with her notes that she almost didn’t make it out. Luckily Tomoya holds the door long enough for her to get out. Both of them have a nice chat while walking to school. Guess what? Minamo is Yue’s best friend. It’s a small world alright. She thinks Tomoya is secretly dating her! Minamo wants Tomoya to teach her some literature so he agrees to do the best he can. Him? Literature? Does he look like the studious type? Yue teases him not to assault her no matter how pretty she is. Tomoya wakes up from his late girlfriend’s nightmare again in class. He helps Minamo read some sad poem but Minamo aspires to be like the poetic because she finds it romantic that she is eloping with her lover on his back. As thanks, Minamo treats Tomoya at the ice cream parlour. He learns that she likes to draw as she shows him her sketchbook. Seems pretty decent. One of the scenery drawings seems pretty familiar to him but he can’t put his finger on it. Then Minamo asks if he would be free this weekend. He thinks it’s going to be a date and gladly looks forward to it. It turns out to be a big picnic with their friends. There goes his hope… Minamo and Tomoya see a dried leaf flutter and shined like gold. Minamo gets excited thinking if all the gold leaves filled the sea, it would be a wonderful sight: A golden sea which keeps shining.

On a rainy day, Tomoya gets a letter in his shoe box from Minamo. She is waiting for him at the school gates. Oddly, she was just standing in the rain without any umbrella (perhaps to rain suddenly came?). Tomoya gives her a piggy back ride to the infirmary since she has a fever. She notes how this is like that poem she read and perhaps her wish came true. In bed, Minamo reveals that she knows him since a long time. From Yue? Nope. From Ayaka. You see, Minamo and Ayaka are cousins. Ah, it’s indeed a small world. Ayaka was like a sister to her and they frequently exchange letters while Minamo spends most of her time in hospital. So she learned lots about Tomoya during that. Tomoya starts feeling guilty that he is the cause of Ayaka’s death. But Minamo says she doesn’t want him to be sad and that Ayaka was happy. As Tomoya goes to find a nurse, he accidentally knocks over Minamo’s sketch. He sees her sketch of the ocean and promises her to take her there. Tomoya thinks he can move forward now but he gets the bad news from Yue that Minamo’s condition is worsening (it wasn’t due to the rain by the way). The doctor talks to Tomoya as he learns that the only way to cure Minamo’s disease is via transplant operation. But they can’t find a donor. Tomoya pleads to be her donor but the doctor will need to run some tests to check his compatibility. While visiting Minamo in her room, she notes how she can’t draw her own face. He narrates that she was getting thinner and thinner so much so her hand can’t catch up to it. He is putting his hope on that small possibility to cure Minamo. But Minamo wants to go to the sea now. Tomoya tells her to be patient and will take her there once she is better. The test results indicate Tomoya isn’t compatible but the doctor tells him she did have a compatible donor before: Ayaka. Minamo got the transplant right after her car accident. Plus, Minamo knew about this since the doctor told her before the surgery though she was shocked. Tomoya sinks into depression and didn’t answer the incessant phone calls. He can’t face Minamo after what he has learned. Ayaka’s spirit appears and tells him he should think about Minamo’s feelings. Then the doorbell rings. It’s Minamo. She partially collapses into his arms. She wants to keep their promise because she loves him and she wants to be with the person she loves every moment till the end. Tomoya carries her all the way to the sea as they watch in awe the sunrise reflecting the waters, giving off a beautiful shine of gold.

Memories are made of this…
Well, for a drama romance I guess everything is rather okay. Not to mention it was one of those anime so the plot is rather forgivable. I have not played the actual game itself but I’m guessing that the other girls could have been included if given more episodes like Koyomi and Kaori Otoha (Tomoya and Yue’s classmate-cum-friend). But then again, it would be more or less the same thing and offering nothing new. In each OVA, we see how each one of them have their own issues or ghost of the past to deal with. Thus the chance encounter brings them together and makes them move forward. Tomoya is able to get over from the death of Ayaka though at times memories of that scathing accident threaten to undo everything back to square one. It clearly goes to show that clinging on to the past only impedes your step forward. I have a theory why the series is named so. With Tomoya ending up with a different girl in each episode, it’s like as though his memories have been ‘reset’ and thus memories off. Geddit?

As I have said that this is an old anime, the art and drawing is of that era. It is not as good as compared with today’s standards. However, I have to point out that the quality is annoyingly bad at certain points, especially the second episode. The consistency of the animation is fluctuating so bad that it seems like there have been different artists drawing them and then putting it all together. I tried to scoff it off but it was really obvious. Too obvious that it made the characters look way different than they originally are. The opening theme song is Yuuki No Tsubasa by Maria Yamamoto. Sounds like your typical anime pop for a dating simulation game. However I find that the singer’s voice isn’t suitable at certain lines. It is as though she is trying to reach certain notes during the chorus but seems like she’s struggling to do so. And even if she did, it sounded ‘strained’. I’m not sure whether it’s on purpose or not. As for the male background voice. I just felt it should sound better without it. The ending theme is Yasashii Seiza by KAORI, a slow gentle ballad.

Recently we had another anime with a guy dating different girls in much longer arcs (Amagami SS) so I thought that the best way for a dating simulation to get adapted is to have it this kind of format. It’s like giving every girl a fair chance and then at the end of it all, you yourself personally decide which is the best girl who should suit him, though this is based on your personal preferences and open to discussion. It’s possible to do this too all at the same time. That term is called a harem. But this way you’d hurt others when one is picked and everyone if you remain indecisive. Thus having alternate possibilities of what kind of girlfriend that you end up with seems like a nice idea but doesn’t it just feel tiring after a while? You can have your slice of your cake and eat it but not all of it.