Here is a fun fact. In the video game genre of shooting games, there are no first person shooters developed by Japanese. Only third person shooters. Okay, so there are first person shooters that the Japanese made but they are so rare, obscure and ‘not popular’, it is as good they do not exist. Can you name a handful of first person shooters made by Japanese companies then? No? Well, neither can I. Anyway, what has this got to do with today’s blog? Well, it isn’t about first or third person shooter games definitely. Having learnt that Gunslinger Stratos: The Animation was recently adapted into an anime series, it brought back this little thought of mine. Not that I happened to play lots of first or third person shooter games (heck, I don’t even play that much games), seeing the last first person shooter I remembered playing was Half-Life! That was ages ago!!! Oh yeah. That felt like a very long time ago. I didn’t read the synopsis when I decided to jump in to watch this anime. I only did when I was halfway through… Because of some ‘obvious reason’…. All I knew was if this game was going to be adapted, hell, there is going to be lots of cool sci-fi gun totting action, right? Well… Let’s say that was the reason why I decided to check out the synopsis halfway through…

Episode 1
Tooru Kazasumi sees a little girl writing rocket scientist equations on the sand. Either she is a genius or this indicates something ominous. See the crows flying about? Yeah. Then he gets shot! By himself! Thank goodness it is just a dream. Or is it? As he heads to school and meets up with fellow classmate, Kyouka Katagiri, there is also her brother whom she is disgusted with, Kyouma and that midget who is always sucking up to his balls, Shizune Rindo. Tooru tells us he hates standing out that is why boring clothes like the rest suits him. He also tells us about the KK Matrix ranking system that determines your best occupation based on your abilities and genes but it is all a lie since if you have got rich parents, you get rank A. Tooru who has none, automatically gets a D. There are rumours that people are being spirited away but you know, Tooru doesn’t give a damn about all that. Then there is that futuristic paintball match during gym class. As expected, Tooru and Kyouma face off with the latter in victory while Kyouka wins her bout against Shizune. Of course the observers look at Tooru’s stats and know he isn’t just your ordinary kid. It’s always like this, isn’t it? After school, Tooru and Kyouka walk back as he tells her about the little girl in his dream. She just looks like the one over there! They feel something is wrong when they see her writing “Help me!” in addition to those equations. She runs away and Tooru chases her to an abandoned side of town. What does it tell you when you see crows ‘bullying’ her? When he catches up to her, she disappears. But the ground gives way and he falls into another dimension, another city, another world. Here, we see weird guys fighting each other with heavy guns and swords. From weird banchou guy to weird kid in a mecha. Tooru falls safely with Kyouka shortly following suit. They wander about in this dark mysterious place and realize the danger there is because there is a fresh bloodied corpse! Before they know it, they have to start running from an enemy who wants to shoot them down. Kyouka gets a little injured and Tooru thinks he can outwit the enemy because this feels like gym class. He is in for a shock when he realizes the enemy looks like him and shares the same name! I am you and you are me…

Episode 2
Tooru is able to do bullet time and dodge his clone’s shot. After Remy Odhner saves Kyouka, she recognizes him as a junior from their school. Meeting up with Tooru, they realize they are in old Japan (modern day to us). Remy brings them back to the lab. Tooru experiences flashbacks of his parents’ funeral. When he wakes up, Xi 988 the robot maid brings him to see Brian Odhner, the supervisor of this lab. In fact, that is just a facade. They are actually researching weapons and the likes as they are fighting a war against… Wait for it… Themselves! It seems Kyouma, Shizune and even their sensei, Olga are in on this. Brian relates the Desert Syndrome whereby people simply just turn into sand. This phenomenon is increasing and happening all over the globe. Of course the higher ups cover it up because those Timekeepers (those crows?) have a list of who is going to turn into sand next and at the exact time! Around 2 years ago, they also warned them about humanity facing destruction this way. So let me get this straight. In order to get the technology to save mankind, they have to play some kind of game with them and only being victorious they would do so? And their opponents are themselves from another universe? And for some reason the battlefield is Japan of 2015. Who writes this crap anyway?! I suppose they have no choice but to play along. This lab also researches some time machine using Timekeepers’ technology. But it is still a mystery how Tooru came here falling from the sky. Also another technology that the Timekeepers gave them was the Energy Cube. Think of it is energy to charge your ray guns. Think you’re good at them? Each battle, the enemy only gets tougher. So if they wish to do the Matrix and join in their cause to save the world, no, they won’t be given any pills but a suitcase with weapons inside that will seal their contract.

I don’t know what Olga’s purpose is because she shows Tooru a live footage of someone degrading into sand right now. It gives the boy trauma. Thankfully Shizune puts a stop to this. As she talks to him, she apologizes on Olga’s actions because despite looking like a teacher, she is actually a wanted terrorist and her elder sister whose real name is Orika! WTF???!!! Then she explains the greatness of Kyouma and she’s not exaggerating it because it is true how Kyouma built this lab and invited Brian to help out. Also, Kyouma personally picked Tooru and it shows how much he thinks highly of him. Really? I thought this guy was just a siscon. Because you know, if Tooru is in, that means Kyouka would follow him too. You get the idea. Shizune doesn’t force him to make a choice. He should do what he wants. As long as she could be of use to Kyouma, she is okay. Later Tooru talks to Kyouka about his parents who died in a traffic accident. When he learnt he could go back to the past, he was happy thinking he could see them again. She notes Tooru didn’t tell them about the girl but he couldn’t give an answer why he wants to help her either. So after lots of thinking and deliberation, Tooru finally opens his suitcase. No turning back now.

Episode 3
Kyouma picks up Tooru in his mini kingdom (his limo) to ask his reason of joining the battle. He knows it is for sure he isn’t going to save the world or protect Kyouka (because that girl also opened her suitcase). He tells him about that girl. Kyouma also knows about it and each time something unusual happens around her, he gets a report and bodyguards will be there to protect her. That girl and other fuzzy image of humans are termed as ghosts and there are many accounts of people reporting them. However Kyouma has never seen this one as clear before. This ghost is the reason why Tooru is fighting as he wants to know more about her. Really? Saving the world sounded much better in this case. Tooru is going to be given training and he is shocked upon seeing Aaron Burroughs. Wasn’t he that first corpse he saw? Well, that is his other clone he killed. Aaron will be his trainer and mentor. Kyouka spars with Remy but she gets overconfident in her win and leaves the fighting field, which is a big no-no because it means you lose. Tooru spars with Shizune and lost. Remy tries to stir up trouble by tossing rocks at them but Tooru’s bullet time reaction kicks in. I don’t know what Brian’s assistant, Kumi Minakata is explaining about this special ability of his to control his location within his time flow. Blah, blah, blah… Whatever. Then the big alert is sounded. Time to play a game with Timekeepers. Kyouma and co transport down to current day Japan. Ah, there are their counterparts. Wow. They look so alike. Oh man, how can I tell them apart ;p. The big battle starts. Tooru gets cold feet while Kyouka becomes overconfident (and needs saving from Shizune). Tooru then spots ghost girl so Kyouma gives him permission but limited time to go after her. When he catches up, ghost girl warns him to be careful because time will end and that the future is not decided yet. She disappears. Remy happened to be scouting and heard this. He thinks such ghosts are from the future and the Timekeepers’ enemies. Maybe they are fuzzy because the future isn’t determined yet. Tooru realizes he has run out of time and needs to regroup. Kyouma and co’s energy field is dangerously weakening since their formation has been broken and the team separated. Just as clone Tooru is about to shoot Kyouma from the back, Shizune protects him with her body. Oh sh*t! A huge hole in her chest!

Episode 4
Kyouma felt he always troubled Shizune. In that case she wants a reward. 60 minutes of his time after the next battle. Well, looks like now that won’t likely ever to happen. Call it a good thing because she also took out clone Kyouma with her with a hidden bomb. And so this side we have everyone reeling over Shizune’s death and on the clone side, they’re crying over Kyouma’s demise. Tooru becomes annoying as he blames himself. Had he not go scouting for the ghost girl… Cut that crap out will you! Kyouma fulfils Shizune 60 minutes of having tea with her. Only, Shizune is missing. Tooru’s self guilty is so infectious that it affects Kyouka too. You think she doesn’t feel sad for being a useless girl who can’t protect her brother and the rest? Oh, now you make her cry… So please cut your wallowing crap. I think they’re trying to put in some sort of romance drama. Because the duo get close to comfort each other only to be called to the meeting room with everyone else. Because Timekeepers have come up with a new rule for the next game. The side that reaches this gate first will receive 5 times more Energy Cubes. Tooru seems to be not paying attention at the briefing and going through the stats of everyone (and thinking about Shizune). Then when Brian needs a volunteer, he opts in. I hope he heard what this operation is about. Kyouma doesn’t believe him because a while ago, he was a big cry-baby. He tests him by shooting him but his bullet time activates. As they head to the battlefield, Tooru tells Kyouma he thinks Timekeepers are trying to hide something, the reason they are trying to kill ghost girl. Then he talks about his past how he thought he would never lose anybody again after his parents died and not wanting to get involved with anyone. I guess he’s wrong. Now he is going to fight that cause. As the battle begins, Olga and Shizune clone take out each other (although both are heavily injured), clone Kyouka plays mind games with her that Tooru has abandoned her since he is not by her side. In fact, he is waiting for some cue. As usual, he faces off with his clone. When he sees Olga injured, his confident shakes. Kyouma needs to remind him again. What he said just now, was it a lie? Yeah… That changed his mind. Both Toorus fight and dash through the gate at the same time.

Episode 5
Inside the building, both Toorus continue to trade shots but they are stopped by the Timekeeper since the game is over. Wait a minute. Shizune is a Timekeeper???!!! Actually she is just taking her form since Tooru’s mind is pretty much preoccupied with her. Since both reached at the same time, she rewards them with Energy Cubes as promised. But this is not what Tooru wants. He wants to know about this whole crap. Fine. Time for explanations. Shizune admits Timekeepers are from the future and they are holding this game to save them. WTF. Killing each other to save them?! To minimize damage?! Seems there are 2 parallel worlds. In 10 years, they will create a time warp technology that allows them to teleport to each other’s worlds. Problem is, they started fighting and killing each other and this ended up in both worlds being destroyed. It has been proven throughout history that humans will kill and destroy each other for what they don’t have. Clone Tooru agrees with this. Therefore the degradation of people turning into sand is occurring because their worlds do not have a future. That affects them in the past and thus turning them into sand. Huh? You mean now final Armageddon or something? Shizune says there is a way to fix this: Get rid of 1 world. At least better than both worlds being destroyed. And thus both sides will fight till there is a winner. 2015 is chosen because it is a neutral ground to both sides. Timekeepers only reward winners with Energy Cubes. They try to be involved minimal. This is fair. And so life is awarded to the winner and the loser will be destroyed. Tooru doesn’t believe this because of what ghost girl said about their future isn’t decided yet. He thinks there is another way around this and the future that Timekeepers see isn’t necessarily their future. But clone Tooru is up for war. If there is no future, they should just take it from others. Before the fight resumes, Shizune whisks them away. Meanwhile the others outside are trying to retreat with some doing the attacking to buy time for others to escape. Remy faces off with the clone of Lyudmila N. Ignatova. Despite his psychic power having a hard time against her evolved weapons, his bait and trap has him slamming the building down on her! Kyouma is forced to sacrifice his old man master to retreat with Kyouka. Old dude has made up his mind he is already going to die anyway. Tooru wakes up in a strange land.

Episode 6
Tooru is in the other world as clone Kyouka finds him. But she won’t shoot him. She takes him back to the orphanage where they are operating from as a base. They talk about things in this world and especially about Tooru of this world. Kyouka and him are pretty much considered lovers. I wonder if it is considering as cheating since clone Kyouka takes him out to town as a little date. She seems pretty friendly and nice unlike her violent persona in the battlefield. Meanwhile back in the other world, clone Tooru manages to give the sparse security the slip. He even enters the lab (since it looked pretty familiar like the one in his world) and hacks into the light security system. Ghost girl appears before him and tells him not to believe what Timekeepers say. Of course. This means he doesn’t trust her too. When he sees Remy who is to be the next victim of degradation, he is in shock. Tooru asks clone Kyouka about Remy because he saw his picture in the group photo. She takes him to the grave where all the children are buried. This Remy didn’t die in battle but due to his weak body. Although he came here around 3 years ago, he was like family to them. Everybody was devastated when he died (personally, I thought a kid crying in the background sounded more like laughing!). Clone Kyouka talks about clone Tooru’s ‘bad habits’ like as though there is some sort of distance between them now. She asks him about herself in his world. Tooru admits despite Kyouka always bugging him when he wanted to be alone, in actual fact he was happy about it. It sounds odd for them to thank each other for being at the other’s side. Kumi has located Tooru and is going to force transfer him back before the link breaks. I guess friendship is over. It was good while it lasted. Clone Kyouka warns they’ll be enemies the next time. Tooru returns in the midst of his clone having a standoff with Kyouka and Remy. His appearance startles his counterpart as he fires. Tooru’s bullet time activates and he fires a precision shot to knock away the bullet. But the ricochet hits Kyouka. Oh no! Don’t just stand there and yell her name, take her to the emergency room! Clone Tooru runs into the time machine while Remy is hell bent on chasing him down and killing him. In the battlefield, Remy becomes furious in throwing every brick and rubble at him. Then he uses clone Lyudmila’s Energy Cube to power up. He is feeling great unleashing all that power when suddenly he feels strange. Instantly he turns into sand! Timekeeper Shizune notes it is earlier than planned and incomplete but is going to let this go ahead. The entire place turns into a huge desert storm.

Episode 7
What’s this? Tooru having a happy time with his parents? But he knows something is wrong. They’re supposed to be dead! Then he bumps into Kyouka… And Shizune. They’re trying to convince him to stay in this bliss. Something feels really wrong. He knows this is not the truth when Kyouka doesn’t care who is alive or dead. No matter where he runs, this Kyouka is always there and showing him the horrifying degrading effects. Hey, at least he turned into a bag of bones first. When he sees that equation and touches it, Kyouka screams and disappears. Ghost girl is now here. She explains the Energy Cube causes time to advance to the future. He was caught in that sandstorm called Dead End. Time to go back in past to learn how it all happen. It all started when some super energy substance was found at the edge of the solar system. It was easily mass produced to a point humans were able to go to different parallel worlds. And that’s when the war started. She demonstrates no matter how ultimate a weapon is, it is useless when dropped. Therefore a weapon is created from using one’s body. So what if the body is targeted? Well, unless it is made of sand, right? This is the perfect weapon where time ends and what the sand Dead End is. In ghost girl’s world, Dead End was used as their weapon in the war and ultimately destroyed everything. They thought they were using Dead End but were being used by it. Those who lose become absorbed by it. In no time, the world will be swallowed by it and thus the apt name. Timekeepers are countless humans who have been absorbed by Dead End and melded their psyches and harbour one will. Ghost girl was a scientist in her world and before Dead End could swallow up her world, she went back in time to warn this world. Timekeeper Shizune interrupts to say they do not kill humans but render them powerless while storing their psyches as data. They are a humane weapon that ended the war without killing anybody and now everybody can have salvation and eternal bliss in that hallucinating bliss Tooru just experienced. Tooru needs to do something about this but knows he’ll be playing into their hands if he uses the Energy Cubes. Ghost girl deduces the Energy Cubes are linked to the Timekeepers’ future. Ghost girl can help disconnect it with her power but it will be very dangerous. If Tooru fails, it will be Dead End. Better try than doing nothing. Shizune tries to convince Tooru not to believe her. How do you know what she says is correct? Perhaps she is trying to force her ideal future on him as well. But you know Tooru, he can’t live his dream knowing that everyone else is suffering. This made Shizune mad and the sand explodes! Tooru activates the Energy Cube. Ghost girl disappears and hopes to see him in his future.

Episode 8
The rest are trying to destroy the sandstorm but it destroyed one of them. Who the heck is this Jonathan kid? Tooru returns to the battlefield to tell everyone about the frightening ultimate weapon. Kyouma doesn’t care and wants to kill clone Tooru but is made to open his eyes that killing each other is what the enemy wants. Temporary truce would be a good idea. Meanwhile Brian is happy to see such data on the phenomenon and looks like he has some ulterior motives going on because it would mean being freed from Kyouma’s leash. Remy isn’t dead but is trapped in the core of Dead End while having a recurring nightmare. He wants Xi to protect him. Both sides take a breather as they plan their next step. Tooru gets a much needed motivated call from Kyouka that she is alright. The plan is to dismantle Dead End before both worlds turn into sand. Tooru is worried this will kill Remy but the rest cannot be concerned if he is dead or alive. All they know he is inside the core. Tooru thinks of using the Energy Cubes like how he did escaping Dead End. It might interfere with the sand and destroy it. Clone Tooru puts his trust in him to do the job. Because he will do anything to ensure his world is safe even if it means teaming up with his enemy. Kyouma gives Tooru one of Shizune’s daggers as charm. Partly, he is mad for the Timekeeper popping up in her appearance. So both sides go on the offensive but Dead End unleashes waves of Xi clones. With a handful of casualties (characters whose name I never knew nor remember kicking the bucket), to prevent more of that, Xi leaves the command centre to dive down into Dead End’s core. I don’t know what she did in this self-sacrificing move to dispel the sandstorm and protect Remy but it gave Tooru a chance to use his Energy Cube and evolve his gun to break Remy free from the core and safely into his arms. Timekeeper Shizune did not expect Tooru to dismantle Dead End at this point and despite calling this experiment a failure, she is very sure they will create another Dead End on their own accord because they have Pandora’s Box in hand. My, what a big Energy Cube is floating there.

Episode 9
Tooru is forcefully teleported back but the moment he opens his eyes, Brian has the guards lock him in a cell. Why am I not surprised at this turn out? First he apologizes for this rough treatment but this is necessary to save mankind. Care to explain? He’ll do that. Twice. Because he is in cohorts of his clone!!! Thanks to the Toorus ‘visiting’ each other’s world, they are able to lock down the coordinates to contact each other. Also, the data collected from Tooru saving Remy will be used to evolve human technology by 100 years. However there is a tiny obstacle they need to get rid of: Those who are capable of time transfer. Both Brians join forces to stop them from running rampant. The biggest threat is Kyouma because he takes risk and makes decisions on the spot. But so far so good, right? I guess it is ironic that they’re being pessimistic right now that such luck won’t be around forever. So to prevent walking on the tightrope every time, they’re going to take action. They are also confident they will have no need to fear Timekeepers once they recreate the technology and dismiss Tooru’s warning it is only because that ghost girl did something or else normally it will turn out as Dead End. They want Tooru to join their cause but Kumi intercepts them for him to break out and escape. Brian has his clone return to his world and promises he will settle things. Tooru meets up with Kumi who explains Brian as a kid has always been crying for attention and that is why he is doing this to be recognized. First they have to find everybody else first (who are being held up the moment they returned from the battlefield). Lyudmila hacks the security cameras so Tooru can sneak around without worry of being spotted. Brian realized too late that the screens on the security monitor has been hacked and starts to sweat. He orders his men to capture them dead or alive. You frustrated, bro? I don’t know if the soldiers are given shoot to kill orders because that’s the first thing they do when they enter Lyudmila’s room. She was just sitting there, resigning to her fate and unarmed. They just freaking shoot her like that?! Tooru thought he is late in rescuing Kyouka but thankfully she gave those soldiers a taste of her badass kung fu chops. Best move I have seen so far from her. And of course with him in the picture, she collapses into his arms in relief. Timekeeper Shizune continues to think humans cannot give up on Energy Cubes. No matter how much they run, they cannot escape. Dead End is their ideal. To deny that is to deny humanity. Or rather, is she the one in denial?

