W’z

August 3, 2019

This is so wack, my man. I never really thought Hand Shakers would get a sequel and I never really thought W’z (pronounced as Wise and not Wiz as I thought) was that sequel. When I first read the synopsis, I never really gave much thought about it as it says something about a genius DJ prodigy kid. Nothing hinted of any sorts it was related to Hand Shakers. I thought this would be some music themed anime and even so, it was strange for me to get interested in the DJ genre. DJ and those techno club music aren’t my tea so naturally I would have given this a pass. Something didn’t mesh apparently so I ended up checking it out. Until I watched through the first episode that I started realizing there are pretty familiar things. Oh dear. Too late. Really, this is just so wack, my man…

Episode 1
It is 10 years later from the events that ended in Hand Shakers. There is a young boy going viral on the internet. Dubbed as W’z, this genius DJ who is getting many hooked with his music is actually Yukiya Araki. He is on his way to start his new term of middle high school and because he isn’t concentrating, the mere touch of an innocent by-stander causes her to temporarily enter Ziggurat. Though, she loses her memories of her time in Ziggurat when she returns. Yukiya wants to take up music at Kita Asuka Academy. However his father opposes it very much and it looks like Yukiya is going heed his advice. Along the way, he meets Masaru who takes an interest in him and suggests meeting Koyori who is a teacher at that school. Masaru leaves when Yukiya’s childhood friend, Haruka Tosabori arrives to accompany him to school. Yukiya thinks he has no talent since his video wasn’t that well received. Haruka disagrees and to prove he has much more talent than that, she suggests doing whatever crazy thing he has on his mind. That night in the crowded streets, the duo set up the DJ equipment right smack in the crowd. Yeah, nobody cares. When they hold hands, they enter Ziggurat. They don a mask as he streams live his DJ talent. Some people are stumped because they are watching this video right in this spot and they can’t see this dude anywhere. Yukiya realizes they are under attack and goes to protect Haruka. Not just 1 but 2 pairs of enemies, Hana Mihara-Senri Teshima and Gai Kishiwada-Masataka Sakai. They are here to steal his power. Yukiya manages to deflect their attacks with his Nimrod sword.

Episode 2
Because the enemies are busy trying to outdo each other, this allowed Yukiya and Haruka to escape. At school, Yukiya sees Koyori. He experiences some weird flashback/trance when she touches him. Koyori can tell he is W’z (did Yukiya seriously think that mask was enough to hide is identity?!) and although he has seen many of his videos, she wants to ask the recent one where he entered Ziggurat. It seems Yukiya has this ability to enter Ziggurat by holding anyone’s hands. The caveat is that they cannot summon Nimrod and they lose their memories when they leave. But Koyori touches him again and nothing happens. She cannot enter Ziggurat anymore and she has a request of him since there are people she wants to find trapped in there. It is believed that Nagaoka and Mayumi met God. However they went missing after that and Koyori has never seen them since. With Yukiya’s ability to enter Ziggurat anywhere, she hopes he can help find them. She also notes the dangers that will follow him as there will be people targeting him. She wants to protect him and the best people to do so are those ex-Hand Shakers. We hear the wishes of the other parties. Gai and Masataka want to stay in Ziggurat forever while Hana and Senri want to get rid of this power and hold hands like normal. Yukiya returns home. He needs to face his father who is still opposed to the school of his choice. It seems his parents, Reijirou and Yukine are ex- Hand Shakers whom we knew as Break and Bind respectively.

Episode 3
Yukiya tells Haruka that he deleted his recent video after receiving lots of comments. He is still unsure what to do so Haruka believes he is afraid because he is unsure what the right thing to do is. The ex-Hand Shakers of Chizuru, Hayate, Koyori, Lily and Masaru converge at the former’s restaurant. However Reijirou crashes in and picks a fight with Masaru whom he believes is the one influencing his son. Masaru claims removing him from the problem will not solve anything as he will eventually face off with other Hand Shakers. After cooling down with a cuppa, they discuss about Yukiya already deleting the original but you know the internet, what is uploaded will always stay there forever. Yeah, clones of his videos everywhere. Further revelation shows that Yukiya isn’t really Reijirou and Yukine’s son. He is their adopted son, though he doesn’t know that now. Flashback shows some shady characters gave baby Yukiya to them to be raised and grown in Ziggurat, free of combat and strife. The main point of discussion is Yukiya isn’t just able to bring anyone into Ziggurat, he was able to bring in something huge like his entire DJ equipment. If this is so, can he bring something out of Ziggurat too? This is dangerous as there are people who want to use this power for criminal activities. All of them despite not being able to summon their Nimrods, want to protect and advise Yukiya. After all this, Reijirou still refuses. He is tired of dealing with Hand Shakers and the likes. Of course his wife talks to him about respecting what Yukiya wants to do. And when that happens, all they can do is simply watch over him. Yukiya finally arrives at the restaurant and he feels awkward with Koyori being close to him. Does this guy like her?

Episode 4
Hayate and Yukiya enter Ziggurat to start looking. It’s a boring conversation until Hayate mentions about Tazuna being Koyori’s partner. But he had to travel around the country to do some business. And this made Yukiya mad because he ‘abandoned’ her?! Sure, complain what a jerk he is to Haruka. She plays along and to calm him down, she gives him tickets to Western King Fest musical event whereby his favourite DJ, Nielsen Fumiyuki will be playing there. Next time, Yukiya pairs up with Chizuru for the search. She talks about how great Tazuna was. Because they met God, Koyori is now able to live normally and not always hold Tazuna’s hands to exist. But Yukiya still seething he ‘abandoned’ her? When they return, Haruka gets the wrong idea of Yukiya ‘dating’ a ‘loli’. Yeah, it’s that taboo word but to prove Chizuru is an adult, she doesn’t blow her top. Chizuru tries to set up Yukiya and Haruka as a date. But that has to be put on hold since Gai and Masataka are here. Back to Ziggurat to fight. Worse, Hana and Senri are here too. Chizuru and Senri are shocked to see each other since Senri works at Chizuru’s place as a part timer. This is awkward. Soon they start fighting but this time the enemies make a pact to cooperate against Yukiya. But whoever defeats him first wins. Chizuru realizes that without a goal or desire to protect someone, Yukiya cannot win. Thanks to Yukiya’s irregular power, Chizuru is able to draw her Nimrod. She clones themselves to escape back to reality. Even so, the enemies still want to fight and Yukiya is tired and injured during that battle. Don’t worry. Finally Tazuna shows up for help. Holding Yukiya’s hands to go back into Ziggurat, the enemies are now certain about his abilities to have different partners to enter Ziggurat. Remember Tazuna’s Nimrod of gears? Welcome back.

Episode 5
Tazuna easily defeats them and suggests they pull back. Wise choice. They can’t defeat him as they are now. In school, Tazuna discovers a transmitter underneath Yukiya’s belt. That’s why they knew where he is. Tazuna has a heart to heart talk with Yukiya inside Ziggurat. He explains they are the same because of their ability to summon Nimrods as they like. Tazuna understands his worries as when he became a Hand Shaker for the first time, he was also targeted. But with his feelings to protect Koyori strong, he overcame all that. Of course with a few slip ups. Yukiya’s Nimrod that he names Disk is the core of his heart so when he is lost, take a look at yourself. Senri now can’t return to Chizuru’s restaurant. So she’s going to ignore all her messages? The girls get their details of W’z from this mysterious informer known only as Composer. He sounds shady but they have no choice but to trust his info as that’s all the lead they’ve got. With them reminding us how they want to rid of this power, time to see flashback snippets of their close relationship together since kindergarten. Yeah, Senri got bullied and Hana came to her rescue. Lots of handholding until they’re grownup. Is it because they hold hands too much that one day they find themselves in Ziggurat? In school, Yukiya is shocked that he and Haruka enter Ziggurat despite not touching each other. So now close proximity can also trigger this? And you bet Hana and Senri are on the offensive. They are much stronger than before because thanks to their flashback bonding. I don’t know why Yukiya is standing there just defending and protecting Haruka and getting injured. I know Haruka is also hurt so shouldn’t they hide in some structure? I’m sure the girls only target Yukiya so if he runs elsewhere, they won’t bother with Haruka. I don’t think taking hostage is their style. Because of this, cue for flashback of Yukiya and Haruka’s childhood moments. Yeah, they’re close, right? I suppose the power of yuri makes Hana and Senri even more powerful. Hell yeah, their handphone charged right up to 150%!!! If only my battery can last that long! But WTF, banzai to the power of yuri!!!

Episode 6
Will the power of yuri penetrate through Yukiya? Not if Haruka helps power up and cuts through them first! Now Senri and Hana are at Chizuru’s restaurant and siding with them? They believe Composer has lied to them and only using them. Because now they have officially lost, he blocked them from his contacts. Also, Senri and Hana lost means they are unable to go into Ziggurat. Something they have wanted all along and was as simple as just losing. The gang discusses about Composer and how he leaked info to mislead others. Because Yukiya’s position was also known despite the transmitter was destroyed, it could either be him or those other guys. The only sensible thing is to confront them. Yukiya wants to come along since this is his fight. Gai and Masataka thought they were going to meet up with Senri and Hana to fight Yukiya but realize they have flipped sides. It is confirmed the transmitter was from them and since they refuse to destroy its records, they’re going to fight. This time Yukiya is paired with Masaru to handle the duo. I guess it’s due for their flashback. When they were kids and on some camping trip with Nagaoka and Makihara, that was when they learnt about Hand Shakers for the first time. Through the years, Gai developed interest in hiking the mountains and stargazing. Other friends didn’t share the same ‘boring’ hobby except for Masataka. Okay, he looked uninterested too but he plays along. That’s when they made their dream to go into Ziggurat if they can’t go into space. During the battle, Gai falls into Masaru’s trap cards, immobilizing him. This allows Yukiya to go after Masataka. Meanwhile Tazuna and Koyori bump into Nielsen. Koyori remembers him at her father’s lab a long time ago. Nielsen wants to talk to Yukiya since Midori Okuike of Okuike Group is making his move. Yeah, that’s the company that sponsored Koyori’s father’s research. Are things starting to come around?

Episode 7
With Masataka in danger, Gai forcefully breaks himself out even if it means hurting himself. But with Yukiya right in Masataka’s aim, he shoots at Gai. Is that on purpose? Flashback shows Masataka was a nervous wreck when he first entered Ziggurat and he hated shooting people. So Gai told him if he finds it hard to shoot anyone, shoot him. Then the game will end. With Gai down, Yukiya cuts down Masataka. Now that they’re defeated, are they like friends? As promised, they delete the data. Haruka learns Yukiya has submitted a music application not as W’z but as himself. Why does this make her feel inferior, praising he has a lot more talent than her? Cue for flashback to see how they met. Haruka took up a musical instrument just because he was good in music. Now she feels she can’t keep lying to him. Tazuna and Yukiya oddly hang out with each other. They’re getting along just fine. Yukiya didn’t expect Koyori to join in. I suppose Tazuna forgot to tell him. At the karaoke, Yukiya is tone deaf. But Koyori continues to support him… Real partners stick through thick and thin, right? When Yukiya brings Tazuna back to his home, it looks like Reijirou wants to fight him but it’s his crude way of greeting this dude. They’re friends, huh? Talk about old times, they’re so modest and humble in their victory and defeat then. Although Reijirou noted Tazuna and Koyori met God, the problem is they couldn’t remember what happened after. Now they shift their attention to Yukiya. What are his ambitions? Still not sure but he wants to help Koyori find her sister with his power. At first he was afraid and scared of it because he once dragged Haruka into Ziggurat and she ended up injured. He hated it. Then he was targeted by others and caused problem for others. He knew he was lying to himself but in fact all he wanted was not to be rejected. Reijirou gives his blessing to do whatever he wants.

Episode 8
Koyori calls Haruka out late just to tell her about Yukiya lying and that Haruka has something to say to him? Oh dear. What did you do? Now you making Haruka cry harder as she blames herself for dragging him down because she isn’t good enough. She fears he will leave her and she doesn’t want that even if it means Yukiya ending up hating her. Koyori relays her experience with Tazuna. So the bottom line is to stop lying. Easier said than done. Tazuna tells Chizuru and Hayate that Midori is Composer and the one pulling the strings. Of course this info wasn’t for free and he made a deal with Nielson. It seems that DJ is still an active Hand Shaker despite never meeting God and his goal is to watch over Ziggurat and those connected to it. The school cultural festival is here. Nielsen brings his busty and sexy assistant, Tamari so they could watch W’z AKA Yukiya who is to perform here. Safe to say that everyone else is here too to see him perform. Yukiya is nervous but once he starts getting into the groove, everyone is stunned at his awesome talent. So good that even Reijirou cried. Yeah… This gives Haruka the motivation that she wants to tell him something when this is done. What a coincidence. Yukiya too. After Haruka’s band is done with their awesome gig too, the band members congratulate themselves. Then they talk about Yukiya who is pretty weird (but in a good way) and despite this makes Haruka awkward, I don’t understand why she gets worried when she realizes Yukiya was hearing this. She realizes she has lied again. Wait a minute. WTF did she say? Did she say anything?! Hence the melancholy of Haruka continues…

Episode 9
Haruka isn’t answering Yukiya’s calls. Yukiya receives a call from Seba Suchan who is calling on behalf of Midori to meet. He is hesitant until he mentions this is regarding Hand Shakers. Yukiya tells this to the rest and Tazuna will accompany him. Both meet Midori for the first time. He cuts straight to the point that ever since mankind is eating up resources in the name of development, he wants to use Yukiya’s power to bring things in and out of Ziggurat. As time moves differently there, Hand Shakers can create copies of the same world as many times despite the Ziggurat crumbles after their battle. So as we can see, Midori is able to enter Ziggurat with Seba and has duplicated loads of silver bars. So he is going to use this concept to solve resources and energy problems plaguing the world. He doesn’t call this exploitation and merely wants his assistance. Unlike other Hand Shakers with their own desires, Yukiya will become God himself and move humanity forward. Tazuna opines this will destroy the world balance. But what does Yukiya think? Since he doesn’t approve of the Hand Shakers fighting each other like those recently, Midori believes their thinking is not aligned and will talk again in the future when they are of clearer mind. Now Seba calls Haruka and brings her to meet Midori. It seems the lie she has been hiding from Yukiya is that she remembers everything that happened in Ziggurat. Though she doesn’t want Yukiya’s powers to be exploited, Midori puts it in a nice way that he is a nice kid but others will take advantage of him and at the same time he doesn’t want to force his ideals on Yukiya. He believes if Haruka can become Yukiya’s partner and act in his place, he will use all his power to protect her. They share the same path and he can help her. The clincher: We’re doing it for Yukiya. Nielsen finds out that Midori has made his move. No time to be fooling around. Time to go busting. Yukiya soon learns that Haruka transferred to another school and moved out. Wow. She really told nobody. Not even the school bothered to announce to her classmates. Feeling worried now? He goes talk to her mother and she tells him she suddenly wanted to transfer to Okuike University and living in their dorm. Wow. Things really move fast when you have the money and influence. Oh Yukiya, you now have something to tell Haruka? Something about your feelings?

Episode 10
Nielson confronts Reijirou. He was the one who handed baby Yukiya to him 10 years ago. Now he is mad that Reijirou broke his promise and let Yukiya be a Hand Shaker. He could have taken Yukiya’s powers any time but didn’t because he believed in him. Now Nielson is going to crush that boy. I guess this stems from his trauma when he was an active Hand Shaker. He lost his then partner, Jessica. Reijirou then finds Yukiya and can tell he is having trouble. So Yukiya tells him what he knows about Midori and Haruka being taken away just because he refused. But it could be that Haruka went on her own volition rather than being forced. Father is going to give him a ride to the dorms to settle his business. Along the way, he reveals the truth about Yukiya being adopted. Even though not his own child, he loves him as his own. Why say so when he knows this isn’t an appropriate time? But thankfully Yukiya didn’t freak out. He somewhat knows. There were no pictures of him in his younger days. He wasn’t entirely sure but with this revelation, he is now. Entering Ziggurat, they are confronted with Seba. Damn, what a waste of the bike as he cuts it in half! He wants them to leave. No can do. If Haruka doesn’t want to see Yukiya, why is she here?! Seba and Reijirou face off. The latter might be a bit rusty and gets beat down. But nothing like a father’s love to turn the tables and turn it into some head butting fight? Whoever has the hardest head wins. Meanwhile Yukiya and Haruka have no choice but to fight since they’re stubborn. Haruka condemning herself as a liar unworthy of him. He shocks her that he too is a liar. Smooth operator in session as he commends her very being who is always by his side cheering him up. Hostility turning into awkwardness when both confess they love each other. That’s not a lie, right? And Yukiya saying he wants her as his partner, is that in Hand Shaker terms? Seba won’t allow this and tries to attack Yukiya. With Reijirou pinning him down, Yukiya and Haruka combine their Nimrod to kick him out from Ziggurat. Yukiya and Haruka are back on good terms. But they can’t get out from Ziggurat. Because Nielsen and Tamari are going to defeat them.

Episode 11
Yukiya is happy to see Nielsen since he is a big fan of his. I’m sure Nielsen will give him his autograph after this but now it is Hand Shakers business first. In order to wipe out Yukiya’s power, Nielsen summons Tazuna and Koyori into Ziggurat. This is his irregular power. The offer to Tazuna was to join forces and take down Yukiya’s power. Koyori is fine if Yukiya loses that power and she can’t look for her sister anymore but Yukiya will not have that. All that is left is to battle it out. With Tazuna being formidable, I’m not sure how Yukiya and Haruka now gets it as they, uhm, summon some pog or something, attach it to their Nimrod and summon Reijirou and Yukine here?! WTF?! Whatever. Reijirou and Yukine keep Tazuna and Koyori busy so that Yukiya and Haruka could duke it out with Nielsen and Tamari. During the fight, I guess Nielsen felt Yukiya’s vibes that he truly wants to use his power to search for people. So Nielsen stops the fight and has Yukiya meet up at a certain place later. Nielsen commends Yukiya as the first irregular Hand Shaker he didn’t defeat because irregulars can cause some imbalance and that is why others show up to manipulate their powers. Not sure where in this Ziggurat, Nielsen leads Yukiya and Haruka to where Nagaoka and Mayumi are staying. Yukiya crying at the sight of seeing them? Must be so touching, huh? They explain why they choose to remain here. Nagaoka has an incurable disease that no current medicine could help. But his wish was for Mayumi and Koyori to lead normal lives and Mayumi’s wish was to stop Nagaoka’s illness. So did God heard it and granted them? Apparently stopping time in this Ziggurat is the only answer. You mean God just didn’t make Nagaoka’s illness disappear? Lame! Yukiya gets this great idea. Lend his handphone to call Koyori and let Mayumi talk to her! Damn, did they not bring any phone around here? It must be one long talk since there’s a lot to catch up for the sisters. Maybe Yukiya should leave his phone here? After they leave, it is revealed that Yukiya is the son of Nagaoka and Mayumi. Because time stopped here, the moment he was brought back to reality, that is when time came flowing back all of a sudden and he grew up many years all at once. Just weird… So I guess you can’t slow down your aging if you head back to reality.

Episode 12
Yukiya and Haruka see Midori directly. They’re here not to fight him but believe can grant his wish. Because their powers include summoning others including ex-Hand Shakers into Ziggurat, they can set up many sham victories until one is able to meet God. Now I’m confused. I thought you stopped being a Hand Shaker and lose all that power when you’re defeated? Anyway, Midori rejects this as he no longer has a wish to ask God. He shows them a giant crystal embedded in his chest. It seems Midori has also met God. What he said about saving the world was just an excuse. His true desire is to exploit the system of Hand Shakers, God and irregulars. Flashback reveals his father pushed Akutagawa and his team to hasten their research on Ziggurat. He wanted to become like Columbus discovering America, a new world. He even allowed them to use his son as experiments. However Akutagawa went missing and the only reason Midori stayed relevant was because he was a Hand Shaker. To regain his value, he met God and granted his dad’s wish. He brought out some gem from Ziggurat. He had to cut his own flesh since it was embedded into it. Father was happy and the experiment continued and it made Midori close to death. Doctors even had to operate deep into him to dig out the crystals. Seba couldn’t stand it all and shot the doctors and his father to death. When dad pleads for help from Midori, he pulled the trigger many times and killed him. Overkill! That’s for all the loveless exploitation! Now Midori will fight Yukiya and Haruka not to defeat them. But to torment them. It is clear that Midori is way more powerful so Yukiya and Haruka retreat. Midori won’t give chase as he knows well this tactic of theirs to bait them. Back in reality, the rest of the gang are lying safe in one of Nielsen’s place. It is a good thing since Midori’s men have started targeting the families of Yukiya and Haruka’s home. They can’t stay here forever and need to fight back. Yukiya is going to need some reinforcements then. Midori realizes Yukiya’s side has also taken action and got away from his men. The negotiations weren’t to buy time and believed Yukiya really wanted to help out. Although they ran away, Midori believes the outcome will still be the same. He has his men take control of Nielsen’s club and predicts the Hand Shakers will attack via Ziggurat.

Episode 13
Inside Ziggurat, Yukiya-Haruka faces off with Midori-Seba. However the former aren’t alone as they temporarily summon their ex-Hand Shaker friends into the fray to deal some damage to the latter. To allow their battle to continue and not interrupted, Reijirou, Yukine, Nielsen and Tamari are fighting other Hand Shakers. You mean there are tons of them?! Don’t worry. They’re so insignificant that we don’t really care. Meanwhile we take a detour, Mayumi explaining her wish to want a son to be born between them then. So she’s like Virgin Mary? She wanted a son who is strong and never lose. You mean a son like God? So is Yukiya like Jesus Christ???!!! WTF???!!! We now return to the Ziggurat battle. Yukiya calms himself down and strikes Midori. That was fast. Midori retreats but vows to return and make him kneel. Yukiya then summons Tazuna, Koyori, Nagaoka and Mayumi. From what I understand, they all have powers qualified enough to see God. We have 2 pairs who have met God. On the other hand, Yukiya just defeated someone who met God. Hence Yukiya is qualified to meet God. Damn, does that even mesh?! Did Yukiya realize Nagaoka is his real dad? In the aftermath, it seems Yukiya has lost his powers and he is happy with it. We hear Nielsen and Makihara talking about the shocking wish Yukiya made that nobody expected: Getting rid of all the unwanted wishes granted by God before losing his own powers. Oh, how selfless. Because of his unselfish wish, Midori is now free from his curse. No more crystal embedded in his chest. In a dilemma over his role and existence, he ponders if he should go after Yukiya to seek revenge for saving him. My man, you trying to be some twisted second class villain here? Seba isn’t sure but he mentions that he knows someone who was once saved from death. That’s himself. Midori made him his butler instead of letting him die. Just to show Midori isn’t some cold hearted jerk, Seba carries him like a princess and he starts getting emotional and cries. Probably Yukiya’s greatest wish, the one not granted by God, is to become a DJ under Nielsen’s tutelage. He’s already a talented DJ. Need I say more?

OVA
We delve into the past of Reijirou and Yukine before the events of the Hand Shakers TV series. He was a delinquent dropout. She was an elite high school girl. Also the stalker type. And a masochist. Scold me more, Reijirou! Creepy… Reijirou had a hard time manning several part time jobs and it’s bad enough that Yukine often breaks into his room without his permission just to be with him. Then it all gets worse when he gets fired from all his jobs. Even the restaurant job he worked, the owner, Kozaki accused him of stealing stuffs when it was he himself who gave it all to his fatty customer, Oyama whom he is sucking up to. Even Yukine doesn’t approve of her father trying to break them up. Flashback reveals they were childhood friends and always close together. However Reijirou changed when his mom died. She realized she is the only one by his side and only knows his true and warm aspects. Yukine tries to be smart and goes to slap Kozaki and Oyama for being unfair. Of course they retaliate by trying to rape her. Good thing she texted Reijirou about what she was going to do and here he comes to save her. After pushing those guys away, the moment Reijirou and Yukine’s hands touch, they enter Ziggurat. So now they are Hand Shakers? So was Reijirou’s whatever wish that strong to qualify them for that? Apparently Kozaki and Oyama are also Hand Shakers. They relentlessly attack the newbies. Reijirou realizes that chain dream wasn’t just a dream. Yeah, Yukine had that dream too. And with renewed determination, Reijirou uses his chain powers to fight back. Partly it is Yukine’s masochism that wants him to bind her harder but also it enhances his powers. Reijirou is able to turn the tables on them and now they are the ones cowering in fear and begging for mercy. Reijirou gets cocky as he tells them off. He is about to mercilessly crush them but Yukine stops him. She has a conscious? Actually, she wants him to save all his rage for her. But of course. After defeating them, the duo realize they need to make their wish come true so they go to crowded areas to find more teams to defeat. Well, we all know what happened next. The rest is history.

Wack’… ZZzzZZzzz…
Ah well… It really all doesn’t mesh. I don’t know whether the TV series actually ended the entire series itself and the OVA feels very disjointed because it has nothing to do with W’z and more of a prelude to the Hand Shakers prequel. No characters from W’z whatsoever and heck it should have been actually called Hand Shakers OVA 2. Technically, which is also correct in a way since this season’s OVA is indeed the second OVA overall after Hand Shakers very first season’s OVA. Yeah, really wack, my man. Making it even more wack for me is that this OVA looked even more interesting than this season. Yeah, pretty odd I should say. Probably it’s because of Yukine’s character that I wasn’t totally expecting her to be like that sort of character before… Maybe they’ll make another OVA. This time about Jessica. You know, Nielsen’s previous partner. Because is it me or do I feel that this plot was unnecessary or the producers totally forgot about it. Yeah, I guess this doesn’t really matter. Won’t mesh anyway.

I didn’t really get the overall plot of this season at all. Yukiya as an irregular Hand Shaker and people who are after his power. Okay, I get that. But they want to make it look like some sort of massive power was behind the scene that was after Yukiya’s power. It really felt weird. While the Okuike Group might be a huge conglomerate, I don’t really feel its impact and presence in the story. It felt like Midori was just a single guy trying to get what he wants and his power and influence on the group was just fringe and marginal. In between, we have Yukiya being worried and conflicted about his own power. Therefore the much needed drama to help build Yukiya’s character from a loser into a slightly better, uhm, loser. Technically. Because he might have lost all those great powers but at least he has his life. And girl. And they bring back many of the original Hand Shaker characters just so to let us know that the power of friendship is a reason why Yukiya is able to change and become a better person. I guess that’s not a bad thing and it is better off than starting off as an overpowered character.

While the flimsy plot is one thing, it got me pondering how this whole system and mechanism of Hand Shakers works. Because from the looks of it, God must be a dick and a sadist. Like Nagaoka’s illness. You mean the Almighty can’t just wish for his dreaded disease to go away? With a snap of a finger? Maybe Nagaoka who doesn’t talk much wasn’t being specific but I mean, this is God. The one and only God. Shouldn’t He understood all that and cured him instantly instead of making time stop and stuck inside Ziggurat like forever? WTF, dude?! Initially I was under the impression that the Hand Shakers fight in some battle royale and the last one standing gets to meet God. But apparently you fight and defeat enough Hand Shakers, obtain their powers enough to qualify to make you meet God. Isn’t this insane? Like Yukiya’s suggestion for sham victories, if this really worked then God didn’t really thought out this very well. I thought it was a sacred honour-cum-privilege to see God and understandably only one, the best of the best could do so. But having so many meeting Him, damn this feels more like an exclusive club or something.

The other problem being the creation of Hand Shakers themselves. So apparently I was also under the misconception that this Hand Shakers thing was just a one time battle. From what I see here, it looks like there is no starting and ending point. As long as you rake up enough victories, you get to meet God. Which brings me to this point as of how many Hand Shakers are there really? How many are there right now? In the final episode we see Reijirou and Nielsen bashing up other Hand Shakers so it must mean that there is some Hand Shaker battle still going on. How does one become a Hand Shaker? The narration in the beginning of some episodes I assume is from God. Sounds like a young Japanese adult guy. At least that ossan at the end of last season whom I thought was God was actually Nielsen. The terms to become a Hand Shaker sounds vague. You have a wish? Then join hands and fight your way to see me. Yeah, pretty shady if you ask me. And I suppose if you wish hard enough, God may somehow give you those Hand Shaker powers. Go forth! And entertain me! Haha!

With that, this also brings me to the next point that is also related to the plot of the series. With Yukiya as an irregular Hand Shaker and many coveting his power, I was under the impression that there would be hundreds targeting him! Damn there were only 2 groups!!! WTF???!!! Even if they had like 5 pairs of Hand Shakers, I guess that would be acceptable. But damn, just 2 pairs?! Oh yeah. Big deal indeed. It doesn’t really mesh. I guess we need the cliché tropes so that when Yukiya defeats them, they become somewhat his allies. So if there were like 100 of them, how to fit them all in the final battle? Oh yeah. You really got me. So just 2 freaking groups who just target Yukiya’s power. And they’re not even scary.

Hana and Senri are just cute and provide some female eye candy and possibly some boobs fanservice since Senri is a cow tits monster. I guess she replaces Lily as she doesn’t make much appearance here. I said female eye candy because I have a hunch this series caters more to male bishonen as seen in the opening credits. That group pose… All guys! At least hot guys. Gai and Masataka are another bunch of weirdoes. Masataka being the quiet one and Gai being the lively one whose catchphrase is “Sugoi…”. Like as though he has a limited vocabulary or something. Yukiya and Haruka are supposed to be the Tazuna and Koyori of this season. Both their problems are not having an honest heart. They claim they lie to each other but once they get that out of the way, they’re just unstoppable. So cliché. Good thing Yukiya doesn’t continue to pursue his crush on Koyori (thank goodness for Haruka). Because it would have been freaking weird to have fallen in love with his aunty!!! And his wish to undo unwanted wishes? What are the chances that God isn’t being a dick and undo some wishes that were really wanted? Hey, can’t say. It’s not like God knows what we really want in our hearts, right? This series’ God is so dumb. I don’t like this idea either but I feel Yukiya should just become God and take His place and make the world a better place.

Finally with Midori being the antagonist of the series, I thought it was going to be a running joke that he and Seba would never appear. Hence their only chance is in the next episode preview where they talk some nonsense whatever. I thought this is all they would amount to. Their proper and formal appearance would be after 3/4 of the season and it already felt too late. It is hard for me to support or even hate Midori as the so called villain because his character is written in a mediocre way. Hard to sympathise with this dude despite his tragic background because I just couldn’t connect how it turned him into a Hand Shaker. Hard to hate this dude because he is one of those hot looking bishonen guys and his actions aren’t really despicable albeit twisted. This guy just wants a reason to exist. I guess being alive isn’t good enough because he is so rich and have everything, that’s just boring. Uh huh. What a boring villain.

Previous Hand Shaker characters make their cameo enough to make this season look like a sequel. They usual provide some support to Yukiya and Haruka and don’t do much so as not to take away the spotlight from them. Like Chizuru and Hayate, why are they still around? So it is as though the gang have a fixed place to gather and discuss their Hand Shakers related problems. Otherwise they could have been done without like some other characters. Like Makihara whose absence is so obvious. It is stated that he went on some journey to try to find a cure for Nagaoka. In the final episode it is hinted he has made some progress. WTF???!!! If God couldn’t find a cure, you mean this siew mai lover could???!!! This doesn’t mesh!!!

But I couldn’t be more grateful that Kodama and Hibiki didn’t show up here. If they did, it would have been a complete alumni of last season’s Hand Shakers. It is also because Kodama was really annoying with her celebrity quotes. Thank goodness. I guess she is too busy with her singing and acting career to even care about this. Good for her. Good for us. Phew. Isn’t it odd that Nagaoka and Mayumi had been missing for so long and thanks to plot convenience, they are finally found? Like WTF?! Thanks to the OVA, we get a shocking glimpse of how different Yukine’s character is. It’s like she’s a totally different person and can we say that motherhood changed her into a decent person and ‘freed’ her from that masochism? Reijirou still has that rage and short temper with him like forever, but Yukine is like a cool cat now. Yeah, parenting does change some people. Imagine how freaky if Yukiya sees his foster mom as some masochistic slut. Totally wack!

Action scenes are rather okay. Nothing really spectacular. Using CGI for Nimrods and some pretty abstract scenes in Ziggurat as excuse that you are in a different world. Yukiya’s irregular power sometimes feel like a convenience to the plot and action because otherwise how could he overcome more powerful and determined Hand Shakers? Ah, I see that is what it means to be an irregular. Since GoHands animate this sequel, it goes without saying that their trademark weird colour hues permeate every scene we see. I did say that this series feels like a guy anime because the guys look slightly better than the girls. Do you not see the female characters look a bit one kind? They’re like… Weird dolls… Like Tamari, WTF is this hippy hipster doll look? Same case for Yukine. She looks like a bisque doll or something.

Unfortunately music isn’t the main theme here. You can feel the same jazzy and bubbly vibe it has in the prequel. Not to say that they are bad but it is not as attractive as I would find them in K. And W’z seemingly only have hit song on his DJ music… Whatever. I hope he doesn’t become a one hit wonder. Opening theme, Reason by Ryohei Takenaka sounds like it is trying too hard while Kamisama Wa Kitto by Fuki as the ending theme sounds ill-fitting as a slow ballad. Yes, it’s calming in a way but it feels like in the aftermath of seeing God whatsoever. With the old Hand Shakers cast retained, lots of new ones joined this season that none I recognized. That bad, huh? They include Katsumi Fukuhara as Yukiya (Touya in Isekai Wa Smartphone To Tomo Ni), Akane Fujita as Haruka (Sagiri in Eromanga-sensei), Daisuke Namikawa as Nielsen (Rock in Black Lagoon), Atsumi Tanezaki as Hana (Miu in Blend S), Inori Minase as Senri (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Takuya Eguchi as Gai (Koikawa in Mushibugyou), Yoshinosuke Yamagami as Masataka, Toshiki Masuda as Midori (Kirishima in Boku No Hero Academia), Shunsuke Takeuchi as Seba (Yamato in Nanbaka) and Minami Takahashi as Tamari (Megumi in Shokugeki No Souma).

Overall, the sequel is still as disappointing as the prequel. The producers tried to make an original anime out of the Hand Shakers but I guess it is very certain that God didn’t grant their wish and turn this into a hit masterpiece. Boring plot and characters is more than enough to turn anyone off and drop this series like a rock. It must be amazing for me to stick through till the end thanks to all the thick skin of stubbornness that I have accumulated in watching animes like this over the years. Oh well, if they decided to surprise us and do a third season, then I have to admire their perseverance and aversion to failure. Because like Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Only those who dare fail greatly can ever achieve greatly”. “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing”, said Henry Ford. “Failure is good as long as it doesn’t become a habit”, said Michael Elsner. But still, it doesn’t take away the fact that this season is really wack and doesn’t mesh…

Main race is over. Some win, some lose. But if you aren’t satiated by the thrill of horse girls racing, be glad to know there are special extra episodes, Uma Musume: Pretty Derby – BNW No Chikai for you to bet extra money and quench that gambling thirst. Oops, I mean fulfil the excitement of watching these horse girls locked in close battle derbies. As its name implies, Team Spica isn’t going to be the main stars of these special episodes but a group of horse girls remembering their promise to run together always. That promise is put to the test when they have a fall out. Nothing like a little drama to put that friendship back together again via a big race, eh? Oh the power of (horse) friendship!

Special 1
Team Spica continue their usual training. Special Week is aiming to run at Summer Dream Trophy because she made a fool out of herself at the Winter Dream Trophy. Before the race started, she was talking to her rival and before you know it, they flag off and she was stranded. Trainer comes in with good news for his girls. They will be supervisors for the cultural festival! Uhm, actually doesn’t that mean he drew to short end of the stick? We see Team Spica going around to supervise, partially I feel it’s an excuse to introduce some of the other horse girls that will not make their cameo any more. But the focus is on Biwa Hayahide, Narita Taishin and Winning Ticket (the trio collectively known as BNW). They notice their strained relationship. When they go talk to Rudolf about it, she shows them a clip from the Japan Derby. A very close race between BNW that was eventually won by Ticket. It solidified their friendship-cum-rivalry. But now what? She is organizing a relay race between them. Team Spica isn’t particularly interested until Rudolf mentions the winning team gets free sweets for the whole year! You bet they’re going on a recruitment spree! While Hayahide accepts, Taishin and Ticket are not interested. I know some of Team Spica is desperate but resorting to dumb tricks that only make a fool out of themselves? Definitely not working. Timely reminder that Suzuka is currently away overseas so she calls Special Week to keep in touch. Hearing about this problem, this reminds them about the time Trainer lectured them about their rivalry during their training camp’s mock race. It gave them a lot of motivation. Now Special Week knows what to do. And that is to say the same exact lines from Trainer to Ticket! Word for word! So what happens when she finishes? Ticket not impressed… Oh sh*t… Better think fast… Because this is so comical, Ticket starts laughing. So it’s revealed perhaps their strained relationship originated from a race where Hayahide and Ticket was running. They were supposed to win but lost. Yeah. That. Taishin was out on an injury. Anyway, Special Week now in her own words mentions about her unfulfilled promise to Suzuka but she still loves her and hopes to fulfil that. Can the same be said for Ticket? With that, the next day Ticket joins them to help recruit members for the relay race.

Special 2
Scarlet goes around to interview the teams. Ticket’s team is doing fine. Even got the motto for motivation: Sweets into our mouth! Hayahide’s team are very technical. In a serious strategy meeting now, huh? Taishin’s team… Yeah, everybody is all over the place. Even if they put up some fake delusional spirit, it’s more of style than substance. And with special effects! The clincher: They don’t even know where Taishin is and think this is okay to get them running for the relay race! Scarlet wants to report this to Rudolf but seeing she has already given a good impression to the press, oh yeah, everything is going perfect! Scarlet finds Taishin who is just being a zombie to her Smartphone. Talking to her, looks like she’s not interested. Yeah, some trauma flashback. Whatever. Taishin still won’t enter and is considering retiring. Scarlet then tells Narita Brian about this and in turn she talks to Hayahide and Ticket. Yeah, remember those good times together? Later Brian talks to Taishin. Still won’t change her mind? Brian mentions about her own devastating lost that made her think deep she wanted to quit. She gives Taishin a charm and hopes she’ll come. Everyone’s waiting. Race day is here and Taishin is nowhere to be seen! Scarlet getting close to panicking. Better set out and look for that girl. Don’t want to fail spectacularly in Rudolf’s eyes. After all, she promised her she’ll see to it this race’s success till the end. And yeah, Broye is also attending this event. Don’t screw up now. How not to because Hayahide and Ticket are even cool about making Sun Visor as Taishin’s substitute! They think this is really going to fool everyone, huh? The relay race begins and I guess that’s why it’s a relay. So we have time for some drama and for a certain someone to make it… Anyway, this race isn’t confined to the stadium but across town. That’s why it’s just weird that they have to run through a train crossing?! It feels like Special Week got the raw end of the stick and needs to wait for the train to pass???!!! Some call it unfair, some call it strategy… Of course the anchors of the teams are BNW. They are interviewed about their chances so they hijack the mic to tell Taishin to come run. This is her place to run. Everyone’s waiting for you here! Yeah, enough to change her mind and start running back. Good thing she’s watching the TV, eh? And meanwhile another race is going on: Oguri Cap trying to finish 1000 bowls of ramen???!!! Damn, she’s eating faster than the ramen can be replenished!!!

Special 3
Thank goodness it must be a short train since Special Week is able to make up time. Because it won’t be fun if they turn it into a 2 horse race. As the interviewer interviews the leaders, Hayahide and Ticket try to change the topic. However she tries to interview ‘Taishin’ and is stumped she is staying silent. She is even going so far as to unhood her. It’ll be over if Sun Visor is busted. But thankfully Taishin arrives in time. I’m sure everybody is confused about Taishin not being at her starting position but what the heck, the real deal is here so let’s continue with the race. However there is another emergency. Hayahide suddenly becomes sick. Probably searching for that charm during the rain was the culprit. Oh Taishin, too late to blame yourself and trying to take responsibility. It’s already done. With Hayahide unable to run, Rudolf makes an announcement that the race will end when the relay reaches the anchors. That will be the finish line. Everyone is disappointed. But don’t worry. We’re not here to cheat your money. Because Brian will step in to replace Hayahide. She is after all her sister. Technically her name still covers for her team. So we see a very close race between the trio that has Taishin winning, Ticket in second and Brian coming in third. However! The judges start deliberating. Because Gold Ship went off course and accidentally took a short cut, hence Taishin’s team is disqualified. So does this mean the win goes to Ticket? Nope. When Special Week missed passing her sash to Vodka, Vodka took something else to replace it. Disqualified! So it’s Brian’s win? Also nope. Because McQueen is accused of blocking her opponent’s path. So… Nobody wins?! Yeah, Rudolf confirms it. Damn, is this the most disappointing race? But don’t worry. Even though BNW was unable to make their full proper appearance here, be happy to know they will be racing in the upcoming Osaka Hai race! I guess everybody can overlook this farce and look forward to this one. Probably Oguri Cap is the only legit winner after finishing her thousand bowls. Yeah, she looks like super pregnant… Finally we get to see BNW race together at Osaka Hai. Another close fight between the trio that has Hayahide winning. Great race. Won’t lose next time. But of course.

Run Of The Mill But Keep Running
Luckily I didn’t bet any money on any one of the teams so I didn’t lose. Haha! Anyway, these extra episodes don’t really add anything much to the main storyline as seen in the TV series. Because with Suzuka away overseas, it’s like the rivalry between her and Special Week is put on hiatus until the former returns. With that, they focus on BNW and if you’re a casual viewer like me, you’re wondering why the heck? Who the heck are they? Well, not like it is going to make any difference if they focus on other horse girls. Because again there are loads of other horse girls introduced here that don’t matter that it makes you wonder if it is actually relevant or not. I don’t remember if they are introduced in the TV series and even if they were, they’re just insignificant at least as far as this series go. My conspiracy theory is that there are many great race horses throughout the years in the Japanese horse racing derby. So in order not to have a few being left out, hence their cameo here just for some sort of tribute. There, here is the name of your favourite horse personified as a horse girl in this anime. Happy? Now, be gone!

Back to the main BNW trio themselves, I fail to see anything that would have made these special episodes, uhm, special. Sure, they have some sort of failure in the past. Hey, you can’t win every damn race you enter, right? One failure was enough to give Taishin some trauma and then it strained their relationship. Then plot convenience commands that they should get back together for the greater good because there are lots of fans who are still supporting her and them. Also probably lots of other people betting lots of money on her! Haha! So Taishin, you’re still young and healthy, don’t you even think of retiring after one moral zapping race lost! If I had to bet on one of the team, I would have chosen Ticket, because you know, it’s in her name, baby! With a name like that, how could you lose?! Oh wait. She didn’t win… Thank goodness I’m not addicted to gambling in any forms. Especially horse racing. On a trivial note, initially I saw the title as BMW! It would have been weird if those horse girls had that automaker’s speed and power for a race… Too weird.

Overall, fans of the series as well as the game should appreciate these extra episodes better. Casual viewers like me won’t find anything special and wonder what the fuss is all about. We’re probably here just to see the novelty of so many different horse girls and the strange racing cosplay because it is mind boggling how Hayahide, the one whose outfit looks so heavily dressed is the one who won the Osaka Hai race. I still believe if the horse girls wear appropriate attire like human female athletes, they would have run much faster. And Hayahide might have won by a few centimetres instead of a close photo finish. Just saying. Well, I also sometimes believe that even if you win, you still have to go out and win in style. Same for those who lose. Hey, at least you lose in style. Everybody wins. Horse girls win because they get to race with each other again. The fans win because they are entertained by all the horse girl racing action. Sponsors win because it brings in more revenue. Punters win because they made money from all the bets. Uhm, except maybe those who bet on the wrong horse and lost heavily. BNW: Bet, Nit, Wager…

RDG: Red Data Girl

July 21, 2019

Every day, we stray further and further away from God and His path of light. With today’s era of modern society, it seems people have become less and less religious. Blame technology? Blame the changing of societal norms? Blame us being typically humans. Well, I’m not here to lecture and preach to everybody on how everyone should go back being religious because yours truly is also as guilty as hell in not doing any hourly/daily/weekly/monthly/yearly prayers. So it’s not like I felt guilty or empty or something that I decided to go watch this somewhat spiritually associated RDG: Red Data Girl. Heck, I thought it was something to do with the internet or IT. You know, some sort of hacker girl thingy. How wrong I was. Instead… Girl with spiritual powers. A vessel for a powerful goddess. People targeting her. Boy-cum-childhood friend tasked to protect her. Will love come in between? And I’m not talking about the love for God kind.

Episode 1
Izumiko Suzuhara wants a change. So she just slightly cuts her bangs and the whole sleepy village notices and is in shock. Yeah. Those nasty boys at school even mock her that the ‘shrine has got a new roof’. During computer lessons, Izumiko decides to try and use one. Previously anything electronic she touches go haywire. Will this time be different? Suddenly she manages to do a video conference with her dad, Daisei? Wow. The internet must be damn good at that time for them to speak so smoothly in real time. It seems Izumiko is against going to Houjou Academy in Tokyo and she doesn’t want him to decide her life if he can’t even attend her PTA today (I guess he got swamped with work in good ol’ America). Then he notices her bangs. Things get weirder and trippy. Izumiko panics to cut off the power. Suddenly the entire school faces a blackout. Hope you saved your work. Izumiko starts crying, blaming herself for this outage. Even more shocking that Yukimasa Sagara, an acquaintance of Daisei flies in with his helicopter to pick Izumiko up. You mean dad made this emergency call???!!! Yukimasa explains that her hair may have spiritual powers and she doesn’t have to worry if everything around her has changed. It hasn’t. Only her. Because she cut her bangs, right? Damn, Izumiko is taken to a hospital for a full scan and check-up. This must be really a big deal.

When she returns, she meets Yukimasa’s son, Miyuki. But he is not too pleased to meet this plain Jane bespectacled braided ‘goddess’. You can say he hates her. He isn’t also happy that he is the backup plan for all this. Yeah, they haven’t seen each other for 10 years. Yukimasa assures he won’t marry them off. Their status will not allow it. The most he would become is he manservant and that he will be by her side until he dies. Originally the plan was for her to meet up with them at Tokyo but since she didn’t want that, they will follow with her plan to go to a local high school. Izumiko’s fate is to be raised protected from the world. Whether or not she knows about it doesn’t matter, this is their matter to handle. Miyuki will not accept all this and leaves. But after Yukimasa brings him back, he is all messed up and bruised from a fall. The damning thing is how Miyuki is a changed guy! He has regretted the err of his ways and will transfer here. Later that night, Izumiko talks to Miyuki and knows he didn’t want to do this. Certainly. Miyuki only agreed since Yukimasa threatened to kill him. That guy is crazy. Telling others won’t do any good as he is the one calling the shots. Miyuki adds how much he hates people like Izumiko since she is unable to think for herself. She tries to deny and some flashback of how Miyuki ‘bullied’ her to make her strong but she remained a weakling cry-baby. Izumiko doesn’t think she is special too and that is the only thing that Miyuki agrees with her. Next day, Miyuki introduces himself as a new transfer student in Izumiko’s class.

Episode 2
The school will be having a field trip to Tokyo and Izumiko is uneasy about it. Because, crowds. The only guy in school whom Izumiko feels comfortable with, Satoru Wamiya shares the same sentiments with her that he doesn’t like Miyuki. He hopes they can go to the local high school together. Izumiko receives a handphone gift from her mom, Yukariko. Hope the reception here is good. Miyuki doesn’t like Izumiko bugging him but with Yukariko’s letter, he thinks this is the only person whom Yukimasa will listen to. It seems mom wants to meet up with her at Tokyo. But she lacks confidence and wants him to do it on her behalf. He snaps back what if Yukariko doesn’t want to speak to him? In that case, she’ll go. But he has to come along. Can he say no? Izumiko has a bad feeling during the flight and upon touchdown at the airport. She looks pale and sick. It is believed the dark shadows are bad people and there could be some targeting her. They can’t chicken out now as they have to meet Yukariko at the designated place. But as they wait, she didn’t show up. A message comes in saying she can’t make it as she has been spotted. Possibly the people who are after her. She suggests that they come to her house since there is a barrier. As they make haste, weird things seem to happen like as though it is trying to stop them. Like the turnstile suddenly stop functioning and the trains too. Oh dear. Japan’s trains are going to be late! Even the taxi brings them to the wrong street. Yeah, it’s raining heavier. With the electricity around them being cut off, Miyuki too can’t help feel paranoid. Izumiko now really feels scared as something ominous is approaching her. She doesn’t want him to chant an exorcism but to hold her hand. But as the ominous shadow approaches… Yukimasa???!!! Miyuki doesn’t believe he is the real deal but Yukimasa points out Izumiko recognized him and her fear of him proves he is the real deal! WTF???!!! No wonder Miyuki is mad. Izumiko insists she felt something bad. That’s not Yukimasa and probably those bad people who are targeting her. He adds they won’t find Yukariko at home but she provided her place for them to rest safely.

In her house as Izumiko rests, Yukimasa explains about Yukariko always away and working hard to draw attention away from Izumiko. Miyuki still accuses Yukimasa of doing something fishy to Izumiko and perhaps he is the reason why Yukariko stayed away thanks to his presence. Yukimasa doesn’t blame her as it is their nature. There are many people who want to use such powers for their own benefit. Even mountain monks like them. Through ancient times, mountain monks have received powers via training but they have always been women. Miyuki felt nothing from Izumiko as her powers aren’t awaken yet. Miyuki doesn’t think he is up to the job. If he wants to protect Izumiko, by all means do it himself. Suddenly Izumiko appears before them in a kimono. However it is not her. It is Himegami possessing her. Immediately Yukimasa bows before her. It seems Izumiko’s body is to be her vessel but it feels too uncomfortable to inhabit her now. She just came down to check things out after feeling some change. Himegami warns that Izumiko will be her last vessel as she could no longer move forward. Himegami withdraws and Izumiko returns to normal, unaware of what just happened. Yukimasa assures her that her memories will return in time. Miyuki realizes Izumiko is part of a lineage of living vessels. Yukimasa agrees that this burden is too big for Miyuki to handle. He gives him the option to get out and even transfer out from school. Miyuki not happy? Isn’t this what he wanted?

Episode 3
Izumiko explains during her time being possessed. It felt strange like as though she is watching herself. Miyuki now realizes why Yukimasa did all this with great importance and that his real goal is Himegami and not Izumiko. Izumiko’s friends must be considerate. Realizing that Wamiya didn’t come on the field trip, they bought souvenirs for him but have Izumiko give it to him. She does so but Wamiya notices she has changed. He regrets she went to a filthy place like Tokyo. He reminds her she can’t leave here and noting that she now doesn’t hate Miyuki as much as before, he will eliminate him. Hence a few guys go pick a fight with him. It seems they are under Wamiya’s control and they’re really about to get dangerous when they pull out a knife. Luckily, Shingo Nonomura, Izumiko’s driver safely knocks them out and has Miyuki come with them. Miyuki tells Izumiko that there is no such classmate as Wamiya. An ominous presence starts chasing them as Izumiko realizes that it could be partly her fault that Wamiya is doing this. The shadow catches up and crashes the car. Thankfully all survive but Nonomura is stuck. Wamiya shows his face and for the first time Miyuki sees him. Just a normal middle school student. He admits so. As long as Izumiko wishes. As Wamiya has existed in the mountains for a long time without a form, she could only see him after cutting her bangs. He is born out of her wishes. A friend who would understand her. And since she created him, he will not allow her to easily abandon him. Nonomura wants Miyuki to use his staff in the trunk but he is unconfident since he lacks experience. Wamiya wants Izumiko to go to the local high school and she doesn’t have a choice. Otherwise he will kill her. Miyuki wants Izumiko to do just that. Better than dying. However she won’t do that. This isn’t like him. So she confronts Wamiya that if he is from he wishes, obey her. Stop being selfish or she’ll hate him and leave the mountains for good. With that, Wamiya disappears.

In hospital, Nonomura explains Wamiya could be a familiar of a goddess. He had enough powers to go berserk once she realized his form but luckily she managed to control him before it was too late. He assures Wamiya isn’t destroyed but is waiting for a chance to meet again. Izumiko decides to go to Houjou. Miyuki promises to hone his powers there since that place gathers people like them. He will transfer there and tell her what it’s like. Wamiya pops up again but this time he seeks to be dissolved. Since Izumiko first summoned him via mountain top dance that she thought it was some exercise, that same ritual will dissolve him. Izumiko dons her miko outfit as she realizes the reason why she summoned him in the first place. She wanted someone to understand the real her. She was afraid of others looking at her and embarrassed at them seeing her as she is since she can’t accept herself. She starts off her dance and this captivates Miyuki. For once she doesn’t think she is that useless. Wamiya is satisfied and disappears into the wind. 6 months down the road, Izumiko arrives at Houjou and is greeted by Miyuki. He advises her to keep her powers a secret since she is one of the few who got accepted without taking any entrance exam. Izumiko meets her roommate, Mayura Souda who instantly takes a liking for this cute girl.

Episode 4
Mayura introduces Izumiko to her twin brother, Manatsu. His passion is horses but thanks to him, Mayura manages to get into Houjou without sitting for an exam. Mayura further explains that they aren’t exactly twins but triplets. There was a third one but died when they were young. Izumiko gets anxious around the top student and student council candidate, Ichijou Takayanagi. It’s because he looks very similar to Wamiya. However he gives off this creepy feeling and sounds like an arrogant jerk. Izumiko is in a separate class from Mayura. She is in the same class with Manatsu, though. Izumiko has that anxious feeling again as she could see those ominous shadows. Today she is on contacts and only know she remembers why her mom gave her glasses? To protect her from seeing things? Anyway, Izumiko is afraid as she points out to Manatsu about that shadow sitting at the back of the class. Since he can’t see, he points that person out as Ricardo, the Brazilian transfer student. A couple of girls give Izumiko a website that is made by Takayanagi. They give her a password to access it and the site supposedly has some fortune telling readings. Izumiko has the misfortune to make eye contact with Ricardo. He approaches her and wants to meet at the AV room. She agrees just to make him go away. It got so bad that Izumiko ran all the way to Miyuki’s class for help. He hears her out and wants her to see through that promise. You know, Japanese people are good in keeping the promise they make, right?

Izumiko enters the AV room. Why the hell was Ricardo sitting there in the dark? The first thing he asks her if she is human. Suddenly Takayanagi performs a few quick exorcisms on Izumiko. He is glad she is human. Miyuki sees this and calls it bullying. Then he fires his spiritual arrow at Ricardo and instantly turns him into dust. With this, Takayanagi knows their identities. A mountain aesthetic and a spirit vessel. He claims he is not even in his league. After he leaves, Mayura pops out from hiding and she has watched the whole thing. She deduces that Takayanagi is a spirit user and Ricardo must be his spirit agent. She claims she has the same mountain monk training as Miyuki but can’t control spirits the way Takayanagi does. She believes there is some sort of importance for Takayanagi to be the school’s top student. Izumiko remembers the website so they go check it out. The moment she keys in the password, a curse explodes in their face! Though, Mayura bore most of the brunt. But thankfully she still lives and just got away with her left eye needing some bandage. Izumiko blames herself for this so Mayura lightens up the mood by teasing her that it could be Takayanagi’s way of saying that Miyuki and Izumiko are a couple because in the past, mountain monks and miko priestesses often marry. Manatsu comes in and scolds Mayura for being reckless. This makes her cry as she was scared. Izumiko thinks for herself that she never did this as she never pushed herself before. With Miyuki also here, it seems the guys want to settle this tonight. The twins do say some prayers before they go meet Masumi.

Episode 5
Masumi is their dead triplet actually. Though, he materializes as a cross-dresser? With him around, this means Takayanagi has to show up. Indeed. He doesn’t think that was a curse and was just some sort of influence that repels malice at him back at her. Takayanagi uses some binding spell on Manatsu but he easily breaks out. He has Ricardo fight him but Manatsu easily frees the souls that bind into Ricardo. Takayanagi becomes scared that the spirits will haunt him but Manatsu doesn’t care. Takayanagi realizes he isn’t human. Turns out to be Masumi in disguise. With Takayanagi scared sh*t, Masumi gives him a few soft slaps as warnings. In the aftermath, Takayanagi took down the website and gave up on the elections to be the student council president. To cover for Ricardo’s disappearance, it is officially stated he went back to Brazil. Izumiko feels glad to have come here and meet many people who are more special than her. Things seem to be going good between Izumiko and Miyuki when Yukimasa has to pop up. It seems he is now a part time teacher at Houjou. Damn, Miyuki in a bad mood again. But all the other girls swooning over this new hot teacher. In order to avoid being associated with him, Miyuki avoids Izumiko too. She feels sad about it although she realizes that this is to be expected. She has always been alone in the first place and didn’t really lose anything. Later Izumiko talks to Yukimasa about his transfer here. It seems he is doing an experiment to see which students gathered here are to be saved for humanity’s future. You see, there is a decline in humans who have spiritual powers and once this endangered species becomes extinct, Earth will no longer tolerate humanity. This experiment is to avoid that.

Miyuki wants to join the student council executive body and Izumiko won’t have any problems with that. Just that he asked Mayura for help and they seemed so friendly with each other. Sad girl feels so sad that she runs away somewhere alone to hang out. As she sings to calm herself down, she attracts the attention of the current student council president, Jean Honoka Kisaragi. She is practising traditional Japanese arts and brings her to see Hodaka Murakami who is supposedly the school’s first student council president. Meanwhile the former student council president, Mikoto Kanzaki asks Miyuki about Izumiko. Because it seems the shadow student council president has taken an interest in her. Because in reality the true student council president has not changed. Hodaka wants Izumiko to show her dancing but she feels shy. He puts makeup on her and says it is some sort of spell to show her true nature. Even so, she is still reluctant. Luckily Miyuki barges in to stop this farce. Izumiko is confused because he was keeping his distance and now he is concerned for her? Yes, but this doesn’t mean she could hang out with just anybody and should’ve just went straight to Yukimasa had she needed help. Yeah, they sound like lovers quarrelling. When Izumiko realizes she wanted to tell Miyuki something, that is when Himegami takes over. She claims to have seen Hodaka before hundreds of years ago. She warns him he cannot be the judge but Izumiko is the one to choose. She then has Miyuki take her hand. She has a task for him: Prevent her from being created and Izumiko must not become a goddess. Otherwise humans will perish at her hands. By the time Izumiko wakes up, Miyuki and Hodaka just finished making a pact in keeping this a secret. Hodaka welcomes her here if she ever needs advice but please come alone. Miyuki tries to play down his worth and not to expect much from him. Sure. She might not know what the future lies for her but is glad he came for her.

Episode 6
The friends are on the way back to Mayura’s house for the holidays. Izumiko learns from Mayura about Masumi’s death anniversary around the corner. Apparently he slept and never woke up. After the funeral, when the family moved from Togakushi to Nagano, his name became taboo. Since their mom is a normal person, she can’t see Masumi. While having BBQ at night, Izumiko got drunk because there is liquor in the fruit punch. Wait a minute. There are kids here and they put liquor in the fruit punch bowl? Wow. Izumiko so happy. Like on drugs. Until she passes out. When she wakes up, everyone is asleep. She thinks this is a dream when she answers Masumi’s call. Izumiko floating down like a ghost?! Man, this might be a dream. He asks if they can date and Izumiko (still feeling the effects of being drunk) wonders he knows what that means. He believes she’ll find out when she gets to Togakushi. It seems that Izumiko is also part of the student council body as an executive. Mayura organizes a trip for the body at Togakushi to discuss things. However Rena Akinokawa accuses Mayura of having ulterior motives. Because near Togakushi, the history club is also having their camp and it is no secret the club is a big fan club of Mayura. She thinks Mayura is trying to get them to join the body. Mayura doesn’t intend this so Kisaragi puts it nicely that they don’t want any power struggles within the body since the student council is supposed to be neutral judges.

Later Izumiko asks Mayura about her reasons for fighting Takayanagi. She explains she dislikes sorcerers and ninjas because her ancestors were temple priests and Togakushi was a ninja village. She knew about her fan club but chose not to do anything. What is important the student council maintaining their neutrality. Since she knew Izumiko met Hodaka, Takayanagi might have also met him. At first she thought Houjou will have 2 factions battling for supremacy at the cultural festival but there will now be a third force, a vacuum zone. There might be people who are testing Takayanagi’s abilities. It seems the winner of this whatever battle gets to be a candidate for World Heritage. It has lots of benefits for the winner and those around. Because Izumiko isn’t in the loop of this, Mayura talks to Miyuki if he intends to surpass Takayanagi in terms of his spiritual powers. Because those who can foil his tricks can only surpass him in grades. He claims he doesn’t want the top spot and joined the body just to be neutral. This is why he invited them to join too. As for the partner programme that seemingly only them who are using, Mayura believes it was created to favour Takayanagi and his spirit agent. That’s why she wants to know if Miyuki will participate in the battle or not. As she would like Izumiko as her ally, she must settle her case with him first before she goes after Takayanagi. She is going to test his powers now as she summons several tengu spirits.

Episode 7
Miyuki must guess which one of them is Masumi and break out from this special layer. The tengu start attacking and since Izumiko can’t bear to see this anymore, she tells him Masumi is the one standing next to him and not Manatsu. Yeah, Miyuki seemed like a wuss fending off the attacks. Then they realize Izumiko is missing. Luckily Masumi finds her and it seems she is scared not because she could see him but couldn’t see herself. She feels bad for not expecting much from Miyuki and yet talk lowly of him before Mayura. She thinks Miyuki would have been completely normal if not for her. Izumiko returns to the group. She learns the tengu are just the history club guys playing along with Mayura’s plans. Though she put them up to this, they are unaware of Masumi. On the way back, Manatsu gets a devastating call that Tabi, an old horse whom he is fond of is dying. He needs to return but Mayura doesn’t share the same sentiments. She can’t let him go back alone as she cannot leave this camp she organized. Manatsu insists he will return alone (Tabi > this tabi (trip) Haha! Oops…) and will have Masumi take his place. Yeah, Masumi looks like a little kid experiencing his first field trip. So fun! Back at the inn and after dinner, Kisaragi and Akinokawa put up a song and dance. It seems Kisaragi sensed an unusual spirit possessing one of them and this dance is to protect them and expel the spirit. A short blackout occurs before the lights come back on. However everyone notices ‘Manatsu’ and Miyuki missing. Oh, they’re just hiding. Gotcha! Did that scare you? Later Izumiko talks to Miyuki and confirms that Masumi was indeed expelled from the room. He went with him so as he would not be alone. However he finds it weird as Masumi is supposed to be stronger here.

With Mayura getting worried about Manatsu and Tabi’s time is drawing closer, Masumi suggests she go there and tell what she disagrees with and get it over with. However Mayura takes this as Masumi siding with Manatsu as he doesn’t care about her feelings. He points out if they come to think of him differently, he won’t be able to stay as he is. Because their wills are as one, Masumi is who he is. Izumiko and Miyuki offer to go bring Manatsu back. Upon reaching the stable, they learn that Tabi has died this morning. They see Manatsu cleaning Tabi’s stable. It seems he didn’t die a natural death and Manatsu put him to sleep via lethal injection. As Tabi couldn’t get up anymore, its own weight will crush its own organs and cause a lot of pain. Perhaps that’s why he didn’t want to call Mayura and worry her. During this time, Manatsu has thought a lot. Especially how humans have the power to end things instead of waiting for nature to take its course. This brings to the issue of Mayura doesn’t understand that she cannot forever live with him and Masumi. Hence he feels the time has come to end it while he has the power to decide. Surprisingly, Mayura pops up. She isn’t happy about his plan to end things. She knows he is sad and when so, it is natural she will go to him. But he disagrees he isn’t sad that Tabi is gone. He is sad that with Tabi not around, he has to face himself. They can’t keep regarding each other as the most important person in their lives. And then Manatsu runs away riding on Tabi’s spirit?! WTF???!!! Later Mayura gets a message from Manatsu that he will become like Masumi. That way he will forever stay with her. Mayura is distraught as she calls dad about Masumi taking Manatsu away.

Episode 8
Mayura’s father talks to Miyuki and Izumiko. However they have no idea of what Masumi did so father mentions that he too can’t see Masumi and because the twins can only summon Masumi, their mom hates it when they call his name as it goes against a mother’s intuition. Later Mayura talks to Izumiko about Manatsu having the same heart defect that caused Masumi’s abrupt death. That’s why mom refuses to remember Masumi. She knew Manatsu is closer to Masumi than her but never thought he would leave her to be with him. She wanted to become the top student so Manatsu can live longer. Izumiko then talks to Miyuki if he could summon Himegami. As she can’t talk to her in that state, only he can do it. There are risks and they’re afraid but if they don’t do anything, Manatsu will disappear for real. So I guess it isn’t as simple as undoing her braids. Nothing happens. Maybe bad reception? So summoning a goddess is like a handphone? As Izumiko moves, suddenly she enters into a different dimension. She sees Masumi who thinks it is better for Mayura to cry now than later. Because the longer they stay together, the more she will grieve when they are gone. He thinks Mayura would choose Manatsu over Masumi and if that’s the case, it’s better to be one. Izumiko has Masumi lead him to where Manatsu is. He is currently trapped behind a celestial rock. She tries to talk to him but unless he wills it, nothing will reach him. Hence Izumiko decides to dance to expel him, getting the idea from Kisaragi’s dance. As she does so and tells how much everyone will be so happy if she comes back, suddenly Manatsu tells her not to do it. Wait. So this Masumi is actually Manatsu? He warns her if she opens the rock, Masumi will come through and will be different. It was his plant to break the celestial rock and escape. Miyuki and Mayura find them. Mayura hugs her brother seeing she is too tired to punch him.

However they have to run seeing the rock is breaking. Couldn’t have Manatsu realized a bit sooner that he and Masumi are different and shouldn’t become one? Too late. This giant fish god is breaking out. Miyuki defends clumsy Izumiko as he sprouts black angelic wings?! However he knows he can’t fight this thing and Himegami agrees. She is not possessing Izumiko and her own entity. She says a few chants to have this fish god go back to slumber. Izumiko asks if Himegami can remain separate from her so they can talk. However Himegami claims she knows nothing and should ask her mother. When they return to reality, Yukariko is before them. It was her that Himegami possessed her. Izumiko understands why they can’t meet often as Himegami is always with her. Yukariko believes they will face a real trial in the future and although Izumiko believes herself as still weak, that is why Yukariko remains strong to protect her. However this cannot last forever. Manatsu returns to his family and the case is solved. Back in their hometown, Miyuki wants Izumiko to summon Wamiya. She couldn’t. It is believed her getting distorted by Masumi made it impossible. During the camp, a talking raven came into his room. It is believed to be Wamiya and hence Kisaragi’s dance expelling him then and also those black wings he sprouted. Miyuki believes if they are going to follow her, they need to join forces. Then he asks why Wamiya look like Takayanagi. Is it because she likes boys who look like that?! WTF???!!! What was he trying to say???!!! That sure escalated quickly!!!

Episode 9
The student council decides the theme for the cultural festival will be a Sengoku one. And something about the need to have a few models dressing up as that. I can guess who… Later Izumiko is being approached by Takayanagi. He wants her and Miyuki to join his side instead of Mayura. During the festival, the school’s barrier will be down and there will be lots of ‘outsiders’ visiting. He gives her time to think but Izumiko passes out when she hears strange voices calling for her. She is safe in the infirmary thanks to Yukimasa being such a qualified nurse too. He mentions about the upcoming experiment so she wonders if he is referring to her or Himegami. She doesn’t think so since they’re both different. Yukimasa replies that she may be the one to be unveiled as Himegami and probably the last goddess. This has Izumiko think that Miyuki probably wanted to accept her as a normal girl but seeing he is dedicated to serving Himegami, that will never happen. Later Miyuki talks to Izumiko about being part of the backstage crew. Although it is some normal dress, it seems she still has to undo her braids. She is confident from Togakushi that Himegami won’t appear just because they are undone. Hence Miyuki teachers her a simple spell for self-protection. Izumiko sees Hodaka in disguise. He is here to see the preparations and believes the scales might be tip to Mayura’s favour seeing how she treats Izumiko. With one of the models having urgent business, this means Izumiko is now roped in to be her replacement. Mayura warns her that Takayanagi’s supporters might be doing this although there is no concrete proof. As she gets dressed, she has to undo her braids and this has her thinking if this is a ploy to make it easier to draw out Himegami. The models take the stage as everyone is fascinated with the Sengoku costume and snaps away. Izumiko feeling a bit queasy but I guess that angry look on Miyuki’s face that he didn’t expect this to happen tells it all.

Later as Miyuki nags to Izumiko about doing something risky, he didn’t realize that Himegami has possessed her! Even with her braids still intact! Himegami is very satisfied she can move in this body freely. When Miyuki warns her not to appear whenever she wants, she warns him back if he doesn’t treat her kindly, there will be divine punishment. That shut him up. Miyuki accompanies her for the rest of the day. He asks about the state of Izumiko but Himegami doesn’t care. She also tells him to drop talking about another woman as she doesn’t like it. Don’t ruin her vibe. How does she like it if she talks about Yukimasa? Well, she has a point. At the mountain shrines, Himegami talks about how there is nothing here but a vengeful spirit that is herself. She had regrets. After all, she singlehandedly exterminated humanity. When she lost her body, she travelled back in time and wanted help. Someone who could understand her. Not for destruction but for the future. When she returned from an experiment over a thousand years ago, she was declared a World Heritage but the future didn’t change. This is the third time she is going through this experiment and each time her body gets frail and she is gradually forgetting who she is. She might not be able to make it to the fourth time. Her power was so great that in the second experiment, she was killed and stored as a specimen. Her powers put her in conflict with humans as her allegiance is to the planet. She is searching for people who can stop her. That is what Yukimasa and Yukariko are working towards. Miyuki wants time to think so Himegami points out he is like Wamiya. Because of that Togakushi incident, Wamiya resides inside him. Himegami summons him out just to prove. Miyuki wants her to leave Izumiko’s body. Can he force her out? After a few chants, he hugs her and pouring his heart into his feelings for her to come back. Is this impromptu?

Episode 10
Izumiko cries in Mayura’s arms. She is lost on what to do after discovering about Himegami being some destructive force and even Miyuki was scared. She fears she may stop being herself. As the festival gets underway, the model who ditched the job on Izumiko, she approaches her again with her friends. Their reason for that was because whoever does so will be cursed. Since nothing happened to Izumiko, they hope she can be their model for the parade again. They would have taken her away had not Miyuki tell them off. Just hold the parade without a model. Then he lectures Izumiko about being pushed around by younger people. She hits back that he too was doing the same to Himegami. Though he claims he was desperate to bring her back. He explains Himegami doesn’t descent to cause disasters and appears because she wants to avoid them. She just needs someone to talk to. Izumiko wonders if he prefers to spend more time with Himegami than her. Because Izumiko also doesn’t like him talking about other women, that one line has Miyuki thinking both of them are the same?! There’s an incident where several people collapsed after the visit to the haunted house. Isn’t that a success? They are resting in the infirmary, though. Oh never mind. Miyuki and Izumiko investigate just in case. As Izumiko wanders around, we can see ghosts following her. Until they really pop up before her and want to take her away. She manages to run to Miyuki. He asks about not using the self-protection charm. Because she pities them?

Then they visit the infirmary. Wow. A long line of women. Is it that bad? Yup. They’re here to get ‘examined’ by Yukimasa. Damn that guy… Yukimasa talks to Izumiko as she explains the ghosts she saw. Yukimasa seems to want to blame Miyuki for being useless but Izumiko tries not to. So he advises her not to have careless sympathy. He puts a better spell on her. Miyuki blows his top at him that he gets away with everything in the name of Himegami. Yukimasa brushes him off for not making use of the chances. They are shocked to hear Izumiko will be put on several layers after the festival and Miyuki can only talk to her directly while in school. That wasn’t the original plan but Himegami can change her mind. Although Miyuki is not entirely mad at this, he knows Yukimasa has an ulterior motive. Yukimasa might not know Izumiko well but he certainly knows his son. Kisaragi knows that fellow student council member, Yoshiki Hayakawa is making bets for the popularity contest. He wants to have fun and make money while he can. Hayakawa then talks to Mayura and Izumiko. Since Takayanagi will be on the offensive team for tomorrow’s big battle, it is only logic that Mayura will be on the defending team. Mayura feels he has an ulterior motive so Hayakawa says he has the ability to predict the future. Mayura then sees the point of all this. She realizes he is an ally to her as he is from Togakushi. All Hayakawa can do now is set the table. He warns Takayanagi has set something up in school so be careful. Izumiko sees Masumi and it seems he can still hang around without his siblings summoning him. They talk about love but Masumi has a different version of it. Like when he sees a lonely ghost, he eats it to be as one with it. That’s love, right? Well… He leaves her hanging as he mentions he felt some magic in school. But nothing that couldn’t be taken care of.

Episode 11
The friends look around to see if Takayanagi had planted anything suspicious. So far nothing. But when the thought that he might use something not human, Izumiko feels there are strange beings hiding so the guys check it out and find a vial. They believe this is Takayanagi’s doing since he is from the chemistry club. On the last day of the festival, Miyuki gives Izumiko her handphone that he has been keeping all this while. Hope she doesn’t break it. They realize Takayanagi has upped them with a floating balloon from the chemistry club. As they head to their respective posts for the battle, Izumiko has the misfortune to run into Takayanagi and his ‘friends’. Yeah, he summoned a few new spirit agents. He tries to accuse Masumi as the crueller one as he was the one who ‘killed’ Ricardo and that Mayura’s views of the world are narrow. He also tells her about the increase in foreigners at Houjou because of the belief in this era that the west and east need to bridge together and build a common ideology. Izumiko feels scared at first but then finds him not as scary as he thought it would be. Meanwhile Miyuki is rushing towards Izumiko. He realizes there is a spell casted because he cannot reach her. He summons Wamiya to take care of this but he claims that this spell is made by Izumiko. She told him not to come, right? Izumiko finds herself watching one of the battles going on. Once it’s over, this foreigner girl brings her to see Takayanagi as she explains how much she loves Japanese culture and hence why she likes Takayanagi. Izumiko is horrified to see lots of ghosts among the crowd although she is assured they will bring no harm.

Mayura finds Miyuki thinking hard. He believes Takayanagi has set something up and if Izumiko switches side, it will be bad for them. Mayura reminds him about their most important people. She proposes he pretends to be her fiancé. Acquaintances of her family are here to see them and they expect her to be married. In reality she can’t. It’s the same for Miyuki and Izumiko. They can’t be a couple. Because Izumiko said they can’t be together as she would be troubling him, that is why he can’t tell his true feelings to her. Hence they both need an official front. For now, they attend to pressing matters. As the defence side is losing, Mayura has Masumi cover for her and thanks to him, he blows away whatever spell that was suppressing their luck. Izumiko is in the company of Takayanagi and co. They talk about layers and phases. Especially Takayanagi who proclaims he is doing this because they need to seal away dangerous things and set up this world as a place humans can control. As he has known her a bit, he hopes he could study her. What if she refuses? He believes she is now their ally. Izumiko felt confused a calm for a while but when Takayanagi mentions Miyuki’s name, that is when Izumiko remembers him. How could she have forgotten him? She does the chant to break the spell. Must be a great spell since a storm is kicking up. With Izumiko being assertive that she won’t be controlled, Takayanagi tries to calm her down (though, he still wants to persuade her to join his side). She accuses him of using non-humans for his own purposes and won’t stand for this. With the spirit agents blown away, Izumiko realizes she has blown her cover and remembers the warning to keep a low profile. She worries she will now be targeted. It’s that fear of others looking at her again. A small earthquake shakes the place.

Episode 12
Mayura could also felt that Masumi disappeared. All electronic devices go dead after the earthquake. Miyuki is surprised to see Nonomura here. He warns him that Himegami as foreshadowed, Izumiko will awaken today. He passes him a staff. Miyuki and Manatsu head to where Izumiko supposedly is. They find the porch looking strange. Saying a few prayers, they enter another layer to see Takayanagi’s lackeys. And Takayanagi himself turned into a dog! Cute? Yeah, divine punishment from Izumiko for using ghosts! However Izumiko has ventured into another layer and as Wamiya says, she might not want to come back. Manatsu also realizes Masumi is over in the other layer. He has changed the most among the triplets. Because now there is someone whom he loves more than his siblings: Izumiko. Meanwhile we see Izumiko alone, contemplating of never returning to the human world again. Masumi talks to her and he is fine that Mayura has Manatsu. With Izumiko claiming she is no longer human, Masumi disagrees otherwise and humans like her are almost extinct. In short, he confesses he likes her. Miyuki will go get Izumiko but wants Manatsu to stay with Mayura in fear that she will fall apart if Manatsu disappears. But Takayanagi must come with Miyuki so as to apologize and bring her back. In the next layer, they must fight through hordes of ghosts to get to the next layer. But as Wamiya points out, there are many more to come. The problem is not the ghosts and the number of layers but if he has the strong will to get through each layer. Otherwise he can be doing this forever and still not each her. But if he gives up, he can easily return to reality. Manatsu returns to Mayura to tell what has happened. She gets worried since she hasn’t settled things with Takayanagi. Manatsu tells her to stop competing. At this rate they’ll drag and hurt others like Izumiko. Miyuki remembers his reply to Mayura. He doesn’t mind being her fiancé but thinks they shouldn’t do it as it would hurt others close to them no matter how successful the plan is.

Masumi hopes Izumiko can give him a chance to make her happy but she is somewhat hesitant and confused. As Miyuki fights the hordes of ghosts to get to the next layer, I guess it’s time to think out of the box. He calls Izumiko via handphone. Yeah, there’s reception here! Izumiko picks up and he tells her to call for him. She does so and what pops out from her handphone is Wamiya. The familiar says Masumi has lost and don’t be too greedy. Now scram. Then he turns into Miyuki. She admits she was afraid because she found out she is Himegami and didn’t want people to see her. Hence she was hiding. But after Miyuki and Wamiya came for her, she felt better. Miyuki wants her to tell him if she needs anything. Being a goddess is too much of a burden to bear and he’ll help her become one who won’t destroy humanity. However she fears doing so would mean the end so Miyuki hugs her. Takayanagi makes a sincere apology and admits that balloon stunt had some hallucinatory spells. Izumiko is unsure if he can turn him back but Wamiya points out the powers she has that she is unaware of. In reality, everyone is shocked to see ghosts streaming by. Masumi returns to Mayura and vows to protect her. Well, he got rejected so I guess that’s that. Izumiko starts her dance to purify the spells. In the aftermath, we see Hodaka reporting that Izumiko has become the top student and hence a candidate for World Heritage. Izumiko can’t give Miyuki an answer yet but will forever remember how he came for her when she was about to lose herself. She is shocked when he touches her but he just passed out from exhaustion.

Red Data Retention: Spiritual Data Overload!
So I guess mankind gets to live a little longer? Was Himegami’s prediction off? Not surprising as she said she was losing herself so it wouldn’t be surprising if Izumiko didn’t awaken as her at the end of the festival. So is this called a successful failure? Not really sure about the future but as far as the end of the anime is concerned, Izumiko returns to herself with Miyuki by her side. Therefore looking on the bright side of things, all is well, ends well. For now.

As I’m not really into the spiritual theme of things, hence I find it a bit hard to follow some of the storyline and subplots which this series seems to try and cram in a few. The bigger picture looks like if humanity deserves another second chance to exist and hence the smaller subplots include seeing Izumiko taking on a journey if she would be awakened as Himegami’s vessel. It’s rather okay about these subplots of subjugating Wamiya as her familiar, that problem with Masumi and that rivalry with Takayanagi but like I said, these feels like distraction to the bigger plot of Himegami’s awakening. Thus at the end, I was a bit confused to it all. Sure, the festival ended without anything disastrous or untoward but from a long shot, everything is still far by over. Especially when there are other greedy people who harbour such intentions to own that kind of power Izumiko has for their own. I thought that would be a storyline somewhere here but it ended in this Houjou festival thingy. But I suppose that is the story for next time. Next season. Not likely. It’s been years since…

I find it interesting that special people with spiritual powers are now considered endangered species in this anime. So they’re treating such humans as animals now? Hence at the start of each episode you’ll be notified about the Red Data Book/List which is the IUCN’s list of endangered species in the world. Hence the oddly named title of this series as I was wondering at the start. Therefore if Jesus Christ was going to come down a second time to save mankind, in this anime at least it will be in the form of this World Heritage thingy. With people getting more and more hooked to their electronic technological devices, we’re losing that spiritual touch with nature and God. So next time you’re fapping to that porn video you’re watching, bear in mind that there might be many angry spirits watching over your unholy activity… ;p.

It’s hard to say that Izumiko is a useless girl since she is caught in something that is far bigger than what she can understand. She is sheltered and protected from a very young age and when thrust into a different light, she takes some time to stand up on her own two feet. So you can’t really fault her for being gullible and being pushed around because if you are in her shoes, what would you have done? And then she finds out that she is a vessel or could be the big goddess herself, for any normal mortal beings, that is scary enough. Thankfully she has Miyuki to help her bring her back to the right path if she goes astray and the same can be said about him. It feels like this guy is born moody and grumpy and that it sounds like an excuse he is living in the shadows of his great father. He looks like an amateur and unconfident with his abilities because when you’re entrusted with a task that has the big goddess involved, do you not panic and fear you might fail?

Having said that, all Izumiko and Miyuki want is just to be normal high school kids but their fate and circumstances don’t allow them to do so. Hence that wall-cum-barrier-cum-excuse-cum-convenience that makes it a big roundabout way for them not to fall in love with each other. We know and hope they really end up as an item but because the notion of Izumiko is a goddess and Miyuki is her manservant, not so straightforward. Hence she is always insecure and afraid while he is always mad and moody. If the spiritual fate thingy didn’t get in between them, this would have been some sort of generic romance drama. But as we see them rely on each other in the final arc, we can safely say that they are a bit closer to each other than they were at the start. A lot more of these situations should really improve their relationship. Hopefully. It would have been interesting to see if the duo would put their love for each other first than saving mankind. Or perhaps they can do both. But for now, we have to put up with their hot and cold relationship which could be annoying to watch sometimes.

Himegami although feels superior and divine, sometimes I wonder if she is just like any other ordinary woman. After all, just like many other women, she doesn’t like her man to talk about other woman. First sign and hint from your girlfriend that you better pay all the attention to her! I would have been nice to see all the experiments and whatever trials and tribulation she went through to bring about this final journey she is on but I suppose there is not enough time and duration to tell it all in a single cour. After all, they need to keep the mystery of Himegami as her charm. Knowing her a little too well might change our perspective of her and that’s not good seeing she is of a goddess status.

Other characters feel like a distraction like Manatsu and Mayura who don’t really have anything to do with Izumiko and Miyuki’s case and as I have pointed out a few paragraphs earlier, having Masumi around seems like a detour and distraction so as to ‘reassure’ that Izumiko and Miyuki belong to each other. Otherwise, this competition with Takayanagi is still something I don’t get because I don’t really see how this experiment makes one the candidate for World Heritage. Speaking of Takayanagi, that guy really feels like a loser. He looks arrogant and might be suave but eventually in the end he is just a wuss. Heck, he lost not once but twice! You thought he had given up after losing to Masumi and got his spirit agent crushed. But then he returned as sneakier than before and what does he get? Turned into a dog! Hope he learnt his lesson but I doubt it. Then Wamiya is like a familiar for both Izumiko and Miyuki but the way he expresses himself, he sounds not too enthusiastic to serve his masters. It’s like, well, he is doing it because he has to and if so, I mean, what else can he do about it? It’s your call.

Not sure what Yukimasa is doing behind the scenes all the time but I figure it is something important. So important that he had to leave his son with the important task of being with Izumiko AKA Himegami. Didn’t he call Miyuki as his backup plan? So I’m wondering if this multi-talented guy who could do no wrong is just doing all this to piss off Miyuki or in a twisted way, give him some sort of motivation to be like him. I don’t think the latter works seeing how Miyuki doesn’t like him. I mean, you tell when he calls his father by his first name! I’m very sure they are blood related and they are actually biologically father and son but you never know. Anime love to spring surprises about families not really being blood related as plot twist or convenience. Some characters like Hodaka feels like a red herring. I thought he would play some sort of important role but after his debut that makes him feel like as though he is an important character, he falls back into the shadows as background character. Maybe he pulls the strings behind the scenes like Yukimasa but we’ll never know.

The other reason why I watched this series is because it is done by P.A. Works. You know, the anime studio that has brought us a lot of good looking characters and visuals. Like Hanasaku Iroha, Glasslip, Tari Tari, True Tears, Sakura Quest and the recent Irozuku Sekai No Ashita Kara. Oh yeah. Cute kawaii bishoujo galore. You can bet Izumiko is looking damn cute in her braids because I don’t know why many people view girls with braids as plain Janes. This means you can also see the trademark bishoujo and bishonen character designs very similar to their other anime series aforementioned. Like you know, how Miyuki have this main character look but just put him in constant moody mode. Other than the characters, the background and sceneries are also a sight to behold. It is nice to know that P.A. Works have been constant in their anime quality throughout the years as this series came out back in 2013. So continue to keep up the good work and bring me more kawaii bishoujo to gawk at. And to add to my personal top 10 bishoujo yearend list!

Voice acting is fine as I recognized a few seiyuus such as Saori Hayami as Izumiko, Jun Fukuyama as Yukimasa, Akira Ishida as Hodaka, Romi Paku as Yukariko and Mamoru Miyano as Hayakawa. Not surprising but still surprising is Rie Kugimiya as Wamiya because she isn’t nowhere near her tsundere trademark style and is one of those few boyish roles like Al of Fullmetal Alchemist, Hasuta in Haiyore! Nyaruko-san and Shunpei from Oh! Edo Rocket. Only, add more monotony to her voice. I guess she can’t forever be Shana, Taiga, Louise, Nagi… It’s been a long time since I have head Rie Tanaka so I didn’t recognize her when she took over as Himegami. The other casts are Kouki Uchiyama as Miyuki (Shigaraki in Boku No Hero Academia), Madoka Yonezawa as Mayura (Ui in K-ON!), Kaito Ishikawa as Manatsu (Iida in Boku No Hero Academia), Ryohei Kimura as Masumi (Kodaka in Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai), Hiofumi Nakajima as Takayanagi (Akatsuki in Aria The Animation), Sarah Emi Bridcutt as Kisaragi (Yuzuru in Date A Live) and Kenji Nomura as Nonomura (Shishigou in Fate/Stay Apocrypha).

The opening theme, Small Worldrop by Annabel feels rather okay as her soft voice feels familiar to Nagi Yanagi. Hence making this song sound a bit like those the latter sings. The ending theme, Yokan has some traditional feel to it. But Masumi Ito singing it feels a bit ‘creepy’ and like as though I have heard her singing somewhere before. Oh right. Just like how she sang in a similar fashions in anime ending themes like Zettai Shonen, Scrapped Princess and Umi Monogatari. The song isn’t that bad but I sometimes get the chills hearing her ‘ghostly’ voice. And sometimes too I think that she is an alternate version of Nano Ripe…

Overall, this isn’t a bad series but it isn’t a good one either. It had some potential with its theme but lost its way. Other than the pretty visuals, the characters and plots may leave you scratching your head and wondering if there is more to it. Certainly there is because from what we’ve seen, they’ve presented with so much but yet we don’t have enough data storage memory to absorb it all! Yeah, it’s hard to think of it this way that Izumiko is just a 64GB USB pendrive but Himegami is a 2TB data to download!!! Not enough storage space that’s for sure! Well, there’s a flash drive to accommodate that today but I wonder having so would make it unstable. With people with special spiritual powers on the decline and on the verge of extinction, corrupted pervy otaku misfits are on the rise. A dime a dozen, spreading like a plague. No wonder there are so many sh*tty shows these days. Is there a religious anime that could bring us salvation? Looking for religious themed animes online… Aha, Bible Black. Or Crimson Climax. Or Sins Of The Flesh. Oh wait, no… Oh sh*t!!!

N/B: Is it ironic that we somehow have a lot of hard drive space when we download porn?

Kakegurui XX

July 20, 2019

It wasn’t me. I had no money to bet there would be another reason and was just silently praying to God for it and boom! Here it was! Kakegurui XX was unexpected and I supposed somebody made a bet and won over the producers for another season. Or maybe God really worked his miracle. Thank you. God or whoever you are anonymous gambler for giving another season for this great psychological gambling game that had too many interesting potentials and developments that would be a shame had it not get another sequel. Now I can enjoy the second season without betting or risking anything XD. Or do I?

Episode 1
Yumeko, Ikishima and Erimi Mushibami are in a high stakes gambling. In this game, each will take turns to cut a string. One of the strings is connected to the guillotine that will definitely chop off their finger. Of course the first to pull out loses in this extreme game of chicken. The game is supervised by Inaho Yamato of the election committee whose duty is to be the neutral judge. Erimi is not afraid of the outcome. She knows there is a safety plate that would stop the blade from going down all the way. She is relishing to see the chance of her opponents squirm and panic in fear. However as the game passes and they cut fake strings, Erimi is puzzled that they are getting more and more excited. They’re basically orgasming and hope that the next string they cut is the real deal! She tries to play psychology to see how long they will last as she explains her family is in the business of torture and that’s why she has this mini guillotine. But when Yumeko checks with Inaho if she had checked and removed it and Inaho confirms it, Erimi starts to panic. Wait a minute. You mean there is no safety plate?! Prior to the game, for fairness, all the participants waited out of the room as Inaho checked the guillotine and shuffled the strings. Oh dear. Now it’s Inaho to get scared. She’s sweating a lot. Must be the heavy gothic dress, huh? NOT! And Ikishima and Yumeko are only getting crazier as the strings reduced. Yeah, the chances of the guillotine dropping could be any time soon… And there are only 3 strings left… Oh sh*t! And then Erimi starts crying inconsolably… WTF… What the f*ck?! WHAT THE F*CK???!!! Yumeko not looking happy. B*tch, did you just kill my vibe?! Flashback to when Kirari announced after a string of defeats the student council suffered at the hands of Yumeko, she is dissolving the student council and hold an election. Some are opposed to this because it will mean Kirari relinquishing her power. Kirari explains Hyakkaou is a garden she created beautifully based on the law of the survival of the fittest. But someone came to disrupt that beauty. If left alone, the distortion will grow. Hence she wants to stir things up even more. Kirari ushers in and introduces a new bunch of weirdoes. Terano and Yumi Totobami, Sumika Warakubami, Miroslava Honebami, Nozomi Komabami, Rin and Ibara Obami, Miri Yobami, Miyo Inbami and Erimi. All these are the relatives and branches of the Momobami clan. They have recently transferred here to represent their families as candidates for the presidential election. There is also Rei Batsubami but she isn’t gambling and serves as their butler.