Episode 10
Tooru and Kyouka escape the lab and are being picked up by Olga (who is just fresh from avenging Lyudmila’s death). She brings them to her secret hideout where tired Kyouka rests. Then we have an extended flashback of how ghost girl who was a scientist in her time use the newly discovered substance to treat people. It isn’t long before the military decided to use it for their own purpose. Then all hell broke loose. She joined the resistance force and before Dead End consumed her world, she jumped back to the past. However it was too late since both worlds are already starting to kill each other. Strangely, visions of Kyouka popped up before her, telling him to believe in Tooru because he can change things. That is why she started writing that equation at that spot. You might be shock in suddenly seeing Tooru sleeping with Kyouka… On the couch! I know they didn’t do it but it gives off that suspicious feel… Olga then brings them to Kumi’s secret lab to reunite with the rest. Remy is so happy to see Kyouka that he rushes to hug her. But it is a different story for Kyouma. Big brother rushing to hug little sister only gets a slap in the face. What’s with the double standards? They discuss the plan to rid of Brian and destroy the time machine to minimize Timekeepers’ interference. As of how they can go back to the past, Tooru has an idea. For some reason, I think they are trying to have forced romance here because we see Tooru and Kyouka spending a lovely time together in the greeneries of the evacuation shelter. Oddly, Kyouka who isn’t his official girlfriend, starts acting like one especially when she starts suspecting him of seeing other girls because he suddenly got good in dealing with girls!!! WTF?! She can tell by the looks on his face!!! Oh, that ‘cheating’ with that clone Kyouka in the other world…

This ‘argument’ is to set up so that Kyouka can fall on top of him and they give each other a kiss. And then they hold hands and enjoy the view and they talk about the different possibilities and futures based on the actions of one. So their logic that what they do differently in history can result the future turning out in different ways means that humans have infinite possibilities! It might come a little late because they finally confess that 3 magical words to each other + hug. And then Kyouka said Tooru should become the president of the world because he can change the world thingy. Huh? Hey, don’t give me this philosophy crap to cover this poorly written romance scene. Thank goodness it ends because Brian and his scientists are in disarray since the lab is under attacked. It is a one (wo)man show as Olga is the one responsible. Brian didn’t even realize his throat was slit by her until a little later. There, problem easily taken care of. Similarly in the other world, Tooru shoots Brian and won’t let him decide their future. He will decide it himself. Yeah, I’m sure they cut out the scene because who wants to see crazy old scientist getting killed. Tooru brings everyone to the spot where ghost girl wrote her equation. Turns out to be some expanded but basic time travelling theory. Whatever. Kyouma can even joke they’re not coming back once they go in. But seriously, he thinks they can come up with something to return to their timeline by using the big Energy Cube. Yeah, he thinks. So everyone hops into the portal one by one. Before Tooru can do so, Kyouma punches him because big brother has seen him flirting with little sister and does not approve of him yet! WTF?! What kind of big brother spies on his little sister on her date???!!! And that isn’t even officially a date! So he is going to give him a chance to prove himself worthy of Kyouka. Tooru ends up thinking about his other self, what would he be like had he led a different life, the differences in upbringing and the impossibility of understanding that him because he is him. Just shut the hell up and dive into the portal.

Episode 11
Clone Tooru narrates the tough life in his dog eat dog world. That is why he is bent on making through it even if it means stealing and invading the other world. Both sides now face off and as usual, the Toorus square off. Tooru wants his clone to cooperate to prevent Dead End but he isn’t so interested. They’re doing this for their future and have nothing to do with Timekeepers. Tooru’s team has caused some interference wave to activate the giant Energy Cube to form a barrier. His goal is to open a gate to where Timekeepers are. However the Energy Cubes from their side are not enough and need theirs. Clone Tooru thinks it is a trap. In that case, Tooru will give their side full control of the Energy Cubes. If they refuse to team up, they’ll do this the hard way and kill them to take their Energy Cubes. Clone Tooru agrees but will use it themselves instead of giving it to them. Both sides cooperate to open the gate enough for both Toorus to enter. A sandstorm greets them. Timekeeper Shizune plays mind games with both of them. Trying to convince them her Dead End method is ideal and that destiny cannot be changed. Tooru shoots her. Likewise, she thought telling clone Tooru that he cannot protect and resolve anything would change his mind. Guns cannot change anything. But he has determined to avoid that mistake by seizing that Energy Cube. He will never lose anyone dear to him again. Those who died live inside his heart. Isn’t that just delusion? Sure, then Dead End is one hell of a big delusion too. Clone Tooru shoots her. And now that they’re out of their illusion, hordes of Xi clones attack them. Despite taking damage, both continue to fight back. Timekeeper Shizune is confident as long as they cannot pinpoint her temporal axis whatever sh*t, it is useless. Too bad her confidence is now shattered because Tooru’s team manages to do so. They have been researching the link via Energy Cube all the time. She cannot believe they can do this much with such limited technology so Tooru tells her off that she is the one who fears them because of the possibility of the unknown. Tooru fires all his energy at her but her barrier is tough. Clone Tooru helps out with another shot. Her barrier is breaking and she’s freaking out. They both help each other up and are relieved Timekeepers aren’t omnipotent gods and just humans like them. In the aftermath of the explosion, ghost girl thanks them for saving the future. When both Toorus return to the battlefield, clone Tooru wants to settle the score. Just great. See how history is repeating itself? Humans just like to fight, eh? Now do you understand the ideals of Dead End?

Episode 12
And so both Toorus begin attacking each other. So much angst. So much arrogance. So different ideals. Yeah, it won’t end till somebody is killed off, right? The rest too want to fight but they realize they better not hog the limelight of the youngsters and agree to let the main character settle it. Well, except for the Kyoukas. They’re angrily fighting each other for their beloved. Then they get caught in the Tooru’s crossfire. Clone Kyouka is willing to die for this and Tooru is willing to protect his Kyouka. In the aftermath of clone Tooru’s fire, he is shot. Everyone is still alive thanks to Tooru’s barrier. Clone Kyouka points his gun at Tooru. Clone Tooru tells her to shoot. Shoot! SHOOT!!! Despite clone Kyouka hating Tooru a lot, she can’t do it and goes to tend her clone Tooru instead. Clone Tooru tells his other self to kill him or the war will continue. Tooru’s answer? He shoots and destroys the giant Energy Cube. This causes the link and history of both worlds to be separated and the cube rains down golden sand. Wait a minute. It was this easy to solve the problem?! Yeah, with humans being selfish and greedy, they couldn’t see this simplest solution. Everyone disappears from the battlefield. And of course, Tooru and Kyouka share a kiss because they’ll never come back here again. Tooru finds himself with that ghost girl. Her future is save thanks to him but regrets dragging him into this mess. Wait a minute. You went back to the past desperately to seek help and after all that has happened, you’re worried about the selfish decision you’ve made? Because Tooru destroyed the Energy Cube that could have been used to create a real time machine to go back and see his parents, Tooru doesn’t sweat it because it’s great to have memories but he needs to move forward. He asks her name but she forgot. Must be the side effects of travelling to the past. What shall he call her? It’s up to him. He names her Miki, something to do with the future. See you again? Back in his original world, degradation has reduced significantly but it is still around and this means the threat of Dead End is still there. Tooru gets philosophical about people looking the same outside but different inside. Kyouma tries to kill Tooru for flirting with his sister but she beats up the siscon. People think it’s a love triangle. Out of the blue, Kyouka asks Tooru to marry him in his quest to become world president and then go for world domination! WTF?! Oh hell, it sounds good. What kind of future have they got to lose? Curiously many years into the future, it is very much hinted this freaking old dude is Tooru and he is the first president of the world! He is seen calling to Miki who is his granddaughter. He is happy they’ve got to meet again but she doesn’t know what grandpa is talking about.

Clone Wars – You Are Your Worst Enemy
Ugh… Wow. After a dozen episodes of mediocrity, that was some heck of an ending. The time skip to show us where Tooru has become a major super power in the world. I don’t know how but they really did it, huh? I can think of a joke about listening to your girlfriend and then stuffs like that happen but I don’t think I can contain my laughter and finish this blog. If you think that this is the fixed ending, remember what they said about the future not being decided yet. Because there were a couple of alternate endings to the TV series but those were only streamed on the Japanese site but by the time I have reached the end of the TV series, my sentiments were already so and I have lost interest in wanting to know what really or could have happened. I just didn’t matter anymore. So I’ll just stick to the ending of Tooru becoming world president and having a cute granddaughter. It’s much safer that way.

I have mixed feelings about the storyline. At first it looks interesting when both parallel worlds collide and need to eliminate each other to ensure their own world’s survival. Then it gets a little complicated and messy. Especially about what Timekeepers are doing to ‘preserve’ mankind. I just thought it was crap trying to make both worlds kill each other so that the winner can forever live in some vegetable bliss (like The Matrix?) and the loser just dies. I don’t know how they term this as efficient. I thought it would be better for them just to kill both worlds. In fact, they don’t even need to do anything. History and track records show that mankind loves fighting each other and in the end just wipe each other out. Heck, why be such good people in saving the winner? Doesn’t make sense. Just let them kill each other and that’s it. So when you put plot over plot just for the sake of having some sort of twist in the storyline, it is just as good as not having any. In the end, Timekeepers wanted to play God but unfortunately God wasn’t on their side. Hmm… Come to think about it. Should they use the Dead End on themselves and continue to dream of the illusion that mankind bow to their ideals?

Having said all that, this brings me to the point that I am convinced humanity is one big masochistic dickheads. Even if Timekeepers are offering some sort of unrealistic deal of having them end all wars by living the ecstasy dream world forever, but instead mankind decided opted not to go for it and prefer to fight each other just because they won’t let some so seemingly omnipotent being control their fate. Sure, it is a good thing that mankind decides on where they want to go but if this is the ultimate peace and harmony, why not go for it? After all, everybody gets to live their dreams here. I wouldn’t mind if they can give me my maid harem! And for Tooru to reject this offer despite admitting there is pain and suffering, this means there is also hope. WTF. What kind of reasoning is that? So you’re telling me that you humans prefer to bear the torment of everything just for that little thing called hope? Oh yeah. Humans. Complicated creatures. And as seen right till the very end, with Timekeepers out of the picture, they continue fighting.

The characters feel weak. I don’t know. I just feel they don’t connect overall. Like for Tooru, this guy who told us from the very beginning that he doesn’t like to stand out, suddenly is thrust into the limelight and the guy who could change the world. Yeah, I have seen tons of main characters like that. They want a normal boring life. But the script says he needs to become a hero since he has some sort of latent powers and there you go. He stands out more than the rest of the other characters. Speaking of them, with a handful of them, they don’t even make a decent impact on the series especially those other guys. Like the banchou dude, the gay ninja, the old pirate-samurai dude, a Final Fantasy-like character (note: both games were made by Square Enix after all) and a pair of mecha riding kids (one is a scientist kid and the other I believe his ‘girlfriend’). Sometimes you don’t see some of them on both sides simultaneously because in previous battles, they were killed. The clones from the other world aren’t bad themselves. Just that they have different ideals they believe in thanks to their environmental upbringing. I was wondering why there are so many survivors in the end since I expected lots of them to be killed off just to save us the tying up parts. Because in the end those people didn’t even really matter. We didn’t really care about them either.

Remy feels so insignificant throughout the series that I thought his only major role was to be absorbed and become Dead End for our heroes to figure a way out of this. I thought they should just kill him off in the end. Why is he still around with the rest? The same case for ghost girl. They tease us with her presence from time to time like as though she is the key and revelation for something. Hardly. So her formula only serves as the gateway portal to the past? Holy cow. I couldn’t figure that one out myself because you need a rocket scientist to decipher those mystic symbols. Oh yeah… Very complicating. Even more ‘insulting’ is how they don’t even give her a decent name and often referred to (in the credits, that is) as mysterious girl. I prefer to call her ghost girl due to her flickering holographic presence and it is much shorter and saves time trying to type out her name each time I want to refer to her. Seriously. Really. And when they do decide to give her character a name at the end, the show has already ended. Uh huh. By the time we know your name, it’s over. And she even game the liberty to Tooru to name her. What is she? His pet? Sure, I can create a name for her like Aya-tan or Ai-chan or Rin-rin but she doesn’t look like the kind of girl to have that kind of cute loli name… Miki? Oh, okay. It is already bad enough Shizune gets killed off so early in the anime, so what better way than to make her character ‘return’ in the form of the villain taking on her shape? Oh yeah. Everybody must be thinking so much about her that is why the Timekeeper is projecting to us Shizune’s shape all the time. See Shizune, you are the most missed character of the series. Not!

I knew Brian was going to be somewhat of an antagonist because when you have scientists with their own ulterior goals, it can’t be good. Besides, you really can’t have clone Tooru as the bad guy, right? He is just survival-bitten, that’s all. True enough, he became greedy with his own ambitions but the saddest (and funniest) part was after he revealed all his plans, he got killed off. And that itself didn’t even take any effort. Heck, they didn’t give him one decent episode to play a megalomaniac. Okay, to be fair, 2 episodes the most. Side distraction? I thought there was going to be some sort of connection with Brian and Remy revealed (father-son thingy?) since they share the same surname. Well, nothing came out of it. Like we care. Olga who is a wanted criminal doesn’t really display her assassin-like behaviour, thus rendering her so called background redundant in the first place. As good as no need for any background stories like Aaron, Kumi and Lyudmila. Heck, I thought Xi was just going to some ordinary background robot when suddenly before sacrificing herself to save Remy, I don’t know what short narrative they’re blabbing to make it look like she and Remy have some sort of connection. WTF. Does it really matter then? Kyouma started out as a cool guy in command but with Tooru becoming the main character and after Shizune’s death, he turned into some dumb siscon brother. Since when did his role turned into a comic relief character because Kyouka’s response to him is always “Stupid bro!”?

The romance part feels atrocious and forced because sooner or later in animes like this, we all know those hidden feelings between the main characters would just surface. There were so many tell-tale signs about it. Even right at the start despite portraying to us that Kyouka is no Tooru’s girlfriend, that is already a dead giveaway that he’ll end up as his girl. Besides, there are no other ‘reasonable’ girls in this show that would amount it to a harem. Thank goodness. Less complication. Therefore when they start showing that forced cheesy romance between Tooru and Kyouka before the big battle, it felt like they needed to rush things ahead. Make it as though they have one last fling and no regrets to whatever happens next. Because all you know they could be dead in the next moment. Which fortunately AND unfortunately did not happen. A boy and a girl who go to the same school, enjoyed each other’s company but short of making it official as a couple, spend a few days killing their clones from another world and suddenly they realize they are so important to each other. Suddenly they kiss. Suddenly they hold hands. I don’t think this is The Sims they’re playing. I did not expect this but they did it. Tooru and Kyouka getting married, becoming the rulers of the world and having a daughter who visited them from the future. Wow. Just like sci-fi fairytales.

I was relying on the action part as this was the main reason why I jumped into watching this anime. Unfortunately and sad to say, it didn’t live up to my expectations. I should have known better than to put such a high expectation but thinking that the gunfight sequences would be the saving grace of this sci-fi series was probably a mistake after all. So blame me for not even playing the game in the first place. Sure, you get to see your gun action battle but that is mostly you see the characters holding down on the trigger button and let the unlimited ammo fly everywhere, not hitting anything. It only does when they want to kill off a character or add some drama by injuring the character. I don’t know if it is supposed to be insulting to the genre or not because Remy doesn’t even hold a damn gun since he prefers to use his telekinetic powers to throw objects. It also feels unrealistic to see the characters to be able to fly like Peter Pan even though they are not wearing any sort of jet packs or something. Can they really fly so freely in the battlefield? Tooru’s bullet time skill feels it doesn’t make an impact on anything except an excuse to make this kid dodge bullets to continue breathing. It is never even explained how he got this skill. Ah, I see that is why they just simply call him an irregular whatsoever. Anyhow, the action is rather okay, if not just passable just to past the time and forget the storyline. I have a gut feeling you would be more satisfied by playing the game itself.

The art and drawing are your typical conventional Japanese anime style. However even despite that, the art style especially the characters feel dull. I don’t know, you just look at their faces. It looks one kind. Looks simple. Feels like they didn’t put enough effort in it. Therefore it must also be the case of “I-have-seen-too-many-animes-and-thus-the-characters-look-like-they-are-ripped-off-from-another-series” syndrome. Because looking at Tooru for the first time, I thought he looked very much like one half of that manga team, Ashirogi Muto! Hey, both are even voiced by the same person! As for Kyouka, I don’t know why but I see shades of Yuno Gasai in her! Yikes! Remy looks like that kid from World Trigger while Brian oddly resembles like a certain American director whom I shall not name ;p. Olga’s flamboyant and outrageous fashion design had me think that she is the anime version of The Hunger Games’ Effie Trinket! And I think that dress design of hers makes her butt look big! Serious! Don’t believe me? Take a closer look at it again. The rest of the other characters have that I-have-seen-them-somewhere-before feeling but I’m too lazy to think of it right now.

There are a handful of CGI employed but those are only limited to the battlefield scenes and nothing to really shout about. Seeing shooting genres are all about guns, I expected to see a variety of cool gun designs but unfortunately with everything that is going on, you won’t notice them. Heck, I don’t think they are even given much focus either. The most prominent one you will notice is Kyouma’s big chaingun since its bright and colourful design catches your eye. The rest just felt like meh and didn’t even matter. Not even Tooru’s evolved guns.

There are a handful of well-known seiyuus landing their voices to this anime but that still isn’t enough to save the anime overall. My ears must be failing me recently because I identified wrongly or wasn’t sure about the voice behind the character. For instance, I knew Nana Mizuki was playing Kumi. But I also thought she was doing double roles and voiced Shizune. However something felt off and I couldn’t determine whether it was really her or not. It sounded close like her but it couldn’t be her. But then again, maybe it could. Finally, that was dispelled when I just look it up. Kana Ueda was the one behind Shizune’s voice. No wonder so familiar and still… Yet another wrong guess is the character Kyouka. I thought it was Kana Hanazawa behind her. Again, something felt strange. Was it really her, but it didn’t sound like her. You know, that dilemma. True enough it wasn’t. It was Hisako Kanemoto instead.

Thankfully for the rest of the seiyuus that I am familiar with, I could recognize such as Miyuki Sawashiro as Remy, Sayaka Ohara as Olga, Saori Hayami as Lyudmila and Takehito Koyasu as Aaron. There are also others like Junichi Suwabe and Rikiya Koyama but they voiced very minor characters so I didn’t even notice them. For the rest that I am not familiar with, they are Masakazu Nishida as Kyouma (Shimon Izuna in Gundam Build Fighters Try), Hideaki Tezuka as Brian (Tatara in Triage X), Saki Fujita as Xi (Ayano in YuruYuri) and Akane Fujita as ghost girl (Sae in Death Parade). It is interesting to note that although Tooru is mainly played by Atsushi Abe (Mashiro in Bakuman), there are 2 other seiyuus voicing his character to reflect the different stages of his life. Yuka Nishigaki (Autumn in Infinite Stratos 2) voices the young kid version while Minoru Inaba (Neptune in One Piece) takes on the old man version. The anime pop rock opening theme, Vanilla Sky by Mashiro Ayano sounds fitting for the anime. Only if it had lived up to that kind of hype. The ending theme is a slow ballad, Mirai by Garnidelia and I prefer this compared to the opener.

Overall, maybe it is because I am not a fan of the game or even a fan of Square Enix’s creations, I do not see the romance behind their storylines. To me, this is just a mediocre anime and believe me, that itself is already a merciful review that I am doing. A lot of comments out there weren’t so kind. I guess they weren’t fans of the game either. Anyway, to be even ‘fairer’, this is not the worst anime out there (I won’t name them here in this blog) since the action does not suck but could have been much better and I have seen better fights/battles/conflicts/wars/skirmishes/clashes elsewhere. If there is one thing I learnt from this anime, if ever some random dude tries to tell you to resign to your fate because your future is sealed, just tell that dude to f*ck off and shoot him in the head. Because for the umpteenth time watching this kind of animes, I would have known better that it is I who decide the future for myself and not some shady creature who doesn’t even have the balls to show its true form, some conman who wants to sell me the most groundbreaking innovative product, the fortune teller down the street trying to make a quick buck, my parents or even God. But somehow my future seems dedicated in watching animes… Like I am a slave to anime forever… I can see where this is going…

Shin Sekai Yori

November 17, 2013

We dream that technology advances would spur human to greater heights and achieve the utopia that we always wanted. All the great inventions of the future would soon become the norm and everyday life. Well, if that works out fine. What happens if it doesn’t? Instead, humanity takes another step, no. make that hundreds more steps backwards. The world of the future is somewhat a dystopian place. A pitiful state. Bleak future. If not treaded carefully, it could bring the collapse and the end of civilization as we know it. Before I start going astray and scaring off people about the possible gloom doom about our planet, let me assure you that this was the picture I had in mind when I browsed through briefly over the synopsis of the anime Shin Sekai Yori (From The New World). Seems that instead of prospering like we dreamt we should, we went the other way. Depressing, isn’t it?

Based on the novel of the same name (which I never read of course), the story is set in the future, a millennium from now. People are able to use magic. Although it won’t be the flashy kind that we see in animes and comics. Our protagonists are a group of young teenager born and raised in a peaceful town that may seem like utopia. Didn’t I say it was dystopia earlier? Well, that’s what happens when you discover the truth. The bloody truth of how the world and humanity came to be. Still waters run deep. Sometimes the truth is better left unknown. And because what has been seen cannot be unseen, our group of friends soon get involved in a life threatening adventure. A fight for survival, a fight to protect their friends and a fight to save humanity from the brink of destruction. Where’s a superhero when you need one?

Episode 1
The episode opens with random scenes of kids using some kind of weird powers to do some bloody massacre. A millennium from now, Saki Watanabe undergoes a ritual in the Temple of Purity as her passage to adulthood. She is being taught by the old priest to throw away her worldly desires and make the flames tremble. Saki remembers one night the things in her room start levitating and her parents are overjoyed that this is a sign she has become an adult by receiving the Spirit of Blessing and will now graduate from Harmony School and attend Sage Academy. At the end of the ritual, Saki’s Cantus (magic) has been sealed. She becomes a new student at Sage Academy and her friends, Maria Akizuki, Satoru Asahina, Shun Aonuma, Mamoru Itou and Reiko Amano welcome the late bloomer. The friends are whole once more. They reminisce some of the events they did back in Harmony School but in Sage Academy they practice their abilities in addition to covering normal subjects. Saki didn’t like the next period called Fiends and Karma Demon but Maria assures her this is just the abridged version they learnt. I don’t want to dwell so much on this because it felt like a horror story!!! It still gives me the creeps. In short, this story tells about a boy who wandered outside the Holy Barrier and encountered a Fiend. He sacrificed his life so that the Fiend never found the village. The class practise their abilities as a group like drawing or stacking cards using their mental force. They aren’t doing well since Reiko seems to be the weakest in the team.

After school, the friends talk about rumours that people who never graduated from Harmony School disappeared. There is a door whereby the only time you can catch glimpse of what is inside it is when the teachers open it. Some say they saw graves inside. Another rumour has it that someone saw a giant cat shadow of a Copycat at school. They are always after students. This has Saki to remember her mom comforting her when she was taking too long to graduate from school. She worries that if she doesn’t graduate, the Copycat will come after her. Her mom laughs it off it doesn’t exist. Saki wasn’t convinced because she thought she saw one. Back home when Saki eats dinner with her parents, they talk to her about her first day at Sage Academy. They also tell her about their time at the academy. But Saki’s mind is more preoccupied with something else. One night, she heard her parents talking. Mother was worried about Saki and to a point she is about to break into hysteria that she doesn’t want to lose anymore of her children! She is very worried because Saki said she saw a Tainted Cat but father tries to calm her down thinking she might be just seeing things. Saki wonders what her mom meant when she said she was relieved that she got into Sage Academy. Father explains that they were worried when the spirits were taking too long. He also tells her to be appreciative of their little Cantus. Saki doesn’t seem convinced and leaves the table. A few days later, Reiko vanished from school.

Episode 2
This is another long story I don’t want to dwell on as it seems like something horror. About a bad boy who’s karma spiralled out of control and became some Karma Demon after losing all his humanity. A month after Reiko’s disappearance, it is time for Sage Academy’s team ball tournament. It looks weird but I’m not going to dwell into the finer details because I don’t really understand. A team is supposed to use their Cantus to shove a big ball into a hole in the opponent’s area while the opponent tries to prevent it via some clay dolls before time runs out. So Saki’s team made it into the finals and their opponents surprisingly weren’t the strong favourites because they lost to another team in some accident. The finals begin with Saki’s team doing a trickery by covering up the hole so it is not a violation of changing the battlefield outlay. They were moments away from winning when their opponent, especially Manabu Katayama smashes his clay doll into theirs. The judge-cum-teacher Endou announces the results to be a draw and considers this unfortunate event as an accident. The guys rue that Manabu had played dirty and the team had no qualms in breaking the rules. It was something similar that happened to the group they defeated in the semi-finals. Shortly, Manabu goes missing. Saki and her friends are walking home one day and see a couple of Monster Rats. Saki remembers father telling her they were brought in to help with the village’s construction. The children must never see them as Monster Rats obey humans with Cantus like Gods. Since children do not have them, there is not telling how they will react. Also, they might be secret rebelling. One of the Monster Rats falls into the river so Saki wants to help them despite knowing if the school finds out, they’ll be in trouble. Saki uses her Cantus to lift the drowning Monster Rat. Both are grateful to them (despite they’re speaking in a different language). From the writing on their foreheads, they note the Monster Rats are from Goat Moth colony. The friends agree to keep this incident a secret. Soon the friends go on a school summer camp. The missing case of Reiko and Manabu were soon forgotten. Saki narrates Maria was born 2 weeks after her. Her birth was premature and condition even worse than hers. Had she not been born, untold numbers would have been spared.

Episode 3
The friends row up the river and make a camp. They talk about the mysterious Balloon Dog and think it is some story to scare others (because its self defence mechanism has it to blow up like a balloon and explode. Sounds unrealistic, eh?). This leads them to talk about some evil Minoshiro. Nobody has ever seen it because those who do die. They want to investigate if such stories are true since they are out here. It is narrated that literature hardly mentions about Minoshiro since it is largely censored. It must have come into existence several centuries ago. This is not only true for Minoshiro but other species as well due to evolution. The next morning, the quintet row upstream. They leave their kayaks at the bay and make their way by foot up the mountains. Suddenly Minoshiro appears before them! What the heck is this shiny creature?! However Saki realizes she is the only one reacting while the rest were stunned like statues. It walks pass them and disappear. The friends note that when they saw its light, their mind went blank. Saki didn’t because perhaps she was wearing a sunglass. They want to catch it. But first they caught a pair of giant crab-like creatures. Suddenly it starts running into a cave. They bring out the Minoshiro! Its radiance stuns the friends as Saki uses her Cantus to pull apart those antennas and threaten to pull out more if it doesn’t stop using that light hypnosis. Minoshiro gives up and Saki’s friends return to their consciousness. They have lots of things to ask this walking library. So where are all the books? All stored and archived in 980 petabytes of holographic memory! That’s 15 zeroes, baby! The kids aren’t convinced and think it is using difficult words to confuse them. Saki threatens to tear apart the antennas so it says all records stored inside can be accessed any time. I’m sure they have lots to ask.

Episode 4
Guess what? They need to have some membership to gain access. And so it lists down all the crappy documents they need to join!!! How to solve this? The kids think of ripping off its skin and hack it! Suddenly Minoshiro waives all the requirements. Wow!!! This is one of the very confusing episodes because it explains. Yes. Lots of words and terms. What the heck is going on I still don’t know. From what I can tell, the kids about Karma Demon so Minoshiro says it is some sort of syndrome, blah, blah, blah. It adds that the emergence of the world’s population of psychokinesis (PK) users grew to 0.3% but they became so powerful that they become terrorists. As a result the world’s population took a steep dive. Human societies were split into 4 competing groups: 1) Slave empires ruled by PK; 2) Hunter-gatherer tribes without PK wishing to escape such threat; 3) Bandits using PK for crimes; and 4) Scientists seeking to preserve all ancient knowledge. The more Minoshiro continues with the dark tragic bloody history of mankind, the more the kids feel unstable, thinking it is making up lies to confuse them. To answer their question about the scientist’s society, realizing the dangerous potential of PK, they placed importance of education and research followed by psychological influences. Tests show it can be used to filter out children who violate rules. Since then, removal of children posing potential threat became a generally accepted solution (remember those missing kids?). Next, the research focused on bonobos, a society of primates. When anxiety rises, males and females will resort to sexual play to reduce such stress. But such tests show it wasn’t sufficient and an additional restraint on violence was needed. One was personal restraint and the other called death feedback. The latter uses their PK to stop organ functions to stop them from doing say, killing. Carrying on would kill the person outright.

As for the question if society was specifically made to prevent the appearance of Fiends and Karma Demons, Minoshiro suddenly burns in flames. The kids see a woman holding a baby in the flames. Those flames are the Cantus of a monk, Rijin. He claims they have violated some rules and wants them to follow him back to the temple. They want to know if what Minoshiro said was a lie but Rijin says nothing except their minds have been poisoned by a demon. He then seals their Cantus. On the journey down, they are attacked a Monster Rat. Noting they have no tattoo and are not from wild colonies, they are foreign Monster Rats who have invaded these lands. Rijin easily burns the Monster Rat’s bow and arrows before killing it. Continuing their trekking, the ground then shakes before an army of Monster Rats appear before them. Rijin uses his Cantus to slaughter them all. Rijin is clearly weakened after the massacre. The kids think it is death feedback because the Monster Rats look like humans from afar and it is taking effect. Suddenly a Balloon Dog emerges from the heap of corpses and charges towards them.

Episode 5
Rijin sacrifices himself to protect the kids when the Balloon Dog blows itself up. They see more Monster Rats beyond the forest. They want to run but Satoru says it will only give them an avenue to chase and attack. They don’t know they have their Cantus sealed yet. But when they try to escape, the Monster Rats start chasing them. They split into groups but Saki and Satoru are captured. The duo are placed in a cage. They display their sexual intimacy as explained by Minoshiro but Saki stops it. Needing to find a way to get out, the duo use their brains by making the guarding Monster Rat to eat some fake egg. Its stomach blows up. They make their escape till they fall into a chasm. Deep underground, they are greeted by a Monster Rat of the Robber Fly colony, Squealer. He can speak in human tongue and treats them like Gods. He takes them to see their queen. Though they are welcomed, Squealer’s carelessness causes the queen’s tent to burn and the ugly queen becomes enraged and tries to eat him! Only Saki’s intervention to forgive him saved his life. Later they learn that those foreign Monster Rats are from the Ground Spider colony. Several days ago they declared war Robber Fly colony. They are short of manpower (rat power actually) since special envoys were sent to neighbouring colonies for assistance. That will take time and they can’t afford to be attacked now. That’s why the appearance of these ‘Gods’ are a blessing. Should they lose, they will be treated as slaves for the rest of their lives and their queen executed. He hopes they will bring down the iron hammer on them. That night, the Ground Spider colony attacks. Satoru takes Saki and run. Satoru’s quick thinking saves them from the combustible poison gas filling up the underground caverns. But they are only thrown deeper into the underground. Satoru tries to prod the ceiling to make a way out but it starts to cave in.

Episode 6
They are still alive and safe from the poisonous gas at least for now. Saki starts seeing visions of Minoshiro and remembers a way to return Satoru’s Cantus. She uses the ritual she remembers and it works. His first use is to blow up the ceiling for a way out. Saki wants to run but Satoru wants to take the fight to them. Satoru revels in using his Cantus to counter Ground Spiders’ attack. By uprooting trees and rocks to fall on them and even moving their dead corpse as puppets against them. He’s enjoying it. Saki thinks he has changed into a different person but Satoru won’t rest till all the Ground Spiders are eliminated. They stumble upon Squealer and his Robber Fly troop and they pledge to protect them. They will also help guide them to Ground Spiders’ nest colony. They take the long way and manage to stave off ambushes, decoys and surprise attacks with Satoru’s quick thinking and action. But as they go on more, Satoru’s weariness is beginning to show. Saki chides Squealer for getting them into danger because he assured them with scouts that the route they take would be safe. How many ambushes have they been through? A scout comes back with information that enemy forces have gathered at a wide space unobstructed by trees. It might seem to make them at a disadvantage but when they see it with their own eyes, they begin to understand why. The entire colony is there. Can you defeat such huge numbers?

Episode 7
They continue to observe the enemy but they start firing arrows. Saki has Squealer locate their nest and wants Satoru to burn the trees where the nest is located. When they start hurling rocks, Squealer flees. Satoru continues to push his limits by hurling those rocks back. Saki takes him and run. They are shocked to see Squealer confiding with the enemy. In that distraction, Squealer kills his captors. Saki is upset he sold them out but Squealer was afraid they were abandoning him. They abandon him? Didn’t he run first? Satoru is too tired to run now when they hear the sounds of Giant Hornet colony. Reinforcements have arrived. They meet their leader, Kiroumaru but Satoru wants Saki not to show any weaknesses. Even though Giant Hornets are most loyal to human, it is the more reason why they must be careful. Kiroumaru has captured Ground Spiders’ nestlings and will distribute them to other colonies. Kiroumaru wants to talk to Ground Spiders’ commander but the latter makes a surprise attack sending out Balloon Dogs. Thanks to Satoru, everyone on their side was saved. Resting in a hut, Satoru and Saki discuss about what Minoshiro said. If what it said was true, they would be targeted and get rid of next just like how children go missing from Harmony School and Sage Academy every year. Thinking Kiroumaru may have reported them to the committee, since humans face death feedback, perhaps those Monster Rats were sent to kill them out here. That night when they try to escape, they are surprised Squealer follows them. He wants to protect them. But why come alone? He came unprepared. He guides them through the forest when they see a hawk soaring the sky. It acts as Kiroumaru’s reconnaissance. When morning comes, Saki and Satoru reunite with Maria, Shun and Mamoru. They paddle their kayaks as fast as they could but realize Kiroumaru’s naval fleet is gaining fast upon them. However he helps guide them get back. He hopes they will keep this a secret from others because if it was found out, it would mean his death. It proves he has gotten his orders from the committee. They finally parted ways. Camping at the river side, they help each other to restore their Cantus and outwit the adults when they got back. Or so they think.

Episode 8
Two years have passed. Saki and co continue to harness their power at Sage Academy. It seems that Saki and Maria are close to being the point of yuri, it is the same with Satoru and Shun. As long as you love, it doesn’t matter how you love, eh? So close the guys that Saki feels disturbed. I mean, they actually kissed!!! Yaoi fans should love this scene. Saki can’t take it and releases some of her frustration by getting yuri with Maria. Has anybody notice Mamoru getting lonely? Maybe he’s into Maria but she’s not that interested in him. One day, Shun makes a shocking revelation. He tells Satoru he is tired of being his doll and wants to break up. He wants to be alone and distances himself from his friends. Satoru is devastated but quickly finds another mate, Rei just to spite Shun. Not working. In class, the great Shisei Kaburagi pays a visit. Everyone tries to use their Cantus to earn some of his praise but Shun caught Shisei’s attention. He whispered some words into his ear and then leaves. I don’t know what kind of expression that was from Shun. Was he happy? Was he going crazy? Endou ends the class and when Saki approaches him, his egg drop. When it cracks, Saki is horrified to see an eye inside. Later Saki talks to Shun about his break up but he can’t say. He doesn’t think she will understand and only reveals he will be away for a while. He will be out of school to receive special treatment. Saki can’t visit him either since he won’t be at home anymore but some rehabilitation bungalow. She wanted to confess she loves him but he cuts her off. Reminding him about their summer camp 2 years ago. The adults knew it all the time and for some reason, they’re delaying punishment to them. They may be under constant surveillance. Shun warns Saki to be wary of the cats and gives her a charm against one.

Episode 9
It has been 4 days since Shun stopped coming to class. The friends talk about the possibility of being on constant surveillance and the need to find Shun. They split themselves up as Satoru takes Saki to the Pinewind village. It has been many years Saki has been there, Shun’s hometown. Upon arrival, they are shocked to see the place cordoned off. They try to take the long way but it seems the woods are also barricaded. Entering the barrier, they see weird things. Like a Monster Rat and frost on the ground. Arriving at a big hole, they see some people trying beneath it. Saki has Satoru use his Cantus to create a mirror so she can see what is down there. She is shocked to see a tree, one she remembers from Shun’s house. When Saki returns home, her parents are busy arguing about improving facilities, this and that. Saki asks them if they know what happened to Shun. Father tells her talking things like that are forbidden. He adds about facing hardships in life and that parting with friends is one of them. However he lets her know that an accident has befallen on Pinewind. Shun and his family are missing. Saki is outraged nobody told her but mother tells her not to talk back and not to pry into the wrong things. Saki leaves to rest in her room. Mother pleads she doesn’t want to lose another before correcting herself she doesn’t want to lose her. Saki thinks deep what her mother meant till she realizes her name means ‘youngest child’. Then she remembers Yoshimi. Where did she go? Suddenly Maria is knocking on her window. She is scared that they were almost killed. Seems she and Mamoru entered one of those storage rooms that were off limits. They see locked storage drums but when they press their ears onto one of them, they hear those growling sounds. They had to hide when they hear adult voices coming in. They couldn’t see their faces but recognized one of their voices to be Endou. From what they hear, the adults lament about sending the Tainted Cats, Black and Stripes to settle something before he turns into a full Karma Demon. They unlock the drum and use their Cantus to restrain the cats to bring them somewhere. That’s when they heard Shun’s name. In the dead of the night, Saki flees her village to warn Shun but comes across with a Tainted Cat.

Episode 10
The Tainted Cat attacks but thanks to Shun’s charm she’s wearing over her neck, its teeth couldn’t penetrate. Saki chants some words to kill it. Did she twist it like a ragged cloth? She continues walking till she reaches a strange area and knows this is Shun’s presence. He wants her to leave but she isn’t till he tells her what is going on. Masked Shun brings her into his distorted bungalow and will allow her to stay maximum 10 minutes. He starts explaining the real problem comes from the human heart. Something about their subconscious is greater. Despite humans’ best efforts, they cannot control it and is always unpredictable. Cantus is the most tangible manifestation of it. Many methods were tried to seal or purify them but in the end it always slips through the holes opened by their consciousness. This will change the world. That is what the Holy Barrier is for. Not for external threats but to keep internal threats from seeping out. Their Cantus may not change the world overnight, but accumulating it over the years, there is no telling what will happen. After all, they were conditioned since young to be fearful of the outside world. Since that dark boundless world also exists within them, it becomes their subconscious and by linking it with the outside world, they direct such slippages outside the Holy Barrier. The Cantus outside the barrier may have mutated and evolved many creatures like the Minoshiro. Saki doesn’t want to know all that but what is happening to him. Everything around him is distorted. His subconscious has gone out of control resulting in extreme slippages of Cantus. He will turn into a Karma Demon. Even his loyal dog looks like a monster. The head priest has tried sealing it but like a broken lid, nothing will it back any longer. Saki blames herself for not restoring his Cantus properly then. He tells her he is trying his best to withhold warping her. His parents died because of him and he doesn’t want anyone else he loves to die in front of him. A Tainted Cat breaks into the room and tries to kill Shun but his dog saves him and dies. Shun doesn’t hold back his slippages and kills the Tainted Cat with his distortion. He blames himself for his indecisiveness. He knew his dog can never stop the Tainted Cat but went to rescue him still. He could’ve saved it by killing the Tainted Cat first. He reveals he was given pills when first brought to this place. He took them but didn’t die. His subconscious desire to survive must have altered its elements. He is tired of it all and wants to end. Saki is forced to flee as the distortion starts destroying the surroundings. Shun confesses he had always loved her. Shun gets engulfed by the distortion and Saki vows she must stay alive.

Episode 11
Saki seems down and Maria thought she is worried if Ryou Inaba would choose her. Ryou who? The guy from their group who had his eyes on her all the time. Did he? Speaking of the devil, he wants to talk to Saki. Seems he wants to choose her for the duty pair. During winter, students are paired up for duties and the pair will consist of a boy and a girl if they both truly love each other. However Saki cannot remember doing things during that summer camp with Ryou although he insists he was there. Something feels wrong. Flashback reveals Saki was at Shun’s grave. She heard his voice that told her how his tombstone had no name just like the others. Then he told her to look in a mirror. A bright flash engulfed her. Next thing, she woke up in her room, no memories of him. Then she found a mirror in the storeroom, cleaned it and when she let some light reflect on it, she sees Yoshimi’s name. Later Saki calls Ryou to talk to him. She asks him several questions. First, the things he told her on that camping night. He can’t remember but even if he guessed, it was wrong. Not what Saki remembered. Then she asks about breaking up with Satoru. He gives an ambiguous answer. Final question. About summer camp again. He must remember how Rijin died. He doesn’t know who he is. This has Saki ascertain it isn’t him and turns him down for the duty pair. Then she talks to Satoru about this. Ryou is not the person they both fell in love with. So for duty pair, Saki ends up with Satoru while Maria with Mamoru. The quartet talk about Ryou. Maria doesn’t believe he wasn’t part of their group all along. Saki believes there is another person but not Ryou, though she can’t remember. Satoru also has this feeling and thinks their memories have been altered. To make it simple, they call this person ‘X’. Compared to Ryou, Satoru remembers playing at X’s house, which is very much different from Ryou’s. Saki has him name the 7 main villages and they remember X’s house is in Withertree (formerly known as Pinewood). They decide to go there to check things out.