Episode 2
Thanks to Kirari’s sudden announcement, the adults panic and sent their kids here since the winner will also become the head of the Momobami clan. Terano accuses Kirari of loving to see all the families panic over this. She hates her for easily taken what she wants and then relinquishes it with ease. While some of the existing student council protest this, Kirari notes that if they want to maintain status quo, all they have to do is win. Everyone has a fair chance with this election. This means the other students too. Everyone will be given a chip that represents their vote. You gamble and win votes of others. The person with the most votes after 30 days wins. Yumeko was happy with this but rued since Manyuda transferred all his money to her, looks like she can’t use it as bets in this election. Mary is wary of this election and wants to stay out (no Yumeko-Mary lesbian combo, I guess). She suspects they could be distant relatives of Yumeko since they all have that Bami name. Meanwhile Terano is the unofficial leader of the branches. She has everyone remember their pact to topple Kirari and until then they will not face each other. As for Yumeko, she must be a fringe family of the clan and they are free to fight or ignore her. Hence Erimi gets this idea to take her out. Rei then goes to get Yumeko who is delighted that somebody has issued a challenge to her. She wasn’t thrilled that Ikishima also got the invitation but soon gets excited after Erimi introduces her game. And that is where we all now. Erimi is struck by her own fear and terror but with those crazy b*tches egging her to go all the way, I guess Erimi has also lost it and just picks up the scissors to cut. A miss! Damn, the tension is running high! Ikishima is so f*cking excited that she cuts both strings at once! Here comes the guillotine!!!!!! Eh? The safety plate is still intact? Because Erimi pulled out first, she loses. Because Ikishima cut 2 strings, she is disqualified. Hence Yumeko is the winner. But Yumeko is very mad at Ikishima for killing the tension. Never show your face before me again! As for why the safety plate is still there, actually when Yumeko hinted to Inaho, it was because she noticed the table the guillotine sits on was unstable. Hence she removed the pads from the table’s feet to add stability. Yumeko praises Erimi for her pride and conviction of staying true till the end. Wow. Erimi really got psyched on this one. Meanwhile Kirari and Terano talk about the latter bringing in Rei here. Her house was expelled from the clan and he won’t do good as insurance. Terano insists she is just a joker whose actions will be unpredictable.

Episode 3
Nishinotouin loses to Miyo and Miri. Yumeko is now delighted to play against them. While Miri is cold and distant, Miyo tries to put up a polite and friendly façade for Yumeko. Runa supervises this nim zero game that Suzui wants to enter too. He thinks he can help Yumeko? Okay. This game has cards labelled from 0 to 3. Each will be given 4 cards and the goal is not to exceed the total 9. The one who surpasses that loses. They will play this for 3 rounds. Because Suzui only has 1 chip, he is offered a service chip. Each chip means 24 hours of service to the student council. Is he willing to take that risk? You bet! In the first round, Yumeko ups the ante by raising 30 chips! The rest follow. Yeah, Suzui follows to and that means 700 over hours of service if he loses… The round completes with Miyo busting her hand. Suzui is puzzled because she had a bad hand so why did she risk this? Suddenly Yumeko collapses. Meanwhile Mary is confronted by Ririka and is forced to play a simple gamble with her. Guess which hand has a chip and all these chips will be hers. If Mary wins, she will follow her around. If Ririka wins, Mary will team up with her to fight. However Mary takes off her mask, reducing her self-confidence drastically. Mary will not be cowed into this and refuses to play. Then she gets a call from Suzui. Help! Yumeko is poisoned and he is told to bring someone with lots of chips. Mary understands where this is going so she picks the correct hand of Ririka. Rushing to Yumeko’s side, she hears Suzui accusing Miyo and Miri of poisoning Yumeko. Their families might be in the pharmaceutical business but he has no proof. Even more so, Runa is perfectly sure there was no foul play during the game. This means it could happened before the game starts, outside Runa’s jurisdiction. Yup, the time Miyo hugged Yumeko during their introduction. With Mary replacing Yumeko, Miyo adds the serum as the wager. She also adds one cannot fold or else you have to press your finger against this nail coated with the same poison. Deep down inside Miyo, she relishes seeing these friends crumble in their noble bid to save Yumeko. The next round begins and Mary wants Suzui to show his hand! Well, that’s not against the rules. Suzui remembers Yumeko’s words to do all that Mary says. Hence he is going to believe in her. That is his bet! After seeing the weak cards he has, she is sure she can win this and raises the ante to 100 chips.

Episode 4
Miyo and Miri have developed some sort of telepathic way to communicate with themselves. Actually they ‘speak’ with their eyes. Whatever. Miyo wants Suzui not to listen to Mary. She will give the antidote to Yumeko and they should join forces to take her down as Mary is only trying to sacrifice him. Suzui rejects her deal because this is not what Yumeko would’ve wanted. The round ends with Miri losing. For the last round, the same thing as Mary has Suzui shows his cards. When Miyo raises the ante to 300 chips, Mary raises it to 10,000 chips! Miyo thinks she is trying to make them fold and is bluffing. They call on her and the game begins. Miyo and Miri realizes despite having good hands, they are the ones under threat. Yeah, Mary is smiling and enjoying the game. Miyo then notices that this could be Runa’s fault. It seems Mary has also noticed Runa’s Gilbreath shuffling style. From what I understand, no matter how you shuffle and cut the deck, every 4 cards will contain 1 from each suit (in this case, numbers) despite being random. So with 16 cards among them and each containing precisely 4 suits, that is why Mary had Suzui show his cards. This means she can tell what the cards Miyo and Miri have. With the limited choices they could make, it makes them easier to predict. Miyo accuses Runa of not adhering to neutrality. However Runa fires back that she has always been shuffling this way. It’s her fault not to take notice. Even so, as a dealer she sets the rules. It is her principle to make sure everyone has a fair shot at winning even if you are dead! The poison takes effect on Miri. Miyo then tells Miri to lose for her. She claims herself as superior. Miri does that and collapses. Miyo takes her away and vows to kill Mary next time. Yumeko is recuperating with Rei’s help administering the serum. Suzui thanks Mary and even Rei. He is glad that Rei is a kind person despite coming from a scary clan. But this makes Rei feel sad. As the gambling rages on, Kirari feels bored with her easy wins. Like as though nobody is serious in taking her out. Rin and Sumika join in and Kirari finally thinks she could at least have some fun. Mary whispers a secret only to Yumeko. Not sure if she can hear but Mary says she is going to be the next student council president.

Episode 5
The total votes so far after a week. The top 10 from lowest to highest: Yumeko, Miroslava, Miyo, Sumika, Sumeragi, Rin, Mary, Yumemi, Terano and of course in a runaway lead, Kirari. After Ikishima criticizes Yumemi as a talentless idol, this makes her go into a rage. Yumemi’s goal isn’t to become the student council president but if she has to influence on the next president, she must convince others she was the one putting them in power. As she has taken all the votes from her fans, the only way to get more votes is to get more fans. Rin thinks back about his match with Kirari. Because she bet all in, Rin folded. He realized it was her way to get them to go into some sudden death match and that has nothing to do with poker skills. Hence Rin and Sumika decided not to continue. The disappointment on Kirari’s face was priceless. Yumemi begs Yumeko to team up as an idol and garner more votes. Then everyone is abuzz with the world’s famous Hollywood actress here, Natari Kawaru. Yumeko is a big fan of hers. What is she doing here? To take part in the election. Eh? Natari’s real name is Sumika! She ignores Yumemi and wants to gamble with Yumeko. However Yumeko won’t be ignored and also challenges her. Natari agrees the dream girls team up against her in a singing performance. Of course Yumemi doesn’t care about winning or losing. It is her dream to perform with an actress she admires very much. However it would be much better if she beats that b*tch. Meanwhile Mary chides Ririka for following her around like a stalker. She claims that promise thingy but Mary will not acknowledge her as her partner unless she gambles and proves her worth. We see Yumeko and Yumemi belting out a typical kawaii idol song. When it is Natari’s turn, she stuns the crowd with her amazing voice while singing Amazing Grace! Holy sh*t! So beautiful that it blew everyone away?! Yumemi starting to look scared. And at the same time so awed that she also cried. Yumemi is not worried because she bribed her fans to vote for her. So here is the result of the first round. Natari thumping the duo 92-8 votes!!! Yumemi starting to look REALLY scared now.

Episode 6
Yumemi realizes the only way Natari could have won was that she too bribed others. But this was how she did it. She gave it to Rei to tell people to vote however they want. In the next match, they must eat 3 macarons. One of them is super spicy. The winner is one who can guess which macaron their opponent ate is the spicy one. Yumemi might look like she hit it with the first one but good acting. Because Natari points out it was the second one. She knows because Yumemi broke her finger just to hide the grimace. Yumeko could correctly guess Natari’s by counting the times she chewed! She took longer for the first one because she was delaying it, fascinated by Yumemi’s acting. But it was just pure gambling and guessing with the remaining ones. When Yumemi realizes she can never beat Natari no matter what, Yumeko becomes mad. B*tch, you just killed my vibe. She only helped because she was going to win but now that she has moved the goalpost, she hates her. In this last game, players pick up a card and set it face down. They can declare its actual value or lie. However they cannot exceed the value of 63. One may pass but this makes you out of the game. When 1 player is left, if the actual total value is below 63, she wins. Over, she loses. With Yumeko being lifeless and not cooperating with Yumemi, the idol thinks hard about her predicament. Indeed she wanted to lose but then she hears her fan scream not to give up. She remembers all those times being an idol and wants Yumeko to pass with her. Yumeko is surprised that she was acting all the time. She gets her groove back again but Yumemi dismisses it and that she wanted to lose and be praised by Natari for trying despite being talentless. Yumemi never wanted to be an idol but an actress. But being an idol made her realize this role is fun and she has been to places she could never have imagined. She doesn’t know if there is any meaning in beating her but she will find that meaning if she continues to look for it. With the dream girls pulling out, Runa counts the cards and it goes over. The dream girls win and Natari hopes to battle with Yumemi the next time. In Hollywood.

Episode 7
Yumeko sees Terano and wants to gamble. Finally Manyuda wakes up but he doesn’t care about his own life anymore. Even when Sumeragi tears up his Life Programme, he still doesn’t mind becoming her slave. Reverse psychology backfired. Here comes Yumeko to talk to them for a favour. Ibara and Miroslava are summoned by Terano. It seems she is in agreement with Yumeko’s plan. As Kirari is running away with the votes, soon none will have enough to challenge her and hence this plan is to pool their votes together to the winner. However Terano will not be joining in due to her promise not to fight her brethren. Rumia Uru oversees this game. Each will be given 5 coins to put in either a personal deposit box or a tax box. Coins in the personal box will be counted to their overall total. But coins deposited in the tax box will be doubled and distributed equally to all players including those who didn’t contribute. This will last for 5 rounds and the winner will get the votes which are from Terano’s. However if they fail to get 40 coins, they will give their votes to her. Before each round, they have time to discuss strategy and can eliminate a player if 3 of them agree. As Sumeragi heads to deposit first, Manyuda asks Yumeko about her passion for gambling. But does she feel remorse for those lives she ruined? None. However this makes Rei very mad and only backed down when Terano instructed her. When the first round ends, it seems they are a few coins short and this means there is a traitor among them who didn’t deposit in the tax box. With accusations flying, Yumeko comes up with an idea by having everyone pick randomly a paper with a number to indicate how much they must deposit in the tax box. While the traitor may get away with 1 or 2 coins, at least this avoids a big betrayal. But by the end of the second round, even lesser coins were deposit so much so that there is at least 2 traitors in the midst for this to happen. Ibara gets mad believing Yumeko is the traitor since she expected this outcome too. With Sumeragi accusing Ibara and Miroslava as in cohorts, Manyuda surprisingly gives his evaluation on who the traitor is. Judging from the circumstances, he points to Yumeko.

Episode 8
Manyuda explains about Yumeko and Terano conspiring together to assure they could profit from this. This makes Sumeragi sad that he has gone senile. In the next round, it’s the same as the last. Yumeko then orgasms that they they’re going to lose. WTF she seducing Manyuda and that activates his desire to bring everybody down now?! So both of them declare they won’t pay any taxes and hence making everyone to do the same. However everyone paid them in full. Manyuda now reveals the true traitors are Miroslava and Sumeragi. You see, it isn’t against the rules to leave your coins for others. Hence Sumeragi left hers for Miroslava whose turn is after her. Even if Miroslava had no reason to trust her, what if the note says to bank in her coins into her own deposit box? Not bad seeing there are no risks and all she need to do is get rid of the evidence. Manyuda calculates the coins received from this and Miroslava is in a massive lead. Hence the majority agrees to remove her from the final round. Miroslava realizes she has been played by Sumeragi but doesn’t hold a grudge against her since they were both allies in betrayal. But she does note she likes Manyuda because she set this up in a way for him to win. After the final round, Sumeragi wins the game. Although the votes are redistributed and Sumeragi is to receive 100 votes, however Rei announces a third party betting. Prior to this, Sumeragi and Terano made a bet if Manyuda would win or lost and achieve 40 coins. Sumeragi betted he couldn’t and must now pay her 150 votes. Manyuda is mad she did this but for Sumeragi, either way it is a win for her. Had Manyuda lost, Sumeragi would win a huge amount of votes. Had Manyuda won, she loses her votes but knew he didn’t go senile and still had it in him. She is happy with either way. Hence this game wasn’t about him interested in finding out what other people think but what is in his own heart. Sumeragi doesn’t see this as saving him. He is her accomplice and now her gamble is now left in her hands. With that, Sumeragi is no longer in the running for the student council president. Sayaka is getting worried that Terano is obtaining more votes and will do anything like threats and expulsion just to protect Kirari. However Kirari will not have any of that. She wants Yumeko to stir things up further. Oh Sayaka. You looking so sad. Is she going to get a heart attack?

Episode 9
Update on the rankings of the election. The top 10 from lowest to highest: Suzui (surprise!), Nozomi, Miyo, Ibara, Yumeko, Rin, Mary, Yumemi, Terano and Kirari. When Yumeko declares to challenge Kirari right now, this is when b*tch Sayaka steps in to berate her and even wants Kirari to throw her out right now. Of course no can do. This has Sayaka wondering if Kirari will look at her more favourably if she beats Yumeko at gambling. Well, if she can. This has Sayaka challenging Yumeko to a gamble. But it will be separate from the election and not votes. They will bet their lives. As shocking this may sound, Yumeko declines. Because that would be too boring. In order for Sayaka to really bet everything, she must risk her relationship and memories with Kirari. That is her ultimate bet. If Yumeko loses, she will never gamble again. With Kirari looking forward to this and wants to be their dealer, it’s do or die for Sayaka. In this tower game, the aim is to move from the fifth floor down to the first floor to pick a flower and then back up to the fifth floor again. The fastest to do so wins. However there are doors and hatches that brings you up or down different levels. Only the central staircase brings you directly to the bottom and top floor. Each will have 5 minutes as they take turns to choose a door to open but each door has a puzzle they must solve. However a word of caution, even if they get the answer correct, it may not be the solution. With Sayaka still thinking about her important ties with Kirari, Kirari ups the ante for her. Let the loser jump off the highest floor and die. So if Sayaka losers, she will die an utter stranger to her. The game begins, Yumeko goes first. I don’t really get the puzzles to the doors that keep changing but it has something to do with hexadecimal and decimal values. Although Yumeko got it right, behind the door is a wall. Sayaka’s turn, she chooses her hatch and her answer allows her to go down to another floor. But reaching the 4th floor, she realizes the other hatch goes down a few more floors. She thought of praying to God for Yumeko not to choose that hatch but screw that. She is going to believe in her decisions and Kirari! Yumeko’s turn, she chooses a door. Not sure if she is making out with the door because she considers this tower as her opponent and wants to get to know more about it. Every inch, nook and corner. Because rather than living in ignorance, better to know everything and die!

Episode 10
Flashback shows Sayaka as a meek girl who met Kirari and wanted to be a secretary. She was enthralled with her gambling style and wanted to be close to her to learn more. Sayaka feared she said too much but surprisingly, Kirari took a liking for her rationality and accepted. As she makes her way to the first floor, she is shocked that Yumeko hasn’t arrived. She cannot have left since her flower is still here. She starts to think what might have happened and on her next turn, tries the central staircase. Brick wall. It is then Yumeko shows up. Sayaka starts laughing and is now confident to beat her. She climbs her way back up, certain that she will win but wait… Yumeko has arrived! Sayaka in shock! Face it. She lost. Yumeko explains about her choice. The puzzles displayed are actually angles. When she opened the door, she just wanted to look at the moon. However there was nothing. It then dawned to her that this entire tower itself is rotating. That is why they sometimes hit the brick wall. So using this calculation, Yumeko was able to use the central staircase and head right back up. Sayaka is still in disbelief. Why would Kirari design a tower that doesn’t not fully utilize gambling? That’s the thing. That’s part of the gamble. Dead fish Sayaka realizes she lost because of logic. Saddened by her fate she couldn’t understand the person she loves, she prepares to jump to her death. After doing so, she is shocked to see Sayaka jumping after her! It isn’t the flower fields that broke their fall. Yeah, safety mats. Kirari explains this is her tower so she wanted to also be the first person to jump off. However Sayaka chose the correct door because other doors would have led to her death. Hence despite not thinking, her mind is still seeking logic. After all this time, she still finds her fascinating. Now that they are strangers, she offers her to become her secretary. She might not understand her but that’s okay. Can we say today is the day Sayaka died and reborn again?

Episode 11
A few received an invitation for the 100 vote auction. But not all those who were invited came. Those who turn up are Yumeko, Suzui, Mary, Ririka, Nishinotouin and Ikishima (totally ignored by Yumeko). The auctioneer is Rei and Inaho invigilates this gamble. Rei cannot disclose the sponsor for the 100 votes up for grabs and explains the rules. They will be using their votes to bid and whoever places the highest bid will win the 100 vote lot. The catch is that they will not know who bids. Also, if you don’t win the lot, you lose everything you bid. I’m not very clear about the rest because if they are limited by the number of votes they have, will that limit their play? Anyway, Mary is confident she can win this as she warns the others this is just a ploy to compete among themselves as the one who actually wins is the sponsor. But with others bidding, Mary is forced to bid higher and wins the first round. In the next round, Mary says the same thing but this time Nishinotouin wins the bid. Before the next round, Mary announces she will bid 99 to prevent anyone from bidding hire (because if they bid 100, they will trade it with the 100 votes they win). But she lied and bid 10. Then somebody raises it to 20. This only confirms her suspicions that Rei is also playing this game to deliberately raise the price. This will go on until the sponsor made a profit. Rei admits she is playing but vows not to participate further. Mary thought the next round would be smooth sailing but somebody is still trying to outbid her. This is when Yumeko realizes that there is another participant somewhere and that they can see them. True enough the other Bami members are watching from a different room and the one who just bid was Ibara. With Yumeko turned on, she points out that Rei is the sponsor and organizer of this gamble. She then brings in 3 billion yen (from her win from Manyuda) and wants to use this to win this round’s 100 votes (apparently she talked to Inaho about some rule amending thingy and it was approved with all those present consented). She wants to gamble with the real Rei, bid this 3 billion and win everything that belongs to her. With Rei admitting that, she throws away her ‘mask’ and reveals her true ‘face’.

Episode 12
We delve into Rei’s past as one of those Bami members who was raised as a livestock ever since. Her role was to only serve others until one day Yumeko’s sister told her the mark on her hands doesn’t mean it is engraved in her heart forever. Her heart is hers alone. This made Rei happy. She continued her role but every time Yumeko’s sister visited, she would be happy. But each time she looks even more and more weak. Until one day she too got devoured and lost in a gamble among the clan’s conflict. Ever since, Rei vowed revenge and take back what is hers. Hence Rei announces she will win this election and become the next clan head as revenge. With the auction continuing, the other Bami members realized this wasn’t an act by Terano that they assumed. They’ve been had. As for how Rei amassed her votes, there was a large gamble recently where one would vote whether Rei could win this. All the girls who were swept off their feet gave their votes to her and hence she has enough votes to compete. The Bami members want to quit but they realize they will lose more if they quit as there is the risk of Rei getting all the votes so they are forced to stay in. The auction continues in the same fashion. Like as though Rei is going to win anyhow. Suddenly Yumeko quickly posts a few 101 starting bids. And then a few subsequent delayed ones. The Bami realizes this delay is that she is looking for an answer so when the next bid starts, the Bami side quickly cast their 101 bid.

But after that, Yumeko then bids 1. As Mary notes she can’t just profit them all, Yumeko suggests they should join in. Hence everyone takes turns in bidding 1 and win the 100 lot to finally ruin Rei. Rei accuses them of collusion which is forbidden by the rules. However Yumeko explains it isn’t so. It is that they clearly understand each other! Hence they manage to understand the need to profit by not competing with each other (the 101 useless bids were just trolls for this understanding). With Rei having no votes left, she thinks she is done for but Yumeko points out that she still has something to wager: Her 3 billion yen. This is her everything. Don’t gamble for the sake of revenge or others. Gamble for yourself! It is your own heart! Rei accepts this final big gamble in which Yumeko wagers her own name. If she loses, she will take on Rei’s forsaken surname. It all boils down to a single coin toss… In the aftermath, it seems Rei has been freed by her imaginary chains and is encouraged by Kirari to write her new Bami surname. So this means Yumeko won the coin toss and is now gambling it all away! Oh dear. Easy come, easy go? Sumeragi stops her before she bankrupts herself out of this election. Then a smoking hot never seen before babe passes by. Oh gosh! Rei is so feminine and beautiful! Yumeko is happy because today is the first day of her very own life. Terano thinks that the joker wasn’t Rei all along but Yumeko.

Luck Not Needed, Only Madness…
Oh God… I think I’m addicted to it… I think this needs another season… Another season real bad… I mean, it can’t just end here like this, can it?! I need more! I need more right now! How to go on without any more money???!!! I guess I’m broke. This means all that is left is to complain and b*tch about this unsatisfying ending. So I guess the real character in focus this season is Rei. With her being finally liberated from her imaginary chains, is this considered a happy ending? Perhaps for Rei. Because certainly Yumeko would also be happy because there would be another one of her kind who would gamble for their own sake and reach that kind of level of insanity. The kind of orgasmic thrills that such extreme gambler could feel when they are on the edge. But that’s another story.

This season is still as interesting and tense as its first. Although there are some points like the mechanisms and the workings of the gamble in play that I don’t really understand no matter how many times I go back and listen to the rules. That still didn’t diminish my overall enjoyment of the series although it could have been a lot more enjoyable had I really understood how the gamble works. For instance the final gamble of this season, the 100 votes auction felt like anybody could just bid any number. Because I thought they are limited to the number of votes they have and this puts those with low number of votes at a disadvantage. Maybe I am missing something here but trying to follow through the scheming but not understanding the system of how it works feels somewhat frustrating.

The psychological tensions are still interesting to watch as we get to see how such precarious situations bring out the best and the worst in all of us. Of course those who are already as crazy as Yumeko, there is nothing more to say. But those who stand to lose a lot and fear in losing all that power, money, fame, status, etc, have a higher chance of showing their true colours and make a blunder. Good example as in Erimi’s case. She wanted to show off but underestimated her opponents and in the end found herself in a position that should have been experienced by her enemies.

Many of the games are simple but with just a slight twist to the rules. Some are elaborate like Kirari’s tower that aren’t anything much ado but are for aesthetics. While they are interesting in their own right, I feel that because of the drama, sly manoeuvrings, deceptions, delusions and psychological tensions being played during the games, this somewhat lengthens and stretches out the games by 2 or 3 episodes. The game would have seriously end very quickly had they not do all this stuffs. But then again, where would all the fun be had it been cut out? Viewers won’t get a satisfied explanation on what is going on and like myself as I have said don’t really understand some of the rules to begin with, will get even more confused if the game ended too fast. Like Yumeko always said, one must truly enjoy a good gamble.

With Kirari being unpredictable and forcing this student election gamble, hence the introduction of a few characters from the other Bami families in a bid to overthrow her. It feels unfortunate that with only a single cour in this season, it doesn’t do any much justice to the existing and new characters. While Yumeko is still the central main character and involved in almost every gamble we see here, in some instances she doesn’t feel like the main character. How should I put it? For instance the Yumemi and Natari’s battle, the focus is mainly on them and while Yumeko maintains her presence, she feels more like a sideshow. After all, Yumeko’s ultimate goal is to enjoy high stakes gamble and not be some typical cliché main character.

Characters from Yumeko’s camp also don’t fare any better. Feels like they have their turn and moments but those were short. Like Suzui seems really forgettable here and he is mostly an observer in many of the gambles. Except for that card game with the Chinese duo in which he participated but it feels like he is more of a puppet than anything else. Mary also feels very much like a side character. The card game to substitute Yumeko felt like some sort of ploy to give her some screen time and remind us that she is still sly in her own right. Then after Ririka weirdly becomes some sort of her ally and accomplice, she doesn’t stand out too much. Even that final auction game even though shows like as though she is trying to take control but I just don’t really feel the impact. What it feels like a last chance for Sumeragi to be relevant and go out with style and respect, is that the reason why they also brought back Manyuda? I don’t think it will be the last I see of them but after making amends and realizing the important stuffs, does the student council election matter anymore to them? Some weird romance they played out here…

I thought this season Sayaka was going to be side-lined since many of the other student council members too were somewhat thrown off the limelight. Nishinotouin and Ikishima going out early (poor Ikishima being treated as non-existent by Yumeko and anybody who talks to her before Yumeko’s presence gets chastised of who the f*cks are you talking to?!), Manyuda in coma (until that revival for that tax game) and Ririka turning into Mary’s subordinate, where would that make Kirari’s right hand woman? It’s a good thing we don’t have to see her getting jealous and b*tch about her precious Kirari but I suppose that gamble with Yumeko once and for all settles this. So let’s hope that with their renewed bond, Sayaka would be a more respectable character than before. Not like it matters anymore considering the direction of the plot. Kirari as the big boss seems like she is just biding her time until somebody crazy and worthy enough pops up to challenge her. I bet it would be worth the wait for her. So aside her, the only other successful original student council member is Yumemi. Even if she can’t become the student council president (she might be one of the top running candidates but I’m not betting on her to win it… Unless…), she still has something bigger to aim and strive for.

The Bami family members are equally as quirky and even as cruel due to each of their families specializing in some sort of specialty (like the Chinese duo in poison and Erimi in torturing). It would have been very cliché and linear if the story would be Yumeko going on to defeat all the Bami family one by one until the final boss but that would have been absolutely boring. After all, if Yumeko’s real goal was that, she would have challenged them all to one huge gamble. Small bets aren’t her style. It is unfortunate that the single cour has limited the fleshing out of these extremely interesting characters and while some have their limelight, others do not (like Nozomi – because I want to know how relevant her dog is). It looks like Terano is the unofficial leader leading the other Bami families to overthrow Kirari but considering this backstabbing family where power is absolute, there might be plot twists to more than meets the eye. After all when in a game of high stakes, you don’t really trust anybody. And it might seem this unofficial alliance is only intact because of Terano but who knows, anything can happen when so much is on the line. Heck, all this might just be a show and for all you know, Terano is actually conspiring with Kirari all along. At the end of the day, I suppose the last one standing definitely has the right to be called the biggest snake. Isn’t that what uwabami is?

I suppose the hidden and ‘star’ of this season is the character Rei. Serving as the butler to the entire academy as well as the Bami family, many things that she does gives off this suspicious aura. That kind of submissive and servitude feels like she is putting on some kind of mask to hide her true feelings. Not to mention that she has some sort of charisma and all the girls start swooning whenever she passes by. All that somewhat paid off with all of them willingly giving their votes to let Rei run for presidency, huh? Rei’s gender is never explicitly mentioned although she acts and dresses like a man but I know better… With Rei finally showing her true colours, it certainly looks to rattle the entire Bami clan but it went out with a sputter after that simple but gigantic loss to Yumeko. But then again, Rei didn’t particularly ‘lose’. She just ‘lost’ her past and gained her new freedom. You could say she won the lottery of this sense.

The other reason why I said she is the ‘star’ of this show is because that is why the second season is somewhat named after her, no? You see, ‘X’ in Japan is pronounced as ‘batsu’, which is Rei’s surname. Hence double X, double whammy? Uh huh. Thanks to that, I have a slightly hard time trying to find more legitimate info about this series. Because it leads me to those damn porn sites!!! I think there’s a reason why they didn’t call this season Kakegurui XXX… Yeah… A whole new gamble here…

Art and animation remain constant with last season. The trademark of this show is those devilish eyes. When the characters get serious or fall into their delirium, you will see a zoom in and close up of their eye. Yumeko is the main offender as her eyes will glow red like as though she is the devil reincarnate. Even Terminator would run towards his mummy. Heh. And oddly, I know Yumeko gets her thrills from gambling, but sometimes thinking about where the gamble is going also makes her orgasmic. Hence your weird fanservice of Yumeko doing sexy orgasmic poses that looks more like WTF than anything stimulating. Sorry folks, no Yumeko-Mary yuri fanservice this season. On a trivial note, why do I have this feeling that Natari’s character is modelled after Audrey Hepburn? She is considered by many to be one of the best actresses in Hollywood history.

This season’s opening theme doesn’t have that playful and naughty bubbly madness as it did in last season. Kono Yubi Tomare by Junna feels just pretty generic although a bit dramatic. Even its visuals in the opening credits aren’t as crazy. The same can be said for the ending theme, Alegria by D-selections. Last season we were treated to some crazy psychedelic delusions of Yumeko. This season we have Yumeko hinting some yuri action with Kirari in the forest. WTF?! You mean the natural forest?! Ah, the rules of the jungle and natural selection. The survival of the strongest and fittest. And yeah, it ends with some weird psychedelic lights thingy too, indicating that Yumeko might be high on some sort drugs. Whatever.

For the voice acting segment, recognizable joining the line-up include Romi Paku as Rei, Ayana Taketatsu as Erimi and Akira Ishida as Rin. Of course Mamiko Noto making her cameo as Yumeko’s sister! Hmm… Once I considered them as clones due to the similarity of their voice and now they are sisters here… How strange. The other new casts are Megumi Han as Terano (Akko in Little Witch Academia), Mitsuki Saiga as Miroslava (Phantom in MAR), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Ibara (Reiner in Shingeki No Kyojin), Ayahi Takagaki as Natari/Sumika (Chris in Senki Zesshou Symphogear), Yumi Uchiyama as Miyo (Hameline in Radiant), Rumi Okubo as Miri (Hibachi in Mushibugyou), Sayaka Kitahara as Nozomi (Mary in Busou Shoujo Machiavellism), Haruno Inoue as Yumi (Kaoru in Nobunagun) and Nanami Yamashita as Inaho (Nanami in Wake Up Girls).

Overall, absolutely interesting and intriguing second season only to be cut short because it is just a single cour. Not enough time to flesh out properly all the other characters, old and new. Some of the games are a bit hard to comprehend for a simpleton like me but that doesn’t greatly impact and diminish the overall enjoyment I had. So back to praying to God that this gets another season. And soon. Don’t want to wait 5 years or 10 years for it to get another season (like a few third season anime series lately like To Aru No Majutsu Index, Date A Live and Chihayafuru being aired after a long hiatus from their second season) so here is leaving to luck and chance! I’m betting that I have a better chance of getting a third season than winning the lottery :’(.

Gyakuten Saiban S2

June 15, 2019

Matta!!! Wait a minute!!! You mean after that cheesy and mediocre first season, nobody said “Igi ari!!!” for another season?! Nobody objected to it?! Maybe somebody did but objection was overruled. I guess not because Gyakuten Saiban S2 went on air in late 2018. I suppose the game that this series is based on is still popular as this second season adapts the third chapter of the game. Oh well. Time to find more contradictions and truths. And how cheesy and mediocre they go about it. Can’t argue with that. It’s the court of law we’re talking about.

Episode 1
Naruhodo is about to review his case for his trial when he is knocked out. When he wakes up, officer Mako Suzuki pins her hope on him to set her free. However, Naruhodo has lost his memories! In the courtroom, Mako is accused of killing a fellow officer who is also her boyfriend at the park. Yeah, the case must be coming as a shock to Naruhodo as he learns everything on the spot! Not bad for a guy who just had amnesia. With Itonokogiri giving his witness testimony, Naruhodo is guided by his instincts to cross-examine. Even if his brain doesn’t remember, his body does. So he notices the discrepancy in the evidence like how her boyfriend spelt out her name wrongly and using his right hand when he is a left hander. This would have set her free if not for the prosecution calling another witness, Moroheiya Takamasa. Hmm… Isn’t this guy the one who knocked out Naruhodo? He claims to have witnessed Mako killing her boyfriend. However it soon proves his sight is in doubt as he can’t see well without his glasses. Earlier on, he lost his handphone but Mako was the one who picked it up and agreed to wait and give him back so he must have misheard her name. Even if Takamasa’s glasses were found on site, what motive did he have to kill her boyfriend? Before Takamasa walks free, here comes Mayoi with evidence. A name list of conmen that Naruhodo told her to put together. Yeah, he can’t remember all that. Because Takamasa’s handphone contains info of other fellow conmen, when he saw Mako, he thought she called the cops (her boyfriend was still in uniform) and panicked. Takamasa claims his handphone is still with him and it is just coincidence it looks like the same model as Naruhodo’s. Just then, Naruhodo conveniently gets his memories back and remembers him knocking him out to take back his handphone. So he has Mayoi call his number and the handphone in Takamasa’s hand rings. With that Takamasa is found guilty and arrested while Mako is declared innocent. You know, Takamasa must be so dumb. He killed a cop but couldn’t do the same to a lawyer and at least give him some time to run and avoid this mess? Yeah, his own carelessness that’s what got his ass caught. Not Naruhodo’s skill. Oh Naruhodo, you’re the one who has all the luck, not Mako who claims herself as the goddess of luck.

Episode 2
A phantom thief named Kamen Mask has been stealing rare artefacts. One of them being the urn from Kurain Village which is being exhibit at a local exhibition. You bet Mayoi and Harumi want Naruhodo to turn detective and get this important urn back. At the exhibition, Kirio is working to manage the place. She reveals she did receive a calling card 10 days ago that a priceless exhibit will be stolen. She never thought it would be the urn because the appraiser appraised it at zero value! Then comes in the supposedly world famous ace detective, Aiga Hoshiidake whom Kirio also hired. He rants about being Kamen’s arch rival and even confronted him last night when he was here to steal the urn but let him get away to lure him into a false sense of victory. A call just come in. Kamen has turned himself in?! This guy, Yuusaku Amasugi is pathetic, weak and lame?! And what’s this? He claims he lost the urn?! WTF?! Plus, he has a wife, Mareka?! She claims her husband is a big fan of Kamen. Because of his timid nature, he looks up to such ‘heroes’. She knows he is being framed and hopes Naruhodo can defend him. This doesn’t sit well with the sisters as they claim they are the victims. They think Mareka is lying but Naruhodo believes she might not. So they go their separate ways to investigate. The sisters try to believe in Mareka and head to her house to investigate. Meanwhile Naruhodo visits Aiga’s office but he isn’t in. So why let himself in and despite knowing it is against the law to go through his belongings, he is going to do that???!!! But Aiga returns. Knowing Naruhodo will defend Yuusaku, he tells him he will also be taking the witness stand and put an end to Naruhodo whom he thinks is Kamen’s accomplice. Because you see, the prosecutor is a prosecutor whom Mitsurugi acknowledged as the best in the country, Godot.

Episode 3
Is Godot being disrespectful drinking coffee and even questioning the judge? Yeah, he claims he hasn’t lost a trial but this is his first trial! Technicalities. The trial begins with Yuusaku taking the stand and he wants to be proclaimed guilty! However Naruhodo is here to proof he isn’t Kamen. That is where Mayoi comes in to bring Yahari as a witness. He is working as a security guard and can proof that Yuusaku was also an ex-worker of the security firm, KB Security. Based from the access card, Yuusaku went to his previous employer’s building the night the urn was stolen due to a blackmail letter Mayoi found at his place. With the KB Security being 30 minutes away from his home, hence Yuusaku cannot be at the exhibit at that time. Even with Godot admitting that, now Naruhodo thinks the only person who can steal it is Aiga. He is called in as a witness as Naruhodo accuses him of being Kamen. Wait a minute. He did that without any evidence?! And he admits it too?! Thank goodness for Mareka bringing in the urn supposedly from Aiga’s office. However can she prove it was from there? Naruhodo believes he can. His own fingerprints are on it. Because Kirio cleaned the urn to make it look valuable, Naruhodo might not have looked inside the bag that contained the urn but he did touch it. Before the judge could ask the bailiff to dust for fingerprints, Aiga starts laughing like a madman. He also admits he is Kamen and doing this to find a worthy rival. I guess you can’t rival that sort of genius by creating one yourself. With Yuusaku declared innocent, however real sh*t is just about to begin. Because Godot comes in and claims the CEO of KB Security, Kurobei Busujima is murdered at the same time Yuusaku went there. Yuusaku is detained again on grounds of murder. Everyone is left in shock as Naruhodo could sense some sort of calm and deep hatred from Godot.

Episode 4
Although the urn is back, Mayoi noticed the writing on it has returned to its original position. Harumi will take it back to Kurain Village to ask her aunt. Then Kirio comes in to confess that she was the one who broke the urn. She tripped on some paint and tried to put it back afterwards. She moved a statue to cover the paint but on the day Naruhodo came to investigate, the statue was moved. The only person who could move it was Aiga but why did he did it? They head down to KB Security to investigate. Itonokogiri points out Busujima’s body was found in the safe. There is also a button on it that would send an emergency buzzer to the security room but that night no buzzer was heard. Apparently Busujima dabbled in some shady job of selling info too, probably why some want him dead. Heading to the security room that Yahari was supposed to be on duty, on that night he snuck out to go hit some chicks. Checking the log again, there was indeed a buzzer that went off on the night of the murder. Yahari is so getting fired… Next they visit Yuusaku to get his statement. He claims after getting the blackmail letter, he went there. I am surprised an ex-employee still has the access card. But upon entering the room, someone knocked him out and the next thing he knows, Busujima’s body is lying there. He hid it due to his panic and turned himself in hoping the theft incident would be his alibi. Yuusaku admits that all other Kamen incidents were his doing. However after his first job, somebody must have spotted him and continued to send him blackmail letters. Those letters also tell him his next raid and you could say the heists are all planned. After he deposits the heist, he waits for the money to be delivered. Yuusaku did all this for the money as Mareka loves to spend. With that kind of wage he earns, stealing is the better option. He once told her he is Kamen but she didn’t believe him. But definitely he didn’t kill Busujima. Next they talk to Mareka. They learn she fell in love with Yuusaku at first sight. She was working at the bank when a robbery happened. Weak Yuusaku who was a security guard somewhat (pathetically) saved her. With Harumi returning, Naruhodo seems to have pieced the puzzle together. But tomorrow’s trial is a battle of speed as Aiga is facing his own trial next door. He must drag Aiga here before his verdict is handed down.

Episode 5
Godot explains Yuusaku’s motives. In order to get money for his wife, he stole confidential data from KB Security. He was caught and fired by the CEO. Hence he murdered him. Yuusaku maintains he was knocked out upon entering the room. Everyone hears for the first time he was in Kamen’s disguise during that night. How could he forget such important detail? Naruhodo argues that only because Yuusaku/Kamen was out cold, he could not have heard the very loud buzzer. Because he would have run away instead of placing Busujima’s body in the safe. All to frame Yuusaku. Naruhodo believes the killer is Aiga. If he is accused and found guilty of theft, he cannot be charged with murder. The key is to drag him here before his verdict is passed. Aiga is summoned to this trial as Naruhodo shows the picture proof of Kamen stealing the urn that night. However this was taken a few nights before the incident. The picture shows the time but not the date. Furthermore, when Kirio moved the statue to cover the paint, Aiga panicked and moved it back so as to line up with his alibi. Even so, Naruhodo cannot prove he is at KB Security that night. Oh my. Is Aiga going to walk free and be charged with a lesser crime? I guess Naruhodo must be praying hard for a miracle. That miracle is Chihiro! Time for his ghostly mentor to motivate him to think harder. She hints Aiga said too much that proved his downfall. Because Aiga praised Yuusaku as Kamen’s biggest fan and even went to meet him on that night, Naruhodo points out that nobody knew Yuusaku was in Kamen’s outfit until today. Aiga praises this brilliant deduction and as a reward, we now need to know the whole story. I don’t know why Aiga was hiding in the dumpster when Yuusaku did his first gig as Kamen because Yuusaku went to the back alley to toss away his outfit. Aiga then devised a brilliant plan to blackmail him. Part of his bigger plan for an ace detective to fight a phantom thief and captivate the world. One night he got a bit careless and stole a ring from Busujiuma. The CEO discovered it and blackmailed him. Hence Aiga decided to use Yuusaku and frame him with Busuhjima’s blackmail letter. Once Aiga is done bragging, it’s the slammers of despair for him. With Yuusaku not guilty, he might be a free man but laments he has lost everything. Don’t worry. Mareka forgives him. She finds him brave for admitting to his crimes unlike that detective who was a coward and being sneaky. All’s well, ends well. Until Harumi thought Naruhodo was trying to flirt with Mareka. Loli power knocks out a lawyer!

Episode 6
Naruhodo and Mayoi are trying to do an ad for their firm. Lame… Samurai lawyer?! WTF?! Anyway, this is a flashback episode on Mitsurugi. 3 years after his father’s death, he is now living under Karuma’s household. Mei was more of a cute loli than a sadistic b*tch. With Mitsurugi unsure of following his father’s footsteps, Karuma is contemplating of sending him to an orphanage home! I guess he doesn’t need a useless adopted son. But after watching a few of Karuma’s victories in court, Mitsurugi did find some inspiration albeit not enough to make it his life’s ambition. One day at the shopping mall, his dog simply ran off. Mitsurugi listens to his radio for some hints. It seems his dog chased another bitc-, I mean female dog. Then this fat cow woman claims this lost dog is hers. However it is growling at her. Mitsurugi doubts she is the owner but she mentions about some of its traits. With no further evidence, Mitsurugi releases it to her. Of course we could tell this sneaky b*tch just wants to claim the reward for the lost dog. But she made a mistake by humming a song from Signal Samurai. Mitsurugi questions where she heard that song. Because it was just recently played over the radio. If she claims she has no kids, how did she know it was from a children’s TV show? Because Signal Samurai ended 3 years ago! And if she is the owner, she should pay him the reward as he was the one who found it. Fatty is mad and wants to get violent but thankfully Karuma is here. Do you want to settle this in court? Think not. This event made Mitsurugi firmly want to be a prosecutor. Karuma cancels that orphanage plan and realizes when he took him in 3 years ago, it wasn’t just out of guilt. It was to see what path this would lead to. Mayoi uploads the lame video online. Yeah, Americans think Japanese lawyers are crazy! However the video has only 1 like! It is hinted Mitsurugi saw it and liked it. So this dude is in USA now?

Episode 7
Itonokogiri barges into Naruhodo’s office to claim a phony has been using his name to defend clients and lost! It’s right here in the magazine?! It happened a month ago! WTF?! Nobody verified this for so long?! Not even Naruhodo knew about it?! They go see the accused and to their surprise it is Mako! At first she is mad at him for his amateurish defending but soon realize how different the phony was. You mean she never realized it then?! Anyway she relates her story. After quitting the force, she worked as a waitress at a café. There was a table with2 customers. She saw one of them lacing a cup of coffee with poison that killed the other. She was so shocked that she fainted. However everyone testified that there was only 1 customer at that table and that the poison was found in Mako’s apron. Mako is sure there were 2 of them as she served them. Naruhodo will get her a retrial. First they visit the café in which the gay French chef, Kaoru Hondobou. His testament is the same except for the fact he forgot to mention a medication bag of the victim in the previous trial! As the retrial begins, the victim, Takao Oka is a programmer and it is believed he was hearing a radio that announced the lottery ticket’s winning numbers. Hence Mako is accused of killing him to steal the ticket that was found in her possession. Also, Godot has examined the medication to be applied as cream and not eaten. Because the day before he got into a fight and busted his left ear. The judge doesn’t see any reason to prolong this trial but Itonokogiri won’t give up (because he’s in love) and has arranged a witness to be cross examined by Naruhodo. Shouhei Igarashi was the only other customer there and testifies the same. However Naruhodo believes he is an unreliable witness because he claims Oka used his left ear to listen to his earphone and left hand to drink from the cup (evidence shows he used his right thanks to the coffee lip stains). Even more so when he couldn’t describe Mako from the front and only from her back, which is very ambiguous. He also can’t identify the ketchup stained apron Mako was wearing that day. The judge postpones his verdict for both sides to find more evidence. As they leave, Naruhodo notices a messed up scooter. Then this hooligan threatens him not to touch it and takes off with it. So this guy is the phony Naruhodo?!

Episode 8
Checking the café again, in the kitchen there seems to be bottles of aromatherapy. But one of them stinks so Itonokogiri will take it back for testing. Naruhodo hears Hondobou talking to Urami Shikabane outside. From what is deduced, it looks like she is from a loan shark company and he borrowed money from her. Then at the park, they see Igarashi sitting around. Since he was pretty annoyed at the retrial, time for Chihiro to pop up and make this pervert talk again. He maintains what he said and also when the murder happened, Hondobou told him to call the cops. So he left the café and looked around for a phone for about 10 minutes. He also knows Hondobou has borrowed money from a loan shark. Naruhodo and Mayoi head there and are greeted by Urami. As they wait, they rummage through the stuffs. No warrants whatsoever. They find a CD and an invoice by the Shikabane Group worth 1.5 million Yen. Also there is this suit that looks like Naruhodo and it is confirmed this phony is the one, Toranosuke Shibakuzou. He is quite the ruffian but is very lovey-dovey with Urami who claims he saved her from a car accident and she owed his life to him. They are forced to leave. Returning to Itonokogiri, he reveals Urami is the only granddaughter of Gonta, the head of Shikabane Group who controls the black market in Japan. Also, Oka had also taken loan under them and as a programmer if he can’t pay back that loan, he would have used his skills as repayment. The CD contained a virus. Going back to Mako, now she reveals there was another customer other than Igarashi: Urami. They go ask her stuffs and even though she claimed Shibakuzou paid her operation in full out of love, Naruhodo can tell he was only doing it because he cannot defy Gonta. His messed up scooter proves he was the one who banged into the car and the expensive invoice, most of it was ‘compensation’. Urami sadly admits she knew it all but wanted to believe it was truly love. Because a person’s life is hanging on this case, she gives Naruhodo a medical papers. As they leave, Shibakuzou returns. He wants to pick a fight with them when conveniently Itonokogiri tackles him. He will handle this ruffian and wants Naruhodo to go save Mako.

Episode 9
Itonokogiri returns with the lab results. The bottle is the ear cream medicine but has unknown fingerprints on it. Trial resumes with Hondobou being called to the stands. As he testifies, Naruhodo calls his bluff. Because of the lottery radio programme Oka was listening it couldn’t possibly ended so soon. Because Igarashi wouldn’t have witnessed the crime then as he was not in the café yet. Naruhodo claims that Mako and Igarashi’s contradicting statements are both true because they both witnessed different events. This means Igarashi witnessed a re-enacted scene. Hondobou admits he helped hide the body but did not kill Oka. However he will not name his employer or he will be finished. Naruhodo believes it is Shibakuzou since Hondobou took out a loan with his company. Shibakuzou is called to the stands and is shown the medical papers. Behind it is written his appointment time with Oka. After Oka was killed, Mako fainted. Oka’s real body was hidden as Shibakuzou pretended to be Oka while Urami pretended to be Mako just to re-enact the scene to Igarashi before putting everything back in order. All this elaborated setup just to frame Mako. Godot argues if Oka had won the lottery, there is no reason for Shibakuzou to kill him as his winnings is more than enough to cover his loan. But Naruhodo points out that it isn’t the money Shibakuzou is after but the virus programme. You see, he also owes Urami’s medical bills that amounts to millions. If Oka won, this means his debts are cleared but this will leave Shibakuzou in a lurch. Had Oka lost, he would have given his virus CD as collateral and this is worth millions! Thus he poisoned Oka and stole his CD. To cover this, he pretended to be a lawyer to frame Mako. But even if Itonokogiri returns with fingerprint evidence it belongs to Shibakuzou, it doesn’t prove his anything because they are supposed to meet and hence the fingerprints are given. But when Naruhodo tries to explain the poison bottle containing his fingerprints, Shibakuzou foolishly denies the one in hand and describes the bottle. How does he know what bottle the poison was in? Even if he claims he saw it in the last trial, this forces him to admit he pretended to be Naruhodo. This stupidity brings an end to the trial and Mako is declared a free woman. Shibakuzou is taken away. He wonders why Urami betrayed him. As a Shikabane, they always get their payback.

Episode 10
I guess they wanted to make a spoof of the Murder On The Orient Express. Naruhodo, Mayoi, Itonokogiri and the judge are invited to ride Silver Star. It is a luxury private train made by Avery Richman from Goldstruck Republic, the typical foreigner who loves Japan that he bought up their railways and made his dream come true. Naruhodo and Mayoi are served by Rick Steam as he explains all the workers on this train are from Richman’s country. The train departs. Mayoi and Itonokogiri are on the same childish level to play some bomb squad game with their toy communicator. Is this allowed? Oh well, dinner time. A blizzard builds up and the train suddenly stops in its tracks. Itonokogiri sees a fireball and is shocked to think it is some human soul. The train starts moving again and it seems they have picked up Richman himself. All the employees now brandish machine guns to take away any communication devices from the passengers. Some are confined to their rooms and those in the dining hall have the ‘honour’ to meet Richman himself as he explains things. You see, he was convicted for murder in an American trial a year ago and is sentenced to death. Gee, how did they go ahead with this Silver Star thingy then without knowing this?! Anyway, Richman conveniently just naturalized as a Japanese and was hence being transported but managed to escape with the help of his people. What he wants is a retrial as all the evidence against him during that trial were false. You mean right here on this train instead of a proper court? Yeah, this train even has a court room! That is why he invited all those related to his case for this ride. He heard of Naruhodo’s heroics and he will be his defence attorney. The prosecutor is Yusaburou Saiga, an American prosecutor. This retrial will be broadcasted to a certain place and in the event if Richman is still found guilty, he will accept the verdict. Mayoi excuses herself to the toilet to contact Itonokogiri who is being grounded in his compartment. After learning everything, he tries to get to the courtroom but a clumsy employee shoots and a stray bullet grazes his arm. When he tries to get to the dining coach, it is missing.

Episode 11
Saiga fills in the details of the trial. Yendol Kanesky was the secretary general of America’s trade federation and was killed on stage while giving his speech at the yearend ceremony. It is believed Richman shot him since Kanesky saw Goldstruck Republic as a threat to America’s economy and wanted to kick him out. When police restrained him, they found the pistol with him. Richman insists he did not have a gun then and although the murder weapon was registered to his name, he claims someone had stolen it. Other witnesses mention a waiter with bandages on his right hand dropping an ashtray before the gunshot was heard. Before that, he also spilled champagne on an old lady in wheelchair. Suspiciously, he followed Richman to get the cloth to clean. That waiter is Gale Gaelic and before they could call him to the stand, a fire breaks out in one of the rooms. After putting it out, to their shock, Gale’s dead body lying there! Meanwhile Itonokogiri is being treated by Regina Locomoti who apologizes for accidentally shooting him (Richman gave specific orders not to harm anyone). He needs her help to contact to the outside world and gives his word he will not tip off the Japanese police who are looking for Richman. Hence he sends a message to Mitsurugi. Saiga insists in preserving the crime scene but lets Richman in since he needs to identify the witness. Upon opening the door, the body is gone! Is the retrial going to be postponed? Naruhodo and Saiga talk. Saiga might be a prosecutor but he prepares cases for indictment and doesn’t stand in court. Learning that Mitsurugi is Naruhodo’s rival, this brings back memories how Mitsurugi was the only one who could defeat him during his law college days. Because of that he ran away to America?! He only came back for a vacation but got this invitation. Mitsurugi is researching the records of Richman’s initial trial when suddenly agents tell him to come with them to see the chief prosecutor. Mitsurugi can see that there are malpractices of Richman’s trial including strange cross examinations and unnatural evidences. So if they claim America’s justice system is perfect, why summon him here when he is just looking up the records? Actually it is to show the live broadcast of the retrial. Meanwhile as Itonokogiri waits for Mitsurugi’s reply, he hears a thud outside. It is Gale’s body!

Episode 12
Itonokogiri connects to the trial room and shows Gale’s corpse. Teleportation? When he mentions about that fireball soul, Naruhodo and Mayoi remember seeing something like that. When the train went dark, it was to celebrate granny’s birthday. However one of the candles fell and burnt the cloth but was luckily put out. That was probably the fireball. Itonokogiri could only see it because they were at a path where there were several tracks. It was at that moment the coaches changed positions and hence the dining coach is not missing but went to the back. Saiga calls all this pointless but Naruhodo points out he is able to pinpoint Gale’s murderer. It is Saiga. The one they saw in the room is fake and somebody was just pretending to be Gale. When the fire broke out, Saiga went to inspect it first. When they re-examined it later and the corpse gone, the perpetrator was hiding behind the door while everyone was in shock before sneaking. The only person who appeared after that was Rick. With Naruhodo calling out Rick, he apologizes for this betrayal and admitted he was cooperating with the American law enforcement. He was asked to buy a gun with Richman’s fingerprints on it. The killer who shot Kanesky was indeed Gale and he did near Richman to frame him. Even the cops were in on it as they planted evidence in Richman when frisking him. Rick was once again put up to do this as he was threatened by Saiga or else he will expose his betrayal. Although Naruhodo believes Saiga killed Gale during dinner time when nobody was at the passenger coach, what evidence does he have to show Saiga’s motive for killing him?

This is where Mitsurugi comes in. He shows the report that Saiga’s name in charge of building this case. Gale was a key witnessed but during the American trial, he was cancelled by Saiga as an unimportant witness. This is to hide the proof that he was at the centre of the conspiracy. Even America’s chief prosecutor is disappointed at Saiga for dragging their good name through the mud. Even if Saiga says he did as the top brass ordered him to, that is precisely the reason why he will be severely punished. You see, Gale was an assassin hired by the federation. Hence there is no justice in this but only blood money. Cornered, Saiga is forced to tell the truth. When he was invited for this ride, he didn’t expect to see Gale too. They talked and it seems Gale had this idea of turning this into some blackmail stint. However Saiga didn’t want to himself to be exposed and quickly hatched a plan to kill Gale in another coach and hid his body. Gee, this assassin must be pretty rusty to be killed by a lawyer. Because Saiga didn’t foresee this retrial and others would be suspicious of Gale’s disappearance, that was why he wanted some time to prepare and that was to blackmail Rick into partaking in this plan of his to pretend to be the fake corpse. Now that Saiga is apprehended and Richman is pronounced innocent, it’s not over yet because Richman has put bombs on this coach! He has everyone evacuate but will go die himself in this explosion. This is why he rearranged the dining coach to be the last. He is resolved to do this no matter what the verdict was. Although this retrial proves his innocence, he thinks it will change nothing. However the chief prosecutor apologizes for the mistake and vows to give him a fair retrial. Oh my. Another retrial? At least this one is official. And with that, Richman realizes he needs to live and evacuates with the rest. With Itonokogiri is now a train driver and speeds up before the dining coach explodes! I guess we have had enough twists and drama for today.

Episode 13
This 1 hour special tells how Naruhodo became a lawyer. Yeah, he was accused of murder when he was a university student. Kikuzou Nonda warned Naruhodo about the girl he is dating, Chinami Miyanagi. Yeah, she’s Kikuzou’s ex. An argument broke out and Kikuzou ended up dead. Chihiro was tasked to defend Naruhodo and ironically she’s pretty nervous while Naruhodo being quite the chirpy lad. Amazingly, Chihiro devastatingly lost a case a year ago and never set foot in court until today. Man, she sure took a long time to recover. Naruhodo is accused of killing Kikuzou by way of shoving since the latter was holding his cough medicine (Naruhodo is currently sick). But can a fall kill a man? Turns out actually he was killed via electrocution by a nearby broken cable and this is supported by the university lab losing power at that time. Since this doesn’t prove Naruhodo’s intent to kill, the prosecutor then calls Chinami who witnessed the event. I guess she’s so cute that any guys would not hesitate to believe her. Anyway Chihiro finds flaws in her testimony. Because she said everything happened so fast, there is a discrepancy in the time of Kikuzou’s death (since amazingly his watch stopped at the same time). Hence there is a 10 minute gap from the electrocution and time of the stopped watch. Chihiro further accuses Chinami of wanting to frame Naruhodo. Apparently this isn’t their first meeting and Chihiro met her before. Plus, half a year ago, Chinami was in a trial that accused her of poisoning a lawyer. However she was set free as the supposedly poison was not found anywhere. But dumb Naruhodo interjects. He remembers that trial was the day they first met and he fell in love with her. She even gave him a weird pendant. Yeah, this guy wouldn’t shut up about his love and that’s where Chihiro has got Chinami cornered. Chinami poisoned the lawyer and then gave the poison in the form of a pendant to Naruhodo. Because as one who is not related to the case, he was not searched at all. Dumb Naruhodo objects to it all as he can’t believe his love cannot do all this. Especially obtaining very specially made poison. Oh yes she can. Her ex was a pharmacology student and hence had access to all sorts of poison. Dummy lover boy can’t believe it that he runs away!!!! WTF?! Can he do that in court?! Of course the bailiffs brought him back.

Chihiro wants the pendant handed over to be analysed. Guess what? Lover boy swallowed it!!! WTF?! WHAT THE FFFFUUUUU???!!! However, Chinami is b*tch laughing because since he is still alive, this proves it isn’t poison. So did the poison lose its potency after 6 months? Chihiro now desperately telling Naruhodo to tell the truth. So I guess no more evidence so taking his word as the truth? Naruhodo feels bad for acting this way when Chihiro has gone out of her way to defend him. Hence he is going to tell the truth, something he has not told the courts. I see only now his conscious prevails over his boner. When Kikuzou told him to stay away from Chinami, he warned him about some poison she stole. And last night he found some poison stolen too. Naruhodo didn’t believe this and shoved him. He ran away soon after but got worried and returned. He saw Chinami by his body and she told him to keep this a secret. With this, Chihiro puts together the pieces. Because Naruhodo did not want to give her the pendant back, she planned to poison and kill him. It’s the reason why she dated him. To get close to him and poison him. Chinami in b*tch mode now admits she is the killer but without evidence, she cannot be thrown into the slammer. That is when Chihiro shows the definitive evidence of the cough medicine bottle. This is where the poison is. Chinami’s testimony as witness for the 2 guys was a lie. She was the one who cut the cable. It took her some time to move the body and this explains the time discrepancy. She was about to put in the bottle that she stole earlier from Naruhodo but that dummy came back. No choice but to hide the evidence, she left it in Kikuzou’s hand. If she is so certain that there is no poison in here, drink it. At that moment, Chihiro is about to turn into some evil vengeful spirit???!!! But she goes back to her nice girl mode and admits her defeat. She is taken away but warns this isn’t the last she will see of her. Naruhodo is declared innocent and although sad about his love live, he has to move on and is motivated to become a lawyer to help a friend. Chihiro pays a visit to her senior lawyer in coma in hospital. She is glad she has finally avenged his poison case.

Episode 14
Oh no. Not again. This time Harumi broke a giant conch seashell that Mayoi gave her. So she pleads for Naruhodo to help her find this special seashell that seems to be available only at this certain beach and not tell Mayoi. Flashback shows that Harumi and many other women of Kurain Village are forbidden to step outside of the village. Harumi saw a photo of the sea and wanted to see the real deal. Even when Kimiko warned Mayoi not to do it, she secretly took Harumi there. Of course Kimiko found out and was reprimanded, giving Kimiko more reason to badmouth her mom and Chihiro who did the same thing and look what misfortune it brought to the village. Harumi regretted causing her trouble but Mayoi didn’t mind and gave her the seashell to remember this day. As Naruhodo and Mayoi continue to search, they stumble upon a little shrine. Oh look, it’s Mayoi taking a break from whatever ceremony. She relates how her first view of the sea was also here when Chihiro brought her here. Yes, this seashell was from Chihiro to her to commemorate that day. This only makes Harumi feel guilty. So they let the loli run off like that? As they eat ramen, Naruhodo realizes the uniqueness of the seashell is because it is actually a bowl! Hence they buy this bowl and give it to Harumi. However she prefers this old broken one since it holds lots of memories. Cue for cousins to emotional reassure their sisterly love. I wonder if they can get a refund for the bowl. More flashbacks after Chihiro gave Mayoi this seashell. Yeah, she was clumsy and dropped it. Although it was only broken in half. After that Chihiro told Mayoi that she wanted to leave the village and become a lawyer to find the truth about their mom. With a heavy heart, this means she had to throw the village head’s responsibilities to her but Mayoi accepted and will support her.

Episode 15
Going back more in time to witness Chihiro’s first trial. She’s nervous as hell as rookie and it doesn’t help her senior, Souryuu Kaminogi (definitely Godot) leaves teasing hints for her to think through. Anyway, Chihiro is to defend an escaped convict, Michiru Onamida. He is on death row for killing a girl (Chinami?) by throwing her off a bridge into the rapids 5 years ago. He claims he was framed but the policewoman who arrested him then, Yuki Miyanagi testified so. A few days ago, there was an accident transporting the convict. He escaped and wrote a note to Yuki to meet and cleared things up. However she is instead killed. The meeting place was at the same bridge where the murder took place. With Mitsurugi as the prosecutor, Chihiro has a hard time but manages to decently hold her ground. She argues Yuki who was stabbed in the back and bundled into the car wasn’t wearing a white scarf as per instructed so as Onamida could identify her. But Mitsurugi points out a damning photo of them meeting on the bridge and she is wearing a white scarf indeed. He calls the witness who took this photo. Chinami? However she goes by the name Satoko Mukui. Chihiro argues from her point of view, she wouldn’t have known Onamida put the body in the trunk. Hence she accuses her of being the murderer. Because Onamida says he drove off and had no time to put the body in the trunk, this only means that Satoko killed Yuki beforehand and planted her body in the trunk. She was also impersonating as Yuki as in the photo (the camera was on timer) as Onamida could not recognize Yuki and that’s why he wanted her to wear a white scarf as identification. If Onamida had killed her, why not just dump the body in the rapids below? So much easier. This is Satoko’s plan to frame him. Satoko uses her girly innocence to score some points. But what motive does she have to frame Onamida? Kaminogi then points out the girl he killed 5 years ago, Chinami was Yuki’s sister. However her corpse was never found and if she was alive today, she would be around Satoko’s age.

Episode 16
From what Satoko says, it sounds like as though she knows what the memo between Onamida and Yuki states. Because the memo also pinpoints Chinami’s name and to go public with the truth, Chihiro is fully certain that Satoko is Chinami. Chihiro requests Onamida to testify and tell the whole truth. 5 years ago when he kidnapped Chinami, it was actually a setup staged by the sisters. Onamida was Chinami’s tutor and was very much in love with her. As Chinami’s family had an expensive jewel, they thought of staging this kidnapping. The plan was for Yuki to make the transfer but she betrayed him. After Yuki shoots at Onamida’s arm, Chinami herself dives off the bridge with the jewel. Onamida passed out from the shock. He was then tried and sentenced to death thanks to Yuki’s lies. Onamida spent these years wanting to know why she betrayed him. That’s why he broke out to find the truth before he dies. He insists he didn’t kill her. Hence Chihiro points out that Chinami too had a motive to kill Yuki because they were going to go public with the truth. So with her silencing Yuki, it is a trap to frame Onamida and keep the jewel to herself. For the past 5 years, this guilty conscience must have weighed heavily on Yuki’s mind too. So right after Onamida called, she panicked and called Chinami. This had Chinami came out with another devilish plan that sealed Yuki’s fate. Chinami laughs it all off. He calls Onamida’s testimony a lie and that she changed her name because as a kidnapped victim once, she went into hiding. At this point, Chihiro has no evidence to prove the kidnapping was staged. Kaminogi hints to her even if there is no evidence, someone’s testimony can be used. Hence Chihiro needs Onamida to tell the whole truth. First he asks if Chinami betrayed him. Chinami says this only to him: Her life is in his hands. With that, Onamida testifies the person he met on the bridge was Yuki. As for why he came 30 minutes earlier, it was to go to a special place. He and Chinami made a promise 5 years ago and she brought a memento to represent their vow. He went there to get it. At this point, Onamida starts coughing blood. He has swallowed the poison from the memento. How the f*ck did he even bring this into court?! The promise was to trust each other till death. If not, drink the poison. Onamida fears he cannot keep the promise and might kill Chinami. Onamida’s death left a deep scar in Chihiro’s heart. It was a day nobody won nor lost. Maybe for Chinami because she gets to strike again…

Episode 17
Naruhodo accompanies Mayoi and Harumi to the mountains to Hazakura Temple where the latter duo will undergo training to boost their spiritual power. They meet the head nun, Bikini (yes, that’s her name) as well as another trainee, Elise Tenryusai. She is a fortune teller who is also a famous children’s picture book writer. Harumi is a big fan of hers so she is delighted to do stuffs with her. Elise has an apprentice, Mathis who is out painting. Naruhodo and Mayoi then check out the area. Hmm… The bridge looks like a familiar suspicious crime scene… At the inner temple, they stumble into another meek nun, Ayame. Naruhodo is puzzled that she knows him. Mayoi then notices a hanging scroll and is shocked to see her mom’s image. Wait. If she says she recognized it because of the Kurain symbol, what makes she think that’s her mom since she herself said she couldn’t recognize her? Then they meet Mathis. Yahari?! So he dislikes himself and is trying to find a new personality via painting? That night, Naruhodo bumps into Ayame again. He requests she take off her hood. OMG! Chinami???!!! It could be just coincidence since Chinami is still serving time. She gives him her hood as good luck. Naruhodo has a feeling that she definitely knows him and will ask her more tomorrow. However in the middle of the night, a scream is heard. Naruhodo rushes out only to see Elise stabbed by a sword in the back. Thankfully Bikini isn’t another corpse. Just passed out from the shock. She tells him to call the cops. A landline phone near the bridge? But the bridge is on fire. He believes Mayoi is stuck across due to her training. He runs across but the wood gives way. He falls down into the river. Don’t worry, he is still alive and somehow in hospital. Just caught a cold. I don’t know why but he has been looking at Chihiro’s case of this. It seems Ayame has been arrested for murder. But surprise! Mitsurugi returns! Yahari called him and told him (and everyone) that he is dead. Naruhodo wants Mitsurugi to defend Ayame on his behalf. The prosecutor now playing the defence? Mitsurugi sees her in detention. She maintains she has never met all of them before as she has never left Hazakura. She explains she saw Bikini and Elise together after dinner. After that, Ayame didn’t leave her room until the incident happened. Mitsurugi still believes she knows Naruhodo because he acts strange whenever her name comes up in their conversation. Ayame tells the truth that she deceived him 5 years ago and is doing this nunnery as repentance. She might not want to see him again but Mitsurugi points out he is still hurting. Until she tells him the truth. She promises to tell him the truth and Mitsurugi agrees to defend her.

Episode 18
Mitsurugi visits the site and with Itonokogiri’s assistance, he learns the bridge caught on fire because lightning struck it. Elise’s body had bruises, consistent from the fall from her room. Then interviewing Bikini, her statements are in line with Naruhodo. At first she was accompanying Mayoi but because of her bad back, Ayame brought her back to the main temple to rest. When she came back out, she saw the murder incident. Next, Mitsurugi interviews Yahari. However this painter is obviously hiding something and won’t tell. So he runs away. WTF. Also, Harumi has been missing and was last seen in Elise’s room. The trial starts and Mei is the prosecutor. Because a prosecutor can’t be a defence lawyer, hence they changed the judge. WTF?! Can they easily fool him like that?! Isn’t Mitsurugi famous?! Yeah, just say it’s your imagination. WTF???!!! Bikini gives her witness testimony but is quickly overruled by Mitsurugi since it contradicts about Ayame not leaving her room after 10pm and hence never been to the inner temple. Bikini is very sure she saw Ayame because of her usual getup. Again overruled because she gave her hood to Naruhodo. With a warning to tell the truth, Bikini explains at about 11pm she saw hoodless Ayame stabbing Elise from the back. While this might sound like a guilty verdict for Ayame, Mitsurugi objects. If Ayame truly stabbed Elise with the sword, the entire sword would be covered with blood instead of just the tip. This could mean the sword wasn’t the murder weapon and despite Ayame’s fingerprints on it, doesn’t prove her as the murderer. Although Bikini believes in what she saw, she didn’t actually see the murder being committed. She already saw the sword was already in Elise. As for the real murder weapon, Mei argues that there were snowmobile tracks near the river and it could have been thrown in here. The rapid currents make it hard to retrieve. Bikini testifies that only Ayame had the keys to the snowmobile. Because Ayame will not confirm, her silence is confession. But before the judge can hand down the guilty verdict, here comes Yahari to object! He is going to save his beloved Ayame. WTF?! Can he do that?!

Episode 19
Yahari says the snowmobile wasn’t to commit murder but to inform everyone about dinner. Mitsurugi notices a 45 minute gap when the lightning struck the bridge and Yahari calling the police. So Yahari was so inspired by the bridge on fire that he was sketching it?! Yahari reluctantly shows them what he was drawing. The bridge on flames and somebody flying over it?! That’s supposed to be Ayame?! That’s why she didn’t need a snowmobile?! Unbelievable! Yahari also picked up a crystal believed to be from Ayame’s hood at the foot of the bridge. It has bloodstains on it and he thinks Ayame fell and injured herself. Mitsurugi objects to his testimony. Because his drawing indicates Ayame was wearing her hood, unfortunately she gave it to Naruhodo. Also, the crystal is too big to fit on her hood and proof shows it was from Elise’s staff. Mei argues Elise didn’t leave her room that night so Mitsurugi points out the possibility that the murder didn’t take place at Hazakura. She was killed somewhere else, her body brought back to the temple to make it look she was killed there. Sure, it might take 10 minutes from the bridge to the temple but that’s what the snowmobile is for… With this deadlock, this is what Mitsurugi has been aiming for. Due to the inconclusiveness of the case, the judge has to adjourn this session and order a new investigation. With Mitsurugi’s job over, he passes over the baton to Naruhodo. Is this guy okay to do the job? Mitsurugi updates him about the case while he goes investigate Ayame. He felt he has seen her somewhere before. With the bridge fixed, Naruhodo and Itonokogiri head across. Naruhodo finds a new lock at the inner temple. And then Harumi pops up. She feels guilty for what happened and then runs away again?! WTF?! Naruhodo notices curry on the hanging scroll. If that is not bad enough, Godot returns since he will be facing him as the prosecutor. He explains the trick lock can only be open by the person who set it and that was Ayame. Godot then explains how he died once but it took a lot of effort to bring him back. Read: Hospitalization. He hints that without his mask, he cannot see. Investigating the stone lantern, there is no snow around the base and it is believed this is the murder scene. With Mayoi still missing and possibly stuck inside the inner temple that temperatures could reach below freezing levels, Godot accuses he will send another woman to her death. He accuses him of killing Chihiro. Despite the baddie was prosecuted, this will not bring Chihiro back. Godot believes Naruhodo who was there was the only one who can protect her. He hates it when he calls Chihiro his mentor but he robbed his life. That is why he will never accept Naruhodo. Oh Naruhodo, not the time to be in despair now. Then he sees Mayoi’s name on the stone lantern.

Episode 20
Itonokogiri explains because Mayoi’s name was written backwards, it could mean it was written from the victim’s point of view. Hence the police believes Mayoi is the killer. More discoveries as Naruhodo picks up Elise’s pendant and realizes the mark of Kurain on it. Also, an almost burnt note that spells out this crime in detail! Talking to Bikini, he notices her strange way of addressing Elise. Bikini reveals that Elise is actually Maiko! She came here a week ago because she was worried about the bloodline of the main family is dying and was here to stop it. Because only the main family can become the head, there are assassination plots from branch families. Like last year’s case that involved Kimiko. With this revelation, here is another one: Ayame is also Kimiko’s daughter! Not shocking enough? Ayame is the younger twin of Chinami! Damn, it feels like they’re making this up. When Kimiko’s husband realizes they cannot become the family head, he took the twins and left but decided to give one up to look after Hazakura. A short earthquake occurs. Worried Naruhodo heads to the inner temple only to see more locks! Ayame decides to try and unlock them but it will take some time. Come back tomorrow. That night, Mitsurugi returns. He is investigating Elise’s staff and what do you know? There is a hidden sword in it! It’s covered with blood! You mean he never tampered with the staff like he did now with Naruhodo? Off to the forensics. He has also researched about Ayame. However he tells Naruhodo the heart breaking news that Chinami cannot be implicated in this case. Because she was executed last month! Is Naruhodo confused or sad?

Naruhodo then returns to talk to Ayame. Because he knew he talked to her before the bell rang and that she was also seen at the inner temple, this could mean there were 2 Ayames! WTF?! He explains actually somebody channelled the spirit of Chinami by a medium. Impressed with his deduction, she knew about this but never said a thing because as a traitor who was supposed to be part of that fake kidnapping, she was afraid to be implicated and hence don’t want to get in Chinami’s way. This kidnapping was supposed to be Chinami’s revenge against her father who abandoned mom because she couldn’t be the head. Naruhodo asks one last question. Did Chinami say anything about a guy she dated after that poison case? Yes. She hates him. Oh well. The truth hurts. Let’s hope he can get over it for good. Naruhodo then sees Harumi hanging out with Yahari. He thinks she channelled Chinami. The note was written by Kimiko for her. Because her vocabulary isn’t that good, she misinterpreted a line and hence threw curry on the hanging scroll. Harumi reveals she visited Kimiko the last time and was told about this to help Mayoi. Damn, Kimiko planned all this even before being put in prison? However she claims the seal on the note was already broken. Meaning, somebody else read it first. More revelations as Harumi says after dinner, she didn’t go to Elise’s room but went to the inner temple. She was supposed to help channel Chinami’s spirit but couldn’t summon her no matter how much she tried. The only explanation is that somebody else channelled Chinami’s spirit already. Meanwhile Kimiko in prison is relishing that Harumi has done her bidding well without knowing the truth (how does she know? Did Chinami’s spirit report to her?). Once this is over, Harumi will become the next head.

Episode 21
If Ayame will be testifying today, who will be trying to unlock the locks? Mei?! Can she do it?! The trial begins with Godot pointing out Ayame would like to confess to the crime. She admits to being an accomplice of covering the crime up to cover for Mayoi. She lied about not heading to the inner temple that night. When Mayoi was getting ready for her training, Elise showed up and attacked her. She took out a small knife to stab Mayoi but Mayoi stabbed her back in self-defence. Naruhodo objects to her testimony as lies. He shows the staff that has a hidden sword. Also, Elise is Mayoi’s mother. What intention does she have to kill her daughter whom she has not seen for 17 years? Naruhodo is puzzled why Ayame is trying to frame Mayoi. However Godot also shows the small knife with blood on its tip as the murder weapon. The blood is currently being analysed. However Godot panics when he cannot see that blood writing on the stone lantern. Ayame claims she moved the body to the main temple via snowmobile. However Naruhodo points out another contradiction. The bridge was on fire. He has proof that the corpse was ‘flown’ over. Remember Yahari’s drawing? It’s a complete contradiction. Huh? Describing Yahari’s drawing of the bridge is slightly different, it is because Yahari was drawing it upside down as he was sleeping when he saw the incident. This means the ‘flying’ body was actually being swung under like a pendulum. Where to get a string that long? The wires of the suspension bridge is long enough. Furthermore, bruises on Elise’s body as well as her crystal being knocked off from the landing impact proves this. However, who is to receive the body? Ayame. Wait a minute, if she was sending the body, somebody has to be there to move it? That’s right. It’s Ayame. Remember, she was seen by Bikini at the main temple. Are you confused? Naruhodo points out there were 2 Ayames. Hence he claims the Ayame here is not Ayame but Chinami! She might be dead but this is not impossible for those in the spirit channelling trade. Also, Ayame gave her hood to him that night. But at the same night at the inner temple, she was seen wearing it. Showing the burnt note that was written by Kimiko, Naruhodo points out Ayame switched place with Chinami during that short period of earthquake before the addition of multiple locks. That is when Ayame drops the act and reveals herself to be Chinami. Remember me, boys? I’m back.

Episode 22
Chinami doesn’t even try to hide her identity. She’s dead after all. What can they do? When Chinami was in prison, it was easy to see Kimiko as she told her the plan. This entire plan was to kill Mayoi and install Harumi as the next master of Kurain. Chinami agreed to help as she too had a personal agenda against Chihiro. However she died and the only way to get her revenge was on Mayoi. Chinami tells the whole truth. She was materialized about 9.30pm, put on the hood and switched places with Bikini. Taking the dagger from the store, she cornered Mayoi at the stone lantern and tried to kill her. Strangely, she had no memories after that but knew Mayoi stabbed her because she was the one who wrote Mayoi’s name on the stone lantern to cast suspicions on her. The next time she wakes up, she is inside the inner temple’s cave. She couldn’t get out because of the lock and it took her hours. When she finally did, Ayame came by. Chinami forced everything out of her, tied her up and put multiple locks after that. At that point Chinami realized she was under the assumption that Harumi was the one who summoned her. However it then dawned to her it was Elise. How else to explain Elise’s body lying at the stone temple? Mayoi must have felt so guilty of killing her mom that she killed herself by jumping into the river. Naruhodo objects that Mayoi isn’t the person to do all this. Godot receives a call that the locks have finally been removed. They only find Ayame inside. No Mayoi. With Chinami screaming victory, Naruhodo realizes there is 1 possibility where Mayoi is. Who is channelling Chinami now? Definitely not Harumi because she is here in court watching. Therefore Chinami is possessing Mayoi’s body. Chinami is distraught because who could have told her such a plan? Nice timing for Chihiro to return! Via Harumi of course.

Although Chinami claimed she was stabbed by Mayoi, Chihiro says that Mayoi passed out before her. Hence the real killer was the one who stabbed her. Chihiro left a note for Mayoi what to do and the best way to protect herself from Chinami is of course to channel her. She had to do it fast because otherwise it would be Harumi who would have channelled Chinami and it would be very tragic if the loli killed Mayoi. Naruhodo calls Chinami a failure since all her plans ended up that way. Yeah, it happened so many times that it is not funny anymore. They used her own quote against her. Even though it is impossible to punish the dead, Chinami will forever be a weak loser and she lost that chance to redeem herself when she was executed. Chinami is mad but Naruhodo and Chihiro shoo her out of Mayoi. That was easy. The judge is about to hand his verdict to Ayame but Godot objects. Elise’s killer is still unknown. This means putting Mayoi on trial but since she is unwell, the court will take a short recess until she is ready. Naruhodo tries to get Ayame to tell her the truth. She admits she did receive orders to take the snowmobile to move Elise’s body but refuses to say the killer’s name. Naruhodo talks to Chihiro one last time before the trial resumes. They know the killer knew the plans all along and was on the side of the inner temple as the bridge was not crossable then. The rest is up to Naruhodo to think. The judge discloses the blood on the weapons. It is the staff. As for the knife, at least it is not the blood of Elise. The trial resumes and Mayoi is back on the stands. Again.

Episode 23
From what Mayoi says, Naruhodo believes she knows who the real killer is but is trying to protect him. But how can she identify him clearly when there is no light? There are some things you can identify clearly in the dark. Naruhodo has the courtroom off the lights. What do you see? Godot’s visor’s lights! He also deduces that Godot cannot see red colours on white backgrounds, that is why he cleared the snow around the stone lantern. As for his motive to kill Elise, it is rather he protected Mayoi. She is after all the younger sister of his love. Time for Godot to tell his side. He was smitten by Chihiro because of always putting in the effort. It all began going downhill when he got poisoned by Chinami. When he came out of coma, Chihiro was already dead. Hence he only had 2 reason to live. It was to see what kind of man Naruhodo is and to protect Mayoi. After Kimiko got arrested, Godot knew it wasn’t over by a long shot. He went to Kurain and eavesdrop and found that note. He could have destroyed it right away and end it there but he wanted to play along with Kimiko’s plans. That is when he contacted Ayame and Elise to cooperate. The plan would have worked well had Harumi be with Elise that night but instead she went to the inner temple. Hence Elise had no choice but to summon Chinami first. Godot hid himself there just to make sure Mayoi was safe. The rest he leaves up to Naruhodo to finish. Even with Mayoi pleading not to, is she trying to obstruct justice?! Anyway, Naruhodo points out the knife has Godot’s blood. Mayoi objects since he was trapped on the other side, how could he have changed his clothes or hide his wounds? It won’t be impossible if that would is behind that visor! Because Godot saw Chihiro in Naruhodo’s vigour, so he is admitting defeat?! Godot now admits that he doesn’t really hate Naruhodo but himself as he was the one who failed to protect Chihiro. Instead of facing the truth, he ran away and hid behind a mask. Him becoming a prosecutor perhaps wasn’t just to save Mayoi but his own broken soul. He isn’t sure of it now if it was the motivation to protect Mayoi when he stabbed Chinami with the sword and in return Chinami slashed him with her knife. Godot praises Naruhodo for never running away from Chihiro’s death. Is Godot crying blood?! Oh, must be his wounds opening up.

Before the judge hands down the verdict on Ayame, he gives her a chance to say a few last words. She apologizes to Naruhodo about her twins’ despicable act. After all, they only met twice. The first time she gave him the bottle and the second was when she killed Kikuzou. So the 6 months they’ve been dating was actually Ayame taking her place! She didn’t want Chinami’s soul to be further tainted and hence offered to do the job to get the pendant back. However she became impatient when Ayame couldn’t accomplished it. Ayame feels guilty for deceiving and hurting him but Naruhodo has always believed in her. Even now. Damn this episode trying to make us feel the feels with people crying? Mayoi, Godot and now Ayame. So the case ends with both lawyers drinking to a cup of coffee? Cheers! The judge declares Ayame not guilty. Good for Naruhodo, even Mitsurugi congratulates him. Mayoi is reunited with Harumi and Naruhodo’s confidence boosts even further with the voice of Chihiro praising how he saved everyone. Something that she couldn’t. Damn, I hope this doesn’t mean he is the next Jesus Christ! Because if so, igi ari!!!!!!!!!! And Chihiro hoping they would meet again? I hope she didn’t mean when he dies! But don’t you worry. With more court cases coming up, you bet Chihiro will materialize from time to time to deceive the judge help Naruhodo out.

Hung Jury: Verdict Not Returned
May those dead souls rest in peace. I suppose justice is served. Even if God doesn’t bring divine retribution to you, Naruhodo and the Japanese justice legal system will! Even if you’re dead! Haha! Damn, I sure love it if reality really operated in such a way. I suppose Godot won’t be facing his trial in killing Elise because you know, he killed her in self-defence. And because he cried tears of blood that suddenly turn into normal tears (is something spiritual messing with our vision?), I think this gives him a free pass to say that he isn’t guilty of whatsoever and absolve him of his crimes. Yeah, he convinced us enough not for him to think that he would be convicted. Godot sure played everyone. Damn, I sure love if the courts use emotions and feelings to decide!

I wonder why this season had such an odd number of only 23 episodes but I figure that if they split up that one hour special, they would still end up has 24 episodes just like last season. This season feels more like, uhm, how should I put it, like as though everything is related. Especially with many of the characters in many of these cases. We also get a few flashbacks on the past of our main characters and to our surprise, Naruhodo had a girlfriend? Last time I said how this world is so small that some witnesses were recalled twice in separate cases. It also feels the same here with Mako being accused of murder twice! Same detective to work on the case. Same judge. Same defence lawyer. Same verdict. Wow. Is this what you call a precedent?

Hence just like last season, it follows the familiar pattern of how the trial proceeds. You wonder why they can’t bring out the damning evidence and explain it all and instead they present whatever evidence they have now and then one thing leads to another. I know it is for entertainment purposes because everything that has been said or shown will have some sort of consequences that is evident as the next lead in the case. No red herrings. Or at least every dead end clue has a reason to it. Otherwise it’s like wasting your time with unrelated facts. Everything presented is somewhat related, I suppose. I guess it is only logical if you want to get from A to C, you have to get through B first. So once all the evidence and the circumstances are presented in a way that the guilty party has no way out, then comes the verdict. Wow. If only real life cases were this simple and easy.

And I’m starting to see the power of igi ari. Because when you nail the person giving testimony, you can see such superb special effects that blow the person away! Yeah, everyone has their own special unique reactions but I guess the more damning your counter evidence to the lies, the greater the effects will be so much so that a hurricane can blow and destroy the courtroom! And then be fixed back to normal in the next scene like as though everything never happened. Must be all imagination, huh? No wonder the lawyers are waiting for this chance to point out igi ari. Yeah, but it gets unbelievable with spirit mediums now trying to cheat the law. Are there law provisions for the dead?

Chinami feels like the biggest link and factor linking to almost everything that had happened this season and what probably led to her ultimate defeat. She feels like the ghost of the past that keeps haunting you forever. Hence she is this season’s biggest antagonist and thorn in the side of justice since the final arc is the longest trial in the series, spanning 7 episodes (most trial arcs only last the most at 4 episodes). How convenient. She had a twin to fool us and pull a fast one. But I saw it coming from a mile away when Mayoi went ‘missing’ in the last trial arc and it wasn’t really Ayame on the stands. Uh huh. If I was the lawyer, that trial would have only lasted 1 episode as I would have pointed out Mayoi was being possessed by Chinami who isn’t Ayame on trial. But then again, I would have been chided for lack of evidence for that conclusion. I suppose my guts aren’t conclusive evidence enough. I wonder if Kimiko the great mastermind has another plan up her sleeve seeing this one failed. Like as though she saw her first plan failed and quickly made this backup plan just in case. And what if Plan B also failed? Maybe she too thought of having Plan C… Yeah… Please don’t let her be executed and come back as another vengeful spirit as the ultimate move. We’ve had enough of that this season already.

But you know, it really gets a bit silly with the final trial that they bring in spiritual factors as evidence but then again, logic isn’t supposed to be the strongest evidence here. Get what I mean? Remember, in the court of law, evidence is all that counts and most important. Therefore whoever has the evidence and the better logical argument of it has a better chance in winning the case. So with such spiritual factors being hauled into the trial, not to say it is all BS, crap and illogical. At least in this world’s setting, the existence of spirit mediums and channelling are valid. All that is left is to connect the dots. Yup. Going by this logic, you can still charge a ghost with murder so long you can present your evidence and convey your points. After all, this isn’t the weirdest thing that has happened in the courts for this series.

Having said that, I still feel the courts here are somewhat of a joke. So much so that people don’t really take this seriously and the courts feel more like a place where people come in to discuss what happened. Uh huh. We see almost everybody acting so disrespectful while the court is in session that you wonder if the circus is in town. Uh huh. Witnesses (AKA clowns) who can even tell off the judge or barge into the middle of a testimony, Mei still whipping everything, Godot even drinking coffee and getting his cuppa like as though some hidden bartender slide it into his hands. All this would never fly in reality and you would be charged with contempt of court! And everything in the end looks like a spectacle, an entertainment. For us viewers, of course. But if you put yourself in the shoes of these characters, you would soon understand why the courts all look like a big farce. I guess now the judge has seen spirits possessing and leaving a body, why is he not surprised about Chihiro? Oh yeah. Spirits are eternal. Can come back temporarily via medium. Okay. Cool with that. WTF?! As long as you are assertive enough, you can really control the court. Not the judge. Yeah, you be the judge of that. You can fool him all the time if you’re convincing enough.

The biggest slap in the face was my understanding that when you are accused of both crimes and if you are found guilty with a lesser one, you cannot be charged with the other. WTF???!!! Haven’t they heard of the rule of being charged with multiple accounts and crimes?! So they’re saying that if I kill somebody but have no proof to charge me for it and instead charge me with damning evidence that I stole a little boy’s wallet, I cannot be charged for murder? Are they saying I can get away with murder?! Oh my! No wonder we see perpetrators being so confident in courts because they think they can get away with it! And they would if it’s not for that meddling Naruhodo…

Lady luck must be smiling on Naruhodo so many times because he has been freaking lucky to have won all his cases so far. And that lady luck takes the form of Chihiro. Case in point when he lost his memories in the first episode! Damn, he fumbled his way successfully! I dare say he has not lost any cases at all. At least not the very important ones. With his impeccable record, this guy’s reputation would have soared and many would have sought his services. I don’t know about his wealth status but he still looks pretty same. I mean, I don’t really see him riding his bicycle and wearing his mini backpack. But thank goodness his sense of justice is still so great so I suppose he isn’t blinded by money and greed. But overall, Naruhodo mainly remains the same. In the sense that he still panics and looking around thinking hard for clues when the prosecutor corners him. Sometimes Chihiro helps him but more than often, he manages to figure out the contradiction. Yeah, the courts also feel like a big game of objection. This season feels personal since Naruhodo has to deal with his former lover who turns out to be one scheming b*tch whether dead or alive. Thank goodness his sense of justice is strong, eh?