The village is rundown void of people. There is a big lake which they don’t remember. They can’t go further than the Holy Barrier placed around. Maria too understands what Saki and Satoru felt but Mamoru thinks they may just be remembering things wrongly. They further have this strange feeling that X was there before Ryou. Even so, there was another girl member in their group. What about the discussion they had something similar to this during summer camp? They just can’t remember. It’s like slipping through their finger tips. Mamoru becomes upset they shouldn’t be doing this further since this is violating the Code of Ethics. Later Saki shows Maria and Satoru a mirror with Yoshimi’s name. Saki thinks she was disposed by the school as the writing on this mirror was bad and proof of her beginner level Cantus. If she died in an accident or illness, there was no need to cover up. Maria doesn’t want Saki to dig further but she wants to know the truth. Maria is worried about her friends who are alive now. She notes Saki as strong because she is enduring pain that others normally couldn’t bear. She is able to shoulder the sadness and live on. But the rest may not be strong as her or even them. Mamoru. She knows he can’t cope with betrayal from someone he trusted so it is better off they do not know many things in this world. Because the truth can be the cruellest. If Saki continues to dig up the truth, Mamoru may lose it. But Saki can’t turn back now or else it will haunt her. A couple of adults want the trio to follow them. They claim they work under Satoru’s grandma, Tomiko who is the head of the Ethics Committee. The girls are surprised and think Satoru is a spy but he too doesn’t know his grandma is the head since members of Ethics Committee aren’t public knowledge. The trio will take turns talking to the committee and first up is Saki, whom Tomiko has specifically requested for.

Episode 12
Tomiko looks young… Seems the reason she wants to speak to Saki was because she wants her to eventually succeed her. Saki didn’t think her grades are good enough but apparently it is not the only thing and Cantus that is assessed. Saki has strong personality index and this means her mental stability is strong enough to make her remain the same person when something unexpected happens. Her score is probably the highest in history. When she learnt the truth of mankind’s dark bloody history from the Minoshiro, her personality index stabilized quickly (when the kids returned from the camp, they were each examined thoroughly). Saki’s other qualities like broad thinking and nerves of steel makes her a good leader. The kids weren’t disposed then since it is not their jurisdiction but the Board of Education. Though Ethics Committee has the highest authority in town, they don’t interfere with their decisions. Theirs was an exception. Not because of Satoru but Saki. She feels she is indispensible. Reminding her 2 things in this world they should fear, Fiends and Karma Demon, many people have never seen a Fiend but Tomiko had a close encounter with one. There was this boy called K. He had this desire for destruction. Nobody paid attention to him since the last Fiend appearance was 80 years ago. His mom was an outspoken town council member and there were no established mechanisms for such situations. One day K snapped and started going on a killing spree. He turned into a Fiend. Tomiko was working as a nurse then when K trudged into the hospital. The doctor takes a look at him and had Tomiko prepare some antibiotics. After he had given him the drug, K went berserk and blew off the doctor’s head before he died from the drug’s effects. So in order for such event never to happen again, they had to take steps to eliminate those showing such potential. One way was commanding loyal colonies of Monster Rats to attack. Also, a change in rule whereby a child has only human rights till he/she reaches his/her 17th birthday. This means until then, the council has the right to dispose of that child’s life. So they also used Tainted Cats that were selectively bred for that.

Though Fiends have stopped appearing, another threat emerged. It was the leaking of Cantus. It was thought it would pose no harm to humans, animals or environment. Till this girl, Izumi start to show worrying symptoms. Her leak was so bad that it could alter a human’s DNA. This is what turning into a Karma Demon is all about. Izumi learnt she had put many lives in danger and volunteered to eliminate herself. Unknown to her, all her family members have mutated and died from her bad spill. She was given pills to stop her condition and only one of them was lethal. However she swallowed them all. Saki cannot hold her tears over this sad story. This has something to do with their purged memories as well. She wants them back but Tomiko can’t. Doing so, it would bring greater destabilisation since such incidents are very shocking.  Even if she did restore her memories, there is no way she can keep it from her friends. They too will know and soon everyone else. The important thing is to take care and give attention to the weakest one. A chain is only as strong as its weakest one. But if Saki succeeds her, she can have her memories back. However she still doesn’t think she can fit her role. Tomiko notes she was once like that. One day she will realize that there are things that needed to be done and a task she could only shoulder. One morning, Mamoru goes missing and he left behind a note not to look for him. His friends of course will want to find him. But first they have to rid of Ryou. Though he hangs out with another group, he is officially in theirs. Satoru lies his way that they are researching snowflakes and convinces Ryou to do his own research. As the trio search for him, Maria tries to describe Mamoru’s behaviour lately. He was feeling down and couldn’t complete an easy assignment. The teacher scolded him so Maria joked they may send Copycats for him. He turned pale and took it seriously. That was the last she saw of him.

Episode 13
The trio can’t find Mamoru but see sled tracks leading towards the Holy Barrier. They think he is trying to cross over to the mountains. They think with the heavy load he is carrying and if he is hesitating on directions, they can catch up with him in 2 hours. After they cross the Holy Barrier, they begin to see footprints of a Monster Rat next to the sled tracks. It is bad if it is following Mamoru. Continuing to follow the trail, they come to a conclusion that Mamoru must be desperate in escaping since the track is leading up a steep mountain. Suddenly it ends when they reach a cliff. Could he have fallen off? They slide down to find him and when the thick snow stop them, they think he must have fallen somewhere around here. They use their Cantus to shovel the snow and see his sled. But no Mamoru. Satoru is suspicious why the sled is buried so deep in the snow. If it was snowing heavily, it would’ve covered the tracks. Either Mamoru or the Monster Rat must have buried it. Looking further, they see footprints and a deep track in the snow. They think the Monster Rat was carrying Mamoru but didn’t kill him because the deep track avoided all the roots. The trail leads them to a hut and they see Mamoru sleeping inside. He wakes up and is relieved he is okay. Mamoru reveals he slipped and fell. Squonk saved him. Who? He was the Monster Rat from Goat Moth colony Saki helped years ago. Squonk explains he followed Mamoru by chance. He saw sled tracks and thought it belonged to some colony. Now Mamoru justifies his escape. He doesn’t want to die. Endou had cold eyes when he looked at him as he is already on the list of people to be disposed. Mamoru also knows they’ve been keeping secrets from him especially about Yoshimi and the mirror. He already saw a Copycat twice. The first was 4 days ago when he felt something tailing him on his way back from school. Although he didn’t see it, he knows it is not his imagination even thought it didn’t attack and felt more like tailing him. Then yesterday when Endou told him to put printouts in the storeroom after class, he felt strange about his request since the printouts weren’t many. After doing so, he heard snarling in the hallway. Mamoru froze. He became scared. Before he could fully turn around, a gust of wind blows the Copycat into some portal. Mamoru knew his life is in danger since he really saw this one. Satoru is puzzled why is Mamoru on the hit list. His Cantus is average and has no personality problem. Mamoru suddenly remembers seeing the Copycat somewhere but can’t remember it no matter how hard he tries. It feels it has something to do with his erased memories. Something about going into the storage huts, hiding behind it and seeing them coming out from the drums. Maria feels she remembers something like that. The kids are starting to hesitate if they should go back to the village.

Episode 14
Only Satoru and Saki return to the village but at different times. Once Saki returns to her family, the chairman of the Board of Education wants to see her now. Saki is being interrogated by the vice chairman, Masayo Komatsuzaki. She must answer truthfully. It’s like she’s under some trial. Saki answers what she knows. It’s like they are trying to pin her on something. There are some moments Saki went silent as Masayo pesters her to answer. Give her some time, lady. Ever thought she is just deep in thought? Don’t want to say the wrong thing, huh? So when Saki reveals why Mamoru ran away due to the sightings of Tainted Cats, they tell her to shut up. Oh, so now it’s you have the right to remain silence. They are disappointed in her so Saki wonders if she will be disposed too. Tomiko enters in time and hopes the committee can cut her some slack. She was partly responsible for this as she told her about Tainted Cats and all because she views Saki as a capable person to lead their village. Besides, the missing of 2 children is their fault. The decision to dispose Mamoru was rash and unwise. They failed to do so and it led to this situation. The committee has no choice but to respect Tomiko’s decision. Tomiko brings Saki up to the room to talk. Saki is surprised to see Tainted Cats sitting tamely by Tomiko. They won’t attack unless ordered to. Saki asks Tomiko she mentioned about conducting experiment on their group. As explained, unlike others, they were not hypnotized and thus by large didn’t take away their freedom of thought. Why them? Because docile ones cannot protect the village. Leaders need to be strong in their conviction and even do dirty work from time to time but too many unforeseen events have happened. Her biggest regret was disposing the boy she had greatest hope for. Children were hypnotized to fear leaving the Holy Barrier. However as seen in their case, they feared death and ventured outside. This is normally a rational decision. But this is also causing a fundamental problem in the village.

In ancient civilization, there were nuclear weapons that can take out an entire city. Now there is a new problem of a similar threat: Humans. A single Fiend can destroy a city with ease. Unlike nuclear weapons, Fiends will continue as long as their body permit. Tomiko wants Saki to bring them back. In return she will vouch for her safety but she only has 3 days to do that. If they continue to hide, the Board of Education will devote its time to dispose them. This means ordering every Monster Rat colony to hunt them down. Saki finally asks why she wields so much influence. Unlike politics of old men, Tomiko doesn’t use wealth, violence and brainwashing. She had time. What does she mean? Making Saki guess her age, she got the last 2 digits correct. Last 2 digits? Tomiko is 267 years old! Her encounter with the Fiend was 245 years ago and has been the Ethics Committee chairman for 170 years. She explains her youthful appearance and longevity due to her genes and chromosomes that prevents her from aging and somewhat regenerates. Yeah, that telomere thingy which I can’t understand. Thus Tomiko herself and her history is what make her influential. Saki is caught up by Satoru. He was questioned by them after being made to wait for ages. But soon after they told him to go after Saki. Their mission is of course to bring back Mamoru and Maria. However the hut is now missing. Did somebody uprooted the entire structure or did it just vanish?

Episode 15
Satoru finds the hut has been destroyed and buried. It couldn’t be the work of Monster Rats and thinks Mamoru and Maria did it. Even their tracks were covered. The duo continue to search for their friends. While they take a break, they see a Monster Rat. It runs away once it realizes it has been spotted. Saki goes after it but falls through a cornice. Luckily Satoru catches her. When she opens her eyes, she is safe but in a hut. Where is this place? They are in Robber Fly’s colony. They are greeted by Squealer now known as Yakomaru who boasts about his colony’s growth. But the duo are in a hurry to find their friends and thinks they are at Goat Moth colony. Yakomaru says it is one of the few colonies that is not aligned with Giant Hornet colony and can only make their journey tomorrow morning as the snow is dangerous at night. The duo want to meet his queen but Yakomaru seems reluctant but shows them the way anyway. Along the way, he shows them the concrete buildings their colony has made. They are surprised how their colony has changed because it used to centre around the queen. When they see the queen, they are shocked to see her in a pitiful vegetative state. Yakomaru explains she has not been mentally stable. Although she was tyrannical, she became worst after that. Because the members of the colony didn’t want to be tools to be discarded, they formed a union to negotiate with her but she went on a rampage. As the queen is the only one who can bear children, they have no choice but to take this path but due to some hygienic complication, the queen contracted some disease and fell into this state. Saki does not like this one bit but Yakomaru tells her the book he read written by them Gods about democracy and equal rights. All other colonies are also dealing with the same problem to a certain degree. Satoru and Saki return to their hut and discuss what they saw. They definitely do not like how things are going. Satoru speculates that they are trying to replace humans. Because back home, they have no houses made of concrete. It’s like they’re trying to take themselves the material culture humans abandoned. And how can Yakomaru get to know all he wants with just a book? He thinks he caught a Minoshiro. Next morning, the duo are surprised to see Yakomaru gathering an army to head to Goat Moth colony. Outside their stronghold, Yakomaru has his subordinate issue a summon. As there is no response, he commences attack. Shortly, Goat Moth retaliates. Thanks to Satoru’s Cantus, he protects everyone. Yakomaru convinces them for permission to attack back since attacking a God is punishable by death. Satoru uses his Cantus to break open the defence but Saki stops him before it gets worse. Yakomaru chides a Goat Moth colony member but Satoru tells him to bring out Squonk as he is the one they have business with. Though they are glad to see him, Squonk doesn’t know where their friends are. They have left to a faraway place. He doesn’t know where or the direction they have headed. But they left behind a letter.

Episode 16
For the first 10 minutes, Maria narrates the contents of what she wrote in the letter while Saki reminisces flashbacks of her childhood days with her. Why they had to leave because there is no turning back once you are branded as disqualified. Maria views Saki to be strong in willpower and will be the village’s valuable asset. Maria views their village has a deep fear for children because they kill them to maintain peace and order. She knows if Saki or Satoru was in her shoes, she would have done the same to save a friend. They will run far away where the village eyes will not reach them and live together in a new direction. She hopes they will one day meet. She wants them to report that they have died and to not look for them. Satoru tells Yakomaru that they will report Maria and Mamoru have died and need to get their stories straight. Yakomaru obliges but of course they don’t trust him. The duo continue to search for their friends and Tomiko’s deadline is nearing and still no signs of their tracks. It dawned to Saki that one by one her friends are going missing and they are both left. She doesn’t want to lose anymore. Saki fell asleep during a rest and dreams of a faceless boy telling her something. That night when they take shelter, Saki wonders if they will forget Maria and Mamoru. Satoru will not let the Board alter his memories again. If they try to force something on them, he will leave the village and take Saki with him. Then they can go look for Maria and Mamoru and live together. Just hearing their name, Saki breaks down uncontrollably. She couldn’t sleep that night because the faceless boy dream continues to haunt her. He told her not to help Maria and Mamoru in their escape and that Maria had to die.

Episode 17
Ten years have passed and Saki is now 26 years old. She is in charge of breeding naked mole rats but her true responsibility is the investigation and regulation of Monster Rats at the Department of Exospecies Control. Get this. Even though colonies of Monster Rats still obey humans like gods, they must still fill in application if they want to have a civil war!!! Yup. That’s where Saki’s department comes in. Saki is surprised Satoru visits her. Due to some petty issue, their relationship isn’t so good. Anyway there is a case that the Spider Wasp colony was ambushed and attacked. Satoru is using them for his farm work and thought Saki would knew something about this. Apparently she doesn’t and this is news to her. They need to identify the culprit and take action. So in a meeting to discuss this, it consists of Koufuu Hino of the Occupations Council, Tomiko and Shisei. Saki first explains the Monster Rat colonies are divided into 2 factions. Those who are aligned to Giant Hornets and the rest to Robber Flies. She also gives the numbers of both sides and their ruling system. While Giant Hornets still maintain their queen, the Robber Flies have discarded theirs via revolution and are represented by elected representatives. This surprises the council. Also, Goat Moths may have been neutral but there is a chance they may be aligned to Robber Flies. Hino thinks they just need to eradicate half of them but the rest want to summon both the representatives. Tomiko suggests questioning both together because if their stories don’t match, they will confront each other to see if they’re telling the truth. And so Kiroumaru of Giant Hornets and Yakomaru of Robber Flies are summoned. It is obvious that they are both accusing each other of telling lies. Yakomaru even went further that the attack on Spider Wasp was staged by themselves. Despite several lives were lost, Yakomaru claims their principals are different than theirs because they do not value lives unlike them who have embraced democracy with every individual holding rights. In the end, the meeting adjourned without a decision. Saki is about to watch the battle between Giant Hornets and Robber Flies. While the battle rages on, her colleague Inui talks to her that despite some of the ancient technology the Monster Rats used in battle, he feels they get their source of knowledge somewhere. He tells her a secret that no one knows. Giant Hornets are always victorious because they take some enhancing drug before the battle. In the end, Giant Hornets emerge victorious although Kiroumaru apologizes it took his troops an hour to rid of those weaklings. Saki returns to her office and at the same time her department chief who was watching over the battle between Goat Moths and Spider Wasps. To Saki’s surprise, she learns Goat Moths won because Spider Wasps switched sides. She feels something amiss. Why would Spider Wasps join their mortal enemies as this case started because of this. Plus, she never received an application for war from Spider Wasps. Next morning, Saki receives news that the Giant Hornet army has been wiped out.

Episode 18
A meeting is held to discuss Giant Hornet’s annihilation. Every soldier was mutilated and it is mind boggling how such a powerful army could be defeated in such a way. Evidence suggests Kiroumaru escaped but his whereabouts unknown. Findings indicate there were no weapons left behind by Giant Hornets not even destroyed ones so can it be Robber Flies took them to hide evidence or something? Saki’s mother, Mizuho who is the head of the Library Committee thinks the Monster Rats captured a Minoshiro and extracted information about them especially those weapons classified as WMDs. However Shisei doesn’t think a bomb wiped them out because he shows them Giant Hornets’ arrows they found are totally undamaged. His only theory is that it was stopped mid-flight by Cantus. He thinks a human’s Cantus helped disarm Giant Hornets. During the festival Saki thought she saw Maria and ran after her but Satoru calms her down. Remembering back at the meeting, although Tomiko plays down that anyone in the village is able to do that, Shisei suspects those who have fled from a long time ago. Although their bones and remains were brought back, he is beginning to suspect it is not them since it was brought by no other than that scheming Yakomaru. Saki remembers how Yakomaru told her they will do all they can to find bones similar and chafe it carefully till it resembles like humans. However Tomiko brushes that off because thorough research like DNA and dental records prove it is them. They are officially dead and cannot be connected to this. That’s why Satoru feels the same way as Saki. He wants to see them even if they are ghosts. Also, the committee has approved the annihilation of Robber Fly colony and its allies and will be headed by Inui. However Hiromi Torigai, the head of the Board of Education is cautious and wants to postpone the annihilation after the festival, at least after things have stabilized. But Hino tells her off that doing so proves that they are just scared of the Monster Rats. The annihilation will proceed as usual.

During the festival, Saki and Satoru realize a villager got poisoned and died. They realize a Monster Rat may have been camouflaging among the crowd. Before they can warn the rest, an explosion rocks the place. Monster Rats start swarming in so everyone runs to the town square where Shisei uses his powerful Cantus to form a barrier. Hino also goes crazy in using Cantus to wipe out the Monster Rats. Satoru realizes why the Monster Rats are attacking them from an opposite direction because they are unleashing poisonous gas in the wind’s direction. With this information, Shisei and Hino blow the poisonous and kill the bunch of Monster Rats hiding in the woods. Suddenly Hino is shot and killed. Shisei detects several Monster Rats disguised as humans among the crowd. He picks them out and he shows why he is the most powerful man in the village. Even if the Monster Rats are equipped with bombs and are on suicide mission, Shisei absorbs the blast without any scratch and hurls it back to them. The impact of the explosion blows away his face mask and it is revealed he has twin pupils in each eye. In the aftermath, Shisei issues orders to be in groups of 5. Those with fewer members should merge with other groups and take precautionary action. Saki learns that Hiromi has perished despite being the most cautious among the committee. Tomiko has never felt so angry in such a long time since K. She wants to make Yakomaru pay and suffer a long and slow protracted death.

Episode 19
Satoru and Saki merge with another group that consists of Fujita, Okano and Kuramochi. As they ride the boat down the river as part of their patrol, Satoru explains his uneasiness over the recent incident. One, the Monster Rat group that they first encountered back in the village was of the Spider Wasp colony. Secondly, the easy annihilation of Giant Hornets because Kiroumaru has one of the most experienced army at his disposal. When they arrive at the hospital, they are shocked to see a big hole at the entrance. Kuramochi doesn’t care about anything else and heads in first. Satoru feels something is wrong. Everything is too quiet. No crickets or frogs. He concludes Monster Rats must be hiding and waiting to ambush them when they least expect it. Once Kuramochi enters the hospital, the rest use their Cantus to burn out all the Monster Rats hiding. Even before they die, they shoot random stray arrows. Luckily none of them hit. Kuramochi didn’t reply when they call out to him so Satoru decides to go in and look for him. Saki is worried since there might be Monster Rats inside. They then see a light in the window and think somebody is using their Cantus. Saki and Okano go with Satoru while Fujita remains in the boat. When they go up the stairs, Satoru can sense Monster Rats waiting to ambush them and uses his Cantus to take them out. They see Kuramochi’s body. Entering one of the rooms, they see 3 cocoons and realize the people in it are still alive. Taking them down, Saki recognizes one of them as Dr Noguchi. The rest is a male hospital staff and a nurse how is in so much shock that screaming is all she does. They are all stunned at first but soon Noguchi regains his consciousness and wants everyone to escape quickly before he returns.

One of the cocooned hospital staff runs out on his own. The gang see him suddenly burst into flames. It is a sign he is back. Fujita tries to help but gets killed too. Noguchi tells them that he has killed everyone in this hospital and the 3 of them only survived. Because they didn’t run or fight back or else they would have been killed. They were probably kept alive because he wants to use them as hostages. But now they have to run out the backdoor. Noguchi wants everyone to go separate ways in hopes one of them will get to the village and warn the rest. Noguchi is pessimistic that even if they have 500 people with Cantus, they can’t defeat him. Noguchi goes off into the woods as Saki senses him circling around the back. Satoru and co hide back inside the hospital. Then they hear Noguchi’s screams. I guess he got done in. Thanks to that distraction, the rest escape via the front. The hospital nurse becomes paralyzed and clings onto the wall. Saki can’t leave her but at this rate everyone will be killed and nobody will warn the village. Okano will stay back to buy them time. The duo remain hidden in the boat as it drifts down the river. Satoru finally understands about Kiroumaru’s defeat and why Giant Hornets lost. He fears his theory has come true. Before we know what that is, he senses a boat closing in on them. It’s him.

Episode 20
As they lay motionless and calm in the boat, Saki remembers how much she hated the Board of Education especially when they send Tainted Cats. Now she understands why. However she still won’t forgive them of what they tried to do to Maria and Mamoru. Especially about the faceless friend she thinks she was once in love with. They must live. They plan how to escape from the boat and into the river bank by placing temporary mirrors as decoy. Once they do so, the Fiend burns their boat. Lying still in the grass, it seemed like the Fiend is heading towards them but soon passes. The duo find a hut to rest and change their clothes before starting their journey back to town when day breaks. They hear explosions in the background but can’t be too bothered with it as they need to get back. While traversing the river, they are seemingly attacked by something beneath. Getting to the river bed, they use their Cantus to lift the large mutant fish up. It starts spewing lots of black powder. Saki realizes it is inflammable remembers the explosion. She pushes Satoru away when the explosion soon begins. Saki is tossed up into the air but controls her flight with her Cantus. She crash lands in the sunflower field alone while continuing her journey and realized that explosion was a suicide attack. She almost got a boulder squashed her and manages to identify herself as human to stop a boy from trying to smash her as he thinks she is a Monster Rat. It is learnt that there were lots of casualties in the village during the night fight. He is looking for his parents whose whereabouts are unknown since the fight.

Saki narrates how the Monster Rats were waging an all-out war against humans. They were successful because Yakomaru was willing to sacrifice his soldiers (they too are not afraid of death) and partly due to lack of preparation on the human’s side. Therefore when the assault was launch, everyone felt helpless. When everyone decided to cooperate, it got worse because this has been all part of Yakomaru’s plan. Because so, human mistake each other as Monster Rats and accidentally killed each other. Due to the death feedback, the killer would also die. Killing 2 birds with no stone. Everyone thought they could heave a sigh of relief when the attacks stop as dawn drew closer. But that’s just a ploy to deprive them of sleep. As they let their guard down, those mutant fish swim through the canals and let loose their inflammable powder. The carnage continues. Thus orders were made to dry up the canals as there were sufficient manpower to guard every one of them. But this is also part of Yakomaru’s plans. When the devastated village is filled with wounded people, they are deprived of any water source and succumb to their wounds. Saki returns to Sage Academy. Although it is still standing, it has become a refugee centre. Tomiko is there, heavily wounded. Saki tells her about the Fiend she saw before her eyes and wants to know what else could use Cantus to kill a human. Tomiko replies there is nothing they could do. Her first encounter with one was just pure luck. The place is soon in commotion as word has been going round that a Fiend is spotted. Tomiko wants Saki to go to the Temple of Purity where the Security Council and her parents might be recuperating. She won’t go as she will only slow her down. Tomiko makes Saki succeed her whether she likes it or not. She also orders her caretaker, Niimi to bring Saki there. He is to tell Shisei what happened and broadcast to everyone to run away as far as possible. With a heavy heart, Niimi takes Saki away for their mission.

Episode 21
Shisei tries to give hope to the survivors and rallies them to quash the Monster Rats. Suddenly the ground crumbles. Shisei could only save a handful of them. The Monster Rats are ambushing them from underground. Shisei uses his Cantus to rip everyone when suddenly a Fiend enters the scene! To Saki’s horror, the Fiend looks like Maria!!! At that time, Saki is relieved to see Satoru alive and well. Shisei holds off the Fiend but as Satoru puts it, it is only a bluff because if Shisei kills it, he will die from death feedback. Also, the subconscious and Cantus leak is all that is needed to just kill Shisei. Satoru wants them to run as Saki sees the Fiend killing Shisei. Traversing the underground tunnels, they find a wounded Monster Rat and question him about their race’s rebellion. It is to liberate their species from their tyranny as they feel they have been treated like animals. They are confident since they have Yakomaru and the messiah whom we all know as the Fiend. But the Monster Rat points out the real Fiends are them instead. When the trio exit the underground, Niimi wants to part ways and carry out Tomiko’s request of warning everyone. Even though there may not be many left, if he can save an extra life, it would not be in vain. That’s the last time they saw him. The duo arrive at the Temple of Purity and was being told by the priest that Saki’s parents did come here but returned to the village because they want to free all the Tainted Cats and set them upon the Monster Rats. They have left something for Saki but before that, they are taken to see Inui who is still alive and unhurt. He explains when his team left to exterminate Robber Fly colony a week ago, they realized the entire army had gone into hiding. They search for 3 days and only found traces of night camp on the fourth day. Then they spot a cave where a small army congregates. Inui orders his men to use their Cantus to take them out. They spot somebody coming out from the cave but realized too late it was a Fiend and got slaughtered. Inui became scared and went into hiding. It took all his skill to avoid detection because the Monster Rats were searching the area thoroughly and knew such extermination squad worked in fives. Inui managed to escape to the nearest village, the one where the summer festival was held. There was not a soul around but thought there should be some at the hospital. To his shock, he realizes that the Monster Rats have been kidnapping human babies. It is when Saki realizes this is Yakomaru’s true goal to abduct infants. It all started with Mamoru and Maria’s child. Yakomaru secretly nurtured this grand plan of his. With this single Fiend to take over the village to abduct more children. Even if he failed, he would just need to wait another 10 years. The abducted children will be turned into Fiends themselves under the Monster Rats’ care and at this rate, not only Japan will fall to them but the entire world. World domination would be possible and the birth of a great Monster Rat empire.

Episode 22
Inui continues how he miraculously escaped the Fiend. He bluffed the Fiend by speaking Monster Rat’s language. But as he is tired and ran out of Cantus, a Monster Rat saved him and brought him back to this temple. It was Kiroumaru. The priest brings the stuffs Mizuho left for Saki. First, a letter that wants her to do all she can to bring down the Fiend. It is a mass weapon of destruction created by ancient civilization and designed by people without Cantus to eliminate those with Cantus. It is called Psychobuster. It doesn’t kill the masses and so death feedback is avoidable. Mizuho has also left an object on how to lead them to it after activating it. Looks like a pig, or rather a mini Minoshiro. Mizuho lasts words were to hope Saki can use this Psychobuster to defeat the Fiend and will always love and watch over her. I guess this means she’s gone. The priest brings the duo to see Kiroumaru locked in the dungeons. Saki is appalled at the cruel treatment and frees him to talk. Kiroumaru confirms the Fiend killed his elite troops and this includes stopping their arrows in mid-air. By miracle, his troops sacrifice themselves so he could escape. All Monster Rats know humans cannot use Cantus on each other due to death feedback and Yakomaru’s strategy hinges on this. Since Saki is going to Tokyo, Kiroumaru has once been to that cursed place and wants to guide them there. Along with Inui, they escape the Monster Rats guarding the vicinity via underwater submarine. When they resurface for fresh air, Kiroumaru smells the Fiend approaching and his pursuers so they make a surge to blast forward towards the sea. They arrive at the bay of Tokyo at night fall but Kiroumaru cautious not to wander aimlessly because he remembered his soldiers who wandered near the shore were eaten by some monster. They surface at the first break of light. Tokyo is a vast uninhabitable desert. They activate the Minoshiro and it becomes a mini library and map. Kiroumaru smells his pursuers and didn’t expect them to catch up so soon. There is no place to hide and underground is scorching hell. Inui has an idea that they should go underground because if they do follow, they’ll get a taste of hell. It gets stuffier and stuffier the further they go. Saki has the Minoshiro explain about Psychobuster and it seems it is a biological weapon created by America similar to Anthrax. It’s easy to use but the challenge is to get the Fiend to inhale it. Saki asks Kiroumaru if he had once journeyed to Tokyo, why didn’t his colony settle down here. Unpleasant occupants. He then smells his pursuers although they are far away and took different routes. He smells 7 of them and though 5 of them are lowly officers, he recognizes the 2 as Yakomaru and the Fiend. Yakomaru who has been hiding all the while is out now because he knows the Fiend is his trump card to stand against them and what better way than to make personal command to ensure success. The gang had to traverse through a cave filled with bugs but that is just the harmless part. It begins when there are carnivorous blood-sucking slugs falling from the ceiling trying to suck on them! Inui burns them all with his Cantus. Satoru is injured and needs to be treated or else the bleeding can become worse.

Episode 23
The gang made their way through several vicious strange creatures, including some dark shadow that seems to be lurking. They reach the end of the cave and below them is the rapid river. Kiroumaru suggests they split into groups. Two will return to the caves to lead their pursuers astray with their scent while the other two will return to retrieve the submarine. He believes the underground river flows out to the sea. Inui and Saki go to get the submarine. Inui has his suspicions on Kiroumaru. He was here once and for what purpose. A single loss of life would have prompted him to retreat but yet something must have attracted him to stay and explore to the point he is willing to lose lots of his soldiers. When they arrive back at the shore, Inui doesn’t want Saki to be hasty in bringing the submarine to the sea because Kiroumaru warned them about some nocturnal creature. Before the Minoshiro’s battery runs out, it tells them enough information about some dangerous worm. This is Inui’s other suspicion. He knew they would arrive at this beach by sundown but yet didn’t tell them about this danger. After putting the submarine in the sea, they are attacked by a huge worm. Inui’s Cantus destroys it and they quickly move before more of them appear. Saki sees visions of the faceless boy. She still can’t remember him but he disagrees. She knows his name and can’t remember because of a barrier in her heart. He is after all always in her heart. She will remember it eventually. He also lets her know that the Fiend they are facing isn’t actually a Fiend. Saki is snapped back into reality by Inui when they arrive in a cave with a huge pocket water. The glow worms on the ceiling make it look like stars in the sky and Saki remembers it was that faceless boy who showed this to her. Continuing their journey, they hit a dead end although their destination is just a hundred metres ahead. They can’t make a hole or else the cave will collapse so they will travel by foot underwater. The worm attacks them but thanks to Inui’s warning, Saki manages to evade in time. Unfortunately Inui died in the attack while trying to fend it off. As sad she is, Saki has no choice but to stay strong and soldier on. She arrives in a room with radioactive symbol. Searching around, she finds Psychobuster in a safe. She breaks the wall and higher ground view makes the wasteland look spectacular especially in the shades of the morning sunrise. As she walks on, she starts remembering her last moments with Shun. And there he is right before her! She remembers his name and calls out to him. Is this an illusion?

Episode 24
Maybe Saki’s just seeing things. Before her is Kiroumaru. He brings her to the cave to reunite with Satoru, a little injured when a rock fell on him trying to escape the Fiend. After telling him about Inui’s death, she hands him Psychobuster. Kiroumaru covers himself with bat guano to hide his smell although the Monster Rats think he was never a threat to them. Satoru explains how Kiroumaru killed 7 of them by himself. He brings them to a long tunnel with no other exits. Although it may seem like they have no other escape routes, this mean the enemy can only come in from 1 direction. There are twists and bends in the tunnel so they can run and be out of the Fiend’s field of vision. While Kiroumaru goes to lead them here Saki is still worried about the Fiend and can’t help think is the child of Mamoru and Maria. Satoru doesn’t want her to complicate things with her feelings but she just thought the Fiend doesn’t know herself as human. She wants to give the Fiend a chance to learn she is one. Due to the heavy rain hiding their scent, Kiroumaru returns and suggests using themselves as bait by showing themselves to the enemy just for a moment. Then run and hide. They disagree at this very dangerous proposition but Kiroumaru reminds them many have died so that they could have this one chance to defeat the Fiend. So the game of tag begins. Saki hears Shun’s voice that the Fiend isn’t coming after them and is a trap. Because Yakomaru has predicted the path they would escape, he has laid ambushes along the way and they barely avoid them. They can’t go forward as it will be suicide. But heading back means meeting up with the Fiend. The Fiend closes in so Satoru tries out Saki’s suggestion by putting up a mirror. Because Monster Rats don’t have mirrors, the Fiend never knew how she looked like and thinks herself as a Monster Rat just like them. Maybe if she is showed her own face, she would realize she is different and human.

The Fiend gets upset and breaks the mirror. This forces Satoru to throw Psychobuster. Saki fears at this range, the Fiend and Satoru will be affected. She doesn’t want to be alone and the last one left standing. Good thing, the Fiend got burnt although she still lives while Satoru is unaffected. Kiroumaru meets up with them and it seems the Fiend is not coming after them and thinks she is being treated for its burn wounds. But they can’t head out at the end of the tunnel because they very well know Yakomaru has laid his ambush. As they hide, Yakomaru wants to negotiate. Kiroumaru doesn’t want them to answer for he is trying to determine their location with their voice. Kiroumaru thinks Yakomaru has no immediate solution for this and suggests a suicide move for all of them. Collapse the entire cave with their Cantus. Saki feels guilty for ruining their only chance to defeat the Fiend and wasted Psychobuster but Kiroumaru feels their kind easily gives up. Monster Rats would try even if it means death and although those efforts may be in vain, they lose nothing by trying. They ask why he came to Tokyo before. It was to look for a weapon of mass destruction to destroy humans. However they found nothing. Although they are loyal and serve humans, it was only to ensure their survival. However there was no telling how long this would last and if there was a slightest chance, they might have already done so. Monster Rats do not lust for conquest or oppose mankind out of mere whim. They just want to ensure their colony’s survival and prosperity. Kiroumaru senses the Fiend closing in but passes them. He thinks the Fiend has reunited with Yakomaru as they are afraid they may launch a suicide attack. Because if either one of them survives, they could kill them all. Now that the other end of the tunnel is clear, they should use this chance to escape. However Saki believes they still have another chance.

Episode 25
Saki explains why the Fiend isn’t a Fiend. If she was, why didn’t she attack Yakomaru and his men? If they were using drugs, Tomiko and the rest would have done so a long time ago. Regarding her death feedback not working, it’s because the Monster Rats took her right after birth so she thinks herself as one. In short, her death feedback does not apply to humans but to Monster Rats. Kiroumaru borrows Satoru’s clothes. Then he dashes out to the Fiend while Saki follows him closely behind. The Fiend puts holes into Kiroumaru. He then unmasks himself and the Fiend goes berserk. The death feedback kills the Fiend. Saki also feels pain in her heart but she keeps telling herself she did not kill a human. She sees Kiroumaru dead with a happy face. Prior to agreeing to this strategy, Kiroumaru knows after this incident, all Monster Rats will be eradicated and hopes Saki will spare Giant Hornets’ queen. He wants at least their mother to survive. Satoru praises Saki as amazing but she thanks Shun. Shun who? Satoru then remembers him. In the aftermath, the duo capture Yakomaru and take him back to the village. Before his trial, they question why he killed so many innocent people. It was part of the plan. Once hostilities started, they had to go all the way to win. They are revolting against mankind because they are not their slaves. Did mankind not grant them autonomy? Mankind is only kind when they are in good mood. Otherwise, invoking their wrath would mean eradication of their colony. Saki realizes what Kiroumaru said is true. But had they not revolt, all this would not have happened. Yakomaru says it’s like the chicken or the egg dilemma. They just want to escape that fate as they are highly intelligent creatures on par with humans. The only difference is that they don’t have Cantus. Yakomaru knows what he says will earn him the death penalty but he knows his fate is sealed either way. As for Kiroumaru, Yakomaru thinks he is old fashioned and couldn’t see the truth. He had to dispose the queen because as long as she was in power, there will never be reforms. He did it not for power but for the sake of his colony. Satoru doesn’t believe him because he sacrificed his men mercilessly. Only when they achieve victory that their deaths will not be in vain. Since they lost, he deserves to die. He laments holding the trump card but fell for a simple trick. A chance like this will never come again. Saki wants him to apologize to all the innocent people he killed. He will do so provided if she apologizes to his kind that they crushed mercilessly.

Saki narrates what happened to her parents from survivors. When they left town to release all the Tainted Cats, everyone was in panic because Shisei’s body was hung on the Holy Barrier. Though the Tainted Cats couldn’t stop the Fiend, they manage to slow it down. Her parents then ran to the library to burn away all the books they deem dangerous to the enemy but the smoke drew the enemy’s attention. Saki believed her parents did not die in vain. As the tide was in Monster Rats’ favour, Yakomaru acted swiftly by burning down the Temple of Purity. All the priests perished and those villagers who sought refuge also died. Yakomaru was able to use information he gathered to track Saki and the rest down. Yakomaru goes on trial and asserts his name is Squealer and doesn’t want to use the name bequeathed by them humans. He considers himself not a beast but a human. This causes everyone to laugh. Squealer curses them that such evil will not go unpunished and someone in the future will take his place and carry on his cause. The judge passes the death sentence as giving him peace and sentences him to an eternal and slow death filled with pain. The Department of Exospecies Control became a direct subdivision of the Ethics Committee so Saki now serves both departments. Her job was to save the Monster Rat species and at least the queen of Giant Hornets. Later, she comes across a strange document which tells the origins of Monster Rats’ name. Their distant ancestors were naked mole rats and she thought it is funny that their scientific name, Homocephalus Glaber is almost similar to Homo Sapiens. It’s like as though they mixed humans and mole rats. She also found another document which tells how the change in writing of certain words became Monster Rats and that what had something to do with sinister.

Because Satoru couldn’t get Squealer’s words out of his head, he researched the genome of Monster Rats which was previously prohibited by the Code of Virtue. He found out Monster Rats and naked mole rats have different number of genes. Although mole rats’ features were inserted into their genes, something else was used as a base. The only other species that shared the same number of genes with them are humans or olive tree. I guess they aren’t made of wood so what does that leave us? Yup. Monster Rats were originally humans. For the sake of peace, those with Cantus programmed their DNA to include death feedback and attack inhibition. But those without Cantus became a problem because they are not bound by this and started oppressing those with Cantus. To stop this problem, they changed those people into beasts by inserting mole rats’ DNA into theirs and also to maintain their privilege and class (the reason why Monster Rats are made to look ugly). Saki thought they should have died from death feedback since they had killed so many but Satoru says it won’t because they never considered them human. They weren’t anyway. Saki goes to the museum where everything from the war is put on display, including Squealer who has turned into some hideous blob still in pain. She thinks he has suffered enough and is going to end this. First she reminisces the times when she first met him and their other ‘adventures’ together when they were kids. Even that night long ago when they ran together from Kiroumaru, she knew he was a liar and reported to him. Saki then uses her Cantus to burn Squealer. To avoid serious punishment, she gave a reason she was in a fit of anger. Vengeful fury. Soon, Saki makes her case to the committee of the colonies to be spared, including Giant Hornets. Then Saki and Satoru tie the knot. Ten years down the road, they are raising Tainted Cats (or Tainted Kittens rather). Soon they’ll be raising a kid of their own in this world. They hope when their child grows up, society will be a better place. Wondering if they can change, Satoru is confident they can. They must. They hope an object of fear will change into one of hope.