The last time I said Mayoi felt like a useless character. She still is. Still the happy go lucky girl who is always at her own pace and sometimes the way she nonchalantly does things, you can say it might put Naruhodo in jeopardy. If he ever loses a case, there is a good portion that Mayoi is to be blamed. And so Mayoi in this season once more feels like a damsel in distress. Last season she was accused of murder and even kidnapped in that season’s final arc. Now, she went missing and is still accused of murder! Do you not agree with me that trouble should be her middle name? WTF Harumi trying to set up Naruhodo and Mayoi as a couple? I think that would be the greatest disaster ever! Their romance better not happen! Igi ari! I’d rather see the cheesy romance between Itonokogiri and Mako. Hopefully the latter is slowly opening up to this clumsy guy. By the way, since it was the real sweet Ayame that dated Naruhodo, are there chances of them getting back together again? I suppose everyone has moved on. It would have been a different battle and a more complicated one that the law doesn’t cover… ;p.

With Mitsurugi and Mei missing sorely this season, it felt that their temporary return was only so to satisfy fans that they are still around. I mean, these are important characters too, right? Last season saw the rivalry between Naruhodo and Mitsurugi going head to head on opposing sides. This time, Mitsurugi has to abruptly return from his trip to America to side with Naruhodo in a few cases. Yeah, they should already join forces already. At least Mitsurugi had a reason to make his cameo but Mei feels just forced. She was really unnecessary and only for some slight variety. Because if Godot was the prosecutor Naruhodo faced every time, that would be so suspicious. Like as though there are no other prosecutors in the land. Sure, there are but they aren’t as famous or even noteworthy.

Godot as the other new main character, yup another weirdo. Like what I said about almost everything about this season feels related. So Godot is on a grudge mission to defeat Naruhodo because he couldn’t save his junior. That’s very grand of him blaming Naruhodo for something that he could have a slight chance of preventing but how is Godot himself any different? Because for him to let his guard down and got poisoned by Chinami, that says it all. He is no different. Now he looks like some sort of robo knight with those strange visors that supposedly gives him sight. Sure, he finally admitted his mistakes and made his peace with Naruhodo. Was he just playing the villain? Because while I thought of mostly seeing him as one who just wants to get in Naruhodo’s way, but what if all those objections are just a way for him to ‘teach’ Naruhodo to think harder? As I’ve said, Naruhodo still feels like a rookie lawyer and probably that is what pisses Godot off so he has to tell him off he hates his guts for him to improve. I mean, it’s not like Godot is a bad person. Just bitter. Like his coffee. Haha! Oops… Damn, can he still drink coffee in court? Just act a bit tough and scary and the judge will be too afraid to question you. Besides, that other judge we have for ‘variety’, is his brother???!!! Damn, I thought he looks like some bearded troll! Not kidding! Santa guy and troll guy as judges… This is really some f*cked up justice system. Trivial note: I have a theory why Kaminogi chose Godot as his new moniker. As I know kami is Japanese for god. And ki is the general word for tree. Hence, god of tree. God of t. God-of-t. God-o-t. Godot. Geddit?!

This season with Rina Satou helming as the voice of Chinami and Ayame, she really sounds sweet and devilish both at the same time and even depending on which mood she is playing. Next time when I remember her other gentle anime characters like Minami-ke’s Haruka and Sunohara-sou No Kanrinin-san’s Ayaka or her tsundere type character like a certain biribiri character in a certain scientific railgun series, I’d be sure to remember this very devilish and sly character that may send shivers down my spine. And Hiroaki Hirata as Godot, I figured he needs a break once in a while as that Straw Hat Pirates’ cook. As for the art and animation, still weird as usual with some character designs really weird. Like Aiga being some sort of nightmare Pinocchio. And the worst offender of it all: The horrible CGI of the observers.

This season’s first opening theme, Never Lose by Tomohisa Yamashita feels more like some mild techno dance music. Not to say that it is appealing but I guess it is much better than the second opener, Reason also by Tomohisa Yamashita. Because this techno dubstep song sounds so gay! I know the singer’s voice is soft and the first opener also sounds a bit gay but it isn’t as bad as this one. It has gotten bad enough that some of the English words and tune are now stuck in my head!!!! GET IT OUT!!! Even odder, we see all the main characters doing that trademark objection finger pointing pose. IGI ARI!!! MAKE IT STOP!!! Halca sings Starting Blue, the first ending theme. A lively tune with some synthesizer effects. Come to think of it, much better than the gay openings. But I suppose the best one and the biggest shocker is the second ending theme, Beautiful Days by Coala Mode. This is quite a beautiful slow ballad and even though it doesn’t match the frenzy and illogical pace of the series but after all that court madness, I think this is a great song to listen to and wind down.

My overall sentiments for this season mainly still remains the same as last season. Lots of cheesy but fun moments especially how the court systems and the lawyers arguing and duking out feel more like a big showpiece to show how cool you can object. At least they know how to entertain and amuse us with their legal rhetoric and style. Sadly, it wasn’t the contradictions and the truth that awed us ;-). I would want to object to another sequel should the producers decide that another season should be in the works for being an insult to the legal system (heck, like I know anything about it) but I figured my objections would be overruled anyway. Besides, it could be fun to see more igi ari moments from Naruhodo and the bunch of clowns lawyers taking their stand and day in court in the name of justice. Are they making a mockery out of the justice system? Goes to show how complicated the legal system has become. Igi ari!

Domestic Na Kanojo

May 26, 2019

This season’s NTR or incest anime… Domestic Na Kanojo. Sort of. More than often, siblings provide the essential and great ingredient for an incest themed series. Because it is the social norm that siblings do not sleep with each other. But then, plot twist! Not blood related at all! Ah, I see. This ‘confusion’ then sets in to cloud our moral compass of whether or not f*cking your brother or sister is constituted as the forbidden love or typical romance between 2 adults. So are you f*cking your brother/sister or a man/woman? It doesn’t matter and everything will be alright as long as nobody finds out… Right?

Episode 1
Natsuo Fujii just lost his virginity to Rui Tachibana. Oh well. No one can now accuse him of being a virgin. It all started when his friends organized a mixer. Rui was one of those very moody girls despite she claims this is how she is. After learning Natsuo was once a dork and had a makeover during his middle school years, she hints of sneaking out from this place. She leads him back to her home (nobody in of course) and suggests having sex. Just to feel what it’s like. Any sane guy would face the greatest dilemma in their life. Which head is Natsuo going to use to think?! And one thing led to the other. Once it’s over, Rui hopes never to speak of this again. Judging by their reactions, I guess sex wasn’t great, huh? Natsuo consults his dorky friend, Fumiya Kurimoto about this and knows this is going to be only harder since Natsuo has a crush on his young teacher, Hina. You can say Hina is also ‘interested’ in Natsuo since she loves the novels he writes. One day he sees Hina crying but she brushes it off as some TV drama and won’t talk to him about her adult problem. Back home, his father tells him he wants to remarry. So when they meet Tsukiko, Natsuo is shocked to see Hina and Rui as her daughters! You bet it is going to get very awkward for Natsuo. The girl he has a crush on and the girl he f*cked all living under the same roof. Tsukiko fell in love with his dad because of his sincerity. Her former husband ran away with a mistress and left her bitter. Thanks to him, she is able to find love again. As a new family, they move into another house. Because Natsuo still feels awkward each time he sees Rui, she had to tell him off that moment didn’t happen. This is the first time they’ve met. Period. Hina must be forgetting she is living with men so a few sexy encounters like coming out of the bath almost naked and so many times she playfully teases Natsuo, you wonder if he is going to hold it all in. Then that tempting moment as she sleeps so sexily and so inviting on the couch… Must have clouded Natsuo’s judgment because he thinks of stealing a kiss to end it all. How the f*ck is this going to end it all when it’s just the start? Because Rui caught him red handed. Oh sh*t…

Episode 2
Pretend not to see… Rui kicks Hina off the sofa and drags her back to bed. Man, Hina’s a pretty heavy sleeper. In school, Natsuo gets another shock since Rui is a new transfer student. I guess she doesn’t want to commute long trips to school every day. Natsuo is worried people will find out about their relationship as siblings living together but she assures him she isn’t going to blab about her private life. Natsuo almost got a scare when he thought Hina knew he tried to kiss him. Apparently she got this habit of kissing others when she’s drunk. Thankfully all her victims were her female friends. Natsuo notices Rui alone during recess. Wasn’t she quite ‘popular’ when she first came in? Apparently despite not intentional, she sounded like she wasn’t interested to join in conversations. Hence Natsuo tries to help her practice in a very weird skit that has everyone laughing at them but it sort of broke the ice and now others would like to be Rui’s friend. Back home, Natsuo stumbles into Rui in the bath. Don’t worry, they seen each other once already. Is she trying to tempt him to do it again? This time in the bath? Well, it’s just to talk about his kiss with Hina. He learns that Hina has a boyfriend and she might be having some sort of issues with that. Later Natsuo asks Hina about her boyfriend but she doesn’t want to talk about that and would rather talk about things that are bugging him. She teases him here and there, almost slipped but he catches her. Great timing because looks like her boyfriend, Shuu Hagiwara is calling. She goes outside to settle it while Natsuo waits. 20 minutes passed and when Natsuo decides to check it out, looks like an upset Hina just came back in. He tries to comfort her but looks like the doorbell keeps ringing. Rui is puzzled with this weird scene as she opens the door. It’s dad and mom drunk. They’re back from officially registering their marriage. Awkwardness put on hold.

Episode 3
Natsuo sees Fumiya for advice and he too relates how he has a crush on a girl who comes in to the café he works and it is heart breaking to see her in some sort of affair with another man. WTF Fumiya’s fantasy of becoming her hero and stealing her away from him?! Anyway, Natsuo’s nightmare comes true when Fumiya points out to that girl. Doesn’t she look like Hina?! So that night Natsuo goes to talk to Hina about her affair. It seems Shuu is a married man and has told her to give him time to divorce his wife. With Hina admitting it is true, she tries to push him out and warn him not to meddle in the adult world but he kisses her. After she slaps him, the kiss continues before she throws him onto her bed. Is she going to rape him? Just a test to see his reaction. He still has that fear in his eyes so it proves he is still a kid. Next morning, Natsuo’s dad is panicking. Natsuo left a note saying he has run away from home! He fears he was against their remarriage. And so Natsuo bums around in Fumiya’s house. Coincidentally Natsuo notices Rui nearby the vicinity looking for him. Their eyes met. Looks like Rui too wants to stay at Fumiya’s place? It’s her way of ‘boycotting’. Apparently Rui knows about Hina’s affair as she often overheard her conversation on the phone. Before all this, Hina was also cheerful and devoted to her family. Rui tried to talk to her to break up with this guy but was told off since she has never fallen in love before, there is nothing more to say. With Rui wanting her sister back and Natsuo wanting his sensei to break up with the jerk, Fumiya prepares planning a strategy. That night the duo return home and their parents are so relieved. To Natsuo’s shock, he sees them contemplating divorce so he clears the air this isn’t why he ran away. Father hopes he could properly talk to him if he is facing any problem. Relieved Hina also starts crying upon their return. Next morning, Natsuo ignores Hina. And tonight is when they initiate their plan.

Episode 4
Natsuo and Rui believe today is the day Hina meets up with Shuu. So they tail her only to see her drink alone for 4 hours before attending a live event. A few days, all misses. And when Hina is seen waiting to meet up, it is her own student. Don’t even think she’s having an affair with her?! The duo got desperate enough to steal Hina’s handphone, call Shuu to break up! But with Rui being nervous trying to imitate her voice, mission failed. So as they lament all this at the café, here comes Hina and Shuu! Natsuo becomes hostile and confronts Shuu to break up with Hina. He even gets rough! My, my. Please, no violence in this establishment. So trying a bit of diplomacy and talk things out, Shuu introduces himself and has known Hina for a while (longer than Natsuo). Despite all that, Natsuo is still mad since Shuu has a wife and is cheating on her. Shuu maintains he really does love Hina and his anger is due to him being married. Will he give his blessing if he is divorced? Natsuo probably can’t take any more of this cheesy affection Shuu is showing Hina but before he could do anything, it is Rui who splashes water on Shuu before running away. Natsuo goes after her and even jokes about beating that guy up. I suppose Rui is too sad to even do that. The only comfort would be in Natsuo’s arms. Shuu wonders if Hina likes Natsuo because it looks like she doesn’t think of him as a kid brother. Although Hina doesn’t want to put her loved ones at risk, Shuu asks her about her true feelings and not those around her. It would be soon Hina’s mom’s birthday. But Natsuo can’t go shopping for a present with Hina. Looks like it is the anniversary of his mom’s death. 10 years must be a long time. He remembers always being a cry-baby and he tried to be strong not to cry at mom’s funeral. He wonders how different life would be had she been alive today. Natsuo is surprised the sisters are here to pay their respects. Hina says she has already broken up with Shuu. She is sceptical if he would divorce his wife because he has been talking about it for 6 months. With that, she realizes her family is more important. The sisters formally introduces themselves before Natsuo’s mom’s grave.

Episode 5
Classmate Momo Kashiwabara is interested to be Rui’s friend. She gives a weird rabbit charm she made as token of friendship. When Rui is with her other friends, upon finding out Momo tried to be her friend, they throw away the charm while citing all the flirty stuffs Momo did with other guys. Rui doesn’t care and she will decide herself if she is worthy to be her friend. Later when Rui talks to Momo about her ‘experience’, she doesn’t bat an eyelid in telling some of them. Some are the extreme and possessive kind to say the least. Later the duo stumble into Natsuo at the bookshop. I guess the vibe is good so Momo thinks if Rui doesn’t mind, she wants to make Natsuo her boyfriend! It’s not like Natsuo specifically stated they’re family, right? It’s not like Rui outright said no, right? So Momo hands him a confession piece of paper and hopes to hear his reply. Too bad for this guy, his ‘sister’ comes first. Because Rui is sick, Natsuo nurses her. Pretty much standard. Including wiping her back. But I wonder why Rui wants him to insert the suppository for her! Maybe her mom and sister aren’t back yet. So use our creative imaginations to see how Natsuo did that. Phew. So once Rui is okay, I guess it’s back to ‘dating’ Momo. It’s written all over Natsuo’s face that something is bugging him so Momo also bugs him. After a cheeky kiss, one thing led to another. Yup, he follows her back to her house. Parents not in as usual. If you’re wondering why Natsuo agrees to have sex with her (not just because he is a healthy teen), he thinks this is the best way to forget Hina. Yeah, having sex with a girl who is not of the family should solve things. Then damn he receives a message. His family will be working late. Isn’t that good news? Cue for Momo to wonder how nice it is to have a family because she always eats alone. Then sex is about to continue when he sees a bruise on her wrist. Like, damn. That ruined the mood. So he cooks for her and not because his cooking is so damn good but rather she has someone to eat with in a long time that brought her to tears. Sad to say, this might be better than sex…

Episode 6
When Natsuo is resting on the school rooftop, he also notices his teacher, Reiji Kiriya doing the same. They talk about literature works since Kiriya also writes his own works under the penname, You Hasukawa. When they part, the close up that Kiriya has next to Natsuo’s face may indicate this guy is gay! Rui wants Natsuo to show her around as she is interested to join a club. She also sounds jealous that he cooked for Momo and not her. WTF… Natsuo’s friends join in too but they’re here to see girls in action and once they had their fill, they just leave. WTF. They stumble into the literature club. Since nobody is around and Natsuo spots a book from Hasukawa he wants to read, he ‘borrows’ it. Later when he returns it, from his angle he sees Kiriya making out with the club’s president, Miu Ashihara. Of course damn sneakers gave him away and he even dared asked what they were doing?! Ashihara says he was just taking dust out from his eyes. Disappointed? Since Kiriya realizes he ‘stole’ a book, he forces him to join the club. Much to Ashihara’s delight since she is the only member. Natsuo is forced to do some flyer hand outs and later thought he got a love letter. Just a message from Kiriya to start club activities. Damn. Knowing Natsuo writes his own novels, he can tell his theme is unrequited love (it’s all written over his face!). As an experiment, he wants them to kiss. While Natsuo is shock, Ashihara is more than ready. Natsuo obliges but when he sees her tears, he backs out. Kiriya won’t force them to kiss but now understands Natsuo’s character. At home, Rui expresses interest to join the literature club. Sure it isn’t to see the other woman? Because of that, Momo too wants to join! Ashihara recognizes Momo as one of the top 10 students in school (you mean she’s not dumb or sex crazy???!!!) but sometimes her ranking drops because as admitted, she had a boyfriend then. She couldn’t focus unlike periods she had none so she just studied. OMG. You can see Rui’s uncomfortable face watching the friendly interactions between Natsuo and Ashihara. So much so the café is now the go to place for her to get advice on that burning thingy in her heart? Oh dear, the gay master is starting to talk about his yakuza days???!!! Uh huh. He fell in love at first sight of the young leader of the opposite group. But he gives good advice that she must follow it and figure it out herself otherwise she won’t find a meaning and give this feeling a name. To thank Natsuo for that Shuu incident, let’s say Hina wants to date him this Sunday.

Episode 7
During their outing, Natsuo asks why Hina flirted with a married man despite her own father did the same thing. She relates back in high school how she was friendly with boys and other girls started talking behind her back about it. Naturally that hurt her feelings and Shuu who was a teacher at her school was the only one who could make her forget it. Of course he transferred out and years later it was a coincidence she stumbled into him in college. She was shocked to see a ring on his finger but couldn’t fought her happiness when he wanted to meet up again. Natsuo also reflects upon his own ‘cheating’. He hands over his finished novel. He based his heroine around her. Chance to say he has always loved her. Romantically. She suggests they date. But she takes him into the sea?! They’re going to do double suicide?! Because this must never be known by anyone else. Otherwise, is he prepared to throw away his family, life and social status for this? I guess not. So let’s go back to being siblings. Natsuo’s last request is to give her a big hug. So that’s like goodbye? So back home and later that night, Rui must have sensed some sort of vibe from them. She enters Natsuo’s room and suggests doing it again. Of course he refuses since they are now siblings. She wants to know what made Hina more special than her since he tried to steal a kiss from her. I suppose Natsuo remembers Hina’s double suicide words. Then he’s like, “Ah, f*ck it. Let’s do it”. Yup, they started kissing. But that’s as far as they go since Rui just wants to feel what it’s like to secretly kiss. She may even start to like it. That’s all for tonight. With the exams coming, I suppose Kiriya has ‘warned’ them about doing their duty as students so Natsuo and Rui plead Hina to help teach them. The sisters are more interested to know if Natsuo is interested in Ashihara but he manages to change the topic. That night as Natsuo continues to study. He takes a break and what did he see? OMG! Is Hina masturbating in her room?! WHY THE F*CK DID SHE LEAVE HER DOOR SLIGHTLY OPEN! LIKE AS THOUGH SHE WANTED HIM TO PEEK! But the heartbreaker is when he hears her mention Shuu’s name. Made him drop his book. Quickly, hide! Hina checks. The coast is clear. Must be her imagination. That was close.

Episode 8
Rui asks if Natsuo stole her panties! WTF?! At school, Natsuo bumps into this American transfer student, Alex J. Matsukawa. Now they’re like friends? I guess American weeabos do want a Japanese friend. At the café, the master talks about a panty thief going around. Soon enough, Natsuo and Alex catch the panty thief red-handed. Rui meets up with them at the police station to ascertain if her stolen stuffs are hers. Alex is interested in dating Rui and hopes Natsuo can introduce them. So back home when Natsuo tells this to Rui, obviously she got mad. Oops. He goes to her room to apologize and you bet the only way for apology is to kiss. Twisted. But whatever. Worse scenario ever when Hina sees this. Doesn’t she knock?! Natsuo tries to explain himself but what Hina says that she is so confused that his words will not reach her is probably the best answer for now. With Natsuo regretting it, Rui talks to Hina. She admits she was the one who initiated it and confesses she likes Natsuo. Hina is worried this might ruin the family but the reason that we’ve all probably knew from the start: They’re not blood related. Ah, that loophole. Natsuo is in no mood so he just tells Alex that Rui rejected him. That night Natsuo tries to talk to Hina again. His feelings for her haven’t changed since the beach. Then why that? Can’t answer. Hina says she plans to move out of the house soon. When she announces it before the family, naturally Rui and Natsuo think it’s their fault although she has been planning this for a while so this is very much coincidental. Father suggests they should all go to the festival together. With the crowd separating them, good chance for Natsuo to talk to Hina. He wants to apologize if this is his fault and hopes she would reconsider living by herself. He promises to stop whatever he is doing with Rui but this rubs Hina the wrong way. She tries to end the topic and go away (even biting his hand!) but Natsuo remains stubborn. Not until the gay master stumbles into them and ‘force’ them to reconcile as adults. Hina relates how Rui has been always free spirited and this made her jealous. So when she saw them kissing, her jealousy took over rather than her worry of the family falling apart. She thought she needed to leave. As an adult she can’t do things Rui can. Natsuo is relieved she let her true feelings out before hugging her. He doesn’t need an answer now. The duo hold each other’s hand on their way home.

Episode 9
You mean Natsuo is still in shock that Hina isn’t changing her mind to move out? If she did, their parents would be suspicious, right? But she hints he can come over any time. See his face brighten up? As Rui is out, she sees Kiriya but to her horror, Shuu is with him. Kiriya was his senior in college. She still despises him but he really wants to apologize and treats her. Shuu assures he has never contacted Hina since but has since divorced his wife. Rui asks why not and Shuu feels it was not right on his part to chase another woman right after his divorce. Rui also tells them about Hina’s moving out and blames it on herself. Shuu assures her she isn’t the kind who would leave out of spite. Please believe in her. The night before Hina moves out, Rui goes talk to her and begs her not to go. Has she regressed to a baby? Hina says she doesn’t have to change or do anything. She is free to do what she wants. Natsuo is one happy man when he sees a letter from Hina. Inside is a key to her new place. Wow. Is this also the key to her heart? Haha! After Hina has moved out, her room is so empty. Rui can’t help but hug Natsuo. He assures to support her so she won’t be lonely. Too bad Natsuo lies that he won’t be back for dinner as he will be Fumiya’s. Actually it is to visit Hina. He rings the doorbell but no answer. Is she out? Time to use the key. Oh look. She’s sleeping. It’s like she could sense him nearby and wakes up. Natsuo tells her he is prepared to die for this. She’s so happy of his feelings and they start kissing. Natsuo wants to take the next step but Hina puts the brakes. Not so fast, lover boy. Let’s take things slowly. With the school term resuming, Rui doesn’t spite Alex as much as he thinks she does. So happy he decides to join their literature club even though he doesn’t write novels. I guess liking Three Little Pigs counts. At school, Natsuo confronts Hina about the other day because he thinks she might not be ready. You know, to die. It’s not like he is calling out on her but he is feeling insecure and probably a burden. Hina assures her feelings are the same as his. It’s like they’ve found this new thrill because they hide from the passing vice principal and start kissing.

Episode 10
While Natsuo and Hina make out, looks like their dinner is burning… With Kiriya on an absent streak, the literature club members go visit him at his place. Turns out he was just having sleepless nights trying to finish a novel and that woman earlier on was his editor. You mean Natsuo sounds this surprised and happy to learn he is secretly writing novels outside the school’s knowledge? Kiriya then suggests entering some amateur writing competition and you can see Natsuo’s face lighting up that he could soon be living his dream. At school, Natsuo teases Ashihara that she was relieved that the editor wasn’t Kiriya’s wife. In her embarrassment, she accidentally pushes him down the stairs. He just got off with a broken leg. Seriously. It’s a bit embarrassing that Ashihara is prostrating herself and willing to do anything to compensate this and the other cheeky guys are egging Natsuo to do some dirty stuff. With Natsuo grounded, this makes Rui happy since she gets to take care of him. Yeah, she’s been lonely since he has been spending too much time at Fumiya’s place. Gulp. Then there’s this steamy scene of Rui wanting to help bath Natsuo. See, when you don’t turn on the lights, instead of grabbing the body soap, she grabbed his dick!!! I don’t think it’s the size… While Rui is at the café, she talks to Fumiya and is puzzled to learn Natsuo didn’t come to his place lately. So she goes back and confronts him about this lie. Natsuo lies again that he actually went to Momo’s place and didn’t tell her in fear that she will be upset. Oh look. She’s pouting now. She hopes if he gets invited next time, invite her too. She doesn’t want to eat dinner alone. Later Natsuo calls Fumiya to fill him in if he needs his cover up next time. Natsuo is at it again as he is at Hina’s place making out. No broken bones is going to stop his boner. It’s really getting hot when the doorbell rings. Must be the delivery guy. Nope. Rui. Everybody in shock. Rui doesn’t need to say anything. Just that disappointed look and then tears. And then run away. Hina knows Natsuo has been lying. Later when Fumiya calls because Rui ran to his place but left, Natsuo finds her sitting at the park alone. They talk things out. Rui admits reading his novel about an unrequited love of a student and a teacher. She started connecting the big picture together and realized. She asks if he loves Hina. He admits he does.

Episode 11
Natsuo reveals he had feelings for Hina for a long time and she is reciprocating his love. Guess what? Rui kisses him?! Is this some sort of parting gift?! Yup. Because from now on she will try to hate him and move on. Call it self-defence. Don’t worry. She’ll still treat him as family. Rui even avoids talking to Hina. Is it that bad? Kiriya announces there is a winner among them for the competition although it is just an honourable mention. That winner is Rui! Wow. Look at Natsuo’s shock. Ashihara could tell he is depressed and talks to him about using this experience to grow stronger. Then he goes bug Kiriya to be his mentor. He is that desperate in wanting to do a living as a novelist. So Kiriya throws the question to him: Does he really want to write novels or just to status of being a novelist. That hit him real hard but he won’t give up and promises to write at least a short story every week and not slack on his studies. During the school’s field trip to Okinawa, Rui finally talks with Hina. Hina is willing to break up with Natsuo and doesn’t want her to hate him. Rui doesn’t want their relationship to be over and just hopes she just acts more like an adult. On the last night of the trip where everyone is out watching the fireworks, Natsuo is invited into Hina’s room. She wants to break up but he wants to get serious with her. The rejection force is strong in Natsuo as he objects to all her reasoning. Heck, he even gives her a cheap engagement ring (bought from the souvenir stand) as his initial serious commitment. A more expensive one will come by later when the money starts rolling in… With him being a smooth talker, no doubt Hina accepts him. The clincher is when he calls her by her first name. Oh yeah. Great prelude to sex! Now you see why calling the first name is so important?! Probably what happened was left to our imaginations. After that, Hina gets embarrassed when he mentions seeing her masturbating to Shuu’s name. I don’t think admitting doing that yourself in your own room will do Natsuo any good. But whatever. Game for another round? Once everyone is back in school, Hina is called by the head teacher. There is a photo of them kissing! But wait! How the f*ck can they know it is her?! It is Natsuo’s back and from that angle outside the window, definitely Hina’s full face was blocked by his head! Oh right. Like how I knew it was them when I first saw the picture, eh?

Episode 12
You know, Hina could just dismiss it as the faces were not obvious! But she prostrates herself and will accept any form of punishment and to spare Natsuo. So during the closing ceremony before the holidays, Hina makes this shocking announcement that she will transfer to another school. This leaves everyone shock especially Natsuo and Rui who heard nothing. Kiriya then talks to Hina and he somewhat knew about it ever since she started dating Shuu. Hina thinks if she had consulted him in the first place, this mess wouldn’t happened. Natsuo tries to contact Hina but she never replied. And when he goes to her apartment, it’s empty! Woah. So fast. But a letter left behind for him states the school found out about their relationship so she had to go in order to protect it from going public. She doesn’t want him to look for her. I love you. I hope Natsuo screaming would do him some good. Or not. Because now he turns into a zombie and lazes around. Fumiya goes talk to him and had to get rough to tell him off that if this is his answer, all that Hina has done would be for naught. Natsuo might have ‘improved’ a bit after that as he starts writing. But that is all he does and at this rate it might take a toll on his health. Even his parents are worried. They’re now thinking if their marriage was the cause to blame. Now it’s the gay master’s turn to talk to Natsuo. Inviting him to a public bath house, Natsuo is shocked to see his big yakuza tattoo on his back. He relates his story when he left the yakuza, his father as the boss was angry but sad. He was then free and could do whatever he wanted but soon found out his father died of cancer. He couldn’t attend his funeral after thinking what he must’ve felt. The lesson is when you’re alive, you can do a lot of things. You can’t turn back time to undo things. All you can do is shoulder it as part of yourself and go on living.

With Natsuo now getting some life back, he apologizes to his family for the worries and continues to put effort in his writing. Kiriya can tell he has changed from his writings. One day, Natsuo is called by Kiriya to his place. He is introduced to this lively guy, Souichirou Tsutaya. They then take him to some award ceremony in which Natsuo won first prize in the amateur division! Wow. They really kept this a secret just to see his reaction, huh? Natsuo makes his speech and vows to become a great novelist. With that, Tsutaya is now his editor in charge. When he goes home, Natsuo is shocked to see Hina and hugs her. Turns out to be Rui in disguise (wig courtesy from Momo). Awkward. So he breaks the ice by talking about the award he won. But then she changes the topic to ask if he had sex with Hina. Yeah, they were going to but interrupted somehow. Then she starts kissing him. She believes now it is different than their first time. She will not hold back for Hina anymore. I think we’ve seen Natsuo’s shock face a lot in this final episode. But too bad, no sex this time too… So is Rui going back on her words to hate him? Oh well. Love > Hate. We see Hina teaching in another school. Cutting her hair short is it her way to ‘disguise’ herself or her new self reborn? And she has a copy of Natsuo’s winning literature.

When Life Screws With You, Just F*ck It!
Life is stranger than fiction for Natsuo. Like as though he is living one of the weirdest love drama romance and playing it out in real life. It just feels sad and unsatisfying that Hina had to leave to protect everything but had she stayed on, chances are Natsuo would ruin it by being reckless because he had to throw away all that he has just to be with her. In other words, he would have thrown away words that would make him money in exchange for a pussy! Haha! That’s the crudest way to put it! But yeah, the ending feels somewhat rushed with Hina suddenly doing a disappearing act and it is more about Natsuo picking up himself. And with Hina ‘gone’, will Rui fill the void? Or will absence make the heart grow fonder? Tune in next time for the next volume of this weird romance!

Well, it doesn’t feel like this season’s Kuzu No Honkai as the sex in the first episode feels more like click bait to get you interested into watching the rest of the episodes. Yup, blame myself for putting some expectations that there would be some sort of sex scenes in at least a few episodes. Just a few suggestive scenes here and there but nothing that would really end up in procreation until the penultimate episode. Even the final episode click baited us to think it would end with another sex scene because what goes around, comes around. Other than that in between, it is going to be a long drama as the main characters get confused and sort out their feelings and some other outside factors that threaten to complicate this love triangle but never amounted to anything serious.

Because Natsuo has loved Hina for a long time but ironically the first person he ever had sex with is Rui who is her sister, I suppose this gives rise to a lot of contemplation for him about the direction of his life that would have otherwise been slightly more straightforward if Natsuo did not had sex with Rui in the first place. Now that it has come to this, I guess Natsuo is certainly a lucky bastard because he shagged Rui first and then eventually Hina. In between he almost did it with Momo and had the potential with Ashihara because she felt so guilty that she would do anything for him. Anything. So basically the whole plot of the story (and perhaps the goal of the story) is to wonder if Natsuo ends up sleeping with anybody.

If the story becomes too boring and making you wonder if you should carry on and see the next episode, then don’t worry. Because more sexy fanservice click bait at the end of every episode whereby it deliciously shows parts of a sexy woman in her lingerie or bikini. Her boobs. Her thighs. Her ass. Her crotch. Yeow! So sexy… Must… Fap… Immediately… Somehow it feels like to make up for the lack of sex in the series so have these risqué pictures for your fapping pleasure. You’re welcome. Except the final preview in the penultimate episode. WTF is this picturesque pier?! Where’s my sex porn star shot?! I see it means things are getting serious and sh*t going to hit the fan, huh? Oh well… Hmm… Doesn’t the pier look long enough to be a dick?! Get my mind out of the gutter, please!!!

Anyway, the characters just feel pretty average. There is nothing special that makes them and hence the storyline stand out. Just because both families are now legally married and their status upgraded from strangers to siblings, this give rise to the so called moral dilemma that the series hinges on. Sure we are family but we aren’t also blood related. It also puts Natsuo in an awkward situation since the person he loves is now technically his sister and just next door. Literally (until she moved out). I guess that is way better than finding the girl you like now becomes your stepmom after remarrying you father!!! Yikes! And yeah, Natsuo being pretty generic, tries to score with his sensei, tries to score being a novelist, oh well, life isn’t exactly a bed of roses. Keep trying. You’ll eventually get there. Hopefully.

Wanting to slut shame Hina is not right. Women at her age are stuck between a child (teen, actually) and a young adult. She tries to be a useful member of society or at least a responsible adult but I think she has no luck in love. Or rather she is the kind of woman who needs to be in love to be fulfilled (isn’t why she was dumb enough to leave her door unlock during her personal masturbation time? Like as though she hoped Natsuo would catch her in the act?). That is why she fell for Shuu in the first place despite knowing very well that he is already married. Because there were stronger objections from Natsuo and Rui, she caved in and now Natsuo is the one taking the lead to fulfil her empty love life. In both cases, it isn’t morally right from a society’s standpoint. Because it felt that despite both Hina and Shuu were wrong to be in such a relationship, Hina felt wrong-er than Shuu as the biasness of society now paints Hina as a weak slut while Shuu as a strong and ‘responsible and mature’ guy. Sad. So be careful, Natsuo. Unless a stronger man comes in to muscle his way into Hina’s love life, Natsuo better be strong and prepared when karma decides to pay him back double. Because now that scandalous photo…

Rui might not talk much but she sees things. Mostly. She also doesn’t express herself much and probably that is what contributed to her feelings being a ticking time bomb mess. Even when she got hurt realizing Hina and Natsuo had an illicit affair behind the family’s back, she just cried enough. Get what I mean? She knows she needs to move on somehow but unfortunately I don’t think it is going to be easy trying to hate someone you love unless you see their truly despicable side. So for Rui saying she wants to hate him to move on and a self-defence mechanism, I have a feeling it will backfire since she doesn’t express much, what more with this unpredictable crazy thing called love. But with Hina gone and Natsuo affected, she might go into overdrive to steal his heart. Maybe if sex was thrown in as part of the deal, she might have a chance… Just saying…

I feel that many of the other characters feel wasted and not really impact the overall story and main characters much. For instance, Momo. Suddenly she pops up as another rival who would complicate things further. We fell for that nearly sex scene that now looks more like another form of click bait in retrospect. We thought she would try something like this again in the future but ever since Natsuo ‘tamed’ her with his cooking and she became Rui’s best friend, she quickly became irrelevant. Like as though she is as good as not existing in the first place. Then there is Ashihara who is supposed to have a crush on Kiriya and her role to accidentally have Natsuo in a cast feels really unnecessary because it could be just Natsuo falling down by himself while fantasizing about Hina on his way downstairs. Really. Then they troll and click bait us with Kiriya making them to pretend kiss that never happened. Maybe her character is just red herring for those who expected Ashihara to get in the way of the siblings’ relationship. The gay master may not be the manliest in the eyes of society but he was being the manliest of everyone in bringing back Natsuo to life thanks to his life’s bitter experience. Great lesson to learn from this guy: Never judge a book by its cover.

More than halfway through the season, suddenly they had to introduce this new transfer student and more cliché, a half Japanese and half western guy. You know, almost every anime needs this one foreigner character who totally loves the Japanese culture. It’s not like Natsuo doesn’t have his own circle of friends but having Alex suddenly as part of his groupie and making him a possible love interest for Rui just doesn’t fit quite right. Like as though he is the backup for Rui’s love if she ever fails to win Natsuo’s heart. Last and not least, Kiriya at first hints that he is interested in Natsuo but just like the sex scenes and fanservice of this series, he might just be trolling us all. I guess not every hot male teacher is gay. Kiriya eventually comes off as a more mature and responsible teacher and that once more puts Hina to shame as a teacher and adult. Poor Hina…

Art and animation are okay. It feels clean and simple. Standard anime style. On a trivial note, when I first saw Natsuo, Rui and Hina, the first thing that came to my mind was, what the f*ck are the casts of Evangelion doing here???!!! Sure, blame Rui for looking very close Rei (name and personality even so similar) and because of that, Natsuo and Hina started looking a bit like Shinji and Asuka respectively. Like, WTF?! Even more so when Natsuo’s dad looks like a wuss version of Gendou. LIKE, WTF???!!! I wonder if Ritsuko has gotten old enough and masquerading as Hina and Rui’s mom. Holy sh*t!!!! This series is animated by Diomedea who did Shinryaku! Ika Musume, Aho Girl, Beatless, Fuuka, Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu and Action Heroine Cheer Fruits.

In the voice acting department, I only recognized Youko Hikasa as Hina as well as Kenji Tsuda being the gayest of the gayest as the café master. The other casts are Taku Yashiro as Natsuo (Hayato in Shounen Maid), Maaya Uchida as Rui (Irina in High School DxD series), Haruka Yoshimura as Momo (Koharu in Sora No Method), Konomi Kohara as Ashihara (Chika in Kaguya-sama Wa Kokurasetai), Hikaru Idorikawa as Kiriya (Lancer in the Fate series), Tasuka Hatanaka as Alex (Flegel in Shingeki No Kyojin), Daisuke Hirakawa as Shuu (Makoto in School Days) and Takuya Eguchi as Fumiya (Julius in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu). The opening and ending themes have this very dramatic feel in them. Like Kawaki Wo Ameku by Minami as the opener is also infused with some hard rock elements. Somehow I prefer the ending theme, Wagamama by Alisa Takigawa. No doubt still dramatic, but it has a catchy beat to it that I can’t get out of my head. She also sings the special ending theme for episode 8, Always that is more of a slow ballad that fits the reconciliation of Natsuo and Hina.

Overall, this series shows one tiny aspect of the complicated human nature and the expectations of societal norm in regards to relationship. This series may not be unique as love stories about torn between 2 lovers are a dime a dozen (White Album, Koi To Uso) but with sex involved (School Days, Kuzu No Honkai). This is just a standard and cliché melodrama masked as a pseudo harem genre, if you know what I mean. If there is only one thing that I really learn from here, when you want to masturbate, make sure all the curtains are drawn and double triple check the doors are securely locked. Because you don’t know who could be watching at that very moment. Because you might be f*cking yourself but then life decides to join in and f*ck up the rest of your future. I think that basically sums up what happened to all the main characters here…

It was too early to judge things in 3D Kanojo Real Girl back then even though a lot of things felt quite annoying and incomplete. But like how we always need to give love a chance, I suppose we also need to give this otaku another chance since the second season came and go just like that. I have a hunch that this sequel will put an end to many of the things left hanging in the first season instead of leaving it suspended again for potential future seasons like many anime series often do. After all, what many of us want in life is closure. Even otaku guys who have turned over a new leaf after getting a taste of that real sweet 3D love, deserve as such.

Episode 13
Tsutsui and Itou’s dreaded event: The cultural festival. They want to run and hide somewhere. Only if fate didn’t feel like screwing up their lives because the class makes Tsutsui as part of the committee’s rep. Not even Itou can save him. But after hearing that Ayado is on the committee, Itou enthusiastically switches with the guy who wants out. Such convenience. Observing how Ayado is doing her best, it makes Itou want to move forward too. So he confesses to her. Wow. It’s only the first episode of the second season. You sure? This embarrasses the hell out of Ayado and I don’t understand what she said only until later when Itou ‘reported’ to Tsutsui that he was rejected. Tsutsui tries to be nice to him seeing Itou is putting up a brave front but Itou in fact is grateful to him for all the events that transpired. Then Ishino had to ruin this heartbreak party. Can’t blame her. She is the master of getting rejected. Anyway, please listen to her suggestion of doing a maid café for the festival!!!! I APPROVE!!! Later when Itou bumps into Ayado, the latter is still very embarrassed but hopes they could remain as friends. Because they want to be better people, I guess the first step is to be each other’s friends. Yeah, that’s a start. With that, Itou has a makeover. He cuts his hair and ditches his animal ears. Woah! Totally new person! When Itou seeks Ayado’s advice on the maid café, the intense training begins! He must be regretting the intense vocal training. Goshujinsama!!! Tsutsui sees Iroha running away. Damn, she’s fast. Later she relates how her class rep wants her to join the beauty contest since the winner gets money for a party. Tsutsui will definitely support her but she just doesn’t want the attention. Too bad the class rep later tells her he already entered her. If she wants to beat him up, that’s fine. The reason being, there is a girl he loves who put in so much effort. He wants to show that appreciation by throwing her a party (so I guess he himself didn’t have enough money to do it). He will take this chance to confess to her. With that, Iroha agrees to ‘donate her talents’. Tsutsui learns of this but is worried since Takanashi drops him a nasty rumour that she might dump him if she wins. He tries to stay positive and be a better man but screws up by accidentally dropping paint all over their signboard. Bummer. If that’s not bad enough, Tsutsui is now part of the judging committee of the beauty contest! Oh my, fate is sure getting the kicks out of this.

Episode 14
At least everybody isn’t heartless to leave it to Tsutsui and Itou to finish up last minute preparations. Is Itou the only one cross-dressing as a maid? Because everybody finds him beautiful! Thankfully he is holding it in thanks to the training. Then an accidental sexual harassment that has everyone blushing? WTF?! Tsutsui the manager even coolly tells this jerk customer to leave. WTF, man? Why is everyone acting so out of character?! I guess Tsutsui is also holding it in for the sake of the festival but thank goodness for Iroha for his much needed ‘recharge’. With the beauty contest in full swing, Ishino is dead last with only a vote (from herself). I guess she’s pretty sad about it and probably it scored some sympathy points with Takanashi. Here. A vote from him. With the top 4 advancing to the finals, it is clear that Iroha is the top but she faces stiff competition from her b*tch rival, Reiko Akiyama who has something to say about using looks to get ahead. I’m sure Iroha wanted to tell her the same but better be the nice girl for now. On stage, it is clear that Reiko uses her charms for the usual cliché of baiting everybody. Then it’s Iroha’s turn. OMG is this really her when she talks so cute and lovely???!!! Everybody just got shot in the heart! And then she realizes this is too much to keep up and drops the act. Here comes the best part as she lectures everyone she doesn’t want to be judged by her looks. Lots of people don’t know her so they can think want they want of her. Because there are some who can see past all that and see her for herself. She doesn’t need to win so please don’t vote for her. With the students’ votes mainly handing Iroha a slim lead over Reiko, it all boils down to the judges’ decision. This puts Tsutsui in a bind as he wants to vote for Iroha but also respect her wish not to win. In the end, Reiko wins and this hands Iroha a big relief. Tsutsui wants to tell her all the reasons why she is more than her looks but she’ll save that for another day. Fate rewards our protagonists as the maid café is the top sales earner. During the bonfire dance, the class rep thanks Iroha for the help. Iroha suggests he confess despite not winning. Meanwhile Ayado gets nervous when Itou accidentally touches her hand. She’s like slapping herself for feeling this while blaming herself she has no right to it because she rejected him, blah, blah, blah. You know Itou’s watching, right? His answer: Just hold her hand! If it helps her see him as a person she could love.

Episode 15
Ishino acting strange. Could it be she’s in love? Itou and Ayado even awkward when seeing each other. Then Tsutsui’s mom shows him a smoking hot picture of herself when she was younger! OMFG!!! IS THIS REALLY HER?! Anime can really either turn you beautiful or ugly!!! The world is going mad! Tsutsui and Iroha are at the café when they overheard the next table of a working couple having an affair and wanting to break up. The catch? The man is Tsutsui’s father!!! HOLY SH*T!!!! Tsutsui tries to believe in him that this is all an understanding but that night looks like dad and mom are already having talks of this affair. She already has proof of this and you can see her breaking down from it. It’s not like Tsutsui could do anything good so he hangs out with Iroha to update what happened. She promises to help if he needs her. When he returns, the drama just ramp up a notch. Mom is asking for divorce. Damn, this escalated quickly. And dad is just like apologizing and okay with this?! He knows better not to fight stubborn mom. With this divorce it means one of the sons will follow her back to mom’s place. That’s like in Hokkaido! With this on his hands, Tsutsui must be having a hard time listening to Itou who is sad that Ayado is giving him the cold shoulder. No time for this when family problems are at hand. Each time Tsutsui returns, looks like the drama gets worse. Yeah, dad is sleeping in the living room now. They talk and dad knows he is in the wrong and had no right to argue back given the fact mom stayed faithful to him for 20 years. He still loves her and the family, though. Tsutsui knows he needs to fix this and I suppose now the news hits Kaoru. The brothers argue who should be the one following mom. Kaoru sounds like has the advantage with his logic but it eventually boils down to the girl they love that they don’t want to move. Next day, mom left a letter and Tsutsui fears she ran away. He runs out looking for her. Does he even know where to look? Oh, there she is sitting dejectedly at the park. Tsutsui talks to her especially he is against breaking up of the family. But with this drama so deep in, there’s no turning back. It now turns into who she should bring to Hokkaido. Yeah, Tsutsui trying to vouch for Kaoru. However… Seeing he was always the otaku, she never realized he cared this much for the family. So now she has made up her mind. She’s bringing him back to Hokkaido! Damn! Backfired so hard that it looks like Tsutsui would be the one moving away first than Iroha.

Episode 16
I don’t think Iroha likes it that Tsutsui is moving away too. But there’s nothing she can do about this and she hates it. Damn, does it look like they’re breaking up?! Later Iroha stumbles into Tsutsui’s dad and they talk about easily broken bonds. The woman whom dad is having an affair is seen outside the house. Tsutsui knows mom will blow her top and takes her to the café to talk. Iroha goes into scary mode reprimanding her the damage she has done and will do. Yeah, like will crying change anything?! We take a break from this drama to detour to Ayado’s side. She is in a dilemma because now Itou is ignoring her. She talks to Ishino for advice and she slaps her to her senses! Whatever it was, it was enough motivation to get her going rather than give up. So back to Tsutsui’s family drama, they learn the woman only had dinner with him and he was kind enough to pay for them and listen to whatever troubles she had. They never slept or let alone hold hands. She tried to ask him out but was rejected from the very start. Tsutsui now confronts his dad. How could he omit such an important info? Dad believes even if it was dinner and if it made mom unhappy, it is still considered betrayal. But this woman made him realize how much he still loves mom. So flashback we see mom and dad awkwardly met. Her favourite high heels broke and he fixed it since he was working in the glue department. He was a nerd. She was sporting. She asked him out. He somewhat obliged. One night, he overheard her talking to her boss who claims she only got this far because of his special treatment. He’s the biggest jerk ever for whatever reason. After that, dad awkwardly came to talk to her and that’s when they realize they love each other and be with each other ever since. Despite this story, Tsutsui is not amused dad is still giving up. If he loves her, don’t let her go! It’s the same for him. Even if he has to follow mom to Hokkaido, he won’t give up on Iroha! Dad agrees to talk to mom again. So apparently she knows the whole story. So when he brings up the nostalgic past, oh yeah, you bet that’s the magic that will rekindle their love. I have love you always. My love has never changed. I want to stay in your life forever. Voila. Funny how adult works. Phew. With this drama over, we now move back to Ayado. Yeah, she’s this close to breaking down thinking Itou is ignoring and hating her. But when he comes back to talk to her, it’s like she gives him the biggest hug. Isn’t it a no brainer when she asks why he is the only thing she thinks about? You’re in love, baby!

Episode 17
Ayado narrates she was an otaku in her younger days. Her first love was a manga character and it was tough that nobody else shared the same passion. One day she was so absorbed reading that she didn’t notice a classmate called her and she was given a reality check after being scolded for it. In a way, she locked herself in a shell until Tsutsui and co came along. Back to reality, Itou hugs her and promises never to let her go. Emotionally charged Ayado rants about her insecurities and fears, like how she was afraid of him leaving her. Her tears are probably so infectious that it’s Itou’s turn to cry. Weirdly, Ayado breaks their official dating status to Tsutsui and Iroha. Even weirder, she apologizes to them for dating his best friend? WTF. Of course they don’t mind this piece of good news. Tsutsui better not be crying or it’ll be weirder… Wow, such good news that their circle of friends celebrate this! It’s like they’re married?! Now Ishino is bugging Takanashi for their turn. Jerk doesn’t give a damn. With Tsutsui’s peaceful life returning, I guess it’s time to remind us they kissed before. Another great kiss in his room and probably more had not mom come in (why don’t parents knock?!) to invite her for dinner. Is this a disappointment or relief? Over dinner, the parents really thank Iroha for being with their son as well as apologize for the divorce fuss. Kaoru still has trust issues. He still hasn’t gotten over his big brother trying to sell him out to Hokkaido and asks Iroha straight what she sees in this otaku. Iroha doesn’t see any other guys cooler than Tsutsui and is further glad the brothers don’t have to be separated. In view of this, I guess Kaoru starts calling her his onee-san since they’ll one day get married, right? You mean they’re not thinking that far ahead? Now we turn back to Ayado. She’s still having issues if this couple thingy is real. Yeah, she’s like still in disbelief and spacing out. It’s an emotional roller coaster ride for this girl. Eventually Itou also can tell she is pushing herself and hopes she could think this over before they get too far. Damn this props up those fears again. Probably out of desperation, she realizes he confessed to her many times but never once vice versa. So she quickly says I love you and that tearful apology that always caused him trouble. Do you feel better now, Itou? Since he doesn’t want her to hold back her feelings like he does, there is something that is bugging her on her mind all day long… Suddenly she kisses him! He returns the favour by kissing her back. Feels good, right? When he said not to hold back, he didn’t she would ask permission to hit him with full force of her desires. Yeah, maybe that one it’s wise to take it slow.

Episode 18
Ayado and Itou look like a happy couple in love with an idiotic smile! I guess this is cue for Ishino to continue bugging Takanashi and she’s desperate enough to ask what it would take to get him to like her. Yeah, he’s just making a fool out of you. When some of Ayado’s classmates see them as a couple, Ayado gets flustered and introduces her boyfriend. However they laugh and never thought this otaku would be interested in real life. Ishino steps in to give them a piece of her mind. It could have gotten physical had not Takanashi stepped in. Maybe that’s why he refuses to date Ishino. She likes meddling in the affairs of others. What’s a girl without a boyfriend and lots of time on her hands has got to do? To thank her for this, Takanashi has a mini date with her at the ramen shop and even trolls her to go on a real date. Meanwhile mom is treating Iroha like part of the family. Making her an apron and asking her favourite food. Tsutsui must be really freaked out. So the troll date becomes a real date as Takanashi reluctantly ‘dates’ Ishino at the aquarium. Suddenly Takanashi sees Anzu with Kaoru. He gets upset. Firstly, Anzu lied about being with another friend today. Kaoru introduces himself as Anzu’s boyfriend and this doesn’t sit well with Takanashi. Yeah, he has issues he is Tsutsui’s brother. He wants to take Anzu home and call off their dates. It hits a nerve this time when he tells Ishino not to meddle. Anzu takes Kaoru and run during the confusion. With the mood ruined, the teens walk home. Takanashi hugging Ishino thinking he can solve this? I don’t think it’s going to be that easy. More woes when mom calls because Anzu left a message that she is running away with Kaoru! No time to tell Ishino to stay out. Please help. They search everywhere and couldn’t find them. Could it be they never left the aquarium? Yeah, they’re still there. Were the heck’s security?! Anzu tells Kaoru her family structure. They have no dad so sometimes big brother is overprotective. Kaoru feels it’s not right to make them worry and promises to talk to them to gain their trust. Anzu’s confession somewhat ruined with Takanashi coming in and slapping Kaoru! Kaoru blames himself for keeping Anzu out this late although Anzu admits she was the one who had this elope idea. Takanashi apologizes and will hear Kaoru out one day. But it’s time to go home. Takanashi walks Ishino home and suggests they date again next time. But it will be him asking her out. If he insists.

Episode 19
Time we remember about Iroha’s jerk brother, Chika. He claims being with Tsutsui has turned her into a slob (her fashion sense, that is) but she ignores him. Tsutsui is shocked to see Itou seeking advice from Takanashi. Thinking something has happened, he asked Takanashi about it and it is hinted that Itou might be crossing over to adulthood. You jealous, virgin? Meanwhile Ishino is now complaining to God to make her happy. Then pops this dude who is Takanashi’s friend, Sakurada who has taken a liking at her after seeing her at the cultural festival. He wants to be friends. Heck, he even asks Takanashi for ‘permission’ to date her! Not that Takanashi cares but you can feel he doesn’t like this idea. Now Tsutsui is spying on Itou? And when Itou confronts him he gives excuses? So when they finally talk, Itou reveals he plans to go to Ayado’s house and sought Takanashi’s advice seeing he is worried one thing might lead to another. Though Itou thought he should have asked Tsutsui first, Tsutsui now believes why Takanashi said it is something he couldn’t solve. After all, Takanashi’s advice to Itou was pretty vague. Just go with your instincts! With Iroha insisting on going on an overnight trip during the long weekend, Takanashi’s mind is now screwing with him. Yeah, are they going to cross over to adulthood? Meanwhile Kaoru officially introduces himself and apologizes to Takanashi why explaining how much he loves Anzu. Not that big brother is impressed but Kaoru is the one being the mature adult and Takanashi close to flaring up. Since he can’t punch a kid, Takanashi calls Tsutsui and punches him instead! WTF?! More woes for Takanashi because he looks worried seeing Ishino accepting Sakurada’s invitation to a sweets shop. Ishino still doesn’t trust him but he continues to listen and be a smooth talker. It has been a long time since a guy treats her this nice. Should she go for it? But somehow Ishino still feels bored and seeks Tsutsui for ‘entertainment’. Learning he doesn’t want to go on an overnight trip with Iroha (because, sex), she lambasts him not to disgrace her. Just get laid! Just do it! Hence when the duo meet, Tsutsui is so worried that Iroha decides not to go. If he’s not okay with it, there’s no point in going. She leaves and Tsutsui feels bad and realizes she has put in a lot of effort in planning the trip. Time to man up. He catches up and hugs her. Let’s do it, baby. It’s like she’s waiting for this answer. So happy she hugs him. In the middle of the street? Yeah, don’t let anything get in between your love. Unfortunately… Iroha soon has remedial classes… Another time, I guess.

Episode 20
Takanashi receives word that his mom is hospitalized. A big relief that she only had a minor concussion after slipping at work. He worries about her but she assures the insurance money is enough to cover her kids through school. Damn. Gotta be ready at all times… So later Ishino finds out about this and wants to help. I mean, what choice does Takanashi has after she slaps him and then rants about that unfulfilled date promise. So he has her help him cook a favourite dish for Anzu. She really likes it and hopes she could come here more often. However this good vibe is killed with Takanashi being his usual sarcastic and cold even in metaphoric sense about his relationship with Ishino. It makes Anzu cry at first and with some Ishino’s motherly hug and assurance, everything returns to normal. With Ishino having plans with Sakurada for the weekend, Takanashi tells her not to go. This time his sarcasm really hits her nerve so she leaves for real. Takanashi goes after her and cleans up this mess by hugging her. It will take more than that for a girl in tears. Hence he tells her his true feelings. He believes she will be an important part of his life and letting her go now means he knows he will regret it. Will you be my girlfriend? Yes. YES! Damn it felt like he’s proposing to her or something. To prove his love for her, he kisses her. Not playing around for real. As Tsutsui heads home, that jerk Chika is waiting outside. He warns him not to go on the trip with Iroha. Tsutsui is prepared to be punched by him and assures he will not do anything strange to her. All he wants is to grant her wish. Besides, this trip is not happening due to her remedial class. Frustrated Chika just punches him in the gut. Meanwhile Itou is over at Ayado’s place. Her parents have to leave last minute so they’re home alone. So they play video games for hours?! No wonder Ayado is getting frustrated. Itou doesn’t want to betray the trust of her parents and needs to take care of her but this makes her sad. Because it means he won’t touch her and there’s so many things she wants to tell and teach him. So she’s being horny? I guess Itou is like screw it, kiss her, now let’s see where this takes us on the bed… Yeah… Do we still remember last season that hot doctor? Looks like something ominous when he tells Iroha she only has a month left… WTF?! Is there real sh*t going on?! That grave illness thingy?! Remember that?! WTF???!!!

Episode 21
Tsutsui and Itou learning Ishino and Takanashi are now a couple. Are they that in disbelief? Later Itou tells Tsutsui that he has done it with Ayado! OMG! You mean they really crossed the line to adulthood?! Looks like. And after sex Itou was crying? Weird. Thank goodness it’s because he is happy. So the whole lesson learnt from this is that it opened up a whole new world. Darn right it did. Also, Itou doesn’t hate himself as much as before. The friends gather to celebrate Ishino and Takanashi being a couple. I suppose it’s part of their tradition. Then they also talk about their future paths in life. I suppose Takanashi didn’t really think Ishino would consider being his wife as her future plan. And Tsutsui is the most ‘boring’. Go to college and be a civil servant. Tsutsui thinks hard on Itou and Takanashi’s words about not wanting to waste every second they have and leave no regrets. That is why he goes on his knees to seek mom’s help to borrow money. Not the kind of small change to buy a textbook. Talk about 5 digits! He promises to pay her back, etc. She agrees to put on his tab as long as he doesn’t lose sight on what’s important. So is he going to splurge all that cash on Iroha? Seems like he is taking her to the arcade to have loads of fun. Maybe a nerd needs to take a big break once in a while. However Itou heard that Tsutsui has not been showing up to special classes and his grades are slipping. Even the teacher called him out to talk about this. So when Tsutsui asks about the choice now to study or not have any regrets, instantly the teacher chooses the former. I don’t think it’s what Tsutsui wants to hear. Itou tries to help him but is told to mind his own business. Tsutsui continues to hang out with Iroha. At the beach, Iroha remembers Itou talking to her about his slipping grades. Iroha was shocked because Tsutsui told her he was studying every day. Iroha then sees Tsutsui’s elaborate plans, the things he wants to do with Iroha. It just breaks her heart. Then she hugs him and confesses that her transfer to another school was a lie. Sounds like good news but why do I have a bad feeling that there is more to this. I don’t think she’s crying tears of happiness either…

Episode 22
It’s too late to take a train back so luckily they manage to get a room at a nearby inn. Later as Tsutsui checks off the list, he sees at the bottom that Iroha has added one on her own: To sleep with him! Yikes! For real?! And then they just get to that because I think it’s top priority ;-). First you start by saying how pretty she is, how much you love her (100 times more than the first time you met), then you start kissing before the final stretch… Did they do it? Up to our imaginations but I’m positively sure about it because next morning they’re in bed naked and Tsutsui feeling like he has been reborn! Oh yeah! The power of sex! No more virgin boy mockery ever again. They buy a matching Buddha key strap before they part. But Tsutsui finds it hard to part with her. Back home, time for Chika jerk time. He tells her to stop dating Tsutsui. At this point? What he meant is that it will be hard on him once she is gone. Damn, this is going to be very deep… Tsutsui tells Itou that he only as a month left with Igarashi. Also, they had sex. Oh yeah. Now we’re really moving up together in life, aren’t we? But Tsutsui soon realizes that Iroha hasn’t come to school for 3 days. No replies from his mails either. Is she avoiding him?! Panic, he rushes to her home. Jerk Chika there to greet him. Go away. She doesn’t want to see you. Tsutsui is stubborn (as he wants to hear it from her mouth) and camps outside her house. Even bringing his own coffee pot?! Is this legal?! Is this stalking?! But it seems this is Iroha’s wish not to see him and it’s best that Chika shoos him away. But I guess persistence really pays off because annoyed Chika just lets him in. Tsutsui enters her room, sees all her belongings packed in boxes. Has she been sitting dejectedly like that for the last 3 days? He thinks she doesn’t want to say goodbye and technically that’s what she intended. As they go walk, she reveals the truth. She has some brain disease and is going away for surgery. However the chances are 50% and even if she makes it, there is no guarantee she will remember him or their friends. Wow. Tsutsui is so shocked at this ‘God’s test’ that even the art style is getting sketchy. Uh huh. I guess his world is starting to fall apart. He starts crying, feeling bad he couldn’t do anything. Could he? Iroha is glad to have met him. So thank you. And goodbye.

Episode 23
Tsutsui is like a living zombie. He gets bullied but doesn’t give a damn. Even when Takanashi tries to tell him off, he just doesn’t care. So Iroha has left for overseas. The friends are concerned mostly about Tsutsui but it can’t be help if he refuses the open up. Not even Kaoru supports him because since he got ‘dumped’ and now he is like giving on up on everything. A pathetic guy like that gets no sympathy. This kid’s got a point. And when mom finds out what really happened to Iroha from Kaoru, she goes to beat up Tsutsui to his senses! The one hurting most now is Iroha. She would be disappointed to see him moping like this and she would be thinking if she was dating a useless guy. Tsutsui moves on but overall the pain is still there. He is still that gloomy face. Fast forward to the university entrance results. He thought Iroha was there but just coincidence she had her same hairstyle. Bummer. The friends thought he failed to get in but to their surprise he passed! Yeah, the gloomy face was really deceiving. With them reminding him that they will always remember Iroha, cue for flashback to that last teary meeting. Tsutsui claims his future will be meaningless without her. But she is confident he will find new things to fill in his life and wants him to promise her this one thing: Please forget about her. Fast forward many years later where Tsutsui is now a working adult. He is a hard worker in a famous company and on track for a fast promotion. Heck, there are some girls even interested in him but he declines their invitation to go drink so that he could rush home and watch an anime that Itou had a hand in! Oh well… But Tsutsui still goes out drinking with his old friends. Ishino announces she is already 3 months pregnant. Congratulations? It’s been a while as we see Tsutsui having visions of Ezomichi giving a pep talk in moving on. Tsutsui doesn’t mind carrying the pain in his heart and claims he is much happier in life than he would have been had he not met her. It has been 7 years and now Iroha and Chika return to Japan. Chika brings her around the old place they used to live. Can’t remember them. Chika then takes this chance to confess he loves her (including the reminder that they aren’t biologically related) and will always be by her side even if her memories never return. This prompts Iroha to note that she traded her memories for her life. She has made lots of friends in Los Angeles and she is happy with those memories. With nothing here for her, she wants to return to LA.

Episode 24
Tsutsui’s mom must be lonely. Hinting and bugging her son that she wants a grandchild! Funny that Iroha has her packed stuffs in Japan. Did she plan to stay here when she came back? Going through some of them, she feels something strange in her heart when seeing that strap. She asks Chika about her previous life as she feels there is a giant hole inside her. Well, Chika has told everything about her and is somewhat tired. I suppose the time is right to let go. Chika says that there is one other guy who knows more about her than him. When Tsutsui leaves work, he is shocked to see Chika. Even shocker to see Iroha! Instantly he runs to hug her! I guess she prepared for this instead of screaming a pervert suddenly hugging her. She thanks him despite not remembering him. When she asks his name, he won’t give and just wishes her well. But then she stops him since she notices the same strap. Then explain why it hurts whenever she looks at this? Tsutsui claims he couldn’t do anything when she needed him most. Hence she doesn’t deserve to remember him. But in his entire life, she is the only girl he has ever loved. Probably Tsutsui crying has some sort of magical effect as some of Iroha’s memories return! No kidding! We now see Takanashi and Ishino having their own wedding. Better hold this before the baby pops out. Tsutsui and Itou manage to make it in time. They sent Ayado an invitation but she couldn’t make it. What? She’s married? Oh… With Ishino thanking Tsutsui for bringing them together, damn Tsutsui is the one who is crying before the bride! Outside, oddly Tsutsui is the one who catches the bouquet! Then everyone spots Iroha. OMG. Is this real? Not a ghost?! Everyone goes to hug her. Another round of free flowing tears. Iroha can’t remember fully but bits and pieces of them. Better than nothing. Welcome back. Tsutsui and Iroha on the way home, she drops the biggest news: She now fully remembers everything! The happiest 6 months of her life as his girlfriend! Tsutsui says he had always been thinking of her and hoped she would be alive. Even if she had lost her memories, he hoped she would fall in love with him again. Please don’t go back to LA. She assures, even if she remained amnesiac, she would still fall for him. Oh God. Big hug. Big tears. And so the inevitable day comes. Yup, Tsutsui and Iroha getting married. Mom must be so happy now. Ayado could finally make it this time. Why? She’s divorced. WTF???!!! At least Itou has got a shot with her again. But the star for tonight, the glorious Tsutsui and beautiful Iroha!

Love Will Keep Us Alive
Damn they turned the final episode into one big tearjerker. Maybe I’m getting old. Though, I still managed to hold back my tears and not join Tsutsui in his crying streak. It was a good and happy ending to say the least. Just the mind boggling fact how the power of love could make Iroha remember everything again. This means had Tsutsui accompanied her for the operation, in no time she would have remembered him because their love is so strong. And then no need to wait 7 years of time skip and anxiety. Damn it, right?!

Honestly, this season doesn’t seem as annoying as the first. Probably there is less screen time for Ayado in incessant apologizing mode. But I still find her irritating, though. When she goes into that sort of insecure frenzy, that is. The overall story doesn’t feel as boring as it did in the first season mainly because it was trying to tie up (predictably) the couples together. No spoiler alert because the opening credits animation already spoils us of who ends up with who. Even if it did not, common sense would have dictated it for those who at least pay the littlest of attention. So with the plot having to resolve the love matters between the characters, it eliminates the needless meandering that I somewhat remembered in the first season. But then again, if they didn’t all that to build up and develop the plot and characters, I would have accused the series of rushing things. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

Chika also doesn’t feel as annoying as before since he redeemed himself by letting go of Iroha. I understand that guy wanted to play the villain and protect both of them being ultimately hurt because of love, but I guess he was somewhat wrong because we see their love power so strong that even fate couldn’t pull them apart. I suppose this guy is also one happy guy to be attending Iroha’s wedding.

Ironically, the story in this season that I found was most interesting was Tsutsui’s parents’ affair. Have I gotten so old that old married people’s affair now sound more interesting than your typical teenage cheating-cum-affair type? Maybe it’s because the former isn’t as common as the latter. It is also interesting because this affair might also have a great impact on Tsutsui and Iroha’s relationship indirectly. As it is, their ‘mundane’ dating relationship is given a shocking wakeup call and thankfully only serves to further strengthen their relationship. So ‘strong’ that Tsutsui only needed 3D Iroha and doesn’t resort to his 2D imaginary magical girl, Ezomichi as before.

While I predicted that Tsutsui would end up with Iroha in the end (thank the ending credits spoilers and also common sense), however there is this chance that it could have gone the other way too. Seeing the dramatic revelation of Iroha ‘being killed off’ AKA dramatic term for losing her memories hence the old Iroha is no more. It could have been a bittersweet ending (or even a tragic one depending on how you view it) with Tsutsui and Iroha never ending up together and going their separate ways despite their fling only lasted for 6 months in high school. That’s life. You just have got to move on. But thankfully that alternate route didn’t happen.

As for the other pairings, they were as expected and necessary for the plot to move forward. The series focusing only on Tsutsui-Iroha would have been just a very short affair without the other characters. Like Takanashi would finally accept Ishino into his life despite still being mostly a jerk because the bugging won’t stop and I think it’s like choosing the lesser of 2 evils. Whoops… And because of his family circumstances, it is best that he has someone else who cares deeply instead of shouldering all the responsibilities on himself since he is the only man in the house. So good for them, right? Had Takanashi continued with his jerk pride, Ishino could have ended up with Sakurada. Since this didn’t happen, I guess we don’t care what happened to that guy, huh? It’s a good thing, though. Because when he said he was interested in Ishino, he didn’t sound serious about it.

It’s nice that Itou and Ayado finally paired up because in a way cuts off that insecurity annoyance that I always perceived Ayado is. Sure, as amateurs in love, there are still lots of insecurities at first but as you can see, they got used to it. Slowly, one step at a time. Itou is so changed that he discarded his cat ears to be a generic looking guy. Initially I wondered why Ayado wasn’t part of the friends during the adult time period as she was obviously missing during the friends’ meet up. Where was she, I wonder? And then they hinted she got married. You mean to someone else other than Itou? It feels strange because we have seen how she loved Itou so much during their schooling years that we are so cocksure that they will end up getting married. But man, 7 years is long enough to change things. Itou was probably too busy and obsessed in his anime job that always flirt dangerously with deadlines and perhaps Ayado then felt lonely and wanted someone who could fill her life. Now that she is single again, perhaps they could go back to the old times. I guess the next wedding is theirs. If the anime studio could give Itou a damn break, that is. I hope Ayado’s divorce was not due to the fact her ex-husband found out she wasn’t a virgin… Yeah… And not forgetting too, Kaoru and Anzu. Yup, their relationship is still going strong into their college years. Wow. This is going to be a busy season of weddings.

While the art and animation remain consistent with last season’s, generally simple and the colour hues are light, however I tend to notice that in some scenes, it gets lighter around the screen corners. Like as though all this were some sort of dream sequence. Is this whole series just one big flashback from Tsutsui in his working adult years? On a side note, Iroha with short hair looks as hot as when she had long hair. Not many female anime characters with sudden change in hairstyle sit well with me. It just proves that Iroha is naturally (2D) cute! Because Ayado now with long hair just looks passable. Maybe it’s the effect of the divorce, huh? Oops. Food for thought: Since Tsutsui looks like a splitting mirror image of his dad (still nerdy, though), it makes me wonder if Iroha as his wife she would end up looking like his mom! Yikes! Hope she doesn’t let herself loose too much.

Seeing that this season has hinted that the couples have crossed the line to adulthood, I wonder if the director’s cut on the BDs will show those scenes. Add a few minutes of steamy hot sex but strategically hide/cover/don’t show parts that would have easily classified this series as hentai. I bet real sex with a real girl beats jerking off to your favourite 2D anime waifu, eh?!

This season’s opening theme, Futari Nara by Bish is a rock outfit. Since last season’s opener had that very sleepy feel to it, this time it goes the opposite with this season being such a fast hard rock pace. Again, it doesn’t feel like it suits the pace of this series. As for the ending theme, Hagan by Fujifabric, it sounds weird not only just because I personally find the song mostly flat, but the incessant drum beat in the background like as though this song is some pseudo dubstep or something. In that sense, it sounds a bit ‘numbing and deafening’ (including the singer’s flat voice).

Overall, not really a unique romance drama to begin with. But at least we get a ‘happy’ ending that the female lead didn’t die in the end! I’m thinking of Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso. Basically both series had a cute girl falling for a useless guy and then helping him regain his footing in life. Just the difference of that musical one ended with the heroine’s death from a longstanding illness! The trope of love will save the day and love eventually changes people (for better or worse) have been tried and tested in so many shows. Therefore this series doesn’t really stand out from that crowded field. If there is one thing we can learn so far about real love, one of the merits for 3D love is that when you’re feeling horny and want to f*ck, you still need a 3D pussy for that! XD.

How long ago was it since I’ve watched a high school teen romance drama with some magic? Oh heck, I couldn’t remember. Hence so I thought Irozuku Sekai No Ashita Kara may be that timely reminder that I should have a look at this. After all, this series somewhat reminded me of Glasslip and it is no surprise since both these series were done by the same studio. Maybe that’s why I started getting this nostalgia about the genre. And perhaps some bad memories. Heh. Like I still remember the disaster that was in Glasslip. So by substituting visions of the future with colours, I hope this series could avoid the mistakes of that one.

Episode 1
Hitomi Tsukishiro doesn’t look forward to fireworks. The truth is, she cannot see colour. Yeah, her life is one dull and sad monochrome. Suddenly grandma Kohaku decides to whisk her back in time when she was in high school. Yeah, collecting 60 years of full moons’ light just for tonight. Too bad Hitomi has no say and now she is in some weird bus and lemon driver. Thanks to her Popocky sticks to make the payment or else she would never have alighted. Back in the past, she finds herself in a room. Yuito Aoi is coming back so she hides underneath his bed until he gets out. Damn future is so futuristic, she doesn’t even know how to open the window pane lock! Once she luckily does, Kurumi Kawai and Asagi Kazano spot and record a woman sneaking out of Yuito’s place! Share this to spread the scandal! Later when they meet up with Shou Yamabuki to show him this, they spot Hitomi again. Lost? They help her find an address she is looking for. Hitomi notes they are from her same school but the uniform has changed. Of course they don’t know what she’s talking about. Along the way, all of them explain they are from the same photography and painting club that Yuito is in. They try to satiate their curiosity of her sneaking out of Yuito’s room but Hitomi looks very troubled so they drop the subject. At the magic shop at the hilltop run by her family, Hitomi is looking for Kohaku but she is currently overseas studying. She explains her circumstances and they are kind enough to let her stay here until she returns. So feel free to make this little attic like home. Hitomi realizes she has dropped her azurite earring. Too dark to search for something grandma gave her. But they are confident if she is a mage, it will return to her. Next morning, they guide her to close her eyes and concentrate. Oh, she dropped it in Yuito’s room. Meanwhile Yuito’s mom is teasing her son of having a secret girlfriend. Rumours sure spread fast in this small town. She is somewhat thrilled because she is worried her gay son is only ever interested in painting. But he isn’t thrilled. That person might be a robber. Something catches Hitomi’s eyes when she sees Yuito painting in the park. She could see his painting in colours! It even comes to life! She is so enthralled dancing among the colours that she realized too late she was making a fool out of herself before Yuito.

Episode 2
Hitomi explains herself before Yuito is going to report her for trespassing his room. You won’t do that to a cute scared girl, would you?! He hands back her azurite. Case closed. Back home, Hitomi’s family tells her the news Kohaku is cutting her stay overseas and coming home. They also ask her about her magic but it seems Hitomi hates it and rarely practises it. Well, she must master a powerful spell if she wants to return home. Since she is stuck here for now, might as well enrol in this school. The vice principal hopes she isn’t as flashy in her magic as Kohaku as he makes her sign some collateral agreement! Kohaku’s magic often caused mischief and her mom often had to come to apologize. It’s a reason why she is overseas to study. Hitomi is lonely in class since many don’t have a favourable view of a mage. Discrimination? Blame Kohaku for all that. But our usual gang from the photography and painting quickly become her friends. Chigusa Fukazawa keeps insisting Yuito admit Hitomi is his girlfriend. But Yuito only has a request of her and that is to show magic to dispel the rumours. Here she goes. Everyone watching with baited breath… A small spluttering stardust. Bummer. It only reinforces her hate for magic. Her friends try to take her mind of that by showing their club. But she looks ‘interested’ in Yuito and he is the only one not around. Try the rooftop. She apologizes for that disappointing show because she wanted him to believe her. He apologizes for forcing her to do something against her will. He lets her see his drawing and he hopes she could show her magic again. He finds it impressive. More impressive than his drawing. Yeah, do you not know to her his drawing is magic! Hitomi feels better because she never thought somebody would say that to her. And so we see her practice. She’s conjuring up a lot more stardust than before.

Episode 3
Hitomi is shown how to do simple magic as a start. A Popocky stick is a good wand. You can eat it too! It is that year the school is recruiting newbies for their club. Of course Hitomi is interested in Yuito’s art. I suppose thanks to the labels on the paint, she can ‘tell’ what colours she is using and paint a decent picture. The other friends hope she would be interested to join their club as they drag her to join in on their recruitment spree. They are to hold a workshop for potential newbies to take pictures but with the vice calling Shou to take pictures of the drama club due to the rescheduling, looks like somebody needs to replace him as the model. Nobody wants Chigusa despite he is hinting! Yeah. Hitomi! Please! Onegai! Her job is to walk on water via using a blue stardust. Oops. Bottle has no label. Did she pick right because soon she becomes like Jesus Christ. But nobody expected snow as part of this show and as soon that happens, Hitomi sinks like a hammer. Hitomi dries herself as Yuito accompanies her (since club activities are still ongoing). Seeking an explanation of her ‘lost face’ during the walk, she reveals she cannot see colour and doesn’t want him to tell this to others for fear of the unknown. It’s easier to keep this as a secret. You think? Hitomi runs away as Yuito feels bad as he can’t imagine a world without colours. With Hitomi avoiding the rest, they thought she’s through with them. But she is gathering her thoughts on how to talk to them and eventually musters the courage to do so. Yeah, this pool cleaning event helped a lot. Because she decides to join their club. Success! Now they can’t say their recruitment drive ended in zero recruits.

Episode 4
Kohaku returns! Hitomi knows it’s her due to her trademark hug. It’s her alright. Boy, it’s going to be weird calling a girl your age as grandma. With Kohaku’s return, some are wary but others want to see her magic again. Kohaku being Kohaku transports the class to some medieval building but then a locomotive train passes by. Yeah, everything is covered in black soot now. Kohaku must have broken the record of the fastest written apology. Unlike Hitomi, Kohaku is quite friendly and easily mingles with the club members. Hitomi is still pessimistic about her own magic but Kohaku believes she has potential. Because that locomotive was actually her doing. Just that her magic somehow lost its way. Kohaku is curious to know about her future but takes back what she said. Don’t want spoilers, eh? The club members get permission to enter school at night to take some photographs of the night sky and the city lights. The usual nice moments going on between Yuito and Hitomi until the rest fear the school’s urban legend ghost is spotted. They even got it on camera? Don’t be surprised because it’s just Kohaku’s magic prank. Hitomi thinks it’s mean but all Kohaku wants is to see everyone’s smile. See? Nobody got offended. Hitomi still thinks she hates magic but Kohaku is confident she will like it. She is her grandchild anyway. The rest overheard this and are confused. Kohaku allows Hitomi to explain it because she is sure they will not change. And so Hitomi reveals she is from the future. Shocked at first but they continue to remain friends. No big deal, right? The pair end tonight’s event with a little magic performance. And a photo to commemorate it all. As they are editing the photos, Kohaku decides to join this club. Although she’ll be the only sole magic club member. So is this officially the magic, photography and painting club? If I’m the only anime otaku in school and want to join this club, can it now be called the anime, magic, photography and painting club?

Episode 5
With the club approved, Kohaku now does love fortune telling! Man, a long line of girls. Even Asagi has one read and is told the truth that she has to step up her game or a rival will snatch him away. Hitomi is manning the magic shop alone. Oh dear. How can she get by when a customer asks for some coloured stardust for a certain effect? Don’t worry. Hitomi remembers their number labelling. Phew. With Yuito coming in asking for some stardust to help with his drawing, Hitomi is unsure but will find out more. Who better to ask than Kohaku. She agrees to help out. We also see Shou teaching Hitomi about photography. Of course spicing it up with some magic. The club members converge at the magic shop for their own little party. Kohaku gives Hitomi a little push to be with Yuito alone when their drinks ran out. More of Hitomi’s praising of his drawings that gave her a lot of hope. That’s why they are important to her. Back at the party, with Shou praising Hitomi’s handy work, it is no surprise that Asagi gets upset. Too bad the guys don’t even understand what’s wrong. Kohaku talks to her about predictions merely being guides. It is ultimately herself who takes charge of her destiny. Don’t let one failure bog you down as Kohaku gives Hitomi’s perseverance in not giving up to make stardust. Yeah, lots of materials wasted but she finally got it. Too bad Kohaku’s mom found out about it and now Kohaku gets a serious lashing for using up hard to gather materials. She thinks Kohaku told Hitomi to use them so she could be done with teaching since she would succeed quickly. Kohaku and Hitomi are made to gather those stuffs. Asagi isn’t giving up on Shou. Talk a bit about their childhood times together and they’re back to normal. Yuito follows Hitomi’s instructions in using the stardust. Golden fish swimming!

Episode 6
Yuito explains to Hitomi about that golden fish experience. Funny thing is, that golden fish was the painting that won him first prize during an elementary school competition. Hitomi seeks Shou’s help to show him that painting in the yearbook and oddly she could see that painting in colour. Later as Hitomi spots Yuito drawing, once more the golden fish pops out but this time it engulfs her into another world. A crappy drawing world? Hey, at least she could see colour. The more she walks, the messier the colours be and there are dead fish everywhere. She sees a shadowy figure trying to catch a fish but the fish ends up dead. When Hitomi wakes up, she is lying on the bench and Yuito by her side. She explains that weird dream and believes she went into his drawing. She also thinks that weird shadow who failed to catch the fish might be the cause of his artist’s block. When she suggests asking Kohaku for help, Yuito snaps at her that he doesn’t need any help. Thanks to that, Hitomi gets depressed and her facial expression is so obvious. The others would like to help but they have to respect her decision that she doesn’t want to open up to them yet. Kohaku thinks the tension between them is good. At least he isn’t ignoring her and this might bring them closer. Yuito sees a senior, Sanami Asagawa for some advice (she is currently holding an art exhibition). He asks why she draws. No reason in particular. She thought she would arrive at something if she kept drawing but in the end, it’s the simple fact she just loves to draw. When he leaves, coincidentally Hitomi just pass by. It’s like seeing the worst thing in her life because she turn tail and runs away! Not sure why Kohaku did some magic gust of wind. I don’t think it’s to stop her but get Yuito’s attention. He goes after her and when he catches up, he says he has already started his drawing and wants her to see it. We see Hitomi entering the drawing again. When she returns, it looks like she can now see colours for real.

Episode 7
Ah well. It was good while it lasted. Because Hitomi somehow can’t see colours again. But the bulk of this episode seems to be hinting something with Chigusa x Kurumi. With Kurumi failing her mock exams, she hopes there’s a magic to make her smarter. Nope. Only clear her mind. With Chigusa teasing the magic might even clear everything she learnt, this makes Kurumi annoyed. The club has a meeting and Shou intends to hand over his presidency to Asagi when he graduates. Asagi is nervous but makes Hitomi her vice. The club have their annual camp. Chigusa learns Kurumi has an older sister who runs a famous patisserie. He thinks of asking her to be his model but Kurumi doesn’t think so as she is always busy. Is this a roundabout way so Chigusa could ask Kurumi to be the model instead? Of course she rejects. Chigusa then asks the other girls, they too reject so it is back to him bugging Kurumi. This annoys her as she tells him off, making the atmosphere around them a bit awkward. Later Hitomi talks to Kurumi. The latter admires her sister a lot but views herself as empty. In a way she feels envious and unlike her sister who has ambition, she doesn’t. This photography thingy is just a hobby. We take a little detour as Yuito shows Hitomi his latest drawing. As usual, she can see its colours and Yuito thanks her for her magic. That night, the friends are supposed to take pictures of some passing ship with beautiful lights. Not sure if they got the schedule wrong as it arrives too early. Chigusa’s idea is to drop all their stuffs and run. In the meantime, Chigusa advising Kurumi to not make a decision now in life? Take your time? Since when you care about her future? Too bad they still missed the boat. With Kurumi blaming him for messing him, Chigusa snaps a ‘lovely’ pic of her being mad. They start their petty argument and funny enough, Hitomi is the one who started laughing. So she laughs when she is tired? Aren’t we having fun? So as not to waste this trip, they can still take the beautiful night scenery. This has Hitomi sum up her courage to tell them the truth.

Episode 8
Kohaku theorizes that Hitomi may have unconsciously casted magic on herself and made herself unable to see colours. As she is occasionally able to see colours, it could mean that magic might be fading. Hence she suggests conducting several experiments to determine the trigger. Why do I think she just wants to know if there is anything intimate happened between her and Yuito? Yeah, because the experiments seem to be making her getting close to Yuito. Doesn’t it make your heart beat faster? Doesn’t the excitement make you see colour? Yeah, what’s the colour of love? At the library, she shows several drawings from other books similar to Yuito’s but it’s still black and white. Kohaku gets a little naughty by trying to cram them together under the table! No excitement for Hitomi. Just pending anger. The club has their usual outing snapping photos of the town. But Shou has some heavy thoughts because he overheard how Kohaku was trying out magic to send Hitomi back to the future. Why so concerned? Oh right, Hitomi just joined the club. Don’t want to have that unwanted record of losing a member because she was sent back to the future. When a camera is spoiled, unless the repairman can miraculously save it or else all their hard earned photos are gone. But a miracle did happen. Because Kohaku uses her magic to fix it! Back to normal! OMG! Kohaku can put all repair services out of business! However she is disheartened that a rose she used magic to bloom withered within a day. I’m not sure how this relates to sending Hitomi back but her grandma reasons if her future self didn’t leave a note on how to do it, it must mean Kohaku figured it out herself. So have faith in your future self! With Hitomi now a full fledge member of the club, she feels so happy that she wants to say here. I guess this puts Kohaku in a bind.

Episode 9
Shou talks to Yuito that he is going to spend time with Hitomi alone tomorrow. He’ll be having exams and graduating soon. He doesn’t want to leave any regrets. So this ‘date’ is actually Shou teaching Hitomi the finer points of photography. And of course it’s that time when you talk about how much things have changed and how much special time they spent in the club, cue for Shou to confess he likes her. The shock is too much for Hitomi to take as she runs away. Is the day ruined? Don’t run in the dark. See, now you tripped and it hurts. Your feet? Or your heart? Sorry, my bad. With that, Hitomi is so obviously depressed that you can basically tell what happened. Even more so when she blatantly runs away from Shou upon seeing him. Kohaku knows what happened and tries to talk to her. It’s nice of Hitomi to spell out about the confusing feelings of the heart. You respect the person but don’t want to date him nor hurt him. How? Maybe talk this privately because other girls are getting interested in listening to her love story. And some boys are having their heart broken… Even Asagi gets the hint when Shou is being oh so philosophical that no 2 pictures are the same. Like WTF?! One outing with Hitomi and he’s spouting such lines? So Asagi talks to Hitomi and hints there is someone she likes for a long time. Even if Hitomi feels she doesn’t deserve love or to be loved, she can’t just ignore it. This was enough of a push for Hitomi to confront Shou again and to reject him. She has put a lot of thought into what he said and although her feelings confused her a lot at first, now she is clear. There is someone else she is interested in. Shou thanks her and is relieved he can now move on. But not before he screams out in the open like a mad man. Boy, you think the brass band practising was bad? This tops it! But it felt good to get that load off his shoulders, right? As Hitomi finds Asagi to explain to her, suddenly Asagi reveals she loves Shou. You mean Hitomi looked this shocked? Oh yeah. She didn’t know. One problem to another. Because now Asagi runs away before Hitomi gets a chance to explain.

Episode 10
It’s really awkward between Hitomi and Asagi. The latter avoiding her at all cost. But you know it’s not going to last long so eventually they sit down and talk it out. See, it worked. Back to being friends again. Magic word is just to blame Shou for everything. Yeah… Kohaku suggests an activity of bringing people inside pictures so what better way than to test it on themselves first. First, Yuito needs to draw a huge picture. Taking in requests on what needs to be in the drawing… Kohaku and Hitomi then practice their magic by trying out paper airplanes into a small painting. Tough at first but Hitomi soon gets the hang of it. Then it’s magic time as the club members is whooshed inside the painting. Wow. Everything so magical. With each of them exploring their own ways, Yuito stumbles onto a big door. Upon opening, he sees a young Hitomi drawing with a monochrome crayon. What a sad drawing of people being separated. Yuito draws a few things as suggestion to bridge them together but she refuses. It’s like she really wants to tell him to mind his business. Before he could draw with her, it’s back to reality. While everyone is happy, Yuito spots Hitomi crying. I don’t think those are tears of joy from the experience. After Yuito tells her he met her young self, she reveals that her mom had no magic. But since Hitomi had some, she always believed it was the reason why mom ran away and never took her with her. That is why she hates magic. Hitomi is sad and frustrated all she wanted was to make mom happy. But she took the burden all upon herself and then disappeared. She thought of going after her but was too afraid to do so. Hitomi cries to let out all the pent up frustration as Yuito believes it is not her nor magic to be blamed. With Hitomi feeling a lot better, she now realizes she was sent back here for a reason. Well duh, we figured that out right from the start, no?

Episode 11
While preparing for the cultural festival, the gang thought Hitomi suddenly disappeared. They look a bit here and there and soon realize that she was in the clubroom all the while. However Kohaku knows something is up. She sees a magic bookstore friend, Ichiyanagi about a book she needs urgently. She needs to learn time magic fast because Hitomi who isn’t from this timeline, the forces of nature might be trying to correct history. Yeah, nature is sure taking its time. Anyway, when that happens, there is a risk of Hitomi being stuck between time and space forever. That’s why Kohaku needs to send her back fast. For once we see Kohaku being so worried that you wonder if it’s really her. She tells this to Hitomi and just great, now we get another worrywart. One rainy day as Yuito and Hitomi are talking and walking home together, suddenly Hitomi just vanished! He rushes to tell his friends about it and that’s when Kohaku tells them the scary truth. Oh dear. Where to look for her? She could be on the other side of the world. The thought she could return to where she disappeared, true enough, she’s there albeit unconscious. Back home, Hitomi didn’t even realize she went missing. Kohaku tells her friends that she is alright and talking to grandma about it, looks like it is time to send her back as the magic is waning. However Hitomi herself isn’t ready. While the friends don’t like this one bit, they decide to help out because they care for her. Kohaku needs to gather stardust on the night of the new moon then send her back. That will be in 2 days right after the festival. With the preparations going on, Asagi cannot believe they’re acting like everything is fine. They can’t have fun at the festival like this. Eventually she come to realize that it’s better than Hitomi getting stuck so the friends gather at the beach to collect stardust that has fortunately been washed ashore after the typhoon and bathed by the few nights of full moon. Hitomi uses her magic to send paper airplane to Yuito’s house. It’s a good thing they know where they leave because they can communicate via Morse code from their room lights. When another paper airplane flies astray, Hitomi goes after it. Somehow Yuito had a feeling it wouldn’t make it too and chased after it. And this brought them together in which Hitomi instantly dives into Yuito’s arms to give the most heart breaking hug.