Brave New World
When I first started watching this series, it gave me lots of frights. I never thought it was going to have horror elements and I know I would have avoided it had I knew if it was going to scare me. So much so to a point I almost had sleepless nights and feared of having nightmares! I know such horror elements won’t be anything to veterans but I am really averse to anything horror. I also fear I will have to sit through the rest of the series with such horror setting. But after Shun’s death and the time skip that brings in the new arc, the story now seems less scary and it got more interesting than I expected it to be and with each passing episode, the more it draws me into the story. Therefore the second half was more bearable for me and I was able to sit through watching the series without having to worry about anything that will frighten me. Although the Monster Rats may be ugly and menacing, they aren’t as scary as Tainted Cats, Fiend or Karma Demon. I can think of so because when the series began, I knew nothing. So when Tainted Cats or Copycats were introduced, they were portrayed as very scary creatures and thus striking fear in me. Once I got to know things better, they don’t seem that scary anymore like when the cats were tamely sitting beside Tomiko later on in the series.

So watching till the end of this series, I can say that this is quite an interesting and engaging series and the little horror part in the beginning was just the little turn off I had. It is quite well paced and divided into several time periods which also serves as the arc for the series. However, aside from the horror part, the beginning was also hard on me because of the explanation and terms. I never read the novel so there were many things that I find it hard to understand. This was made a little confusing in the first few episodes whereby there is some sort of flashback of how the current state of humanity came to be with lots of blood spilled, lives lost and sacrifice. Not that I could fully understand it too when I watched it several times. I basically have an idea what is going on but if I were too think deeper and more analytical about it, I think I would be lost. The most confusing part for me was when the kids first stumbled upon the Minoshiro. What’s the use of having a library that could store every data when a dumb guy like me can’t comprehend most of it? Maybe they should put a programme that allows it to translate it into layman terms.

Despite such difficult terms, I find the concept of such to be interesting. For instance, imagine a world that would be almost crime free if everyone had that death feedback. If you kill somebody, you will pay the ultimate price with your own life via instant death. I think this is quite a cool feature to stem heinous murders. At first it was despicable to learn how the town handles in disposing of their children, making it look like they’ve gone missing. But once the full truth is known, I personally would still say it is not the best method but I guess it is the most effective. I suppose there is this saying if you want to nip the problem, nip it at the bud. So far they have been very careful in assuring Fiends and Karma Demons never appear for a long time till a nefarious plot by the Monster Rats came into play. It is sad that those kids who were disposed of never got a chance to live life to the fullest because of the early symptoms they show, they have been marked to be disposed of. It’s like they’ve been guilty for a crime that hadn’t commit. Like Minority Report. Like a child who inherited AIDS from his/her infected mother. But would you risk it? Better be safe and sorry. Thus, it is with mixed feelings that such a method is used to maintain peace and stability for hundreds of years. Were there no other ways? If they had, I’m sure the adults would have figured it out a long time ago.

Maybe it is because I do not fully comprehend about the terms like death feedback, it made me baffled at times. For instance, when the Fiend killed Kiroumaru, the death feedback only takes effect when she realizes she killed her own fellow Monster Rat. What does this mean? If she had been thinking what she had killed was human all along, the death feedback would not have activate. This shows that it is all only in the mind. So if you know how to trick this, then you can definitely avoid the deadly effects of death feedback, right? For example, if you are going to be a murderous serial killer, all you need to do is psycho yourself that those you are going to kill or have killed are not human. They are lowly scums lower than water fleas. This should do the trick, right? Just like what Satoru said too. If Monster Rats were once created using human genes, then technically they are evolved (or devolved, depending on the way you look at it) human beings. And yet humans have been eradicating their colonies for hundreds of years as penalty and yet not get death feedback since they never considered them to be humans. Maybe that’s why researching on their origins was banned. Imagine what will happen when people start to realize Monster Rats are humans. Instant death. Clearly this shows it is all in the mind.

Although this series does not really explain how humans obtain magic or how Monster Rats come into existence (not at least till the very final scenes), both are very crucial and main themes of this series. With humans being such fragile creatures, this show makes us ponder if we have what it takes to survive this planet in the long run and not become extinct. The way we see this town handling the ridding ‘problem kids’ shows that humans are indeed unpredictable and weak. Despite having magic, it can still backfire and cause lots of problems and turn deadly if not kept in check. It was odd to find that another intelligent creatures walking on the same planet as we do being submissive to us and treating us as Gods. Alas it was just a facade and like any other race, they want to ensure their survival even if this means being submissive for the time being, waiting for the perfect moment to turn the tables. And they almost came close to doing it as seen. What Squealer said that they are being on par with humans is quite true. What is it that makes us humans think we are the most superior beings on Earth? Is it out judgment, perceptive and stereotypes that gives us the right to judge others? Consider if humans and Monster Rats swapped places, I don’t think it will be any different because humans too will one day revolt against Monster Rats if ever a chance rises. Likewise, had Squealer’s plan been successful and Monster Rat taken over Earth, they would become oppressive and treat humans the same way they were once treated. So it’s a vicious cycle. But seeing how such creatures could easily manipulate, deceive and beat us using our past knowledge and inventions are truly scary. It is like as though they are in place to become the next humans. If human is a word to mean the most superior creatures that stands above all on the face of this planet, that is. If Apocalypse won’t come early, can you imagine Earth being overrun by such creatures? Homo Sapiens would become how we perceived dinosaurs to be. It’s scary. It’s unthinkable. It’s provoking. But it’s worth something to think about if we do not evolve to be stronger and are content with the way things are. Weak, and you’re out. It’s nature’s law of the jungle. Survival of the fittest.

For Saki as the main heroine, she has gone through many hardships and an adventure of a lifetime that will change her outlook of things in the future. She might be a strong willed person but she is still human. After having watch her friends go missing one by one, she finds it hard if she could go on and maintain her sanity. Even at times that call for harsh action, she still manages to show her kindness. Maybe because more violence or punishment won’t get them anywhere. Thankfully she has Satoru who has always been by her side to keep her going and they both support each other very well. After so many heart stopping incidents, she has become stronger and better, taking the first bold step in changing the future. Instilling fear into kids may be an effective way for many to stay within the lines. But when you have so much fear, won’t your heart not be at ease at all? Notice the gloomy setting of this town? At least for the adults. Kids will be kids and at their age are still carefree till they grow up and learn to become an adult. With Saki as the new head, hopefully things would be better for future generations for both humans and Monster Rats.

In the end, Saki and Satoru are the only main characters who survived from start till finished. Every other supporting characters even those who made their short cameos perished somewhere along the way. What a grim outlook. Reiko became the first ‘victim’ and was never heard of ever again. I wonder if Saki and Satoru who finally remember Shun, will they remember her? We didn’t even remember her, right? Guilty as charged. Then Saki had to watch her first love Shun die due to some unstoppable Cantus leak and had his memories of him removed. Technically he isn’t dead since he occasionally appears in Saki’s dreams so it’s like he’s living in her heart. I don’t know how Maria and Mamoru survived after they ran away. Either they moved to another town or they really become Tarzan and Jane of the wilderness. I wonder how they died at the hands of Squealer, seeing they can use their Cantus to just turn the Monster Rats into bloodbath. Unless they got their guard down. Maybe. Because it was at a time after Maria gave birth so it’s like killing 2 birds with a stone. Thinking of the child they had, if that is the case, I just thought Maria was just a teenager when she bore her first child, right? That means right after they ran away they must have had sex. Ah, I remember what the Minoshiro said about humans and stress… On several occasions, Saki could have lost Satoru too but I guess it won’t be fun to see the heroine being alone so I guess it is a good thing Satoru is as tough a survivor as she is. What about Yoshimi? I thought there would be something more to shed a light on her mysterious disappearance but seeing how things are revealed towards the end, I don’t think where she went or ended up didn’t matter. We have an idea what fate dealt her so it probably wasn’t worth to bring up such memories again. Even the all powerful and mysterious Shisei succumbed to his fate. And I thought I get to see more of him later on but I guess even he has his limits. Tomiko is a great lady but too bad she didn’t survive long enough. I guess she is lucky to have lived over 200 years old and even luckier to escape unscathed when she encountered her first fiend. It’s time to move on and pass the baton to somebody younger and more capable.

It’s hard to pin Squealer as the villain although he acts very much like an antagonist throughout the series. It was very evident from the start that he could not be trusted. There were many signs to indicate that he could betray our protagonists any time and each time he smoothly had some sort of excuse to back him up. You can tell by the way he talks to them. Despite speaking fluently in human tongue and polite at first, whenever the humans disagree with his suggestions, you would notice that he makes a short pause with that unhappy look on his face before agreeing to their ways. It’s like as though he is forced to listen and acknowledge. Would you not if you were in his shoes? Thankfully humans still have their gut feelings, something I guess science and technology couldn’t explain, to rely on. They know better than to fully trust him and maintain some reservations. At times, it proves useful because they barely got away with their lives by the skin of their teeth. Despite Squealer’s unacceptable actions to slaughter humans and he got what he deserved, like I said, if you had a chance to change fate, would you not take a gamble? As long as differences of superiority exist, I suppose we can forget about talking things peacefully over picnic. Kiroumaru lives up to his honourable pride till the end despite at times I doubted him if he is in cohorts with Squealer. Because he too is a Monster Rat albeit from a different colony and sometimes when he smirks, it looks suspicious enough that it makes you wonder if there is something evil going on behind that smile and mind. So it proves that not every Monster Rat is despicable. Same case with humans. There are good ones and there are well, erm, not so good ones. Like Hino whom we could tell is just a bloodthirsty Monster Rat hater. He got killed by the thing he hates most. Isn’t that ironic?

The art and drawing make the characters look a little bit cartoonish although you can recognize some aspects of typical Japanese anime. Especially in the early parts of the series when the protagonists are young, their kiddie version seems to make them a bit cartoonish and thus a little cute. As they grow older, of course more handsome and prettier as the young teenagers they turn into, they have that slight anime-look. Though generally the design of the characters are simple and not much detailed. I think I’m saying this out of bias as a human because I think all the Monster Rats and other odd creatures like Minoshiro and Balloon Dog look ugly. Well, maybe except for Kiroumaru because his mane gives off that respectable feel like a lion. But nevertheless he is still to a certain extent, ugly. Forgive me. In a way, it gives a little horror feel. Well, I don’t expect cute creatures to be in such anime. It would be such a mismatch to see them in a bloodbath. As for the background and scenery, some are quite nice and beautifully rendered. Despite being in a dystopian future, I can’t help feel it has this fantasy-like feel to it. Maybe it’s because of Cantus, Monster Rats and the lush greenery of the village. Say, I’m not sure about other towns but doesn’t this one feel like back in the old times where no modern future gadgets or inventions are seen? Maybe that is what we really call living the simple life. Yeah. Who needs iPhones, iPads and iPods anyway?

Because of the time skip and different points in time, the main characters have a pair of different seiyuus to reflect the period they are in. Satoru, Mamoru and Shun (Kanako Toujou, Haruka Kudou and Mai Toudou respectively) have females voicing them when they are 12 years old and then switch to a mature voice when they hit 14 years old and above (Yuuki Kaji, Motoki Takagi and Ayumu Murase respectively). Oddly, I thought female characters usually have only one seiyuu but in the case for Saki, she also has two of them. Risa Taneda (Yukari in Yuyushiki) when she is 12 years old but Aya Endo (Sky Raker in Accel World) serving as the more mature sounding woman (as I found out the narrator’s voice belonged to her and supposedly around 36 years old). The only main character without double seiyuus is Maria and is voiced by Kana Hanazawa all the way. Yui Horie had a cameo as Reiko. But because she was disposed off as early as the first episode, I never really got the chance to spot her. Other casts include Daisuke Namikawa as Squealer/Yakomaru (Waver in Fate/Zero), Hiroaki Hirata as Kiroumaru (Sanji in One Piece), Yoshiko Sakaibara as Tomiko (Kate in Chrno Crusade), Kousuke Toriumi as Inui (Gennousuke in Basilisk), Takanori Hoshino as Shisei (Shido Fuyuki in Getbackers), Tomokazu Sugita as Rijin (Gintoki in Gintama), Miki Itou as Mizuho (Fujimura in Fate/Stay Night), Sakiko Tamagawa as Minoshiro (Natsumi in You’re Under Arrest), Yuri Amano as Hiromi (Ifurita in El Hazard series), Sanae Kobayashi as Okano (Lucy in Elfen Lied) and Ryota Ohsaka as Ryou (Kiri in Sket Dance).

I guess with every anime that comes out now, the opening and ending credits is a must, right? Sometimes it has become an art and thus if you buy those DVDs, you get clean opening and ending animations without those credits interrupting your admiration of the ‘beautiful’ artwork. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that this series doesn’t have an opening theme. In a way, it breaks away from such ‘routine’ so it is a little refreshing in that sense. Just like how One Piece recently over the past few years never had an ending theme. I suppose they can save some cost by not featuring a song. Oops… But there is an ending theme, though. The first one is Wareta Ringo by Risa Taneda. I thought it feels out of place although it doesn’t sound bad, especially the stuttering guitar parts are quite creatively played out. After watching at the pace of this anime, hearing such song really feels odd but it is a welcoming relief (at least for me) since it does take away the tension especially for the earlier episodes. I thought the series finally decided to put an opening theme at the end of Mamoru-runs-away arc but it actually serves more as an introduction for the second ending theme, Yuki Ni Saku Hana by Kana Hanazawa. So technically that episode 16 is the only episode we’ve got both an opening and ending theme. The song sounds like it has tragic and sadness in it, which is quite befitting at the way this series is going. There is some background music too but the one that has child voices and played usually in the beginnings of the episodes has that creepy and ominous feel to it. It’s like a choir of children singing for a temple hymn.

Knowledge is such a power thing and it could also be a dangerous thing if it falls into the wrong hands and used for the wrong purposes. Humanity has advanced so much only to regress backwards and even in danger of being replaced by another creature. And the ironic part is that men were the ones who tampered with DNA and genes, trying to play God and create such intelligent creatures. Just backfired, huh? We reap what we sew. I just hope that one day that everyone in this world and the universe (assuming there are other intelligent life forms out there) would just get along and live a non-violent life where you don’t have to worry if you’re going to be the next on the hit list and free if your kind is going to be eradicated soon. Not possible in my life time? Being human is complicated and frustrating. No powers, got problems. Have powers, also have bigger problems. If reincarnation does exist, maybe I want to be a rock at the bottom of the sea. Life would be so much easier and simpler then.

Mouretsu Pirates

January 13, 2013

Hey! I heard piracy is good! I heard that piracy is legal! All you need is some sort of letter that allows you to do some legal piracy despite that term sounding like an oxymoron but, hey! Piracy is legal and acceptable! Can it be true?! For real?! Where can I get my hands on that letter because there are lots of anime stuffs that I would love to download. So where? Where can I get that letter… Oh… Wait… What did you say? EHHHH?! Not that kind of piracy you say?! If it is not that kind of piracy then what kind of piracy do you mean? Oh… The kind that boards a ship… Oh… How disappointing. Sheesh… But wait a minute. Still, don’t you think it is a little odd that people who plunder from others is considered legal? WTF does that suppose to mean? Watch Mouretsu Pirates or as in its official English title, Bodacious Space Pirates to learn more about this piracy stuff. Sheesh… What a letdown on piracy…

In the distant future, mankind has been said to have mastered the art of travelling space. Well, at least space travel has become a norm because you have humans living in colonies and on planets far flung across the galaxy. You get the idea. So how does piracy fit into this anime? As we know throughout history, mankind isn’t the kind of species that sits down quietly when some royalty or authoritarian ruler rules with an iron fist. In short, some want to fight for independence. So on this particular planet, Sea of the Morning Star of the Tau Ceti solar system, the people fought against their colonial rulers, Stellar Alliances in a bid for independence over a century ago. Because they lack the firepower needed to fight against the oppressors, they issued this Letter of Marque to pirates, turning their status from criminals into sanctioned privateers and the pirates in returned helped out in providing battle fleets against the Alliance. The war was won and they got their independence. As time passed, there were no new wars and since the pirates are in possession of this letter, they are allowed to keep this letter, renew their pirating (privateer as they call it) licence and only their direct descendents may inherit this business. In short, piracy is some sort of a show business to awe the filthy rich who wants to experience some piracy time. WTF. So our main heroine, Marika Katou, supposedly a normal high school girl and a member of Hakuou Academy’s Yacht Club one day finds out her recently deceased father is a space pirate. In order for his ship, Bentenmaru to continue its legal piracy operations, Marika is drafted to be its captain. Wow. High school girl and pirate. How often do you hear that in the same line? Besides, how often is it do you hear a young female captain pirate? It’s like being a black cowboy, right?

Actually I won’t really go so far to say that this anime is one of the few intelligent animes around but it is better than the current glut of ecchi high school comedies, mindless fanservice or the kind that has a normal high school kid being bestowed super powers, then turned into a hero to save the day. I would say that if you want to enjoy this anime, be prepared for lots of technical stuffs thrown in your face. I’ll have to admit first that I’m not the smartest guy around and just too dumb so watching the initial episodes felt daunting because of all the terms and explanation. The elaborated and perhaps detailed explanation are very much needed to understand the plot and workings so much so that sometimes I had a hard time comprehending what is happening even if I replayed that scene over and over again. I had to resort to read other blogs to grasp the episode (special thanks to Abandoned Factory for clearing up lots of things up – but not everything. Oh, not forgetting Wikia too). So are you ready for some piracy?

Episode 1
We see Marika acing her Yacht Club’s simulation. It’s like she has a natural talent in piloting a ship. Yeah. We know why. Misa Grandwood and Kane McDougal are observing her top notch skills. They follow her to Lamphouse, the cafe where she works part time as a maid with her friend, Mami Endou. Misa introduces herself as an old acquaintance of Ririka, Marika’s mother and wonders if she would like to go to space. When Marika returns home, Misa and Kane pay them a visit and it seems 2 days ago, their captain Gonzaemon has passed away. How? Food poisoning. Hah! Every hard and tough things don’t kill him. It took a simple food poisoning for him to bite the dust. Well, it’s a reminder not to pick up anything you see on the ground and pop it into your mouth. So with Marika still in a dazed what is going on, Misa points out Gonzaemon is her father. The father she never knew. A space pirate. She is the only one who can take over his post. Of course Marika needs time to ponder because everything is too sudden. Why didn’t Ririka tell her about this before? She wanted to wait for the right time. So was that it? Anyway, what’s the deal about becoming legal pirates? Why would she become that? Well, Ririka says to take her time and think about it. Marika did some research and finds they’re telling the truth. More surprising, Ririka was once a captain of Bentenmaru. Next day in class, more surprises in store. Not only Kane becomes her class’ homeroom teacher (Misa becomes the school’s nurse), they’ll be having a new transfer student, Chiaki Kurihara. Looks cold. Looks unfriendly. While working at Lamphouse, a group of strange men enter as customers. Do scary MIBs and ruffians patron the place? Just odd. Chiaki also walks in and orders a parfait (she really enjoys her sweets). Chiaki is here to warn her. Not that Marika could understand. Some guy pops up to tell Marika that her mom requested emergency protection for her since there is trouble at the relay station where Ririka works. Chiaki is suspicious because it is the airport security that is providing protection rather than the police. Ordering Marika to close her eyes, Chiaki pulls out a gun and we see a ‘flashy colourful show’. Chiaki takes Marika’s hand and runs out of the place.

Episode 2
So at a safe place, Chiaki explains it is because she would be the potential captain of Bentenmaru, the reason why that guy is out to kidnap her. The rest of the patrons are probably special military ops. Later Ririka picks up her daughter and she explains a bit of herself as life as a pirate. She brings her to a wasteland and lets her have a taste of firing a blaster. It’s to explain that a pirate fights to impress because a fight is determined before the trigger is pulled. The pirate has the power to decide whether to pull that trigger. With Kane becoming the new advisor for Yacht Club, he prepares the club for a practice space cruise. From the data, the ship that this club has one of the ancient pirate ships used during the independence war known as the Original Seven Hakuchou. So Kane and the Yacht Club members led by its president Jenny Dolittle and vice president Lynn Lambretta, they make preparations and do the usual checking on Odette II. Marika and Chiaki (who is also part of the club) are paired together and the latter thinks Kane wants to know her motives by pairing them together. Marika notices Chiaki hacking the computer. She says Odette II is under electronic attack from the outside and she is trying to block it. Well, it gets heavy here for me. Not that I understand what it’s going on but it isn’t just auto-patrolling and spamming and perhaps someone is trying to hack in. Whatever. So we got the duo explaining about electronic warfare, trying to figure out where the perpetrator is and experiment in fighting back by improvising with the system they have now.

Episode 3
So the battle of who controls who begins. Because Marika activates some security system, the high power consumption causes Odette II’s power breaker to trip. I wonder what excuse she’ll come up with. Anyhow, the hacker escaped. Before the practice cruise, Marika and her classmates tackle the exams. Thank goodness none of them failed. Otherwise it would be just painful to be left behind taking make-up exam while the rest are enjoying their space flight. So with the girls preparing to launch Odette II, everything seems to be going smoothly till the main mast gets stuck while being unfolded. Well, I suppose the best way to fix it is to take a space walk and see what’s the problem. So Marika, Chiaki and some of the girls follow Kane as he guides them to the mast. They see how the mast is jammed and Kane decides to go with Marika’s solution in freeing the mast. With everyone at their designated positions and by Marika’s order, they give the mast a much needed push till it is back to its normal position. Marika sees her planet and despite looking small, it is still very pretty. Just like everything else when compared to the huge endless space is just a small dot, although also feeling scared, Marika is looking forward to it.

Episode 4
Jenny detects 3 ships in the vicinity but 2 of them disappeared. The other one as Kane and Misa know is Bentenmaru. Marika and Chiaki are paired again for the night watch. They realize a ship is trying to jam their signal. They predict that ship will attack them when they reach the back of a certain planet. So in order to detect that ship, they use a high frequency scan and it turns out to be an Alcyon battleship. Running the scan again just to make sure, the ship then disappears from the radar. They report this ghost ship to Kane and he doesn’t want them to think too much about it. Kane reports this to Bentenmaru and Jenny catches Marika and Chiaki trying to eavesdrop on the encrypted conversation. So when Marika reveals what she knows, to her surprise Jenny and the rest already know about her as a pirate candidate. With all the information at your finger tips, it’s not hard to see why. The ghost ship might be after Odette II because of Marika. Marika suggests fighting back not because of trying to be cool but for the sake of her club. I guess everybody’s in. So instead of taking a good rest, Marika is up all night planning how to attack. From what I understand, the plan is to continue maintaining their course so as not to let the ghost ship realize they have discovered their presence. At the same time, they’ll duplicate a fake system so they can hack it and in return hack back. Lynn the hacker discovers the identity of the ghost ship as it turns out to be a little scout drone disguising its signal as Alcyon.

Episode 5
Marika further elaborates her plan to limit the enemy’s actions and to buy them more distance from the planet. Unknown to the girls, Kane and Misa are secretly watching over their actions. They must have a lot of faith in the girls for what they’re going to pull off. The hacking begins and the enemy as predicted starts hacking the fake system. Once they think they have fully taken over the system, they send a message to the captain to surrender. Once Jenny sends her reply, it is Lynn’s cue to hack and control their system. However before she could successfully do that, the enemy shuts down their system. Amazingly, the enemy starts shooting long range laser beams without using any radar help but via optical targeting. In short, they’re firing blindly but each shot is getting closer to Odette II. Taking action, they calculate the origin of the shots to locate its position. Instead of accelerating away (the heat may give away Odette II’s location), Marika suggests using the mast foils and blind their enemy via the sunlight. Once the enemy is disabled, their radar picks up pirate ships in the name of Bentenmaru and Barbarusa. Chiaki introduces herself again but this time reveals she is the daughter of Barbarusa’s captain, Kenjou Kurihara. She is glad she came abort Odette II to see the next potential captain of Bentenmaru. Once Odette II finishes its practice cruise, Marika tells Ririka that she will be a space pirate.

Episode 6
Marika is supposed to have a fun outing with Mami but is whisked away by Kane and Misa to do lots of those tedious paper work. You know. Registering for the Letter of Marque and even getting properly dressed for the occasion. Who says being a pirate is easy? Besides, if no piracy is done within 50 days, the letter is rescinded. WTF. No piracy means good, right? So Marika has her first practice simulation as a captain. She fails at her first go. Don’t worry. Nobody is perfect. Then she receives personal training from the rest of the Bentenmaru crew. Including history lessons of piracy and its laws. Man, she’s tired out. Is this the kind of life she wants to go through? Who says life as a pirate captain is easy? Seems Chiaki is also on board for training and this boosts Marika’s morality. Anyway Chiaki is not amused with Marika’s ditzy behaviour because it’ll cause problems for those around her. Marika doesn’t really understand but apologizes anyway. There is only so much one can learn from teaching. The rest is up to experience. Yup, Marika is going to man her first piracy by putting on a piracy show onboard the Princess Apricot luxury liner. There’ll be additional swordplay service too. So it’s really like a show. Marika reading her lines as an invading pirate and making her entry to plunder. Well, the crowd seems to be very amused. Especially a high school girl as a pirate captain. So the swordplay is between Marika and Kane (acting as one of the passengers onboard the liner). Though Kane wins the fight, Marika swiftly takes out her little gun and fires at his chest! Don’t worry, it’s all just an act. This is what they call entertainment? And I guess the passengers have no qualms in handing over their possessions because the insurance company will cover for it. Chiaki soon leaves Bentenmaru to rendezvous with Barbarusa.

Episode 7
Marika fails as Bentenmaru’s captain. At least this is just confined to her dream. Perhaps this captain job is making her grades fall. Sure, she may be a pirate captain but this is no excuse to do badly academically. Pirates are no longer uneducated crude ruffians, you know. Besides, Marika isn’t going to quit school and wants to graduate. Chiaki visits Lampshade but only has Mami for company since Marika is out on a job. So we have Mami telling Chiaki how Marika always does her best and to look after her. So Marika’s job is to do piracy on another ship, Symphony Angel but this ship is being escorted by 3 Corback class escort ships. Once more Marika shows her prowess as the captain as both sides exchange volleys to outdo each other (for the sake of entertainment of that cruiser of course). In the end, with Symphony Angel surrendering, the Corbacks also surrender. Now it’s time to board. Note: Marika in make-up looks hideous. I thought she was going to go on stage as a Chinese opera actress. I prefer her plain smiling face, though. Before Marika could get some deserved rest in her room, the crew detects a stowaway onboard Bentenmaru during their piracy. Someone was genius enough to sneak onboard and holed-up on their ship? From the heat sensor, the stowaway seems to be a child.

Episode 8
The kid is here to see Gonzaemon but couldn’t believe he is dead. She introduces herself as Princess Gruier Serenity, the seventh princess of the Serenity royal family. Well, she really looks like one and after doing some research, they confirm she is the real deal. Gruier is brought to the bridge and we are also officially introduced to Marika’s main crew. We have Kane the helmsman, Misa the physician, Coorie the electronic warfare specialist (thick nerdy glasses she got), Schnitzer the tactical officer (this cyborg looks like a meaner version of Fullmetal Alchemist’s Al), Luca the navigator (eye-patch Red Indian? What does she always ‘see’?), Hyakume the radar and sensor specialist and Sandaime the engine caretaker. Gruier is here to seek a request. She wants them to find the wandering golden ghost ship. Furthermore, there are reports that Gruier is missing despite she claims she is here on her own will and that she had told her officials her whereabouts. Gruier soon becomes a transfer student in Marika’s class (I thought she looked like mini Sailormoon) and of course all the girls flock around her. Who wouldn’t want to be up close with the royal princess? But her transfer is to limit her enemy’s actions because by being popular announcing where she is, kidnappers would think twice before taking action. Misa has received reply from the Serenity side but it feels too soon and fishy. She’ll investigate. One day Marika is called in for an emergency job and eager Gruier tags along. Since they’re rushing, no time to argue. I’m sure Misa’s hell driving gave the girls new nightmares. See how messed up their hair is! Seems there is an unknown ship arriving at the edge of the Tau Ceti system and they are to see who that ship is. Though Gruier identified that ship as a military ship from her Serenity system bringing information about the golden ghost ship, they realize since Serenity isn’t an ally or enemy, they can’t ignore another military ship entering their area or make a big deal out of it. So they turn to pirates to do the job. Once the ships arrive, they scan it as one battleship and 4 escorts and all from Serenity Defence Force. These 5 are chasing their own fellow Corback and this ship seems to have taken damage from its attacks.

Episode 9
Gruier borrows Marika’s uniform to send message to her fleets to stop firing. Marika and Gruier then go meet the Grand Chamberlain of the Privy Council Yotof and his bodyguard heard Catherine on the damage Corback. Yotof assures everything is alright at the palace ever since Gruier left to study abroad. They hand over the requested data on the golden ghost ship before leaving. Back in school, Marika learns from Chiaki that Barbarusa has also been hired by an unknown client to look for the golden ghost ship. In addition to that, they have orders to eliminate others who are looking for it. Gruier is at the Yacht Club because she heard that someone here is a master in faking records. Yup. She needs someone to fake her school attendance records while she goes searching for the ghost ship. Jenny understands the situation and welcomes Gruier into the Yacht Club. Oh, they’re planning another practice cruise so in a way their attendance won’t be affected. Later when Ririka brings Marika to the airport cafeteria for dinner, the Bentenmaru crew are also there. Hyakume explains about the golden ghost ship. It is a first generation colony ship made way before you see all those high tech space warp. In short, the kind of technology whereby interstellar flight would take years to reach its destination. There is also data on sightings of this ghost ship for the past 200 years. I thought it’s like almost everywhere… And it seems it navigates through treacherous areas. Dark nebulae, Black Holes, dwarf star clusters… Man, how did it survive its journey? Maybe that’s why it’s a ghost ship. Maybe that’s why nobody actually could see it. But knowing where they can find the ghost ship and the possible dangers that come along, all that is left is to take action to fulfil the client’s request.

Episode 10
So with Marika’s absence, Chiaki is doing piracy in her place! I think she’s enjoying it. Really. And she looks like she’s born for the part. A natural. While flying through the space storm, Misa kicks Marika and Gruier out of the bridge since minors are limited to working certain hours. How considerate. WTF. Being pirates shouldn’t be bothered about this, right? Unless they can get their licence revoked. While Bentenmaru searches for the ghost ship’s location, Coorie hacks the Serenity buoys for information. The odd part is the buoys contain Gruier’s data and were launched 15 years ago despite Gruier was only born 2 years later. Then one of the buoys detects the presence of the ghost ship so Marika orders to jump to its location. By the time they reach there, the ghost ship has disappeared and caught in the middle of a space storm. There are also hostiles in the form of Serenity fleets so Marika orders to prepare for battle. Despite the fleets splitting into groups, Bentenmaru launches decoys to fool them and even fire a hit-and-run shot to damage the 2 nearest ships. Gruier thought of hailing to her fleets to clear the misunderstanding but Marika refuses because Gruier is supposed to be on a practice cruise with the Yacht Club. Since the Serenity fleets did attempted contact, it shows that they know who they are. Knowing now that the Serenity fleet is searching for the ghost ship, Marika is going to do what pirates do. Pursue the Serenity fleet, beat them to it and take a piece of the action.

Episode 11
While Schnitzer prepares the crew for battle, it is learnt that Queen Serendipity is leading the Serenity ships. Misa teaches Gruier how to wear a space suit. Realizing the fleet may have a good indication of the ghost ship’s next location, Marika orders a hyper-space jump but arrives in the midst of a time-space quake. The spatial rip can tear Bentenmaru apart so leave it to Kane to steer the ship out of the storm. Then the ghost ship appears out of subspace right in from of them and it is this event which is causing the spatial rip. Seems the Serenity fleets have also arrived. Gruier receives message from Serendipity and it turns to be Grunhilde, the eighth princess of the royal family and Gruier’s sister. I thought she looked very much like a boy. Anyway Grunhilde wants Gruier to leave or else she will fire back at them. Gruier thinks she is being manipulated. Suddenly the ghost ship sends out an omni-directional scan as it comes to ‘life’ with the sunlight reflecting its golden exterior. Marika wants to beat the Serenity fleets to the dock in the ghost ship (because the scanning scanned Gruier, it allowed them in). The high speed docking at least didn’t cause any major damages. Gruier wants to take this alone from here but Marika is going to see her duty all the way that she protects her crew and passengers. That includes you, Gruier. Suddenly the ghost ship is about to jump into subspace once more. Brace yourselves!

Episode 12
Inside the ship, Marika, Misa, Hyakume, Schnitzer and several crews escort Gruier to her destination. They also get to know the Serenity fleets have docked at the other end of the ship but rather than facing them, they continue their journey. Thanks to Gruier, the crew easily moves from one section to another as they learn that this ship is one big giant storeroom, gene bank and blueprint for the future of Serenity. Yeah, even livestock frozen in eternal sleep. They won’t find any valuable treasures here because Gruier mentions they have been taken and sold during their times of economic crisis. It’s funny to see Schnitzer using his brute strength to open all the doors. Till he can’t manage the final one and seeks help from the rest of the crew. The final room is Gruier’s destination, the Artificial Womb where all Serenity royals are made ever since the first king. Gruier’s true goal is to destroy this womb and end the royal lineage because she feels the people should be governing and the time of the royal family is over. Grunhilde’s crew (including Yotof and Catherine) also drops in from the other end. As both sides prepare to face off, the sisters argue on their different stance. Grunhilde wants to preserve this because she believes the royal family will help restore glory. Suddenly a blinding light grenade and smoke screen is thrown and the sisters are given sleeping gas. Once Gruier wakes up, she finds herself onboard the Serenity ship and both sides are happily working together. It is learnt that Yotof wanted to stop the sisters from fighting but since they are their servants, they can’t open fire on their princesses. Since Marika isn’t, that’s why she secretly plotted with him to peacefully disarm them. Gruier realizes her attempt to destroy the Artificial Womb was in vain because it had already dried up. If she had done so, she would’ve killed the last baby the womb made. The sisters reconcile and return with the ghost ship to reunite their people. So it’s a job well done for Bentenmaru.

Episode 13
Before Bentenmaru could return, they receive a distress signal from Gruier to turn around. Oh no! Another crisis too soon? Turns out that she just wanted to give Marika and her crew a medal award. A pirate getting an award from a princess? Well, now her popularity is soaring. Back home, Marika learns Ririka wants to change her job. Since Marika is doing fine, she thought of doing what she enjoyed too. Seems that Grunhilde has become a transfer student at Hakuou as well (she got jealous how Gruier bragged how cool this place was and had to see it for herself). Later Gruier talks to Marika alone and wants to properly thank her (I guess a medal wasn’t enough). She couldn’t have done it without her. Before Marika got involved, things on her planet were so messy and split-up. The sisters thought of doing what they can but foolishly got manipulated by both sides. Thanks to Marika’s saviour and advice to take back the ghost ship, Serenity is about to undergo vast changes for the better. Gruier shows Marika an administrator ID. The ring which belonged to Gonzaemon which she used to sneak into Bentenmaru by disabling its security. She wants Marika to have it. With the new school semester in full force, Lynn is now the Yacht Club’s president and they have a few new recruits. One of them being Grunhilde. Marika invites the sisters to her house for dinner. I’m sure it brought back horrible memories how Ririka’s horrible cooking almost killed the entire crew. That bad, huh? Maybe now she improved a lot. Grunhilde, fresh from living her life outside as a princess, didn’t know the spiciness of the mustard and puts it in her mouth. It would’ve been bad if a royalty died at dinner at her house. Marika returns to Bentenmaru and learns her next job is some escort that they can’t let normal transports handle. You can bet it’s something fishy. A bio-container containing cat-monkey? For experiment? Anyway, Marika gets an idea to take the sisters to the zoo. Ririka applies for the licence exam for a large interstellar ship.

Episode 14
While life returns to normal for Marika, it is too quiet to be normal because there hasn’t been any contact from Bentenmaru at their regular intervals. Did something happen to them? Then through Ririka’s handphone, Marika gets a call from Misa. Seems the bio-container of cat-monkeys got loose and some of them are carrying infectious cold-like disease. Yup, all the crew are quarantine in hospital and being treated for this non-fatal illness. Hey. Wait a minute. If Schnitzer is a cyborg, how the hell did he contract the disease?! Did it mess up his circuits? I don’t know. He’s quarantined with his fellow mates for 2 weeks. Seeing this is a good chance for Marika to learn the business end of piracy, she wants her to contact their insurance company, Harold Lloyd Insurance Union. But Ririka has unpleasant memories of that bastard Harold because he always charges a hefty price. She warns Marika to stay sharp since he’s a skilled negotiator. Well, Marika don’t have to worry since this afro guy, Show has taken over 5 years ago. Good thing he is a pacifist. Show tells them that because of the detailed treatment data the hospital might want to get, the Bentenmaru crew will be holed up for at least a month. In this period if there is no piracy, their licence will be cancelled. So Marika has 3 choices. 1) Pray and wait they’ll release early; 2) Kidnap the crew out; 3) Go recruiting. I guess it’s obvious. Ririka tells Marika that the relay station is the best place to recruit. On the day Marika is going recruiting, Gruier tags along to help her in need not as a princess but as a friend. With everyone almost recognizing Marika, Gruier suggests to get a makeover. Hmm… She looks like a career woman. Searching for sailors at the databank, no matter how much they narrow their search down, there are just too many search results to choose from so Gruier asks what is it that Marika looks for in a crew. I’m sure there’re lots of factors but what’s the most important one? Since she doesn’t know, she’ll leave it to Gruier’s ability to judge people. As a princess she might have met lots of people, right? Unfortunately they didn’t find a single crew. Till some burly guy walks up to her and knows she’s hiring. But Marika is suspicious because he easily accepts the job without knowing the specifications. It is revealed this guy is Kenjou, Chiaki’s father. So talking things out, Barbarusa will be taking some jobs that Bentenmaru cancelled and that Marika couldn’t find anybody to join her crew was because Kenjou told them not to sign up if Bentenmaru’s captain asked them. It would be a problem if random people start handling the ship. Oh, the disguise never worked in the first place. And Gruier had so much confidence with it. So after Chiaki kept hinting to dense Marika about finding a crew she can trust, she finally realizes where she could easily recruit them. Yes. The Yacht Club members. Yeah. They’re so eager beaver to join her. Why pass up a chance to ride a real pirate ship and do some real piracy? And this will be their next practice cruise.

Episode 15
Lynn easily hacks the system as Kane to gain permission for the Yacht Club to leave for another practice cruise. Oh, Gruier and Grunhilde are also onboard. And Chiaki helped them to stowaway. The more the merrier. Misa returns with information that they will be isolated for a month and their pirating licence is in danger. So when they realize Marika and her Yacht Club members are heading for Bentenmaru, you bet they have to get down and scramble to type down a manual on how to operate the ship because their ship’s control are very customized. How fast can you type! Get your fingers moving! With the girls in the bridge, can you blame them for not being impressed with the real deal? Until one of them had her curiosity gets the better of her and presses a button which fires a powerful beam! Oh sh*t! Hope the military doesn’t detect that. Better hurry up with the manual… Or else Bentenmaru might not fall apart in the hands of amateurs. They try to start up the engine but everything soon shuts down. Did they screw up somewhere? No use thinking on an empty stomach so Gruier has the girls treated to wonderful sweet stuffs. Wow! I want some too! Look at Chiaki’s happy face… Show contacts Marika and sends over the manual. So after carefully reading it, the girls get Bentenmaru working, much to the relief of its crew. Then Marika needs to practice making hyper-space jump in order for them to do piracy. It hit the crew that they haven’t done one on that yet! The problem is further complicated with the Stellar military vessel coming into the picture after detecting that blast. They need to jump now. However Marika doesn’t really need a manual to do the jump since she has been watching her crew pulling it off. With instructions and orders to her mates, the jump is successful. In the nick of time. Chiaki, Gruier and Grunhilde realize a surveillance camera that the Bentenmaru crew has been watching them. They destroy it and decide not to tell Marika that the manual is sent from them instead of Show to safeguard Marika’s pride.