Episode 12
Hitomi really doesn’t want to go home and blames herself for being a mage. However Yuito is glad she is one. So instead of sulking for the remainder of her time, she decides to make it the best festival ever. You could say that their magic theatre is a hit with everyone having the greatest experience and a few girls becoming a fan of Yuito’s art? That’s nice. Even Asagawa visits and is glad he is making some positive impact. That night, Ichiyanagi sees Kohaku and looks like he made it in time to finish this device. The second day of the festival continues with our friends even more motivated to give their best. The friends try to be considerate and give Yuito and Hitomi some time together. So the haunted house is the best place? Maybe. Yuito wants to go around the festival more with her but Hitomi is reluctant. She’s had her fun. Time to head back. That night as the festival comes to a close, Kohaku surprises everyone by putting on a massive fireworks display. With everybody being happy and thanking each other, Hitomi feels this warm fuzzy feeling in her heart. Kohaku points out it is called happiness and what do you know? Suddenly Hitomi can see colours! Albeit it is just the fireworks and everything else still monochrome. Of course once the show is over, it’s back to that colourless world. But Hitomi can’t help but thank everyone. The friends get ready to for the time magic ritual. In Hitomi’s heart, there is a reason why she wants to stay. If there was any regrets, it would be this one… Hitomi, we all know…

Episode 13
Yuito narrates he loved drawing alone until Hitomi mentioned his drawing was special. At first he thought she was gloomy and lonely girl. He realizes that she showed him a lot of colours. Now we begin the final goodbye for Hitomi. Everyone has their last say. Each time, they fuel the device. Theoretically this would be easy if she had 100 friends. The guys are okay. The girls just get awfully teary. I wouldn’t consider Kohaku’s goodbye to be really one. They’ll be seeing each other again 60 years from now, right? Finally it’s Yuito. Be happy. I won’t forget you. Uhm, that’s it? That’s hardly satisfying. Hitomi has a few last words too. The usual thank you this, thank you that. Suddenly she is interrupted when the device starts acting up. WTF is this storm interference? Yuito dives in to grab her. In this weird world, Yuito realizes he is no different than Hitomi since he was forcing his emotions into a corner of his heart. How can he tell her not to close her heart when he does just that? Then he spots Hitomi straight ahead. You can’t miss her with the golden fish leading the way. This time they really say what they want to say. About the change they bring to each other’s life. And now we get to hear what we want them to say. After a hug and the magic words of I love you, it’s like the monochrome curse is lifted from Hitomi and she can now see colours permanently. With them returning back in time, Kohaku concludes the ritual and Hitomi returns home. But Kohaku notes that it wasn’t her time magic that sent her back. Her magic isn’t that powerful yet and it was Hitomi’s subconscious spell that wore off, marking the end of her journey to the past. Then this BS: Kohaku gets a mail from her future self that she arrived safely! WTF???!!! You can send a message back in time?! I wonder if Kohaku can reply to the future… Hitomi is back in the future. Right next to grandma like as though she never left. Grandma asks about her experience. Happy, sad, fun. She experienced all those emotions. This gives her motivation to go find mom. Kohaku then shows her a time capsule kept by the club members. Several photo albums. There is also a book that Hitomi often read many times with mom as it was the only one she could see its colours. Guess what? That picture book was written by Yuito! Hitomi now leads a normal life. She has friends, expresses herself a lot and joined the very same club in her school. Now that she can see colour, she is so glad her future is going to be filled with them.

Miss Monochrome & The World Of Love Blues
I am sure that Hitomi’s future is bright and all colourful now. Returning to the future would be the right ending because remaining in the past would be like losing your granddaughter to the past like forever and Kohaku would have grown up together with her. Weird. Although Hitomi is living a happy life, one big question just bugs me: Where are her club friends in the future? If they became such good friends and vowed never to forget, why haven’t they been in Hitomi’s life in the future? Sure, they may be grandpas and grandmas but don’t you think they would have at least tried looking for her? Or Kohaku at least updating her about their whereabouts upon Hitomi’s return? Don’t tell me all of them are dead! Because there was that snippet in the ending montage that showed Hitomi praying at the graves. Well, Kohaku is still around so it can’t be hers. Her mom? A tombstone for a person who is missing or officially declared dead? Besides, wouldn’t it be weird for Hitomi if these people were to show up and claim they met her in the past, they would be scaring the sh*t out of Hitomi before her time trip. Because if Hitomi did get acquainted with them, she should have known them when she travelled back in time. The more I think about this, the weirder it gets… Yeah, grandma waited 60 years to send Hitomi back for rehabilitation while knowing the exact events that have transpired. Kohaku has got to be one patient grandma…

Unfortunately, this is just a normal high school teen romance drama if you take away the magic. Yeah, ironically. I was putting my hopes that the magic would give the series some sort of life and hence, magic to be interesting but sad to say I fail to see all that coming together. Even without this magic setting, it could have been an even more boring and draggy high school teen romance drama. Just a bunch of high school kids of the same club trying to sort out their feelings. It could still work out that way but like I have said, it lacks any magic to make it anything interesting.

It is also sad to say that the magic here doesn’t play a very prominent role and serves more like a plot convenience or timely reminder that magic does exist in this world. Perhaps they don’t want to draw the focus away from the characters and their interaction but the way I see this magic thingy as a setting in this world, it looks like it is no big deal. Uh huh. It’s not like magic is everywhere and permeating the daily lives of everybody in every way. Hence when our main characters do their little magic, people around get curious, a bit of wow, when it’s over, it’s over. They go back to do their own ordinary stuffs. It could be the case of the worst role of magic in the history of anime. I mean, if magic was such a big deal, wouldn’t the government and the world be trying to exploit it? Here, people go about their daily lives and it’s like they don’t really mind whether there is magic or not, mages or not. Whatever. Maybe nobody bothers in this small town. But like I’ve said, if they are going to make a big deal out of this magic setting, it would have shifted the focus away on what they wanted to essentially tell in this story. That would have been even worse. So I guess we’ll have to deal with and be satisfied with the boring and draggy story then.

And the characters, do they like even matter here? It sounds intriguing at first that Hitomi cannot see colours and our hopes rest on the series trying to find out a cause and if she can be cured. I understand that as a teen going through that phase and being different from everyone else (hence she can’t enjoy the same experience like any other normal kid just because she cannot see colours), but this gloominess and pessimism in her, I somewhat find this annoying. Sure, there are times when she lights up or gets a little happy. But that feels fleeting and it was all because of in the moment thingy. It’s hard for her to shake that belief of blaming herself for having this ‘curse’ and hence mother left her. So it’s like she’s going to go through the rest of her life like this? Yeah, thank goodness she met Yuito and his club members, right?

I do have to point out the efficiency of magic here once more. As I have said in my previous paragraphs that magic might not be the most important and vital aspect of everyone’s daily lives, it just makes me wonder if the future of magic is also stagnant. You see, we see and hear how much Hitomi has improved on her magic, blah, blah, blah. Heck, she can even send people into Yuito’s drawings and have them experience the most wonderful fantasy dreamland ever! Or even fix a camera to save all its contents! But there is no magic that would cure her own colour blind problem? Sure, magic isn’t an easy thing to master but is there no mage in the future who could help her out with this problem? It’s one of this weird loopholes that the writers seem to leave out. The same reason why Harry Potter living in a world with so much magic, nobody can cure his eyesight since he still wears glasses. Weird. No wonder grandma sent her back in time, TO THE PAST, in hopes she would find her answer. Yeah, the answer to magic advancement lies in the past. Doesn’t that mean that magic in the future have regressed in this sense? Boy, now I’m confused.

The drama is prolonged thanks to the other side distractions of the budding romance of the other characters. Like, do they even matter to the whole story? I see. Because if they don’t showcase these characters, they would look like some cardboard cut-out and NPC, lacking life and traits that would supposedly bring a character to life. Not that I see the draggy romance would. So as expected we have Asagi x Shou and Chigusa x Kurumi, not forgetting the ultimate couple of the series should be on Yuito x Hitomi. Kohaku doesn’t get anybody because we’re sure she’s going to meet her soulmate that would lead to the birth of Hitomi in the future. Don’t want to complicate her story, do we? Yeah, it would have been really interesting and shocking if Kohaku wedded Yuito! Holy sh*t! Yeah, don’t tell me Hitomi don’t know who her grandpa is. Does she?! Hint: It could be Ichiyanagi… That one short scene of grandpa and grandma Kohaku together could be it. Shou having crush on Hitomi but ultimately getting rejected for some much needed and obligatory but unnecessary love triangle drama. And were we hoping something coming out from Yuito and Asagawa too? Perhaps just to reinforce those feelings inside Hitomi. With Yuito and Hitomi ultimately not together in time, this leaves possible room that maybe Yuito ended up with Asagawa… Just saying… So that I love you moment was just fleeting, huh?

We have to give a reason why Hitomi started falling for Yuito and it is oddly his drawings that brings colour into her life. Something about his drawings that allows her to see colours when everything else fails. I suppose they want to keep our interest to find out why this is so but this is never really explored nor explained at all. It feels like a let-down after sitting through the season, we thought we could at least find some decent answers but looks like we’re going to have to believe that magic would be the reason. I guess if we can’t explain it with science, magic is your next best guess. Thus begins the long drama of Hitomi initially interested in Yuito’s art but as they draw closer together, they somewhat change each other and because plot predictability demands it, they started to fall for each other. After all, when you have 2 people who led somewhat colourless life, hence this fateful meeting is a convenient plot device to bring colour to that mundane life of theirs. I think I can understand why Hitomi is always so gloomy and smiling less. How can you be happy when your world looks awfully gloomy? And Yuito never had anyone praised his art and that’s why he became interested in Hitomi who became interested in his drawing? I’m sure people did praise him when he won that first place with his golden fish… Unless they were just empty compliments until Hitomi’s praises that had more sincerity.

I’m repeating myself by saying the other characters feel bland. Ironically, not very colourful. Because it would have been a total bore just to focus on Hitomi and Yuito. So let’s see, Shou the responsible club president, Asagi a little bit insecure and weak, Chigusa the comic relief character and clown and Kurumi, uhm, we need a glasses girl to complete the trope. Then there is the very lively Kohaku who somewhat keeps the group together even though she is the latest member to join this hodgepodge club. Not many series have this strange family relation whereby someone older is actually physically younger than you. Like that Usagi Drop or even Futurama comes to mind. It’s weird at first to hear Hitomi call Kohaku as her grandma but you’ll get used to it because Kohaku doesn’t turn it into a running joke like correcting her she shouldn’t be called a grandma at this age. In fact, Kohaku embraces the fact she is her grandma and with that, anything that feels weird about this association quickly dies down. Even eventually future grandma Kohaku is fine with her granddaughter calling her by her first name. Yeah, it’s so ‘nostalgic’… And Hitomi must be the only club member who joined the same club in 2 different eras spanning 60 years apart. Or she could be the longest serving member since she didn’t officially quit the job. Just went MIA… Don’t the club members leave a photo of her for future members?

As this series is one by P.A. Works, one would expect their trademark of really gorgeous art and animation. Well, personally I have mixed feelings about this. On the ‘bad’ side, I do find the character designs looking a bit weird. Because at certain angles, they don’t have noses! While many Japanese anime don’t really like to animate the nose and usually leave them out or at least to a minimum, not to say the characters here are completely devoid of their nose but at those certain angles, I thought they look like distant relatives to Voldemort! Yes, really! It just looks weird. Therefore this is one of the few series of this genre under their belt that I don’t find they have cute girls. You say Asagi is cute? Meh. Passable. Yeah, blame my very high standards that I expect a kawaii bishoujo as seen in True Tears, Hanasaku Iroha, Tari Tari, Sakura Quest, HaruChika and even Glasslip.

But I still give them points for the very nice and beautiful background and sceneries. So when the story is a bit slow and the characters aren’t cute enough to look at, looking at the sceneries and the nice lightning and hues would be a better eye candy. After all, since this series was going to tackle the theme of colours, at least they get this area satisfactory right. I also want to point out one of the strangest 3D visuals ever. The fireworks in the future! So futuristic that you have fireworks rotating in 3D fashion! Like as though some programmer uploaded his hologram of the fireworks in the night sky. It didn’t really amaze me because after watching traditional fireworks for so long (in anime of course), this one does look weird seeing fireworks being displayed so. And of course, the future of such fantastic visuals are holograms! Holograms everywhere!

Voice acting feels pretty normal. It’s mainly drama after all so nothing really spectacular. Didn’t recognize anyone except for Sayaka Ohara as Kohaku’s mom. The rest of the casts are Kaori Ishihara as Hitomi (Konoe in Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru), Shoya Chiba as Yuito (Sing in Banana Fish), Kaede Hondo as Kohaku (Sakura in Zombie Land Saga), Seiji Maeda as Shou (debut role), Kana Ichinose as Asagi (Ichigo in Darling In The Franxx), Nao Touyama as Kurumi (Lacia in Beatless) and Ayumu Murase as Chigusa (Luck in Black Clover). The opening and ending themes aren’t catchy nor to my liking either and honestly, they sound bland. They are 17 Sai by Haruka To Miyuki and Mimei No Kimi To Hakumei No Mahou by Nagi Yanagi respectively.

Overall, quite a boring and draggy series that wouldn’t work on ‘veteran’ anime viewers like yours truly. Uninteresting story and characters as well as the uninspiring magic that I felt was supposed to play an important role here, fizzle out into something generic and less than spectacular. The irony that it made the series so much less colourful. Now I understand why Hitomi is being a gloomy b*tch for being colour blind for so long. Colours really do brighten up our day and sadly this series wasn’t it. Or maybe we’ve taken colours for granted that we fail to see the beauty and simplicity that is the magic of this love story. Nah. I don’t think so. I wonder what the colour of disappointments is…

Manaria Friends

May 11, 2019

I never expected this series would see the day of light that it would get released. You see, a few years ago when Manaria Friends was scheduled to be released, it was then hit with some sort of unexplained problem that caused it to be postponed indefinitely. So instead, we got the very amazing and awesome sequel of Shingeki No Bahamut. So I suppose whatever technical issues they faced then were solved now since it finally got its airtime. Although it is set in the same world, it is entirely a different storyline and not related to that fantastic action adventure. The daily lives of 2 best friends from 2 different races studying and spending time together in this exclusive academy.

Episode 1
Princesses of their respective races, Anne and Grea are having breakfast together. Anne asks why Grea studies here at Manaria Academy and it is because Grea’s mom was an alma mater. Suddenly Lou comes crashing in. It seems there is an emergency at the library. The phoenix guardian is mad after Lou accidentally stepped on it. With the librarians having a hard time dousing the fire, Anne steps in and unleashes her frozen magic. In the aftermath, Hanna beats herself up over her uselessness to contain the emergency and believes she isn’t fit to be the class rep. Anne then returns to Grea and is shocked to find her still waiting at the same place just for her. I guess it’s too long the wait that it’s time to go get something to eat. Owen narrates he is one of the greatest paladins of the kingdom. But one day he is tasked to be in the service of the princess. He notes Anne is blessed with great magic and has long studied how to be an effective ruler while striving to improve herself, thus making her popular at school. However he noticed a hint loneliness in her smile. Owen keeps watch over her but he looks like a suspicious stalker…

Episode 2
Grea is in great pain that no magic or medicine can help. When Lou brings in forbidden books thinking it might help, Anne gets an idea and darts off. So she’s like rushing to every place and completing some sort of tasks to get the whatever? Man, why does this arduous journey feel like a method to get the ultimate video game cheat code or equipment?! Even when Anne makes it back, she still needs to analyse it?! You mean it’s not ready?! Can she make it?! Because now something is happening to Grea… Uhm… Just shedding her scales? But since she is fine, this brings a great relief to everyone. Yeah, Grea didn’t remember all that and didn’t realize how big that incident was. Grea gets embarrassed when Anne keeps some of her shed scales. Later Grea thinks her tail has grown bigger is a sign of getting fat. She tries to diet and hide it from Anne. But Anne eventually sees a tail and finds it splendid. Unfortunately Grea didn’t take that as a compliment as she walks away depressed. Was it something Anne said?

Episode 3
Anne and Grea head out to town. Anne thinks her incognito will work but everybody soon recognizes her. In town, they discover a secret alley that leads them to a shop filled with various (cosplay) clothes. Turns out this shop is owned by their teacher, Miranda and this is her big hobby. But since school prohibits a side job, Miranda agrees to let them take whatever they want just to keep quiet. And so Anne tries her hands trying different outfits, much to Miranda’s glee. Grea wants to stay out but the cosplay maniacs force it upon her. She looks beautiful in that dress to say the least. Later when the duo go boating, Grea can tell Anne is afraid since she is holding onto her tail. Anne lets out a secret that she cannot naturally swim although she can use magic to float, etc. Grea thanks her for letting her come along today. Anne so happy that she rocks the boat. Thankfully it did not capsize but has them in an ambiguous yuri position. The mood is right for Anne to ask if she can stay in her room for a sleepover. Sorry, Grea rejects. Anne sounds so surprised… The reason being Grea’s bad habit to sleep cuddling her tail. So embarrassing she doesn’t want Anne to see. After Miranda finishes class, instantly she pops up her atelier and let her passion run wild. Once done, all she needs is somebody to try them. Anne and Grea return to retrieve something they forgot. Welcome, my guinea pigs…

Episode 4
The test is coming so you can see everyone studying and putting their focus into that. But why does Anne feel so sad? Why does she look forlorn? Does she feel left out because she is smarter than the rest? So we see some flashback of her waltzing into some place whereby she saw and heard Grea playing piano underneath some giant beanstalk tree for the first time. The test come and go. I know Anne is so smart that she handed in her paper first and probably got full marks. But does she have to walk away like as though she’s still so sad about something? I mean, what’s eating her? Thankfully, Grea notices this. So she finds her sitting at the piano. So it turns out that she was lonely all the while. Yeah, I guess that happens when you’re a genius. So with the test over, this means she can continue to do friendship thinks with Grea. On a side note, why do I have a feeling this episode feels like promoting this particularly calming piano piece that is permeating throughout the episode?

Episode 5
Finally we get to see some action? The academy is under attack by waves of monsters. Hanna as the student council president is in charge however with buildings collapsing, the monsters advancing their invasion and those getting injured increasing, she is under immense pressure. Will she flip? She wonders what Anne would do in such situation. Anne and some of the other students and teaching staffs are located safely in the other half of the school. Anne wants to help but is reminded of her duty and stay put. With the situation worsening, Hanna makes the decision to abandon their base and evacuate. When they are at a final stretch, a golem pops out from the ground. Grea tackles it but is no match. But thankfully here comes Anne to help out. With Owen guarding her back, she summons a giant knight to stab through the golem. It crashes into a building before crumble. That is when the teacher calls this drill off! Looks like they’re going to take a while to fix this building. Anne is an observer and shouldn’t have intervened. Now look at the damage done. As a teacher tells Hanna the flaws in her leadership, another building goes down. School is going to be closed for a while. Flashback sees the student council planning this drill. Anne was really excited to participate but is told to only be an observer since this drill will help student think for themselves instead on relying on Anne’s powerful magic. Complain this, complain that. Promise this, promise that. What to do? The answer is still the same. Life is so unfair when Anne learns Grea will be part of the intercepting group.

Episode 6
Beach episode! Sexy girls in swimsuit! Oh yeah. While we see a furious beach volleyball game (Hanna using her super flaming spikes while Liz defends by bending her voodoo doll and use Lou to block them all!), we see Grea take Anne through some dark cave. Anne is reluctant to go but Grea insists it was her idea. After all, she wanted to practice without anyone looking and Grea promised to see it through with her. At the end of the cave, a beautiful scenery of ruins by the sea. Anne is still reluctant but after constant pestering by Grea to get into her swimsuit and to not even use any magic, we see Anne being very afraid of the deep waters as she clings on tightly to Grea. Cool Grea guides her on how to float. Anne struggles at first but once she gets the hang of it, it is the best and most beautiful experience ever. Yeah, she’s doing it naturally now. Thank goodness she learns quickly. Thanks Grea. Not sure what happened to the volleyball match but I guess everything got destroyed. You thought Hanna and Liz’s handshake meant something sportsmanship but their grip is so tight… At night, all play sparklers and fireworks. It’s Anne’s turn to pester Grea for a sleepover. Look who’s turning all nervous now.

Episode 7
It must be a slow day as Grea helps Anne with her library job. So bored that Anne reads a book on how to snag a man. It even comes with a love potion. She wonders if it will work on a girl. I guess they’re really bored and no one is visiting the library on a rainy day so Anne suggests playing hide and seek. Anne counts to 100 as Grea hides. Anne is confident to know where Grea is hiding but she’s not there. Slowly as she looks around, the enthusiasm turn into worries. Where are you Grea? Has she really vanished? I guess Anne regrets this game and calls out to her this instant. Then she floats down. Miss me? Instantly teary Anne hugs her. Found you anyway. Later as Grea is invited to drink tea with Anne, she is suspicious if she laced it with the love potion. It doesn’t help with Anne sounding pushy and suspicious. Uh huh. She made it extra special today… As they talk about the books they read, Anne says she reads the kind that would bring them closer. Much closer. Grea freaks out and spills her tea. Is Anne trolling or Grea just overthinking?

Episode 8
Today is a big day. It’s the school play. Miranda just finished putting on Grea’s costume and she looks stunning. Gorgeously stunning. However she is nervous and naturally her stomach feels pain. But Anne interprets that to an extreme point. She thinks it is really big trouble and will use her magic to cure her! Luckily Grea convinces her it isn’t such a big deal. To help calm her down, Anne starts reciting her lines from the play and Grea also follows suit. The play begins with Hanna belting out a spectacular opera-like hymn. With Anne realizing it would be their turn next, now it’s her turn for her stomach to feel pain. Nervous, aren’t we? Flashback to earlier in the morning, we see Hanna up early practising her lines, Grea also up early but still feels nervous and Anne… She just went back to sleep. Pretty confident, eh?

Episode 9
Tension between Anne and Grea?! Really?! It all started because Anne saw Hanna coming out from Grea’s room. Anne was upset that she wanted and begged to go to her room but was always refused. They’re not on talking terms and this awkward silence is causing those around them to fear! It gets worse when Hanna calls Grea for some help. Anne then avoids Grea like a plague. As Grea spends time alone, she remembers all the moments spent together with Anne. I guess that’s when the power of friendship says it is enough. Grea rushes to find Anne and finds her sitting at that piano. The power of friendship weaves its magic. Grea sits next to her, touches her hand and invites her to tea. Okay. There. Back to friends again. We see Hanna giving a brave speech to her fellow student council members. What’s this? Something about some chaos will destroy the world and that this crisis will threaten the peace? Grief and despair? War between nations? She’s going to protect everything? Is she talking about Grea and Anne? Wow. So touching and moving that her friends want to support and help her! As she and her team make their way to Anne and Grea, looks like they’ve already made up and are back to being best friends. Hanna looks like a fool now. Deep in shock, she screams to return all the time and effort she spent to solve this!

Episode 10
With the seniors graduating, Grea ponders how much time they have left together. So Anne gives her a letter and they’ll talk about this when she returns from her trip back home to do some official duties. Now it’s Grea’s turn to be melancholy. She wanders around the campus and not even the library is her best friend. She goes to Anne’s room but it’s empty! Except for the bed. Probably it’s too big to move. Grea feels sad and starts crying. However Owen is here to get her as Anne was looking for her but couldn’t find her. Grea asks about her empty room. You mean she hasn’t read the letter yet? It states her application to share a room with Grea. Remember what she said earlier about how much time they have left together? Perhaps the best excuse to get yuri with her every morning. Oops! With that, Grea signs and acknowledges the slip and makes it official. We see Anne returning to her homeland to do her duties. Once she is done, she wants to leave immediately but her father the king wants to chat. She is not thrilled about it because yesterday’s quick chat lasted till sundown! Hence she makes her sneaky escape through all the secret corridors in her castle until she meets Owen outside for her getaway carriage. She says studying and experience at the school are her important priorities right now. But I can think of the other greater importance… Yeah Grea, Anne’s coming home soon…

Serenade Of The Bahamut: Madonna Friends
After all that mind blowing fantastical action in the first two Shingeki No Bahamut series, is this considered a let-down? Not quite. Even if the pacing here is slow and there is nothing much that basically happens, it is still able to weave a decently beautiful tale between 2 friends. But that is basically so much about it and if you really want a lot more than this, you’re definitely going to be disappointed. This slice of life series is meant to go at a slow and relaxing pace without any sort of convoluted plot and twists that would have ironically undermined the beauty of this series. Sure, there might have been some trolling moments (like the ‘attack’ on the academy) and ‘suspenseful’ moments (Grea being sick as well as Anne and Grea having a fight that turned Hanna into a worrywart, overthinking it to be the end of the world), but eventually it all boils down to the wonderful nature of their friendship. So those who are into fast moving plots, you’ll have to look somewhere else.

Some of the stories are really exaggerated and trolling like that attack on the campus. Even when Grea was sick and Anne and Owen went to great lengths and journeyed across the universe just to get some sort of solution that eventually didn’t amount to anything. Is this their brand of humour? It feels weird but, okay. Whatever. Some just feel like a long draggy drama like that hide and seek episode. You expected some sort of punch line or twist (or maybe jump scare in this instance) but in the end, perhaps we did a Hanna and overthink, thus nothing really happened.

At times I was contemplating with myself if because of the slow and relaxing pacing of the series, with nothing much that happens, are the characters a bore too? Well, there are always 2 sides to a coin. The problem when you are trying to expect something from characters and then they don’t turn out to those expectations, it is surely disappointing. Therefore this series just showcasing their friendship might simply be nothing much. Some might go, “So what?”. But if you stop being impatient to want to see their character development go somewhere, you would realize that being slow and steady is what builds this development. Like they say, it is the journey and not the destination that matters. Therefore watching Anne and Grea’s friendship unravel at a snail pace over the 10 episodes might not seem to amount to anything much but that is where the beauty of this series lies. You don’t come into this anime with any sort of expectations. You just go with the flow and accept all that has to offer. If you do basically just much that, the characters and series are very much enjoyable in this aspect. So sorry folks, don’t expect this to turn into some hentai flick with a hot dragon chick banging a cute human girl.

It would have been a lot better if the series fleshed out more of Anne and Grea’s back story but in some ways, perhaps it is a good thing that we just know them as best friends forever. Anne being seemingly the perfect princess who could do almost everything but she also harbours a few insecurities of her own (like swimming and fear of losing Grea as her friend) that makes her less than perfect as others may seem to think of her. She as after all a princess. At least for the human side. Grea is on the polar end with her character being meek and reserved despite being from the dragon race whom we all have stereotypic views that dragons are fierce and majestic. It makes you wonder if she is of the same dragon tribe that Nina of the original series is from. But I suppose the series do not want to delve too deeply on their character background and instead continued to focus on their friendship. Hence that’s why the English title of this series, Mysteria Friends. Maybe there is a certain charm when you don’t know much about the characters. Because if you do, you’ll look more like some sort of obsessed fan-cum-stalker!

Not much to comment on the other characters with Lou looking a lot like a comic relief character. Due to lack of screen time, she is almost as forgettable as the rest. Including Owen whose role is just hiding from the shadows and guard his princess. Probably the most wasted role ever since there is hardly anything threatening and even if there was, Anne probably could have handled it herself.

If the story and characters do not interest you, perhaps you would be a little more impressed with the animation and artwork. To say the least, the sceneries and backgrounds around the academy are picturesque and quite breath-taking. They are quite nice to look at if you are feeling a bit bored from the slow pace and this eye candy makes it worthwhile to sit through the 15 minutes. Though, the character designs are just normal and average, nothing really that spectacular. Just want to comment how Anne suspiciously looks like Princess Principal’s Princess. And Anne’s a princess too. Hmm… Suspicious… This series is done by CygamesPictures, a subsidiary of Cygames who developed the Shingeki No Bahamut series.

Voice acting is also okay with me recognizing Nana Mizuki as Hanna and Kikuko Inoue as Miranda. But I was stumped to learn Anne is played by Youko Hikasa and going back to listen to her lines again, I still couldn’t really imagine it was her. Maybe I have come to stereotyped her to sound something like Rias from High School DxD so making this slightly squeaky voice made her unrecognizable. The other casts are Ayaka Fukuhara as Grea (Kasumi in Dies Irae), Wataru Hatano as Owen (Gajeel in Fairy Tail) and Kimiko Koyama as Lou (Komoe in To Aru Majutsu No Index). The other spectacular thing about this series is the background music and I believe the piano themes are the one that take the cake. It is slow and easy, definitely relaxing. So once again, if the story and characters are too slow for you, the visuals and the music balance it out to make it enjoyable.

Overall, this series might not be for everyone and personally I was initially on the fence to call it boring or interesting. Seeing the hectic pace that I am watching animes these days, it soon dawned to me that perhaps sometimes this kind of slow and relaxing anime is what I need to relax my mind. So yeah, I personally rate this series to be a little bit more than average towards the interesting side. Perhaps the reason why our main characters’ friendship could blossom so peacefully because the other casts of the original Shingeki No Bahamut were on the other side trying to deal with all the chaos. And then one day, maybe, just maybe when things are so boring and slow, that we’ll get to see some hentai flick of a hot dragon chick banging a cute human girl.

Banana Fish

May 5, 2019

Oh no. With a name like that, Banana Fish really sounds very fishy and the kind of anime that I think I would clearly stay away from. Because the promotional poster and its synopsis seem to hint of some possible gay yaoi BL thingy. Banana Fish. BF. Boyfriend. Uh huh. Handsome American boy meets handsome Japanese boy in America. Uh oh. I can see where this is going. And even more so when I read that the main character is a sex toy to some old powerful guy. Yikes. However my guts were ringing like hell and telling me it wasn’t going to fall into that bias stereotypic of mine. It was going to be different. A lot different. Homosexuality, child trafficking, child pornography, paedophilia, drugs, street gangs. Wow. Welcome to America, people.

Episode 1
Nearing the end of the Iraq war, a group of Americans are resting and hoping they will go home when one of them, Griffin Callenreese fires and kills many of his own men. He is taken down but still alive. The only thing that comes out of his mouth is “Banana Fish”. In current time, Ash Lynx meets a dying man who hands him some pill and address. Noticing a few punks chasing this dead guy, Ash learns they were sent by Dino Golzine. He goes to see him and is upset about not keeping his promise not to kill anyone. Dino says he was a rat and it was necessary to take him out. Ash returns to his home as Skip informs him that a couple of Japanese guys are coming to interview him for their article on street gangs. Meanwhile the scientist informs the worst to Dino that something precious has gone missing. Want to bet it’s that pill? We see Griffin in Ash’s care. Although he is a vegetable and can say nothing but Banana Fish. This intrigues Ash because that dead guy also said the same thing. Ash sees Dr Meredith to analyse the contents of the powder in this pill. Dino of course suspects Ash has gotten something that belongs to him and summons him for questioning. Ash plays dumb but Dino isn’t convinced. So when Ash returns home, he knew Dino has sent his men to search his place. With the men finding nothing, Dino believes Ash is being careful and assigns Marvin to take care of it all. Hence Marvin makes a deal with Ash’s rival, Frederick Arthur. The Japanese photographers, Shunichi Ibe and Eiji Okumura meet the NYPD guys, Antonio Jenkins and Charlie Dickenson. Meredith can’t make head or tail of this drug. As for Banana Fish, it is from a short story of JD Salinger. In the story, if you see a Banana Fish at sea, you feel like dying. Ibe and Eiji set foot in Ash’s turf. I guess young Japanese guy isn’t sure of the American custom and still trying to be the polite Japanese, he asks Ash for permission to look at his gun! Surprisingly Ash does so. Skip believes Ash takes a liking for him since he never lets anyone touch his gun. Ash receives a distress call from Shorter Wong to get out of here now because Arthur has rounded up some guys to get him. Yeah, he should have called earlier because they’re now busting the place. However Ash soon realizes he isn’t the target and that they’re after Skip. They also kidnap Eiji too since he is with the boy. Ash borrows Shorter’s bike to give chase.

Episode 2
Ash confronts Arthur and Marvin. He is forced to throw down his gun to save the duo but Arthur now punches him as payback (for damaging his fingers). They are then imprisoned but because Marvin is such a gay pig, he wants to f*ck Ash in exchange of putting a good word to Dino. Ash pretends to allow him but once the fatty lets his guard down, Ash beats him up and they all escape. Too bad they hit a dead end. Eiji isn’t breaking the steel pipe to fight back. In fact, he is going to use it to jump over the barbwire brick wall! Yeah, he was once a pole vaulter. Eiji is successful and Ash is amazed of this beautiful ‘flight’. Of course Eiji lands hard. Wooden crates break his fall? Thank goodness it didn’t pierce him. Bleeding Eiji manages to call NYPD before losing conscious. Eiji might feel bad he left Ash and Skip behind but with the details, Charlie can move in and act now. Before Marvin could take Ash away, Shorter and his gang arrive for some gang fight. Marvin points his gun at Ash but then shoots Skip. Charlie arrives too late. Ash is mad as he chases Marvin. By the time he arrives at his place, he sees Marvin’s dead body. A gun on the floor. Oh no. Too late. The police are here. You’ve been setup. Evanstine interrogates Ash and this bad cop tries to provoke Ash into talking by taking out all the child porn material that they found in Marvin’s room. You see, Ash was one of his porn child actors. Evanstine plays a cruel video of that porn scene of Marvin doing in a young Ash. Hence there is motive for Ash to kill this bastard. Luckily Ash holds in his rage but is taken away. Evanstine is on Dino’s payroll as he reports to the big boss who in turn makes a call to a judge under his payroll too. Charlie tries to talk to Ash but Ash already knows what kind of fate is in store for him. Especially Dino owning a team of big shot lawyers. Charlie hopes Eiji could talk to Ash seeing he trusts him but Eiji being a lousy liar, Ash somewhat envies Eiji for being able to ‘fly’. Eiji is so touched that he comes out crying?! Yeah, he can’t force this guy to talk. More bad news as the judge has sentenced Ash to state prison. Their only hope is Max Lobo who is imprisoned there. Ash is ushered in and all the prisoners are making wolf calls at this pretty boy. Ash the target? More like his ass would be the first target!

Episode 3
Charlie makes a plea to Max to protect Ash. Luckily they are cellmates as Max tries to be friendly with him but Ash knows the pitiful columns he writes for a certain newspaper. As Max shows him around, Garvey tries to make a move on him. Ash loses his temper and beats the sh*t out of this guy. He is thrown into solitary confinement but that didn’t rough him up or make him repent the slightest. Ash remembers ever since Dino took him in when he was young, he has been waiting for a chance to be free. But to do that he must go up against him. Knowing the drug is the cause and key to it all, he needs to get word to Meredith and Griffin to stay away from it. But how? He is being closely watched. The phones tapped and the letters will be scrutinized. It looks odd that Ash allows Garvey to f*ck him up in the library. In the infirmary, he requests for a pill for his headache. Ash learns that Max also knows about Banana Fish. Somewhat. He believes Banana Fish is a person. There was some guy who wrote an article on the Iraq war. It is unclear if Banana Fish is an individual or an organization but it is connected to drug trafficking. Oddly, the rumours died out after 2007. Max supposedly knows this guy but Ash points out he is already dead. Max is also after Banana Fish as he had a friend who was seriously messed up by a bad drug. When Ash learns his friend is Griffin, he knows Max is the one who shot Griffin, his brother and put him in this vegetative state. Ash isn’t his real name but Aslan Callenreese. Ash blames him for leaving Griffin there to die although Max has done everything in his power to help him. Griffin can’t even recognize his own brother, will he even recognize Max? When Ash gets out, he will kill him. When Eiji comes to visit Ash, it seems Ash flirts with him and before they go, kisses him!!! This gay moment is only because Ash slipped a pill into Eiji’s mouth. Eiji knows something is up as he takes a look at the message inside the pill. He wants him to go to a shop in Chinatown and meet Shorter. Just say Ash sent him and tell him what he gave to Meredith to hide it somewhere. Max is affected so much that he sees Griffin in Ash and almost tries to kill him! Eiji enters the shop but is told that person is not around. Eiji isn’t careful as he isn’t aware Dino has sent spies to tail him. And since he said the doctor’s name… Before he knows it, he is confronted by Arthur.

Episode 4
Arthur threatens to kill the doctor if Eiji doesn’t talk. He spills everything and yet Arthur is going to kill. He is going to make Ash pay by taking away everything precious to him. Luckily Shorter is here before anyone dies. After getting the drug, Griffin miraculously got up. But Abraham Dawson panics to see him alive and shoots him. In the commotion, Arthur and his men escape. Meredith treats Griffin personally and can’t bring him to the hospital or the mafia will track him. Max changes cell? Yeah, some bull guy is now Ash’s cellmate and he wants to get gay with this guy. Ash isn’t a pushover and beats him up and would have killed him had not worried Max returned to stop the fight. When Eiji is finally reunited with worried Ibe, he mentions about Griffin saying Banana Fish when he saw Abraham. Meredith kept some of the substance and believes it is something like LSD but it symptoms last longer. Even way past 24 hours. The lab rats went aggressive and killed each other. It might have something to do with the recent strange suicide cases. Ibe wants Eiji to return to Japan now as it is getting dangerous. Eiji will not do it despite Ibe is only concern for his safety. What will Ibe say to his parents if he really gets killed? Worst scenario happens as Griffin dies. It is suggested they don’t tell Ash for now so he won’t do anything stupid like breaking out of prison. Charlie then calls Max to tell him this. Meanwhile Ash is being beaten up by Garvey as per Dino’s orders. Of course he fights back and when Max comes to break them up, accidentally mentions about Griffin. I’m sure Garvey won’t bother Ash for a while after sticking a fork in his crotch! Ouch! Ash pesters Max about Griffin and uses that betrayal psychology to talk. Max says Griffin is dead. Ash is in shock and beats up Max if he tries to get near him. Max has had it playing Mr Nice Guy and fights back. I guess this got nowhere so the duo go back to their cell to talk (Max transferred back?). Max tells how Griffin was his buddy. But the Iraq war totally did him in. Friend or foe were alike and he couldn’t take it and relied on drugs to get through. Ash in turn tells him all he knows when he was first handed the pill and address. Ash was fortunate to be brought up by Griffin and without him, would have starved to death. After the war, he was so weak he couldn’t even take a piss himself. But that is all over now. Griffin isn’t around anymore.

Episode 5
With Jenkins pulling strings, Ash is able to get out on bail. So as Charlie picks him up, Ash puts up an act of wanting to see Griffin so Charlie tells him the truth. More crocodile tears to let Charlie’s guard down. Then Ash steals his gun and kicks him out of the car. Charlie and Ibe struggle to contain him but Eiji decides to side with Ash and drives the car away. Meanwhile Arthur bugs Dino about this Banana Fish. Dino says that it is not a human but a drug. A drug that will change the world. Ash reunites with Shorter who wants to help Eiji with his fight against Dino. Ash was reluctant at first but since Shorter has a reason to go up against Dino and Ash can’t do it alone, Ash allows it. Even Eiji too. He was forced to retire from pole vaulting due to injury. Ibe saw him depressed and decided to bring him to America. Because he feels responsible for all this, he wants to see this one till the end. Ash gives Eiji a gun and teaches him how to sue it because when the fight starts, he won’t be able to protect him. Then Ash goes to see some Chinese corporate guy, Lee Wang Lung who seems to be on bad terms with Dino. He will help those who goes up against Dino and is more than willing to lend Ash a truck as per his request. Ash then explains about Club Cod. It’s not a seafood restaurant. It serves humans. In this secret club, Dino is the head and runs the operations of selling young boys to other prominent figures. That way, he makes a profit and has control over them. The club catches young runaway boys and sell them. They are drugged so they can’t run and only have a few years to live. Dino is always here in the middle of every month. Max just got out of prison and he goes to see Ibe and knows Ash will be at Club Cod. When Dino arrives at Club Cod, Ash begins his move. Shorter drives the truck to ram into the area. WTF Ash standing atop the truck and shooting?! Yeah, he got Dino’s shoulder. If not for Arthur’s men sniping Ash (on his shoulder), it could’ve been bad. A gunfight ensues in the chaos. Max and Ibe arrive and tell their friends to escape via jumping into the sea. Even after escaping, Ash still wants to continue picking a fight so Max punches him out and they all take refuge at his place. Dino orders his men to capture Ash alive. He doesn’t care what they do as long as they bring him back to him because Ash is his.

Episode 6
Ash and co return to his father’s home in Boston. Although stepmom Jennifer is happy to see him, Jim isn’t. Ash only wants the keys to the house Griffin used to stay and they’ll leave once the truck is fixed. Jim continues to dislike his son and considers his friends as manwhores. Ash relates that he and Griffin were born to different mothers. In the house, they find an old album. There is a photo that has Abraham’s picture in it. It must have been Griffin’s old platoon. Locating this dude, they find out his address similar to the one Ash was given. He lives in LA. As Jim continues to have bad blood with Ash, Eiji gets mad. I guess it’s time for dad to reveal how things turned out. When Ash was young, there was a military veteran who lived up the hills. The kids loved him and he coached a baseball team that Ash was in. One day, Ash came home messed up and he knew what happened. He was taken to the police but since everyone loved that army dude, they blamed Ash for seducing him. Hence Jim had no choice but to tell Ash that if anybody tried to same thing on him, just allow it but make him pay for it. A year later, Ash shot that guy with Jim’s gun. When cops searched his house, they found bones of children in his basement. Although Ash wasn’t found guilty of anything, Jim sent him to his sister’s place but subsequently he ran away. That night, a couple of guys enter the store just when Jim and Jennifer are about to close. Turns out they are Dino’s men and they take them hostage to lure Ash out. Ash has no choice but to give in. Lucky the fast thinking of his friends distract them for a while. Ash is able to fight back but unfortunately Jennifer was shot and killed. Jim was shot too but only in his shoulder. After killing Dino’s men, Jim tells his son to leave now as he has a friend to call the ambulance and cops over. Jim puts his fingerprints over the murder weapons so as to clear their name. After learning Ash is up against a big mafiaso who killed Griffin, Jim gives his blessings. No time for father-son reconciliation as they have to get running. Meanwhile Dino sees Wang Lung and informs how his Banana Fish will have no impact on his business. In fact, he is willing to relinquish some European territories to him next year. All he needs is his cooperation to catch Ash. He wants that kid because he has 2 journalists with him and will stop at nothing to stop to leak. Since they are heading to LA which is under Wang Lung’s territory, Wang Lung will send his men Yut Lung for the job. A week later, Ash and co arrive at the city of angels.

Episode 7
The gang stops by at Max’s home. Max is happy to greet his son, Michael but his ex-wife, Jessica is still mad at him. Because she is acquaintance with Ibe, she lets all of them in. So apparently this short detour is because Max wanted to leave a birthday present for Michael. After doing so, they head to the address but see Yau Si assaulted by some thugs. They manage to chase them off as they learn Yau Si is Abraham’s nephew. Of course, Yau Si himself is adopted. You didn’t think Caucasian parents could suddenly give birth to an Asian kid, do you? Currently, his father is missing. They check his room and find it messy. Ash hacks the computer to find more info about Banana Fish and they all realized it is a drug. Meanwhile Shorter who was sent to find out more on Yau Si because Ash finds him suspicious is now in a conflict. He was told by Lee Hua Lung (Lee’s younger brother) to be the traitor and report Ash and his buddies or his sister, Nadia dies. When he returns, he gets rough with Yau Si and demands to know the truth. Then he sees his dragon tattoo, a seal of the Lee clan and realizes that he is Yut Lung. Yut Lung drops his soft spoken demeanour and reminds Shorter that he will now take orders from him. Ibe remembers their visa has expired so Ash plays the bad guy to go tell Eiji he needs to go home because from now on it’ll get dangerous and he’ll just be in the way. Eiji accepts his fate but can’t help feel sad about it. Max knows Ash is going back to New York, the reason why he also wanted Eiji to leave. It might be Dino’s turf but it is also his home. Yut Lung orders Shorter to kidnap Eiji as bait to lure Ash. Shorter is so mad he wants to kill him. But he can’t. He still feels grateful for the Lee clan for helping his family survive in a foreign land. But not anymore. They are the same like Dino. Meanwhile thugs barge into Jessica’s home.

Episode 8
The thugs call Max to bring Ash over if he knows what’s good for his wife and son. Ash has Shorter stay behind to guard the Japanese as he feels something is off because if they wanted to lure them out, they would move the hostages and set a trap. When Ash and Max arrive, the police are already here. Jessica and Michael are fine. The cops came because earlier on Jessica was on the phone with a friend and he alerted the police. Yut Lung begins his move as he poisons Ibe and uses his acupuncture needles to knock out Eiji. While Eiji is out cold, Ibe can still see and hear. Yut Lung wants Ibe to witness all this so he could tell Ash what happened. By the time Ash realizes Yut Lung is the traitor and rushes back, they’re already gone. Another stranger pops in. But he is Alexis and this is supposed to be his home. Meanwhile Shorter regrets his actions but vows to protect Eiji. While waiting for the transit to New York, Arthur shows up to bring them back. Shorter threatens to take Eiji’s life and then himself if he does funny stuffs. Dino sees Senator William Kippard and Colonel Thomas Holstock to assure them about the perfection of the drug for their next experiment. After Alexis injects a serum to cure Ibe’s poison, he shows them a secret science room. The PC was dummy and he was staying in some condo after noticing strange men were tailing him. He came back because the sensor went off after being hacked. When the brothers were still in college, they thought of making drugs to make money. They accidentally created this drug. It wasn’t just some hallucination drug but induced all your emotions and nightmares to a maximum point. Russians once made a hypnosis drug but it was unreliable. Banana Fish makes it 100% reliable. So if you tell a person to kill immigrants, he’ll start doing it. Alexis got scared of its potential as a friend they tested on died but Abraham continued testing it out on soldiers serving in Iraq. So now that he has joined up with Dino and make a deal with the US government, Dino will become to top dog in the underworld. Alexis as a scientist couldn’t bring himself to destroy the drug. I guess the price to pay for that is everybody punching him. As Yut Lung reports to Wang Lung but failed to obtain the drug’s data, Wang Lung is displeased he didn’t do so as he thinks this makes him inferior to Ash. Yut Lung is all dolled up to become Dino’s plaything but Yut Lung as an ulterior agenda. He will never forgive his brothers for killing his mom and now it’s time to destroy them. Thugs enter Alexis’ home and apprehend the guys before burning down the entire place.

Episode 9
Yut Lung is dressed up as a woman and given to Dino as a token of friendship from Chinatown. He wakes up Eiji and the latter couldn’t believe Shorter had betrayed them. Shorter is then turned into a lab rat and injected Banana Fish. He is brainwashed by Abraham to fear Eiji and the only way out from this nightmare is to kill him. But Dino will save this show for Ash. Not sure if Dino had his fun with Yut Lung and Eiji because Ash has arrived. First they have a wonderful dinner as Dino praises the wonderful merchandise Ash was when he was under him. Meanwhile, Sing Soo Ling is now the leader of Chinatown after the elders banished Shorter. He and his gang are trying to make a deal with Ash’s gang led by Alex to fight against Dino. Once dinner is over, all the guests are taken to the execution room where the show is about to begin. Dino watches it from above with Kippard and Holstock. Shorter and Eiji are brought in. With Arthur’s command, Shorter soon picks up a knife to kill Eiji. No amount of yelling could snap him out. He must kill Eiji to get out from this nightmare. After that he will kill himself or live forever being haunted. Eiji is reduced to running and just when you think Ash’s screaming got through to Shorter for once, could it be coincidence? In this short lapse of Shorter getting his conscious back, he pleads to Ash to end it all because he can’t bear the suffering anymore. Shorter returns to his killing machine mode. But just before he is going to kill Eiji, Arthur releases Ash’s chains to hand him a gun. To save Eiji, Ash quickly shoots Shorter in the heart. Abraham is glad the brain is still intact as he could analyse the effects on the brain cells. Ash and co feel awful and only Arthur is laughing like a madman seeing Ash suffering.

Episode 10
Dino and Arthur leave that night for an important event. Yut Lung then relays an important info to Hua Lung. After that he goes to talk to Ash who isn’t in any mood. He leaves a key as a chance for him to escape. He accepts his fate if the next time they meet, Ash will kill him. Sing and Alex attack Dino’s residence. With that racket, Ash makes his move to escape. At the armoury, he tells Max and Ibe to escape while he goes to rescue Eiji. Yeah, Ash is going to gun down those henchmen mercilessly. It seems the next presidential candidate got killed by his secretary before taking her own life. So this is the event that Dino and the rest of the American bigwigs are waiting for? But when Dino hears Ash has escaped, looks like this has become the bigger issue. Sing interrogates a guy about Shorter and can’t believe Ash killed Shorter. In that case he will pay. Yut Lung confronts Abraham and paralyzes him, telling him that Ash is going to come for him like the devil. Ash finds Eiji and busts him out. He promises to protect him. After gunning more men, Ash stumbles into his gang. He gives the orders to destroy all the cars and take Eiji with him. Ash is going to retrieve Shorter’s body. For once Eiji listens and wants him to come back safely. Ash enters the lab and sees Shorter’s body being experimented. Horrified, he becomes mad and pumps all the lead into Abraham until there are no more. Ash then burns the lab and the body. Sing comes in and has the wrong idea. Ash is still in a bad mood and tells him to get out. Stubborn Sing fights him and loses but is let off by Ash. Sing returns to his men. Yut Lung picks them up and will let him off the hook by telling his brothers that he saved him. Sing hates to admit that Ash is much better than him but when they fought, he didn’t even see him as the enemy. He is still trying to know why Ash killed Shorter but Yut Lung will tell the reason one day.

Episode 11
Dino’s mansion is razed to the ground and he now has reporters tailing him. You bet he isn’t in the mood and even more so his favourite pet has escaped. Ash returns to his gang’s base. He orders them to find more info about the gangs who have aligned with Arthur. Eiji observes how Ash’s words are their law and they obey without question. But this isn’t the side of Ash he knows. Making it weirder as he spends more time with him, he learns Ash is afraid pumpkins due to a Halloween prank gone wrong. Is there some sort of bromance brewing between them? They laugh, chat and tease each other like nobody’s business. Oh right. We should expect this. More bromance drama when Ash wakes up at night after a nightmare. He relates he killed for the first time when he was 8 when a man tried to rape him. It still haunts him. With so many blood on his hands, he is still scared especially with Shorter’s death. Eiji comforts him and promises he will always stay by your side. Ash breaks down and cries on his lap. Next day, Ash meets Max. His first plan is to buy an expensive condo. He needs Max help to sign the contract as he is a minor. Where does Ash get all that money? It seems he has used Dino’s accounts to sell stocks and plummet its value. He also knows his secret fake accounts overseas and has wired it to somewhere else. Dino just got all this news and is looking real shocked how someone could hack all his details and use it in his name. Well, when he was f*cking Ash, Ash had a different idea. He planted a spyware in his computer and got all the access and passwords. Now that this has caused a huge damage to the foundation, Dino will have to answer to the dons and won’t be on Ash’s tail for a while. Ash wants Max to find out more about the secretary who used Banana Fish to kill the presidential candidate. Ash buys a condo right next to a building that is owned by Dino. Although Eiji will be cooped up inside this condo for his own good, Max believes Eiji will be his Achilles heel. Dino prepares to leave the country as he gives Arthur his last chance to capture Ash alive. When he comes back, he will strangle him with his own hands.

Episode 12
Arthur is mad. Looks like Ash’s men has been going around killing his. Ash then dares confront Dino at the airport just before his flight to declare war. He thought getting rid of him was the answer but now he will stop whatever he intends to do. Later Ash goes to see another gang head, Bloody Cain. He wants him to stay out of the war between him and Arthur. Cain isn’t obligated to do as he says but as long as he doesn’t hurt his men, they’re cool. Ash and co continue to mercilessly kill rival street gangs even if they surrender. So much so the news’ headlines are hogged with the increased number of gang killings. This has Eiji worried about him because it is not the Ash he knew. Ash insists that power is everything. This tension causes a rift between them but it won’t last long because you know, Japanese are quick to apologize, right? Besides, their bromance is blooming so it can’t break just because of this minor tiff. Cain sees Ash and tells him Arthur met with him to make a deal to become an observer between them. Ash accepts it even though it is a trap because eventually he has to settle things with Arthur. Ash lets Max see a few photos of the bigshots coming in and out of Dino’s building. In addition to Kippard, there is Arthur Smiles who is the White House’s chief of staff. With Holstock, Ash deduces America’s plan to turn Arab into their puppet state. Because America’s official stance is against terrorism there, they will use local terrorists to plot a coup detat. The new government will then ask America for military support. This sounds ridiculous but with Banana Fish, it will be easy. The mafia comes in with the money by investing in heroine distribution in Kafghanistan (WTF type error on purpose?!) that is responsible for 90% of the world’s distribution. Dino will control the underworld with this. When Ash returns to Eiji, he has set up a Halloween party! Pumpkin theme! After the party, you wonder why the guys are asking each other if they have a girlfriend. Does it really matter? Eiji doesn’t but Ash admits there was a girl he liked when he was 14. Too bad she died as someone got jealous thinking she was Ash’s boyfriend. Boy, that escalated quickly. The world won’t let him mingle with normal people anymore.

Episode 13
Flashback shows Ash and Arthur clashed over territorial disputes. Although Ash won, Arthur played dirty and tried to shoot him. Luckily he was such a bad shot that Ash could quickly severed his fingers. Ash and Arthur meet at an abandoned railway line to settle. Cain is joined by Sing as observers. As the fight start, Ash hears the sound of a train coming. He realizes this is a trap as Arthur’s men have hijacked the train and try to gun everyone down mafia style! With Sing throwing Ash’s gun to him, he makes every headshot count. Arthur has his men retreat but Ash manages to sneak on board. Does Arthur have unlimited goons at his disposal? Seems Ash is killing a train load of them. Does Ash have unlimited bullets? He doesn’t seem to need to reload. Meanwhile Eiji wakes up and realizes Ash is gone. Ash’s men are here to take him to the airport and Eiji knows Ash is up to something but decides to obey. Too bad the men can’t keep this a secret and tell him what’s going on. Yeah, now Eiji wants to go to Ash’s side. What’s this about thinking back when Ash told him about death? The times Eiji heard Ash cried numerous times in his sleep calling for his mama? Was it something to do with his tormented childhood and the killing of Shorter? Was his tough leadership a way to cover up his fragile soul? Wow. So many questions. Don’t think they’ll be answered by the time he reaches there. Anyway, Ash just gunned everyone down! Only Arthur is left. He didn’t kill him because he wants to give him a chance to fight? Okay. So on the railway lines, it is a free show of 2 men trying to kill each other with a knife. When Eiji arrives, he calls out to Ash. That distraction gave Arthur a chance to slash across his guts. See what you do, Eiji boy???!!! But Ash is strong and fights back enough to slit his throat. And to finish and make his death permanent, Arthur falls down to the asphalt below. Ash rules! I guess everyone so engrossed with the fight that they didn’t even hear the police coming. Looks like everyone’s getting arrested.

Episode 14
Ibe has doubts if he should separate Eiji from Ash. He brought him here to escape the stiffness of Japan. He thought separating them would protect Eiji but now he feels it would do them more harm. Looks like Ibe will miss his flight too when he sees the gang fight on the news. Ash undergoes surgery and miraculously survives despite the doctor only put the rate of success at 50%. Sing and Eiji are bailed out thanks to Yut Lung. He updates Eiji about Ash’s surgery but the bad news is that Dino is coming back soon. Must have heard the news. Yut Lung tries to tell Eiji off that Ash needs no friends and people like him are just in his way. Eiji admits it and this surprises Yut Lung feel like he wants to crush him. But for now Eiji will be his prisoner. Man, Ash has got 4 hot nurses wanting to look after him and he hates it?! WTF?! Oh, right… Anyway, Ash is soon tasked to take some psychiatric test but he shows us why his IQ is 180 by stumping the psychiatrist with some advanced maths formula. Kippard views Ash a threat and wants him taken out. That night a nurse comes into his room and Ash can tell she is not one of the usual nurses. He can ‘smell’ she is not a real nurse due to the lack of antiseptic smell from her. True enough, she tries to kill him but he fights back. He threatens for answers but she kills herself. Kippard won’t give up but will leave Ash in the hands of Dr Mannerheim who runs a mental health institution. This means having the CIA taking over this case from Jenkins and Charlie. Max visits Ash to tell him he plans to expose the story of Ash stealing from Dino’s accounts upon his return. He has the connections to do so. Ash is soon taken by the CIA and blindfolded. But he can tell where they are headed from the direction the vehicle turns as well as the surrounding noises. Next day, the shocking report all over the news that Ash has died after being transported to the mental health institute.

Episode 15
Yut Lung goes to see Eiji if he is okay but Eiji is smart enough to hide and then hold him as hostage to gain his freedom. Outside, they believe that Ash isn’t dead and if so, Yut Lung will continue to be Ash’s enemy. This means coming after Eiji. With Dino returning and hounded by the media, Max masquerades as one of them and tells him he was the one who leaked the story. Dino hides his surprise when hears news of Ash’s death and orders his men to check. Max and Ibe see the live autopsy of Ash. Looks like the real deal but Max knows better. It is just a kid that looks very much like Ash. True enough, he is being tested by Mannerheim. He is then introduced to a docile patient named Adam. Friendly, right? He actually raped and killed 3 nuns! Thanks to Banana Fish, he is now docile. Mannerheim brings Ash to his lab where there are lots of brain and spine samples for testing. But Ash gets riled up upon learning one of them belongs to Shorter! I thought he burnt it clean? Did he not? Mannerheim concludes by showing him a retarded Alexis. The goal is to control scientist but maintain their intelligence. That is why Ash is heaven sent for this experiment. Ash is then drugged out. Meanwhile Eiji almost gets attacked by a couple of guys (do these people like kawaii Japanese boys?!) but is luckily saved by Sing. He is taken to his place as Eiji explains the truth of Shorter’s death. Before Mannerheim could begin his operation, Dino barges in and wants this to stop. However the CIA guys tell him his place that Kippard is in charge now. Dino has fallen from power as the Corsican Foundation that funds this institute has taken him off the list and put Baron Zakharev as the new person in charge. Though, Zakharev as a newbie still has Dino assist him. Dino then waits for Ash to wake up. He is disappointed he has become this weak so it’s no point killing him. He wants Ash to get back to his usual strength. That is when he will hunt him down and corner and kill him. Max finds out about Kippard as a big investor in Corsican Foundation. Good timing for him, the institute gives a monthly tour and that is like tomorrow. Meanwhile Ash acts like a horny flirty gay boy in front of the camera. Are the guards gay because they are watching in shock. Until Ash throws the sheets over the camera. Obviously the guard who went down to check is gay. He came alone and left the door open to check on him! No surprise Ash gets the better of this dumb guard and steals his stuffs.

Episode 16
Dino lets Zakharev take charge to see how he handles this. And so Ash manages to evade the dumb guards and even knocking out those who come close enough. This is even when the ward is being locked down. He manages to make his way to even take Alexis with him. With the tour cancelled, Max and Ibe take this chance to snoop around. Even they too can bested a few guards before being captured and they play dumb about getting lost. It’s amazing Ash could carry a heavy luggage (Alexis) especially this unbelievable scene whereby they were hanging on the edge of the elevator’s exterior. Ash manages to pull Alexis and himself up! Super genius, super handsome, super strong! So much for this hi-tech security facility because they escaped via garbage chute. The only non-secured place. Heh. Ash is about to make his escape when he sees Max and Ibe being escorted. Now he has to go back and save those old geezers! Why do old geezers have to slow him down?! Anyway, Ash manages to knock out the dumb guard to save them. And they have the cheek to say they came here to rescue him. The trio disguise themselves as a doctor (Max), nurse (Ash) and corpse (Ibe). A horny doctor tries to flirt with Ash and gets punched! Damn Ash looks so hot even as a woman! They steal an ambulance and make their final escape. Zakharev is frustrated Ash has escaped. He is not amused when Dino admonishes him for never being ready to handle this. When Zakharev threatens to make him pay, Dino shoots him. Dino built this project and nobody is going to take Ash but him. Ash learns that Eiji is missing. Looks like now he has to go find and save him even though he is worn out. Otherwise he cannot stop worrying.

Episode 17
Ash returns to his gang. Glad to see him alive. But once Ash finds out what Eiji told Sing, he gets mean with this Chinese dude to keep Shorter’s murder a secret. Eiji had to make him stop. A little bit of tension before the guys made up. Bromance hug? Sorry girls. No kissing. Dino is called by Yut Lung. He sees Hua Lung drugged like a zombie. Yut Lung has done his research on Dino’s Banana Fish project. It seems Yut Lung has carefully planned and killed one of the board members of the foundation. He can kill the rest of them so Dino gets back control of it. In return, he wants Dino to kill the rest of the Lee clan including their wives and children to stop their bloodline. Yut Lung further shows him a garden. He can tell Banana Fish is made out of some mutation of a plant’s alkaloid rather than being 100% pure chemical. Ash won’t even tell Eiji to go home because he knows he won’t listen. Plus, even if he does, he gets worried. So there’s your reason to begin a bromance? They hang out together and Ash does research on drugs and stuffs at the library to even come up with the deduction that Banana Fish isn’t purely all chemical synthesis. All the while, Ash could sense someone is watching him but cannot tell. Is his guts playing a prank on him? True enough, there is someone stealthier than a ninja observing him. He is Blanca, Dino’s retired (now coming out of retirement?) subordinate. Apparently he is here to decline Dino’s request but when he tested and saw how Ash’s Spider-senses was tingling, he is now curious to see how formidable he is. Blanca accepts the job. Ash shows his findings to Max and his colleague, Robert. They report Abraham’s condition. His brain’s neural pathways have been damaged but the doctors cannot determine if drugs did it. If only they could find a causal relationship. Hence Ash goes to prostitute himself by becoming Kippard’s f*ck boy. Damn this fatso is also into young kids! Was he so aroused that he couldn’t even recognize Ash? Too late when Ash reveals himself. The cops aren’t looking for him since he is officially dead. Ash wants Banana Fish but Kippard is willing to die than sell out his country. So much for patriotism when Ash shows him a scandalous photo of Kippard having sex. Probably it’s from Dino. Before Kippard could say anything, Kippard gets sniped between the eyes! Nice handy work from Blanca. Ash immediately hides and knows the sniper is a very professional one to take this shot from afar.

Episode 18
Ash is puzzled that Kippard’s death is not reported in the newspapers. His suspicions confirmed when he sees the news that Holstock just died in a car accident. This is no more than just a coincidence. Then he realizes the only person who could pull this off is Blanca (a book he left behind as clue). In fact, Blanca is staking out opposite the apartment and even showing Dino and Yut Lung Ash’s ‘hideout’. Ash tries to test waters as he stands in front of the window. When Eiji comes in, Blanca snipes at him but only gives flesh wound. Then a personal call from Blanca to confirm it is him as well as Yut Lung to confirm he hired Blanca for this job. Ash is to come for a negotiation. Otherwise Eiji dies. Hence we get one last bromance of Ash and Eiji as the latter invites him to Japan once this is over. And yeah, Ash’s protection of Eiji grows even more solid. When Ash arrives at the negotiation point, Yut Lung gives him a gun to shoot himself. Immediately Ash takes and does so! Everyone is shocked but of course the gun is empty. Even more shocking as Ash asks for a loaded gun! On to serious matters, Ash is to hand over all their data on Banana Fish as well as Abraham. Then he is to go back to Dino’s side. Do all this and Eiji will be safe. Damn, Ash agrees! Yut Lung is in shock he is willing to throw everything away for a boy. Hey, you say it, he do it. What’s the problem? But Ash has only a request and that is to fight Blanca. Can this guy go up against the man who trained him how to fight? Nah. We see Blanca moving like a butterfly and Ash like a baby! Blanca privately talks to Ash and thought he had gotten over his past. He wants Ash to give up Eiji and return to Dino where he will have everything (I thought Dino said he will make him suffer like a prostitute?!). When Dino had Blanca taught Ash how to fight, he was reluctant to do so but realized it gave him a place in the world. He doesn’t want to lose him and ruin himself. Ash will not go back to everything that is fake. Better to be alone than with fakes. At least he is happy with 1 guy who cares about him. Ash’s plea is for Blanca not to hurt Eiji. No can do. He will do the job he is entrusted. So Ash returns to take Abraham, leaves some cryptic message to Ibe like it’s his last goodbye. Then he holds up Max and Meredith to get the data before giving it all to Yut Lung. Yeah, Ash looks so dead now…

Episode 19
Yut Lung wants Blanca to work for him now that his contract with Dino is over. Blanca refuses citing he is retired. Yut Lung won’t give up yet because he is obsessed in killing Eiji. Eiji sees Sing so he could take him to Yut Lung whom he believes knows where Ash is. Yut Lung tells everything and blames him for all this. So please kill yourself. But Eiji is done blaming himself and if he is going to kill to protect Ash, he’ll do it. We see Ash in some ruthless high level talks to use Banana Fish in Kafghanistan and the Maliban (?!) just to show the world America’s might even if it means abandoning their troops. Ash might sound deadly but behind the scenes he dreads doing this. This isn’t the prostitution thingy he signed up for. Well, he isn’t selling his body but his soul. So in some sort of protest, he refuses to eat and this takes a toll on his body. Sing tells his gang that Dino is going to hold a party to celebrate the recent victory of the courts dropping his tax evasion charges. They are going to use this opportunity to sneak in and save Ash. Yut Lung interrupts Blanca’s flirting with the maid. He mentions Blanca’s real name and his shady past as some elite force in Kazakhstan as well as his dead wife. Dino tells Ash about the big announcement at the party that he will make Ash his successor and son. However Ash cannot stop laughing and mocks people like him only sees him as some sex toy and dirty toilet. Is this what the American dream is? Dino beats him up only to be stopped by the doctors. He is going to teach Ash everything and make him his chaste wife. When Blanca and Sing visit Yut Lung, they apprehended an assassin who failed to kill Yut Lung. He poisoned himself. Luckily Yut Lung got a flesh wound. It seems Blanca is here to agree to his deal to be his bodyguard although the only condition is to protect him. Blanca then reports to Dino that he has made a contract with Yut Lung because he knows his past. Eiji and Sing begin planning their party ambush. The more the better because Cain’s side joins in.

Episode 20
At the party, Ash is temporarily blinded so he can’t see well. Sing’s side crashes in to cause panic. Eiji then points his gun at Dino. Ash recognizes his voice and is stunned he is doing something this reckless. Dino takes Ash hostage to see if he dares shoot. Well, Eiji shoots but only gets Dino’s shoulder. He missed at this range?! At least enough for them to take Ash and run. I can’t believe Ash can still be a sharpshooter at this point. It’s fine if he can even shoot with his eyes close but with all those noises? While the men keep looking for them above ground, they are actually hiding in an abandoned underground station. But when Ash realizes that everyone has gathered here, he orders all to get out because the sewers are like a maze. True enough, their pursuers come chasing them and trying to corner them like a rat. Eiji tries to be the bait to get Ash out. Cain knocks Ash out to bring him back to his base but Ash won’t be grounded. Hence Ash is spotted trying to take refuge in the museum. Yeah, museum has bad security. Heck, none at all. Yut Lung decides to catch him without Dino’s help. He gets to see how formidable Ash is when he snipes at his men. Unheeding Blanca’s advice to stay put and play the waiting game (because Yut Lung wants to catch him first), he sends some of his men inside and they got panicked by the darkness as Ash slaughters them all. Blanca knows this is Ash’s plan to draw himself attention as this means Eiji is still underground. Too bad he has just been caught. With Cain and his men driving by to do some chaos, Ash takes this chance to take Yut Lung hostage. Bad timing as Eiji and co are also brought here. Ash wants him to bring the hostages in if he is ready for negotiations. Eiji and all his men for Yut Lung. Blanca agrees to his terms and when both sides are exchanged, Ash and Blanca take pot shots at each other. In the aftermath, Yut Lung is shaken and Dino heard about what happened. It’s his turn to take charge of hunting down Ash.

Episode 21
Sing limps back in and he is very worried about his men being taken hostage by Yut Lung. He wants to go rescue them or they’ll be killed. It’s time for Ash to work his magic again. Once they find where they are being held, they bust in. Everything ended so easily that Ash feels something is off. Why were they held in an obvious place? If they were important hostages, why were there so few guards? This is all part of Dino’s plan as he shows Edward L. Fox the fruits of his labour of raising his ‘son’. Ash and Max reunite for the first time since the former’s ‘death’. Max needs his help to infiltrate a gay club run by Frank Zareb AKA Frog. He used to round up boys for Dino. While Dino doesn’t use pictures to blackmail his clients and only serves as insurance, Frog does otherwise. Ash is forced to rekindled unwanted memories of Frog and his men taking dirty pictures of him as a kid. Ash is tempted to kill him but with Max stopping him, they only get the pictures of victims. Ash wants Max to use his photos only since he is dead but Max just burns everything. Frog is later killed by Fox. When Cain’s men start getting killed, they thought it was Dino’s men. But Ash felt something strange about the way they attack and weapons they used. Some research and info digging reveal they are former elite soldiers who served in many missions and are officially dead. Their regiment leader is Fox. People like them love war because it allows you to legally kill. With Max and Robert targeted, Ash advises to put some guard for their family. Better still, Jessica joins in! So it’s safer to leave their son with some other relative? When Eiji asks Ash of putting himself in the enemy’s shoes, Ash starts to realize their viewpoint. The killings are to stir up the chain of command and see how the leaders act. True enough, they spot the soldiers taking formation outside their hideout. Ash has everyone divided into several groups and plan their several diversions and exits. They are to meet at the pier in 48 hours. The battle begins. Ash does what he does best at surviving. However that may be cut short because Fox has got Max and his side captured. They use them to lure Ash out in which Ash shows himself.

Episode 22
While Max and the captured are taken elsewhere, Fox interrogates Ash. It seems Fox wants Ash to join him and they can rule the world via the foundation. Of course Ash laughs at this and vows never to submit. So Fox’s idea is to rape him?! Why are all the old men so gay here???!!! Saved by the call from Dino. Because as Fox goes to answer it, his men continue to abuse Ash. Fox’s carelessly threw his unextinguished cigarette butt means Ash used it to burn the ropes and kill those men! With Eiji and co charging in, Fox and his men escape. Ash is shaken from all this but a hug from Eiji calms him down. Lao Yen Tai, Sing’s right hand man argues with him about being submissive to Ash. He will not accept this. Also, he is secretly working with Yut Lung and although he wants out, he is forced to continue because this is the only way he could protect Sing who is also his half-brother. Max and his men interrogate Max for the important data but he remains stubborn knowing he will at least be kept alive as bait to lure Ash. Ash and Jessica manage to get that data Max stored safely in the vault. Jessica goes through it and sees the incredible data that would turn the White House upside down. Some of Lao’s men want to kill Ash and Yut Lung gives them the green light although he knows they can’t but at least they may kill Eiji. Blanca against Yut Lung’s orders goes out to find Eiji because that Japanese boy must not be allowed to die. Another moment of bromance between Ash and Eiji. Yeah, they’re talking how they would love to experience the other’s lives. I guess we got some free time that Eiji teaches him some basic Japanese. Was the bromance too good that they didn’t notice Lao’s men entering to shoot?! If not for Eiji’s quick reflex, Ash would have been gone. But Eiji gets some lead in his guts. This turns Ash into a monster as he guns them down mercilessly and continues to do so even when they’re dead! Eiji is glad Ash is safe before losing consciousness. There, you wanted to trade places. Now you got it. Having fun?

Episode 23
Eiji is taken to hospital and a frantic Ash wants to go with him, only to be stopped by Blanca. Ash is still stubborn but is told that by doing so, they will only link Eiji’s relationship to him and make him a criminal. Frustrated Ash calms down but he has no time to rest. He summons everyone for a rescue mission. Before that, Sing apologizes for his men’s betrayal and will take responsibility. This means a one on one fight with Ash after this is settled. Lao cannot accept this and runs his mouth. Sing punches him and that’s it for Lao. He calls it quits. Ash agrees to Sing’s demands seeing he had that determined death in his eyes. But inside Ash is breaking as he keeps worrying about Eiji. Since when is he religious and praying to God to take him instead of Eiji? Blanca returns to Yut Lung and is forced to listen to his tragic story. His father was the most powerful man for overseas Chinese. His mom, a poor street vendor became his mistress when she was just 10. He was 65 then. When Yut Lung was 6, father suddenly died. Yut Lung is forced to watch his brothers rape and kill his mother. Thus Yut Lung believes he has the right to hate. And so like Ash, they are just demons underneath a beautiful face. He wants to tell him that he cannot be saved. Not by something so fragile.

Blanca resigns from Yut Lung’s employment. Now it’s his turn to tell his story. During his time in his elite force, he lacked emotions until he met his wife, Natasha. The government opposed their marriage but it was the first time he defied them. When he was away on a Crimean mission, she was killed. A terrorist group claimed their doing but who knows it could be the government. That is why Blanca opposes Yut Lung from taking Eiji from Ash. He learnt to hate but not to love. One cannot be loved unless you love. At least Ash knows this. I guess resignation accepted. Just go to your freaking Ash. And so Blanca did and have him hire him as his ‘driver’. But before they head to the mental institution, Blanca takes him to the hospital to see Eiji one last time. Because cops come to check on him every midnight, he must make it quick. Ash sneaks in and is sad to see Eiji sleeping. He says goodbye but Eiji could recognize that voice and musters enough strength to wake and tell Eiji to go. What a teary goodbye. Outside the mental institution, Ash tells Blanca his plan. He collaborated with Jessica to leak data on Banana Fish to the media (because either way, he knows the hostages will be killed). Because of that, Dino is now forced to suspend activities as he goes into damage control mode. Dino orders Fox to guard the place and kill all the hostages and send it back to Ash. As Dino and his entourage leave, they are ambushed by Ash’s men. Dino is taken hostage by Ash. Fox sees this and tells Mannerheim to give all the research data and drug samples to him. Ash takes Dino back to the institute as a bargaining chip for the hostages’ release. But Fox confronts him and gives his answer: He shoots Dino!

Episode 24
Fox orders his men to plant bombs all over the facility before they make their getaway. However Ash manages to escape despite being anaesthetized. Fox orders the lockdown of the facility but looks like somebody overwrite it. Dino?! Oh Fox, you failed in your mercenary teaching to always make sure somebody is dead. Jenkins and Charlie see Eiji in hospital. They say that thanks to Max’s evidence, an official investigation on Club Cod will begin. Ash will not be charged as he is the victim and they’re here to hear his side of his story. Too bad Eiji doesn’t know where he is. Cain’s men are in a gunfight with the elites to rescue their comrades. But it is Jessica who is badass, diving in and making her shots count. Like wow WTF?! Only in American where divorced couples can find romance in danger and want to remarry again. Good for you, Max. Sing neutralizes a few guards escorting Mannerheim. The doctor runs off by himself and is unfortunate to become Ash’s hostage. However he is shot and killed by Fox. I thought this guy wanted to tame Ash because he sends a helicopter unit to fire like hell! Is he that confident Ash won’t die from this?! Thanks to Blanca being a great sniper, Ash can have his one on one fight with Fox. Fox stabs his shoulder but Ash conveniently grabs a power tool and drills into him. Because one of the dying elites set of the bombs early, this blows Sing off. Ash has to rush to save him and tells him to just drop the Banana Fish samples. Hollywood cliché but Ash making this mistake of not making sure his enemy is dead? Yeah, Fox tells him to drop the kid or else. It’s Ash’s lucky day as Dino shoots Fox in the head. I guess Dino knows everything is over for him. So he just falls into the sea of fire. Sing doesn’t understand why Ash saved him. Had they kill each other, somebody else would have profited from it. Let’s just end everything right here.

Next day, the White House issues an official apology in light of government officials buying young boys as sex toys. Sing confronts Yut Lung and pulls a gun on him. Yut Lung accepts his fate but Sing won’t kill him despite ranting how he trusted him not to betray their Chinese brothers by teaming up with Dino. He was just jealous of Ash being able to open up to Eiji. It’s time to move on. Things in Chinatown have gone so out of control that it isn’t safe anymore. He hopes they can bring order back. Ash sees Blanca who will leave for the Caribbean tomorrow. Ash is okay in not seeing Eiji off. He always knew he was always trouble to him but couldn’t accept it. He describes Eiji as a warm person, a kind and honest person who completes him. He considers him his friend and if they never meet again, at least he could think about him. When Sing visits Eiji, he realizes Ash hasn’t visited him. Eiji gives him a letter for Ash. But where to find him? He is sure he is at the library. Sing is mad that Ash didn’t see Eiji one last time. Ash doesn’t want to get him involved again. Sing is willing to be his messenger but no words from Ash. The usual gang see off Ibe and Eiji. The latter finds it sad that Ash didn’t come but at least his gang members are here. Sing lies to put Eiji at ease by telling Ash wishes him well. Ash reads the letter. It writes of the different worlds they live in. But he is glad to have come to America because he met him. He never felt scared of him the first time but rather he felt he was hurt. He has always thought of wanting to protect Ash from that loneliness he is drifting towards to. At this point I guess it made Ash want to rush to the airport but Lao stabs him! Instant karma as Ash shoots him dead. Ash returns to the library and ‘sleeps’. Finally he can ‘sleep’ with a smile. The last lines of the letter reads Eiji’s will always be with him and although he says goodbye to America, he won’t say goodbye to him yet. He believes they will meet again. The greatest friend he ever has. :’(.

Gangstas Of New York
Damn, that ending sure hit hard and it was a very bitter pill to swallow. Despite so, it was really a bittersweet ending. Ash and Eiji didn’t get their final bromance together and although I was really sad that Ash died in the end, it was the only way left for him. After all, he has already achieved what needed to be done and unless he wanted to go back to his thug life, I think in a way that would make Eiji sad. Therefore Ash’s fate has finally come full circle. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. The irony of Ash surviving so many near fatal wounds and this is how he goes out? It is sometimes the most least expected thing that kills you. And for Ash, that is when he let his guard down thinking about Eiji. It’s also sad to think that Eiji left with a wrong impression of Ash’s fate but it’s better for him to return to Japan with a positive thinking. Not much good will be done if Eiji goes back home crying and broken hearted. Maybe he’ll learn about that much later when the news reaches him. Hopefully he will be ready. And even if the tragic fate that the greatest bromance brothers friends can never see each other again, it is good to know that they will always be each other’s best friends, heart and soul.

The plot and pacing of the story are surprisingly interesting. Overall, I could say that there was never a dull moment while watching this. Sure, there are moments when it is slow and the showcasing of the bromance between Ash and Eiji that serves more for building the bond between them rather than some cheap yaoi stuff everyone else thought it was going to happen. From the discovery to the hallucinatory drug of Banana Fish to Ash fighting against Dino and his organization, the ultimate path of this story is Ash trying to find salvation and freedom in his tragic and fragile life. Seeing him going through that journey was an amazing ride thanks to good execution of the story.

At first it keeps us intrigues as to what Banana Fish is in the first place. But once it is revealed what it truly is, the story didn’t lose its momentum as it shifts to the struggles of Ash and Eiji and what they must do next. Hence the title of this series may ironically be prominent in the first half of the series and become some sort of an extra thrown into the back burner of our minds in the second half, but with other developments and potentials keeping our minds preoccupied, this super drug would be the least of our problems when so many other factors come into play.

Ash as the central character is one whom viewers will mainly root for. His character is given ample and a lot of screen time to develop and flesh out properly. At first Ash might look like an overpowered character (but without any super powers) because of his sharpshooting and very keen observation. Besides his good looks, he is also very intelligent and knowledgeable in just about everything. Not forgetting his personality that can range from being suave and charming to tough and determined gang leader. Everything about him is almost oh so perfect save for his tainted past. When you discover the atrocities that Ash had to go through since young and the need to survive, it makes all his ‘overpowered moves’ to seem more justifiable. That is why in a way Ash is a lot relatable to us than other fictional characters with superhuman powers. The struggles of an exploited young soul and the decisions he is forced to take to survive in this dog eat dog world all rings too familiar in this sad reality of ours. Too bad a lot of us aren’t as hot as him :)… :’(.

Ash always looks strong on the outside but inside he is fragile and breaking down and this shows the human side of him because those who don’t know him would have automatically labelled him as a monster. Many of us could relate this kind of character to somebody we know. Like our mothers. Always being the scary drill sergeant but deep down just a caring delicate soul. This double face is perhaps the best way for Ash to survive. The only way he could be a leader to his men, a post he never wanted to have and stuck with forever.

Eiji is not as prominent as Ash but he is both the glue and hammer that holds him together while at the same time that frees him from his shackles. Ironically he is also Ash’s strength and weakness. Hence many of the situations that they are caught in danger with can be attributed to Eiji. It is that dilemma situation of because of Eiji was there, it happened. And also because Eiji was there, things got to work out the way it should. Hence Eiji is truly a catch-22 situation for Ash. But I believe that Eiji’s presence has brought a lot more good to Ash than bad. Ash wouldn’t have been able to fight against the oppressed had not Eiji come into his life. Yes, they faced many dangers along the way but that is only expected when one is defying the norm and fighting for your own freedom.

On the same tragic side with Ash but on the opposite end of the polar is Yut Lung. Unlike Ash who seeks salvation, Yut Lung takes the path of destruction. It might be his way to fight from the shadows because his specialty is poisons, he doesn’t go head to head with Ash. Hence it might seem cowardly that he tries to target Eiji to get to Ash. Unfortunately for Yut Lung, Ash always manages to step a few steps ahead of him. That is why Ash is more successful than him in terms of survival. Not to say that Yut Lung isn’t a survivalist but since he inherited his wealth from the Lee clan, he thinks money gives him the power to control. It is true that Yut Lung too has a tragic tale of his own but he isn’t the only one. Hence he has this shallow thinking of what demons like them should act and do. That is why many of Ash’s actions take him by surprise like the time Ash didn’t hesitate to shoot himself when Yut Lung told him to despite the gun is not loaded. Ash was prepared to do what it takes in what he believes in. Can Yut Lung match that determination? That’s why Ash could ‘progress’.

Dino as the main antagonist is also a formidable one instead of some old fart who has power, money and influence and a taste for young boys. Sometimes I thought it was silly when both Ash and Dino were so close to finish each other off, they decide to put it on hold because it is not their ideal way of killing the other. Back to waiting for that other perfect chance. It might sound silly but I looked at it from another perspective. Dino had poured in so much effort to raise his ‘best son’ and he surely had doubts of just killing him like that. Even if Ash is already hell bent on going against him, Dino had all the power and resources to just end Ash’s life like that. But he couldn’t. Because of all the effort put in, he needs to get that ‘satisfaction’ and squeezing him to the last drop before Ash kicks the bucket. And I believe it’s the same for Ash. Not that he has hopes for Dino turning over a new leaf.

Even if Ash ends this quickly by killing Dino, he would not have the chance to expose his secret heinous experiments and thus the vicious cycle goes on. Bringing Dino himself down might be just short term and wouldn’t do anything good. That is why Ash went to great lengths to bring down his organization so that a repeat of creating future monsters will not happen. Otherwise with Dino just gone, another monster would just step in to replace him. Thus the vicious cycle repeating once more. That might happen seeing Dino too met his fate. Glad it wasn’t the aptly named scheming Fox too. Imagine trained elite forces getting owned by street gangs. All that greed for money and power must have really brought their downfall, huh?

I have not much to comment on the other characters but they do play their minor role albeit not much. Like Sing who feels pretty much underused and looks the part because he was thrusted as the Chinese’s leader in a short notice after Shorter’s death. It is to an extent true what Lao said about him becoming Ash’s dog but remember, he was the only one who saw how fearsome Ash could be. You really don’t want to make enemies out of this guy. Literally, Ash could have been America’s representation for shooting at the Olympics. He never misses. Never. Ever. Then there is Blanca who also looks like another overpowered character. Because if Ash who already looks overpowered and cannot best his mentor, what does this say? But instead of being the ruthless mercenary he once was, Blanca plays the voice of reasoning especially to Ash when his head gets clouded each time Eiji is unwittingly involved. Hence somebody like Blanca prevents Ash from making an irreversible mistake that would have ended their bromance a little too sooner.

Max and Ibe feel almost irrelevant in the second half. Though Max did do a few things to help out Ash, Ibe overall feels more like an excess baggage. He is just a setting for a reason why Eiji came to America. Call him a poor guardian because he reluctantly lets Eiji run all over the place but if Eiji is being this stubborn determined to save Ash, what else can he do? It must be one of those longest trips to America for a Japanese. Until Eiji resolves this matter with Ash, looks like they’re looking for an extended stay in America. Remember to extend the visas again. I never had hope for Jenkins and Charlie to be useful cops. Being on Ash’s side doesn’t make their character any good because they look more like useless cops and totally absent in the second half of the series.

There are many social issues tackled by this series that rings so much closer to home and reality because it is still prevalent today. Especially child trafficking, child pornography and drugs. It feels like as long humans exist, these will never end and will carry on forever. Because as long as there are corrupt politicians and the widening gap between the rich and poor, you bet that the latter will definitely be exploited. Money makes the world go round. Everyone has their dark secrets. Too bad a lot of old ugly men here are portrayed as paedophiles. And politics of course. What a dirty word that is today. In the case of street gangs, I guess it is for the sake of this series’ plot that white boys, black guys and the Chinese all come together to fight against the common oppressor. Where are the Latinos, dude?! Internal gang struggles don’t seem to play a big issue with Ash being such a badass that he should’ve been a politician and change the whole political system upside down. Not that I think Ash cares about America as a whole either.

You can’t have gangs and organized crimes without some sort of action. So to say the least, they are entertaining and also satisfying to see Ash gunning down his enemies although sometimes it can get a bit unrealistic because he goes on and on, wave after wave like as though his invincibility AKA God mode and unlimited ammo cheat code have been activated. Although there are lots of blood and deaths here, it is not as gory compared to say, Shingeki No Kyojin. It’s pretty mild to say the least. But this series isn’t shy in killing a lot of characters off. As shockingly early and young as Skip to the typical cliché of villains like Dino and Fox eventually meeting their demise at the end. Some I never expected such as Shorter (not at least on a short notice) and some receiving their just desserts (somehow I just really wanted Abraham and Kippard to just f*cking die). Sorry, no double lovers’ suicide for you fujoshi fans out there.

The art and animation don’t feel like your typical conventional Japanese anime. It is more realistic compared to those sparkling wide eyed anime characters. Sometimes it feels like an American production doing a joint venture with the Japanese to produce this ‘cartoon’. I would also like to give points for the detail of the background since there are details being given attention to that makes you feel that the setting is really in America rather than a Japanese version of what they think of America is like. Of course it is not exactly a masterpiece since there are some scenes that are considered low quality. At least during scenes when they focus on the drama in front and not wanting our eyes to wander to the backdrop behind. To say the least, at least the animation is fluid during scenes that matter. This anime is done by MAPPA who did Shingeki No Bahamut series, Kakegurui, Zombie Land Saga and Yuri On Ice.

Voice acting I only recognized Jun Fukuyama as Yut Lung and a very meek Rie Kugimiya making her short-lived cameo as Jennifer. I thought Max sounded so familiar and it took me a while that this is the voice of Sanji of One Piece (Hiroaki Hirata). Initially I was mistaken to think that Tomokazu Sugita was behind Arthur’s voice but it turned out to be Yoshimasa Hosoya (Reiner in Shingeki No Kyojin). Same case of mistaken identity to think that Sho Hayami was behind Blanca’s voice although it did sound a little off. It was Toshiyuki Morikawa instead (Julius in Black Clover). My condolences to Unshou Ishizuka as Dino because he passed away in August 2018 from esophageal cancer. Since Banana Fish ran its cour in the second half of 2018, I wonder if he recorded all his lines before succumbing. I thought they would be replacing him with a new voice (like how it was done in Tada-kun Wa Koi Wo Shinai). I may be mistaken because I have this perception that seiyuus lend their talents a week before the episode airs or at least do a few episodes worth of lines to save time. Otherwise how do you think long running shows like One Piece can go on forever? But I suppose it is easier for shows with 1 or 2 cours seeing that the script has been laid out and fixed assuming there are no unforeseen surprises.

Kudos to Yuuma Uchida (Edogai in Golden Kamuy) in bringing out the life and various moods in Ash that it makes his character really sound convincing. I want to say the same for Kenji Nojima as Eiji (Yuuto in High School DxD) but he sounds very gay and weak most of the time. Really. The other casts are Shouyo Chiba as Sing (Koutarou in Tsuki Ga Kirei), Kenyu Horiuchi as Fox (Kinemon in Once Piece), Kenta Miyake as Blood (All Might in Boku No Hero Academia), Rica Fukami as Jessica (Sailor Venus in Sailormoon), Yasumichi Kushida as Kippard, Takashi Nagasako as Meredith (Gale in Soul Link), Makoto Furukawa as Shorter (Banri in Golden Time), Shinji Kawada as Ibe (Shino in Naruto), Souma Saitou as Lao (Utsumi in SSSS.Gridman), Yuu Hayashi as Abraham (Michizou Tachihara in Bungo Stray Dogs), Hidenari Ugaki as Alexis, Shuuhei Sakaguchi as Hua Lung (Kawachi in Yakitate! Japan) and Hisao Egawa as Wang Lung (Saigou in Gintama).

The opening and ending themes have this feel like they are songs from America bands. I know the world has integrated so much into a melting pot that it’s hard to tell but my first impression in hearing these songs is that they aren’t your typical Japanese anime pop or rock. The first opening theme, Found & Lost by Survive Said The Prophet is a total hard punk rock piece with all that typical insane screaming vocals. Hearing this song somewhat reminds me of Linkin Park. Or at least this is the kind of song that the American rock band would sing. The second opening theme, Freedom by Blue Encount is also a rock outfit but it feels a lot more toned down than the first one. The first ending theme, Prayer X by King Gnu has some hip hop elements in it although it is more of a slow one. It sounds fitting when you think about the state of Ash’s mind. Honestly, I prefer this one compared to the second ending theme, Red by Survive Said The Prophet. Though this slow rock is also fitting in terms of Ash’s state of mind, but hearing this piece sometimes make me feel I’m listening to some cult song because of that weird chorus vocals. And some of the lines sound weird too.

Overall, this is one of those animes that shouldn’t be judged by its promotional poster and synopsis. AKA the age old adage of don’t judge a book by its cover. It is surprisingly interesting and entertaining despite many of its unsavoury themes like drugs and child pornography. The bromance between the 2 main characters might look like clickbait for some yaoi moments but it is a good thing that those remain as delusions in our heads (except for that prison kiss that would most likely be the most yaoi you’ll ever see). It’s not a gay story (thank goodness) but a story of 2 guys rather. A story of revenge and redemption amidst the corruption and politics. If you like animes with an interesting story, tragedy and badass stuffs, don’t brush this one aside. After all, bananas and fish are good for you because they are filled with potassium and omega-3 acid respectively. Better this than drugs. And remember people, don’t do drugs.

It sounded so much like a porn title or at least one that is fit for an eroge. Seishun Buta Yarou Wa Bunny Girl Senpai Wo Yume Wo Minai is also a mouthful to pronounce but despite its suspicious title, it has nothing to do with porn or sexual fantasies. Sort of. Despite the very alluring promotional poster of a girl in a Playboy bunny suit (probably that’s what got me to watch this). Instead it deals with Puberty Syndrome. Isn’t that the phase where teenagers go through by being rebellious against their parents, get a tattoo, listen to punk metal music and getting all emo? Sorry. Anime wouldn’t be anime if it based on all that. Maybe. But here, we have dealings with being invisible, Groundhog day, doppelganger, body swapping and personality disorder stemming from amnesia. Yikes. Am I watching the Twilight Zone?

Episode 1
Sakuta Azusagawa is at the library when he sees Mai Sakurajima dressed up as a bunny girl. Is she a ghost because others don’t seem to notice her. Then she notices him watching and tells him to forget what he saw. Can he? Sakuta has his own fair share of ‘problems’ back home because his sister, Kaede is quite clingy to him due to a trauma. But she still can make a witty quip. Sakuta: Damn you’re heavy. Kaede: Because half of it is filled with my love for you! OMG! Buranko! On his way to school, Sakuta asks his friend, Yuuma Kunimi about Mai. She was a famous child celebrity but is currently on hiatus. Ironically, she’s so famous and Sakuta haven’t heard of her? Does he not watch TV? But Sakuta finds it odd that he notices she has no friends at school if that’s the case. Apparently this school has a very strong unwritten law of ostracising people. Once you’re an outcast, you are forever considered one. That is why, Yuuma’s jealous girlfriend, Saki Kamisato telling Sakuta to stay away from him. Not that she is worried if they developed some gay relationship whatsoever. You see, Sakuta has a past reputation of fighting others and landing them in hospital. Saki has to leave in fear that she may be associated with him and become an outcast. At the train station, Sakuta somewhat ‘saves’ Mai from an unauthorized photo that a so called fan wants to take. As they talk, Mai seems to know about his reputation too although he scoffs it off as wild rumours. He never denies them because he thinks it is all part of the flow so it’s pointless to fight it. Now it’s her turn to explain her bunny girl act. She started acting as young as 6 and soon became famous. With everybody looking at her at a celebrity, at some point she wished there was a world where nobody knew her. When she started noticing people ignoring her, she thought it was just a prank. But soon more and more people are starting to ignore her. Hence she is going around places to see if the same thing is happening. I mean, the bunny girl suit is sure to turn heads, right?

Sakuta starts explaining this Puberty Syndrome thingy that has become some sort of an urban legend. To help make her believe what he said, he brings her back to his place and undresses! Rape scene?! Just kidding. It is to show him the hideous scars across his body. He isn’t sure how he got them. Long ago, Kaede got bruises all over her body but it was caused by cyberbullying. Not even physical bullying. It started when she posted on some site and got on the bad side of a popular girl. Everybody started targeting her. Then one day when she came home, Sakuta saw with his own eyes the bruises just popped up on her. That’s why he believes this Puberty Syndrome is real. The truth behind his own rumours is that he was the one hospitalized because one day he woke up bleeding. Sakuta thinks Mai should go back to showbiz and if she is all over TV, people won’t ignore her. But this hit a nerve and she stopped interacting with him since. Sakuta then sees a journalist, Fumika Nanjou who has some info not known to the public on why Mai is on hiatus. Sakuta then sees his senior, Rio Futaba to ask the possibility of suddenly becoming invisible. If it’s not Puberty Syndrome, it could be the case of Schrodinger’s Cat. After a while, Sakuta realizes why Mai didn’t come to school. Could it be nobody could see her now? He rushes home to find her sitting outside his doorstep. Looks like she can’t even buy food now.

Episode 2
Sakuta and Mai shop at the mart. If she is invisible, would others see floating things when she picks up stuffs? Apparently anything she touches becomes invisible too. Sakuta has done some research on Mai and believes there was a rift between her manager who was also her mom. She explains that despite it was written in the contract, Mai didn’t want to do a swimsuit shoot. This made her realize her mom never cared anything for her except making money off her. Even so, Sakuta believes that is all the more reason she should go back to work to clear things up. When she learns he made a deal with Nanjou, Mai warns him about taking the media lightly. He and his family will be hounded. Mai calls Nanjou and wants her to stop publishing pictures of his scar (that was part of the deal). So Mai instead is willing to give her a big scoop that she will return to showbiz soon. As she will be going back to work and have no more time to have fun, their logic is that they will go on a date? On that date morning, Sakuta is on his way when he sees a little girl crying. She lost her mom. He is about to help but Tomoe Koga kicks him thinking this lolicon is going to kidnap her! Realizing her mistake, she wants him to kick her ass back? Too bad the policeman catches them thinking they’re doing something kinky in public. They are released after having their statements taken but Sakuta is already late for his date. Luckily for him, Mai is still waiting but not thrilled.

The date is on but Mai wonders why he is going this far for her. When Kaede had Puberty Syndrome, nobody believed her. Now that Mai is supposedly experiencing one, he wants to be there for her. Mai can tell it is because of a girl. He admits there is a girl he likes. He met Shouko Makinohara and fell in love with her. It is the reason he transferred to this school as he saw her uniform. However there were no such records of her. He still likes her because she got her back on his feet when he was down. Mai shocks Sakuta as she calls her mom here to sign a contract, signalling she would go back to showbiz. However mom cannot see her! She thinks it is Sakuta who called him and is less than amuse of this prank. Heck, mom doesn’t even remember she has a daughter! This is too much for Mai to take so she doesn’t want him to pursue this further. Later when he calls Nanjou, she can’t even remember who Mai is! Sakuta thinks if they go to somewhere faraway, some might still remember her. So technically the date still continues. As they take a train to another town, Sakuta asks random strangers if they remember Mai. Nope. Never heard of her. In the small room they rent, Sakuta calls Yuuma and surprisingly he still remembers Mai. So he calls Futaba in hopes she can help solve this Puberty Syndrome. The room is so small that it isn’t surprising they share the same bed. So they exchange naughty teases if they want to kiss or have sex. It’s not happening. I know. He vows never to forget her and she thanks him for not giving up on her.

Episode 3
Even animals like this cute doggie ignores Mai. So sad. By the time they return to school, Futaba tells him the bad news that everyone including Yuuma has forgotten about Mai. Futaba believes only they haven’t forgotten because they didn’t really sleep (Sakuta couldn’t sleep a wink. He was after all lying next to a girl). Futaba continues her explanation how she is not being observed and hence the entire school is her Schrodinger’s box. There’s more but I don’t really understand. With Sakuta fearing of forgetting Mai if he sleeps, hence he is forcing himself to stay awake. Those energy drinks better do their job. Because Futaba has slept, she has become part of the statistic. Worse, he is in the midst of having midterm exams. I guess everyone is thinking he is burning the midnight oil. Man, he is looking like a zombie. Mai even thinks so and helps him tutor. Eventually he is too tired and falls asleep. When morning comes, he sees a notebook that he has written for himself. A strange bunny girl? It is safe to say that Sakuta has forgotten all about Mai and thinks this diary who wrote is all a bunch of crap. Mai’s name is mysteriously blanked out. Even Futaba gives some not to him. They’re not even sure what this observation thingy is. As Sakuta takes his final midterm exam, suddenly he starts to remember Mai. Some of the buzzwords used during tutoring start bringing those memories back. Ashamed, he runs out from the exam hall and into the field. Then he screams at the top of his voice that he loves Mai! Repeatedly! Boy, this is so embarrassing. Yeah, the entire school must be thinking how desperate this loser is. And then here is Mai. Telling him off how much of a nuisance he is. They talk (cheesy dialogue included to ‘assure’ their love) before Mai screaming at the top of her voice to dispel the fake rumours on Sakuta. Now that Mai is back to the centre of attention, it’s safe to say that now people remember her. In the end, Futaba doesn’t think that scientific methods aren’t really effective when the Puberty Syndrome is caused by teenage instability and warped worldview. As he has proven, a mere confession was enough to turn it on its head.

Episode 4
Sakuta asking Mai to go out with him. Hardly exciting since he has been saying it every day. So she’s like rejecting him every day? She says her upcoming play has a kiss scene. He doesn’t want her to do it. Is he her father now? It seems this isn’t her first kiss as she hints it was with him. Really? Can’t remember. Hints? Not telling. She trolls him if he wants to redo it. Of course. Close your eyes. He just kissed her tamagoyaki. With Sakuta also trolling he is getting less interested because she is showing no interest, she agrees to go out with him. Next day, Sakuta feels weird. Is the day repeating? Everything looks and sounds the same. So with the same conversation with Mai, he manages to do his best trolling. Since she isn’t interested, he’ll find another love. Instantly she agrees to go out with him. Later Sakuta spots Tomoe hesitating to go out with a guy named Yousuke Maezawa. Next day… Same thing! Groundhog day? He sees Futaba for a solution but apparently according to the internet, many others are also feeling they are repeating the day. She explains about Laplace demon. As everything is bound equally under universal laws, by observing every atom and using some formula, you can predict its precise location of anything. However that would require an immense time for observation and it would be useless if you cannot do it within a second. Hence Laplace demon is one who has that knowledge. So for Sakuta to break out from this loop, he must find that Laplace demon who is acting differently than the rest. So could it be Tomoe because she is now hiding underneath the table. However she too is experiencing the loop. But they have to hide since Maezawa is coming in to look for her. It seems her friend, Rena Kashiba likes him but Maezawa likes Tomoe instead. She doesn’t want to be an outcast because of this love triangle. A little struggle from the cramp space occurs as Tomoe falls on top of Sakuta. Maezawa returns and sees this. Not good. And then Mai comes in and sees this. Really bad. Don’t talk to her again. It’s over.

You think Sakuta would not worry as tomorrow will reset itself. Behold! It is 2 days later! So he goes to talk to Futaba and she ends up ranting about being jealous watching Yuuma and his girlfriend since she has a crush on him. What?! But the issue he needs to settle right now is to clear things up with Mai. It was just last month he publicly confessed his love to her. At the café where Sakuta and Yuuma work part time, it seems Tomoe will also be joining them. As Sakuta takes orders from Rena and co, they seriously asking if he is going out with her. They’re worried because this happened so soon right after Mai broke up with him. They warn him if he is fooling around. Later Tomoe wants a favour but Sakuta knows what’s going to happen. He knows she wants him to pretend to be his girlfriend at least until the first term ends. Ironically his reputation didn’t deteriorate after that public confession and is now ‘popular’ among the juniors for his guts! Since Tomoe is afraid of losing her only group of friends, they have to make this pretend date real. So go on a real date? Well, it’s not like Sakuta is bound to anything and is in fact looking forward to have fun. Late that night, Mai rings on his doorstep. Why didn’t he come to explain himself? Damn, you just never know what a woman thinks!

Episode 5
Mai hears his explanations but won’t get mad because he’ll get turned on if she does so. So she really thinks he is a perverted masochist? She still feels something odd for him to do all this. He says Tomoe’s case reminds him very much like Kaede. Since Mai will be away for a while for a commercial shoot, this is not her dress she is giving him to sniff in her absence. Rather it is for Kaede to wear. Kaede lights up and looks like they’re friends now. Sakuta asks Yuuma about Maezawa and it seems he has a girlfriend in another high school and likes to badmouth his exes. Sakuta meet up with Tomoe for their date at the aquarium. She tells him of her past as a plain Jane so he tells her it doesn’t matter what she used to be because all that matters is what she is now. Tomoe wonders why he is doing this for someone he rarely knows. I don’t think kicking each other’s butt is the answer she’s looking for. Even if he is an outcast, why still do so? He likes to be the pillar of support even if the entire world is against him. For Tomoe, she wants to be liked by everyone, at least not hated. Later Sakuta visits Futaba to ask her conclusion about this Laplace thingy. It is believed the looping was caused by her ‘rolling the dice’ until she is satisfied with the outcome. Of course she isn’t aware of this because if she was, she would have been the demon herself. Once again, Saki confronts Sakuta of talking to Yuuma. She’s also complaining about Yuuma hanging out with Futaba. Why don’t you ask them yourself? Time to cut the conversation when Sakuta sarcastically claims she is butt hurt because of constipation! Yuuma then tells Sakuta the bad news that there are rumours that he and Tomoe are f*cking like rabbits. While at the train station, they can hear people snigger this. With Maezawa mocking them, Sakuta sneers back and the jerk punches him. Sakuta fights back but plays dirty that makes him look like a fool. Not so funny now, eh? If you don’t like to be embarrassed, stop doing stupid things. And he makes the boldest declaration that would clear those funny rumours: HE IS A VIRGIN!!! He takes Tomoe and run. For a while there, she really felt like his girlfriend. She also somewhat admits she is a virgin and never had a boyfriend before. Because all her friends said they had one, she too wanted to be in and went with the flow. With Rena giving up on Maezawa, this case is closed. Tomoe wants to repay him. Simple. Just be his friend. It’s not like she could find anybody else, right?

Episode 6
Sakuta wants Mai to tutor him in a bunny suit. She does so! His grade better improve now. Sakuta then goes to date Tomoe before the start of the summer vacation. Yeah, they’re making plans on how to end their relationship. No biggies. Let’s just say he still loves Mai and they had to break up. Day is over, go home and sleep. Next morning when Sakuta wakes up, guess what? He thought it was a joke but it’s not because yesterday is repeating itself again! Groundhog day once more?! It seems Tomoe is unaware of the day repeating itself. Seeing Futaba for an answer, if Sakuta isn’t Laplace then it could only mean 1 thing: Tomoe is lying. So after a couple of more loops and dates with Tomoe, Sakuta decides to do something different. This time their date is at a shrine and after writing their wishes to make their love come true, Sakuta assures he is the only one lying. Then Sakuta wants Tomoe to drop the act. From what I understand, Tomoe might be repeating the day in hopes that he could change his feelings for her. He assures that will never happen if it is a billion times. Tomoe tries to come to terms with her feelings and end this once and for all, hoping they can still remain friends. Then she blames him for being so nice to him and hence these feelings. After all that I hate you, eventually she screams the loudest I love you. Now she can cry her heart out. Now, this doesn’t really make time flow back to normal. Heck, Sakuta realizes time has reset back to when he experienced the first Groundhog day! So everything was just a simulation of the future? Sakuta trolls Mai to be his girlfriend. He trolls and distracts him to give him a peck on his cheek! Don’t push it for one on the lips. Sakuta then sees Mai rejecting Maezawa because she hints she likes Sakuta. He assures he is still her friend but she says it is she giving him the privilege to be her friend. For the rest of the days, everything played out exactly like it happened before. And there’s some scientific explanation from Futaba about quantum entanglement on how Sakuta was the only one in the world to get dragged into this sh*t. Not really understanding this sci-fi crap theory! When Sakuta and Mai are walking home on a rainy day, they see a little girl trying to shelter an abandoned kitten with her umbrella. Sakuta offers to take it in when the girl gives her name: Shouko Makinohara.

Episode 7
Kaede must be conflicted that Sakuta might want an even younger sister than her! Yeah, Shouko is much more polite too. She does come by to visit the kitten. Sakuta sees Futaba (new hairstyle?) about Shouko’s case and she believes it must be that myth of everyone has a doppelganger. While Sakuta is hanging out with Mai, suddenly they see Futaba walking into an internet café. Does she frequent a place like this? They try to find her and since they can’t, Sakuta calls her. She picks up and this is where ‘trouble’ starts. Because Futaba just walked before them and she is not on the phone! Sakuta manages to grab her as she explains how true the doppelganger thingy is. Yup, that Futaba he met earlier was her doppelganger. And it seems the clone is taking over her life and now Futaba can’t go home and hence hanging out here. Sakuta is so kind to let her stay at his place. Will Mai approve? Nope. That’s why she is staying too. Huzzah! Kaede worried his harem is growing… But she will accept his flaws and love him! So if Mai and Futaba will sleep in his room, sorry Kaede, onii-chan isn’t going to sleep with you but in the living room all by himself. So now we get to Futaba’s sci-fi explanation of this quantum teleportation thingy. Don’t get it. Naturally. It seems she thinks she is observing herself and what happens when both are conscious in observing the other? Doppelganger situation. In case of that 2 people cannot exist at the same time theory, after all, Futaba didn’t actually see herself. That night, it isn’t Kaede sneaking in but Mai. Some moments that hint she wants him to kiss her but he blunders and the mood is off. Damn. So fragile? He tries to play psychology that he might fear women if he gets rejected. Don’t worry. She will let him practice as many times until he gets it right. But I guess it’s not tonight. Next day Shouko visits and Futaba sees for herself this little girl. Sakuta goes to school to see the doppelganger Futaba watching Yuuma playing a basketball game. Sakuta learns Futaba fell in love with him when he offered his bun when it was like a warzone for her to get one at the stall. Is that how cheap her love is? Stop with the corny cornet jokes, Sakuta. This Futaba wonders if he thinks she is a fake. He thought so but realizes both of them are the real deal. Later it’s that b*tch Saki confronting Sakuta again. But this time she shows him uploaded pictures of Futaba taking sexy selfies of herself. Is she into some shady business?

Episode 8
Talking to Futaba about this, she says she created an account last summer just to get some attention but realized there was nothing to post about. She started hating herself when her body matured too fast and got the attention of guys. Meanwhile Mai’s agency wants to ban her from dating but she puts that decision on hold so she could consult Sakuta. He agrees with it since she just got back into showbiz so it is better to be the good girl for now. I don’t think that’s the answer she’s looking for but whatever. Now Sakuta talks to the other Futaba and she also says something similar about hating herself. The problem could have been solved if they just go back to being one but they have diverged too far and this isn’t exactly Sakuta’s problem per se. You should solve your own problem. When Futaba receives a very creepy stalker message, she gets scared. She wants Sakuta to stay at her place for a while. She talks about her fear of being alone and was worried when Sakuta got a girlfriend, she would be alone again. The same case when Yuuma got a girlfriend. Sakuta gets this idea of calling Yuuma to meet up with him now by feigning Futaba is in trouble. He really rushes to meet up and this brings Futaba to tears as she is relieved to hear she isn’t alone. Then they play sparklers till morning and Futaba tells Sakuta to save her other self as she is in a much worse position than her. He returns home to sleep but the next morning, he learns from Kaede that Futaba went out shopping but never came back. Since she didn’t take her handphone, I guess Sakuta has to cycle all the way in the typhoon to Futaba’s house to ask about her whereabouts. Yeah, try the school. There she is. It seems she is jealous in seeing that group photo of them playing sparklers. She thinks the world isn’t big enough for the both of them and will disappear since her counterpart is doing a much better job of living. Sakuta doesn’t give a damn and tells her to just come for the fireworks. Just then, Sakuta collapses. He wakes up in hospital and no serious condition. Sakuta then talks to Futaba outside that it is okay to hate herself. It isn’t that his own life is tolerable either. Futaba is interested to go see the fireworks now but Sakuta points out it is not him he should be telling. She sums up her courage to make the call and the moment she says her intentions, she disappears. It seems she called her other self on line and now they are one again. The trio meet up at the fireworks. Futaba whispers something in Yuuma’s ear and the cliché convenient of fireworks make it inaudible to us. But she doesn’t want him to give an answer as she knows what it’ll be.

Episode 9
It’s the start of the new school term but Sakuta has not seen Mai anywhere. When he finally finds her on the streets, she doesn’t recognize him and finds him creepy. That is actually Nodoka Toyohama (from the idol group, Sweet Bullet) and she swapped bodies with Mai. Sakuta can tell this is Mai the way she steps on his feet! You see, Nodoka is Mai’s younger half-sister. Same father but different mothers. Last night she popped up at Mai’s place and didn’t want to go home. Next morning, they realized their bodies were swapped. Until they get back to normal, they must live each other’s life. This means attending each other’s school. I guess they have nothing to worry about since they have no friends so everything will be okay if they don’t talk to others. Sakuta talks to Nodoka about her beef with Mai. Although she looks up to her, she still hates her in some ways. I guess the best way to get it off her chest is to talk to Mai directly. She admits of living in her shadow since young. She is jealous that Mai can do things effortlessly when it takes years for her to achieve the same. Because of that, mom always yells at her she should be able to do the same. So she hates her more? The feeling is mutual for Mai but without the thoughtlessness of their dad, they would never have met. Of course Mai can’t allow Nodoka to stay at Sakuta’s place. This means poor Kaede thinking her brother is really a gigolo bringing another new girl home. As Sakuta watches Nodoka in an acting shoot, suddenly she starts hyperventilating and collapsed. Talking this out with Mai, it could be she realized the insane expectations and burden Mai had to carry and panicked. Sakuta asks Yuuma if he knows what it’s like to have a perfect older sister. So he calls Saki who reluctantly explain about hers. She was the school’s previous student council president (not that Sakuta could remember) and got into a top university. Saki doesn’t like or hate her but finds it annoying that mom always compared her to her sister. Mai gives Sakuta a spare key to Nodoka’s place. He goes there to talk to Nodoka and inform Mai doesn’t care wasn’t worried at all. He thinks she should naturally smile like she did instead of trying to put on a fake smile that imitates Mai. When Nodoka is in the bath, Sakuta is tempted to peek into the tatami closet that Mai earlier warned him not to.

Episode 10
With all the new women Sakuta brings home, Kaede thinks she must do her part of moving forward. So I guess it’s a big step for her to get out of her pyjamas and don her school uniform. Nodoka’s reshoot went well. After 12 takes. With Mai leaving Sakuta a message that father wants to have dinner with him, this prompts Nodoka to ask about his family. After Kaede was diagnosed with Puberty Syndrome, mom couldn’t take it and was hospitalized. Dad went with her and basically dumped Kaede to him. They’re living separately now and because they’re his parents, it’s not like he hates or loves them. When Sakuta meets his dad and ask for parenting advice, dad thinks he knocked up a girl! NOT YET! Dad relates they were at a lost when Sakuta was born as every day was filled with worries and uncertainties. Sakuta and Nodoka are invited to Sweet Bullet’s concert. Nodoka watches in awe as Mai performs flawlessly and even covers a member who slips up. Sweet Bullet announces Nodoka will be the lead vocals of their next single. Nodoka’s heart breaks seeing her mom congratulating Mai and so happy about it. It was a smile she had never seen before. She thinks mom always wanted Mai instead of her. So sad that Nodoka tries to drown herself in the sea! Sakuta had to convince her that Mai doesn’t hate her and can show proof. Inside the tatami closet is a box filled with letters sent by Nodoka to Mai. This is proof she still loves you. Still not convinced? Here’s Mai to explain the rest. Mai was also so busy that she didn’t even have time for herself. When Nodoka was introduced as her sister the first time, she saw the joy of her looking up to her. That motivation kept her going. It all boils down mom’s love is probably due to the hard work she put in. Still complaining? Mai slaps… Sakuta! Can’t damage her face for tomorrow’s photo shoot. When her mom congratulated her after the concert, she could felt she was shaking and was worried the whole time. Nodoka always wanted mom to praise her and make her happy since Mai was only always what she talked about. So be yourself and do what you want instead of what she tells you. Cue for full crying to be allowed now. With Nodoka accepting she doesn’t have to be like Mai, suddenly the duo revert. It’s not body or mind swapping. It felt like the weirdest CGI of shape shifting! WTF! So I guess Futaba’s explanation for the body shape shifting was the sisters envying each other’s position. Sakuta thought his lovey-dovey days with Mai are back. Too bad Nodoka is moving in! Yeah, argument with mom as usual. But more problems at hand. A photo of Mai and Sakuta is circulating. Scandal on the cards…

Episode 11
A press conference is held for Mai to explain. Japanese adults sure love the drama and romance of the young ones, eh? Thanks to Mai being open and cool in handling them, soon this case dies down. Sakuta receives a letter from Shouko to meet at the beach. I’m sure he wants to go but how can he get Mai to trust him he is not cheating on her? How does he show his loyalty? By screaming out I love you in public! Please don’t. Any other ways? How about a deep kiss? Please don’t. Okay, she’ll let him. As they leave, Kotomi Kano who was Kaede’s old friend and classmate needs to talk to Sakuta. Nice guy needs to see this so he has Mai wait for Shouko on his behalf since she recognizes her. Kotomi talks about hoe bullying was a hot issue in their old school. After Kaede transferred out, the bullies received death threats. They too stopped coming to school and this bullying issue died down. Kotomi feels guilty because as Kaede’s friend, she did nothing. She tried to forget about this whole incident and would have until that scandal dating picture of Mai and Sakuta popped up. Sakuta rejoins Mai but since it’s getting late and Shouko not showing up, Sakuta leaves a message in the sand (that he already got a girlfriend!). Hope the waves don’t wash it away. Back home, Kaede has made a list of things to do. It’s admirable considering her case even if most of them are things to do with onii-chan. When Shouko calls, she explains she was sick and also the reason she didn’t visit recently. When asked about the letter, she wasn’t aware of sending any. Kaede braves herself to try and answer the phone from Mai. It literally took all her strength to do so. Congrats! Apparently she wants to be independent because at this rate Sakuta cannot marry! Because girls who marry him must take Kaede as part of the package! Can’t argue with that. But I’m sure Mai would gladly welcome her. Sakuta dreams of Shouko telling him life is a series of trials trying to make you a kinder person. She hopes to become that with each passing day. Kaede makes an even more elaborate plan to walk outside with Sakura. Frequent breaks are the key. Once ready, she clings on tightly to him. Let’s do this. But halfway she wants to give up and before she knows it, she’s already outside. Tears of happiness. One small step for Kaede, one big step for Kaede’s future. Slowly, Kaede is able to ‘exist’ outside in longer intervals. One day frolicking at the beach, that is where Kotomi sees her. Kaede gets scared and doesn’t know who she is. That is when Sakuta reveals a secret to Mai about Kaede: She has no memories of her old self.

Episode 12
2 years ago, Kaede woke up with no memories of everything before. The doctor diagnosed that due to the mental stress, she lost her memories to escape her painful situation. Sakuta knew he was dealing with a different person because everything she did was obviously different to how the old Kaede did things. When he noticed strange bruises randomly on her, at the same time mom was starting to show signs of breaking down. Also, he got that scar on his chest. He was hospitalized but doctor couldn’t find a definitive answer and thought it was self-harm. Depressed, he snuck out of hospital and met Shouko. Her positive words moved him and gave him hope to live. So when their parents moved out, dad hopes Kaede will recover and to take her time because they will always be waiting for her. The problem is, if the old Kaede reappears, what will happen to the current one? When Sakuta hands Kaede a book from Kotomi, there is a note inside saying she wants to be friends with her again. It seemed like some part of her memories may have returned before she collapsed. Kaede is hospitalized but no biggie. Sakuta calls Mai to update her on this and he also believes that the old Kaede may be reawakening and if that’s the case, the new one might disappear. Since Kaede overheard that, she tries to expedite her wish list, especially going to school. It’s hard for her to even walk in public as she is flip flopping between wanting to give up and carrying on. Even if she is so afraid, she still wants to make it to school. Sakuta promises to make that happen but first a little break. He takes her to the zoo. This lightens up her mood. He also gives her a yearly pass for her to come here as many she times she wants. Then they sneak into school at night so she could have a ‘preview’ of what to expect. This gives Kaede motivation that she really wants to go to school tomorrow. Next morning, Sakuta is in shock because he can tell that the way Kaede acts and talks, the old version is back.

Episode 13
Sakuta calls his dad to inform him about Kaede. Currently she is in hospital to be monitored. Though no physical damage but doesn’t remember the other Kaede, the doctor deduces that the gap in memories may destabilize her so it’s best to monitor her for now. Unfortunately it is Sakuta who cannot bear this. He becomes destabilized as he screams and cries his way home. Thank goodness Shouko shows up. The grown up one. She takes him home and takes care of him. Sakuta is so depressed that he isn’t really happy to see this girl again. Hence Shouko reads Kaede’s diary from the day of her ‘inception’. From her observations of her new family to her brother bringing home new girls and the recent list of goals. She knows Sakuta has been regretting the whole time and if she doesn’t do something, he might end up thinking he couldn’t do a thing. She doesn’t want him to have regrets when she disappears. She wants him to be happy and leave lots of memories before she goes. Sakuta still isn’t convinced because Kaede tried so hard and it’s like betraying her hopes. Shouko believes Sakuta is feeling sad proves how important Kaede is to him and how much a big place she holds him in her heart. Sakuta, you can continue crying louder now. Next morning, Sakuta is still like a zombie. Shouko left a note that she has gone. Then a voice recorder from Mai has him calling her to tell what really happened to Kaede. With life slowly seeping back to him, Sakuta realizes that Shouko, both the teen and loli never appeared again. Asking Futaba’s advice on this, she can only deduce that Shouko is his imaginary friend.

Mai takes a short break from filming to visit Sakuta. Though he is happy, she sees that note from Shouko. Oh dear. Mood just sour. No matter how long he explains himself and that nothing actually happened between them, it’s safe to say Mai is still not impressed. She’s going back to work. He’s fine, right? That’s all she needs to know. Man, he sure shot himself in the foot. Looks like Sakuta is going back to depression by being clumsy at work. And a talk with Nodoka, she knows Mai isn’t that petty to be bothered with that. She trusts him. So why? Because didn’t he know it was Mai’s birthday?! If Sakuta rushes now and takes the shinkasen, maybe he can catch up with her… And rush he did. But Mai is waiting to pick him up. With all that spamming from Nodoka, of course. So they go to some place to talk things out. He apologizes. She explains she knew he needed someone to be there for him and that it hurts that it wasn’t her. Sorry for not being there when you needed me the most. Mai trolls him with a kiss but it is just to pinch his cheeks. He likes that, doesn’t he? Kaede is discharged from hospital. She must be embarrassed after reading her diary. But she still wishes to go to school and is not afraid because she is not alone.

Do You Like Horny Bunny Girl Senpai?
Well… That was a pretty normal and anti-climactic ending. Is this considered a good ending? Kaede returns to her normal original self. Hence the final episode is somewhat a 24 minute goodbye from Kaede and Sakuta coming to terms with it. Yeah well, it’s strange he only got to know the real Kaede for like 2 years and he found it hard to part ways. Was this Kaede more fun? Maybe. But super cute! Not too sure about the original Kaede but she sounds a bit mundane. Sure, for us viewers we just got to know her but it remains to be seen if the other one will return. Hence future Kaede will have split personalities and switching forth in between. Heh. I won’t count that out. But I’m gonna seek Futaba for an explanation if I ever get confused on that one.

Overall, the plot and story of this series is really nothing special. It is more of the strange predicaments that the characters are facing that is somewhat the more intriguing part. In a sense, I guess that could be considered the general story but generally it just goes something like this. Sakuta’s normal high school life is interrupted when he notices some sort of irregularity especially with one of the girls he knows or related. They try to figure out what is happening and doing something about it (which isn’t much) and the problem is solved. There. That’s just basically it. Not with a lot of fanfare so some may go, “Huh? That’s it?”.

Hence the strange phenomenon are not actually sci-fi moments if I should say. What do I mean? Although the strange phenomenon the girls experienced in this series may look like some sort of mild sci-fi situations, they are more like inner demons that the girls need to conquer and overcome in order for the problem is solved. That is why I said in my previous paragraph that they don’t really need to do anything much or anything that is too drastic. With Sakuta’s help, a lot of drama, talking and self-realization is all it takes for the problem to literally go away and things reverting back to normal. At least, that is how I see it.

Indeed, the issues at hand that the girls faced may still sound and look sci-fi worthy. However you know me, I am really dumb when it comes to sci-fi moments and stuffs. Although I still continue to watch such series in hopes of ‘getting smarter’. Ultimate fail, of course. They aren’t really that bad but with Futaba using some sci-fi mumbo jumbo, even if it is in the simplest form that dumb viewers like me are supposed to comprehend, I just can’t. My brain just automatically shut off to prevent a meltdown. Really. I believe that such theories aren’t really far-fetched and there are lots of such notions and ideas floating around the internet (too lazy to Google, of course) so I’m taking Futaba’s word that in some sense, the theories are somewhat interesting. Just not interesting to a level that I can understand them. Also, watching these girls experiencing sci-fi phenomenon isn’t anything new. Since it reminded me of Kokoro Connect, another series that deals with strange sci-fi-like situations among a group of high school friends. Also not forgetting the Monogatari series but with way less supernatural elements.

Thus the characters play a vital role in retaining the intrigue of the overall story. As I have said, many have their own issues to deal with and overall if you look at them, they’re just normal and ordinary people with nothing really interesting to their background per se. Even with Mai and Nodoka having some sort of proxy rivalry because of their mothers, this background setting isn’t exactly all that exciting if you think about it. It is just enough as a setting for the sci-fi phenomenon to take place and drive the pace of the arc to last for a few episodes. Because the series likes to plant small cameo hints in current episodes for the next arc (like mini Shouko’s appearance), so I thought Mai would be getting another arc of her own considering the media sounding like they’re going to have a field day with the scandal of her having a boyfriend. Too bad that turned out to be a red herring as it was surprisingly ended as fast as it started. Otherwise we wouldn’t have time for the final Kaede’s arc, I think.

I do find that some of the character interactions to be interesting and hence funny and amusing. Especially Sakuta who is the main character has his own brand of witty sarcasm. He isn’t exactly the most sarcastic guy in anime but saying those lines in his deadpan voice can still be funny. Doubling this ‘comedy act’ is his ‘partner in crime’ Mai especially when they started dating. Can they be one of the best couples in anime? Because they hardly use their emotions and with them being sarcastic to each other, it’s probably the glue that sticks them together (maybe the sex jokes did the trick). Then there’s Kaede who is just as cute as she is tragic. Before her arc, she feels more like a side comic relief character especially with her one liners. I can never forget her comeback of how she commented on her own weight gain as Sakuta thought. Yeah, that was pretty classic. Maybe I’m heavy too because half of it is filled for my love for some 2D waifu… And who could forget how she is always shocked with Sakuta bringing home a new girl in every new arc… Sakuta sometimes being frank or playful with his personality, I guess that is why many girls think he is such a perverted pig. Hence every episode’s next episode preview’s trademark line of calling him one. That’s my Sakuta. A total pig alright. Don’t take it from the girls. Even Sakuta himself said it to himself finally.

Sometimes I feel this series might be a sleeper harem series. Instead of having all the harem girls at once, each is given their own focus when they become the ‘star’ of their own arc. In a way, Sakuta’s harem is spread out throughout the series. But calling it a harem may be a little stretch because it isn’t like all of the girls have romantic interest in Sakuta. Not that I can see. After all, Sakuta helped them out so maybe there is. Or not. Even being Mai’s boyfriend feels pretty bland since Mai is often away ever since she got back into show business. Futaba is more interested in Yuuma, Kaede overly relies on her onii-chan more than anything and Nodoka looks up to her half-sister. There may be some feelings from Tomoe but for now they’re just remaining their status as friends (or at least butt kicking buddies). All in all, these girls are mainly featured prominently only in their arc and in others when they are not, they feel more like background characters. For example, Futaba is just some lonely mad scientist explaining what she interprets the problem Sakuta tells her. Kaede is a stunted little sister with a few traumas (can’t even let phones ring) who relies heavily on Sakuta. Tomoe is just Sakuta’s co-worker at the café and Nodoka the idol. That’s all there is to them.

Probably the TV series was too short to feature all the girls because the only one missing her own arc is Shouko. So far her presence in the series can be considered as baffling and a red herring because we are not really sure if this little girl is the Shouko that Sakuta knows or an entirely different person who coincidentally shares the same name. Or maybe she too is having her own Puberty Syndrome but is put on the back burner as Sakuta solves the others who are more pressing at hand. Or like Futaba puts it, just an imaginary friend. But we see others interact with her. What if all those are just in Sakuta’s mind and point of view? Everything is perception. So she may be some guardian angel of his since she swooped down to him in the final episode just to get him back on his feet when others couldn’t. I guess when Sakuta is there for other girls, who is going to be there for him? Therefore as far as the TV series is concerned, Shouko is still a big mystery. Maybe that is why perhaps the sequel that is coming out in mid-2019 in the form of a movie may focus on this. I thought Saki should have her own arc too seeing she is the only girl who sort of hates Sakuta. It would be interesting to see some sort of sci-fi phenomenon befalling on her because the irony of needing to rely on Sakuta to eventually get out of her predicament. Then she can fall for him. Ah, the tsundere role that every harem needs.

Art and animation feel pretty okay but sometimes I can’t help feel that it is also sometimes a bit bland. I know, characters here do not have strange body part shapes (One Piece comes to mind) nor do they have a variety of colourful hair or hairstyles to really tell them apart. For example, I sometimes get confused when I see Sakuta and Yuuma because these generic guys look so generic that I could be mistaken the other for the other. As for some of the girls, I thought I have seen them somewhere before. Like Saki whom I thought was inspired from To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s Misaki. Seriously. Maybe that’s why her character is also like that. Then there is Nodoka whom I thought was Eri from Love Live but with less smiles. Coincidentally, looking at Mai brings back memories of Mai from Izumo: Takeki Tsurugi No Senki. Futaba could be To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s Shinobu in disguise. Just add glasses. I’m starting to think this series may be taking its design inspiration from To Aru Kagaku No Railgun because doesn’t Shouko look like Ruiko? Take away the flowers, Uiharu would actually be Tomoe? Heck, even their school uniform resembles very closely… This series is made by Cloverworks who did Persona 5, Slow Start and the second season of Gyakuten Saiban.

Voice acting, I didn’t recognize anyone except Nao Touyama as Tomoe. I haven’t heard Satomi Satou in a long time so it was a surprise that I just found out she was behind the voice of Nanjou. She didn’t have many lines either too. Maybe I did identify her but did I forget? Huh? Oh dear. Do I have Puberty Syndrome too? Nope. Just a forgetful person :(. The rest of the casts are Kaitou Ishikawa as Sakuta (Iida in Boku No Hero Academia), Asami Seto as Mai (Asagi in Strike The Blood), Asumi Tanezaki as Futaba (Mizore in Hibike! Euphonium), Maaya Uchida as Nodoka (Eruza in Killing Bites), Yurika Kubo as Kaede (Hanayo in Love Live), Inori Minase as Shouko (Hestia in DanMachi), Yuuma Uchida as Yuuma (Yaichi in Ryuuou No Oshigoto) and Himika Akaneya as Saki (Yatsumura in Mahou Shoujo Site).

The opening theme is Kimi No Sei by The Peggies. While this rock outfit isn’t that all bad, I wonder if it is suitable for a dramatic series like this. Considering the pacing of the show, the lively pace of the rock music sometimes feels out of place since the song is a bit frantic itself. Maybe it is supposed to reflect the storm that Sakuta is facing. But the ending theme sounds more intriguing. Fukashigi No Karte has this enigmatic feel infused with some jazzy tone. A song that you would best fit as lounge music. There are a few versions of this song depending on the heroine of the arc (there is a version with all the heroines singing as a group too). Not only the way they sing reflects their character (Futaba sounds very soft and mellowed compared to Kaede’s cute style), the unique thing about the ending animation isn’t just the featured girl walking on the beach but all of them at different time of the day. Did you notice that? Like Tomoe at the break of dawn, Futaba in the dark pitch of the night and Nodoka in the golden evening sunset. Neat.

Overall, I guess this series isn’t your standard harem and romance one. It has lots of heavy dialogue and isn’t a sci-fi masterpiece too but some of the issues we see here is a good topic for discussion because let’s face it, such problems only arise because of how society treats itself (the heavy expectations of society on Mai has her wanting some private time, suppressing feelings made Tomoe unable to express them properly just so she can stay within her circle of friends, unrealistic expectations of a mother pushed Nodoka to be someone else instead of herself, cyber bullying has turned Kaede into a recluse and a totally different person). I have to admit it is mostly boring if not for the strange humour I find in their sarcasm (apparently many commenters online too didn’t find it funny). I know the Monogatari series sounds way better if you want to watch a series with harem girls having some sort of supernatural issue but that is only because it had a long run and so many stories. Otherwise, Sakuta’s normal and quiet high school life didn’t turn out the way he wants and hence, Yahari Ore No Seishun Buta Yarou Wa Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru. My Teen Romantic Sci-fi SNAFU. Rascal Doesn’t Dream Of Ecchi Romance Comedy. And still, sasuga Sakuta, buta yarou desu ne.

Sono Toki Kanojo Wa

April 27, 2019

Having problems with love? However you have no time to watch a freaking double cour anime of the drama romance genre because your time is so precious looking at all the social media clogging up your Smartphone? Boy, do I have a very short drama romance genre that is quick and easy to watch. Because long seasonal romance animes might get confusing with all the plot and drama that you’ll be left confused more than ever. Hence here we have Sono Toki Kanojo Wa. It tells the lives of 4 different girls at different stages in their lives in just 3 minutes per episode. There. Saved you a lot of time from watching those other soapy romance dramas.

Episode 1
Aiko isn’t concentrating in class. Instead, she is looking at the boy she likes and only snaps out of it when the teacher calls her name. Oops. Embarrassing. After class, Aiko is being stood up by her friend. So as she remains in class, she sits on her crush’s desk just to see his view. Then he comes in and wonders what she is doing. Another embarrassing moment? Then he picks up a sakura petal on her shoulder. He asks if she wants to walk home together.

Episode 2
Moe is out with her boyfriend and it seems she is dreading if he would say his usual foolish things. Then they spot a couple opposite and it seems that girl was his ex. She asks and he actually coolly confirms it! Like, WTF?! “Hey, that your ex?”. “Yup. My ex, alright”. Because of that, Moe gets moody and ends the date. I know she asked but can’t this guy take a hint?! I guess he is new in this dating business. When a girl says she isn’t mad, SHE IS MAD! But this guy is also a smooth operator. He doesn’t think she is a bother at all and hugs her. In public?! Even whispering the magical I love you words. How sweet. See? Now she’s all smiles.

Episode 3
Yukari thinks she can nail her guy because of her good looks. After all, this is already their third date. So when she returns to drink with him, he has the words that she is dying to hear him say… NOT! Sorry, babe. The company called. Need to return. But he texts her that he will make up to her the next time. He also noticed the swollen feet and will give her a present next time. Wait. Is she thinking he’ll get her lingerie because she’s hoping he would check her pantsu colour?! I hope she’s not drunk. Frustrated, yes. Yeah, she orders another martini…

Episode 4
Miwako and her boyfriend are shopping for groceries. She sees a kid bugging her mom to buy some stuffs but she only makes him choose one. The kid is still happy she got to buy it for her. But now Miwako’s boyfriend seems to be doing to same thing. Okay. Pick one then. Yay! Déjà vu? After paying for their stuffs, Miwako offers to carry half of the bag together as they walk home. She also bought ice cream but forbids him to eat in advance for he will be full then.

Episode 5
Yuuta shares his earphone to let Aiko listen to his music. Aiko notes how they’ve always been meeting here after school. The truth is she wants this moment to last forever. But soon they have to part ways. But there is always tomorrow. See you tomorrow.

Episode 6
Moe is mad again. Her boyfriend had to go out with his friends at the last minute. He has been texting to her nonstop and even apologizing but she is not replying and giving him the silent treatment. Yeah, this guy really sounds genuinely apologetic and wants to make up to her but she doesn’t give a damn and let the messages keep streaming in. Until he finally finds her as he explains how his friends insisted and did not allow him to leave. I don’t think she’s interested in hearing all that because she’s going to be his queen for today and her slave will get whatever she wants. Yeah, this guy loves her so much that he’ll do anything.

Episode 7
Rainy days make you want to sleep in. Yeah, it probably ruined Yukari’s day for a date. It’s been a long time since their last date and looks like that streak is going to continue. Bugging her lazier boyfriend won’t make it change so at least she gets a hug. Still bugging about that date? How about a kiss then? Is the rain making him lazy to do that? She realizes he did the laundry and had clothes hung out to dry. Oh well. Doesn’t matter. Can wash and dry again. Yeah, this couple still in dreamland.

Episode 8
Miwako is nervous as she sits alone at the park. In this snow? Okay, it’s not that heavy but it’s piling up. She wishes she could cry before her boyfriend. Don’t fear. It’s like he heard her problem and comes to sit by her. After giving her a can drink, he tells her to rely on him even though he is unreliable. I guess better than nothing. So the first ‘reliable’ thing is to swap their drinks. It made her feel better as they walk home.

Episode 9
Aiko and her boyfriend are watching the fireworks. When the final fireworks light up, she will ask him a very important question. But she’s nervous as hell. As she makes her countdown, she is distracted by his question of what she’ll be doing during summer vacation. Nothing. Then she asks him back the same. Nothing too. Except maybe spend more time with her. I guess she need not ask him now. Because the answer was definitely a resounding yes.

Episode 10
Moe is supposed to be on a lunch date with her boyfriend. However she ends up waiting for him as he shops for the perfect suit for his interview. Now do you know how it feels when a man has to wait for a woman to finish her shopping? When she sees him in his suit, she is so super smashing. Not sure if she is trolling him or too shy to say it as she says she likes his necktie. She hopes once he gets the job, they can go for grilled meat. At the best restaurant. With extra specials. Man, this guy better have that earning power. And let’s hope she’s in love not with his (future) money…

Episode 11
Yukari wants to look more mature before her boyfriend. Although their date is tomorrow, he calls her and surprises her that he is near. Can we meet up? Because she is dressed very casually, she lies that she has a dinner date with a friend. Yukari thinks she is not dressed properly to meet him but her friend doesn’t think that she should be an excuse. She should just be honest and show him the truth. Yukari thinks for a while and then goes to meet him dressed the way she is now. Just promise you won’t laugh.

Episode 12
Miwako returns home but her boyfriend is not in. She notices he was reading a wedding magazine and placed too many markers. Then we hear the girls narrate the many negative aspects of naturally what a girl is. Lonely, selfish, possessive, stubborn, jealous, not honest, greedy, want to be spoilt… You mean they’re not made of sugar, spice and everything nice? Oh well… Despite all that, they still want to be with the guy the love. Thank goodness for guys being dumb enough to still want to be with you! Oops. I think we can lump it all in this crazy thing called love. Thank God for love!

Ready For Love, Whenever You Are
So have you learnt anything? Were you entertained? Absolutely… NOT!!! It’s quite sad to say that this short series didn’t bring anything much to the table. Not to say that I am a veteran in watching this kind of genre but if I should describe this series in a word, it would be boring. Yes, I did say in my opening paragraph that having a short series means doing away with all the convoluted twists and unnecessary drama that just prolongs the series but this one is just too short to even leave an impact. Before you know if there is anything going to happen, it has already ended. Heck, not like anything really happened at all. I don’t know if it is a good thing if you fall asleep while watching this. Heh. Could be a personal record if you do so. Thankfully I didn’t. I was more like so bored that I wished it ended sooner :p. I guess that is the only very positive thing for a short series like this.

The characters too aren’t interesting and despite them being at different stages in life (actually, just different professions, high school student, college and working adults), it just shows their perspectives, thoughts and worries about the crush and love they have in life. I know that it is a big deal for them since it could make or break their future but in terms of showbiz material, this doesn’t quite cut it. I mean, there are other ‘better’ dramas out there for this topic. Like, a boyfriend being caught cheating with another girl. Yup, no such sort of drama here. Therefore the worries and insecurities of these girls feel mild and insignificant when you compare and start thinking about other bigger problems pertaining to love.

Hardly any dramatic character development to say the least. I mean, you can see the relationship of each of the girls with their boyfriends and eventually it falls into the cliché good happy ending like a fairytale. Like Aiko finally getting the boy of her crush to go out with her. Because of the very limited and short duration of the episodes, it feels like something is missing in between. We start off with her being worried if he likes her and the next time her story is back, she’s already dating him like as though they’ve been at it for some time. And finishing it off with fireworks watching. Wow. So touching. Did I miss something here? Moe and Yukari sound like they complain a lot but I guess it must be common for women to have mood swings. Hey, who am I to say? And Miwako looks like she’s got it perfect but on the other hand, it’s not. Is she okay? There’s something bugging her but the series doesn’t delve deep enough for us to find out and care. In the end, these girls are very lucky winners in love because they’ve got great and caring boyfriends who are willing to stay by their side and listen to them. Yeah, every girl’s dream for a guy like that. I suppose that’s good.

Other than the very wafer thin story and characters, I believe my biggest gripe for this series is the art and animation style. Master Lights is a very new anime studio and this is their debut work. So can we forgive them for being amateurs in this department? Unfortunately with today’s standards being so high even for the minimum level, it’s not. The animation style is sketchy and lacks a lot of animation. Like as though they drew a few pictures and then try to animate it like a slideshow fashion. Sometimes the whole thing comes off as one big lazy water sketch art. But hey, it’s art. Subjective. But the worst part is how all the girls look the same to me! Aiko, Moe, Yukari and Miwako look like quadruplets! Is this realism?! And why do the girls look a bit chubby?! OMFG?! What am I saying?! Must be their puffy cheeks and lips… Now we know and appreciate the importance of Japanese girls having wild hairstyles of different colours. Anyway, the art style isn’t good. Too simple that it’s not worthy. Period. Maji De Koi Suru 5-byou Mae by Mei Fukuda sounds like a slow little lullaby but sometimes I feel this is one of those songs you can sing to your children to put them to bed.

Overall, perhaps newbies in the genre and anime might find this wonderful but veterans like me prefer something much more even if it is not that meaty. This one just feels like so bare bones that your dog doesn’t even want to chew and bury it. Even classic fairytales your mom read to you are much more interesting despite all the cliché tropes. Maybe if this was fleshed out as a proper length series, there would have been a better chance this could have fared better. I doubt that this would get any sort of expansion or extension, though. Even if this series didn’t really work out for me, at least love did for this girls. It might have been a few wasteful minutes for us but love made it an eternity for them. And at that time, she loved. Sono toki, kanojo wa ai suru…

Koi To Uso OVA

April 20, 2019

Remember the anime that has the government selecting your future spouse based on complex calculations? Apparently matchmaking at the highest level of government intervention. You know the government can’t be wrong when they decide the best outcome of your happy married life, right? I know, a bunch of BS. But anyway, such setting gave Koi To Uso a premise for some sort of love triangle. However don’t get your hopes up in seeing this going anywhere in the OVAs.

OVA 1
The friends head to Ririna’s grandma’s home in the mountains. She owns a farm so they get to pick some nice fruits and vegetables. Ririna’s aunt talks about doing the kimodameshi by putting a red string on a mushroom as tribute because there’s a ghost lurking around and if you don’t do it, you die! Apparently a girl who turned down marriage and drowned herself. After that, there were rumours of ghostly voices of the girl being heard that she wants to fall in love. With Ririna introducing Nejima to grandma for the first time, she talks about her own arranged marriage. She was at first against marrying grandpa because she didn’t know him. Unfortunately he passed on 5 years ago. She views today’s system for marriage is much better than old times. That night, the friends go in pairs to do the kimodameshi. The girls head first as they casually talk about love. The guys go next and they talk about if the ghost ever exists. Then Nejima feels somebody is watching them. Something is moving in the bushes. Oh no. It attacks! Nejima screams the girliest scream ever! The girls return first and note they didn’t see any ghosts. Grandma reveals the ‘ghost’ is actually her. During the arranged marriage, she was really uncomfortable and abandoned it to go drown herself. At that point she started to feel afraid but soon loses consciousness. The next thing she knew, grandpa saved her and wants to give their marriage a chance. If it doesn’t work out, they can both die together then. And the rest is history. On grandpa’s deathbed, he confessed he loved her since he first laid eyes on her. Unfortunately he died after that and grandma couldn’t reply him. So she hopes to reply him in the afterlife when her time comes. The girls find it romantic when Nejima returns being ‘assaulted’ by a dog. Apparently this is grandpa’s dog who has been waiting for his return for 5 years. It isn’t friendly with strangers but grandma believes Nejima is a good person. On the way back, Misaki hopes to hear such lovely words of confession even if her feelings aren’t delivered.

OVA 2
Nejima’s mom wants to hold a Halloween party for kids next Wednesday and wants him to invite Nisaka. In return she’ll buy him this golden haniwa! Of course Nisaka refuses but will consider it if he makes him laugh. After a few lame haniwa impressions, Nisaka agrees to go out of pity… Nejima also invites Misaki and she asks for permission to bring her youngest brother, Itsuki. On that day, Nejima dresses up as a lame Freddy Krueger. At least Nisaka looks smoking hot as a vampire while Ririna is almost a sexy cat girl. Suddenly Kizuna (Nejima’s young sister) asks about love because she wants to fall in love. Must be the recent romance drama she watched. But of all times, why now? Why them? Because she saw Nejima smiled when he saw Ririna’s costume. Kizuna also wants to make others smile like that! Now, how to explain love to a little kid. Nisaka tries to and using ‘big words’ like pervert but gets pummelled with more curiosity questions. She even asks him back if he has experienced love and if he is a pervert! I don’t think Kizuna can wait till she is 44 for him to explain! How many times much she sleep and wake up to be 44?! You can’t beat this kid! With Kizuna being so impatient to fall in love, the rest are saved by the doorbell technically. Because Misaki is here and Ririna quickly ushers her to change into this almost sexy witch. Kizuna is still sulking as Misaki asks her reason why she wants to fall in love so badly. Because now it’s the time. She doesn’t want to wait for the official notification. Misaki tries to explain that sometimes love can be sad. But Kizuna thinks you live happily ever after when you fall in love. Can’t argue with that. Soon, Itsuki arrives and instantly Kizuna gets embarrassed and tries to hide. Is this love? Apparently she feels her heart beating fast and it is making her embarrassed. She doesn’t like it. Uhm, so it’s not love? With Misaki encouraging Itsuki to talk to her, Kizuna soon gets acquainted. Ah, first love. This has Nejima ponder the same. Which is it for him? Misaki? Ririna? Or both?

Love In Progress
What is love? Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more… I always want to say that whenever that question is asked… Anyway, the couple of OVAs were a nice little side story to the series. Although it didn’t significantly impact our main characters, it is interesting to see love playing its beautiful role in different ages. Yup, we have old grandparents love that would have literally been till death do us part but apparently that won’t stop grandma from continuing her love once she joins grandpa. Basically eternal love. A love that will go on forever. Then we have Kizuna who is already starting to wonder about love and wanting to experience it at her age. Yeah, love knows no bounds and it worked its magic once more right before our very eyes. What are the chances Kizuna and Itsuki are going to get matched? Unless the government screws up and then we have another version of Koi To Uso that basically repeats itself for Nejima and Misaki. Sibling version.

Those expecting to know something a bit more on that mysterious Igarashi girl would be disappointed because it’s like she doesn’t exist here. Heh. Heck, do we even remember her? You know, that girl who claims to want to protect Misaki for whatever reasons (lesbianism is the only thing I can think of). Her story could also probably shed some light on the notification system since it was her grandma who devised it. But I suppose we don’t want to complicate things and we rather have our lovely side romance for the OVAs. Leave all that technical drama for the next season. Wait. Is there really going to be another season or not?!

Overall, like my usual answer in watching OVAs after a while the TV series has ended, nothing really special as I am guilty for almost forgetting the basic points of series. Thank goodness for my previous blog to refresh things. The only solution that our main characters are going to have a happy ending in love is for the government to approve polygamy! Nejima doesn’t have to fret over which girl to choose and can have them both (like how the ending of the TV series hinted). Misaki and Ririna can now marry him without having one losing out and secretly being depressed and feeling regret for the rest of her life. And yeah, if polygamy is approved, might as well allow same sex marriage with Nisaka joining the fray! It’s love, right?! What do you know about love?! It comes in all forms! Unfortunately, such happy unions are only imaginations and fantasies. To love is to lie. To lie is to love. That’s why status quo is such a good deal right now. How long will it last before you have to choose? Let’s hope not too long, like 44 years…

SSSS.Gridman

April 14, 2019

Initially I was planning to watch Darling In The Franxx seeing that it was that time again I felt I should watch a mecha anime. Mecha series by Trigger aren’t so bad, right? At least I watched Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann a long time ago although this was by their former studio, Gainax. But after reading mixed reviews of it, I had second thoughts. Then I read how SSSS.Gridman was better and more fun and thus I followed my guts to watch it. Here I am. So technically this isn’t a mecha series and a tokusatsu one. Yeah, I do had my fair share of watching the tokusatsu series in my younger days like the Ultraman series. I believe watching this one would bring back some of those nostalgic memories. But SSSS.Gridman isn’t an original tokusatsu series by Trigger. At least this is their take of the Gridman series from the early 90’s. Joint collaboration with Tsuburaya Productions who created the Ultra Series and of course Gridman being one of the many creations of it. And so I’m hoping to see some awesome giant hero vs giant monster action to relive those old days…

Episode 1
How conveniently cliché. Yuuta Hibiki is amnesiac. He knows and remembers nothing. Until this Gridman guy calls him. This Hyper Agent wants Yuuta to remember his calling. However only Yuuta can see Gridman on the computer screen and it is just a blank screen for Rikka Takarada. Reluctant Rikka is tasked by her mom to bring Yuuta to a hospital and then send him home. They are classmates but for some reason Yuuta collapsed in front of their store and didn’t wake up when they tried to. Yuuta also sees a giant scenery kaiju but it looks like only he can see it. From his handphone, Rikka is able to locate his address. Another cliché of Yuuta living alone and his parents are conveniently away on a business trip. Next day, his friend, Shou Utsumi pick him up and head to school. Of course, no recollection of who he is. No harm starting over as friends. Rikka’s friends tease her she now has a boyfriend. Because Yuuta had so much on his mind on what happened (oh, the irony), Akane Shinjou gives her special bread as his lunch. Utsumi warns Yuuta that gesture was just out of pity rather than anything nice since Akane is the most likeable girl ever in school. So he is saying he has a crush on her? Utsumi wants to see this Gridman he is talking about so they head back to the store. Gridman repeats his lines and only Yuuta can see him. Rikka thinks of sending him back to the hospital when Yuuta feels something strange. Something bad is going to happen. Suddenly a kaiju pops up and starts destroying everything! Cars flying, buildings on fire. Yeah, one of the fireballs hit school! Hearing Gridman’s voice of the need to combine, Yuuta gets sucked into Junk (the computer). Now he materializes as a giant Gridman and battles the kaiju. Too bad he runs out of energy fast! Utsumi notices Yuuta’s voice can be heard from Junk. He also realizes the kaiju’s weakness on the neck. Rikka thinks the only way to communicate is to type into Junk. Yuuta receives the message and decapitates the kaiju before destroying it with his beam. Once over, Yuuta is purged from Junk but Gridman says this is only the beginning and there are many more to come. Utsumi is thrilled they saved the city and should form an alliance but for Rikka, she can only take so much for today. Next day, the trio are shocked that the school is back to normal. Like it was never destroyed in the first place.

Episode 2
Nobody remembers about the kaiju or Gridman. Like as though everything is reset. Almost. The trio notice some of their friends are missing. Akane seems interested about this Gridman that Yuuta is talking about but he only can say what he knows. Akane returns to her home where it is filled with rubbish and cabinets of tokusatsu models. It looks like she is conspiring with Alexis Kerib to materialize the kaiju. When the trio are before Junk again, this time this weird man, Samurai Calibur walks in to optimize Junk. Now Utsumi and Rikka can see and hear Gridman! Now they go around asking the families of their missing classmates but it seems all of them have died some time ago. Rikka feels depressed because she doesn’t want to lose friends this way and be the only one who remembers them. Akane finishes another kaiju and with Alexis materializing it, she decides to kill her homeroom teacher because today he bumped into her and did not apologize. And yeah, lots of destruction and casualties just to smoke out one guy. Our heroes return to Gridman as he tells Yuuta he only exists in energy form in this world. So unless Yuuta accepts him, he cannot fight. Hence Gridman gives his Primal Accepter so Yuuta could call forth and combine with him. Gridman fights the kaiju but looks like the beam isn’t working this time and reflects back. Damn, is Gridman this weak and is low on power? Are we out of options? Not if Calibur can help. It seems he doesn’t turn into another Gridman but rather a giant sword for Gridman to use. With that, Gridman slashes the kaiju in half. The day is saved and Akane is not pleased Gridman ‘cheated’. Rikka is glad her friends are still alive and goes to meet them. Yuuta feels sad he couldn’t save some people but as Calibur puts it, had he not step in, more would have died. He must continue what he is doing. Next day, looks like everything is reset once more. At least the homeroom teacher is still alive and this time he is politer.

Episode 3
Akane seems to be making a deal with a petite kid, Anti. Utsumi tells Yuuta his theory that if Calibur could transform into a sword, could it be that humans can transform into kaiju? This makes Yuuta feel guilty but no time for that since a kaiju is detected. Akane has given the signal to Anti transform into a kaiju to lure out Gridman. So as Yuuta combines with Gridman to fight, he realizes this kaiju can talk. Further making him guilty that kaiju is indeed a human. Now that he can’t fight, he gets pummelled. Even when Calibur comes to assist, the kaiju is faster and stronger. Oh no. Junk turns off and Yuuta and Calibur didn’t come back. Are they dead? Rikka and Utsumi fall into depression, causing some tension in between. Meanwhile happy Akane treats Anti to food and notes what Utsumi said about kaiju being human. If he only knew that kaiju had no true form. As Rikka and Utsumi continue to sulk, a bunch of Calibur’s weird friends enter. They say Calibur and Gridman aren’t dead. What about Yuuta? Why don’t they call him themselves? Guess what? He picks up his phone! But he is unsure where he is. As Calibur explains, they are just waiting for the kaiju to pop up to fight again. So far still waiting… So this waiting game is called off as Calibur returns to reality. Gridman returns to lure out the kaiju. Akane is not amused Gridman is alive and has Anti transform again. Another fight on the cards and this time Gridman is able to confirm this kaiju is purely a kaiju and its goal is to destroy Gridman. Now he can fight with clear conscience. This time Gridman is assisted by Battle Tracto Max, a battle tank who can also combine to become Gridman’s huge power arms! Gridman matches the kaiju’s speed and strength. I believe it is Gridman’s victory even if the kaiju isn’t destroyed. Because it ran out of power and reverted back to Anti. Akane is glad with Yuuta’s return. Gridman introduces Yuuta to his allies, Neon Genesis Junior High Students. Together with Calibur, Max, Buster Borr and Sky “Vit” Vitter will be helping him fight alongside Gridman. Now that the tables are turned, Akane is displeased with Anti and throws food at him.

Episode 4
Akane suspects Yuuta to be Gridman but has no conclusive proof. So she tries to get close to Rikka. Rikka’s friends, Namiko and Hass seem to have hooked themselves up with a group date with some popular online boys known as Arcadia. They invite Rikka to join and since Akane wants in, I guess it’s perfect. You bet Yuuta and Utsumi aren’t thrilled about hearing this. What else to do? Tail them in secret! At the karaoke, one of the guys was unknowingly rude to Akane so she made an excuse that she needed to leave. With that, I guess Utsumi calls off the ‘stalking’. But it’s not for Yuuta. He is worried seeing Rikka getting along fine with one of the boys. Heck, even Max comes to talk to him and asks him if he likes Rikka (which he somewhat confesses. Maybe) since it is so frustrating to watch them. Anti still hangs out outside Akane’s place. She isn’t amused but offers him a chance to kill Arcadia. However Anti can’t do that as his mission is only to defeat Gridman. Akane ignores him. Something then happens to 3 of the Arcadia boys. When Rikka meets up with her friends, she knows something is wrong as the sole Arcadia boy and like everyone else believes there is only a member in this group. Rikka then goes to meet him and is now certain when he is being targeted when a strange fog envelops. And then… Tentacle attack from a kaiju! If not for Calibur saving them, they could’ve been goners. Calibur relays this back to his comrades and Gridman is shocked that there is a kaiju he cannot detect. Oh well, time to fight. However with Anti in the picture, the monsters fight each other for the right to fight Gridman. This has Neon Genesis all jumping into Junk to help. But wait. This old PC can’t handle the power and starts to ‘freeze’! How to solve? Rikka unplugs to restart it and even kicks it! It works! Old fashioned urban legend works! With all of them coming back to reality, looks like Yuuta only brings Max into the fight. After Gridman defeats the kaiju, too bad Anti ran out of power when it’s his turn. Good thing. Because Gridman too. In the aftermath, Yuuta manages to summon his courage to ask Rikka to grab some food together. Score? Well… She calls her friends to join in. So close… But Rikka has thoughts about kaiju appearing near her. Could she be the reason?

Episode 5
A class field trip to the mountains. Such lucky kids because they’re going rafting! During the break, Akane talks to Yuuta. Indirectly she asks about his transformation and although he doesn’t understand what she means, his reaction basically confirms that he is Gridman. With that, Akane calls Alexis to unleash the kaiju. It’s the biggest kaiju ever because the entire mountain becomes one! Of course Yuuta cannot combine with Gridman unless he enters Junk. Instead of evacuating with the rest, Yuuta and co run towards the train station. Luckily along the way there is a public phone. Luckily Utsumi got money. Luckily Rikka knows her shop’s number (yeah, damn phones these days can’t make us remember numbers anymore). Yuuta calls Max to bring Junk over. So they purchase it from Rikka’s mom (do they have enough money?) and bring the entire thing on train! I guess the station master must be kind enough to let them plug in for electricity. Meanwhile Akane is lost as she is puzzled Gridman hasn’t appeared for the longest time. Anti finds her and brings her back. When Yuuta reunites with Neon Genesis, it’s Gridman time. Finally he shows up and Anti too abandons Akane to go fight him. This time no falling out between the kaiju as they relentlessly attack Gridman. Gridman has assistance from Borr who is a driller with missiles. Eventually they destroy the big kaiju with some ultimate beam missile attack and the earth all came crushing down on Anti. In the aftermath as they go back, Max ponders why the kaiju only appears around Yuuta. Hmm…

Episode 6
Yuuta continues to ponder Akane’s words. Because everyone has already forgotten about the field trip, he wonders if Akane is not affected by the reset. Meanwhile Anti is still hanging out at Akane’s place, awaiting for her orders. She tells him to go kill Yuuta. Kill him and there will be no more Gridman. You mean he believes her just like that?! Too bad Rikka finds Anti foraging for food and takes pity on him. Not only she feeds him but takes him back to her place to bath him. WTF?! Akane on the other hand sees Utsumi and talks to him about being a fan of the kaiju. They hit off but her goal is to ask if Yuuta is hiding something. Eventually Utsumi replies Yuuta is Yuuta. He can’t tell her on the grounds he doesn’t want to get her involved. Elsewhere, Yuuta meets a strange girl who claims she is a kaiju. She wants him to ‘date’ her and the treats are on her. As they take a train out of the city, she tells him nothing exists outside of the city. When the train reaches the boundary, Yuuta falls asleep. Only her music has him regain his consciousness. She reveals that Akane is the one who is making the kaiju, destroying and fixing the city over and over again. This is to suit her liking and all those killed are those she didn’t like. While making all the kaiju, her heart and the city have become like a kaiju. Hence Akane is like God and her twisted heart allows her to be manipulated by somebody else. If Akane is making kaiju, why is this girl against her? She is not made out of Akane and is the original kaiju that existed long before this. She is telling him all this as thanks since her predecessors owe him a lot. Yeah, thank his amnesia for not recalling all that. As Yuuta makes his way home, Anti attacks him but Max and Calibur protect him. They reason there is no Gridman here and just a normal human. Anti gives up and leaves. Yuuta recognizes him as the talking kaiju as Max suggests reporting this to Gridman. Failed Anti returns to Akane. He should know the mistreatment he is going to get for failure.

Episode 7
Yuuta tells his friends about what the kaiju girl said but they find it hard to believe. In school, Anti attacks Yuuta directly but is told that Gridman will not appear if there is no kaiju. Anti leaves but hatches an idea. Yuuta then asks Gridman about the kaiju girl but he too doesn’t recall anything about her. Yuuta’s only option is to ask Akane directly. Oh, she’s waiting for him in his room! Since he knows her secret, this makes it easier for her to explain. She wants him to join her and they can do whatever they want as God. He rejects because he cannot betray his friends. He is appalled to hear the reasons she killed off people and then rebuild the city. When he asks how she makes those kaiju, she then calls Alexis to meet up. He mentions how Akane designs the monsters and he only brings them to life. Yuuta’s Primal Acceptor resonates, indicating a kaiju but Akane brushes it off she didn’t make any for today. Then how do you explain this UFO flying outside?! Yuuta returns to Gridman to fight. But it seems the UFO can regenerate and its attack and speed faster than before. Akane returns home only to learn this UFO was made by Anti. It is possible because his hatred for Gridman is even greater than hers. With Gridman having a hard time with the UFO, Vit lends his assistance as he is a jet. With aerial capabilities, Gridman finds the monster controlling the UFOs in the clouds and Anti is with it. They soon fight but our friends soon learn what Yuuta said is true because they see a flying city. Gridman easily defeats the kaiju and Anti. Alexis now believes Anti isn’t strong enough like Akane to create true kaiju. He is going to discipline that kid. So when that failure is rummaging for food, Alexis attacks him and blinds an eye.

Episode 8
Not sure why Neon Genesis is discussing with Yuuta and co about the floating city and aliens (Alexis) at school. They’re sure attracting attention and have to put this off to another time. When they confront Akane, since they know she is the source of the kaiju, this makes it easier for her to explain her plan. She is going to unleash one during the cultural festival and shows them the upgraded kaiju she made. Back at their base, they discuss about this as well as Gridman maximising his power if he reduces his size. This way, all of Neon Genesis can participate and doesn’t use up much power. However Rikka is against the idea of fighting her friend. Postponing the festival or even telling Akane nicely not to do it seem unlikely. Utsumi hits Rikka’s nerve when he says she uses her emotions to think. So the guys go talk to Akane directly but she refuses to back down. She claims she hates the festival and believes to guys too share the same sentiments. Meanwhile injured Anti stumbles into Rikka’s mom’s shop. Borr is suspicious but Calibur allows mom to feed him and then let him leave without saying a word of thanks. All this just to get his contacts? Akane and Rikka talk. The former confirming killing others. When Rikka doesn’t accept her ways, Akane dares her to kill her then. She can’t. There is no way anything Akane does will make Rikka hate her. She designed her that way. Akane tries to tempt her to join her side but Rikka refuses. Rikka then talks to Yuuta about her failed talk with Akane. She thinks of apologizing to Utsumi first because he wouldn’t expect that. This gives Yuuta an idea. On the day of the festival, Gridman pops up first. With the people in disarray, they evacuate and this reduces the casualties. Furious Akane releases the kaiju. Gridman is half his size but is able to combine with all Neon Genesis to become one might mecha and kick ass! In the aftermath, Utsumi and Akane apologize to each other. Akane didn’t come to school, citing she isn’t well but her words still resonate with Rikka. For the rest of the afternoon, the festival went on well without a hitch.

Episode 9
Is this a restart? Yuuta having amnesia again. But this time Rikka is replaced with Akane. This time she claims they are dating. Meanwhile Utsumi is thrilled with Akane being a kaiju fan and they go to kaiju conventions to buy kaiju stuffs. Also, Rikka is very good friends with Akane. Of course as you might have guessed, it is all a dream. Our young ones are in a deep hypnotic sleep. Anti is mad there is a kaiju but Gridman hasn’t showed up. He confronts Neon Genesis but is told Gridman is on ‘vacation’. Anti heeds their advice to defeat the kaiju so that Gridman could appear. Thing is, the kaiju is like a ghost. It just passes through everything without making any damage. Hence Anti cannot connect his attacks. At the graveyard, Yuuta after seeing Gridman’s reflection, remembers reality. He will not join her in living in this dream forever because there are some things he must do. Bye. At the same time, Utsumi also realizes this is a dream as his other friends are not around and he is experience streaks of good luck. Bye. Same case for Rikka. She won’t stay forever in this dream of hers. Bye. Akane is left disappointed and sad that she cannot even reach them in their dreams. So Yuuta summons Gridman to defeat the kaiju. But that is just the dream world. In reality, the kaiju materializes and starts destroying. Neon Genesis then combine themselves to form Powered Zenon and take down the kaiju. Anti calls Calibur why Gridman still hasn’t shown up. Because there is no need to. Gridman will not fight Anti since he is a living being with a heart. Anti insists he is still a kaiju. With Yuuta and co waking up, they point out there is still someone who needs to wake up: Akane.

Episode 10
The gang are talking about Akane being God and if so, are their memories also created by her. The best way is to ask her directly but it looks like her home is no more. It’s just an empty space. She must have ran away. So more discussion about memories and if she is the reason why Yuuta lost them and Gridman initially being incomplete. Like as though they were separated before coming here. As Calibur fights Anti, he asks the question of what he will do after defeating Gridman. That stunned look says it all. He never thought that far. A kaiju appears. Gridman and Neon Genesis combine to easily take it out. Of course Anti joins the fray but is easily defeated. Again. It seems the earlier kaiju’s corpse continue to remain and as for why Anti is always spared despite being a kaiju, Gridman says he is alive. Unlike other kaiju who aren’t living things as they are created out from Akane’s malice. Damn technicalities. Akane is depressed of yet another failure. Anti asks why she gave life to him. She claims he isn’t one anymore because kaiju cannot read people’s feelings. She tells him to go somewhere and do something else. Another kaiju bursts out from the earlier kaiju’s corpse. It kills all the other scenery kaiju. When Gridman and Neon Genesis go to tackle it, they get easily overwhelmed by its power, speed, agility and pranks. Like as though it can read their movements. Gridman is going to lose for real when suddenly Anti comes to his defence. Reminding us again his goal is to crush him, Anti then transforms into his own version of Gridman. He knows this kaiju is Akane’s heart. Hence he can read her feelings. Anti uses this to his advantage and defeats the kaiju. The rest realizes Anti’s true form. He is actually Gridknight, one who protects Gridman. At this point Akane has found their base and realizes how Junk works to materialize Gridman. Not even God knows everything. Because she throws away a lot of things that she can’t remember. Then that’s not God, am I right? When Yuuta tries to talk to Akane about being used by Alexis, she stabs him.

Episode 11
Akane then trashes Junk. But the most mind boggling part is how everyone just stood around in shock and let Akane leave slowly. Like, WTF?! With all communications down, they can’t call for an ambulance so they send him to hospital. Thankfully he lives (because main character) as his vitals are missed but in coma. Alexis confronts depressed Akane and wants her to make kaiju but she can’t anymore. Gridman is no more after she stabbed Yuuta. But there is still Gridknight. Even so, she can’t. So Alexis uses previous kaiju models to go on a rampage. Anti pops up at the hospital. Because he is no longer a kaiju, he is here to repay his debts of causing trouble to humanity by fighting the kaiju. Unlike Neon Genesis who can’t help if Gridman isn’t around, Anti can become Gridknight easily. Although he fights the hordes of kaiju, there are still too many. Neon Genesis then returns to fix Junk. Yuuta dreams of Gridman. In short, Yuuta is actually Gridman. When he wakes up, he tells Utsumi the truth of why he has no memories. He is Gridman inhabiting Yuuta’s body. Until Gridman is gone, the original Yuuta will wake up. He understands why Akane had to stab him since she was driven to a corner in a world she made. That’s why there is only something he must do. Yuuta returns to Junk and with Neon Genesis by his side, Gridman returns to aid Gridknight dispose all of the kaiju. Rikka finally finds Akane but is told to go back to her friends since this doesn’t involve her. Rikka snaps back it does. Aren’t they already friends? Conversation interrupted when Alexis needs Akane’s kaiju. She still insists she can’t make them but he corrects her that he is fine with her becoming one. Instance abreaction!

Episode 12
With Akane the kaiju running rampant, Yuuta tells Anti to take care of her because he has something to do first. Alexis mocks Rikka for thinking that she is Akane’s friend. A creation of God who thinks she is God’s friend? How sad. Alexis claims Akane did not change and she was like this from the start. Because nothing changed, that’s why everything is so great. Rikka vows to change Akane. Good timing as Yuuta is here to pick her up. Then it’s off to pick Utsumi who feels useless as a normal kid who did nothing. Story can’t move if he keeps sulking so let’s go. Anti manages to dive deep into the kaiju to pluck Akane out. But he is promptly disposed off by Alexis. They’re so busy talking that they didn’t notice him creeping up? Alexis then combines with Akane to become a kaiju. Since she still has all that hatred, this gives Alexis the power. Back at base, all of Neon Genesis get their own Primal Acceptor. This allows them to combine with Gridman and transform into their ultimate true form, which is the original Gridman design. It might look like Gridman easily beating up Alexis but it seems he can regenerate. All thanks to the being empty and hence infinite. Alexis explains there was nothing here but providing kaiju to Akane allowed her to create and destroy and ideal city. Because there are some irregular factors beyond her control, the reason she needed kaiju to do so. Hence Alexis wants to make that wish come true by doing that over and over again. When Gridman is on the verge of defeat, he bounces back with Fixer Beam! Apparently this beam supposedly fixes Akane’s heart. But its true power comes from humans because you know, the power of mortals and being finite. That’s how you defeat something immortal! With that, the city and everything returns to normal. Akane is still having doubts about leaving but with the voice of her friends have her come out of the darkest recess of her heart. In the aftermath, Akane and Rikka talk. Akane wants to leave town because she has done unforgivable things. She admits she is a coward and is weak. Rikka gives her a parting gift and hopes wherever she goes, she will leave an impression. She is after all their God. And in a blink of an eye, Akane disappears. Now it is time to say goodbye to Gridman and Neon Genesis since they too will be leaving for home after sealing up Alexis. Some words of gratitude and hope before our heroes fly for home. Utsumi and Rikka wait for the original Yuuta to wake up. Meanwhile Anti is saved by the kaiju girl. Because he has repaid his debts, he is now like one of them and her family before. Last scene sees Akane wake up from bed into real life. I mean, real 3D footage!

Bakemonogatari: Greatman!
So Akane wakes back up and returns to reality? Everything in this world we have seen was just part of her dream? I have to say that I somewhat understand her because there were times that we just want to run away from the real world and create our own world and live in that idealistic and perfect fantasy world that we live in. Assuming this was all just a dream and in her head, the basic rule of thumb for every dream is that it will eventually end and you will have to wake up. Oh well. I suppose if the world Akane crafted isn’t working out the way she wants to, might as well return to crappy reality where a lot more things are out of her own control. What happens to the world that Akane has left behind? Probably doing fine on their own as long as Akane is also doing fine.

The story isn’t anything exciting but it isn’t all that boring either. There is this mixed feeling of both. Because aside the action bits, there is a lot of drama in between. The mystery of who Yuuta actually is, the goal of Akane, what the heck is Alexis and his goal as well as the curious nature and setting of the town itself are all intriguing questions to keep you wondering but eventually when you think about the overall story at the end, there isn’t nothing much to it to tell actually. Basically the power of humanity and the finite saving the day because when you have something so limited, it gives off more value. Yeah, that limited edition thingy that is out of production must be worth a lot, right?

The same can be said for most of the characters. Because in between the tokusatsu action, there seems to be some sort of, uhm, draggy drama between the friends. It isn’t like Yuuta’s group of friends are the most exciting and happening group ever. It feels like a strange group of bedfellows only coming together because of the loose relation they are to Gridman. I mean, nobody else in this town retain their memories after the reset. So it only make sense that these people stick together. Otherwise, Yuuta being the main character as well as being Gridman himself doesn’t sound really exciting. I mean, I had the gist that he is Gridman in the earlier episodes because otherwise how to explain his convenient amnesia. Then you have Utsumi who is just more of an Ultra series and kaiju maniac and Rikka just being a normal girl and possibly stirring up some romantic interest but (thankfully) never materialized. She just ended up being somewhat friends with Akane, that’s all. I suppose that is important enough for Akane to move on. As cliché as it is, Rikka has a couple of friends who aren’t important to the plot. But I keep wondering if Hass has some sort of chuunibyou or eternally sick since she has the sick mask always on. Unless this gives her some sort of character that we don’t really care.

But they aren’t as bad as Neon Genesis whom I feel are like as useful as the accessories role they are meant to be. Because seeing the big masked guy, the serious guy with swords, the bratty violent little girl (who loves kicking Utsumi’s shins) and the uhm, normal guy hang out and bumming around at Rikka’s mom’s place makes them feel that they aren’t of any use. Unless Gridman goes into action, only then they can flesh out their role as weapon-cum-vehicle-cum-accessories to aid Gridman. Other than that, they’re like just hanging around and if Rikka’s mom wasn’t this laidback and if I was her, I should be asking them if they really have anything else better to do like get a part time job instead of waiting for kaiju to show up and then transform.

Then there is Akane as the supposed villainess but she is just a lost girl. Despite we are told that she is playing God and the God of this world she creates, it feels she isn’t any close to the omnipotent and omniscient as the Almighty. Perhaps what she wants is just a nice little world to be with her friends. But it keeps backfiring since they don’t usually go her way. Ironically she cannot bend them to her will, the way she wants them and this causes her to sink further into depression. Akane’s case of wanting to play safe and stay in a dream is one of those debatable subjects because if the real world and reality sucks so hard, shouldn’t this be a lot better? Unfortunately for the sake of a better story, ‘good guys’ will usually have the mentality that it is much better to suffer in reality and take on all the pain because it proves we are alive, blah, blah, blah. Rather than stay in the comfort zone of the dream forever. Yeah, like WTF. You representing all of humanity now? Can Akane just stay happy in her own dream? If she doesn’t have this what else will she have? Oh right. Her friends. Damn clichés.

Anti also feels weird at the start. It soon became some sort of a running joke that he only exists to be defeated. Quite the irony of his role and existence to defeat Gridman. Because he rushes into battle, tries to turn the tide in hopes that would make him fight Gridman, but in the end, he never wins. Gridman defeats him or he runs out of power to continue. Is this some sort of joke? Then I should have seen this coming but they pulled the rug from under my feet. Because if you constantly fight an enemy but do not clearly defeat it, then there is a possibility that the enemy will become your ally. I mean, it’s variation of the shonen cliché of the enemies you defeat then become your friends. With Anti becoming Gridknight, now Gridman has an ally to help fight kaiju. Better than fighting each other and having the same stalemate outcome, right? Too bad Gridman has gone home. How will he ever get a chance to defeat him again? He finally finds his redemption and now groupies with the kaiju girl whom I believe is the personification of all the other real kaiju of other tokusatsu series. I mean, where do dead kaiju go after being defeated? I think there’s a deeper meaning and connection for the kaiju girl. Otherwise if you’re a casual viewer like me, her appearance doesn’t make any sense or meaning to everything. And Alexis being the final boss whose goal is to destroy via using someone sharing those same sentiments? Pfft. Boring.

It’s been a long time since I left the tokusatsu world and even though it did rekindle some nostalgia, I guess there are still certain stuffs I find it pretty funny or strange. For example when such great warriors meant to fight great monsters could quickly run out of power! OMG. Don’t they carry a spare battery? I remember during my Ultraman years, this was mainly the talking point among my friends of how ‘weak’ Ultraman is because he runs out of energy after taking a few measly beatings from the monster. So it’s the same here. Gridman running out of energy after a bout, were they like fighting for half a day? It’s not even 5 minutes and his blinker is already blinking. You can say his giant size takes energy to maintain but with all the great technology today, surely they could have improved on this, no?

Then there is the part where the tokusatsu fights the monsters and leave a trail of damage in the city. Because in every episode of the tokusatsu series, it’s like the city has been reset. Do you know how long it would take for the city’s infrastructure to be rebuilt? I know national safety is priority but if Ultraman is going to beat down the kaiju every week, Japan isn’t going to be a habitable place for years to come. And with the people going about in their daily lives, not fearing another kaiju will pop up, they must really trust Ultraman to come to save the day, huh? I mean, you want to put your child in constant danger by living in such dangerous environment? Better migrate to somewhere where kaiju don’t appear. So this series may provide that answer that was plaguing my younger days of this issue. It’s a solution that I accept even if it might not be the best answer.

And the scenery kaiju that are supposed to clean up the town and reset it back to normal, that could be a representation of how we as kids used to play with toys with our own hands. We use our imagination to crush and destroy imaginary cities and the likes. Once it’s over, we put it all back into the box. Yeah, this feels very much like it. Or how we create scenes and stories in our head and the next time if we didn’t like how it went, we can just ‘revert’ to that original point and imagine another route.

Of course now it goes without saying that the best parts of this series and other tokusatsu shows are the action sequences. At least, that is the attraction of the genre. The reason why we kids look forward each week to see what kind of ‘creative’ monsters the tokusatsu will fight. While the fights here might be cliché, but it is a big load of fun. The fights don’t take a bulk of the episode and don’t last long. After all, tokusatsu battles are like huge wrestling matches infused with some magic beams and other accessories. They need to sell their merchandise so it’s only logical why the hero has so many other accessories to combine with and a few variations to go with it. So seeing Gridman taking on the kaiju here does feel fun and takes my mind off the less than impressive drama moments.

Art and animation feel pretty good. The character designs might not be that unique or impressive but considering this is made by Trigger, the art looks a lot better than some of their other works that has that cartoonish looks. Like Little Witch Academia, Kill La Kill and even Darling In The Franxx. CGI is also used but they don’t stand out like a sore thumb as they blend perfectly during the action sequences. If they start putting in real live people in rubber suits, I think that will be a big slap in the face. I believe the kaiju designs are taken inspiration from other tokusatsu series but they don’t ring a bell since I wasn’t that big of a tokusatsu fan then but it’s just a feeling. Yeah, I could still identify an Alien Baltan if they put one in. And of course Gridman having close resemblance to Ultraman needs no further explanation. Looks great and his combination sometimes make me feel he has turned into Transformers.

Voice acting feels pretty normal. Nothing spectacular to men. Helming the casts are Yuuya Hirose as Yuuta (Aizawa in Handa-kun), Hikaru Midorikawa as Gridman (Lancer in Fate series), Yume Miyamoto as Rikka (Megumi in GJ-Bu), Souma Saitou as Utsumi (Tatsumi in Akame Ga Kill), Reina Ueda as Akane (Mira in Dimension W), Tetsu Inada as Alexis, (Komamura in Bleach) Katsuyuki Konishi as Max (Oga in Beelzebub), Ryousuke Takahashi as Calibur and Masaya Matsukaze as Vit (Saiko in Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan). Although I recognized Kenichi Suzumura as Anti, I never did for Aoi Yuuki as Borr until I finished watching. I thought her was familiar but never bothered to really think about it. Though she wasn’t in that trademark cutie squeaky voice, recently she has been voicing character roles that move away from that stereotype. Hence I never thought it would be her.

I love the opening theme of this series, Union by OxT. It is a catchy rock piece that befits the genre and this series like a glove. Now I’m having a dilemma if this song is better than Clattanoia from Overlord. Because the rock side isn’t as heavy as the latter and it gives that hype feeling that you want to support Gridman or other favourite tokusatsu heroes. Can they be joint number one? The ending theme is also another rock outfit, Youthful Beautiful by Maaya Uchida. Also not bad but in comparison I would prefer to hear Union. There are a few insert songs but I found out that they are from the soundtrack of Inferno Cop. Heck, even the original Gridman song made a cameo in the final episode, Dream Hero by Norio Sakai. I didn’t see this series but sampling this song, how come it feels like 80’s disco?

Overall, it was a fun series to watch for the season. It brought back some nostalgic memories of the genre. Especially the fight scenes, slick animation and the opening theme but not so much the characters and the story (I read somebody online made a pun of SSS being Show’s Story Seriously Sucks! Somehow I couldn’t agree more). It wasn’t so explosively loud or in your face like Kill La Kill or Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. It is simplistic in its own way and not too overbearing. After all, the clichés are abound only because it is somewhat a tribute to the original Gridman. If there are more tokusatsu animes like this, I would sure like to give it a chance. But hopefully they can fix the low energy problem by that time. You know how annoying when your Smartphone runs low on battery power and then suddenly goes blank, right? Damn, the irony of the limits of finite power!

Golden Kamuy S2

April 13, 2019

Hinna, hinna. Give thanks to the second season of Golden Kamuy that I have been waiting for! I knew pretty much back then a single cour wasn’t enough with so many interesting developments and potentials. Good things come to those who wait. Even though the series just took a single cour break. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to see if anybody gets the gold or something else. Something more than they bargained for.

Episode 13
Tsurumi visits Yasaku Edogai the taxidermist. He is impressed with all the stuffed animals he made. Until Tsurumi shows a glove made out of human flesh that he dropped. Tsurumi knows he has been digging graves for corpses for his taxidermy hobby. Yes, there is a room filled with such humans! Plus, Edogai is the only one who can hear voices of his ‘mom’ telling him to kill Tsurumi for knowing this secret. With Tsurumi’s smooth talking, he convinces Edogai to shoot his ‘mom’ to get over it. And then all the voices in his head stop. Now Edogai has become a fan boy of Tsurumi since the latter somewhat takes interest in his taxidermy work. Yeah, Edogai happily parades his creepy clothes made out of human skin to him! This is some sort of twisted fashion show. But down to business. Tsurumi wants Edogai to make fake skins of the tattooed ones. But fake enough that only their men can identify the real ones. He intends to bring real chaos into this war for tattoos. Ogata and Hijikata discuss about Nopperabo’s origins. Hijikata guesses that Nopperabo is a partisan from Russia pretending to be Ainu. In Russia, there are many groups fighting each other apart from Lenin and the partisans. Nopperabo may be trying to gain war funds for independence. This could also mean that Nopperabo’s allies outside are likely to be partisans pretending to be Ainu. We take a break with some outdoor documentary of Asirpa and Sugimoto. Then it is back to Edogai as he realizes there is some sort of problem in trying to replicate fake human skins. Elsewhere, Tanigaki is hunting with Makanakkuru when they are joined by this loner Ainu boy, Cikapasi. His parents died and he has nowhere to go so what else but to follow them. When they return to the village, they see Inkarmat wowing the crowd with her fortune telling. Tanigaki isn’t interested until she says she is looking for Asirpa. Because her fortune telling says one of the men she is travelling with will betray her. If he is not stopped, her life may be in danger. Hence Tanigaki decides to track her down with Inkarmat becoming his guide and Cikapasi joining. It seems Inkarmat made a deal with Tsurumi to use Tanigaki to achieve their goals.

Episode 14
More complaints from Edogai. Because Tsurumi has gone back to base and he wants to show him this replica of Tsurumi he made! Creepy… He is only left Maeyama and Tsukishima as guards. Later Edogai finds Maeyama shot in the head and realizes somebody is after the fake skins. Tsukishima is out in town for a bath. Sugimoto and Shiraishi recognize him as Tsurumi’s men and tail him. Ogata was the sniper as he barges into Edogai’s house. He realizes the fake skins on the floor but quickly goes into hiding since Tsukishima is back and is gunning for revenge. Meanwhile Edogai has managed to run away. Wearing a polar bear skin as disguise! Are there polar bears in Hokkaido? When Sugimoto enter the house, Shiraishi unfortunately is forced by Ogata to play along. He tells Sugimoto about the fake skins and possibly Tsukishima had taken them. I don’t know how Tsukishima caught up with Edogai or knew where he was running but at the coal mines begins a wild mine cart chase between them and Sugimoto and Shiraishi. Thanks to several accidents, some inflammable gas got released and an explosion occurs. Edogai is pinned under the rubble. He knows he is done for so he gives him the perfected fake skins to Tsukishima for Tsurumi. With the mines sealed to prevent fire, this means no oxygen as Sugimoto tries to carry passed out Shiraishi to the exit but it is totally sealed. Luckily Ushiyama breaks through and their lives are extended. Gathering back at Edogai’s house, Ogata believes Edogai is dead and if Tsukishima made it out alive, they have to assume there are about 6 fake skins in circulation. Sugimoto meets Hijikata for the first time and wonders if they’ve met before. Sugimoto remains suspicious of Hijikata. Could have almost fought had Nagakura offered Sugimoto’s side to sell them their skins. However Sugimoto has questions he needs to ask Nopperabo personally so for now they work together. But first Ienaga cooks for them and they parody this Last Supper scene! Meanwhile Tsukishima delivers the fake skins to Tsurumi. His other message from Edogai’s last word is “Iron”. He believes Tsurumi will figure out it is a hint on how to detect the fakes.

Episode 15
As Hijikata’s side are searching Edogai’s house for clues, Tsurumi’s men try to burn the house down and snipe anyone in sight. Nikaidou fights with Hijikata inside the house and upon hearing Sugimoto’s voice, Nikaidou gets excited to fight him. However this enables Hijikata to slice off his feet! This guy can still crawl away! All manage to escape the burning house. With hopes of evidence burnt to the ground. Their only hope is to meet Nopperabo to determine the real ones. Hijikata suggests they meet up at Ashibetsu but travel in 2 groups. In Sugimoto’s group, Asirpa, Ushiyama and Ogata. Time for some wildlife documentary and cooking. Ogata is very uncooperative in cooking the Ainu way as Asirpa instructs. Like he gives a damn. The rest in Hijikata’s group, they discuss about Shirosuke Inudou, the warden of Abashiri. It seems the old guys have some sort of history with him when they were at Kabato prison. That time, Nagakura was a swordsmanship instructor for many of the wardens here. One day he found out his best friend Hijikata was imprisoned here so he confronted Inudou about his punishment for Hijikata. He intends to wait until his life goes out before hanging him. Nagakura tried to force him to see Hijikata but his guards took him away. Luckily one of the guards grateful for his swordsmanship secretly let him see Hijikata. They talk about their past in Shinsengumi in which Hijikata has defended Nagakura many times from Kondou. With the possibility that there might be no way to tell the real from the fakes, Shiraishi is now thrust into the spotlight. They have to rely on this idiot to get them into Abashiri. More sh*t for Shiraishi because he dreams of Sugimoto killing him after finding out he was in cohorts with Hijikata and giving them info. Not sure the logic of him sneaking out from the inn because now he bumps into a group of soldiers outside. Hello.

Episode 16
Shiraishi can’t escape and gets captured. Hijikata relays this to the rest and since they need him, they have to bust him out. As those soldiers are taking Shiraishi back to their HQ in Asahikawa, who knows how long he will break out. Hijikata and Kiroranke go rescue him while the rest stay behind to wait for Sugimoto’s group to arrive. When the soldiers cross the bridge, Hijikata cuts and breaks it. With some soldiers and Shiraishi floating downstream, Kiroranke is supposed to pick him up. However Shiraishi remembers that brutal dream and hesitated. Although he swam to the side, he gets captured again. With this rescue mission a failure, the rest give some thought whether to really go save him. I think they reason they can let this idiot be but Sugimoto wants to go save him. Meanwhile Tsurumi sees Lieutenant General Narizou Arisaka. He is the one who make crazy weapons. You have to shout while talking to him because he is partially deaf. So all this just for him to make a special prosthetic leg for Nikaidou (I think this guy is starting to lose his mind). But it’s not just a fake leg. It has a hidden gun in it. Wow. Best present ever. Hijikata takes the rest to see Kiyohiro Suzukawa. He is a master of disguise as well as one of the tattooed prisoners. To know which barrack Shiraishi is being kept, they need someone to infiltrate. After the failed rescue, the army will be on alert so they need someone of high rank to obtain info. But not too high that everyone knows you. Suzukawa thinks he can impersonate Inudou. He does look the part! Asirpa’s sleeping on Hijikata has Sugimoto remember him. This means he realizes Shiraishi has been working with him for some time. Sugimoto is not pleased with this because he believes a traitor will betray you again. Hijikata claims there are no enemies or allies. What is important is information. With hints that Sugimoto might kill Shiraishi after rescuing him, suddenly Asirpa wakes up and tells him not to kill anybody needlessly. Was she listening?! The infiltration plan begins with Suzukawa meeting with the head of the 27th Division, Terunaka Yodogawa.

Episode 17
Sugimoto is acting as Suzukawa’s deranged bodyguard. Suzukawa really plays the part well. He is trying to guilt trip Yodogawa the mess he brought upon when the prisoners escaped. So in exchange for Shiraishi, he will give him plates to make counterfeit money. At this point, somebody has reported to Tsurumi and of course he senses something amiss. Before the exchange can begin, second lieutenant Otonoshin Koito barges in with orders from Tsurumi to not let Shiraishi leave. He then starts to talk in his Saitama dialect in which Inudou is supposed to know. Amazingly Suzukawa can also converse. But as they speak, suddenly Koito pulls out his gun and shoots them! From the talk, Koito knows this Inudou is fake since the real one doesn’t drink. Suzukawa got one in the head and Sugimoto only in shoulders. But the immortal takes Shiraishi and jump from the window. Ogata snipes at the chasers. Good news as they run, they stumble into the army trying to set a hydrogen balloon afloat. So nobody wants to shoot because they’re scared it will explode and kill everyone? You mean they can miss at this close range?! Anyway, why wait till they escape then only start to chase? But Koito manages to jump on board. He gets mad knowing Ogata betrayed them. With Asirpa’s support from the bottom and Shiraishi kicking him off, they’re safe for now. But will Shiraishi’s ass be safe when Sugimoto hints about his betrayal? Sugimoto notes he gave their fake tattoos to them so he didn’t really betrayed them. Phew. After the airship crashes, they have to continue running as the platoon will be hot on their heels. Yup, they’re fast. Their only hope is to cross this dangerous mountain. It’s freezing and windy. A storm will soon happen so Asirpa has them shoot deer to skin and hide in their belly. For some reason, Shiraishi has gone mad and strips and runs off! Asirpa goes after him but could it be an illusion or the playful gods luring her away? Because Shiraishi is with them. Sugimoto goes after her and although they find each other, they are lost. Thank goodness a lone deer for him to shoot. Can Sugimoto overcome his trauma? Yes he can. So they hide inside its belly just in time. Asirpa feels bad about Suzukawa’s death so Sugimoto tells her bad people feel less because they don’t have hearts. Then more talk about his days on the battlefield and the nostalgia of eating dried persimmons before he went to war. Such dear and sweet memories.

Episode 18
Tanigaki gets a telegram regarding Asirpa’s grandma. It seems she is making preparations for her own death. It is an Ainu’s belief to perform a ritual before they can pass on to the afterlife and must have kids. Hence they will raise any child even if it is not their own. Tanigaki doesn’t want her to die and believes he is also her child. Cikapasi’s big mouth: He is just her gigolo! Does he even know how to use that word?! But now we go back a few months ago to hear Tanigaki’s story as he told Tsurumi. In his hometown of Ani in Akita, his family often made their trademark kanemochi but he secretly made his differently with walnuts. He was best friends with fellow hunter, Kenkichi Aoyama. He would one day marry his sister, Fumi and lived in the remotely in the mountains. One day, Tanigaki receives the bad news. Fumi was killed and the house burnt down. Kenkichi was nowhere to be seen but left behind his prized hunter knife. Tanigaki became obsessed in tracking down this killer. He joined the 7th Division after hearing news Kenkichi enlisted there. He tried to find him but to no avail. At the same time, he heard news of his mother’s passing. Then there was this big fight at Port Arthur where several divisions would gather. He thought he would find Kenkichi there and kill him from the back in the heat of the battle. After one battle, Tanigaki saw a very wounded Sugimoto. He gave him his kanemochi to eat and he could tell he was from Ani. Because there was a soldier from another division who did the same thing. Tanigaki thought he finally found his killer. It seemed Kenkichi drafted into Tokyo’s 1st Division.

During another big battle, Russians were getting desperate by becoming suicide bombers. When one didn’t go down after all the shooting, suddenly Kenkichi jumps up to stop him. The explosion didn’t kill him but he is close to death. Even though he fought bravely, Tanigaki still wanted to kill him. Revenge was high on his mind after all this time. But Kenkichi who has lost his sight and hearing from the bomb, wanted this ‘stranger’ to tell his childhood friend the truth. Fumi contracted smallpox and was dying. She didn’t want him to tell others as fear it would spread. She also didn’t want her family to be ostracized if others knew she had this disease. That’s why she didn’t agree to him dying with her. Instead she told him to kill her, burn the place down and flee. If he survives this, he must decide what to do with the rest of his life. So Kenkichi kills her using his knife the way he knows best as a hunter and did as he was told. He lived his life bearing the guilt of killing her. Tanigaki lets him taste his kanemochi and he instantly knew it is him. With that, Kenkichi passes away. Ever since, Tanigaki has been asking what his role in life is. For starters, Tsurumi wants him to make those kanemochi. Now Tanigaki’s side has stumbled into Asirpa’s party at the marsh area.

Episode 19
Cikapasi explains how they stumbled into a couple of hunting Ainu who told them their location. He continues to promote Inkarmat as his possession and Tanigaki as her gigolo. Asirpa believes! The gang return to the nearby Ainu village and they are about to begin the Kamuy Hopunire ceremony. Basically Asirpa explaining their blessings to their local gods. Later Tanigaki wants to tell Asirpa a message from her grandma. Ogata thinks he is just a spy for Tsurumi but Tanigaki says he is done with the military. Grandma had a dream of never seeing Asirpa again and Asirpa explains her strong belief in dreams due to a dream of Asirpa’s mom dying shortly after one. Sugimoto thinks Asirpa should go back to prove her dreams wrong but she doesn’t want him to treat her like a child. There is something she needs to know in order to move forward and achieve her dream. An Ainu notices Tanigaki’s rifle that belongs to Nihei. They hunted together a decade ago. He talks about the significance of the scars on it when suddenly Ryuu pops up! So finally this dog has found his master’s gun? Wow. This loyalty sure predates Hachiko… So loyal that when emotional Sugimoto tries to pet it, Ryuu bites him! Meanwhile Koito fears Tsurumi will reprimand him for letting Shiraishi get away. We see him fawning over Tsurumi like a fan boy before the real man comes in. He tries to appease him by showing the tattooed skin he is wearing from Suzukawa but Tsurumi isn’t impressed. At first Koito’s heart sank when Tsurumi is disappointed in his failure. But this is just an excuse to enlist him to help find the other tattooed prisoners. Koito is disappointed in Ogata because their fathers were good friends. Ogata’s father, Koujirou Hanazawa, the former leader of the 7th Division was believed to have committed suicide to take responsibility for the many loss of lives at some battle. Tsurumi thought this would inspire Ogata to fight for this father’s honour and 7th Division but it didn’t turn out that way now.

Flashback shows that Ogata was born out of his father and his mistress. When Hanazawa finally had a son, Yuusaku with his real wife, he stopped seeing them. Hence Ogata’s mom had this obsession in making monkfish stew which was Hanazawa’s favourite every day in hopes he would come back. Ogata got sick of eating it every day and went to shoot a bird in hopes her making something different. Nope. Same monkfish stew. That is when he poisoned it and she died from eating it. His plan was to see if Hanazawa loved her, he would at least come to see her at her funeral. He did not. We see Ogata slowly killing Hanazawa as he relates this story to him. Hanazawa thinks he too is sick of her like him. However Ogata points out that as a child who don’t get to choose his parents, there must be something missing for one being born lacking parents’ love. Shortly after Ogata joined the military, he met Yuusaku and could tell from his eyes that he is well loved from his parents. Yuusaku was always by his said, claiming he always wanted a brother. During a battle, Ogata shot Yuusaku in the back of the head. It wasn’t out of jealousy of hatred. Just the thought of what would father think when he heard of Yuusaku’s death. What would father think of his other son? Would he care more for his mistress then? Hanazawa agrees he lacks something. And that is a failure as a son. Ogata makes Hanazawa’s death look like suicide. This was a plan concocted by Tsurumi to bring his division together by turning Ogata into some idol because others will see him as a god, the only surviving son of Hanazawa. But Ogata never believed in all that.

Episode 20
Locust attack! So while the guys seek shelter in a cabin, the ladies take a boat out to sea. Good chance for Asirpa to ask Inkarmat about her dad. Inkarmat says Nopperabo isn’t her father. Because Wilk wasn’t the kind who would steal the Ainu’s gold and kill them. She knows him as she has met him as a child. Born of a Polish father and Ainu mother, she first met him on Sakhalin. He was trying to rally the minorities to fight against the czar’s oppression. Asirpa doesn’t believe her as father never said anything about her. Perhaps he only thinks of her as a child and is forgotten. Maybe Inkarmat’s tears make it more believable? But Wilk is now gone. He is murdered by Kiroranke. And she has proof. I guess we need some time off from this heavy drama so we go look at the guys. If you wonder why nobody has ever eaten otter meat, it’s because of its great aphrodisiac effect. Oh yeah! Those guys are getting hot and gay with each other!!! OMFG!!! I guess we can’t show them going full on gay so their take on getting it on is having a great sumo match. Yeah, one hell of a gay sumo fest. So it’s no wonder the next day, the guys all want to never speak of this. But the only one winning this ‘lottery’ is Tanigaki because Inkarmat soon comes to make out with him! Blame it on the otter meat! When they gather, Asirpa asks Kiroranke straight if he murdered her father. With everyone in shock and Kiroranke denying, Inkarmat shows the evidence. So his fingerprints on the horse betting ticket?! Wait a minute. At this age? Fingerprint identification? Okay, even so, but in Japan?! And how did Inkarmat get the results so fast?! With Tanigaki defending her, Ogata points his rifle and accuses her of working with Tsurumi. He says all belongings of the Ainu at the murdered site were only collected by Tsurumi and hence only his fingerprints are there. Inkarmat replies she is only using Tsurumi for her own purpose. The rest try to ascertain from Shiraishi if Nopperabo’s eyes are blue since he is the only one among them who seen him. Too bad he avoid looking at his scary face. All he did was make tattoos silently and Hijikata was the one who planned the escape. Could this all be just a setup by Hijikata? There is also a possibility that Tsurumi falsified fingerprint records. With everybody suspicious of everyone, Sugimoto tells them their goal is to get to Abashiri. If either Inkarmat or Kiroranke ends up dead along the way, he will kill the other. Meanwhile at Abashiri, Kadokura the security chief is tasked by Inudou to rid a newbie, Usami who is believed to be working under Tsurumi. He lets some prisoners kill him but he fights back and kills them! Kadokura flees and then lies in his report he has taken care of them all.

Episode 21
If you thought the last episode was gay. Wait till you see this one! In a hotspring as Sugimoto and co rest, they hear the blind masseur talk about the recent ambush by blind bandits. They’re interested because one of them has strange tattoos. Immediately Shiraishi recognizes the bandit leader as Anji Toni. Mining sulphur for a long time causes one to go blind and Inudou were using some of his prisoners to continue doing that after the mining was ceased. As the men soak in the hotspring, they hear strange clicking sounds. It dawned too late when they realize it is the sound of a tongue clicking and it is a way by the ambush via echolocation. So we see our men fighting stark naked! Can’t see anything. Too dark. It gives the blind bandits the advantage. They get some reprieve with Ryuu attacking. Inkarmat is reluctant to get on the boat with Tanigaki and Kiroranke, fearing her ill-omened prophecy will come true. Because she can’t swim. So she was perfectly fine talking to Asirpa on a boat the last time?! True enough, Toni starts shooting at them. Tanigaki gets hit and the boat overturns. Inkarmat sees visions of bears, a sign that they are going to take her to the afterlife. But don’t fear. Tanigaki bursts out in his bare chest to scare away the bears! WTF???!!! Tanigaki is Buddha???!!! Inkarmat now believes she can change fate but I think the kiss she gave Tanigaki wasn’t so much because he saved her. Because it’s funny Toni’s shot went through his butt! Dawn is approaching so Toni and his men retreat. Sugimoto and Ogata tail them to their hideout and have to take them out now because going back for their guns will give them time to escape. But they are trapped inside the house as the bandits have already shut all windows, doors and openings tight. WTF Asirpa can tell it is Sugimoto by groping his butt?! A struggle between Sugimoto and Toni soon ensues. It is only stopped when Hijikata arrives. Asirpa warns him about killing the innocent. He might live in darkness but continue this way and he will never escape from darkness. When everyone gathers, Hijikata has an old friend take photos of all of them (this is to do more background search on Inkarmat and Kiroranke). He is given a photo of a dashing Sugimoto as he remembers what Toni said about Sugimoto. His battle spirit resonated fiercely just like his but still kind.

Episode 22
We have reached Abashiri. Asirpa feels scared to know the truth but Sugimoto assures. Because it is salmon season, they build an Ainu hut just outside the perimeter of the prison next to the river to hide a hole they are digging into Nopperabo’s cell. When guards come to shoo them, they bribe them with salmons. With Tanigaki and Inkarmat’s romance coming into light again, Inkarmat explains about her fortune readings that told her she will never meet Wilk again. She always thought it meant her own death. Then he died and heard Tsurumi had his belongings as well as Nopperabo knew about the gold’s location and was working with Kiroranke. She was satisfied her fortune telling wasn’t always right. When she drowned, she was prepared to face her destiny until Tanigaki came to her rescue. He changed the fate of her fortune telling. She learnt fate can be changed and now has hope she can see Wilk again. When Sugimoto finishes his digging, he pops out in Kadokura’s lodging. But this guy shows them the layout of the prison and tells them how Nopperabo moves to different cells every day. He knows which cell he will be. Apparently Kadokura is helping them because his father once fought with Hijikata and if this plan fails, his backup plan is to join Hijikata. On the night where there is no moon, all are in place for the big break in. With Toni leading the small group, they eventually enter the cell where Nopperabo is. Too dark to see anything so when Sugimoto lights the match, there is your faceless man! Yeah, let the scream fest begin. However Asirpa can tell this isn’t her father. With the alarm sounded, they are forced to flee and Sugimoto thinks somebody set them up. The only bridge linking to the prison blows up. Tsurumi and his 7th Division ride in on their Destroyer class ships.

Episode 23
Tanigaki believes Inkarmat has been siding with Tsurumi all the while. She puts it this way. Now that Sugimoto has failed, only Tsurumi can get Nopperabo and Asirpa out. Even if the 7th Division gets the gold, it’s not like it matters to them. With the Destroyers blasting a hole in the walls, Tanigaki and Inkarmat take cover but the latter is trapped beneath the rubble. Time for Tanigaki to show his manliness and bring her out. When another rubble threatens to fall on them, Ushiyama makes himself useful to hold it up till they make it to safety. Tsurumi orders his men to kill everybody. They will make up the story of assisting to subdue a prison break. It will be easy since HQ will not send anybody to this hell to verify the story. Tsurumi and his men confront Sugimoto who is using the fake Nopperabo to escape. They dare him but Nikaidou shoots first and had to be subdued. Little do they know, he has shot and killed the fake. Sugimoto and Shiraishi need to escape and they do so via the air duct below. Usami tries to get Kadokura but the latter pulls a lever to simultaneously open all the prison doors. Now the 7th Division have to fight a horde of tough killers in this dark and narrow hallway. Sugimoto believes this is all part of Hijikata’s plan to separate him and Asirpa. Knowing that Inudou would panic in this ruckus, he would head to where the real Nopperabo is kept. He will use Asirpa (as well as those photos) to get Nopperabo to reveal the gold and then escape. Hijikata follows Inudou to the chapel. It must be where Nopperabo is. When Inudou moves Nopperabo, that is when they catch him. Sugimoto now has to fight Nikaidou who is just crazy in getting his revenge. I guess Nikaidou loses his hand this time when Sugimoto uses his machine gun leg against him. I hope this crazy guy stays dead. Inudou brings out Nopperabo from a secret underground room. Hijikata and Toni move in but Inudou attacks and kills Toni. He plays dead so when Hijikata goes up close, he handcuffs him. They fight to the death. Asirpa and everyone else gathers at the main gate while they wait and believe in Sugimoto to bring Nopperabo. As Sugimoto crawls his way to the chapel, the flares light up the place as he sees Nopperabo trying to escape. He confirms those blue eyes.

Episode 24
When Sugimoto shows Nopperabo the dagger from Asirpa, he instantly recognizes it. He wants to see Asirpa and only her he will reveal the gold’s location. Inudou has a long grudge against Hijikata for refusing to join the Meiji government. Hijikata believes he is scared and used him as a reason to justify his brother’s death in a battle. He thought locking him away will turn him into one of them but Hijikata turned out more loyal than a samurai. Hijikata cuts Inudou and decapitates him. Sugimoto tells off Nopperabo he doesn’t want to bring Asirpa to meet him. Nopperabo told Hijikata Asirpa’s real name so that she could become the leader of the Ainu and fight for the people. But Sugimoto didn’t like how he got her involved in all this because all he wants is to hunt and eat animal parts with Asirpa! Nopperabo spots Inkarmat atop the roof and she likewise. She calls Asirpa to ascertain Nopperabo. Yup, that’s papa. Makes her remember the time daddy ‘abandoned’ her to kill a red bear all by herself! Nopperabo wants Sugimoto to tell Asirpa that he didn’t kill the Ainu. Before he could reveal the gold, he is shot in the head! Sugimoto soon after! Asirpa is devastated but Kiroranke takes her to run. The sniper is no other than Ogata. Tanigaki braves the sniping to use his manly strength to pull Sugimoto and Nopperabo out of the sniper’s sight. When he returns, he is devastated to see Inkarmat stabbed. She reveals to him when Wilk was shot, she saw Inkarmat giving somebody the signal. Asirpa is now with Shiraishi, Kiroranke and Ogata as they make their escape. Tsurumi and co have gunned down all the prisoners and take those left behind as captive.

In the aftermath, Sugimoto lives! It is thanks to Ienaga’s surgery skills that extended his life. Yeah, he is now partial brain-less buddies with Tsurumi since they have part of their grey matter removed. Sugimoto could feel the sniper is Ogata who is in cohorts with Kiroranke. Further flashback reveals Inkarmat tried to stop Kiroranke and a small struggle ensued that ended with Inkarmat accidentally stabbing herself. Inkarmat is sad over Wilk’s death but Kiroranke said he had to die because he changed as the plan was to tell their comrades where the gold was. Kiroranke’s group is probably on his way to Karafuto to meet up with his former guerrilla friends since Asirpa who is the critical key is in his possession. Tsurumi has clean-up work to do at Abashiri so he lets a small team that includes Sugimoto and Tanigaki go. Yeah, Koito so heartbroken he has to leave Tsurumi. Hijikata and Ushiyama examine Inudou’s secret lair and discover he was gathering info about the escaped prisoners to lure Hijikata back to Abashiri. Hijikata has got it figured out and prepares to leave south. Koito’s father who is an admiral talks to Sugimoto. He is okay sending his son to die in battle. Narrating the lesson from the Hanazawa and Yuusaku incident, if he keeps his own son from danger, what can he say to those whose sons died? Thus he believes Nopperabo thought of the same. Before he can tell the Ainu to die, he had to send his own daughter to battle. It’s not that he raised her so as she can be used. The power of dreams has Asirpa dream that Sugimoto talking to her, promising he will come for her. She still believes he is alive.

Gold Makes Monsters Out Of Men
F*ck! F*ck! FFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT IS OVER JUST LIKE THAT!!! I guess it was foolish of me to think that the series will end once Nopperabo and Asirpa meet. After that it would be a race to see who reaches the gold first. Too bad father and daughter didn’t meet but at least they saw each other one time. It feels like a waste that this season they go all the way to Abashiri just to get Nopperabo and now he’s dead. They’re supposed to ascertain the fake skins, right? Unless he said it all to Sugimoto before he got shot, I don’t see how the plot twist of Asirpa being the key. I mean, I know she is important but if she was from the start in some ways, shouldn’t they have headed to the gold instead to Abashiri?

It goes without saying that this season maintains its intrigue and it is as interesting if not more so than the first. I didn’t think that it would turn out to look like Tsurumi vs everybody. Or rather, Hijikata’s side since I didn’t quite expect that everyone else would be forming some sort of ‘uneasy’ alliance with Hijikata ever since the fake skins got around. It felt like to cut things short because instead of going on a wild goose hunt for the other prisoners (who knows where they are at this point or if they are still alive), might as well break into prison and ask the main man himself. So you could say this sequel is more of trying to break into Abashiri to get Nopperabo. With the turn of the final events, this grouping has changed once again with Sugimoto and Tsurumi probably pairing up against Kiroranke’s side and not forgetting Hijikata’s side still lurking.

With a handful of characters, some are featured more prominently than others while some not to say they fall by the wayside but they take lesser spotlight here. For instance, Sugimoto and Asirpa don’t feel as prominent as they were in the first season perhaps because their goal had always remained the same. They didn’t really change much either so instead of boring us with the same ol’, same ol’, might as well shed some light on some of the other characters who deserve it. But it shows that Asirpa has had a tremendous impact on Sugimoto. For him to want to continue hunting with her, I hope he hasn’t forgotten why he jumped onto this gold rush bandwagon in the first place. Money to help his dead friend’s wife. You still remember that, do you? Though it’s a bit sad that they aren’t together in the end as they’ve been mostly together or at least close by ever since. Sorry, dreams don’t count. Other characters like Ushiyama and Ienaga also feel underused this season. Understandably, what can Ienaga do except to provide a pretty face (and a scary one after she operated on Sugimoto’s brains) but Ushiyama being the muscles and brawns of the group didn’t really do much here (unless the plot commands for it that needs a real strong guy to get somebody out of a predicament). Like as though he is some sort of robot following Hijikata’s orders.

Tanigaki and Ogata get an episode to flesh out their background and it feels refreshing to get to see their back story and how they came about to their present situation. It is a nice detour and I was wrong to think that such flashbacks would be a waste of time this season since there are only a dozen episodes and they should cut to the chase. But surprisingly their flashbacks were done pretty well and quite interesting to say the least and it helps to understand their predicament a little better. Like why Ogata is such an emotionless and serious guy. Now that you know his past, you don’t want to make enemies out of him or at least realize this guy isn’t suited to be even funny! No jokes for this dude.

While Tsurumi has his own tricks up his sleeve, Hijikata is also another force to be reckoned with. He is also another scheming and shady character, using others for his own ends and means. You might not think of it much at the beginning since they give as an impression that they are all on the same side. But that made us let our guard down and underestimate this old fart because it seems he has been staying a few steps ahead from his own comrades and if I should say, having a few backup plans of his own. He knows how to ‘twist’ words and not really give a definitive answer when suspicions arises (especially when it comes to Sugimoto). It all boils down to everyone having their own interests and probably Hijikata understood that well enough to take this into account and use them for his own agenda.

If Sugimoto and Hijikata’s side look like a ragtag of weirdoes, the same can be said on Tsurumi’s side, as everyone here is a twisted weirdo! Even much more. For example, Nikaidou who has been steadily growing insane since the death of his twin brother in the last season, I’m not sure if there is some sort of running joke that he is also slowly losing parts of his body. The more parts he loses, the more insane he becomes. His insanity becomes his natural pain killers. It’s like you can’t kill this guy. I’m pretty sure his failed revenge on Sugimoto was his last and he is dead for good. I think. Then you got new characters introduced here who are just as quirky like Koito and Usami. I suppose when you become fan boys of suave Tsurumi, you also lose your mind. Among the sea of weirdoes, this makes Tsukishima the only normal and rational looking one. You keep wondering how long this guy can last before he falls into that insanity. I thought Tsurumi’s way of talking looked familiar. Thank the internet that they pointed out how he talks like Hitler! Yeah, the 7th Division is really one big insane group.

As mentioned, I thought it was a waste that when we finally get to know Nopperabo is Asirpa’s real dad AKA Wilk, he is then suddenly killed off. Well, this series isn’t a stranger in killing off some of its characters. At least the first season was limited to some of the prisoners. This season we had others too like Edogai whom was promptly killed off after he has done his part. For a second there I thought he might have joined Tsurumi’s side. Then there is Suzukawa who was introduced so suddenly that I thought he would be another weirdo joining Hijikata’s side. And what do you know? A weak bullet to the forehead is what it took to do in this old fart. It’s safe to say that Inudou won’t return as an enemy if ever there is another season. For now, his little back story and connection with Hijikata feels somewhat unrelated to the plot.

Other than the intriguing plot and the bloody action scenes, there are a few parts that seem to either make it stand out like a sore thumb or just cute. I don’t know. It was a dilemma for me. For example, certain parts that are supposed to be funny and for comedic purposes like when the gang are having a group meal together, Ainu style. Because Ogata doesn’t join in, this prompts the rest to do stupid and silly cartoonish faces, trying to tempt him to join them. It feels out of place but at the same time, it makes them, uhm, cute? Even when Tanigaki got a bullet through his butt… That was like, uhm, funny? Last season I said that it had this documentary feel because we see Asirpa and Sugimoto going hunting in the wild as they explain to us about nature and also some of the Ainu culture and beliefs. This season also has its fair share of such documentary but I feel it is somewhat lesser thanks to the development of and building up of the plot. Can’t go hunting more often when you can smell the gold this close.

Another weirdest and funniest moments are those gay scenes! Yes, this series has a bit of them. I guess with many of the casts being males and in a period where war is raging and you need to be at the top of your condition, expect some real muscles. That sumo gay time was really hilarious and I’m sure many of us would go WTF and make us question why the heck they included this. And there was an episode where our guys were running around naked in the dark for most of it! Does that bring out your inner gayness? For those who aren’t into such macho gay scenes, then some twisted pretty boy scenes would suffice and you’ll see this mostly with Tsurumi and his ‘devoted fan boys’. Sheesh. More funny moments that does not take itself seriously with some silly references. Like that Last Supper scene. It came out of nowhere and was this supposed to make us go, “Aww… How cute”. But I’m sure WTF came first. I read there are a few other scenes that mimic other paintings and iconic movie scenes as well but I’m not an art and movie enthusiast so I didn’t get to spot them.

It also feels weird that they are trying to make Tanigaki the epitome of manliness because there are a few scenes where you see his shirt’s button being popped out to reveal his hairy chest. Like, WTF?! Is this gay? But making this season weirder too is how they incorporated the very odd romance between Tanigaki and Inkarmat. Is this to soften the overall gayness? After all, Inkarmat is the only attractive mature woman in the pack. Those who watched last season should know about Ienaga’s identity… I thought there would be some sort of conspiracy or twist involved since they’re making this pairing too obvious instead of a forgettable distraction. On a side note, with Nopperabo ascertained at Wilk, it only puts many of the theories that Inkarmat said to be false. For example, Wilk being killed by Kiroranke. She made it sound so dramatically convincing. It really had me thinking if her fortune readings are correct in the first place or if she has another ulterior motive.

The action sequences continue to be the main attraction of this series. They don’t disappoint but some parts can be really gory and violent. After all, when you are fighting tooth and nail to survive, anything goes. Be surprised or not when Sugimoto gets stabbed and pierced in weird places but still continue to survive. He literally earned his nickname of Immortal Sugimoto.

This season’s animation and art are still maintained like last season. They’re not the best but it’s still consistent. Overall the characters do look weird even the new ones like Inudou really looks like a dog if you look closer. Of course Nopperabo and his fake do seem scary without any face. But thanks to the ‘inferior’ quality of the art, I didn’t horror scream like Sugimoto and the rest. Although this was meant to be funny. Yeah, who could forget that ‘grandma’ face Asirpa always makes when she is unimpressed. Some parts were really dark and I can’t see anything and it was a bit annoying. Like that Toni introduction episode and the ambush into Abashiri. I would have totally forgotten about the horrendous CGI had they not bring back those bears! OMFG! It made me remember!!! Despite the bears only appear in Inkarmat’s dream as well as Asirpa’s bear fighting flashback, they still used that horrible CGI!!! Like WTF?! Those who watched the first season would remember how badly the bear was rendered and there were criticisms and even jokes about it. Thankfully, that is all the CGI is confined to and if there were other parts using that, I am not aware of.

This season’s rock based opening and ending themes sound like they suit the theme of the series well but it didn’t really resonate with me. Reimei by Sayuri x My First Story as the opener while Tokei-dai No Kane by Eastern Youth as the ending piece. The latter feels weirder the more I hear it because it sounds more like punk rock with all the screeching electric guitars and the vocals screaming. If this series wasn’t an action based, it would have sounded so out of place.

Overall, this season is quite as entertaining and interesting than the first (it’s best to watch the first season to better appreciate and understand the sequel). Great action sequences as well as many great developments in the plot and some of the characters make it a worthy sequel. Even when some parts feel really twistedly dumb (just for the comical moments) and out of place, it is still entertaining to watch and if I should say, part of this series’ unique charm. Even if nobody got the gold in the end (yet), at least this series will always be gold material to me for many years to come (hinting it should get another season, PLEASE!!!). Comedy gold, good as gold, a series that is worth its weight in gold. Hinna, hinna.

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

The Defence Of Edo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judgment Day On Earth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Final Boss Battle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Years’ Time Skip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding Sensei…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scam Trial…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here I thought Kujira No Kora Wa Sajou Uta Ni Utau OVA would give some much needed answers and continuation to the TV series. But it turned out to be one of those high school fillers! Damn it. So they just take the characters of the series and put them in some high school setting that only lasts 10 minutes per episode. This isn’t really unique as many animes have done in this in the past. Oh well. Can’t complain. Might as well watch this and get some laughs.

OVA 1
Chakuro is running late for school thanks to his habit of writing down records. Outside school, he sees a new girl standing outside, Lykos. He hears her murmur how much he hates school. When class starts, Shuan introduces Lykos as the new transfer student. Lykos is unable to introduce herself as she claims she has no name. Since ‘Lykos’ is written on her shirt, they assume it is her name. Shuan begins class but starts playing a video. This has the students grumble and complain he should really do his job properly. However Shuan even thinks of tossing away responsibility and work, making the students grumble even more. Later as Chakuro and co try to talk to Lykos, she stays indifferent and continues claiming she hates school. Chakuro can’t let her be and will do something about it. Hence with Suou as the student council president, they take her around school. But they stumble into the delinquent students, Ouni and his gang. It seems their goal is to get out of this school and into the real world. But why is Ouni being studious?! He claims that they don’t know much about the outside world and if they head there without much knowledge or preparation, how long are they going to last? His gang is so touched that they all started studying. So they’re like honour students now?! Seeing them so makes Lykos laugh a little. When the rest see this, Lykos brushes it off and runs away. Chakuro is then visited by a spirit (Neri) who claims that if he doesn’t become friends with Lykos, nothing will change. He vows to do all that. With everything able to see Neri, Chakuro is disheartened that this wasn’t some enlightened moment he thought it was supposed to be. What’s this about Neri being the toilet spirit?! Following Neri’s advice, Chakuro and co hang out and have lots of fun with Lykos. Just when Chakuro thought things are looking up, Lykos then tells him there is something she hasn’t told him yet. She sounds so ominous saying that…

OVA 2
Araphne’s class is strict and forbids freedom and individuality. Therefore when Ryodari tries to break tradition and vouch for freedom, he is punished. Then Orka tries to be a smartass too. He asks how long Araphne has been a teacher. 3 years. Oh yeah? Orka has been a student for 10 years!!! Araphne reprimands him otherwise he will be expelled. Can’t have that so he stands in the hallway with Ryodari. When Lykos sees them, she runs away. Then she reveals the truth to Chakuro. Orka is her brother and that’s why she hates going to school. Yeah, there were rumours circulating how he refused to graduate. Shuan explains the Peter Pan syndrome that Orka doesn’t want to grow up. He understands because he too doesn’t want to work! With Shuan revealing the world is about money and connections, this scares off Lykos. She doesn’t want to be like Orka or Shuan. Damn right. With the marathon festival here, Orka hijacks Suou’s speech to throw down a challenge. It will be their class against each other and the winner gets to take 1 student from the loser’s class. It seems Orka’s aim is to take Ouni but that delinquent will not give up without a fight. Oh, Orka ‘persuaded’ the old fart director to approve this farce. When the race begins, Orka sits out and leaves his class to do all the running. Of course Ryodari plays dirty to stall Chakuro’s class. Then it turns into an ugly brawl. Lykos is touched that her friends are doing this for her. It is hinted Orka never graduated so as to wait for Lykos to reach high school and go to school with her. Siscon!!! It is night fall and Suou thought he is last to reach the finish line. But as pointed out, he is the first! Because the rest take the wrong route, they are now trying to settle it with other ways. All ended in draws. Looks like they’re going to have to go at it again… Chakuro is glad that Lykos now finds school fun.

The Lost Records Of The Mud Whale School
Yeah… It was funny and cute in its own silly way to say the least. Nothing really serious that would have any impact on anything. Especially the ‘mystery’ surrounding Lykos turned out to be nothing more than her big brother with a notorious streak of not graduating. I mean, could she have gone to another school? If you say they are all on the same Mud Whale, I beg to differ since we see the setting as a normal town. A much bigger place and not some limited confine like the real Mud Whale as seen in the TV series. It’s just the school name as Mud Whale. Unless it is the only school in town. But it’s a good thing that Lykos is now joining in the fun despite I don’t really see much of Chakuro doing anything (maybe it’s all in the snippets). It’s only 10 minutes, what do you expect? Chakuro said he will continue to record this high school life but I just wonder if it is just part of his many fantasies. I wonder how many more alternate settings are there. How many are recorded. How many are not recorded at all. Some things are perhaps destined to be forever lost in history and annals of time. That’s why it’s a shame that I feel that despite this OVA being ‘recorded’, in no time it will soon be forgotten…

Eromanga-sensei OVA

March 22, 2019

After that recently very sh*tty Ore Ga Suki Nano Wa Imouto Dakedo Imouto Ja Nai, looks like it is time to do some little sister healing. By watching another little sister series! This time it’s Eromanga-sensei OVA. Haha. I didn’t think this was going to a couple of OVA episodes but I guess many animes these days to since Eromanga-sensei is quite popular and has its own followings. But hey, even if this series is cliché and cheesy, at least it is not sh*tty crap like the aforementioned one. Yeah, sometimes I can’t change how sh*tty I am but at least I can be the right kind of sh*tty. WTF did I just say…

OVA 1
Elf holds a celebration party over the success of her adapted anime. The usual gang are invited and even though Sagiri is also all dressed up, it’s a shame she is only dressed up for the monitor. Yup, she is still holing up in her room and is only ‘there’ via livestreaming. Elf goes down to greet the crowd and her friends who give her a gift and especially Masamune giving her a small flower bouquet. During the break, she teases him to help undress her dress zip and even her top. Until he got busted by Chris. Déjà vu? Of course we all know it isn’t Masamune’s fault. As they speak about their mother who will be coming, speaking of the devil, here she is. Firstly, she wants Masamune to break up with Elf. Somebody’s lying… Yeah, she posted on her social media those pictures but told a different story. Yeah, she painted Masamune as a pervert. I don’t know if mom is relieved or just freaked out when it wasn’t Masamune who was with Elf in the hotspring but Chris! Later, mother reveals she is here not to celebrate with her. In fact, once this event is over, she will pack her bags and go back with her. She will choose her future husband. Elf stands her ground and won’t do that. Mother can tell she likes Masamune but reminds her his heart won’t change. Elf hits her nerve when she mentions something similar about father. A short argument ensues before Elf dashing out. As the event begins, Masamune catches Elf sulking underneath the table. How she got there? Anyway, he listens out to her fight with mom. But she can’t stay sulked forever as she gets her groove back and heads back on stage before her cue is up. How she got out without anyone noticing? On stage, Elf ditches the script and gives her speech in her own natural way. Thanking everyone and including her family. The highlight of this episode is how Elf now sings in some Broadway drama musical style about the issues and challenges she is facing them and how she is going to tackle them. Yeah, she is addressing it directly to you mom. Man, it’s quite a creative and catchy piece if I must say. So much so at the end of it, Elf manages to talk to mom one last time and mom’s reply? Do as you wish. But of course. Can’t have mom being a selfish b*tch after all that effort, eh? After all, all she wants is the best for her daughter. After the event, Elf walks back with Masamune alone. After thanking how lucky she is for her to meet him, she finally confesses she loves him. Uhm, he doesn’t look that surprised and I’m not sure he replied but anyhow, Elf looks like the happiest girl ever.

OVA 2
Apparently Masamune is sick. Sure he won’t spread the germs, the way he is coughing all over the breakfast he made for Sagiri? He got it from Elf when he was visiting her while she’s sick. Oh dear. How is Sagiri going to live for today? Words are easy as she assures she will take care of him. But can she even step downstairs? Looks like Mission Impossible. But there she goes. Easy, wasn’t it? After giving his medicine and taking his temperature, she learns that he is supposed to submit his manuscript today. Now she knows nursing a sick person is a lot of hard work. And his fever is only going to get worse. As she doesn’t know how to cook, she thought of calling for delivery but her fear of opening a door to a stranger… I don’t think calling Elf will do too. So she does laundry and cleans the house? At least she did something. I guess she is at a loss now so she calls Kagurazaka for help. Apparently Muramasa is also there and ‘snatches’ the phone. Wow. She sounds desperate. Sagiri returns to help clean Masamune’s body. After he falls asleep, Tomoe is at the door. Sagiri trolls her that she isn’t home until she learns she is here to hand him some school notes and manga since the exam is coming up. Next up is Muramasa. She claims Kagurazaka put her up to this… Anyway, Sagiri won’t let her in. Muramasa claims that Elf always comes in but Sagiri notes she did it on her own. And so Muramasa tries to find her own way in. Luckily Sagiri locked the doors and windows. Man, this is getting tiring for Muramasa trying to get in. I guess today is not her today so she just leaves some vitamin drink and a letter that Sagiri must never see. Okay. Once those stuffs changed hands, Sagiri looks into the letter. WTF?! SEXY NURSE PICTURE OF MURAMASA!!!!!!!!!!! Even though I love maids, but I have a feeling this one would cure me instantly too… Anyway, Sagiri disapproves of this and will not give it to her brother. But she’ll use it for her ero references. Muramasa probably died standing where she is. At least the good news is that Masamune won’t be able to see this… Oh damn, that was supposed to be the intention… Sagiri remembers who Masamune took care of her when she’s sick. She is motivated to cook for him. Some mistakes here and there but she’ll get it. As Masamune feels better and tastes her cooking, it’s the best she’s ever made! I think it’s the only thing she’s ever made. Sagiri is shocked when he too had the same dream when they were young. With Masamune recovered, it’s Sagiri’s turn to be the queen of the house. Yeah, she got his cold now.

Ore Ga Suki Nano Wa Imouto. Sore Dake De!
Even if I don’t remember much about the TV series (which was more than a year ago when I watched it), these little OVA episodes are sure bring back the (vague) memories. But I guess it didn’t really ‘live up’ to its name because there aren’t any lewd bits here. At least in an erotic way. Elf’s dressing was just a very minor teasing and only some and the hardcore might get turned on with that very short cameo of Muramasa’s nurse picture. Yeah… But otherwise, they just feel pretty generic and my only favourite moments are Elf’s musical style singing as well as that Muramasa ‘dying’ when her secret nurse picture was being exposed for all of us to see. That was indeed hilarious in an otherwise boring nursing episode of Sagiri just trying to be brave and confront something we all naturally take for granted. And that is to just step outside her room. One small step for Sagiri, one big step for Sagiri’s future!

Back to Elf’s singing, I thought I find this part to be quite entertaining and very well thought out and creative. Although it does make me wonder if Elf really anticipated all this instead of doing it all spontaneous. Because of all the preparations to make it look oh so perfect, she’s got the backup dancers aiding her as well as the musicians playing smoothly to the tune of her dance. But the song is basically the summary of Elf’s story and life mission and from the looks of it, she’s got the all important permission from mom to take charge of her own destiny. After all, Elf’s confession shouldn’t come as surprising as she did something similar in the TV series (although it was short of confessing those magical words) and it was more of her real name reveal and hinting of Masamune to propose to her with that name when the time comes. Looks like she has up the ante with this confession and only time will tell if Masamune will break out from his imouto love and go for this spunky halfie.

Overall, nice and cute OVA but not really sure if they’re going to make another season or have any more OVAs. But my guts tell me that this isn’t the end of the little sister or imouto genre that we are going to see in Japan. There’s going to be more of it and it might get a lot worse than little sisters being perverts. Because the worst ones are viewers who continue to watch such piece of crap and complaining how sh*tty all these are. I guess no matter if it’s the right way sh*tty or the wrong way sh*tty, sh*tty is still being sh*tty. So more imouto animes, please?

Akanesasu Shoujo

March 17, 2019

For the strangest and weirdest reasons that I am still trying to understand by far to even as of now, I first thought Akanesasu Shoujo would be somewhat a spoof of the spy thriller, Princess Principal. Perhaps looking at the promotional poster of a group of girls hanging out and reading the pretty vague synopsis of conducting an urban ritual that very well came true, yeah, I’m still thinking how I ended up connecting this series with that one. Probably my mind was on a different frequency then. This series is closer to Flip Flappers thanks to its sci-fi take of parallel world thingy but looking less cartoony. Did they just copy some of its elements too? Like Fragments? Is this the slightly serious version of a parallel world of Flip Flappers? Never mind. Don’t want to confuse myself before I even start watching.

Episode 1
A group of girls are conducting a strange ritual. Setting the radio frequency at 4:44, suddenly… Nothing happens. I guess the theory of going to another world via this method is BS, eh? Asuka Tsuchimiya of the Radio Research Society gets reprimanded by the teacher for hijacking the school broadcast during recess and started playing her own music. Too bad she dragged her other friends into it too. Asuka, Nana Nanase, Mia Silverstone, Yuu Tounaka and Chloe Morisu got off lightly because they bribed him with his favourite food. Later meeting up at their usual café, Chloe shows them a stone she found and when she played it on her radio, it made some strange sounds. Hence Asuka gets this weird idea to do the 4:44 ritual with this sound. Don’t hold your breath because nothing is going to happen- HOLY SH*T!!! WTF IS THIS GOLDEN TWILIGHT WORLD???!!! Lots of cute golden bunnies too! Nice to play with them until you get rough with them, they all start to show their fangs and attack! However they are saved by this heroine. Uhm, doesn’t she look like Asuka? She slays all the bunnies who even combine to become a giant monster. Then she warns all of them to go back to their own world and never come here again. Though they return to their world, this Seriouska (nickname name for this Asuka because of how serious she is) somehow returns with them. Asuka notices she too has a cassette player but Seriouska then passes out. I guess it’s only right for Asuka to bring her clone home. Thankfully grandma is a blur case so I suppose she doesn’t even know her granddaughter well. I guess the rest of her family is so busy with their miso shop, they don’t suspect a thing. Asuka tries to get to know her but she isn’t in the mood to talk about the world and the coincidence they have the same name and wants to rest. Next morning, Asuka realizes her clone is gone but notices she left behind her locket. Inside is a picture of her younger brother, Kyouhei. Asuka believes she is her from another world.

Episode 2
The friends discuss the strange phenomenon they experienced yesterday. What better way than to ascertain it wasn’t a dream than to do it again? Meanwhile a shady fortune teller attracts Nana’s attention by knowing the state of her family. This causes her to believe to set the frequency to 696.9. With Nana given the honours to start this ritual, hey they’re back in the twilight world. However they notice Nana is missing. But Nana is with them at the café? Something feels strange. How come her crude talking friends are so polite? Worse, Nana discovers that she will be married off in 2 days because it is the law of this world for girls who turn 17 to get married! Nana in shock, her friends in shock and her real friends from her world also in shock to see their other clones. Thank goodness for Seriouska to be in this world too to explain things, right? Hey… This world now has 3 Asukas! Anyway, Seriouska explains about parallel worlds possibilities. In short, a timeline can branch off into many worlds called Fragments. Like this world was created 10 years ago from their original. Nana seems to be the only one not having a clone because she assimilated into herself in this world, becoming a link between their group and this world. This link will allow them to exist within this world and return to theirs. Oh, don’t worry about everyone thinking they’re missing in their own world because time flows differently. So when they go back, it’s like though they’ve never left in the first place. Nana goes home thinking it is all a big misunderstanding. Too bad her parents are hyped over her marriage. This causes Nana to blow her top. She thinks mom wants to get rid of her and kick her out of the house. Because her real dad died and she remarried another man. She thinks her life would have been freer if her real dad was here. But look who is here at the doorstep. It’s her fiancé. My, isn’t that the famous handsome actor, Tomoya Chiba? Now you wanna marry this heartthrob? Asuka talks to her clone about Kyouhei. It seems in both worlds, Kyouhei is missing when he was 6. When the friends go to pick up Nana to head home, however Nana doesn’t want to go back. She wants to stay and marry Tomoya! After that mini date and sweet words, yeah…

Episode 3
What happens if Nana stays? The Nana in their world will go missing. Duh. Next morning as the girls prepare to go back without Nana, suddenly Nana rushes in and wants to go back with them! WTF?! Now she doesn’t want to marry Tomoya?! She realizes that was just his stage name and his real name is Tomoya Chiyokoba. Imagine combining their names would make hers sound like Choco Banana! She can’t have that! She promised herself not to marry someone who would make her name change because ever since mom remarried and renamed to Nanase, you know how many ‘Na’ in her name is being repeated?! Too bad the Marriage Enforcement Agency is here to drag her back. Our friends look for Seriouska and see her killing those bunnies trying to sneak into this world. Good timing for another explanation. Those are called Noizies. However they are not what she is looking for but a much bigger threat called Clutter as they are the ones responsible for destroying Fragments. There is this Twilight King who grants other Clutters this power and her goal is to defeat this big boss and save her world. Well, what do you know, this world’s Asuka stumbles into her counterparts. 3 Asukas together! She’s so amused to meet a new version of herself. But there’s no time as she tells them about Nana’s wedding that is taking place right now. Gotta barge through those fan girls crying over the married status of Tomoya while Nana remembers her real dad teaching her about some radio crystal thingy and a lesson in life to live according to her own principals, not others. I guess Nana did the right thing to say no to take on Tomoya as her husband. Cue for Asuka to barge in and Nana to go to her. My, why does this look like some lesbian drama! Uh huh. To others, it looks like they are going to elope! With Tomoya forcing Nana to become his bride, it is no surprise that with Seriouska smashing in, Tomoya’s real identity is that he is a Clutter. Time to transform into sci-fi suits and do some mega battle. With Seriouska taking a beating, Nana joins in and also transforms. Taking out her frustrations with that weird name she will have, blah, blah, blah until she defeats him. Cue for Seriouska to explain about the ability of one to become an Equalizer to destroy abnormal things when one overcome one’s shortcomings. Once they return to their own world, Nana officially joins the Radio Research Society and has accepted her foster dad.

Episode 4
Asuka catches Seriouska trying to steal her family’s miso! Hungry? Anyway, she is here so that she could hand Nana a Walkman since now she is an Equalizer, she can use this to transform whenever there is Clutter from this world. How convenient. Looks like Seriouska detected Clutter from another fragment and off she goes. When the friends hear on the radio about some request by Asuka, well, it isn’t actually by our Asuka. Realizing the coded request contains a frequency, they do the 4:44 ritual. A bug scares Asuka so Mia is the one who becomes the link to the next world. Howdy folks, we’re in a wild western getup now. And Mia is a deputy sheriff? Yeah, she is tasked to stop some cheating in a bar but thankfully the sheriff Hakuma steps in. Meanwhile the other friends stumble into the saloon. I guess everybody must be so confused to see their counterparts. Because in this world, Yuu is a bartender, Nana and Cloe are outlaws who rob banks while Asuka is a bounty hunter targeting them! Need some chikuwa timeout to digest all of this… Bounty hunter Asuka chases after the real Nana and Chloe and ropes them in (the outlaws were hiding). Because the sheriff’s office is close for the night, is there no other way than to bring your bounty home and stay with you for the night?! Gee, this Asuka must really trust them not to run away. Oh, did I mention that in this world all disputes are settled via duels? Under the watchful eye of judge Hishii, I think there’s an irony of civil disputes being settled this way. So why need sheriffs? They are to gather evidence if there is a criminal act so criminals can be charged without going through duels. Unless they get death penalty, why does it sound more worth it to be a criminal? Mia thought today was tough as she returns to her mom and she learns the shocking truth that the Mia of this world really wanted this job to help change the weak. So don’t tell mommy you want a career change now. Meanwhile the outlaws become friends with Asuka and Yuu. Even asking them to help them rob a bank tomorrow! Their story is that they do this to help orphans. Western style Robin Hood? Strangely, this flirty version of Yuu pops in and wants our girls to join this robbery.

Episode 5
Sexy Yuu tells bounty hunter Asuka that Nana and Chloe aren’t the real deal. Mia must be getting used to her job chasing down criminals. Lady luck must be really on her side too. Back at the office, Mia talks to Hakuma about how she always wanted to be a hero but because of her cute appearance, everyone assumed she loved cute things. They get word that the bank is in the midst of robbery. Yeah, Asuka really had a blast joining in. They make their getaway with sexy Yuu and her Harley. I don’t know how bounty hunter Asuka’s horse can match the speed but she has Nana and Chloe put oil in their paths so the carriage overturns. Only sexy Yuu gets away while the rest gets arrested by Hakuma. All accomplices of the robbery! During the trial, all of them are charged to do hard labour but Hishii is so kind to have them enter a duel. The winner will be declared innocent. Mia is confused that Hakuma lied about all of them being accomplices so he talks about justice and averting eyes from contradictions and sacrifices to make things right. You understand all that crap? Mia then bumps into Seriouska in disguise. She tells her not to do anything otherwise all her hard work will be for naught. During the duel, Asuka-Yuu and Nana-Chloe are forced to face each other. If they don’t shoot each other, all will be executed. Of course the friends will not shoot each other but great timing for Seriouska to play a recorded sneaky conversation between Hishii and Hakuma that they framed and setup the innocent girls just to draw the crowd. The real kicker is how they look down on how easy it is to manipulate everyone. And no surprises, Hishii and Hakuma are Clutters. Seriouska transforms to fight them. 2 against 1. Fair? Justice? Not if Mia decides to join in. Yeah, conveniently with a Walkman in hand, she is now an Equalizer. Cowgirl! Yeehaw! They defeat the Clutters with their real brand of justice. In the aftermath, the orphanage has become popular and the donations from people keep streaming in. Bounty hunter Asuka decides to help the outlaws run the orphanage. After the girls return to their original world, Seriouska confronts sexy Yuu and knows she was the one who gave them hints to come to this Fragment and wants to know her goal.

Episode 6
Asuka calls her friends because she wants to go to the beach. It’s winter. And what’s this about she forgot about it during summer? Not their problem. They have valid reasons to reject her but here comes sexy Yuu telling them they can go to another Fragment without doing the 4:44 ritual and guarantees there are no Clutter. Chloe agrees to be the link this time in exchange she gets to spend time by herself. The girls are in for a rude shock as they find themselves underwater! But they’re going to love this Fragment. Everyone has their own remote island to live on and the community’s AI, White Goat brings them anything they order with their handphone via drones. This is perfect for Chloe as she enjoys all the amenities she wants on her own little private island. Oddly, you can’t email here and you have to write letters to be sent in boxes? Funny. These islands are owned by the Yuu of this world. But she went missing so sexy Yuu is just using it on her behalf. Hey, can’t rob from yourself, can you? The rest start getting used to this life but Asuka starts feeling disappointed because they rather be by themselves instead of hanging out and doing things together as friends. Meanwhile Chloe stumbles upon a notebook but it is too sophisticated with quotes, formulas and weird symbols. Oh well, back to VR. Meanwhile Seriouska confronts sexy Yuu about bringing the girls here. They start fighting only to be stopped by Asuka by the silliest of reasons. Seriouska finds this Fragment to be peaceful and lively (a bit ironic, don’t you think?) but this is the complete opposite of the worlds Twilight King intends to bring. It has nothing. No deaths, no births, no pain, no happiness. Chloe roams via VR through the streets of Paris where she used to go as a kid. She loved being alone and do things on her own despite everyone told her she was a weirdo. But being in Asuka’s company, she is afraid of feeling lonely and hence sometimes she wants to be alone. When she starts noticing those weird symbols, that is when she checks out the notebook again. She realizes everything and everywhere has those symbols and realizes something is truly wrong with this world. Subliminal? Brainwashing? Oh, I can see where this is going.

Episode 7
Chloe sends a letter via a drone. She is testing because if they have read her letter, they would have taken action. Chloe continues her research. There is a video on the PC that was left behind by her counterpart. She says they must destroy White Goat and along with Asuka and Yuu, they developed a virus that must be directly installed into the server. However Yuu went alone and disappeared and Asuka got brainwashed. Meanwhile Asuka notices her friends are so obsessed with their Smartphones that they have not slept. She cooks for them and like zombies they go to eat. Once they let their guard down, Asuka steals their Smartphones and they chase her like rabid dogs! She throws it away into the sea and before they could do anything further to her, sexy Yuu saves her. She would have outraged her modesty had not Seriouska come to stop this farce. With her friends back to normal and sexy Yuu getting them a speedboat, they can go save Chloe. Meanwhile Chloe is paddling to White Goat? Oops, she drops the virus. Game over. Thank goodness it’s just a simulation as her friends wake her up. With Seriouska detecting Clutter at White Goat, it’s clear what they must do now. Inside the tower, they have to fend off stronger versions of previous Clutters they fought. Chloe realizes she has never gone weaker with her friends but has been able to do many things with them. So this realization allows her to get her own tape and be an Equalizer? Okay. She dives underwater where the server is. With all the monoliths attacking her, looks like Chloe has a cheeky talking teddy bear, Nunurusu to guide her. Chloe inserts the virus into the server. Easy pie. Hey, it’s not like the server thought anybody could infiltrate this far or made any anti-virus programme, right? With that, everyone is freed from the brainwashing. Those who tried to oppose and went missing are just kept in some storeroom? Chloe leaves a note to her counterpart that she is not alone. Back in their world, Chloe joins her friends for lunch instead of eating alone.

Episode 8
The girls head to their café but surprisingly it is crowded. Seeing the master injured, Asuka and co decide to help him out. After a successful day, Asuka suggests wearing matching outfits. So they take inspiration from the fragments they visit, huh? Wedding dress and cowgirls. The swimsuit one has got to be the ‘creepiest’… Yuu then gets a call from her father and he isn’t amused. Looks like Yuu skipped cram school. Looks like she can’t hang out with them. With Seriouska just coming in, perfect chance for Asuka to rope her in as replacement. Heck, Seriouska looks so different and beautiful that the friends can’t tell and think this is Asuka! Seriouska stays at Asuka’s place. Suddenly grandma enters her room. Oh no! 2 Asukas?! Seriouska’s quick thinking says they coincidentally met down the road and have the same name. Grandma is cool with it. But what is her surname? Oh man. Quick, come up with one. How about Siri? Asuka Siri. WTF. Don’t blame Asuka if she starts teasing you that you have accepted your serious nickname! Seriouska joins the family for dinner and loves their miso soup. That night, both Asukas have the same dream of being worried that Kyouhei was missing but found him. Asuka lesbian time over when Seriouska detects Clutter from her Fragment. She must go now. Asuka wants to follow to help but Seriouska refuses. Not because it is dangerous, she wants Asuka to live in her Fragment as it has a future. Of course Asuka isn’t going to listen. Luckily she wrote down Seriouska’s Fragment’s frequency. Then she summons her friends who are more than willing to go help her. This time Yuu becomes the link as they arrive in Seriouska’s Fragment that looks like it is in the midst of a huge Clutter attack.

Episode 9
Flashback shows when Seriouska’s world was under sieged by the twilight, she was running away with her family when Kyouhei suddenly vanished. Seriouska ‘welcomes’ the girls. It will be a good chance for them to see what a world being attacked by twilight looks like. However in this world, Yuu is dead as she was consumed by the twilight. Thankfully, sexy Yuu is here so both Yuu now share the same body. Weird talking to yourself, eh? Seriouska continues explaining that when their world was attacked 10 years ago, it then stopped. They soon discovered this energy source known as twilight amber from the sacred tree worked as a barrier. Seriouska shows them the operations room as well as the room they keep all the crystalized Clutter. If the Twilight King is defeated, they might return to their original form. There is also a training room where Seriouska trains and leads young ones to fight Noizies. Good chance for Seriouska to give Nana, Mia and Chloe new Walkman with enhanced features. Meanwhile Yuu gets attacked by stray kids who think she is the Twilight King. Too bad she got pranked a lot before Seriouska calls them that she is her friend. Bringing her back to base, Seriouska reprimands the kids for straying too far but Takumi will not accept it and runs away. Time for them to go after him. At the same time a high concentration of anomaly is detected. Is the Twilight King in the base? Not surprisingly, one of the stray kids is the Twilight King, masquerading himself as one of them when they brought Yuu in. He heads for the sacred tree and attempts to destroy it. Time for some Equalizer action but with the Noizies keeping them at bay, yikes! There is even a hydra Noizies to fight! Even when Seriouska finally takes it down, Twilight King has destroyed the sacred tree. Barrier’s gone. World is dying. Evacuate everybody! But where to? I guess we all just get to die. Seriouska wants her friends to return to their world and at least save Takumi who will be the link. It’s like she has already accepted her fate after thanking them for becoming her friends. She is going to fight Twilight King and hopes defeating him will turn all worlds back to normal. Distraught Asuka doesn’t want this but Yuu takes control and forces them all back. Asuka tries to return but 4:44 ritual isn’t working. Have you ever seen Asuka this troubled? Like she’s in really deep sh*t.

Episode 10
Sexy Yuu hands Seriouska’s locket to Asuka. Then a sad hug to tell her that Seriouska has been swallowed by the twilight. A week later, Asuka is back to her chirpy and cheeky self. Not sure if this is her being back to normal or just trying to cover up her depression. But it is worrying Yuu because it looks so fake that it’s, uhm, fake. Better than being outright depressed, right? But still, it feels weird. Then the girls decide to throw a Christmas party for Takumi and fortunately for them, Nana has found out where he is living. With permission from the master, they have the café all to themselves as they give Takumi the best Christmas-cum-chikuwa party. Even though he is quite happy living here, he prays that Seriouska would come to get him back. He feels it is not right living off the Takumi of this world and should go back. That is when Asuka tells him not to worry because Seriouska is fighting the Clutter and will soon return. Later, Yuu confronts Asuka about giving Takumi false hope. Asuka doesn’t believe Seriouska is dead and sexy Yuu could be lying. True or not, Yuu accuses Asuka for being the real liar here. This hit a nerve as the tension brings up some old childhood trauma 10 years ago. Asuka thinks Yuu have always thought she has been taking life easy ever since Kyouhei went missing. All Yuu wants is for Asuka to say something true to her heart. In that case, there’s nothing else to be said. Asuka storms out. Woah. Is this for real? Asuka being serious? Is she the new Seriouska v2? Sorry with the bad jokes. As the girls talk how to get things back to normal, Mia has never heard of Kyouhei’s case before so Yuu explains how he suddenly went missing when Asuka just looked away for a second. Asuka wasn’t to blame as she was a kid too but she has always felt so since. Not even the adults and police searching could find Kyouhei. After his disappearance, Asuka went to every park every day in hopes that Kyouhei would return (that was how and where she lost him). There’s nothing else left to say so they’re going to find Asuka. However they detect Clutter anomaly. Their worse fear comes true as twilight has come to their world. Meanwhile Asuka thought she saw Kyouhei. She knows it isn’t him but yet follows him. Then the hooded kid whom we all are to believe is the Twilight King… Sorry, people. Not Kyouhei. In fact, a mini Asuka who calls herself Twilight Emissary as she is one of the many servants serving Twilight King. Wow. She looks even more serious than Seriouska. Seriouska v3? Okay, better stop with this uncalled for jokes.

Episode 11
Emissary says how all humans’ consciousness will be assimilated by the twilight via Clutter. This process is inevitable. She wants Asuka to join her to turn other Fragments into twilight. Emissary can let this world prolong a little longer. However this is not enough a deal for Asuka. She wants her to bring Seriouska’s Fragment back. Meanwhile Yuu can’t find Asuka and is given a pep talk by sexy Yuu why she is the only one who could save her. Otherwise she won’t forgive her. You mean, like won’t forgive yourself? Meanwhile the other friends stumble into their teacher who turns out to be a Clutter. He did the right thing by attacking them as they transform! So in his illusion, he is going to tell them the harsh truths of reality and crush their clichéd hopes. Chloe: She thought of always being alone until she made friends. But that will reset again once she joins society and will be alone again. Mia: She was always praised as cute but wanted to be a strong hero. Too bad it’s a man’s world out there and she’ll soon realize it is more efficient to toe the line by being cute. Nana: Always the rebel, she realized being straightforward and accepting would make her a better person. But it isn’t her stepfather whom she finally accepts. It is rather her mom. She is not strong and independent enough and that’s why she remarried. Nana will be the same and will take on even more men. But the girls realize their friendship is much stronger than the twister world. Enough for them to break out and turn into Equalizers and kick the Clutter’s butt. Emissary knows how Asuka feels as she too lost somebody dear 10 years ago. But she heard twilight calling her and went with it. She was freed from sadness and regret. Asuka looks tempted to go with her but here comes Yuu to scream her heart out not to. Too late, she’s swallowed by the twilight. But with Yuu crying and admitting she has always loved Asuka, is her device an MP3 that allows her to turn her into an Equalizer?! Yeah, power of lesbianism is strong. Inside the twilight world, Yuu and Asuka come clean with their feelings. They are joined by their friends to kick Noizies ass. Emissary showing the most displeased loli face when the friends claim they will defeat her because she is not their friend despite looking like Asuka. Before the final boss fight could begin, Asuka asks if the deal is still on. She will still go with her if she promises to not let twilight take this world.

Episode 12
Asuka leaves her Walkman with Yuu. I guess all that is left is to believe in her, right? Asuka is really annoying as she walks with Emissary. Complaining this, complaining that. Eventually the chibi’s patience wears thin and lets her eat some chikuwa. I guess time stopped for them so they even have some flashback on Kyouhei. Yup, that guy introduced chikuwa to Asuka who didn’t even like it. And because he ‘lied’ to her it has some wish granting properties, she loves it ever since?! Time really stops for them to even go look for Kyouhei but he is nowhere to be found. Asuka won’t give up on him because as we further see, Kyouhei never gave up on Asuka when she herself wanted to quit. Asuka reveals it wasn’t the fact she was really sorry when Kyouhei disappeared (she was but not so much), rather she wanted others to pity her. One day she realized how vile that was and thought she should be punished. That is, to live Kyouhei’s life even if it was fake. Hence she knows Emissary didn’t choose to lie but was also punishing herself. But in her case, she became so sad about it, she decided to erase everything after hearing Twilight King’s voice. Now Emissary gets mad as she makes a jealous rant that Asuka made more friends and smiled a lot. She should lose everything like her! But Asuka won’t use Kyouhei as an excuse anymore and face herself. Everything is a result of the actions you take. Once you accept the facts, you can be free. OMG! Asuka turning into an angel?! Kyouhei will always exist in your heart. Yeah, more borrowed Kyouhei words as Emissary turns into a normal little Asuka. It’s okay. Okay to cry your heart now. With that, Asuka returns to her world and friends. Man, that was easy. New school year. Asuka being the lively idiot we all know. Asuka then spots Mayuki (Seriouska’s assistant in her Fragment). She wants her to join the Radio Research Society but Mayuki scoffs at that idea. She intends to join the Broadcasting Club and dreams to be a radio star like Annie Maxda (who?!). Until Asuka plays a recording that Annie was a guest in her club interview. Now Mayuki is begging to join her club and promises to be her friends forever! Damn that was too easy. And now we see Mayuki descended into the club’s brand of mischief as they hijack the broadcasting room again and again. Such happy life. One morning as Asuka wakes up early, she sees mom and grandma trying to solve the problem of a thief stealing their miso. I guess it made her day. A reason to smile even bigger today.

Get Ur Freak(quency) On!
Well… Uhm… The last episode feels a bit disjointed. Instead of having the usual power battles, it turns out to be some sort of ‘battle’ with Asuka’s other and inner self. Uh huh. Are we feeling so zen right now? Because when you accept the facts of life, only then you can achieve true freedom. Woah. Did Asuka eat too much chikuwa to spout all that cliché stuff? Still, it leaves so many questions unanswered like the threat of Twilight King. Because you know, Asuka and her friends are living like as though they’ve defeated the final boss when for all they know the Twilight King could just send another servant or he himself comes down to destroy their Fragment (maybe they’re just busy twilight-ing other Fragments). But hey, gotta live life to the fullest instead of worrying about the minor stuffs. If the threat of the twilight comes, they’ll deal with it. They have the Walkman device after all. And I thought they’re going to leave Seriouska dead for good but they made hints it was her who stole the miso. Hey, it could be anybody. But who wants to steal the family’s world’s famous miso, right? RIGHT?! So I thought they screwed this last part up and made things worse so that Asuka could have more happy points. I guess we can’t accept the fact that Seriouska is really dead. We’re not truly free then…

The idea of tuning in different radio frequencies to get to another parallel world sounds like a good idea but also simplistic and not really thought out well. At least for this series. At this digital age, my guess is that they might want to promote some nostalgia among older viewers (like yours truly) because there was a time when the Sony Walkman was the king of portable music. Yeah, blatant product placement there but I guess nobody cares because I don’t think the masses now use this. Even though radio is still an important form of media today, you don’t see people frequently tuning in to it using their handphones or Smartphone devices. It is often that old fashioned big chunky boring block. There are smaller portable ones too but none can match the lightness of the Sony Walkman. I suppose that was the last time that a popular device would allow us to tune in to different radio frequencies with ease. I could be wrong. Because I don’t see an app just to tune for radio stations. But you know, I could be wrong.

Anyway, the story of discovering the main antagonist known as the twilight swallowing up worlds also feels paper thin. Unless we get to see the Twilight King in the flesh, can this be considered a disaster series then? The theory of having different Fragments being newly created and breaking off from existing ones sound interesting from the surface. But when you start to think about the other aspects like its past and suddenly there is another world popping up, say, after World War 2. You just wonder if it is feasible for 2 different worlds to share the same past but just branching out at a certain point in time. And then, people in that new Fragment is like, how the heck do they live before their world is being split? You know, it just popped up like that. I don’t know. Maybe my puny brain can’t understand but considering that there are so many points in history that could literally just branch out and create a new Fragment, I suppose the twilight is going to have a hard time trying to assimilate all the Fragments. At least not at this rate. And if there are more worlds being created, will the numbers reserve for frequencies eventually run out? Imagine tuning into a world with a frequency of 100 digits! After all, there is no evidence that our memories from 10 years ago or even yesterday are real and could be implanted and made up!

Like I said, it is a good try to have the characters go through a few different Fragments and experience some sort of different distorted ambiance but eventually having a dozen episodes feel like both good and bad because it is too short to flesh out anything and if has another cour, it would have taken a bit too long and boring because you know, it is getting repetitive. Going to a different world, get to know that Fragment’s problems, fight Clutter, the girls have their friendship tested but ultimately bond closer and then they go back. Imagine doing that same thing for another cour. Boring! I would definitely switch to another channel! And besides, our girls going to other Fragments and impacting the outcome of those Fragments, do they have the right to do that? What if some other doppelgangers from other Fragments do the same too to their world but screw up? Who is to blame now?

Let me move on to the characters. Not really interesting but the irony is that despite Asuka and Yuu are tasked to be the main characters, I feel that their other friends of Radio Research Society have got better character than them. Sure, they have their own mini arcs where they are in the spotlight (an excuse for them to gain powers of an Equalizer) but Asuka and Yuu don’t really have their own. So theirs is masked in some sort of twisted yuri friendship which I didn’t see coming because I was always under the impression that it would be Asuka x Seriouska. Seriously. Because Asuka being so obsessed with herself, yeah, even that sounds really weird. But I suppose you can’t have Asuka and Seriouska being yuri with each other because that would be like masturbating. Because you know, playing with yourself! HAHAHA!!!! Oops… And probably I wasn’t paying attention towards the end of the series and thought the friendship tension between Asuka and Yuu was just part and parcel of the much needed drama to eventually enhance their friendship.

Otherwise Asuka is like being the comic relief of the series since she is so bubbly and lively like as though she is acting like a retard to hide her sadness of her missing brother. It beats being sad and gloomy. Otherwise you get somebody like Emissary. And this chikuwa thing is something else you would remember her because if you want to spell out her personality, uhm, happy go lucky girl, always staying strong and positive, uhm, what else, aha! Chikuwa lover! Yeah. Feels like that. Or else she has no back story other than her missing brother which is supposed to be some sort of a plot twist reserved towards the end of the series? It’s like they know we were anticipating this and if that happened, we will point out the obvious. So the little antagonist turned out to be a mini Asuka instead. Damn, why are all the Asuka in this series has ‘something wrong’? Asuka too retarded. Seriouska too serious. Emissary is evil loli so evil. So people, don’t ever leave your loli alone. This is what would turn out in worst case scenario to them. The irony of Seriouska’s nickname is that it tempts me of wanting to make jokes out of serious situations involving Asuka… Seriously… Oops, dang. But on a serious note (pun not intended), I wonder if Seriouska is alive, is her Fragment destroyed? How did she come here without a link? Are there other loopholes I am unaware of? Whatever.

What’s up with sexy Yuu? Who is she and which Fragment did she come from? What is her goal? Why has she taken a particular interest in this Asuka? What is Yuu to her? So many questions but no answers because she keeps deflecting them by being flirty. And then all of a sudden in the final episode, she goes missing? So much Asuka drama in the last episode that sexy Yuu became irrelevant. It’s like she is more a plot convenience than some trump card or plot twist. I mean, who else is going to match up to Asuka’s zany quirkiness? One of the biggest unsolved mysteries is Kyouhei. I believe most of us might have come to think that he is the final boss. You know, ‘surprising’ us that the Twilight King is her little brother? Because isn’t it just baffling that Kyouhei is missing in EVERY AND ALL Fragments? Seeing this guy, heck he is such a good brother that it makes Asuka look even more annoying! Serious! No wonder Asuka wants him back. If there was only a Fragment where he wasn’t missing but Asuka instead. But sorry folks, no plot twist for Kyouhei whatsoever.

Nana, Mia and Chloe as I have said, they seem to have better stories than Asuka and Yuu because of their own mini arcs. Hence their stories, issues and struggles sound even more interesting despite they are just like distractions to the overall main plot (if I should call it that) even though eventually it doesn’t amount to anything much. So after they have their own spotlight, it is back to being side characters for them. Playing supporting roles would be suffice for them, I guess. Tres bien, continuez s’il vous plait… Oh Chloe. Spam us more with your French words! And now that Mayuki is the latest edition to the club, it only makes me wonder that it is truly indeed that your actions do affect the results of the world. Because I can only imagine Mayuki being such a proper and respectable girl had she joined the Broadcasting Club instead. Arrogant maybe but it’s hell a lot better than being in the mischievous Radio Research Society. Oh man. Imagine what impact one decision could make.

If there was anything enjoyable about this series, it is no doubt the very much exaggerated and power fights of the girls in Equalizer forms against the Noizies and Clutter. It is so over the top and everything blasting in your face that you know it is so outrageous and just for show. Unless you’re not into this kind of stuff. But for me, just casually watching these staple moments of the series, I have to admit that they are quite fun to watch as each of their special themed movements are packed with power. From Nana’s warrior bride to Mia’s cowgirl hero and Chloe’s weird scuba astronaut with a talking teddy, such scenes never fail to amuse me.

Art and animation are pretty standard. Though CGI moments are used in the battle scenes, they don’t really look that awkward or disjointed. Thanks to me being immersed with the extravagant battles. Also it could be because with certain battle scenes taking place in the twilight world, I guess you can’t really see things clearly when everything is in amber or yellow colour. Some of the designs of the Equalizers are nice like Nana’s bridal outfit and Mia’s cowgirl one but Chloe’s is just straight out weird while Yuu is like so typical sci-fi that it just comes off as normal. But the Noizies looking like those apple bunnies now make me wary of seeing apples cut in those shapes… And why do Noizies combine can only turn into some hydra? Why not other types of monsters? No wonder the girls can defeat easily as they know its patterns. This series is animated by Dandelion Animation Studio and Jumonji. They are new studios doing their first project ever although the former did RoboMasters the Animated Series and a few Pingu ones. Both of which I didn’t watch.

Voice acting feels decent although it never occurred to me that there are some veteran seiyuus lending their talents here. Like Ami Koshimizu as Nana, Marina Inoue as Chloe and Nao Touyama as Mia. I thought they’re like semi-retired since I don’t hear them often these days. Yeah, with new seiyuus flooding the market, looks like I’m going to fall behind even further. The other casts are Tomoyo Kurosawa as Asuka (Kumiko in Hibike! Euphonium) and Lynn as Yuu (Maya in Sabagebu). I suppose with different parallel worlds, this series tries to show the flexibility of the seiyuus’ voice acting chops. Like all the different versions of Asuka. Okay, not bad. The opening theme, Soranetarium by Michi sounds a bit weird. Overall it sounds like a song for some ominous ritual. Aside from the hymn-like voices, maybe it is because of the constant thick timpani or those kind of big drums that give off that low heavy bass beats, giving off that dramatic feel. The ending theme also feels weird. Kowarekake No Radio by Ami Wajima sounds like she is a student of Enya! If you know Enya’s trademark style of singing, you would feel very much at home here. That kind of songs too somewhat evoke some sense of nostalgia somewhere in me…

Overall, despite its less than stellar plot and characters that should have had better personalities and stories to them (somehow saying them having more meat doesn’t feel right), this is still a watchable series. It isn’t too heavy on the sci-fi side so dumb people like me don’t get a lot confused by sci-fi terminologies but once again relies on the power of friendship that saves the day and ultimately the world (which isn’t entirely a bad thing). Plus, exaggerated and overpowered fights that might give Dragonball a run for its money but not necessarily topping it. Some might find this series cliché in a few ways and it might have fallen under the same frequency of the tried and tested, nothing really new. But are we ready to change the frequency other than our favourite channels to find something that is totally new and different? Anime is hardly in its twilight years or setting into the sunset. It’s just breaking dawn.

Satsuriku No Tenshi

March 3, 2019

Normally I would skip horror genres. Definitely not my cup of tea. So I was going to give Satsuriku No Tenshi the skip. Certainly I was like 99% of passing this. Until I reread the synopsis again. And then a change in heart. A change in guts. The mystery of a couple of characters stuck in a strange building trying to find their way out. Okay. So I thought this wouldn’t be as bad. After all, the twisted reason of one of the characters wanting to get out was so that he could kill the other as promised. Sick. But at that time it somewhat sounded interesting and different. And then…

Episode 1
Rachel Gardner wakes up in a strange facility. Cameras all around. A self-typing typewriter asks her several questions. We find out she is in this hospital for counselling after witnessing a few people die. After she enters the elevator, an announcement is sounded that she has been selected to be a sacrifice and all players on each floor to prepare for the play. She gets out when the elevator stops on this creepy floor that looks like an abandoned street. She tries to help an injured bird but it is killed by this maniac with a scythe, Isaac “Zack” Foster. She runs and manages to hide from him. She returns to the dead bird but notices it is a different one. She ‘fixes’ it up. Zack finds her as she runs for her life. She manages to ride the elevator up to the next floor in the nick of time. In this creepy hospital hallway, she encounters Daniel “Danny” Dickens who was the doctor who counselled her. Creepily, he tries to assure he is on her side and to look for a way out. Then he starts admiring Rachel’s beautiful eyes because one of his isn’t working. It’s his dream to have perfect eyes. Apparently Rachel has the same beautiful eyes when he saw his mother hanged herself. He has her find his fake eyes at the back while he acts even creepier before her. While he puts his fake eyes, Rachel believes the need to run. However he caught her. It gets creepier as he now seeks to have her eyes. He puts her on his operating table and hints her parents are dead. As he rants about her beautiful eyes, suddenly he gets stabbed by Zack. Somehow he chased her all the way here. But when he threatens to kill her, it seems Rachel doesn’t mind. No fun. He leaves. An announcement is made that a rule has been violated. Because other floor residents cannot attack another floor resident, this act is deemed as treachery and will also be selected as a sacrifice. Zack tries to leave when Rachel walks up to him and pleads for him to kill her.

Episode 2
Zack is not amused as he wants to get out of her so Rachel thinks if she can be useful to him, he will kill her. After helping to activate the elevator, Zack makes a deal with her (since she continues to bug him about dying) that he will kill her after she gets him out. Oh, and make a better face than this boring one too. On the next level, they see graves. There is one for her. One for him too. Rachel decides to look further and heads into the small crevice. She could hear a strange voice talking to her and letters left behind just for her. The perpetrator is interested in her and wants to give her a place… Meanwhile bored Zack smashes all the graves outside, unwittingly triggering doors inside for Rachel to move on. More letters and files on dead people. It’s got info on her and Zack too. She returns to Zack and tries to confirm with him his shady origins (something about being abused at a facility before running away and his whereabouts unknown since) but Zack isn’t impressed. Threats to kill her won’t work as she is not afraid. This reminds Zack of someone similar. A woman who lied she is a fan of his just to get away from him but he ultimately killed her. More Rachel bugging to be killed if she runs away. He warns her she will only get to die after she gets him out of here and then destroys her tombstone (which she told him not to). Zack reluctantly helps activate another trigger that opens another door for Rachel to head in deeper. He notices how she smiled and would have loved to kill that kind of face had she not had those dead eyes. As Zack waits, he is confronted by this floor’s psychopath, Edward “Eddie” Mason. Is he wearing a coconut over his head?

Episode 3
The duo argue they are the ones qualified to kill Rachel. Eddie doesn’t have time to play with him and goes to Rachel. He tries to coax her to let him kill her. After all, that is what she wants, right? He can make her death a more beautiful one. All she needs to do is say yes. Rachel is a little confused although she is still sticking to her promise to Zack. Because Zack swears to God how he will be the one who kill her, Rachel decides to side with him. Eddie is disappointed and retreats. Rachel is annoying Zack about this God thingy. Okay, okay. He gets it. He’ll kill you after they get out! In the next room, they confront Eddie who seeks an answer why she chose Zack. He is not pleased because of that God answer because that kind of freedom doesn’t exist here. Their only right is to kill others on their respective floors. He wanted to give Rachel a beautiful death but now he just wants to kill her. As the guys fight, Eddie uses his floor to his advantage as he turns off the lights. Rachel uses her mini torchlight to hide behind what is supposed to be her new grave. She jumps into it. Feeling like home? Eddie is just moments from killing her when Rachel blinds his face with her torchlight before swapping places with him. Zack then stabs him. Her coffin is now his. They take the elevator to the next floor as Rachel continues to bug and remind him to kill her if she continues to be useful. He did swear to God, right?

Episode 4
In this prison level, Catherine “Cathy” Ward believes herself as the judge and will judge them as she sees fit as sinners. Communicating via video, the duo must pass a test in the cell they are in until they find a mechanism that will allow them to head to the next cell. So they start off with the simplest one like taking their mugshots. Next cell is an execution room. Zack must be bored that he sat on the electric chair. Gotcha. Strap in for some electrifying times. Rachel needs to figure out a way to stop this or Cathy will electrocute him until he dies. So Rachel borrows his scythe and decapitates all the dolls’ head as its mechanism to free Zack. In the next room, Cathy is going to poison them with poison gas. But there is only one gas mask and if they take too long, and even more poisonous gas will seep through. The duo argue the other should wear the gas mask but eventually compromise to take turns. Rachel notices a corpse on the floor and with the clues given, she puts its severed right feet on a scale and finds some other stuffs to balance it out. She continues to find the mechanism while Cathy laughs her ass off in anticipation to see them writhe in agony.

Episode 5
To cut things short, Rachel finds a key card that would open the door. Too bad Zack doesn’t know how to use it and breaks it. With time’s up and Cathy releasing a strong poison gas, Rachel gets this brilliant idea to use the batteries of the remote because this gas is combustible. And just like that the iron door goes down. They take a rest and Zack remembers a dream. The husband and wife who ran the orphanage were sick of digging graves and burying dead kids so they used Zack to dig them. In the next cell, there is a dollhouse that strangely resembles Zack’s orphanage. The game is for Rachel to decipher a series of codes and then Zack must do accordingly. Wow. Rachel can do mental math to pinpoint words in a book. Those words hint what Zack should do or move the items in the dollhouse. Strangely they all move in a way according to his dream. Zack is holding in his anger but the last straw came when Rachel says to do as she says. Because that is what the orphanage told him and they even mock him as useful tool. Zack goes mad and destroys the dollhouse. I guess Cathy loved trolling him and lets them pass to the next room. There is a serum. One with vitamins and the other poison. Unless they inject themselves, the door won’t open. Rachel offers to inject both since Zack doesn’t want to die. But with Zack fine being her tool now, he injects both into himself. He starts feeling dizzy and has the urge to kill her. Because she is so ready to be killed by him who swore in God’s name, his self-control returns. I guess it’s no fun killing her yet at this stage. He thinks she is lying of wanting to die now and begs she won’t let him kill her just yet.

Episode 6
More Zack trauma flashback. After he has had it with doing the orphanage’s bidding, he saw this cheesy horror movie cliché: A couple so deep in making out that they failed to take notice of the killer and got killed! Zack got an idea to then kill them in their sleep. I’m sure the couple wasn’t into making out at that age. Now Zack has gone crazy trying to kill Rachel. So now she wants to live? Cornered in the final room, Rachel gives up. Now she wants to die? However Cathy fires her automatic guns at Zack. She throws Rachel a gun so she could should Zack. Although Rachel won’t do it, Zack since to be begging her to do so. She can’t miss at this range. Rachel knows he will not like it if he kills her now. Hence that sh*tty reason they are not tools and can choose how to die. Huh? Rachel gives him an impeccable smile. So addictive that he can’t hold in much longer and stabs himself. Cathy is so disappointed at the turn of these events and goes down to complain. She disrespects Zack’s body and Rachel threatens to fire. Cathy is not scared since she knows she can’t pull the trigger. Even if she could, it’s not loaded. As she continues abusing Zack, I guess something inside Rachel triggers. She pulls out her own real gun and shoots Cathy! Mad woman so crazy that it woke Zack up to slice her dead. They find the exit and after all they have been through, they can tell they are quite happy about it. Yeah, no crazy b*tch to b*tch about. Before they reach the next floor, Zack collapses from continued loss of blood.

Episode 7
Rachel goes alone on the next floor to seek help. However in this chapel-like floor, Rachel experiences a few strange things. Smell of sweet smoke and the constant changing rooms with strange words asking her to reveal her true self and confess her sins. She even sees visions of her dead parents wanting her to come to this side but she will stick with Zack and slices them. Eventually collecting their blood and splashing it all over an angel portrait, Rachel finally meets the priest, Gray. Knowing she needs something to treat Zack, there is none on this floor but there may be some on Danny’s floor. However he can guide and help her get there in exchange she undergoes some test. All he wants is to know who she truly is. Rachel needs time to think so she returns to Zack to check on him. He is still stubborn and trying to act tough but relents to leave it to her. In addition, he tells her if she is going back down, go back all the way to his floor and in his room, retrieve his knife. Rachel agrees to Gray’s terms as they both head back down. On Cathy’s floor, this is where she will begin her test. She needs to turn on the electricity that powers the elevator. Rachel goes ahead but encounters zombies! The best way to rid of them is to operate the automatic guns from the control room. Rachel notices Cathy’s body is no longer around but can’t be bothered with it as she flips the switch to fire at all the zombies. Rachel looks like a zombie shooting zombies?

Episode 8
The ghost of Cathy mocks Rachel for killing everyone just for her convenience. On Eddie’s floor, zombie hands grab her feet but she stomps them all despite their cries for help! Of course Eddie’s ghost comes to her. Feeling disappointed she did not care about how others feel and don’t see any other kind of happiness. That’s why all those around her like Zack will die suffering. Gray is not impressed Rachel used violence to quickly get to the next floor and in Danny’s floor, Rachel is briefly attacked by some green slime. She cannot find the cure so she tries to hurry back to Zack. Gray takes this as she doubts him. He hypothesizes that all that happened could have been her own doing. Meanwhile Zack dreams. After killing the orphanage parents, he killed a woman who was dumb enough to get out of her car just to check on the kid she accidentally splashed water. He killed her just to sleep in her car. The next morning, a blind guy finds him and brings him home for food. Asking why he is doing this, it’s because he is lonely. Zack felt some chill that night and thought killing the blind guy would ease it but couldn’t. So he goes to town and kills a drunkard. The chill is still there. He returns to the blind man and tells what he did but he isn’t surprised. One day he went out and left a note. Zack of course can’t read. But a blind guy can write a nice note? Zack got tired of waiting and goes to find him. He sees a commotion. A crowd gathers before a dead corpse. It isn’t long before Zack finds the murderers. Yeah, they took his stick and was camping nearby? Zack kills them and that is when he realizes he wants to kill such happy people because such people make monsters like him. Now, Zack is still sleeping but Danny has found him.

Episode 9
Luckily Zack has enough energy to get out of Danny’s way. I don’t know if this vest he is wearing protected Danny from Zack’s scythe, the reason he is still alive. I thought that was a deep pierce. Anyway, Danny isn’t thrilled to hear Rachel wants to be killed by Zack. He tries to make a deal with him. In exchange for medicine, please gorge out Rachel’s eyes. Of course he won’t do that even if he is the one to kill Rachel. Danny just leaves and Zack doesn’t have the strength to chase him. Rachel has found Zack’s room, takes his knife and then quickly returns to him. Zack is not there so Gray now confirms that everything that has happened is due to her doing (this includes why Danny started to act very strangely). As she is exerting negative influence, he will pass judgment on her. Rachel rants about Zack’s promise and his oath to God but Gray poses the question if God chose not to make his promise come true, what would she do then? Rachel is stunned as suddenly a giant white snake attacks her. Scared Rachel runs for her life and luckily stumbles into Zack. But could she be hallucinating because there is no snake. We get more Rachel-Zack drama talking about God and everything. Oh damn it, too boring to follow. Yeah, Rachel doesn’t know anything about Zack, so what? The mundaneness is interrupted when the snake appears for real and attacks them. I guess this is where Zack’s knife comes in hand to fight the snake since it is light. But eventually his scythe is the one that is able to slice it dead. Because Rachel is being so annoyingly concern that Zack will die from his wounds, he becomes pissed if she really wants to kill him or not. Damn that God swearing line she quotes again. Now he tells her off that there is no God. You shocked, Rachel? Yeah, she’s so confused. She’s even thinking if anybody else said that same line that Zack spouted, it won’t do. What? I don’t get it. He makes her smile. So ‘creepy’ that he gets to ‘sleep’. Better hurry up and go find the medicine. He gives her his knife. Hopes this would increase her usefulness.

Episode 10
Rachel follows a white rabbit and falls down a hole to… Wonderland! Nope. Just Eddie’s coffin. Then she gets electrocuted by Cathy’s chair and then stabs a bleeding mirror. Weird. Finally before Gray who proclaims he has met Danny and took possession of his medicine but will not give it to her easily. He questions her about the things she has done and if she truly believes in God. Otherwise why did she not give any answer? Gray initiates her witch trial and calls for witnesses to testify. Yup, the usual suspects. Feels like going to be some sort of twisted summary as they testify what Rachel is. Cathy goes first as she crazily explains Rachel being the most criminal of criminal and that her most criminal thing to do was robbing her of the role as judge. She wishes her a watery death. Next is Eddie. He views her as stubborn and selfish and that the biggest difference is that she doesn’t know what happiness is and ignores it all. He wishes her death by spikes. Finally it is Danny. It’s that obsession with her eyes again. He views her soul as beyond salvation and can never be saved simply because she steals from others. He reminds her that the real her is not a soul that should be stolen. With all the testimonies done, Gray will not hand down judgment to her. He proclaims her a witch and she will die via being burnt alive.

Episode 11
Rachel continues to deny everything. Since we’re on the topic of God, Gray tells her that her God doesn’t exist but his. Because he is God! Because Rachel doesn’t want to be killed by this priest who calls himself God, she sees a weird vision of Zack. Not sure how but after realizing that Zack is her God, she wakes up from all this illusion. Yeah, I figured that out when they entered this floor. Gray is surprised she woke up as she tells him what she made was a promise with her God and not a contract. She has him lead him to his room where he kept Danny’s medicine. She won’t kill him because he is not needed. Thus he warns her that God hates liars and those who are unclean. Rachel returns to Zack and applies the medicine and even sews up his wound. Then as they take the elevator to their next floor, she asks how he got those burnt marks on his skin. Apparently his mom’s boyfriend tried to burn him to death but he fought back. When they reach the next floor, Rachel realizes she cannot tell something to Zack because it will expose she is a liar and that he’ll hate him. Plus, her hands are already tainted. She remembers this is the floor where she was. She doesn’t want Zack to open that door but…

Episode 12
Rachel starts panicking and gets desperate for him to kill her now. Of course he won’t. I guess the stress got to her so she faints. Zack is then lured into some room and locked in by Danny. He tells him to explore this floor and know more about Rachel if he wants to get out. As Zack explores the other floors and rooms, dodging traps and killing enemies, Danny and Rachel are watching every move of Zack on the TV. Danny can’t wait the moment Zack finds out the truth about her and Rachel is like, please no, please no. Zack almost fell into a spike trap but the one who saved him is Gray. His explains his purpose to observe him. Something about people using religion for their own ends. Those who are placed on the lowest floor are no more than test subjects for observations. In order to test and judge them, he needs angels. He thought Zack was the purest and decided to make him an angel. But he violated the rules and attempted to get out. Not just himself but with Rachel. He now makes them both his observation and wanted to see what kind of actions they will take. Since Zack doesn’t get it all and is only interested to get to the next room, Gray gives some hints and after a few ‘easy puzzle solving’, Zack enters what is believed to be Rachel’s room. There is a TV that plays the news. Police arrived at Rachel’s home only to find her parents’ corpses that are riddled with bullet holes and knife wounds. Also, the bodies have been unnaturally sewn together with threads. Police found Rachel unharmed but in a state of confusion. Wow. Zack reacting in a shock manner in what he sees next?

Episode 13
Danny records Rachel’s confession. She found a puppy and wanted her parents’ advice. However they were too busy fighting and accusing each other. She returned to the puppy and although she can’t remember what happened next, it is hinted she killed it and ‘fixed’ it. Returning to her parents, she witnessed dad killing mom and he is going to do the same for her but she shot him. Because she wanted a perfect family, she sewed them together the way she wanted like how she did for the puppy. That’s why when the police took them away, she was sad. Nothing really worked out for her. It took Zack this long to smash the TV? Tired of the drama? Or rather Danny now harassing her? Zack returns to them for answers because apparently Rachel’s past wasn’t the answer he was looking for. Danny reveals Gray made this floor for her at his request. However she lost it after reading the bible. Something about she cannot be forgiven and since she is impure, the reason she wanted to be killed by Zack. Danny gives Zack a choice to die here or leave Rachel. When she asks if he will continue to be her God, he didn’t hesitate to say he is never her God. Rachel fires a warning shot to show her displeasure while Danny loves the eyes she is showing now. It becomes a slightly comical chase as Zack goes after Rachel and almost falls into her traps. Finally in her room where they square off and prepare to kill each other, just another troll by Rachel as she shoots the window? Just to tell us the outside scenery and moon is fake? Maybe Rachel is just disappointed to learn that there is no God and made Zack her substitute God. But even so, he insists he isn’t her God. When Danny holds Zack at gunpoint, he wants Rachel to end this drama. Yes, please do. She fires at Zack.

Episode 14
Guess what? She shot Danny instead! She killed him because she wanted to kill Zack herself. Eh? So why didn’t she shoot him in the first place?! More confusion because Zack is really going to kill her but Rachel is now pleading don’t kill me because I’m unclean. WTF?! MAKE UP YOUR MIND! Then this talk about Zack being Zack and not her God, blah, blah, blah. So if she really wants to die, swear only to be killed by him. Man, I didn’t know getting killed was this complicated. As they find the exit, Rachel remembers there are none leading up. She believes the real exit is one floor below. As there is no power, Rachel goes back to the room to turn it on but before her is Gray. So this talk about God again, huh? So Zack is no longer God or an angel. This means he can betray her. Whether Zack is telling the truth or not, they decide with their own hearts. She has already accepted he isn’t God. Gray’s final question for her is who she is. Rachel is Rachel. Duh. Are you sure? Duh. As she asks for the exit, he reveals it is behind the stained glass on his floor. Rachel says goodbye to her parents and stuffs on this floor as she will never come back here again. Before they proceed, Rachel realizes she needs to get her gun. Then they realize Danny’s body is not around. Yeah, that doctor is still alive somewhere. Lurking. He has also disabled her gun so it’s useless. Zack breaks the stained glass to reveal a very long stairway. He gives her his knife since it is better than nothing. The trek up seemed like forever when suddenly an announcement is heard. Building detonation is in sequence. Really?!

Episode 15
Only way is to run up. Oh dear. Metal bars. With the flames catching up, Zack is paralyzed by his trauma. Don’t worry. Rachel will figure a way out. By hitting the bars with the knife?! WTF. I guess this irritated Zack to overcome his trauma and now his scythe can cut through the bars?! Whatever. Running up, oh dear. A rock slab. Is this going to be a recurring thing? Thank goodness Zack’s scythe can slash through it but the price to pay is his scythe broke. When they finally reach the top, damn we got to drag this drama on because it’s the same thing again. Do you want to kill Rachel or not? Yeah, you’re free to do so. Or not. Yeah, yeah. We get it. Also about Zack hates lies. Can we move on already? This drama enables Danny to creep up on Rachel and shoot her. See?! He is the one who activate the alarm and now he won’t make them fulfil their promise. Rachel angers Danny that Zack is not a monster or God but a human. Danny is incensed that he gave her everything. Even a floor of her own. So what did Zack give her? This puny knife?! Rachel isn’t bothered if the promise can or cannot be fulfilled. Danny going crazy and shoot her one more time but short of killing her. Also putting a few bullets in Zack. Why didn’t he just kill them outright? Isn’t that his plan? And because of that, Gray shoots Danny. Yeah, didn’t kill him too. So while he tells Zack to get out and save Rachel, Danny has a chance to shoot back. This is just getting too draggy…

Episode 16
After letting Zack and Rachel escape, Gray confronts Danny. Final long talk between them? You bet. So Gray admits he was wrong thinking he was an angel because he was pure to only one thought even though that thought was killing others. But now he wields his blade for others, he has become human. More accurately, he was human all along. That is why Gray shoot Danny to atone for his sin. Huh? Danny is also partly to blame because he brought her here and tried to become her God. Danny thinks it is better than nothing. Otherwise he will have nothing and no one will accept him. In the end, all of them are just humans and it is humans who created God. So it’s time Gray stop playing God’s role. Yeah. Time to end it all with the wall slab dropping on them. At least Danny got to see a vision of his mom in his death. Zack carries Rachel out of the burning building. Lots of confused people starring. The police telling him to surrender. Surprisingly, Zack obliges because he believes in their promise. Once he puts his hands behind his head, the police swarm him with brutality like as though he is a serial killer. Oh wait. He is. Was. News of this become viral all over. We hear interviews from the police detective but he sounds indecisive and unsure about Zack being a serial killer for Rachel but overall decides he is one. You sure you know what you talking? And the counsellor talks like as though she knows what to do best for Rachel. So yeah, we see Rachel recuperating and taking counselling. But it’s obvious we see her mind so far somewhere else. Fail on your part, counsellor! And then the counsellor decides to break protocol and divulge some info on Zack that she shouldn’t just because Rachel feels so uneasy not knowing his fate. Yup, she tells her Zack is sentenced to death for his serial killings. I thought she wanted to cut her from things she fears? Fail! And then, one night Zack crashes into her room. Hey. Where did he get the scythe? Did he steal it from the discount mart on his way here? Anyway, he escaped from prison and the police are hot on his tail so better be quick Rachel. Do you still remember the promise? So now if she wants to be killed, stop crying and smile? Geez, why is dying so hard? Or is this some sort of weird coded way of saying I love you? Not!

Kill Me Baby: Death Becomes Her
And after a very draggy drama and plot… They leave us hanging on whether Rachel was killed by Zack or not???!!! WTF???!!! Are they saying they are leaving it to our imaginations?! I expected better than this! So the closure and conclusion is now solely based on what we think it is supposed to be? Hmm… Let’s see. Final scene shows blood on the broken window. Isaac’s knife on the floor. No bodies to be found anywhere. Oh, Isaac and Rachel eloped and went on to kill everybody else in town and became known as the new Bonnie and Clyde!!! Better than Rachel to be cooped up in another ‘facility’ while she slowly loses her mind, right? Better be wild and free! Sighs. Damn. Whatever the conclusion, I’m just couldn’t be glad that this series is finally over. Thank God for that. Hey. At least I’m not lying.

I got very bored with the plot quickly. I don’t think the entire premise is that confusing. Because of the draggy drama of the main characters reassuring us of each other’s promise, not only it enhances the confusion but it got a lot irritating. In almost every episode, we see the constant insecurities of both Rachel and Zack as they try to reassure the other to fulfil their promise of him getting her out and she getting killed by him in exchange. Like as though this was the biggest excuse to drag out this whole boring drama. And there is this insecurity of Rachel at first worried that Zack about not being her God. So does she want to get killed or not? Are they some sort of perfectionists? There are so many ways to die and even by Zack’s hands and she wants it like this and like that. Yeah, even for Zack. There are so many times and chances he could just kill her but she must fulfil that strict condition of having a better face. Uhm, doesn’t she have that face towards the end? Oh, but they’re not really out yet. Damn technicalities! I mean, just kill her already instead of dragging it out to 12 episodes. Oh wait. Make that 16 episodes! WTF?! It’s like they’re not serious about the killing at all.

It was just one big boring and draggy sh*t that I started worrying if the other mysteries that my mind has been asking would be answered. Like for example, what the heck is this facility in this first place? It looks like one big elaborate madhouse with totally sick people in it to play with each other. Is somebody watching or monitoring it all? Like the government? Hell, this underground labyrinth would be one big useless facility if it doesn’t serve a purpose in the bigger picture, right? Could it be some very rich guy watching all this for his amusement? Then what about those English words that pop up in the initial episode and sparsely after that. What are they supposed to be? Who wrote those? You see, all these mysteries sound so much more interesting if there was an answer to it but instead we are stuck with that repetitious Rachel-Zack drama of promise reassurance. Bummer.

I think they wanted to add some variety by putting in some sort of puzzle solving thriller like in Eddie and Cathy’s level but I don’t actually see the significance and relevance of it. Puzzles are supposed to make you think and get you enlightened when the answer is provided but this one feels even more mind boggling. It makes me think why the heck do we need to go through all that just for the elevator to the next floor? Why is it this simple but yet this complicated? Especially you start to wonder why the elevators cannot just go straight up to the top floor. There must be so many elevators then, huh? And so far apart from each other? Man, I thought IKEA making you walk everywhere was bad enough… Yeah, man. Why make it so complicated?! Maybe to make Rachel look like the genius because you know, she is the brains and Zack is the brawns. And the fight scenes are like mediocre. Just because we have to utilize Zack as a crazy killer so we see him simply swinging his scythe. I guess some people understand and feel better if they hit something.

I’m not a religious person but there seems to be quite a few conversations and debate about the faith to God. Maybe they are trying to stir up some thoughts and thinking about this topic but with religion being such a touchy subject these days, can we even get a normal discussion without resorting to violence? Yeah, reality is much worse with people ready to go in for the kill. Everyone should be arrested and put in this nuthouse and let the battle royale begin! Oh right. This entire world is a big giant madhouse complex already and we all think we are Gods in our own minds. No wonder Jesus won’t be coming down again to save us from our sins because we clearly let the first time he died go in vain.

It goes without saying that the characters feel like crap. Saying about Rachel and Zack’s relationship would make me sound like a broken tape recorder. Zack is made even more annoying because of his short temper and tendency to get mad and rough. And Rachel is like the total opposite, lack of feelings and doesn’t give a sh*t. They only tolerate each other because, wait for it, the initial promises they made. So this is their bond? Even till the end, I still cannot feel how closely they have bonded together because of all the boringness that had seeped in. I always thought Rachel would look better if she smiled. Looks like I got more than I bargained for because her smile looks creepy even if it is genuine! So not used to it. So please, go back to your mundane poker face. I regret it. I like it better when you have no emotions. The other annoying character is Danny. This guy is just so hard to kill like as though he cannot die yet so he can prolong our suffering as he pops up when we least expect it to rant about whatever twisted ideology he has or wished upon the rest. Yeah, more draggy drama coming your way. If you’re made even more confused (like yours truly) then it’s like a bonus point achievement for them.

This means the other characters also feel like tools to somewhat further and enhance the bonding of Rachel and Zack. However as I said I don’t see all that in the end and hence these characters feel as empty and shallow like mud puddle. Yes, each of them have their sad and twisted past and history and it would have been a lot better if we had a glimpse of that. Too bad they have become some sort of shallow one dimensional antagonist of the arc. Zack’s history is sad and twisted but as I have said, in the end it feels like it doesn’t matter because I just don’t feel the connection. And I thought Rachel would have hers and it would be the biggest twist. Turns out to be meh. Yeah, everybody has their own twisted problems. But I wonder if Gray is the master of this entire facility as he is the main observer everything and knows it all. He occupies the highest floor and can seemingly ‘teleport’ to other floors with ease. He just pops up. Like the final stairways to freedom, if there were bars blocking in the way and after Zack slashes it, how come he suddenly stands before them at the exit?! Is there another route there?! Did Gray lie? Zack hates lies, you know…

For the horror part, it only worked for the first episode for me. The jump scare of Zack being a crazy killer suddenly appearing and screaming trying to get Rachel’s head did shock me at first. But after that, everything else feels so bland and boring. Yup, blame the draggy drama for turning this horror series into one draggy drama instead. Even if the spooky atmosphere like Eddie’s graveyard level, Cathy’s prison and Gray’s weird hallucinations, thanks to the drama, it does not even feel a bit scary. With Zack being such an angry dude, after a while it gets old and you won’t be even moved whenever he yells his head off. This makes that other crappy horror series Ousama Game to be even better because that one was so cringe filled and bad that it was funny. This one is just plain boring. So boring that I could have fallen asleep and Freddy Krueger would give up killing me in my dreams. Yeah… Really.

Another disappointment is that there are just a few mad people in this facility. I was under the impression like there would be 100 of them! I don’t know why but I thought since the initial plot of that announcement saying Zack is to be targeted because he broke the rule, I was thinking that the other many floor guardians are eager to hunt them down. After all, everyone in this madhouse is craving for blood one way or another, right? So instead we only have like 6 people in this entire facility? Take away Rachel and Zack and that’s like only 4 opposition? Holy sh*t! Only 4?! It’s odd to think that Rachel and Zack will steadily progress to the next floor while the next floor resident waits for his/her turn. Bummer for the one at the highest floor assuming the ones at the lower levels didn’t kill off the main characters. What ever happened to this announcement anyway? It feels so redundant and a lame reason to give others a reason to fight Zack. I’m sure even if they didn’t violate the rules, they would still attack if they come to their floor. Remember, everybody is sick in the head so screw whatever rules.

The art and animation feel like they want to give some dark and spooky claustrophobic atmosphere but I was so bored at the drama that I didn’t even feel influenced by it. There are also a lot of blood especially Zack and Danny being the tough asses taking in some damage. So once you see blood splatter all across their shirt, it will stay there for the rest of the series. Yeah, looks like we’ve gotten immune to all the blood. Character designs, they look pretty normal. I thought they would look even more twisted, maybe like some inhuman monster or gay feminist dude but they mostly look normal. I don’t think Eddie wearing a pumpkin on his head is anything scary. Zack wearing a hoodie and having bandages all over, not scary. Danny having a fake eye? Surprising at first but gets old even with his long devil tongue. Animated by J.C. Staff who produced lots of other better titles out there like Shokugeki No Souma, Prison School, Bakuman, Shakugan No Shana, Saiki Kusuo-No Sai Nan, To Aru Kagaku No Railgun and DanMachi.

With a small cast, the voice acting isn’t anything that special. Nobuhiko Okamoto feels at home as Zack because of his previous roles as angry characters like To Aru Majutsu No Index’s Accelerator, Bakugou in Boku No Hero Academia, Ryou in Shokugeki No Souma and Kaname in Mahou Shoujo Site. Takahiro Sakurai tries to sound crazy as Danny but he is just passable. I only remember his other seemingly twisted character role as Bernard in Junketsu No Maria. The other casts are Haruka Chigusa as Rachel (Tsugumi in Soul Eater Not), Houchu Ohtsuka as Gray (Shiro in Arakawa Under The Bridge), Mariya Ise as Cathy (Levi in Fairy Tail) and Natsumi Fujiwara as Eddie (Chihiro in Shounen Maid). Feeling wasted is the awesome opening theme, Vital by Masaaki Endoh. This hard rock feels so out of place for this draggy drama but it is one of the things that I prefer a lot in the series. This song feels at home for those who are familiar with his style during his stint with JAM Project like One Punch Man’s opening. The ending theme, Pray by Haruka Chisuga as a slow rock isn’t also that bad but I prefer the opener a lot. Note, this might be my own speculation, but I guess the final episode felt like it couldn’t wait to end and hence they played the full entire 3 over minutes of the ending song just to fill in the gap…

Overall, the anime is crappy and a big disappointment if you are anticipating some sort of horror factor to spook the hell out of you. But to be fair, this series was adapted from a game so who knows it worked differently in that format. Although it was also adapted to manga, as far as the anime part is concerned, it is not good. I was mostly confused and bored to death with the draggy drama and the constant reminder of Rachel wanting to be killed by Zack. Sometimes you want to pray to God but this series makes you question your faith even if there is a God after all for letting such mediocre adaptation grace our screens. Okay, don’t blame God for bad production of us humans. Maybe the better way is to just forgive and move on. Or just scream and wreck everything. No wonder God has already abandoned us.

Chrome Shelled Regios

February 2, 2019

Post-apocalyptic dystopian future, check. Horrifying vicious monsters that roam the wastelands and have no qualms attacking and devouring any humans dumb enough to come close to them, check. People living in large mobile cities, check. Some hold special sci-fi weapons to defend themselves, check. Main character with a past trying to start fresh his new life in a new city but the past soon catches up to him and he is forced to relive his old ways, check. If all that sounds pretty cliché and nothing exciting, please bear in mind that Chrome Shelled Regios came out a decade ago back in 2009. Yeah, I’m feeling a bit old when I decided to go pick a retro anime to watch. Now those anime series that came out 10 years ago are starting to feel like a very long time. Imagine I decided to pick those way back into 90’s, 80’s or even 70’s… But why this series? Coincidentally, Hollywood released a film about a post-apocalyptic world with giant mobile cities too, Mortal Engines! If you think the movie copied the anime, hold on, because the Hollywood movie was based on a British novel that predates the light novel that the anime adapted by about 5 years! So who copied who? Or just mere coincidences?

Episode 1
Huge monsters known as Filth Monsters AKA Limbeekoon attack a civilian transport that is making its way into a mobile city called Regios. But don’t worry, our heroes have stormed out to stop this menacing beasts with the special weapons called Dite and their inner powers called Kei. We now take a detour to the Academy City of Zuellni. Nina Antalk is not pleased that a member of her platoon is leaving. She can’t use violence to make him stay or her platoon will also be dissolved. But she’s in luck. Today is the new term for new students so she can go recruit some. With Harley Sutton and Sharnid Elipton, they go crew hunting but all the potential ones are taken. Meanwhile Layfon Alseif is a new student here and meets fellow new student and reporter wannabe, Mifi Rotten (that kind of name would surely raise some eyebrows about reporting credibility) as well as her friends, Mayshen Torinden and Naruki Gerni. Shortly, a couple of new students start fighting each other. Layfon walks away, not wanting to get involved but the fight seems to be destructive and a falling slab threatens to fall on Mayshen. Layfon hears a voice telling him to save her and using his power and speed, saves her from death. Layfon is soon summoned by the student council president, Kalian Loss who blackmails Layfon to transfer to the Military Arts department instead of the general studies he is in. Despite Layfon is in debt and is willing to work hard for years, he has no choice. Nina thought Layfon would be expelled and barges in to request that he is put under her care. And that is how Layfon became part of her 17th Platoon. On the way back, Layfon sees a girl, Felli Loss shouting out her frustrations. He recognized her as the one who gave the telepathic message to go save Mayshen (who is clearly in love with him). He also noticed she is from the 17th Platoon. Felli doesn’t say anything and walks away. We return to our Filth Monsters slaying team as they continue to fight against the regenerating monster. Layfon is part of that team. Leerin Marfes writes about the world of Regios they live in. She respects Layfon’s wish to leave everything behind and start anew. She hopes he would one day set foot on Grendan again. So was that a goodbye kiss she gave him earlier?

Episode 2
Nina once participated in a capture the flag battle in an inter-city battle. Zuellni lost and Nina blamed her teammate who stopped her from getting the enemy’s flag even though it was a trap that could have killed but she was prepared for that. Layfon wants to tell Nina he can’t join her platoon but she has him do a mock battle with her. He seems quite competent to fight on her level until she goes all out and went overboard. Although hospitalized, his injury isn’t that serious. Felli helps speed up his recovery but it is mostly thanks to Layfon’s large amount of internal Kei. After discharged, Felli knows that he is purposely hiding his true powers and took Nina’s blow on purpose. She talks about psychokinesis as she reveals her brother Kalian setup that fight to force Layfon to intervene and then join this platoon. Just like how he used her for the same purpose. That’s why she hates him as he will use anything as long as he wins. Now that Layfon is well enough to get back to his part time job, he is surprised to see Nina there to help him out. They talk about their past. Nina’s parent didn’t approve of her doing this so she ran away here and has to take up odd jobs to support herself. As for Layfon, he is an orphan and this was the only city that offered scholarships for passing exams. The long talk has them speed up the machinery cleaning because they have to be up early for tomorrow’s inter-platoon match. It’s like some sort of practice match before the big one between the cities. As the capture the flag match begins, Vanze Haldey isn’t pleased that Kalian maintains the ragtag team of 17th Platoon and should have transferred Nina out to develop her better. He tried but she declined. He wonders if this platoon is to be a sacrifice. That depends on their results. Nina knows she is targeted but holds her ground well. Layfon is seemingly taken out so Nina has to fight hard. But there is only so much that she can take and moments before she falls, Layfon returns. This time with more power and speed as he takes down all his opponents and even capturing their flag! OMG! So cool! His male buddies are so happy but what’s wrong with the ladies? Nina is not happy. They won, right? Even Felli is calling him a traitor. WTF. I don’t get these women!

Episode 3
Leerin thought Layfon has returned but only finds Synola Leisler whom she becomes friends with. Is it a custom for female friendship to grope boobs? As Layfon ponders about Nina’s sulking, he doesn’t need Kalian to lecture him about him hiding something. He knows he was one of the 12 skilled Lance Shelled Grendan who wields Heavens Blade. Layfon doesn’t wield that anymore and will not tell him anything more about himself. Kalian warns him he will do anything to protect this city, even if it means using his sister. Later Layfon meets up with Nina and learns she is mad because she hid his true powers from her. Technically he lied. He explains about life on Grendan where they practically had to fight Filth Monsters every day. Victory was their only option. Layfon became good in fighting and the Military Arts was only his option. However he is trying to find another path instead of continuing that since he already failed once. Suddenly Zuellni stops. Nina could sense something wrong. She rushes to find masked men trying to kidnap Zuellni, the electronic fairy and conscious of this city. All are teleported away by Dixerio Maskane to another dimension to fight. Nina tries to help fight but she is not skilled enough. Dixerio defeats the enemies and returns Zuellni to her but not before hypnotizing her and erasing her memories of this. Flashback shows a young Nina caught a man trying to steal an electronic fairy. She tried to stop him but was pushed off. It’s a miracle she survived that long hard fall! She is saved by that city’s electronic fairy, Schneibel as she gave her life to her. Nina felt sad and ever since she thinks it is a sin to be weak as they lose what they want to protect. She never wants to feel that way again. Layfon is interrupted by Mifi and co. Mifi brags about his recent achievements and Mayshen bashful thanks him for saving her. Meanwhile Queen Alsherya Almonis of Grendan dismisses a tournament to replace another Heavens Blade wielder. Actually this is Kanaris Earifon Rivin, the queen’s double as she begs the real Alsherya to return to the throne. Unfortunately she has found a new person to protect. That’s why she can’t stop being Synola.

Episode 4
Sharnid takes Layfon to the maid café just to show him Felli working at a part time job. Yeah, Sharnid laughing his ass off? Because Felli can’t smile, it scares some of the customers so the gay owner tries to train her to smile. Not working. Change in plans. But on another maid outfit and now all the guys love her! So is Kalian here to adore her too? Felli sees through his disguise and later destroys the photo evidence that Sharnid took. Later Felli talks to Layfon how her family destined her to become a psychokinesist. However she did not like that and hence came to Zuellni to find her own path. But it’s still not working out for her either. Felli then overhears Mifi doing some reporting job and wants in. Apparently there is this abandoned research lab said to be haunted that she wants to write for her article. Exploring the dark rooms, yeah, something is definitely lurking in there. And before you know it, this giant newt monster tentacle-kidnaps Mifi and co. Had not for Vanze coming into the picture, Felli could have fallen into the same fate. Vanze explains this was once a lab that tried to create monsters to fight Filth Monsters. However the Guardian Plan failed due to many failures and hence the research was cancelled. Vanze learns there are others here and he chides Felli for not using her telepathic powers to help them or call for backup. He orders her to do so and she isn’t happy but obliges. She manages to locate the kidnapped friends and also send a message to her platoon. Vance fights the monster and kills it. Mifi and co are rescued but are forbade to write any article on it. Layfon is glad Felli is okay but is usurp by Nina who is even more relieved Felli is not harmed. Vanze later talks to Kalian about Felli and it seems he put Felli in Military Arts just to watch over her. As for the Guardian, they wonder why it only awakens now. Layfon sees a rare smile from Felli. But she isn’t pleased and steps on his feet. WTF?! Is that some sort of weakness point?

Episode 5
Mayshen lies in wait to give Layfon her lunch. But since he is busy arguing with Felli, I guess it’s not going to happen. But she’ll get that chance soon because it is the 17th Platoon’s day off and with nowhere to go Layfon hangs out with her. If only Mayshen isn’t so nervous all the time. This is your big chance, don’t screw up. Too bad the city shakes. Larvae-like Filth Monsters are seen trying to invade Zuellni and are latching and jamming itself to its feet. With Kalian ordering his warriors to fight them, however Layfon doesn’t have confidence they can handle it and wants them to evacuate with the citizens too. Nina doesn’t share the same opinion because if they don’t fight, when will they ever? She blames him for having so much power but not use it to his true abilities and doesn’t want to hear his excuse how fearsome Filth Monsters are. I’m sure Nina and the other platoon units are seeing Filth Monsters this close for the first time. Reality sinks in when their exterior shell is hard and many got eaten alive. Meanwhile Layfon decides not to sulk anymore so he sees Harley to configure his Dite and then Felli to use her telepathy to locate that big mother nesting. With the units getting scared and running away (there goes defending the city to death), just before Nina gets eaten, here comes Layfon slicing all those Filth Monsters like hot knife through butter. He seems to be in a rush to kill them all and locate the mother since he only has 5 minutes outside or the toxic air will burn his lungs. Then he finds the mother. He realizes he was wrong to come to Zuellni to avoid fighting. He has come to the fact he must continue fighting if he is going to stay alive. This is after all the world he lives in. After easily killing the mother, he returns and collapses on Nina. He deserves sleeping on her since he did a lot of the work and saved Zuellni.

Episode 6
17th Platoon loses! Nina in shock. Enemy captain advises she relies too much on Layfon. Meanwhile Mayshen is being a bad girl as she finds a letter addressed to Layfon from Leerin. She is about to peek into it when her friends caught her red-handed. Feeling guilty, she goes to return it but by the time she sums up her courage, here is Felli. Mayshen runs away but drops the letter in which Felli picks up. Felli tells Layfon that Kalian wants to see him but first, follow her do some errands. We see Felli being a bad cook but thanks to Layfon, dinner is saved. Kalian then comes over to discuss about a drone scout being sent out and it seems in their path is what looks like a giant Filth Monster. Layfon immediately identifies this is its baby stage and once it matures, it will be very hard to take down. Felli is not happy that Kalian plans to use Layfon again. He has to. In order for Zuellni to remain peaceful, they have to rely on him for survival. Later Naruki sees Layfon because her police chief has a request for him to become a temporary dispatch. Of course he can turn down the job but Layfon can tell with her nervousness, he knows her job application at the local police is at stake. He wants some time to think this over. Mayshen realizes she lost the letter and tries to talk to Felli. However she lies she has given it to Layfon. But now technically it wouldn’t be a lie because after training, she slips it underneath his bag. Too bad he just picked up his bag without looking. Nina now takes the dropped letter. Layfon agrees to do with the temporary dispatch job and sees Naruki’s chief. The mission is to take down some spies. It’s easy pie for Layfon and with that, Naruki’s official recruitment is confirmed. When he returns home, Nina passes him the letter. Harley then calls Layfon with some good news as he has found the ultimate configuration for his Dite.

Episode 7
So Layfon can swing with more power and faster and windier? Layfon and Mifi’s group has noticed Nina acting strange for a few days. They tail her to see her do more private training to become stronger. Naruki understands what Nina is feeling. When Layfon helped her with her job, she realized Layfon was so strong it was impossible to fight alongside him. She frustrated and jealous. Mifi feels sad because they’re a team and should grow stronger together. Oh, Nina collapses. Good thing they’re there to bring her to the hospital. Her condition is stabilized as she was just straining and overusing her Kei. Nina realized she got greedy trying to be as strong as Layfon. Because if he can do it, so could she. That loss opened her eyes that something needs to be done. He advises her about wasting too much unnecessary Kei (and to abandon being human?! WTF?!) and also to give orders to her platoon because it all depends on her if they become strong or not. But please don’t abandon them. Layfon then rides out to fight that Filth Monster. Oh look, just in time for the Filth Monster to mature because it detect some food source. Meanwhile Harley and Sharnid visit Nina. Sharnid knows Harley and Felli were planning something with Layfon behind their back and forces him to spill the beans. Although Felli relays that Zuellni has changed its course (why didn’t they do this in the first place?), she wants Layfon to get back or he’ll get further away from Zuellni. No can do. Mature Filth Monsters can fly and catch up in no time. So instead of seeing Layfon hog all the glory, we see Nina and Sharnid riding in to help. And the theme of today’s episode is victory via teamwork. See? Easy win, right? And thankfully Zuellni returns to pick them up because their bike broke down. Layfon thanks them for saving his life, credits this victory to their platoon and hopes they can continue to work like this in the future.

Episode 8
17th Platoon faces off with 5th Platoon. The latter is led by Gorneo Luckens who also came from Grendan. He is the younger brother of Savaris Qaulafin who is a Heavens Blade wielder. 17th Platoon wins easily because Shante Laite abandoned her post just to go fight Layfon (now he has cloning abilities?). Now it is reversed. Nina is happy with the win but not Layfon. 17th Platoon even throw a party to celebrate their second winning streak. Wow. Must be a big deal. Later Nina talks to Layfon on why she is so happy when her team won (duh?). I guess it is much deeper than that because she hopes to see everybody fighting and protecting their city with their own hands and power. Layfon doesn’t look amused. Meanwhile there are rumours that Leerin’s life is targeted so Savaris and fellow Heavens Blade wielder, Lintence Savoled Haden are tasked to protect her secretly. Kalian calls the 17th Platoon and 5th Platoon. Up ahead is a destroyed city most probably attacked by Filth Monsters. They are to scout it. Entering the decimated city, they see lots of empty Filth Monster shells. Clearly the city is beyond saving and it would be a miracle if there are survivors. Nina is then shocked to realize this city is Gandoweria. The city that defeated Zuellni 2 years ago in an inter-city battle. Yeah, the one Nina lost. She is confused that a strong city like that could fall to Filth Monsters. Sorry to pour more cold water on your hopes because Layfon says even if you’re the strongest in inter-city matches, the reality is that Filth Monsters are stronger. Nina now asks Layfon’s meaning of victory. To survive and live. He will not die yet. This has Gorneo pointing out if this is why he is able to continue fighting without the pride of a Military Art and then continue living after tainting the name of Heavens Blade.

Episode 9
Gorneo reveals that Layfon participated in illegal underground matches while he is under Heavens Blade and made money off it. He was then expelled from Grendan. But this is not what Gorneo can’t forgive him for. He did something to his senior, Gahard Vallen. Later Nina personally talks to Layfon about this. He participated in those matches to live. As he is from the orphanage, they need the money badly. He did whatever he needed even if it means tainting Heavens Blade. It’s also why he mastered Military Arts so that he could live. If she was in his shoes, would she not do anything to survive? Nina however cannot accept this. Meanwhile Leerin talks to her father about the orphanage. They both had to quit the orphanage since they sided with Leerin. Suddenly they are attacked by Gahard and he is being possessed by a Filth Monster. He is looking for Layfon and he sounds like he blames Layfon for stealing his Heavens Blade. Father gets wounded but thanks to a mythical beast (Grendan’s electronic fairy) stepping in to protect them, Gahard flees. Savarin then traps and easily kills Gahard, boasting and thanking he wasn’t born weak like Gahard because he wouldn’t want to be caught dead on the side that gets killed. Gorneo meanwhile spots several strange hooded wolf men. He tries to follow them but is attacked by Shante. Monkey girl accidentally knocks herself out. Nina has done some thinking as she confronts Layfon again. She won’t deny his way of thinking but since she cannot understand it, they cannot be in the same platoon.

Episode 10
Felli detects some living organism with her psychokinesis but is unable to determine what it is. The only way is to head down and investigate. However Layfon is against this idea since it will be dangerous to face head on with the unknown. Nina vetoes his idea and will proceed with the investigation. Flashback shows some guy approached Layfon and had proof of his participation in underground fights. He will dispose of it depending on his actions on tomorrows Heavens Blade qualifying match. But in that match Layfon faces Gahard and seriously wounds him, rendering him beyond recovery. After the match, Alsherya ordered Layfon to be arrested. This is to hide the fact from the people that those with Military Arts and psychokinesis are a threat to humans. After that he was banished. The gang now arrive at a mass grave where Felli sensed the source from. Layfon goes ahead and dives down and when he reaches the bottom, he meets this, uhm, golden goat?! Not sure what crap it is spouting that it is dead, a tool and most of all nothing and therefore Layfon cannot kill him. Yeah, Layfon just slices him and he says it was a good strike and disappears. WTF?! When the rest rendezvous with him, Layfon wants them to the surface because it is getting riskier. They’ll get annihilated this way. But Layfon goes deeper only to be attacked by Shante. He easily dodges and defeats her. Gorneo only stops this mad cat from pouncing any further. Shante is doing this as she believes Layfon is Gorneo’s enemy. Even so, Gorneo doesn’t want Layfon dead even if he wants Layfon to pay for hurting Gahard. Shante is confused since she is doing it for him. If this isn’t a revenge story, then why did he stop smiling? The place is about to explode and Layfon uses his power to teleport the explosion heat outside. Phew. Layfon is going to put a stop to this Gorneo paranoia once and for all. He hasn’t forgotten about Gahard but isn’t actively remembering him either. On Gorneo’s part to deal with his anger and rage for revenge? That’s his problem. Deal with it! That’s why he won’t kill him. So I guess Layfon prefers to live with the fact that others hate him. Because Nina is now telling him how much she hates him. Whatever.

Episode 11
Swimsuit episode! With Kalian supposedly collapsing in a meeting, an excuse for him to rest for a few days at a resort. Yeah. Felli isn’t amused that she has to come either. Worse, the rest of 17th Platoon is here. Kalian then assigns Nina to teach Felli how to swim. She is reluctant at first but what made her change her mind? Well, Mifi and Naruki force Mayshen to be with Layfon alone. And since he teaches her how to swim, you can tell Felli won’t lose out. Be sure to breathe regularly or else… Oh, too late. That’s what you get when you’re too focused on a certain guy… So I guess Felli gets her revenge by kicking his leg later. I think his answer of whether Mayshen could then swim or not didn’t really matter. When Felli goes to sleep, she thought she heard Kalian making a deal with Nina. But it could be just a dream. Next day, Felli doesn’t want to take swimming lessons anymore and Nina panics. Sharnid suggests Layfon to teach her. Now she can’t say no, right? Poor Mayshen, you were a second too slow. Kalian didn’t like watching their ‘intense’ swimming lesson so after that he summons Layfon to the underground bunker just to go bonkers interrogating and warning him if he hurts Felli, he’ll pay for it! Oh, did Kalian assault Layfon already?! Meanwhile a few masked men take the women in the changing room as hostage. Yeah, real brave men there. Don’t really care about the crime they did and hence doing this out of desperation, but thankfully Nina and Felli are there, right? Beat them up in no time without breaking a sweat. Felli soon learns Nina was put up by Kalian to teach her swimming as he promised to give a special budget to their platoon. Realizing Layfon and Kalian are not around despite this hostage incident, now Felli gets mad and having a hunch where they are. So before crazy Kalian could sully Layfon about the purity of his Felli, here comes this mad little sister breaking in. No amount of explanation can save you, Kalian. Get ready for her trademark kick. My, did she go overboard and break his shin bones?

Episode 12
Time to give Sharnid some back story. Apparently he was from the 10th Platoon but quit the team. It’s probably the reason Dinn Dee, that platoon’s captain still acts cold whenever they bump into each other. Layfon joins Naruki to stake out a hideout as they receive rumours that a shady group is trading the illegal substance of Overload, Kei-vein accelerators. There might be buyers in Zuellni since the inter-city battle is near. When the perpetrator suddenly bursts into the open, he fights Layfon. He is Haia Salinvan Lyia and the leader of a mercenary gang back in Grendan and of course this means he knows Layfon. He hints doing this for some Haikizoku (electronic fairies of ruined cities). Meanwhile Sharnid knows he is being followed by Dalshena “Shena” Che Matelna. So she is here to bug him for answers why he left the platoon? It’s not like explaining now would make her understand. As for whatever promise they made, Sharnid still remembers the promise but is protecting it in his own way. Layfon’s fight with Haia ends when the latter’s comrade, Myunfa Rufa fires a distraction for him to escape. So after this where they go? To Gorneo’s room?! Elsewhere, Leerin sees Alsherya and informs her about Layfon’s wellbeing at Zuellni since they often exchange letters. Leerin worries if Layfon could one day return to Grendan.

Episode 13
Haia wants Gorneo’s cooperation. He should know since he is familiar with the origins of the mercenary gang. Haia is looking for a Haikizoku but couldn’t find one in the ruined city that’s why he came here for help. Haia then goes to meet Felli and Kalian. Naruki requests Nina and Layfon for their help in this Overload case. Unless they agree, she cannot furnish them with further details. I guess they have to say yes or else the plot won’t advance. It seems the culprit behind this are Dinn and Shena as they are in possession and using it. Naruki needs their help to capture them. So Nina confronts him directly to tell him to stop using Overlord or it will destroy him. However Dinn is adamant in defeating the 1st Platoon as part of his plan to protect Zuellni. Furthermore, he blames Nina for making Sharnid pull out from his platoon. He can do it and keep the promise without Sharnid. So when Nina reports back to Naruki that she is unable to make him stop, she further explains there is a story behind all of this and Sharnid is related. When the 10th Platoon was the strongest, during a match, Sharnid left abruptly, causing to platoon to fall apart. Dinn was mad and challenged Sharnid to a duel. However Sharnid never fought back. After that Nina talked to Sharnid and recruited him into her platoon. Therefore from their point of view, it looked like she stole Sharnid from them and as of now, 17th Platoon is strong enough that it worries 10th Platoon. The 17th Platoon is summoned to see Kalian. They are tasked to bring down the 10th Platoon since they will have a match with them soon. Once they cannot maintain their platoon, he will his authority to disband them. Nina doesn’t seem too happy with this tactic but Layfon has no qualms about seeing this through. Then Haia comes in and instantly Layfon accuses him of smuggling Overload. He talks about the Haikizoku they saw in the ruined city (that goat) and claims it is not safe to leave it there and hence he will be taking it.

Episode 14
Sharnid requests his teammate to leave Shena to him. Of course a short back story why so. 10th Platoon was a tightly knitted group thanks to the previous captain. However when they lost a match, the ex-captain regretted he would graduate without being able to do anything for Zuellni. That was when the trio made a vow to do so on his stead but at that point their friendship was somewhat broken. So as the match begins. Shena is separated from the rest of her platoon so Sharnid could fight-cum-talk to her. He is trying to make her realize that the vow they made was only a guise to hide their true feelings. Even if they seriously wanted to protect Zuellni, their method is wrong. If she thinks Dinn was right, why did he not ever told her about Overload or let her use it? Because he feels guilty of not telling anyone. Layfon faces off with Dinn but the effects of Overload is starting to show. Suddenly that goat appears and possesses him. Felli informs this to Haia because their previous deal was for her to just tell him if it ever appears. But Felli feels duped since she realizes there are things that he omitted to tell her. We hear Felli’s theory why this Haikizoku came to possess Dinn. After the city fell into ruin, the electronic fairy loss its purpose but its will to protect a city was strong. At the same time, Dinn had those strong feelings and it resonated within Dinn. The only way to free Dinn is to break his heart again. But don’t worry, leave it to Sharnid and Shena. Meanwhile Layfon fights and defeats Haia so that Shena is able to go to Dinn and speak to him. She tells him it is over. They don’t need to fight anymore. Since there are others who think the same way they do, letting them fight doesn’t mean breaking their promise. And with Shena confessing she loves him, I guess the magic of love frees Dinn from the goat’s possession.

Episode 15
Nina suggests a training camp since their next match will be the 1st Platoon in which Vanze heads. Don’t worry, Kalian has nothing to do with it this time but sponsored by Mifi’s publication. In exchange for that, they have to allow to be interviewed. Mayshen is in seventh heaven when Layfon comes to help peel potatoes with her. This has jealous Felli and Nina watching. Sharnid makes it worse by providing 1 extra potato peeler to them as they fight over it. By the time Nina ‘wins’, Layfon has finished peeling. Naruki helps out in training as she joins Nina, Felli and Sharnid to fight against Layfon. Too bad Layfon is too strong for them and wins. Naruki becomes shocked and overwhelmed by the power and speed he displayed. Meanwhile Kanaris suggests Alsherya to invite the Haikizoku in Zuellni to Grendan. She also talks about Grendan’s electronic fairy appearing before Leerin when Gahard attacked her. She investigated and found something that relates her to Alsherya. But before she can reveal, Alsherya strangles and warns her not to ruin her mood. Mayshen is delighted when Layfon praises her cooking. But when Nina finds it familiar to the lunch Layfon shared with her, Mayshen obviously becomes heartbroken. Nina immediately understood the situation but not Layfon. Hence she lectures him the need to apologize. I’m sure the rest are more interested to hear this drama than Harley and his boring technical stuffs. Yeah… As Mifi writes her report, Naruki feels conflicted because when she fought Layfon, she could also feel his sadness and wants to know what happened to him that made him left Grendan. With Layfon meeting with Mayshen to apologize, perfect chance for her to find out about it. So he tells that underground match thingy as well as that Military Arts and psychokinesis users aren’t normal humans. If the public knows about it, there’ll be panic. Because of their tremendous strength, they are like monsters. That’s why he was expelled and it was only at the mercy of the queen he wasn’t killed. Mayshen gets emotional and hugs hum, claiming she isn’t scared of him. Cue for Layfon to show his manliness as the place collapses and he swiftly dodges and slices the slabs while protecting her. Too bad he still had to pay the price of protecting her all the way with some grave injury.

Episode 16
Alsherya ponders Kanaris’ suggestion they need to fill in the vacant Heavens Blade spot when Savaris offers his service to hunt down a Haikizoku. She then goes to bug Leerin and knows she wants to leave to find Layfon. After all, he hasn’t come back and lately hasn’t replied her letters. So the best way is to go to him? She knows it is irresponsible of her to leave the orphanage and use the money he sent to her to travel but she just can’t let him shoulder all the responsibility. Meanwhile Layfon is in hospital and will undergo a spine surgery although overall his life isn’t in danger. This means he has to skip the upcoming inter-platoon match. Hence Sharnid scouts Shena not just as Layfon’s replacement but a temporary member. I guess it’s just how you word your words to convince somehow to join. After all, can’t be spending all her time taking care of vegetable Dinn, right? But too bad the match ends quickly with Nina being easily defeated by Vanze. After Layfon’s surgery, he is well enough to get discharged to go meet Kalian. Along the way, he bumps into Mayshen and it got a little awkward between them. She thanks him for always protecting him but starts crying upon thinking he won’t let her protect him. Is making lunch for him considered protecting him? As Layfon meets Kalian, he is told Zuellni is acting strange and has changed her path to a route with Filth Monsters. As usual Layfon is to destroy them but this time he will cooperate with Haia and his group. You see, that accident of buildings collapsing of Layfon could not be some mere accident. It could be a sign that the electronic fairy is dying and turning into a Haikizoku. If that is true, thus Haia and co’s service is needed. Haia introduces his psychokinesist, Fermaus Foa. He has another special ability and that is so sniff out Filth Monsters. Because he is exposed to the poisonous air outside, his skin and organs are messed up. But ironically he is alive and this gives hope that humans might find a solution to overcome the pollutants. Shena is really upset for this humiliating loss (poor locker bore the brunt of her punches) as Nina realizes she has relied too much on Layfon. Leerin’s father gives her a device that contains all techniques of Psyharden. Now she has a reason to deliver it to Layfon.

Episode 17
Nina receives word about Zuellni going berserk as well as Layfon heading out to fight Filth Monsters. Despite he just finished injury, Kalian says that they can only depend on him. Nina tells the rest of her platoon to go support Layfon. She can’t go as she has to find Zuellni. Inside the engine room, she falls into some deep hole and sees the goat taking Zuellni hostage. The goat is trying to seek a new master to justify its existence and wants Nina to reach him. Even if Nina isn’t interested, the goat still challenges her. Nina starts experiencing excruciating pain before passing out. Meanwhile Leerin is on her way to Zuellni. She realizes Savaris is on the same trip. Although he claims he is on an undercover mission, the truth is that Alsherya ordered him to protect Leerin no matter what. If she gets a little scratch, he will pay dearly. Also, he is to do whatever Leerin wishes. Felli contacts Layfon who seeks the help of his teammates to record the fighting and battle of Haia and his team. When the Filth Monsters awaken from their slumber, they start attacking. The 17th Platoon is in awe to see the perfect cooperation from the mercenary gang and even more so for Layfon since he is taking down Filth Monsters by himself. Although he still feels a little pain in his back since he just had surgery not too long ago. In no time, the Filth Monsters are destroyed. Vanze and his team are looking for Nina and since they cannot find her, they believe she has disappeared.

Episode 18
WTF?! Nina experiences some weird out of body experience thingy and next thing that shocks us, Zuellni kisses her?! WTF?! When Nina wakes up, she finds herself in another city, Myath. You mean nobody in this happy park noticed how she got here? Because Nina is missing, Layfon is working himself to the bone to destroy Filth Monsters and won’t rest. I guess this affected Felli too because now she collapses. Meanwhile Leerin and Savaris are also in Myath but the former arrested by Roy Entorio on grounds of possessing that Psyharden device. So it’s some stolen artefact? However she is free to roam around the city. This means bumping into Nina and then becoming friends fast. Layfon visits Felli in hospital. Caught her in the act of trying to touch his face while he was dozing off! As he leaves, Layfon gets shot. Strange things are happening in Myath. An electronic fairy appears, birds strangely swarm around it, the people are in panic over the incessant ringing of the siren and Nina being confronted by those hooded wolf men and trying to coax her to accept Aurora Field and disown some Riggzario belief. I don’t know how sharp Nina’s eyes are but she saw some device causing the strange phenomenon and hence risking her life to unplug that device! Do you know how f*cking dangerous is that?! And where the f*ck is Savaris?! Because it was Roy who saved her from her slip. So looks like everything returns to normal and Leerin gets this bird as an electronic fairy? Meanwhile Layfon is not amused Kalian shot him with a tranquilizer to rest. First he wanted him to fight and now he wants him to stop? Make up your mind! He explains at that time there were no options but now they have time. Since he is still stubborn, Kalian pins him down in a way that makes it look like BL gayness and tells him off he doesn’t care about the city or the future. The fact that Nina is missing and he is running away from reality. Layfon is in shock but that shut him up. Kalian gives his speech to his fellow citizens to fight against the Filth Monsters. Felli offers to help Layfon in any way but he declines.

Episode 19
Dixerio helps Nina defeat the enemies and hints Leerin is the only one who can stop that goat in her. We see Roy’s true colours as he is now chasing Leerin for that device. Why does he have that rape face? However Leerin knows his ‘weakness’ by making that pen clicking sound. Yeah… Roy rants about coming face to face with a real Filth Monster and ran for his life. That is unacceptable cowardice for a Military Artist. Nina just pops back and Roy runs away scared. I suppose anybody would after seeing her Super Saiyan aura. Nina explains to Leerin about Riggzario, a system in her homeland, Schneibel that is mechanically attached to its electronic spirit’s womb and creates other electronic fairies. Nina starts feeling pain from the Super Saiyan aura. Roy is still fleeing but is stopped by Savaris. He turns into a sadist by breaking his bones just to make him feel close to death. Because here is a Filth Monster breaking in just in time. It’s a miracle Roy didn’t die from heart attack as Savaris laughs at its destruction. Soon after, Savaris clashes with Haia. Leerin thought she had helped cheered Nina’s depression but that goat inside her starts acting up again. Hence Myath (the electronic fairy) tells Leerin to pray. Heh. Like that would help. YOU MEAN IT WORKED?! Oh well, Nina’s gone and transported to another dimension again. At the same time, Kalian lectures Layfon about other Military Artists risking their own lives because of their own pride despite knowing the chances of victory is near zero. He doesn’t want Layfon to leave his reasons for fighting to someone else. Felli then detects Zuellni (the electronic fairy) above them. Dixerio has this vague and confusing but brief explanation why strange monsters appear in her world. He says there is the origin of an electronic fairy residing inside her and to at least help protect it. Dixerio sends Nina back to her world. Diving down from above, Nina realizes how devastated her world is. You mean she doesn’t know? If she has left her own home, she would have at least seen all the devastation with her eyes. Unless she was asleep… Now that Layfon is ‘revved up’, he goes on a Filth Monster killing spree. Nina sees him in action. Layfon sees her falling down. OMG! They go to each other and give a big hug. Like as though they’ve never seen each other for years. Like as though there was long lost romance between them. Was there?!

Episode 20
Zuellni is moving away from the horde of Filth Monsters, electronic fairy seems normal, Haikizoku is gone and Nina is back. And nobody can explain why. Nina’s teammates are glad she is fine but now wants to know what happened. It isn’t that Nina doesn’t want to tell them. Rather, she doesn’t know how to explain it. Yeah, like describing colour, eh? So until that day comes when she can express herself, believe in her. Yeah… Nina is perhaps lost too as she seeks Dinn’s advice. Easy for her to ask and even show her emotions. Because vegetable state people don’t talk back. Meanwhile Haia receives a letter from Grendan and he is not pleased. It states a Heavens Blade wielder will bring the Haikizoku back to Grendan and this means Haia’s gang is no longer needed. Haia decides to settle an old score first. Busy day for Layfon because Gorneo requests him to train Shante and then another training with Nina. Felli doesn’t buy all that believe crap as she finds it unbelievable that when Nina came back, she looked so happy and everybody accepted everything without question. I think she’s talking about Layfon especially. Yeah, because he believes in Nina… Myath is seen approaching at it is believed they will be their next inter-city battle. Wait a minute. You mean there is no fixed schedule? Why is everybody acting so surprised? And of course with Myath in sight, Leerin and Savaris finally make their way to Zuellni. The night before the match, Felli is kidnapped by Haia as he leaves a message for Layfon alone to go meet him for a rematch. I’m sure we all know which Layfon will choose. This only proves that Layfon is so valuable and depended upon that I guess Kalian as to order Vanze to devise a winnable strategy without Layfon. Uh huh. This shows they really plan on using him and never saw it coming he will not participate.

Episode 21
So the plan for Layfon’s replacement is Gorneo and Shante? Not sure if this is an insult. Meanwhile Haia’s mercenaries are not pleased to learn about the letter from Grendan. Furthermore, what Haia is doing will only bring about to the group’s downfall. But Haia doesn’t care as he views the group will be disbanding anyway. They can return to Grendan and get the reward money and go home. Some pride thingy for Haia that he is doing all this. Do we care? Do we need to give some sympathy for this meaningless showdown? Oh well, Layfon is here as expected. Time for the epic fight. At the same time, Myath suddenly changes its course. This means the inter-city battle is put on hold and Kalian orders Nina to go assist Layfon. Layfon and Haia are on equal footing since they came from the same school. Not sure if Felli jinxed it because after she breaks out of her confinement, only to see Layfon getting slashed in the shoulder. Then we hear Haia rant how he has nothing. No friends, no home to return to. He sounds jealous of Layfon because he got to be Heavens Blade wielder as well as Psyharden but threw it all away easily. What’s this about proving that his father, Ryuhou who is also his master is not inferior to Derek who was Layfon’s master? What’s this about Ryuhou being happy when Layfon became a Heavens Blade wielder but that won’t do because Haia had to be the one to smile to father? Huh?! So this is his excuse to beat Layfon? Not sure if all that jinxed Haia since Layfon powers up and slashes a brutal one across his body. Layfon would have finished him off had not Myunfa come to his protection. Can’t leave him. Even his mercenaries too. Aww, you had friends all along, right? WTF. Do we need some unneeded cheesy romance now? Layfon returns to Felli. Sorry for worrying you. I think she’s too shaken to beat him up. Oh Nina, you slowpoke only just arrive when everything is over? Suddenly Layfon is slapped. Not by Felli. Not by Nina. It’s Leerin! She is disappointed he hasn’t changed. Still carrying the burden all on his own and nobody is happy. Boy, this is going to get complicated. Meanwhile the reason why Myath changed its course is because of the appearance of Grendan.

Episode 22
There is a possibility that Zuellni have to fight Grendan and if that happens, everyone believes Zuellni has no chance against a full-fledged city. Leerin talks to Layfon recuperating in hospital. He learns about Nina meeting her before and somehow popped up in Myath. Elsewhere Savaris meets Gorneo to inform he is here to retrieve the Haikizoku. He then starts waxing lyrical about Layfon but badmouths Gorneo as mediocre. The real kicker is when Savaris says Gahard is dead because he killed him. Gorneo refuses to believe him and experiences an emotional breakdown. Zuellni goes berserk as the worst possible outcome happens. It is moving towards Grendan. Hence Kalian calls Layfon and his platoon to meet. Leerin won’t let Layfon go and believes Grendan might be here just to take Layfon back (Grendan has not replied to any communications). Perhaps Alsherya has forgiven him. But with smooth words from Layfon that he wants to do this for everybody, how do you make a girl accept whatever you want to do? You kiss her! At least on her cheek. Oh Leerin, now you’re only starting to think why the hell you came here for? The 17th Platoon (minus Nina) meet with Kalian as Layfon tells Kalian about what Leerin told him about Nina being on Myath. All this makes sense as Zuellni was able to move again when she got back. The question is when the Haikizoku resided inside her. Kalian theorizes both the electronic fairy and Haikizoku have been living inside her. There have been some balance all this time but something disrupted that balance. The only way is to remove the Haikizoku from her but fears she might end up like Dinn. Speaking of Nina, she is experiencing pain and it’s that goat again. Suddenly a Filth Monster appears out from an Aurora in the sky. Alsherya believes this is no ordinary Filth Monster as it somewhat waited after Leerin left for Zuellni makes it look more orchestrated than coincidence. Kalian authorizes to fire the cannon at the Filth Monster. It takes a direct hit but so does Nina?

Episode 23
Felli detects the Filth Monster is still alive. It is believed the cannon split its heart and it will soon revive. Vanze suggests it is better to deploy troops to finish it off but with Grendan around, I guess Kalian authorizes the use of the cannon. Here is the thing. Nina is reported to have escaped from Zuellni and hence the city has stopped moving. Kalian orders 17th Platoon to bring her back within 2 hours because that is when the cannon will finish recharging and fire again. Otherwise they will get vaporized by the cannon. Zuellni is more important than a few lives, right? And once Nina is back, they’ll immediately have to extract Haikizoku out or in worst case, Zuellni. She might end up like Dinn but hey, Zuellni is more important than a few lives, right? Ironically Felli was supposed to stay out of this mission and when she wanted to join, Kalian objected. So he can sacrifice everybody else except his sister, eh? Felli stubbornly does not listen and joins her teammates. Meanwhile Dixerio and foulmouthed Heavens Blade wielder, Barmelin Swattis Nolne are fighting off those hooded wolf men. Dixerio blames them for killing everything he believes and those who betrayed him but they are hell bent on reviving Ignatius and destroy the Riggzario belief. Meanwhile Leerin realizes she really needs to hand Psyharden to Layfon. She had her chances and she didn’t give it to him until this emergency? Thankfully Naruki helps bring her to Gorneo. Nina is following the goat. Where the heck did she get the goat mask? When Layfon finds her, she attacks him. Of course he beats her and she returns to normal. He brings her back as she tells him her dilemma. She wants to protect the things she loves and wants to be strong. But with the Haikizoku inside her, she is scared to think what will happen to her. She’s not the only one with problems. Time for Layfon to tell his. There was a time he gave up fighting and now he is paying the price. Because the illegal underground matches are like betrayal to Derek, he banned himself from using Psyharden. But the last battle made him feel he needs to use it. He hasn’t atoned for his sins yet and the people haven’t forgiven him yet. Nina’s answer: Don’t entrust your reason to fight to your weapon. So basically, believe in yourself? After Layfon hands over Nina to his platoon, he returns to the battlefield. The Filth Monster has revived in 2 and some Heavens Blade wielders are already engaging it. Oh, the cannon is just about ready to fire again.

Episode 24
Gorneo argues Leerin’s act is useless because Layfon has only been using swords ever since coming to Zuellni. This has Leerin feeling sad again. Even so, she has to deliver it to him. So if Gorneo wants to hate somebody, hate them for making Layfon this way. When a girl cries and begs this much, I guess a guy has to do it. Shante still objects. Even if Gorneo’s reason is that Layfon is fighting to protect Zuellni, Shante is still not convinced. Zuellni can get destroyed for all she cared. He reminds her that whenever it came down to picking Zuellni or Grendan, he would always choose the former because that is where Shante comes from. And just like that monkey girl accepts all he says. Meanwhile Savaris is torturing Nina in hopes of luring the Haikizoku out. She could have died had not Layfon intervened. The Haikizoku gets kicked out and possesses Savaris. Yeah, he is thrilled to have this power. So much so, some barriers activate, cleansing the toxic air around? With newfound powers, Savaris toys around with Layfon. Via Felli’s psychokinesis, Leerin informs Layfon she is on the way to hand him Psyharden. He still wants to argue he can’t use it? He is still sticking to his principals? Until Leerin says she doesn’t want to regret making the trip here and fluffing chances to hand it to him. I guess he has to now, eh? Layfon could have lost until the Heavens Blade in the queen’s chamber that belongs to Saya, flies out into Layfon’s hands. Huh?! He uses it to blast Savaris into the sky! From the look of Savaris’ oh-sh*t face, he didn’t expect that, did he?

Leerin arrives too late to hand him the Psyharden. But Layfon is glad she is alive. Hug cue. Combining the Psyharden with Saya’s, Layfon achieves his ultimate Heavens Blade! Good timing for him to put it to good use. Because the other Heavens Blade wielders are all having their hands full and one of the Filth Monsters escaped. It flies towards Zuellni and starts destroying it. Kalian orders the evacuation and hopes Grendan will take in his people. Once all is evacuated, Kalian will activate and destroy the core and take out the Filth Monster. Hey, 1 loss of life better than the entire city, right? Too bad Kalian won’t be that hero as Layfon rides on his Heavens Blade to destroy the monster! Okay, it’s a teamwork effort with the cannon ready to fire and the Heavens Blade wielders going in for the final attack. In the aftermath, we see Dixerio telling Nina about the messenger of Ignatius sent to destroy Regios. As long as they fight here, they will never die. Grendan moves away from Zuellni and has retrieved Leerin. Savaris is said to have left and disappeared but they’re confident he’ll come back. Layfon gets ‘rewarded’ by Felli with a kick in the shin for his cheesy love scene with Leerin. WTF?! We learn Alsherya takes an interesting to protect Leerin because she might be her daughter of her fiancé who escaped somewhere! Oh, some complicated family history I don’t want to hear… As Filth Monsters are not from this world, the key to fight them lies in Leerin’s right eye. Zuellni is being rebuilt as everyone resumes their normal lives. Layfon writes to Leerin and hopes one day they can meet again on Grendan.

Regios In The Middle Of Nowhere: Now And Then, Here And There And Everywhere!
Well… Uhm… Did you understand all that? I certainly don’t. So everything in the last episode seems timed so coincidentally that it looked like plot convenience. All for the sake for Layfon to wield his Psyharden and Heavens Blade again. From the attacking of the Filth Monster, Savaris going berserk and the near destruction of Zuellni. So yeah. Make peace with yourself, fight for yourself and move forward. It’s not like they solved the problem of the Filth Monster or that Ignatius thingy. So can we continue with the inter-city battle now that everything is over? Oh, looks like it is cancelled forever. And seeing Zuellni walking towards the dusty sunset amidst the toxic air… Wow, what a way to end.

I find it hard to follow what this series is actually about. With the series heading into its final stretch, I was even more confused on what this whole story was about. Was it about the Filth Monsters? Didn’t look like it. Was it about the Regios cities? Not really. Not even Zuellni. Then was it about electronic fairies and Haikizoku? Don’t really know. Was it about the inter-city battles? Definitely it didn’t go close to that. Was it about Layfon then? Not really sure about that. And then there’s that Riggzario and Ignatius thingy throw into the mix to further complicate things. And Filth Monsters not from this world? Oh. Can’t blame our pollutions that create them now, eh? If that’s the case, we’re talking about alien invasion now? But since it is already at the end, I couldn’t care less. So perhaps maybe it is all and a bit of everything but it all feels so disjointed that I couldn’t really put it all together to see the bigger picture. Or maybe I’m just too dumb and didn’t pay enough attention.

Making this whole thing even confusing is that I found out the anime went for a totally different route than its light novel source. Hence there were complaints about how many things were not fully explained. Although the light novel has already ended long ago, it was still ongoing while the anime was still airing so I suppose they had to somewhat give some sort of conclusion or closure at least for the anime. Too bad it wasn’t a good one. I know they want to pay tribute to a staff who died during the production of this anime but I don’t think it has anything to do with the story. It just felt like an excuse that we will forgive this crappy ending if they put up this dedication because we can’t be mean to dead people, right?

One of the main problems that left me and many confused is how the basics of this world’s settings are not explained. Especially the inter-city battles. I thought this was going to be a staple of the series but as said in my previous paragraphs, it wasn’t about that. You see, I started having this confusion when I realized that the cities do not seem to have a fixed schedule to battle each other. It’s like whenever they coincidentally run into each other, hence a battle will take place. Because the cities’ path is somewhat predetermined (unless the electronic fairy goes out of control), so I suppose they can tell which city they will bump into next. This is what I think and I could be wrong. Even more mind boggling is when Grendan entered the picture just before Zuellni and Myath’s inter-city battle. Like, WTF?! Is there a rule saying that Grendan can intercept any battle? And Grendan is like the big boss because all the top elite warriors are there, no wonder nobody wants to mess with them. I wonder where Myath ‘ran away’ too at the end because hell, we sure haven’t heard from them since.

I also understand that the inter-city battles are to fight for scarce minerals and the winning city has the right to take all that the loser has to offer. Yeah well, it makes me wonder where they get the minerals and if the loser is left without any vital resources, wouldn’t they eventually end up being abandoned and destroyed? So why bother with the inter-city battles anyway? Why don’t just be pirates and plunder? Geez, the inter-city matches feel like an excuse to justify ‘stealing’ resources. Like, WTF?! Isn’t this why again nobody wants to mess with Grendan? Shouldn’t everybody be pooling their resources to fight against the Filth Monsters? Oh right. Politics, conspiracies, human greed… I guess humans never changed after all.

For more confusion, I am sure that most of us watching the series would notice another ‘series’ running inside this series itself. At first I thought this was a separate story that would somehow gradually link up with the main one. Adding to the confusion is that in every episode, this segment pops up once as and when it likes and ends abruptly. It feels very strange not only in terms of setting and the sepia-like film colour, but everyone here speaks in weird English accent. It doesn’t feel like Japanese speaking Engrish but more like non-English speaking Caucasians like say, Russians. Hence sometimes their English isn’t clearly audible thanks to that weird accent but thank goodness for the subtitles. Later on this confusing segment turns out to be some sort of TV show that our characters are watching. The abrupt ending stems from not enough money being put into the TV box and hence the programme suddenly cutting off. Is this some sort of running joke? However there might be some connection to what is happening in the main storyline (it’s related to Saya) but I’m still unsure how. But if you really want to catch what the heck all that was happening in this story, there was a 3 episode OVA released back in 2009 called the Legend of Regios. Not that I’m really interested to watch this ‘horror’ series.

The characters are also a contributing factor to the series’ problem. In short, everybody has their own sort of problems and inner demons to deal with. Take for instance Layfon. I don’t really understand behind the logic of his banishment and yes, illegal underground matches seem legit for his banishment but knowing he is one of the powerful Heavens Blade wielder, surely that can’t seem to be the reason, right? It makes it all sound petty and unrealistic. So I’m not sure if this is part of his character development, to see a guy who think he can start anew but realizes he has to follow his destiny because it is the right and only thing he can do. It’s like he was trying to appease anyone but when it comes to himself, he doesn’t go easy. Whatever. Layfon is said to be the best asset of his platoon and possibly all of Zuellni, so much so he is so relied upon and without him it’s like his platoon is guaranteed to lose, maybe Zuellni hasn’t actually meet anybody else stronger. Maybe that’s why they lost the last inter-city battle and it’s a miracle they’re still afloat.

Then there is Nina who seems to be inhabited by Zuellni and the goat. Is this what you call get one’s goat? It sure makes her act and play the goat. Haha. I don’t really understand this electronic fairy and Haikizoku thingy because with Nina being the core of this, hence the drama and problems that are much needed to move this series forward. I can’t remember Felli’s role except for being the psychokinesist user to detect and report things from afar and someone who likes to ‘bully’ Layfon. Those shin kicking must be a trademark of hers now, eh? Layfon is so strong that no wonder these girls like him even if they don’t want to admit it. Is romance some sort of side distraction here? Because that is what it feels for Mayshen. Aside from the whatever conspiracies this series has, a little one-sided romance should provide some little distraction. Until that near accident, I guess Mayshen is now sitting on the side-lines. Not forgetting Leerin, the old childhood sweetheart. It’s like her existence in this anime is just to come deliver a sword to Layfon and I don’t know what sort of disappointed complication made her unable to do it. I mean, what do you expect to see changed in Layfon? Do you know what he had to go through in Zuellni for him to somewhat remain the same? Or is he? Geez girl, just say you like him and let’s get over this cheesy part, shall we?

Sharnid has his own past too but it is mostly eclipsed by the rest as I don’t really understand about his former promise to protect Zuellni. Isn’t that the wish of almost if not every citizen on Zuellni? I guess this is so that they could hint some budding romance with Shena because ever since she joined the 17th Platoon, that’s all I ever see their relationship. I mean, being the boyfriend of a guy in vegetable state won’t do her any good, right? But it’s not like she’s all into him either. Not yet. Maybe just playing hard to get. After all, Sharnid has this playboy reputation. Harley feels like the most insignificant member of 17th Platoon since he is mechanic, hence a nerd. Nothing exciting to see here for this guy. Let’s move along.

Every harem lover wants to be Kalian because of his flock of beauties serving him in the student council body. So excellent his leadership that he even has girls holding up the phone’s receiver as he talks! But nobody touches his sister. Or else… Ironically he is willing to sacrifice anything and do what it needs to protect Zuellni but there are times he contradicts himself because sometimes he is willing to sacrifice Felli but at other times he is not. So does this show he cares about her? Siscon… It’s a good thing he need not sacrifice himself for Zuellni at the end, right? Thanks, Layfon. We knew we could always count on you.

Feeling wasted are the Heavens Blade wielders. They look like an interesting bunch of weirdoes, each with their own unique power but with Savaris acting strangely and even Alsherya feeling like she is some sneaky queen b*tch, what are the chances the other Heavens Blade wielder are going to be even weirder? I don’t know if it was part of the real story or just canon when Savaris turned into some twisted antagonist in the end. It felt just to screw with our minds and then he got Team Rocket’s treatment. Like, WTF… And Alsherya is like playing Synola so she could have the freedom to grope girls’ boobs. Her favourite hobby. What’s this about her complicated family matters? Yeah, whatever. It’s amazing nobody recognizes the queen on Grendan. It’s not like she has put on some amazing disguise or anything. If the people find out about her molesting, will she have to banish herself? Hey, she’s the queen! She does whatever she wants!

Other characters feel redundant or insignificant. Like Dixerio. Is it Dick Stereo, what again? What the heck is he supposed to be and do in this anime? I’m not even sure. That’s why it got so confusing when he pops up fighting those hooded wolf men. Can’t see the connection with Nina and the goat, that’s for sure. And then there is Haia and his mercenaries. It’s like they need to prolong and fit into the double dozen episodes so they had this side distraction of Haia as some jealous disciple out to get revenge on Layfon. Like it really matters? They failed their mission to retrieve the Haikizoku. He failed to beat Haia. Can they all go home now? I thought Fermaus would be important with his kind of weird appearance and introduction but come to think of it, without him the series would still go on. Haia would still have his rogue fight with Layfon. Without Haia’s distraction, I think the series could have cut down a few episodes. Remind me again about Gorneo? What about him having issues with his brother? What’s this about Shante trying to snare anyone she doesn’t like and being overprotective over Gorneo? Mifi and Naruki fall into obscurity after a while. They only seem significant during fillers but otherwise forgettable till the end.

The action parts are just okay. Average to best I can say. Even if it is 2009 material. Sometimes it feels that the fights with the Filth Monsters are the cue and diversion needed in this series from time to time. So in order to remind us that there are dangerous monsters out there roaming the wastelands, hence the plot convenience is summoned for our warriors and especially Layfon to show what they’ve got. It would have been somewhat better if we have a bit more spotlight on these Filth Monsters, like their habitat and growth stages (instead of just briefly skimming through them) but they are treated like garbage to be disposed of. Sure, they are but being humanity’s greatest threat, you’d think they would shed some more light on this. Oh right, humanity’s greatest threat is themselves. As for the battles among platoons, it doesn’t feel exciting because I don’t really see anything exciting with this capture the flag game. Thankfully they never last long. Nina is always at the front, Sharnid in sniping position, Felli hiding somewhere to relay info and Layfon too at the frontline to just cut down his foes. Makes Nina’s job so much easier. Now you know why she really wants him. And Harley is just like tuning their Dites before and after.

Art and animation, well it’s from the last decade so I guess after watching so many recent animes, you could really see the obvious ‘advancement’ in today’s animation quality. The look and feel of the animation really gives that dated feel. You know the characters look they are from that era with their really one kind looks. Like Nina looking a bit too masculine, Layfon with his overly spikey hair (I guess it is a must for some main characters), Shena with those killer drill locks and the rest of the Heavens Blade wielders feel like a big cosplay group. Yeah, weird indeed. The Filth Monsters do look terrifying in their own right. But sometimes I can’t help feel they are taken inspiration from Starship Troopers. This series is animated by Zexcs who did Sukitte Ii Na Yo, Itsuka Tenma No Kuro Usagi, Aku No Hana, Mangaka-san To Assistant-san and Legend Of The Legendary Heroes.

I recognized some of the seiyuus here like Nobuhiko Okamoto as Layfon (one of his least angry character roles), Takehito Koyasu as Kalian, Daisuke Sakaguchi as Harley, Junichi Suwabe as Savaris, Mikako Takahashi as Leerin, Kouji Yusa as Roy and almost missed it for Mai Nakahara as Felli (reminds me of Sola’s Aono). I didn’t realize it was Ami Koshimizu behind Shante. The other casts are Ayahi Takagaki as Nina (Chris in Senki Zesshou Symphogear), Kishou Taniyama as Sharnid (Jean in Shingeki No Kyojin), Yui Kano as Shena (Momoko in Sumomomo Momomo), Akeno Watanabe is Alsherya (Rito in To Love-Ru), Hajime Iijima as Gorneo (Gakushu in Ikkitousen), Takuma Terashima as Haia (Shiroe in Log Horizon), Youji Ueda as Vanze (Usui in Sayonar Zetsubou Sensei), Kousuke Toriumi as Dinn (Chopin in ClassicaLoid), Asuka Oogame as Mayshen (Rina in Photokano), Eri Sendai as Mifi (Triela in Gunslinger Girl), Fuyuka Oura as Naruki (Ren/Run in To Love-Ru) and Hiro Yuuki as Dixerio (Ootake in Toriko).

The opening theme is Brave Your Truth by Daisy x Daisy. Typical techno music that suits the pace of the series well. Somehow in some ways the song reminds me of Soul Link’s opener, Screaming. The first opening theme is Yasashii Uso by Chrome Shelled (yes, a band that was formed just for this anime). Usually the song is sung with a duet either with Felli, Nina or Leerin. I somewhat prefer this slow rock piece compared to the second ending theme, Ai No Zuellni also by the same band with differing duet versions with either one of those trio. Ai No Zuellni is a slow ballad that I feel just doesn’t fit the series well. The song is not bad but I’d rather hear Yasashii Uso many times.

Overall, largely confusing series with uninspiring characters, unexplained stuffs and plots that are just everywhere makes it an unenjoyable watch. Sad to say, the parts I ‘enjoyed’ most are the fillers of Layfon and his unofficial harem together. But that too ends up going nowhere. Sometimes you wished that Felli would just repeatedly kicked this series in hopes of perhaps getting back to its original track but as we can see that a decade later there is no announcement of any sort of sequel. We can’t even bring Restoration to its DVDs too. Maybe Mortal Engines may remind some diehard fans for its timely revival… It’s not surprising since a few animes these days are getting a total remake and reboot. But I don’t really think this series is famous enough to warrant that. And at this point, it could have wandered off into the wastelands until it fell prey to Filth Monsters and left to rot forever and forgotten. Any hope for Restoration?

RErideD: Tokigoe No Derrida

January 20, 2019

I didn’t think I would try my hands at watching another sci-fi themed anime. At least not after the disastrous Beatless that had me confused and not understanding everything. But don’t worry. At least RErideD: Tokigoe No Derrida isn’t about artificial intelligence. It is about time travelling. Yeah, it’s in the title. Oh no. Are we going to tackle that time paradox and its other issues? Too bad I didn’t have the ability to jump to the future to see whether I will understand or enjoy this show but I have a hunch of how it is going to turn out based on my guts and past experience. So why still watch this? Sometimes when the synopsis is worded in a very interesting manner, the only way to settle that curiosity is to find it out yourself. Only time will tell…

Episode 1
Derrida Yvain meets his fellow colleague, Nathan Bilstein. It seems their previous meeting with their boss, Hans Andrei, their suggestion to find a solution to a bug in the DZ automata was rejected. Hence he will not allow a recall of those robots. The only choice now they have is to see Derrida’s father, Jacques who spent half his life creating DZ. But first, we got to celebrate the birthday of Mage, Nathan’s daughter. She is joined with her friend, Yuri Dietrich. At the end of the day, it seems Nathan wants Derrida to join in some experiment of his but he refuses. Mage even talks to him about his idea of time travelling and its possibilities. She seeks an answer why he won’t work with her father but he dodges the question. Next day when Derrida sees Jacques to point out his views and flaws, he is told not to delve into this deeper. This only makes Derrida angry and thinks he is in cohorts with Andrei. Derrida throws a fit that dad never acknowledged him and did everything only for his own gains. More woes as Nathan calls Derrida to tell that Mage is in coma. Although her condition is stable, it seems last night she tried to do an experiment by herself. Deep into the night, Derrida receives a distress call by Nathan. Both men pack their stuffs and run. Apparently Andrei has orders for them to be killed. You see, their worst fears of DZ has come true as it has been used as military weapons. I guess they know why Andrei was so reluctant for a recall, huh? And since they know about the bug, hence he wants them silenced forever. But when Derrida says he gave their access card to Mage after the party, you mean Nathan got so worried he tried to turn the car around that he overturned it?! Ah, cliché moment for Andrei and his goons to pop up before them. He is going to frame Derrida for killing Nathan before killing himself. Derrida sees a strange vision of Mage before the goons fire at the car. You mean the explosion only knocks Derrida off the cliff? Trekking through the forest, again he sees a vision of Mage but this time he falls through some shaft and into some deserted lab. If Derrida wanted to rest, of all things he could rest, why lie in the most suspicious chamber ever???!!! Because of that, it activates and he is frozen to sleep. Not sure how much time have passed but he wakes up. Yeah, somebody left a timepiece on his chamber. Derrida is shocked to see the world as destroyed and Terminator-like robots roaming the dystopia.

Episode 2
If the robots fire at you, they aren’t your friends. Wow. Derrida can run and hide faster! I suppose when your life depends on it. Luckily he is saved by this tough old dude, Vidaux Volker. Derrida learns 10 years have passed and this is all the result of the war from those DZs. At first everyone was excited but hell then occurred and the only ones benefiting from this is the one who sold it and became rich. Vidaux wants compensation if Derrida is going to make it out here alive. That’s the price of his life. Can’t say no, right? They return to Vidaux’s daughter, Mayuka and they make their escape in his Knight Rider knockoff, Graham. Mayuka tries to scan his chip but he has no ID whatsoever, shocking them as they think he is dead. Meanwhile Andrei is still the despicable boss and he gets shocked to learn Derrida’s survival is detected. Wow. So high tech. Back at Vidaux’s base, Derrida rues of being set up. He realizes something amiss. He passed the patch to Jacques to fix the DZ bug so why isn’t it fixed yet? Oh right. He didn’t. Jacques also got hit, right? Also, the key to that patch was given to Mage. It means everyone is still searching for this. He wants Vidaux to take him to Mage but he won’t do it unless compensated. Derrida says he will give that file for him to sell and make a fortune. They make their way to Nathan’s home. Destroyed. Again Derrida sees a vision of Mage but this time she speaks. She is not Mage but Ange. As he looks around, suddenly he is apprehended by a girl. He recognizes that voice as Yuri and thinks she won’t shoot as it is a toy gun. She fires. It’s real! Meanwhile Andrei has hired an assassin babe, Donna to kill Derrida. He wants his death swift and quiet. Nobody must even know about it! I guess he is desperate enough to pay her advance. Luckily Yuri’s shot missed. At first she finds it hard to believe he is Derrida since it has been 10 years. He asks about Mage’s whereabouts. Well, guess what? She’s dead.

Episode 3
Yuri shows the grave of Mage. Can’t believe it, right? You know, if Donna really wanted to kill them, she would have just shot them from afar instead of approaching them and making her presence known. Vidaux fights her before they escape in Graham. Before you can accuse of Donna trying to be flashy, she actually calls Andrei that she can’t kill Derrida quietly! Hence Donna using her military drone to blast Graham to smithereens until they lost her in some mini cave. Thank goodness there is some underground resupply station to fix Graham and looks like Vidaux is going to have to charge Derrida extra as a bodyguard from Donna. Then they head to town where all the survivors resettled to get some more supplies. I suppose Yuri know believes Derrida is the real deal so she brings him to where she and Mage once lived together. In this little apartment she explains that when war came, her parents left for abroad. You mean somehow they were convinced and allowed to let Yuri and Mage stay behind???!!! WTF???!!! As they stayed here, men kept visiting them asking about Derrida. Which is odd because the official news said he died. Yuri reveals the real truth: Mage is still alive. The grave she created was just a decoy as she knew men were after them. Mage went missing last autumn and Yuri was looking for her. You mean it took them 9 years to do something? As Derrida leaves the building, another annoying vision of Ange. Can’t speak this time but she hints something. Thinking Yuri is in danger, he returns only to see the building explode! Oh, Yuri hanging on the edge. Lucky for her, Derrida is there to catch her. Just in time to escape with the gang, huh? Donna calls Andrei and she doesn’t like him hiring others for her prey. She warns she will kill everybody who gets in her way. Derrida doesn’t want Yuri to get involved anymore and will look for Mage himself. However Yuri has decided to join the search even if it is dangerous. I mean, her home got blown and she has nowhere to go, right? So who is going to pay foot this extra cost for Vidaux? Put it all on Derrida’s tabs! Man, this guy better have deep pockets…

Episode 4
To make another patch, Derrida needs the necessary equipment. Something that only Rebuild (the company Derrida worked for and is now mass producing DZs) has. After the war, Rebuild has become the largest defence contractor of the country. And because Rebuild only has internet access, I guess that’s the excuse they need to sneak in. So what’s the use of the company only being connected but not the rest of the outside world? They sneak in via a creepy tunnel connected to the main building. There are lots of DZ robots too but since they are low on battery, try not to provoke them. You really think a car can go through the rubble without making noises? Yeah, eventually ramming through them is the best option. Remember, they are low on battery and can’t pursue further. With Derrida’s hacking skills, the guys easily sneak in. Yeah, security has not even changed for the last 10 years! Vidaux warns Derrida if he is here purely for revenge, he is out. Would his fee be waived then? Guess what? The passwords and workplace of Derrida and Nathan are still the same and unchanged?! WTF?! No wonder Derrida can even access the data! But first, your creepy Ange premonition again. What she’s saying about Mage waiting for him?! Can she be more specific?! Anyway, Derrida sees some horrifying info. They download and escape but looks like they’ve been discovered. Thank goodness it is human security so it took some time to alert. Uh huh. Enough for the guys to run out and rendezvous with Graham outside!!! WTF security???!!! Plus, can a few bullet shots stop a vault door from closing???!!! WTF security???!!! Back home when they plug in the data, Derrida realizes a horrifying thing. It seems the bug was planted in there intentionally. All higher ups and the government except Jacques ratified it. Thus the DZ rampage was engineered from the very start. I guess it makes sense why nobody is searching for the patch file. As Derrida doesn’t want to drag them deeper into this, he parts ways. Oh, he’ll somehow pay his dues. Somehow Vidaux doesn’t view this as revenge, he opts to stay in. No charge? I guess he’ll sell the patents once he clears his name. Later Derrida and Yuri talk about Mage’s birthday. He remembered he came early but Yuri said he came late and had video proof of it. Derrida wonders if he changed past with this time ride and experienced a different past.

Episode 5
Conveniently we have info on Mage’s whereabouts. She was last seen at the museum at Vanfort. Oh good. It’s conveniently close by. But first Vidaux stops by somewhere in Vidaux to take some of his stuff. A robo pup goes on alert but when it detects Vidaux, it goes into support mode. It seems Vidaux was once an officer and this was his support dog? At the museum, Derrida remembers strange memories of being here with Jacques. Was he here actually? I guess there is still power running so they get to see the beautiful planetarium stars. Of course Donna is here to hunt her prey so Vidaux holds her off while Derrida and Yuri go do the necessary. Derrida is guided by his weird memories to the main control room where they easily and conveniently download CCTV footage of Mage in the building. They would have left after they’ve done their business but those weird memories once again makes Derrida acting up. He remembers for real he was actually here with dad to view the launch of the first automata prototype. And damn that Ange now pops up. What the f*ck is she saying about 2 people’s timelines never overlapped? This damn excuse allows Derrida to go back in time when he met dad for the last time. Because he knows the future, he tries to warn him about Andrei’s intention and the bug. Actually, Jacques already knew everything. He wants Derrida to escape himself because he has a responsible to see through this DZ bug thingy. I guess time is up because now Derrida returns to reality. Save the regrets for later because Vidaux and Donna’s fight is getting more intense. Luckily robo pup saves them and with lady luck on their side, they manage to escape and Donna pinned under some rubbles. Don’t count on her staying there forever. Back in Graham, Vidaux shows a photo of his young ex-partner. His father was a cop and commissioned him to retrieve it as it is the only record left from when he was alive. Looking at the museum’s footage, they see Mage talking to a man. Such clear footage that Derrida could identify him as Cassiel.

Episode 6
Derrida tells us he is experimenting on time ride. Based on the Trout Theory, you can send your consciousness back to your past self. With Graham’s circuits blown, looks like it’s a job for father and daughter to find the parts in the next city. Since it will take all night, Derrida and Yuri have to find some place to hide for the moment. In an abandoned building, Derrida explains more about time ride and its requirements is to vividly recall certain memories. I guess now Derrida is an expert in using time ride as he just vividly remembers and whoosh! Back in time. However using time ride a few times, he doesn’t seem to be able to change anything. Firstly, he notices if he tries to do something really different from the original, he will be pushed back to reality. Secondly, even if he did change something, how could he tell? But something during one of those time rides has Yuri taking notes down so this gives Derrida an idea. He writes down the current status of Jacques, Nathan and Mage. If he uses time ride and their status changed, it would mean it worked. Derrida tries time ride for a few times but will not go back earlier to when he completed the key access as it will be no point. Unfortunately nothing seems to have changed. At least the dead are still dead and Mage is still missing. When Derrida remembers that night being late for Mage’s birthday, he realizes this is another set of memories. Because of him using time ride, the timeline branched out. So now he has 2 sets of memories? With nothing important changing, Derrida deduces if he changed his actions, naturally others would change theirs too. Late in the night, it seems Yuri has been hiding a grave secret. She was the one who accessed the key access and Mage found out about it. Hence she blames herself for people targeting Mage and not Derrida. I don’t know why she is running away but looks like she got kidnapped. Next morning, Mayuka is frantic looking for Yuri. Not around. I guess Derrida didn’t even realize it. Sleeping the whole night, eh? So makes them think she is gone? There. She dropped her precious camera.

Episode 7
Vidaux believes Yuri and the people who kidnapped her will be in Bruque as it is the nearest town. This is where they’re headed too so they could get Graham fixed by their old mechanic friend, Klaus Baden. So they went to get this monster trailer to haul Graham to Bruque? Derrida asks around about Yuri but nobody knows. Yeah, he just missed a spot because in that building, Yuri is being held and interrogated by Schmidt Maier of the Union Intelligence Bureau (UIB). He wants Derrida’s patch file. He was assumed dead and the file lost until someone accessing the patch file online was detected a year ago (Yuri accidentally accessing it). The UIB wants it to turn the tides of war in their favour. His predecessor was the one who bombed her apartment as they believed of killing those before the data falls into the enemies’ hands. He promises to not harm Derrida if he gives the file. With Derrida yielding no result, it seems Vidaux has done his own snooping. He noticed UIB men looking for Derrida and with Yuri as hostage, they’ll use it against him. There are also rumours about the government planning to use missiles to bomb the hell out of the rampaging DZs. Nothing beats wiping everything out on a clean slate. Normally Vidaux doesn’t care about it but realizing Mayuka would have no future, he isn’t going to allow it.

If you’re wondering why Derrida as a very wanted men is out drinking coffee in the open, it is part of Vidaux’s plan to set him to talk to Schmidt. He gets down to business to trade the file for Yuri. He brushes off his time ride theory as a dream as the world they live in is the end result of a series of decisions and actions. Also, Derrida is to bring Vidaux too. Derrida doesn’t have the patch file (they just think he has it) so he creates a fake one. At the site before the exchange, Derrida wants to take a photo because all government transactions must have documentation. Schmidt gets impatient and he should’ve brought more henchmen if he was planning to subdue them. Especially a tough guy like Vidaux. A signal is given during the struggle as hiding Mayuka throws a smokescreen for them to rescue Yuri and escape. Good thing the trade didn’t happen because Yuri reveals sneaky Schmidt would have killed them all instead. Great timing that Klaus has finished fixing up Graham and boosted it up as well. Because with Schmidt ordering to violently kill them (I guess he didn’t want the file) and even blows up the bridge, Graham turns amphibious! Wow! Amazing modification in a short time. After losing their pursuers, Yuri comes clean that she was the one who made Mage on the run since she accessed the file that day. She knows Mage still loves Derrida a lot and that’s why they have to find her. You don’t need to tell him what he has been planning to do all along. Finally we see Mage in the flesh and she is going to finish this and do something risky.

Episode 8
Before they enter the next city, a mysterious voice tapped into their communications to warn them there is a trap laid out. They are able to take a detour and avoid it. That trap was set by Donna and she has a hunch who was behind this. Yeah, Andrei the chicken thinks she’s out to get him now! In town, they rent a room to stay as Derrida feels that voice is familiar. Vidaux goes around looking for info on Mage but only picked up hints that Cassiel is in town and that Donna too is targeting him. Then that mysterious voice calls Derrida’s caller ID. Derrida now recognizes this voice as Cassiel and was the one who tried to warn him 10 years ago. Yeah, he remembered it like it was just yesterday. They make plans to meet up tomorrow. That night, Vidaux talks to Derrida about his time rides. What would have happened if the past got changed. Derrida is sure he would be alone right now and the time Vidaux saved him would be no more than a mere memory like thought it is a dream. At the break of dawn as they leave town, Donna is seen fast on their heels. She didn’t fall for the leaked info trap as this is all part of her plan to follow them to lead her to Cassiel so she can kill them all in one fell swoop. But thankfully this device Cassiel created could malfunction Donna’s mechanical arm. Thank goodness for plot convenience. After driving Graham into his stealth trailer, Cassiel explains he is doing this out of atonement. As part of Andrei’s engineers he helped hide the bug and altered the checking process. Out of guilty conscience he tried to warn Derrida and Nathan but I suppose he was too vague then.

He also reveals about coming into contact with Mage and had done several odd requests for her before she left for a quiet place. Speaking of her, it was Mage who unfroze Derrida from her sleep. She also secretly carried on the research of Trout Theory that Derrida abandoned after he realized it was too dangerous to be backed up without any substantial proof. We interrupt your talk as Donna attacks. Oddly, Vidaux gets injured protecting them but she didn’t kill him and went straight to target Derrida?! Conveniently, another time ride. This time to the point he was creating the patch when Cassiel’s warning call came. He tries not to be too enthusiastic to trust him and plays it cautious like as though he is a stranger to avoid returning to reality but there is only so far he could go. Did he alter the past? Well, at least he got that device conveniently in his hand to malfunction Donna’s arm! Conveniently the guys escape back to the trailer. Derrida realized the future has changed a lot with that recent time ride because there are other bounty hunters chasing them and there are continued bombing tests right about now. It’s only a matter of time the big mother load will destroy Earth. He thinks of redoing that time ride again but guess what? Ange tells him he can’t do it because he can only change history once. WTF????!!!! Hence he cannot travel back to that specific point in time anymore as he has 2 conflicting memories in his consciousness. WTF???!!!! YOU MEAN I CANNOT HAVE MORE THAN 2 ALTERNATE UNIVERSES IN HIS HEAD OR LIFE???!!! WHAT KIND OF CRAPPY SCI-FI EXPLANATION IS THAT????!!!! WORSE PLOT DEVICE EVER!!!!!!!!!!

Episode 9
Derrida believes Mage will be at Yetz Engineering College, his alma mater. But first, they have to get away from cars chasing them. While they manage to lose them, Vidaux’s wounds open. Thank goodness for this nice quiet spot for them to rest and treat his wounds, eh? So we hear Mayuka telling Yuri how Vidaux often goes away for business for a few days, leaving her alone. She fills that time by reading books. Her dream is to give her papa a good life. With Derrida deriding Vidaux for always bringing Mayuka along and putting her in danger, this prompts a flashback Vidaux doesn’t want to remember. His wife died in a hit and run accident and when the culprit was still at large, he lost faith in the law and equality as it failed to protect his wife. He became a vigilante to track down the culprit and when he did, killed him in a cold fashion way. However he realized too late he had a baby child. Rest time is over because now crazy DZs are approaching. I guess this slow episode needs some action so we see the guys blasting away all the dumb DZs. When Vidaux falls off Graham and is surrounded by DZs, why those dumb robots just stand there and not kill him?! Yeah, they really waited for Graham to turn around and Derrida firing back at all of them! HE MISSED NONE!!!! SO F*CKING BADASS???!!! WTF???!!! So now we get some peaceful moments as father and daughter bond together. Too bad bomber jets are seen in the vicinity. Derrida needs to time ride and change the past again but remembers Ange’s damn words. Then he realizes how reliable would his memories be. Is there a possibility he has not realized the loss of memories from using time ride? Hey, can’t remember what you forget, duh. We now see Mage meeting with Professor Marlene and wants to teach her about Trout Theory. Her goal is to jump back in time and despite the theory having so many flaws, she still needs to as there is something there needs to be done.

Episode 10
Angelica Klein was a researcher in an experiment that is trying to shape an automata’s personality based on dialogue. For the first few days, it goes well. But the more it carries on, the creepier the automata gets. You see, this automata is slowly trying to imitate and understand Angelica, though it claims it was programmed to do so. We also see Angelica changed and getting traumatic from it all as the automata tries to assume her identity! Obviously, the automata is trying to become Angelica and even suggesting Angelica rename herself as Donna. Because, it means donor. A personality transplant volunteer. Angelica goes crazy and attacks the robot! The other researchers try to cancel the research but Angelica insists this to be carried on. I guess she wasn’t prepared for this because the automata now 100% believes herself as the real deal and the human as Donna. A fight ensues and we can’t tell who is attacking who. But we see a lot of blood, so… And now Donna is going to kill Andrei with the reason of protecting this body. Too bad all this bodyguards can’t even touch her. You’re dead meat. Derrida is outside of Yetz. He is only let in because of Marlene whom he was a graduate of her programme. She tells him Mage was here but has left. Damn. Missed her again. Marlene begins explaining she first met Mage at Nathan’s funeral. She was asking for help about the Trout Theory but Marlene didn’t take her seriously then. 6 months ago, she came here claiming she had found a way to perfect it but needed to see the documents Derrida left.

Marlene continues about another dangerous experiment she did. The experiment of creating a DZ model with a personality that ended in tragedy. It would have brought a lot of potential had it been a success but as we know, DZ models went berserk. She distanced herself to preserve her position. Another organization took over her research and this was the one that Angelica participated. After that failed, it seems Angelica lived but burnt down the facility. Bodies were found except for Angelica and her DZ clone. Derrida is in despair thinking his researches on bring tragedies. As Donna is Angelica, this is the reason why she came after him as she is a victim of the research. Marlene says the only regret they have is not chasing their dreams but turning their backs on their research. She could have saved Angelica had she not abandoned the research to save herself. There are unexpected things produced from experiments whether it is for both good and bad. She hands him a jamming device that will block DZ sensors and avoid encounters. This is how Yetz managed to survive. The lesson of the day, don’t turn your back on what you believe in. Derrida goes through the documentations of his research. He stumbles onto the piece of Effelsberg electronic telescope, which is a quiet place.

Episode 11
Derrida believes Mage is continuing his experiment and restore things to the way it was before the war. There’s some explanation about if you control certain factors, you can still change things. Yeah, everyone is worried the world now they live in will change. For better or worse, let’s find out. Better hurry, because the world has begun their war of bombing the hell out of each other. But first we have to plough through those crazy field of DZs to get near Effelsberg. You know, I thought they should drive up a bit closer to the telescope before getting off. Because here comes Schmidt unleashing his improved DZs to capture them. Great. Now they got to fight their way through this crap? I guess this is for this plot convenience for Graham to turn back and do some final heroic stuffs. Oddly the car can somewhat believe in Derrida’s choice of a changed future and then thank everyone for the ride. Really. I don’t know if Graham could fly or if there’s a ramp because it ‘jumps’ into Schmidt’s craft and self-destructs!!! OMFG! That explosion can take down that craft?! I guess it’s better than ramming the DZs. Vidaux stays back to fend off the other DZs and as the rest trek on, they encounter more of Schmidt’s men. Obviously for some action bits but totally unbelievable because could you believe they miss shooting Yuri at that distance and she had to jump over a gap?! WTF?! They are easily taken out by Donna who won’t let them kill her prey. Out of the pan and into the fire? Donna blames and hates Derrida for creating such a monstrosity. Well, if you keep beating him up, how will he explain himself? If you’re wondering why Donna has a hard time finding against this wuss, she’s injured. Such convenience. Derrida knows this Donna is actually Angelica because the machine was not programmed to have feelings. So with her feeling all this hatred, it proves she is human. Donna still believes herself as a machine and that everyone else killed Angelica. She views such people doing such things for greed and ego. Derrida laments about the tragedy some experiments will bring but if they stop progressing, they will never have moved forward. With all the injuries, Donna shuts down. Or dies? Now before entering the structure, they still ponder about changing the future? Yeah, last chance before everything is changed. So Mayuka decides to go back to papa because if the world will indeed change, she wants to be with him till the very last moment.

Episode 12
We hear Mage waiting for Derrida to return to a certain place in time. So she’s been waiting there like forever? Anyway, back to current timeline, Yuri is still having that dilemma of not wanting to forget memories of this timeline even if the world changes due to the time ride. But this world has no future, right? What future is there to give? As they enter the facility, they see it is the exact replica of Mage’s old house. Derrida explains that to invoke time ride, such vivid memories is needed to enhance the time ride’s precision. In the next room, they see Mage lying in a chamber which is supposed to be a time ride hardware. Conveniently there is a video made by her for her future self. In case she loses her memories, this is to remind her that her mission is to find Derrida and send him to the past. She claims she has perfected time ride but in exchange lost a lot of memories. She can’t remember anything before she was 14. Her final message is for Ange to help Derrida. I guess now Derrida has connected the dots as he explains to us. But this is what I understand. Derrida thought he has been doing time ride by himself but he was wrong. Because part of Trout Theory states that some huge hardware is needed to facilitate that. In other words, Mage is the one making his time ride possible. This is why Derrida didn’t lose any memories. Or so he thought he can’t remember the memories he lost. It was Mage’s memories that were eaten instead. The reason Mage couldn’t go back in time herself was because her memories aren’t that vivid. Unlike Derrida who just woke up hence his memories of 10 years ago were like yesterday. Mage is now a little conscious but she thinks now as just after her birthday party. Schmidt interrupts to call for Derrida to surrender the data. Do it and he will allow him and his friends to a safe place because now the bombing will begin and everywhere will be on fire. Yeah, Derrida ignores this dude and makes his final time ride. Damn Ange, do you need to remind us again this is the last time?

So Derrida returns in time to after Mage’s birthday party whereby they talked about time travelling possibilities. This time he didn’t brush her off and respects and answers her question. He apologizes for all that and if this science makes people happy, he wants Nathan to pursue it in good faith. Originally, Mage tried an experiment and collapsed from it and Nathan took her to the hospital. But now she gives the access card to Nathan. Then Nathan receives an anonymous tip about Andrei’s scheme. He and Jacques expose him and Andrei is arrested. This major change in timeline means that a war was averted. Derrida observes these important changes as he finally asks who Ange is. In reality, she does not exist. In the original timeline, Derrida is supposed to have died with Nathan that night. Her appearance prevented that. Also, she says there is no single timeline but many timelines branching out like rivers. So by wishing hard enough, humans can choose which timeline to be? Gee, if it was that easy. Hence Mage wished for a world where Derrida and Nathan but barely managed to keep Derrida alive so it was up to him to save the world. Yeah, Mage saved him. He saved the world. Returning to this new timeline of peaceful times, nobody remembers that original war one. We see Vidaux as an inspector and is soon to be a father to his soon to be expectant wife. Mayuka grows up in a happy family. Even Graham is a cute waiter robot! Donna or rather Angelica looks so happy in whatever she is doing right now. Nathan and Jacques continue their time travelling research. Lastly, Yuri still remains friends to Derrida and Mage who are now a couple. I guess the age gap doesn’t matter now that they are of legal age.

REwriteD: Deriding Ride Back In Time
Passable. I guess slightly more understandable than Beatless. But still was confusing enough for me to understand in detail about all this time travelling stuff. Heh. It’s not like I really wanted to be a rocket scientist and delve deeper into this time travelling aspects, right? Even if I said this series was passable, overall it still felt mediocre since some of the pacing and sci-fi aspects felt a bit rush. They’re trying to put together a story and perhaps make us put on our thinking caps about this part of time travelling but this topic isn’t anything easy to understand if you’re trying to aim for the masses. And with this thriller and chasing around in the mix, it just dilutes and weakens the series even further.

I guess not everything you do will be a hit. As in this case whereby the director, Takuya Satou was acclaimed to have directed the critically hit time travelling anime series, Steins;Gate. I didn’t see that anime even though I heard a lot of mixed but mostly good reviews about it simply because I didn’t have a sci-fi-like thinking mind. Then there is the original character design by Yoshitoshi Abe who designed characters of old acclaimed sci-fi anime series like Serial Experiments Lain and Texhnolyze (again, both animes that I never would bring myself to watch now or in the near future thanks to all that sci-fi elements). I’m not saying that they are past their prime or in a slump but not everybody can have the Midas touch. Like even that legendary director Miyazaki had his misses too but fortunately a lot more hits that made him a memorable insurmountable legend. But for this case, sometimes gathering talents that worked on praiseworthy series may only work up the hype and when it comes down to the real deal, it totally lets down everything. See Chaos Dragon to know what I mean (they gathered so many talented guys with acclaimed achievements for a big project only for the adapted anime to be just mediocre).

I want to point out one of the sci-fi aspect that got me interested. In fact, it was the only interesting thing that I find throughout this series. It was the experimental part of Donna and Angelica. This side experiment that felt like a side distraction and somewhat almost unrelated to the overall story is by far the most interesting concept. It was interesting to see how humans tried to programme a robot to become so human-like. And then the opposite of what is intended happened. As the robot became more human-like, the human started breaking down after constant attacks that the robot is more human than the human herself. This gives a lot of food for thought that as humans our memories and emotions are simply easy to manipulate whereas for the AI, are they only as smart as we programmed them to be or could they overcome that limitations and live up to their name as artificial intelligence? I’m sure if this theory was the main story, it would have been one big interesting and exciting affair. Maybe in another timeline.

But then we had to deal with some of the certain no brainer inconsistent theories of this time travelling theme. I’m sure there are many flaws that I want to point out but I suppose when you are researching an imperfect theory, there are bound to be flaws and hence that is why it remains a theory and pipe dream that many of such theories sound more like fantasy and are unachievable. What I’m saying is that some of the time ride theories don’t make sense and the one I truly couldn’t understand was how Derrida cannot return to that same timeline anymore. It was totally BS. Like as though you can never time travel in the first place. Maybe there is a deeper explanation for it but as a casual (and dumb) viewer, you want to comprehend it all by the end of the episode or at least at the end of the series.

So for Derrida not being able to travel back to that specific point in time just contradicts Ange’s statement that there are lots of branching timelines. Yeah sir, you get to change history only once. Not twice but once. After that, you’re barred forever from going back there again. WTF?! So can I go back 0.01 seconds before that and start changing history from there? Hah! Didn’t see me exploiting that loophole, did you?! So all I can think of is that this part especially is for plot convenience. Imagine for the rest of the series is about Derrida using his time ride just to get to the exact moment to change the outcome until he gets it right. BORING!!! Uh huh. That way he doesn’t need to find Mage anymore. Which is what this entire series’ ‘plot’ revolves around. They should have renamed this series as RErideD: Derrida And The Search For Mage.

As for the characters, I’m still reeling from all that confusion and disappointment so I can’t really say if they’re good. But most likely ranging from mediocre to bad. Like Derrida who seems to be one clueless scientist fumbling his way in search of answers. It feels he gets it right only because the plot needs to advance. We don’t think him as so because of the setting that he came from the past and has no idea about the future so we forgive him for being such clueless. So when the plot calls for it to advance the story, hence he will start realizing some revelation or something to do with his theory that I don’t understand and supposedly bringing him one step closer to find Mage. I guess the biggest clue has got to be under his nose all the time. Yeah, that timepiece… Not that I could see why either so I guess if I was in Derrida’s shoes, I too won’t be able to figure it all out either ;p.

I have a hunch about why Derrida is oddly named so. It’s not your typical John or Michael, Kotarou or Yuusuke either. There was an Algerian-born French philosopher named Jacques Derrida. Ah, so you can see they named the father and son in this series so. Coincidence? I think not. (Although in the anime, Derrida pointed out that father named him so because of his obsession for time). Too bad I don’t really understand his works either. What semiotic analysis they’re talking about? Because of that, I am not sure if they are paying some sort of tribute to him in this anime.

And it still bugs me who Ange really is. I think logically she is just someone Mage created to help Derrida but why another name and not herself? Oooh. More dramatic mystery effect please. Yeah, it was really getting annoying with Ange popping up at random times but who knew it was Mage’s attempt to help him with his time ride. So, uhm, thank you? Yeah, it was a really pretty elaborated setup for Mage to keep Derrida alive by making him stumble into that abandoned lab and then have him sleep in that chamber! All so convenient! Unless she got it right at the first go, I wonder how many tries did she take and all the mistakes she made to get this timeline correct the way she wanted. Hah! What did Ange say again about not being able to go back to the exact same point in time?! Nonsense, I tell you!

The other characters in Derrida’s groupie… I guess we need some sort of macho tough action guy as his bodyguard. That’s you Vidaux. Make him an ex-officer too. That will be easy for him to fight and take down baddies. Tough guy has got a cute daughter? Definitely not blood related. See I told you so! I guess in many anime series, we need a cute loli to liven up things when things look bleak and gloomy even if her character doesn’t really do anything of significance. Sorry Mayuka, wasn’t paying attention to all those stories you read and made up. Good thing it was the dystopian future. Or you would have been sued for copyright infringement. Hey, if dumb corporate bosses can sell out killer machines to governments and make money while nobody else cares about the people dying, they’d be gunning for young girls infringing too if there’s money in it! Then I guess they really need another female character because I’m not sure what Yuri’s role is because it’s not like she too had anything significant except for being the ‘scapegoat’ for the plot as to why Mage had to run and hide in the first place. Lastly Graham… If you can’t get an animal mascot, a robot mascot will do like Star Wars. Graham feels like he exists for convenience so as to tell us that not all artificial intelligence are bad. We got this useful car that could almost do anything from a transport to a weapon. Besides, why is Graham the only vehicle that is capable of AI? Are there no other vehicles with this feature? I noticed Graham is the only talking vehicle around. How the f*ck did Vidaux get his hands on this futuristic car?! Did he kill a bunch of scientist secretly working on this and steal it?! Maybe in another timeline.

The villains in this series are a joke. Let’s start with Andrei. From the way he acts like a big shot you can tell he is totally a chicken when things get a little rough. This guy looks more like a clown than trying to be some big bad corporate bad guy. This guy is such a joker that I thought he was that character from Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan, you know, Saiki’s father. I wouldn’t tell them apart if he turned into a full blown joker. Good thing he is dead in the original timeline and serving time in the new one. As for Donna, she sounded she had some sort of ferocious and perfect killing record and reputation. Until her prey is Derrida. It’s like she keeps failing because the plot says so. There goes her scary reputation. You might think she is stumbling because she holds Derrida responsible for whatever ill-fated experiment that befall on her and hence some emotions got in the way (and hence proving she is human after all) but in reality maybe it makes you think that all her targets were just wusses.

Schmidt feels like a pain in the ass for trying to be sneaky and get the better of Derrida. But you know how far can a government man do and go. You’re the second joker character after Andrei. As a man from the intelligence department, not so intelligent after all, eh? It felt like his UIB had some sort of important role and would be the ultimate antagonist Derrida would have to face off but I guess all that was unnecessary since the timeline was ultimately change to give us a happy ending. Good Schmidt-tens he doesn’t exist anywhere in this peaceful timeline. Probably stuck behind a desk job… And those DZ robots… Why do I have a feeling they’re trying to copy that Terminator story? With all those discount Terminator robots roaming the land, it is amazing that they didn’t continue to kill everybody. On energy saving mode, huh? Tell me again how some of them suddenly get a full blast of energy to attack you like a mad dog when you get near them? WTF do they think they are ghosts or zombies trying to attack you?!

So as not to bore you with the sci-fi bits and the so called ‘detective work’, I guess when you have a dystopian sci-fi setting and killer crazy robots, this calls for some action bits. Unfortunately they are a bit exaggerated and a bit farfetched. Just because for the sake for some robot ass kicking action, we see those sequences as sometimes unrealistic especially the part where Derrida was gunning down DZs like crazy from Graham. Yeah, looks like they forgot physics existed for that time period. Or did Mage do some time ride to temporarily stop all physics and logic? I’m not sure if it is a fun thing to see Graham plough through the DZ masses because this sometimes feel like a zombie flick. Heh. What did I tell you those DZ automata think they’re in some kind of zombie apocalypse world.

Art and drawing feel pretty standard and average. At least better than the promotional poster because those look hideous. As though somebody quickly used some crayons to sketch. The use of CGI mainly on DZ robots feel one kind. It’s not bad but it feels that it could have been done better. As for the character designs, the first time I saw Vidaux and Mayuka father-daughter pair, it reminded me… WHAT THE HECK IS COYOTE RAGTIME SHOW’S MISTER AND FRANCA DOING IN THIS ANIME???!!! OMG!!!! That anime was like over a decade ago and this pair of a tough macho dad and his cute loli daughter brings back memories when I was watching this show! Damn, did I just time ride back to that anime?! Ange for some reason, reminds me of that character in Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi. I thought Schmidt looked familiar and then upon realizing he is an antagonist, suddenly it hit me. What the heck is Bleach’s Aizen doing here???!!! And why does Nathan look like Satsuriku No Tenshi’s Danny? Is it because same seiyuu?! This anime is done by Geektoys and since is their first project and so far their only one, so forgive them for any inconsistencies? Not in an era where we have high expectations of our animes!

For the voice acting part, I only recognized Takahiro Sakurai as Nathan and Yuu Kobayashi as Donna/Angelica. For the latter, I was anticipating she would go into her typical crazy voice screaming trademark. Her character would have been so crazy had she done this voice but Donna overall sounds more mellow with a deep grudge still sleeping inside her… For the rest of the casts, they are Kensho Ono as Derrida (Slaine in Aldnoah.Zero), Mao Ichimichi as Mage (Bada in ClassicaLoid), Hiroo Sasaki as Vidaux (Hank Johnson in Ingress), Kaede Hondo as Mayuka (Koyume in Comic Girls), Himika Akaneya as Yuri (Yatsumura in Mahou Shoujo Site), Kazutomi Yamamoto as Graham (Yumoto in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love – now you know why he sounds so gay), Minoru Inaba as Andrei (Khajit in Overlord), Kazuyuki Okitsu as Schmidt (Andre in Prison School) and Kenichirou Matsuda as Jacques (Gordon in Black Clover). On a trivial note, I am not sure about the implication of mid-intermission that displays “clockwise” but at first it sounded creepy because I thought I heard “cock wise”! WTF?!

Paradox by Quadrangle as the rock opening tries to sound edgy for a sci-fi themed series. But it turns out somewhat messy especially those chaotic electric guitar power riffs whatever that makes everything sound so anarchic. Toki No Tsubasa as the ending theme sounds a bit weird too. This piece that has a Mage version, a Yuri a version and a duet version of the duo sounds out of place because it sounds like a spacey-like song (as in outer space kind of song). Perhaps due to the mediocrity of the anime, the slow-moderate pace of this song also makes me feel somewhat confused.

Overall, this series is forgettable because of its bad pacing, story and even characters. I guess we don’t even need to do a single time ride to totally forget about this trash. Just wait till the next season arrives! Yeah, that is what happened to all bad animes. As usual, the sci-fi and time travelling concept are interesting but they failed to make it appealing to casual (and dumb) audiences like yours truly. But I’ll still not paint it as the worst as many over the internet have over this series because of that Donna-Angelica experiment. That was the only interesting thing that got my attention and I’ll give them credit for that. Therefore if the possibility of infinite universes exist, perhaps this series was really outstanding, flawless and the best anime and even TV series of all time. Yeah. Maybe that happened in another timeline and now we’re stuck with this mediocre one instead. Somebody must have gone back in time to try and change it but screwed up. Thus the stupid limitation of can’t go back and change history another time to rewrite this anime… Perhaps that’s possible… In another timeline…

Yama No Susume S3

January 19, 2019

Why do I have a feeling that Yama No Susume S3 came out nearly after 4 years the second season aired was because it is to rival Yuru Camp? I guess we are going to have another cute girls doing cute things but with a new subgenre of outdoor lifestyle. Or maybe it is to coincide with Mountain Day on 11th August. Or maybe our characters haven’t conquered Mt Fuji fully yet and hence the need to remind us that another season is necessary. Well girls, take your time and only climb when you’re fully prepared. Because it’s not like Japan’s most beloved mountain is going anywhere, right?

Episode 1
Aoi wants to give a gift to Hinata so she wonders how she could combine mountain climbing and night scenery for it. So when she asks Hikari about it, she thinks she has got a boyfriend. Even the owner thinks so and gets worried? After hearing her out, Hikari suggests Mt Tsukuba as it has quite a night view. Aoi thinks it is a good surprise idea. Aoi brings unsuspecting Hinata to Mt Tsukuba who seems to just go along with the flow. When she tries to ask, Aoi averts the question. She’ll find out when she gets there. The night climb sure brings a different experience and when they get to the top, they are amazed by the night lights of the city below. Hinata is surprised but Aoi is most surprised herself at how beautiful it is. So is this a failure or success? As they sit and admire the scenery, Aoi renews her motivation to train and learn more to take on Mt Fuji again. When they take the ropeway down, they see a lot of romantic couples flirting. It blushes Aoi and it doesn’t help when Hinata comments they are a like a couple too. Hinata wants to stay for a while since the lights here are pretty too but Aoi cannot take all this anymore and wants to leave right away.

Episode 2
As advised by Kaede, climbing Mt Fuji now is dangerous because of all the snow. Guess they’ll have to wait till next spring. So for the time being, they go shop for some hiking shoes. Oh, bring 40,000 Yen too. Better not compromise on safety. At the shop, the knowledgeable salesman makes some recommendations. After getting Aoi’s feet measurements and the shoes, Aoi tries to practice climbing on a small miniature slope. She finds it hard to walk in. Kaede advises her to walk with her whole foot instead of just using her toes. Aoi doesn’t look satisfied as she still thinks she would like to have a cute pair since she is going to splurge that kind of money. And then it’s like this pair is signalling to her with this blinding light, “Pick me! Pick me!”. And so Aoi has found the shoes she wants. A few advice to inspect shoes before climb as Aoi also learns how to tie laces so it won’t come loose. They test their news shoes with a practice hike on Mt Tenran. Aoi feels at east walking in them and realizes why they are now heavy and stiff. Feeling you’re ready for Mt Fuji?

Episode 3
Aoi’s mom suggests Hanno Alps for her next hike. Did Aoi lie to mom because she knew Hinata can’t make it and didn’t tell her so as she would not stop her to go? You know how worried moms get when you go hiking alone, right? At the site, Aoi decides to take the easier route but soon gets a little tired. This track must be dead since nobody is around and she can’t help ask around for help. Finally a spot to rest. Much needed rest. Luckily soon after, Kokona comes by. Now she has a companion. Aoi is thinking of going home now but since Kokona wants to continue hiking, I guess she can’t lose out. The hike pays off as they get to take pictures of elands in their natural habitat. They arrive at a shrine with few deities and a giant pair of sandals. There’s some legend about the gods protecting your legs from injury if you pray sincerely but I wasn’t interested :(. They pray at the shrine and no prizes to guess Aoi’s wish to conquer Mt Fuji next time. With the breath taking view too, Aoi feels great that she has gained a little more confidence from this tough walk. So this is tough? Kokona was like no sweat.

Episode 4
We take a break from anything mountain climbing or hiking related as Aoi begins the new school term. As usual, she is nervous in making new friends in her own class. Some take an interest in her because they are amazed at her knitting skills. She is invited to hang out with them but this only makes Aoi more depress as she starts overthinking how she might not fit in. This must be more stressful than hiking. At the karaoke joint, Aoi is in her usual nervous mode. Her friends sing better than her and when it comes her turn, she thinks of using the toilet as an excuse but Hinata ‘cuts her off’. Aoi knows a song but fears this mountain song is so obscure she will be laughed at. Then Hinata starts singing it. It boosts Aoi’s confidence as she sings another less popular song (although she is still obviously nervous). Luckily her friends know it and soon they start singing along together. In the end, Aoi and friends had fun. Just a little more of this and she’ll be part of the gang in no time.

Episode 5
Aoi, Hinata and Kokona make their way to Gunma as Mt Tanigawa holds special place in their hearts. However they’re not climbing the mountain this time but to visit a special attraction there, Lockheart Castle, a very Scottish medieval-like castle. They meet up with Honoka who is also supposed to join them on this trip. We see the quartet having fun inside its many attractions as it lives up to his name with so many heart-like locks hanging everywhere. They also have a chance to dress up as a princess and do anything to their heart’s content. At the end of the day, Honoka’s brother is here to pick her up and the rest realize why she is reluctant to say anything about him. I’m not sure if trashy is the right word but you can hear his heavy dubstep beat from his car… Yeah… Honoka is very embarrassed and even more so when onii-chan doesn’t understand why she is acting so differently when she always swoons over him. Oh dear… As Honoka is a shy girl, no punch or beat down. Back home, Honoka enjoys the many photos they have taken together.

Episode 6
Aoi sees Hinata trying mountain coffee and thinking she would be teased for not being an adult, she decides to try one too. But first, Aoi practises making some and although it tastes bitter, her mom likes it. Yeah, you didn’t follow wrongly the instructions wrongly. Aoi at the coffee shop tries to look up for some beans. I believe there are brans she hasn’t heard off. Sausage? There, she meets Kaede and Yuuka and tells them what she is doing. Yuuka understands Aoi wants to be a cool person but it would be cooler if she likes what she likes. Aoi and Hinata then hike up Takayama Fudo-son as the former try to show off her coffee making skills. The coffee is bitter as usual as Aoi ponders if this is how adulthood is. You bet. And then Aoi witnesses this atrocity. Hinata putting milk in her coffee! Hey, it’s not like Hinata said she liked mountain coffee, right? Everything was just Aoi’s paranoia. Here, have some milk. Tastes good, right? So the lesson of the day is not to be an adult when you’re a kid. Take your time to become an adult. Oh, you’ll need it when the time comes…

Episode 7
Hinata wants to take Aoi to the planetarium tomorrow but apparently she has work so looks like she has to go herself. Out of habit, Hinata sometimes think Aoi is with her but realizes she is all by herself. It’s no fun being alone. Keep this up a few more times and maybe a few will take notice and think you’re a mad girl with an imaginary friend. Meanwhile Aoi is doing her best at the patisserie. A little girl who came in to buy a cake for her mom who just gave birth, she is short of money but the owner gives a discount seeing it is such a special day for her. Can’t ruin a customer’s smile, can you? Even after the store is closed, Kokona’s mom came in late to buy some cake as atonement. Unsure what to choose and the ones she wanted are out of stock, Hikari dispenses her knowledge on some of the cakes (which she learnt from Hikari who learnt from owner) for her to make her decision. Aoi goes home tired but her effort made it worth it. Yeah, a reminder that Japanese are the best in providing you the best service!

Episode 8
Honoka calls Aoi to invite her to Mt Akagi. At the same time Hinata called but since Aoi isn’t picking up and was on the other line, Hinata got ‘jealous’ of the other person she is talking to. So Aoi calls Kokona to invite her to Mt Akagi. Now, Aoi calls Hinata at this moment and of course she can’t pick up as she is talking to Kokona. Hence Aoi is ‘jealous’ that her best pal is talking to somebody. Geez, can’t these girls have other friends outside their groupie? Next day in school, both feel very awkward to ask each other. When Aoi finally has a chance to ask, somehow Hinata declines. And WTF she was hoping Aoi would continue to pester her into accepting?! Too bad it didn’t happen this time. Hence Hinata meets up with Kokona for their trip as well as Aoi and Honoka (is her brother going to play his dubstep music all the way?!) also heading there but from the other side. Honoka is quite knowledgeable about the town they pass through while Kokona knows her way through the tough hiking trail.

Episode 9
Continuing their trail up Mt Akagi, Aoi has no problems in climbing the numerous steep steps. All those mountain climbing must have really paid off. They arrive at a hotspring that Honoka wishes to try. Might as well since they are here. Aoi is reluctant but since Honoka is already getting naked, if you can’t beat them, join them. It is a good thing too because the water is warm and relaxing. But of course. Which Japanese hotspring is not enjoyable?! Meanwhile Hinata and Kokona have reached the peak and make this picturesque spot as their picnic area. If you think the weather is going to ruin their day, don’t worry, God loves lolis so he makes those ‘angel stairs’ phenomenon instead for them to be awed. Honoka and Aoi finish and head back. Oh dear. Honoka has to put up with more of her big brother’s embarrassment. Big brother wonders why she is quiet? IF YOU JUST TURN DOWN YOUR DUBSTEP!!! They arrive at a shrine and like any other Japanese shrine, you can write your wishes. No prizes to guess Aoi’s is to conquer Mt Fuji. Aoi parts ways and takes a train home. Coincidentally, Hinata and Kokona are on board this same train. They catch up on each other’s adventures.

Episode 10
Aoi and Hinata are invited by their friends to Ikebukuro. Hinata is unable to come as she will be out with her parents and Aoi is left in a lurch. She fears that Hinata would tease her for being unable to hang out with others without her. But back home Hinata finds out she mixed up the day with her parents and hence she has free time. It makes it awkward for her to join (fearing Aoi will tease her for the mix up) in but she worries about Aoi. So instead she hangs out with Kaede and Yuuka. Too bad Kaede dreads Yuuka the Spartan teacher because that is basically what this hangout is going to be. Hinata is awed after hearing Kaede’s ambition to go to college while still wanting to continue mountain climbing. Meanwhile on Aoi’s side, they all had fun. But one of the friends make it a point for Aoi to remember her. Yup, for the years that they were in the same class, Aoi never knew her! At least now Aoi is much more approachable than before. Hinata sees Aoi having a swell time with her friends and it’s that worried look on her face that she doesn’t need her anymore.

Episode 11
Hinata is still reeling from the fact that Aoi has new friends. Kaede invites them to hike Mt Mizugaki and Mt Kinpu. They’re going to climb the mountain and spend the night there so prepare your tents. Aoi and Kokona spend the night making food. Thankfully they didn’t doze off at the kitchen. However when morning comes, not even the alarm clock could wake them up. It took a while for Kokona to wake up but it’s going to take a lot more effort to wake up that heavy sleeper. Luckily they’re just in time. Just a second late and they could have missed the train. Because of that, Hinata is clearly upset as she lectures them about taking care of their health. Why so angry? What’s the deal, girl? They’re sorry, right? Even when they hike up the mountain and set up their tent, Hinata is still visibly mad. She makes careless moves that could have injured her. I’m sure the picturesque view of the mountain should blow away some of her blues. Hmm… Maybe it’s going to take a bit longer.

Episode 12
Watch some beautiful stars in the night sky before tomorrow’s climb on Mt Kinpu. Next morning as they begin their journey, it seems Hinata injures her knee but chooses not to say anything so as not to ruin the journey and worry her friends. Eventually she cannot go any further and tells her friends about this. She wants them to carry on while she makes her way back down. Of course Aoi will not leave her friend behind and will stay with her. So as not to waste this trip, Kaede and Kokona can go on ahead. So I guess this is necessary so the duo can amend their friendship and go back to how it always was like before. Yeah, believe in them to quickly reconcile because there’s no merit to drag out this drama, right? Okay, okay, we made more friends but they are still each other’s best friends. We get it. Can we move along now? Kaede and Kokona return and show them the nice pictures they take of the peak as they prepare to descend. Aoi accompanies Hinata home. Hinata raises her hopes when she says she has got a present for her but won’t tell her what it is. So we get to peek at it first? This weird owl flower thingy…

Episode 13
Aoi’s stamina has been steadily increasing as she prepares for that eventual date with Mt Fuji. Had not Kokona reminded her, she would have forgotten about Hinata’s birthday next week! It is suggested they do a surprise party for her. Kaede would have loved to join but not if Yuuka sensei has something to say about studying. Aoi is tasked to choose a gift since she is her best friend. Yeah… Technically not wrong. Unfortunately Aoi doesn’t have a clue what Hinata likes. Lots of ideas but eventually they’re unsuitable. Yeah, that means a baby sister isn’t possible. So why do we need to have flashbacks of Aoi’s sad unsociable life and the thought she could make it alone through high school until Hinata popped up? Oh, the memories. I guess Aoi is so stuck and acting weird that when Hinata asked, accidentally she spilled the beans about the surprise party. Oops. Hinata laughed hard but thanks her because it made her really happy. And then the secret thing Hinata wanted to tell her… I guess we’ll have to guess and wait as she whispers in her ear… More typical friendship banter from the duo. Life’s good. Soon they celebrate Hinata’s birthday and Honoka joins in via video conferencing style. Even her brother wants to join in?! And thankfully Kaede ditched studies just for today to celebrate this special occasion. So I guess the present they got for her is some makeup kit. Will Hinata look beautifully mature now? She looks like a clown… Oh well, a few more practice…

Yuru Climb
See you again? Sure. Hope it won’t be in another 4 years. Honestly I don’t find anything that special with this season. Is it because of the many years this series was ‘absent’ and hence my failing memories? As said in my previous blogs, I was never a mountain enthusiast and this series failed to spur any sort of mountain climbing interest or healthy outdoor lifestyle living. Otherwise how do you think I managed to complete and watch so many animes every season?! What I’m saying this that this season feels pretty drab to me and there was nothing really special that piqued my interest. I’m sure some of the mountains featured here are like mini advertisements in hopes of garnering some interest to not only climb the mountain but visit the other local attractions in the vicinity.

This season still has its share of mountain climbing and hiking but somehow I feel it is not as prominent as its previous seasons. Maybe I don’t remember much. So in place of that, we have this character development and as always, the ‘yuri’ relationship between Aoi and Hinata. Nothing new until the part where they start to ‘fight’. Yeah, I guess we needed some friendship drama because it’s getting boring with all the happy-happy and sparkling smiles of eagerness to climb mountains. And so they ramp up some drama of Aoi and Hinata with their friendship on the docks because they’ve been so best friends with each other for so long, seeing them mix with other groups is unthinkable. Yeah, I wonder how they came to a conclusion that means bye-bye to their friendship and move on to new friends. Remember, their friendship only blossomed recently and they were away from each other before that. And as expected, such friendships must be mended in the end because it shows some growth in characters of accepting the other has other circle of friends than themselves. Your friend is also my friend. Gee, what a happy carefree world.

Kaede and Kokona aren’t prominent in this season and so is Honoka. Kaede seems to be slowly turning into some reluctant studying slave while Kokona still remains her cute side. Honoka feels like an extra-extra character because if they feel they needed an extra character, they just bring her into the picture. Because she doesn’t really feel like she is part of the circle of the main quartet. The only amusing character is Honoka’s brother because of his penchant to play his dubstep 24/7. Does he ever turn off that thing? When you hear the dubstep, you know who is around. It’s interesting to see the other side of Honoka as she tries to hide her love for her brother but dense big brother can’t tell and continues to spill the biggest secret she wants to keep from her friends that she is a doting little sister. I guess all of us have sides that we don’t want to see. With Honoka hanging out more with her friends but still cannot not rely on her brother for transportation, I guess she’ll have to live with the embarrassment. Ah, they grow up so fast.

Art and drawing still maintain its quality and although it might not be so breath-taking that you want to pause your video and let tears roll down your eyes to appreciate the masterpiece background and sceneries, well, sorry if I was exaggerating but yeah, the background and sceneries still provide nice eye candy if you ever get tired of watching our loli drama. Heh. The opening theme just like in previous seasons is sung by the mountain climbing quartet. But with Yuka Iguchi as Aoi starting off the song, I don’t know, it makes the entire song sound so girly despite all the jazzy fanfare. Even more so when it reaches Yui Ogura’s turn (Kokona’s voice). It’s the Aoi-Hinata duo combo for the ending theme, Irochigai No Tsubasa which sounds a bit hip hop and a bit better than the opener. Can’t help wanting to go “Yo! Yo!~” at certain points. But overall this song has some dramatic elements that makes it feel it is also suitable for a visual novel game.

Overall, this season feels average since mountain climbing is given a lesser limelight and replaced with some power of loli friendship drama. Plus, Aoi didn’t get to conquer Mt Fuji yet and it still remains her (pipe?) dream so I suppose that gives another excuse to make another season if there is a need for it. Hence perhaps this is another reason why I didn’t find this season so appealing because instead of taking on the final boss of all mountains in Japan, they continue to attempt and conquer smaller ones. It’s not a bad thing but we’re mostly here to see little girls conquer the risky and treacherous mother of all Japanese mountains that the Japanese themselves revere and admire so much. Oh right. Kaede said it is dangerous to attempt Mt Fuji at this time of year. Oh well, I suppose until that adventure takes off again, looks like I’m going to wait and watch season 2 of Yuru Camp first! XD.

Island

January 12, 2019

It feels like a long time since I have watched a sci-fi mystery romance harem visual novel adapted into anime. Actually that was just about over a year ago when I watched Rewrite. Now it’s time to get back into that visual novel mood with Island. Main character with no memories of his own, basically a typical amnesiac, check. A small bevy of beauties for his harem, check. They have issues that need to be solved that could be related to the lore and legend of the setting, check. Deep dark secrets about the land, or in this case the island, check. Includes some sci-fi time travelling thingy, check. Oh well, this isn’t going to be your average Fantasy Island.

Episode 1
Karen Kurutsu is running along a beach until she trips. Her face lands in the crotch of a naked boy who is washed up ashore! DAMN! At the police box, he doesn’t remember anything else except for he is a time traveller and the need to kill someone. Not joking? A call from the mayor wants this boy to be expelled from the island immediately. The police is supposed to take him to the harbour where he will be sent to the mainland when the mayor calls again because his daughter is missing and to go look for her. As the boy hides in a yacht, he finds Karen hiding there. She is the mayor’s daughter and she is not pleased he found her because now she cannot get off this island. With the mayor finding her and she continues to run, I guess the boy is left to his own devices. As he wanders on the beach at night, he hears Rinne Ohara sing a beautiful melody. He seems to know her but not really. She also thinks she knows him but not really. Rinne makes up a story that he is Setsuna Sanzenkai and supposed to be the new maid she hired from the mainland. Rinne wonders if he is really a time traveller since she too doesn’t have memories prior to 5 years ago when she arrived here. Rinne introduces him to her mom, Kuon who holes up in her room and only ‘communicates’ via leaving notes. Setsuna sleeps and dreams of somebody promising to kill Setsuna. Next morning, Sara Garandou from the shrine takes Setsuna to her place. She believes he came from the future to change the past. Setsuna thinks he knows her too but not really. Maybe she is flat instead of busty? So he remembers her boobs? Anyway Sara believes his memories were intentionally sealed. His time travel and Rinne’s disappearance coincide. After all that mumbo-jumbo, Sara tries to kill him but fails spectacularly. As her job is to protect this island, she happily reveals her plan to kill him. Uhm, I don’t think that is how it’s supposed to work. He returns home to work but stumbles upon the book that tells the legend of this island, Urashima. Inside he finds a note that says Setsuna must die. That night at the beach, Setsuna has Rinne sing that song again. So beautiful he cried? Even Rinne too. Then a weird dream of Sara being burnt and her final words for him to take care of this world. Next morning as he wants to draw open the curtains, Rinne stops him. She fears the sunlight will kill her.

Episode 2
Rinne has soot blight syndrome. Sunlight kills her. This is why she wakes up and wanders at night. Setsuna continues his maid job and then finds Sara praying at the shrine. Praying for a successful kill? She hides him when the mayor is trying to find Karen. This is when she explains to him the legend of Urashima. All the 3 main girls are named after the legendary daughters of the island. It says Setsuna and Rinne are siblings but started loving each other more than that. At the same time Karen also loves Setsuna but got jealous. She asked a black shrine maiden to change Rinne into a monster and killed herself in despair. Setsuna went back to the maiden. At an unknown date in the future, Rinne will be revived and if they meet, the curse would be lifted. Setsuna slept, waiting for that day to come. Sara wants to sleep with him but thankfully he declines. She is glad too because she isn’t ready. When he returns, what is Karen doing here? Apparently there is an ad looking for a maid so she is here to try out for the job. Rinne wants to fire Setsuna after getting the wrong idea he slept with Sara (the incense in her room) so Karen tries to be considerate and leave. But Setsuna doesn’t want her to return to her father and have regrets and has her try it out. Rinne has the final say and hires her. Next day, Setsuna hears Karen’s reason to work even if she comes from a wealthy family. Her mom left the island 5 years ago and she is saving up to head to the mainland to find her. As they take a break, the old woman at the store collapses. They take her medicine and Setsuna is surprised to read it as soot blight syndrome. From the doctor’s explanation, it looks like in extreme cases your body will be inflamed if gets touched by the sunlight. There is no cure. As the island believes the syndrome comes from the legendary families, Karen believes it is just an excuse to maintain authority. Sara believes the island needs this legend or else it will be done for. Later Setsuna asks Kuon about the syndrome and she replies Rinne doesn’t have it but believes she does. She fears it as it might be related to why she disappeared 5 years ago and lost her memory and think of herself as the Rinne in the legend. So when Setsuna tells Rinne they are not the people in the legend, it makes her very sad. Is a slap justified? He wants to invite her to the beach. The morning one. But she is happy to stay as herself. And Setsuna will always remain her Setsuna.

Episode 3
Beach episode? Karen and Sara in their swimsuit. Basically this is part of Setsuna’s plan to lure Rinne out. But their lines sound so lame and ambiguous that Rinne might be thinking she is hearing things. Too bad Rinne overthinks that Setsuna is having his way with the girls so time to put on her sexy bikini and straighten them out? Well, she wore her full astronaut suit! Clumsy. Her helmet falls off. She looks okay. Not dead. So she knew she somewhat doesn’t have soot blight syndrome and they were just trying to get her out. He assures they can take things slowly one step at a time. Later they find a locked shack in the cave. Before they could break open, Rinne screams not to and then faints. She is okay but needs to rest. Setsuna shows the rest about the diary he keeps ever since he was stranded here. He hopes to learn something from his memories but has only recorded weird things like the syndrome and the legend while popping up more questions than answers. He feels it is all connected but unsure how. He even questions himself as Setsuna. Later Rinne talks to Setsuna that she remembers meeting a boy named Setsuna at the shack. Nobody knew about this and Rinne doesn’t remember how that boy looked like. After Setsuna tutors Karen, he walks her home as she reveals more about her weird mom. Often shutting herself in her room to do some experiment, Karen was never paid any attention to. Dad eventually kicked her out so she went to the mainland. At the doorstep, her father is waiting. Ranting about how her duty is to marry and carry on the family line. News to Setsuna. Later Setsuna meets Sara to ask why Karen’s dad is so adamant of her staying here. Her family can pass the line only through female descendants. As for Karen trying to leave the island, she thinks she is just rebelling and not serious as there are so many other ways to do so. Even if she leaves, will she be happy? She wonders if Karen has given enough thought to what happens if she leaves. One day, Karen didn’t come to school. He finds her in the mansion and before he could tell her off, suddenly she pushes him onto her bed and wants him to mess her up. You mean f*ck her? Wait. WHAT?!

Episode 4
Of course Setsuna declines but that’s not what she meant. She has a plan to leave this island and wants him to help mess up her wedding. Since her dad is always about appearances, she will get kicked out. So looks like almost everybody is in cohorts with her wedding including the groom. As the ceremony begins, Setsuna arrives in an alien mask! He is here to steal her. Dad of course opposes but that is when Karen has had it and decides to leave with him. Dad would have gone after her if not for her brother, Subaru telling him to let go. Karen is so happy with her newfound freedom and Setsuna celebrating with her that they keep their eyes ahead and crash the scooter into the sea. As they set sail, the captain explains how Subaru helped out because he felt Karen was always so mad at the world and couldn’t do anything about it. She blamed everything for it. So when she decided, he wanted to support her. Now on the mainland, Karen is like a typical country bumpkin. But how does Setsuna know how to work the trains if he is amnesiac? Anyway as they make their way to supposed Karen’s mom’s place, they see nothing but a grave. Oh dear. Karen breaks down and cannot accept this. But a girl, Momoka Yamabuki is thrilled to see Karen and starts molesting her because she looks like her professor. She was told by Subaru she would be coming today. Momoka is the assistant of Karen’s mom, Natsumi who went under the penname of Sueharu Nakamiya when she wrote her books. She was offered professorship 5 years ago as a geologist and used that penname. Unfortunately she died in an accident a year ago. Momoka hints about her research regarding ancient texts around the world but the rest is confidential. Before Karen leaves, she asks if mom was happy. All the time. Especially when the results of her research showed. But her only regret is Karen. She always worried about her. That’s why if something happened to her, she requested her grave to be put near the sea. Karen is satisfied that mom didn’t run away and always cared for her. Karen returns to the island. Subaru welcomes her back and vows to change the island. Not sure how long they have been gone because Sara is now hired as a maid at Rinne’s mansion. But Sara laments unlike the rest, she herself has not changed. Only if she had her powers back, she could do something about the illness. But time is not on her side.

Episode 5
Setsuna dreams of Sara sacrificing herself to save him to save the world. Too bad he only noted her boobs… He gets a shock when he wakes up because Sara is sleeping next to him! Rinne is not impressed with this shady business but luckily Sara explains herself. Something about learning about her family’s legend so she came here to tell Setsuna but since he is asleep, she waited and also fell asleep. She then takes them to the beach so as to harvest to venom of a sea snake to help find a cure for the soot blight syndrome. But she can’t swim. Don’t worry. Setsuna will do it! Oh, the sea snake’s venom can kill you… She is confident he won’t! Before Sara could explain to Rinne about her theory of Rinne crossing time to save her and how she must get something done before her 17th birthday in 2 days, Setsuna is in trouble because he got bitten! Oh no! Luckily the doctor diagnosed it as jellyfish sting. Phew. Sara so relieved. Later Setsuna and Rinne ponder about Sara because there seems to be sadness behind her smile. Next day, Sara gives Kuon her best massage. It’s to help ward off soot blight syndrome by pressing certain vital points. Then Setsuna gets a clinical test but it doesn’t end well… Now Setsuna has to cycle her to 20 over old folks’ houses so she could give her massage. At the end of the day, Sara reveals that she believes Setsuna is her destiny. She is destined to go back in time to give birth before her 17th birthday. She shows a picture of a mom nursing her. If mom looks like her it is because it is her! OMG! So Sara is her own mom from the future?! Sci-fi time paradox sh*t! To prove it, both have that same scar on the chest. Hence when she tried to ‘kill’ Rinne was to ascertain if he is from the time patrol trying to stop her from changing the past. Hence she gambled. If destiny picked her, she would be able to go back to the past. In her relief she explains she was called the Child of God. Every year, dozens of babies were born with soot blight syndrome. Ever since Sara was born, there hadn’t been any. But after a fire incident, the affliction came back. She lost that power and she wants to prevent that fire and save the people. Without it, she views herself as useless.

Setsuna draws a really complicated time flow chart on Sara’s situation. Rinne understands it?! As she has read the family’s dark secret journal, she realizes this is nothing more than a horrific practice that was sealed away. It all started with Sara’s grandpa claiming Sara as the Child of God and will save the island. The people believed him when the syndrome stopped appearing. But this is actual the doing of grandpa. When babies were born, they will be exposed to sunlight to see of any lustre in their eyes that would assure the symptoms by age three. Such babies are told they died in stillborn and then locked and abandoned in a secret place. All this is just a scheme to restore the family’s authority. With Sara overhearing that, she becomes sad knowing the truth and runs back to the shrine. Oh look. It’s on fire! Who set it?! And was it set long ago because it’s so big. Luckily Setsuna saves her who is so willing to die to end her family lineage. Sara wakes up in hospital and it has been 2 days since her birthday. Sara can’t believe everything so it means all her theories are wrong. As for the scar, it is like branding. All in the family got one burnt after being one. Her parents rather die than continue this cruel tradition but couldn’t kill Sara. But she still feels useless and have of no use. Setsuna tells her to look around. A thousand crane origami folded by the old people in hopes she regains consciousness. Thanks for the massage. Now she has a reason to live. Happy belated birthday. Cue to cry all out now.

Episode 6
Disregard Sara’s naughty advice to have sex as part of the measure to regain lost memories. Setsuna ponders of ways to retrieve his lost memories when Rinne lies beside him. Is the atmosphere getting good? Well, good enough for them to go out on a date (they term it as going out somewhere). What else can you do on this island? Bowling. Sara and Karen eventually get so worried if the duo end up having sex that they try to barge into the mansion. Good timing. They’re back from their date. Sara asks straight up if they had sex (among all the other synonyms and slangs she thrown in). They deny. Phew. Sara explains how it is wrong for a guy from the future to impregnate a girl in the past. Yeah, that time paradox confusing sh*t thingy. Rinne challenges Setsuna to a game where the loser must do as the winner says. And her wish is for him to kiss her. Why, don’t want to kiss a cute girl? Thank goodness she is only joking, right? When Setsuna and Karen visit the police guy, they are told that there are different versions of the legend as the families have their different version. A version involves Setsuna and Rinne getting married but she later learnt of his existence and fell into despair. She killed herself by jumping into the sea. It is possible Rinne knows this story as it was her father who tried to gather the legends. Setsuna rushes back to find Rinne. Not a home cliché. Oh, she’s standing at the beach, near the water cliché. What’s with the long face? Need to tell the truth? At the shack, she tells him she lied about it. When she fainted, she knew he wasn’t the real Setsuna. She still can’t remember how the real one looks but sensed a different Setsuna at this shack. After breaking open the door, a bed and some books all over the floor. Pretty tidy place assuming it has been abandoned for a long time. Rinne explains she used to come here to meet Setsuna but one night the tide blocked her path home. Suddenly her father found her. He blamed Setsuna for this and threw him into the ocean. With sunrise, her father writhed in pain as he had soot blight syndrome. Rinne dived in to save Setsuna but only found herself alone in hospital. Since then she has shut herself to the night world but this Setsuna saved her and gave her a place to be. So for now all that matters is she is Rinne and he is Setsuna. That’s all.

Episode 7
Setsuna and Rinne spend more time together. Probably it got Karen jealous enough to rush over to kick Setsuna. What’s that all about?! When they decided to go have some shaved ice, the old woman closes the store as she is out of medicine. Setsuna offers to get it so please make some. The old woman remembers seeing Setsuna and Rinne many years ago although they come out only at night. This is when Rinne starts to feel uneasy a she remembers. At the clinic, the policeman shows Setsuna an old newspaper article when Rinne went missing 5 years ago. Oddly she was 23 then but now she is 17?! Rumours flew that she was a hidden child and Rinne’s sister but further investigations showed she was the real deal. But the biggest mystery was Rinne when found was wearing the same clothes the day she went missing. This has Setsuna really start questioning if she came from the past and himself from the future. He rushes back to the store but Rinne has left. Old woman says she turned pale after talking about him. Setsuna believes that was not him back then. He finds Rinne at the pier. She rejects him but he holds on to her. She elaborates about her returned memories. That night when she and the original Setsuna fell into the sea, both washed up on the deserted island, Boryujima. Setsuna was bleeding so Rinne offered to help as they survive on the island by themselves. Pretty decent. But Setsuna became restless as he wanted to bring Rinne back. One night, he said he found a boat but it has only room for one. He wanted her to go. The next thing Rinne knew, she is back on Urashima and 5 years have passed. She regrets leaving him behind to die. So she wants to go to him? Setsuna tries to be realistic about living in fear but Rinne won’t listen and wants to be left alone. Tension interrupted with Sara asking what they’re doing getting wet together. WTF???!!! Rinne collapses. I think it wasn’t the sexual innuendo. Back at her shrine she theorizes that with many different timelines, Setsuna may be searching for the right one and redoing it over and over again. His visions and memories might be its side effect. The storm that will soon arrive on Urashima may be some sort of singularity cause that opens a rift between the islands. It could explain why Rinne didn’t age when she got back here. Rinne heard this and now has weird ideas to return to the original Setsuna. Gee, Rinne is sure fast in running away in the storm and stealing a boat into the choppy waters.

Episode 8
Just in time. Setsuna saves Rinne after she falls off her boat. She is adamant of going back to her original Setsuna. He agrees with her and will help but they need to plan. Plan quickly because here comes the tsunami! Next thing they know, they’re on Boryujima and it’s such a fine weather. Exploring the land further, no sign of her original beloved. Until Setsuna explores a deeper cave and sees his bones. Gee, the skeleton is too clean, if I should say. He reads his diary. It seems he found a strange coffin. More spamming of wanting to save Rinne. As he failed to make a raft, his desperation tells him that that this coffin is a boat to save her. So when she is sleeping, he put her in it. Setsuna shows Rinne this. Sad at first but he tells her he looks happy. Really? I thought all skeletons are naturally ‘smiling’. They decide to live on this island for a while and what a swell time they have together. Until suddenly Setsuna wakes up back in Rinne’s mansion. What’s this?! A wake is held for Rinne?! OMG! Rinne’s dead?! So that was all just a dream?! As Kuon explains, it seems the people found Setsuna body washed ashore but 5 days later a very unrecognizable corpse of Rinne. Setsuna cannot believe this. He remembers holding on tightly to her hand. But remember further. It was Rinne who let go. She wants him to live because once she reincarnates, she will be waiting for her. He falls into despair thinking she saved him. But no time to waste on that as Momoka and Kuon bring him to the mainland to Natsumi’s lab. There is that ancient coffin. Flashback shows Natsumi and Momoka often travelled the world to find so called ancient but hi-tech artefacts. Evidence shows they all originated from Urashima. After her death, Momoka went to see Kuon who took her to Boryujima to show that coffin where Rinne was sleeping. That was how she was actually found and contrary to the official story she was found on a beach. You see, they believe this is a time travelling device and anybody who sleeps in it doesn’t age as time stops. This explains Rinne’s age. Also, this matches up to Urashima’s legend of Setsuna sleeping eternally. They believe this coffin was brought from the future trying to intervene in the past. Setsuna lights up upon hearing the idea they can save Rinne. Yes, he is going to sleep in this coffin to go back in time and doesn’t care how long as it takes even if the chances of succeeding are low.

Episode 9
Hey! Wait a minute! Am I watching a new series?! A futuristic European dystopia of the series?! We even got a new opening theme and the series even changed its name to Never Island! We see Setsuna and Rinne together. Not sure if they are siblings or lovers but they are close. As they line up to get food while being preached by Sara the priestess, suddenly Karen and her minions throw a smokescreen to steal the food. Damn the guards are so adamant in eliminating them that they fire indiscriminately and run over Sara. Setsuna rescues Sara and takes cover inside the church. But there is Karen and co escaping too. She attacks him but his hand accidentally touch her boobs. Kick in the crotch! That’s that. It is narrated that people like Karen are called untagged. Kids who are born without permission and hence abandoned. They’re supposed to be killed and that is why they are in hiding. Back home, it seems Rinne loves tinkering with some sort of time capsule. She has blueprints from her ancestors so, uhm, don’t worry? When she has Setsuna test it, inside he suddenly felt strange as though time has stopped. When he exists, Rinne said the moment she flipped the switch, the fuse broke. It definitely felt longer inside. When they go see Sara, it seems she has them help out to deliver food to the untagged taking refuge underneath the island’s stratum. Yeah, lots of abandoned kids. Setsuna tries to feed one but gets knocked out. He dreams of arriving in this winter place in a capsule and Rinne found him. So I guess they become family. When he comes to, Karen is trying to seduce him for info on Sara, thinking he is her bodyguard. Why not ask her herself? She hates the church even if she feeds her. Trust no one. You see, Karen is the leader of the anti-church and she believes the church is trying to kill all untagged. Speaking of the church, the guards have found them. But soon the entire island faces a blackout. Elevator not working. There’s the stairs… Hiding in Rinne’s place, Sara talks about the expedition 5 years ago in which a group set to find Avalon, a utopia. The official story is that they never came back but the dark truth is that some did and were killed by the church so as to give people a false hope there is somewhere else habitable on this snowy island. Suddenly Setsuna remembers about the other Rinne and her death. He realizes he is here to save something and is going to do it.

Episode 10
There are wanted posters of Karen. Also, it states all her comrades are captured and will be executed. Time for a rescue mission. Minus Rinne, they sneak into the church but what awaits them are all corpses of the untagged. It was like the guards were waiting for them. Yup, clearly a trap. When a priestess tries to tell the guards not to use violence, they shoot her! They won’t shoot the rest yet as they have a role for them. They are brought to the church where Sara’s father the cardinal is giving a sermon. Suddenly he is shot. Sara and co rush to his side only for the archbishop to suddenly blame them as the terrorists for killing the cardinal. Everyone with mob mentality calls for their deaths. They are burnt at the stake like witches but thankfully here comes Rinne giving a fake warning that more of their comrades are coming and have brought bombs. Yeah, nice fireworks. With the people running away (where the f*ck are the guards?), Rinne is able to save them. The gang then trek outside the island, supposedly to a place where a lost technology lies. Unfortunately Sara dies from her wounds. Inside this cave is one heck of a computer system. Yeah, it’s working. Rinne tinkers with it while the rest bum around. Until Karen starts getting sick. Immediately Setsuna could identify this is soot blight syndrome (too much exposure to the sun) so by the time he brings her to the doctor, she is already dead. Woah! Rinne’s harem dropping like flies! As he rues he cannot save them, Rinne believes he can. Based on everything she has done and researched, this capsule is actually a time machine. This is what her ancestors have passed down. To save the world. He can go back in time to save them. Suddenly Setsuna remembers everything. He came to the future to go back to the past and save it. Sounds a bit confusing… Rinne hears about the other Rinne he wanted to save. She looks worried if they are lovers. Setsuna says she is also a special girl to him. I hope he doesn’t say that to all the girls named Rinne. With that, they believe Setsuna coming here is part of destiny to change history. Because Setsuna is going back alone, so they pretend to have a mock marriage and then have sex???!!! Oh well, one for the road! I’m sure that will be the best memories ever.

Episode 11
We’re back on Urashima. Because Setsuna has retained all his memories, don’t worry if this episode is going to replay everything in exact order again. Because thankfully it would be just weird if Karen falls and plants her face on his dick again. This time she just sees him naked. Thanks to his retained memories, Setsuna proudly boasts what is going to happen and knows about Karen’s background. Later he talks to her friends about the time she tried to hide in the yacht. Thus before Karen could stowaway, her friends are already waiting and want to hear out her reasons. Setsuna then waits for Rinne at the beach. He tries to be friendly with her but his failed pickup lines make her laugh a lot. He becomes her maid and surprisingly Kuon knows who he is. Next day, Setsuna knows all about Sara trying to kill him, her scar and her past. Woah. So true! Now she worships him? When Setsuna hangs out the laundry, he messes with her pantsu just to get her to run out into the sun. See? No soot blight syndrome. At this point, Karen and her friends leave the mainland to discover the truth about Natsumi. When she returns, all of them celebrates Sara’s birthday. Now that Rinne is ready, Setsuna brings her to the shack and then Boryujima to put a rest to her original Setsuna issues. They return to Urashima just in time for the fireworks festival. The usual best fun ever until time for the cliché moment when the rain hits. Perhaps there is some sexiness and romance for getting it on in the rain. It is clear that Rinne has totally fallen for him. If not for the stupid thunder and lightning to ruin the mood. I guess this isn’t so sexy after all. Setsuna visits Sara who shows her an old album. A photo shows a young Kuon who looks a lot like Rinne (shouldn’t be a surprise because we did see how she looked like at the funeral) as she holds baby Rinne in her arms. He starts feeling uneasy. Meanwhile Kuon tinkers with a time capsule in her room.

Episode 12
Setsuna thinks of asking Rinne but backs out after thinking he needs to be sure of things first. Later as he talks to Rinne, he learns Kuon used to wear an engagement ring from her father but stopped wearing it after Setsuna arrived. Feeling suspicious, he calls Momoka to confirm something about Kuon that she is different than what others would think of her. Like as though she is a different person and younger than she looks. Then it hit him. Kuon is that future Rinne!!! OMG! Is that a time capsule in Kuon’s bedroom?! Setsuna goes to the mansion’s library to do more investigation. Oh, keen eye observation that a diary of Rinne’s father is missing. The year she was born. Oh, convenient this locked drawer means some secret is hiding in here. Break open. There’s the lost diary. The year Rinne was born, Kuon died. And as also narrated by Kuon, it seems she woke up on Urashima 24 years ago and met the master of this mansion. Conveniently she had no memories then and only remembered her name: Rinne. She was hired as a maid. Soon she realized she was pregnant. At first the master disallowed it but after the doctor diagnosing his wife unable to bear a child, he thought of this idea to use the maid’s child as the successor. She also liked the idea but after the daughter was born, she was taken away. However the baby pinned for the maid instead of the mistress. Later the mistress died and the maid assumed Kuon’s name. The baby was named Rinne as she didn’t need that name anymore. Hence here is Setsuna’s revelation to Rinne: I am your father!!! Holy sh*t!!! So all those instances why he can’t get any further being romantic with her, yup, this is the reason. And you thought he was just a dense main character. Oh poor Rinne, so confused and sad. Can’t blame her for not accepting all this crap.

Setsuna then explains it to the other girls about how he is from the future and hence knew how to solve their problems. But conveniently Momoka is here to point out a hole in his theory. Oh yeah, something she conveniently FORGOT TO TELL HIM! That time capsule doesn’t travel through time. It just stops time. So how did Setsuna go back in time? Like now? Actually the world seems to be repeating itself and the events happening again. Like the rise and fall in civilization? Hence the same past is repeating in the future. HOLY SH*T!!! I’M SO F*CKING CONFUSED!!! Momoka has proof with that carbon dating thing. Whatever. Flashback shows Never Land Rinne regretted and didn’t want to die alone. So she went back to that cave and slept in the other capsule. Rinne now confronts Kuon. She explains she regained her memories slowly over time and felt sad she would not be able to meet the person she loved and would be content in just raising his child. Then he popped up. So she blamed him for not recognizing her at first? You kidding me?! YOU WERE HIDING IN YOUR ROOM AND COMMUNICATING VIA NOTES!!!!!! Time for the plot to move forward as Rinne who heard most of their talk, thanks mom for raising her. She is happy to have received their happiness. So by returning her name means she returns mom to him? Geez, this is confusing if I keep now refer to Kuon as Rinne so I’ll remain. Setsuna and Rinne are now free to reassure their love again. Oh yeah. Let the old flame and tears flow. But no sex this time. Soon, both get married and live the happiest family life. Oh yeah, they even have a honeymoon trip. After aeons, I think they deserve it.

Total Drama Mystery Island
You could literally say that their legendary love continues to live on and that their love has actually lasted for ages and survived the rise and fall of mankind and civilization! Woah! That’s the power of love transcending time for you! Just the mind boggling factor that the time capsule didn’t deteriorate or anything and remained in working condition. Yeah, even if Armageddon happened, the time capsule seemingly stayed in perfect condition. So well hidden that I guess nobody actually found it because they might have done something if they see a sleeping human inside and tried to pry hi/her out. No siree. Nobody knows how to even operate this damn thing and I wonder how it lets one out. Was there a timer to say when the freezing stops? Yeah, after 10 cycles of the fall of civilization. Thank goodness the great universe is still intact.

One of the many problems that adapted visual novels suffer is that it loses a lot of material when being translated to the TV series medium. People who played the game would have had hours and hours of experience, thus giving them a better grasp and understand of the entirety of the story as well as the characters. As I did not play the game itself, it is hard for me to do comparisons but based on my ‘experience’ of watching so many adapted visual novels, adapting to a different media format means losing a lot. Especially when you don’t get to choose a certain route or go back to choose another one. Therefore this adapted series’ plot suffers a lot and there are moments when it feels rushed. After all, they have to fit like 50 hours of gameplay into just a dozen episodes. It is bad enough this is only a single cour unlike some like Little Busters got more episodes (hence fleshing things out better) and even Rewrite got those little extra episodes. But with the anime series ended like that, do you really want to redo it all again for another route? I don’t think I want to stay for that even if it takes another million years!

But for Island, the story does start off fascinating and interesting only because we are new and unfamiliar with the premise. That novelty soon wears off and I have to admit that it sometimes was a drag to watch because I don’t really fully understand what is going on and with the dragging out of Setsuna’s mysterious amnesia thingy, I was more inclined to feel that I want to get over this anime as soon as possible. But I’ll give them credit for that ‘shocking’ Never Island arc because they did it in a fashion like as though it was another new series but just reusing the characters and it actually caught me off guard. I never expected it. Even if the plot of this arc was still ‘not that interesting’, suddenly jumping to a different setting and era was something I would never guessed. But with only 2 episodes on this arc, yeah it feels a bit rushed here. Even that sex scene… Like as though they don’t want to put it in but need to because what are visual novels without the sex part, right?

Thanks to all this, the characters also suffer. Especially Karen and Sara. Guts and experience dictate that Rinne is the favourite girl whom Setsuna would end up with and it is understandable that a lot of scenes and moments are focused on her (technically Kuon is the original Rinne so I guess this technically counts). This would unfortunately mean reducing Karen and Sara to the most minimal of roles that sometimes I feel that they are only here just to fill in the harem requirements. You see, Karen and Sara do have their moments but they happen so early on in the series and only had an episode of focus since their issues are solved very quickly! It is as though they want to get these 2 out of the way and focus solely on Rinne. Remember, we only have a dozen episodes to get it all out. I believe that Karen and Sara could have been written off entirely and be done without and the story would still carry on as usual. Just with much shorter episodes. On a curious note, I wonder if they were teasing something because during the snippets of Setsuna and Kuon’s marriage scene, if you are sharp enough, you can spot Sara’s busty mom hiding behind a tree watching everything. So did Sara’s mom did not really die and also found another time capsule? Yikes. Don’t want to open up another can of worms. At least the girls fare better. I don’t even know why the heck Subaru even exists… After Karen’s case is solved, he is never heard of again. Convenient plot tool. Maybe his character doesn’t exist anymore in the future…

Talking about Setsuna and Rinne as the main characters, they try to keep us intrigued with Setsuna’s real identity. Because of his convenient amnesia, it adds to the mystery factor as you would want to know if he is the real deal or an imposter. The legend of Urashima is also a ‘partner in crime’ because you will keep wondering if the characters who suspiciously share the same names with the legend are actually coincidences or reincarnations. But all that fizzled out with the supposed twist of time travelling thingy. I believe this is where my interest quickly waned since it got a little confusing too. Going to the future and then back to the past to save Rinne? Oh. How so unoriginal. How bland. And it irks me that when Setsuna returns to Urashima for the second time, why does he not lose his memories? Sara’s theory could be wrong that the side effects of time travelling could mess with his memories but why is this time so different? Is it because he made love to Rinne? Wow. The power of boners help retain your memories! And if that is the case, what about the first time Setsuna arrive on Urashima at the start of the series? Assuming he has been jumping back and forth a lot, how many times and how long has he been doing this? Did he not make love to Rinne all the while? Man, it would be just mind blowing to think each time he time travels, either Rinne dies or he bones her. Oh Setsuna, theoretically you could have boned Rinne from all time eras!

Conveniently this is all somewhat solved with just a single timeline. No time paradox confusion. Just one big heck of a coincidence of everything repeating again exactly. Wow. It’s like God was really fascinated to play around with this, huh? But I have to admit this single timeline thingy and that Kuon is the original Rinne was something I did not foresee and was my shock factor. Yeah, they did a good job trolling me into thinking they were actually going back and forth in time. But it got me to think that if Setsuna arrived in a timeline in the same manner all the time, how many times have he slept in the time capsule? Because from the first episode, it at least proves it wasn’t the first time he tried this trick. Hence the very unfortunate game of lovers trying to sleep and wake up in the closest timeline together as possible and hoping luck and coincidence would bring them together instead of missing each other again of ages. I guess God got tired of it already, huh?

I guess sleeping so long messed with your true love feelings and it might take some time to ‘defrost’. Otherwise it would have been so easy when Kuon saw Setsuna again but decided to play up some drama and mystery just to drag it all out for a dozen episodes and let everyone go on a wild goose chase. Yeah, nice piece of work there, Kuon. Somehow you started this mess. Even if you later came out from your room and spoke to Setsuna and he still didn’t recognize you, that’s because you didn’t say anything to override the obvious. Rinne, his daughter looked like a mirror image of his lover, therefore it’s not going to cross his mind that it is anybody else. All eyes are on this cutie Rinne other than a typical young mom that only anime can produce who shuts herself inside. Besides, how the heck did she drag the capsule into her room? She must have had a lot of time to dismantle and assemble it, I suppose.

So if Setsuna boned Rinne in Never Island and hence the second return to the island Rinne is their daughter, then who the f*ck is Rinne in the first time around?! What about that other original Setsuna that was supposed to be Rinne’s first love? Please don’t tell me it is all a dream. Man, I’m so confused now. They tried to put up a great twist and even parody that iconic Star Wars moment, I take back what I said about this shock factor blowing my mind away. I’m so confused that I’m annoyed now. I can now understand how Rinne felt about Setsuna. Just when she just warmed up to him and getting all cosy, ready to truly fall in love, WTF is this I-am-your-father twist crap???!!! I’d rather accept you say I am not kawaii enough for you to be f*cked! Haha! Oops…

Sometimes I feel that some of the so called mysteries are just red herrings. In addition to that Urashima legend itself, even the soot blight syndrome feels like one. It doesn’t really play a major role anyhow and it is something that you would be keeping at the back of your head from time to time. Even when it is explained about something being exposed to sunlight or something, you’ll wonder what the heck it really is and how relevant it is to the story. So Rinne thinking she had this disease sometimes feels like she is just having a mini Munchausen’s syndrome. Because Sara loves coming up with outrageous theories that sound so grand and many of them fall flat or debunked, it is a reason why we are all so confused because at the end of the day, they don’t really amount to nothing. Remember the first episode whereby Setsuna muttered he needed to kill somebody? No? Me neither. Almost. Yeah, that felt like it was to throw us off. Like almost everything else.

The art and animation looks pretty decent. I did some lazy Google and find that the art style for the anime closely resembles the visual novel. I suppose at this day and age, technology and talent has progressed a lot so that there are no extensive gap between the art styles of the original and the adapted. As the setting takes place on an island, I like the backdrops and sceneries as they personally look nice. Especially the beach and the starry night sky.

As for the character designs, the first time I looked at Setsuna, I was wondering what the heck is the discount version of Cowboy Bebop’s Spike doing here. Like as though Spike has time travelled so much that he returned being a teenager. Heh. Just kidding. Sara is the most ‘eye catching’ one thanks to her fluffy afro-like hairstyle. It makes me think she came out from the old Monchichi cartoon. Seriously. Okay, sorry. Not meant to offend her that she is a monkey. Otherwise, Sara sometimes look like one of those characters from that mobile game, Hunie Pop. And Karen having twintails, looks like it is the stereotype for bratty girls to have this kind of hairstyle. This anime was produced by Feel who animated a number of visual novels such as Yosuga No Sora, Fortune Arterial, Ushinawareta Mirai Wo Motomete, Otome Wa Boku Ni Koishiteru and the Da Capo series.

It has been a long time since I have heard Yukari Tamura in a leading role. As Rinne, it’s nice to hear her trademark cute high pitched squeaky voice again. Also refreshing to hear is Kana Asumi as Karen as I haven’t been hearing her in a while and even more so in a leading supporting role. The other seiyuu I recognized was Rina Satou as Kuon. It was hard to identify her since she doesn’t speak much and even so only soft spoken. But I could not do the same for Eri Kitamura as Natsumi since her cameo was limited and she was always in a serious mode. The other casts are Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Setsuna (Ban in Nanatsu No Taizai), Hibiku Yamamura as Sara (Eia in Dorei-ku The Animation), Ai Kakuma as Momoka Miyako in Imouto Sae Ireba Ii) and Kengo Kawanishi as Subaru (Rei in 3-gatsu No Lion).

Yukari Tamura sings the opening theme, Eien No Hitotsu. Lively and generic enough to be so suitable for an adapted visual novel. Same sentiments for the ending theme, Eternal Star by Asaka. For the Never Island arc, Yukari Tamura now sings a slow but lovely pop rock ballad of the opening theme, Closing Tears. Asaka also sings for the Never Island arc’s ending theme, Marine Snow, a slow rock. There are a few insert songs and they’re not bad. Like the one Rinne often hums during her night walk on the beach or alone, Lasting Memories sounds much better in its full original form. Karen’s Purest Summer feels a bit too fast but overall sounds like a generic song for a visual novel. Sara’s Tennen Kinen Girl Janai Yo in a way makes me feel this is a nice song for a beach outing. The weirdest song goes to the duet of Rinne and Setsuna, Quiet Sea. The song isn’t so bad and in fact the little retro feel of its beat reminds me of another song I liked, Kogarashi Sentiment from the Monogatari series. The weird thing is how Yukari Tamura sounds fine, cute and lovely as always but for Tatsuhisa Suzuki singing his part, I just feel that his voice isn’t suitable for singing. No offence but when they are both singing their lines, his voice stands out as a little weird.

Overall, it is unfortunate that this series did not impressed and was a let-down. What started out as intriguing quickly lost steam because of the rushed scenes. The nice visuals and personally the opening and ending themes are its good points but those alone cannot save the entire series that just feels bland and weak in the stories and characters, the 2 most important aspects for a visual novel. And like I have always said, if you want to truly appreciate this series, might as well go play the game. Even though I won’t be planning to even play it. The anime as most would agree with me is best left stranded and lost forever on an island off the map that no one will ever come close to ever. Not even a magical storm or the GPS coordinates of a time travel capsule will even bring you to this island. They can play Love Island for eternity for all we care.

Hashiri Tsuzukete Yokattatte

January 11, 2019

You might be forgiven if you think that Hashiri Tsuzukete Yokattatte (I’m Glad I Could Keep Running) sounded like a title for an anime about running or marathon. Nope. Not even close to anything running. If you want anything running related in this particular season, please move on to Kaze Ga Tsuyoku Fuite Iru. Otherwise if you wish to continue down this one, then you’ll notice it is about voice acting. Okay. It’s not like we have a voice acting themed anime every season (unlike that cute girls doing cute things genre). If Girlish Number was too dark and b*tch-like while Sore Ga Seiyuu doesn’t feel realistic because of its moe elements, this one might fit the bill. Sort of. Because it has only 4 episodes! 15 minutes each! Ah, what kind of troubles our budding seiyuus will encounter in just 4 freaking episodes…

Episode 1
Minato Suyama looks uninterested when his friend invited him to a voice acting recital. The moment it starts, he became enthralled. And so, now it becomes Minato’s dream to become a seiyuu as he moves into his new apartment and plans to graduate from this famous voice acting academy. It seems this apartment’s previous tenant left a message for her next tenant. Her dream is to become a seiyuu too and she hopes the next tenant would be able to follow his. Minato and other budding seiyuus are quickly tested by the teacher to see their capabilities. For Minato, looks like he needs to breathe some life into his characters. So to say he sounds like a robot? Later as they have a karaoke session (an excuse to sing and hence improve their voice acting), Minato takes a break and notices a girl nervously reciting her lines in the next room. The mind boggling thing is not he recognized it as the voice message in his room but how the f*ck could he hear that distinctive voice if she was reciting in that room?! You know how well padded the walls of the karaoke rooms so as not to leak out sound, right?! Minato learns from his senior, Ryouta Nakata that she is Chikako Oomori. He hands him a flyer that he and Chikako are going to perform in soon. Minato continues his voice acting studying and the teacher concludes he lacks soul. He should put himself in the shoes of his characters to breathe life in it. So now he sounds like a zombie? Later Minato checks out the café place of the recital and meets Kei Ikoma. She is not a seiyuu but an illustrator. Minato notices Chikako outside and this time her face obviously even more troubled. Snippets show her teacher didn’t think she was good enough and this clearly zapped her zest. She doesn’t think she can do it but looks like it is her time to go on stage. Minato can see how scared she is on stage like as though she is an abandoned puppy. Like a different person altogether.

Episode 2
The crowd is baffled at Chikako’s silence at first but as she gets started, it’s nervous all the way. Hey, at least she tried. Later outside, Minato approaches her and has heard her recite. He recites exactly the lines of her voice message. Shocking fate, right? How could he recognize her voice? Because it sounds distinct. I think I’ll need to hear her a lot more times before I can recognize her as unique. Chikako reveals about her nervousness and she was afraid to make mistakes as it will bring ruin to the character she is playing. As they speak more about the positive light one being a seiyuu and the change they want to bring to others, they start acting themselves lines from the script. Not bad. Like as though it sounded so real. Minato continues learning the basics of voice acting and soon there will be this autumn festival in which they will be presenting what they have learnt so far throughout the year. Minato and his friends heard Ryouta got a role in an anime although it is just a very minor character with a single line. Actually, just a screaming line. They have him act it out and they’re so impressed with his professionalism although Ryouta thinks they’re making fun of him. Ryouta invites Minato to the café as it would help develop and benefit his skills too. Oh, Chikako will be there too. Minato notices there aren’t many people around. Chikako notes that this time of year, many quit to focus on other prospective. It’s Chikako’s turn to go on stage but that damn trauma has her nervous again. But thankfully remembering Minato’s words calm her down and she is able to say her lines smoothly now and with confidence.

Episode 3
It has been 4 months since Minato enrolled and he feels he still isn’t up to it. But there will be a script recital to select the most skilled seiyuu for the main role. Minato works hard and his confidence is booming and on the night of his recital, everything went fine. It was the best performance he had. So on the day the results of the roles are announced, it seems Minato just got a side childhood friend character role. The main character role went to his friend, Nobuyuki Tamaru. Minato is in shock so he talks to the teacher to find what he was lacking. Man, he sounds really desperate. Like as though he thought he was going to get the role. The teacher points out he has improved a lot. However he is not the only one to have improved. There is something else he is lacking. He must ask his own heart if he truly wants to breathe life into the characters. Of course he is confused and doesn’t understand what it all means. He still thinks he did everything perfectly. Chikako hears him out but the best way to see what’s troubling him is to do some impromptu voice acting now. He isn’t in the mood but with her being stubborn, he plays along. Hope he finds what he is looking for. Back home, he reads the script of his character again and begins to see the similarities in his real life. The character cannot be as good as the main character no matter how hard he tried. Thus he realizes the need to convey and convey this frustration, words and feelings into that character.

Episode 4
Minato learns that Chikako will be helming a main role at the recital. It might sound like a no brainer but I guess from time to time they need to remind themselves how much they need to breathe life into the characters they play. Because both are going into overdrive mode to practice, they note they might not have time to meet up like this as often as before. All for the dream, right? Just when Minato has really breathed some life into his character and is doing excellent, guess what the teacher says? He is putting in too much emotions! Woah! Don’t want to overdo it there. One night as Minato thought of paying Chikako a visit, he heard from Ryouta that she is out sick and skipped practice. But he finds her bumming out by herself and buys her a honey lemon drink to calm her down. It seems she still has the jitters and stage fright after all this time. Minato looks at it in a positive light. Worrying about her characters is good as it gives her better understanding of a lot of different characters. Chikako is so touched that she cried? She must be having a hard time. Well, can’t stay down forever. Time to move on and achieve her dreams. So the festival is here and we see (hear) Chikako excelling in her role that it gives inspiration to a listener, Shiori Gushiken whom you could tell is going to walk the seiyuu dream. Because the funny thing is that 2 years later Shiori now moves into that same room Minato stays after he has moved out. Yup. Same dreams too. Minato is now casted to play a role in an anime and he is pleasantly surprised to see Chikako around to help as a stand in.

Life In Words
Oh well. Nothing really special. Really. If that is what I have to summarize in one short sentence what this short anime is. Just like in any industry or job that you do, there are drawbacks that would make one nervous. Hence this series making our up and coming main characters having the jitters as they achieve their dream might sound pretty normal but nothing extraordinary. There are actually no dangers of them losing their path and failing to achieve their dream. Nothing that would outright stop them from attaining their goal except themselves. They really would have to screw up big time if they fail to land their dream but thankfully that didn’t happen. That is I said that there is nothing really special about it all. It’s like focusing the mini struggles of some ordinary person. Just pretty normal. Nothing special, I guess. Oh dear. So normal that I sound like a broken recorded. It isn’t that this series is bad but it lacks anything exciting that would be make an impact or be memorable in the long run. I know this is a short series but heck, I have a feeling that porn seiyuu, Koe De Oshigoto would be even more memorable than this one! Yeah, I still remember that one…

If you’re looking for inspiration in the characters to be a seiyuu, well, I don’t think this one cuts it. As said, we see them facing some sort of problems that are just minor stumbling blocks to their dream to be a seiyuu. It’s not a very high obstacle either but when you’re a rookie and newbie, that mini wall could look like a towering one. Hence this is the only ‘drama’ we will mostly see as Minato and Chikako try to find out themselves on how to become a better seiyuu while supporting each other. I guess this way it’s good so they don’t get lost or stray too far from the path as the other will help guide the other back. So you can see when it started off, Chikako was having self-confidence problems. And when she is on the recovery path, it is Minato’s turn to face his own inner demons. So yeah, both helped and supported each other in many ways. It’s a shame that some sort of romance didn’t hit off between the duo. I can understand it didn’t happen (at least on screen) due to the lack of screen tim