Episode 16
Being a pirate captain is tiring. Yeah, after assigning rooms for her girls, she plops down to bed. She’s going to need all the strength for their piracy act. Yeah, she almost ran late for her job and woke up late. Well, Gruier did try to wake her up but she was dead as a log. Anyway, the girls cheer Marika in her captain outfit so she explains the piracy job they’ll be doing on the luxury liner. She and Chiaki caution them that they have to follow procedures. Any mistake, they’ll have to pay the penalty. Besides, they can’t keep the customers waiting as they want to experience piracy. Say what? So are the girls ready? Sudden silence… Suddenly it doesn’t seem so fun anymore with all the complicated stuffs and planning, eh? But I guess if Lynn is going to do it, everyone is happy to give Marika their support. So as they begin their piracy, it had so much blunders that the passengers are laughing in amusement and the liner’s captains are wondering if they are imposters because they are not up to their usual mark. After a rocky landing, now comes Marika and her pirates… What the f*ck is this?! Cosplay club?! The other girls wearing cosplay outfit?! You can thank Mami for that. She spent sleepless nights making them. Look at the bags under her eyes. She must be really passionate about it. The customers are so amused, the girls are enjoying themselves and one of them is even getting hit on! Is this piracy actually?! Everybody had so much fun that even the captain looked forward to further piracy business with Marika. WTF. Once done, the girls celebrate their job well done. Yeah, some even think of putting on a different cosplay outfit next time. Chiaki continues to be Marika’s ‘mother’, telling her to sleep in proper clothes, brush her teeth, etc. At least she’s doing a better job than Ririka. But the Serenity sisters soon tell Marika as they notice Lynn had communicated with someone outside but couldn’t hear what it was. Marika also had noted her strange behaviour but didn’t have time to talk to her. Chiaki thinks she may be a spy because from experience she too was one and the reason she originally joined the Yacht Club. Plus, Lynn is on probation for hacking and perhaps a spy for an organization to steal something from Bentenmaru. Instead of jumping to conclusions and jumping the gun, Marika decides to call Lynn in person and ask them herself. But instead of telling them, she says she has a job for them. That is, to kidnap the former Yacht Club president, Jenny. Ooohh…

Episode 17
Actually Jenny is the one hiring them and the person Lynn has been contacting with. Despite warning from Chiaki that pirates can’t do illegal stuffs, all the more reason why Lynn chose them because of Marika as a talented captain and that she also knows them. The reason of this kidnapping is because Jenny’s family runs the huge interstellar transporting company called Hugh & Dolittle. Jenny is to be the next heir but her uncle Robert prefers a male to inherit it and wants to marry her off to some politician to get her out of the way. Though Jenny has her own little company, she has no time to devote herself to it and wants to enrol at Space University to learn more about running a company. Students there cannot be easily removed by anybody whatsoever. Though the other girls are excited in kidnapping Jenny, Chiaki is against the plan because there are just amateurs, lots of planning are needed, real fights may be involved and more importantly, Marika may lose her pirating licence. But Marika thinks this sounds fun. Having too much job security is bad and is going to accept this request. Suddenly they receive communications of a small ship trying to seek refuge within them. Lynn knows it is Jenny and something must have gone wrong for her to flee. So once they pull Jenny in, Jenny in a bridal gown and Lynn happily reunite. And they kiss!!! In front of the girls! OMG! I didn’t know they were in this kind of relationship. They’re having a second round! Seems the SPs were trying to get her so she ran away. Several trained SPs cannot catch a girl in her wedding dress? Useless. Robert and his men are searching for Jenny but couldn’t find her. The last time they heard her was her contact with Bentenmaru. Robert orders to find out about their insurance company and pressure them from there.

Marika soon gets a message from Show wanting to confirm if Jenny is really on board. Well, he looks screwed upon confirming. He got a message from Hugh & Dolittle that Bentenmaru has kidnapped Jenny and wants her release or else all ties with them will be cut. Jenny confirms the threat is just a lie because this rift happened because of her and Robert. She hired Bentenmaru for her safety. Marika wants Show to observe their discussion on payment before he makes his decision. This is after all business, right? Jenny is willing to give them the ship she came in with (a high tech military ship) and also 10% of the gross profit from her Fairy Jane company for the next 10 years. 10% of 50 trillion per year is how much?! How many zeroes are there?! Wow! Plus, Lynn will throw in some data on customer lists and information. Marika thinks this is not a bad deal and envisions Fairy Jane will grow bigger than Hugh & Little. Besides, this is better than bowing to gullible pressure. As for Show, he allows them to take this job because he too doesn’t like being threatened. Marika also suggests taking them out because this would save Jenny’s arranged marriage and relieve pressure on the insurance company. She sets her next destination to Space University and in the mean time they can formulate a plan. Soon Show contacts the Bentenmaru crew about the next job Marika has. Worried, aren’t they? Even more when Show permitted her to do so because he believes in her luck and potential. Hope it doesn’t run out. And I think they could use some of it now because suddenly they see on their screen Bentenmaru being chased and attacked by Hugh & Dolittle’s fleets! The crew wants to get out now! Their ship is in danger. But Misa thinks they should not budge till Marika contacts them. Because she is their captain.

Episode 18
Even though they jumped, Robert’s fleet still manages to track them down. And the big man himself is here in his Jabberwocky class spaceship. They’re even firing at them. Although they’re just warning shots, they’re extremely close. Despite the officers advising they have fired enough warning shots, Robert orders them to continue. Marika can’t fire back since it will only put them at disadvantage. Knowing Robert will wait for a while to see their actions, Jenny discusses things with the crew. First a little history about her uncle. He is on the company’s board and has been fighting with her father for years. It only worsened when she started Fairy Jane. Not even Jenny knows any weaknesses her uncle has so attacking head on is out of the question. So they’re going to do it indirectly. Junigh Coolph is to be Jenny’s future husband. He is the eldest son of Theodore who is the secretary of Interstellar Transportation. Marrying Jenny with him would mean expanding the company and ties with the Bureau. So if they attack Junigh’s weakness, this might lead to their marriage being called off. Yeah, even Jenny doesn’t like this guy. Her woman’s hunch is telling her that. Thinking about his weakness, she remembers he once hosted a large clandestine party on his private ship. This may lead to something big. The Bentenmaru crew isn’t just bumming around waiting to be released because they are also digging up some dirt on Robert. They discover something big and report to Show. Marika orders her next destination to Junigh’s ship but they need to escape Robert’s fleet first. They surprise they enemies by splitting themselves into 3 (something they learnt during their first encounter with the ghost ship to replicate their ship’s profile and load it onto dummy transponders), charge at them before jumping into the wormhole and completely disappear off their radar. Show informs Marika about the shady accounting records of Hugh and Dolittle. Apparently their security was shoddy that’s why it could be accessed easily.

The girls dock on Junigh’s ship and even hijacked the broadcast to bring to you live what they are going to film. They see Junigh and his little army hailing to a new revolution to overthrow the system. So when Chiaki busts in and gets tough on all those revolution wannabes, they all cower and run! Some revolutionaries they are. Or maybe Chiaki is so pissed and is just letting loose some steam. Junigh is rounded up and he mentions he was just doing this as a hobby. Real or not, Junigh panics and pleads for his life. Man, this shows he’s such a big cry-baby. He’s calling for his daddy! The perfect setting for Jenny to call off her wedding with this wimp. Now the big boss arrives. Robert remains assertive and unmoved with the several threats made. Till Marika shows data of big chunks of money circulating with no clear purpose. There is more. Robert has been sending weapons and fighters to Theodore and other groups who oppose the Stellar Military. There are strict limits to how many one can possess weaponry just as a licence is to a pirate. So a company buying them to improve security seems like the perfect excuse. The ultimate proof came with a recorded conversation with Robert and Theodore. Wow. That guy is so big and important but he doesn’t know how to cover up his tracks properly? Game over, Robert. Back at Bentenmaru, the girls celebrate their success and also a farewell party for Chiaki for she is returning to her father’s side before he gets too naggy. Jenny knows her fight with her uncle isn’t over by a long shot. He might’ve been arrested but knows he’ll pull some strings to get out. She has learnt a lot from Marika and is better prepared to fight him the next time. Jenny and Lynn have a steamy kiss. I think Marika has had enough for today. Misa relays the good news to her mates. Since the results turned out negative, they’ll be released next week.

Episode 19
Lynn seems to have gotten her hands on several shuttle tickets and it will be a waste not to use them. After reaching the relay station, the Yacht Club girls prepare to clean Odette II. Marika decides to clean Bentenmaru by herself. Can she clean a big ship all by herself? I’m sure she learnt how useful gravity could be during cleaning but don’t mix up the order! Or you’ll do double the work cleaning up the mess. I didn’t know the crew had this much junk. Or maybe the girls partied so hard the other day. So tired Marika is but there’s a satisfied look on her face. Next day, the cleaning of Odette II continues but Marika is so a sleepyhead that she trips and accidentally drops her ID ring. Someone picks it up. Marika also continues cleaning Bentenmaru and gets the job done. While Marika is in her club room, she gets an emergency call from Misa to get her ass to Bentenmaru now. Seems the bridge controls are locked and can only be activated with the captain’s ID. Searching to her pockets, she can’t find it. Don’t tell me it’s lost! Start searching! Now you know what it’s like to search a needle in a haystack. Retrace your steps! As long as she didn’t drop it in space. Hopefully. Suddenly all the systems activate. It is Grunhilde who picked up the ID ring. With all the Yacht Club girls coming in and making routine checks on the start-up, wow, Bentenmaru just feels like their second home, eh? You can be rest assured Bentenmaru was in safe hands with these girls around. Grunhilde returns the ID ring to Marika and Gruier says that ring is a bond between the four of them: Gonzaemon, Marika, Grunhilde and Gruier. Sandaime picks up the plushie dolls that Marika had thrown away in the garbage. Now he is going to treasure them more. He’s not going to listen to his captain if she puts a weight ban on personal items onboard. The girls want Kane to come back as their advisor. Since they’re pestering, he’ll think about it. I guess he’s that popular with them. Marika uses the ID ring to accidentally open a file on the family’s recipe to make pot-au-feu. She learns and makes them to perfection much to Ririka’s satisfaction.

Episode 20
Ai Hoshimiya wants to join the 19th Nebula Cup race. This might overlap with Marika’s work and besides, only Ai has piloted a dinghy before. Don’t worry, here comes Kane back as their instructor. What’s with the getup and outfit?! First he makes the girls undergo tough training simulation. Yeah, it nearly killed them and Marika is not too pleased. Grunhilde researches the database on the Cup and learns that Hakuou was banned for 5 years during the 13th Nebula Cup for ignoring safety regulations. Meanwhile the chairwoman and her committee learn Hakuou is participating this year and isn’t too pleased they’ve got the guts to do so. Thinking they won’t follow the rules, they will find one who doesn’t either. They called on Show? Meanwhile Kane shows Ririka a group of men discussing that the Bisque Company isn’t aware of their treaty with Marika that would lead them into fighting each other for the pirates’ power. They are going to teach these guys a lesson. Ririka sees a hooded guy and understands why. Marika after a chat with Ai wonders why she joins the Yacht Club. Then she remembers. It was so she can go to space. Show informs Marika that the committee has hired Bentenmaru as security since they fear Hakuou will be up to their old tricks. This means Marika can’t participate, right? Kane brings the girls in their swimsuits to the beach. No, they’re not here to have fun. The strict coach is going to make a selection test. Yes, by riding a real yacht. The one that sails on water. The first three to make it back qualifies to represent Hakuou. So with the race heating up, those who can’t balance, falls off. Kane even planned some beam shot from Bentenmaru to make huge waves! It’s a tsunami. Hey. If Kane is down here, who is piloting Bentenmaru? Well, Misa seems to be doing a fine job. How long more can she hold? Natalia and Grunhilde reach the finishing line first. Ai catches up from the back to pass everyone else and peeps Marika to the finish line to complete the line-up. Marika hopes he won’t pull off this nasty trick again but Kane notes how greedy she is wanting to race and do pirating at the same time. But she’s glad Ai loves yachts more than ever now. After all that hard work, Kane rewards them by hitting Lamp House to replenish those lost calories with parfaits. It’s on him. Yahoo!

Episode 21
Hakuou must have kicked up some reputation that everybody from participants to staffs fear them! It’s like the demons have arrived! Chiaki who is hired to participate as one of the teams, pulls them away. Seems only Lynn is the one who never knew about their school’s suspension. Oh, she unknowingly had a hand in it too. She remembers during middle school, a couple of girls from Hakuou requested her help in altering the race course. The race became a nightmare and out of 142 entrants, only 2 finished. And the source of it all is here right now… So you can see why everybody is out to get them. And why does Lynn seem so enthusiastic about it all? The chairwoman is so busy trying to ensure that her 5 years of hard work won’t go to waste that she didn’t pay heed to Marika. So without knowing, she allows Marika to use a dinghy before realizing it too late. Marika’s idea is to watch from within the race because Bentenmaru can only watch from afar. The participants get ready to start the race as Gruier flags them off. The chairwoman gets into a dinghy herself and follows Marika. She tries to take Marika out before she does anything but the pirate girl doesn’t understand what gives. Suddenly the solar flares increase the difficulty of the course. As revealed, the committee and other participants have trained hard on this course to avenge their humiliation.

Kane realizes the Bisque Company has made their move and is going to ambush Marika. Because they don’t know which dinghy she is in, they start firing randomly! Kane tells Marika to run because Bisque Company is jealous of her pirate licence and is out to get her. Marika becomes the bait to draw their attention away from the racers. The chairwoman feels guilty for suspecting Marika and is impressed she went so far to protect the race. She wanted to help but got shot down. Then Bentenmaru comes down to help Marika get away. Better hurry because the big ship isn’t made to fly in atmosphere. Hope their thrusters stay. Despite the firepower, they are like sitting ducks as the enemies are in a smaller and swifter ship. They can’t fire their usual cannon as the air distortion will blow away the participants. They can use the beam at the front but how will they get the enemy to get ahead of them? Ai tells them the direction of the wind that will pass. Soon, Bentenmaru gets behind the enemy and fires them out of the sky. However the enemy launches an electromagnetic attack. Though it has no damage on a large ship like Bentenmaru, all electronics stop functioning for Ai who got caught in it. How can she continue the race? Go manual! She opens the hatch and uses the stars to navigate her way. I guess without all those electronics, she gets to see the beauty of the different skies of the planet. In the end, Bisque Company has been arrested, the Nebula Cup saved and Chiaki the underdog emerges the winner with Grunhilde taking second place. Hakuou even receives a letter of thanks from the chairwoman. And Ai is ready to take up the challenge from the next race…

Episode 22
The captain of the Silver Fox Pirates seems to be boasting about his invincibility when an unidentified ship blasts it out of space! Wow. Marika meets the rest of her crew to discuss the recent events about pirate hunters taking down other pirates (that’s what the insurance union is calling it). Marika wonders how many pirates are there since Chiaki’s Barbarusa is the only pirate fleet she knows. Some history lesson from Misa is in cue. Well, they’re about 200 of them during the war and they weren’t all well armed like Bentenmaru. As to maintain the Letter of Marque, the ship needs to be at least as powerful like Bentenmaru. So they’re merely like a cut-off point. Don’t forget, they have the best crew too. What is Marika going to do? Pointing out the circumstances of her exams and the expiring pirate licence, she deduces that the attacks on pirates are getting close to Tau Ceti and there is a possibility Bentenmaru will be targeted. She comes up with an idea that will help their client and renew their licence as well. Back at the Yacht Club, it has been decided that Marika becomes the president after Lynn leaves. She has no say about it since everyone has agreed on the matter. Marika is shuttled by Kane to Bentenmaru and he thinks it’s time for her to get a licence of her own to pilot a shuttle. He also asks her path after graduation. Will she commute from the planet to Bentenmaru or become a real sailor.

Down to business, it seems Bentenmaru will be doing an escort job. Not just an ordinary escort job because Bentenmaru will be protecting another pirate ship, Big Catch led by tough baldy Captain Stone. This prompts a discussion on what makes a pirate a pirate. The Letter of Marque aside, it’s because they act in isolation from others that the military and Stellar Alliance allowed them to exist. But if they start working together, it’ll be like a birth of a new empire. Gee, pirates cooperating? Don’t see that happening ever. Though pirates are lone wolves, if they’re not careful, the government may do them in. So the escort begins. Like other pirate captains, Stone is cocky and thinks the insurance union is scared for them to pull something off like this. Suddenly a big ship jumps into the area. Stone acts first and orders his men to fire at the unidentified ship. Unfortunately the big ship fires back and deals some serious damage to Big Catch and its mini ships. Stone thought the big ship is losing power and takes this chance to run but it soon powers up, moves at incredible zigzag speed and fires the ultimate blast to destroy Big Catch. Suddenly jumping in is another ship. And there is this hologram masked and cape dude standing on it. Wild Tiger from Tiger And Bunny?

Episode 23
Scan shows that new ship is Parabellum and is registered with the Galactic Empire. For some showy effects, Parabellum forces some sound effects onto Bentenmaru (the bass must be getting to loud) as it tries to ring in the unidentified ship by firing several missiles into it. The enemy then escapes via lightning ship. Parabellum hails Bentenmaru and that guy identifies himself as Ironbeard. He warns that danger will be upon Marika and if nothing is done, all pirates in this region will be wiped out at the hands of that enemy ship called Grand Cross. Coorie does a search but doesn’t find any data on that ship. Fortunately there were no casualties on Big Catch so all the crew are brought onto Bentenmaru for treatment. Though they tried to put out the fire on Big Catch, it reached the ammo store and the ship was blown into smithereens. There goes his pirate career. Stone can tell Marika is a good pirate and sees many similarities in her like her father whom he knows along with Ririka and Misa (nicknamed Bloody Misa then). He thinks Marika is the pirate for the new age. Chiaki returns to Hakuou as representative of Barbarusa to discuss about the pirate hunt. Kenjou suggests forming an alliance with all pirates bearing the Letter of Marque and of course help from Marika. Marika has no qualms in sharing data they’ve collected as they have engaged with Parabellum and Grand Cross. Gruier does her research on Grand Cross thinking it may have come from the Galactic Empire. Seems they are in a hurry constructing some secret project and conducting trial runs on pirates in remote areas. Well, pirate ships are well armed and it won’t make sense if they attack a civilian ship, right?

Chiaki says that the next step is to find the legendary chef. The chef who brought all the pirates together to the table with his great cook and desserts. So good it melted their hearts and thus united them for the war on independence. Yum. I didn’t know pirates had a sweet tooth. You know what they say about the way to a man’s heart is through is stomach. Shouldn’t this legendary chef use his skills to end whatever wars then? Also, all pirate ships still use old communication systems even if they upgrade every other part because of a certain song that summons all pirates. From all the food and parfaits they have eaten today, Marika has a good idea who this legendary chef is and wants Chiaki to come with her. At the airport cafeteria, Marika shows this guy Oyaji as the pirate chef. Marika wants to hold a pirate council. However Oyaji points out the legendary chef is his father. But when he was a young kid and working with him, he saw how all the famous pirates were shining and laughing together in the same room. Asking Marika the meaning of being a pirate, she replies it’s the power to be in space and to be yourself. She wants to go to the wider universe, the reason she became a pirate. Oyaji starts up the old communication radio and plays that song. Sounds like a typical pirate yo-ho-ho song. Using the encrypted data in the song, they extract the location of the pirate nest hidden among the asteroids, gas clouds and stellar debris. Any pirate who hears this song will definitely head there. Bentenmaru sets its destination there when Grand Cross pops up in front of them. If it’s a fight they want, Marika will gladly give it to them.

Episode 24
Marika orders to maintain a distance between the ships. She also knows that pirates don’t pick a fight when they know they can’t win. The ultimate plan is to make a run and jump. Grand Cross begins its quick zigzag patterns and starts firing all it got at Bentenmaru. Bentenmaru turns around and fires back but it charges straight ahead to Grand Cross. They’re going to be Swiss cheese if they take any more of the firing. Kane’s smooth piloting misses Bentenmaru from colliding with Grand Cross and enough to whizz pass it. Grand Cross though decelerating it isn’t going after them. Bentenmaru makes some minimal repairs before jumping to the pirate’s nest. They are greeted by Kenjou. The badly damaged Bentenmaru is in need of some repairs and Marika had this idea of upgrading some parts at the same time. It’s going to cost. But they have a trick up their sleeve. They send in Coorie. No, she’s not going to do some hacking. In fact, I didn’t know Coorie could looks this sexy and hot when she lets her hair down and loses her nerdy glasses! OMG! This blonde bombshell is turning heads wherever she goes! And the repair guy who saw her Bentenmaru emblem, realizes he mustn’t mess with this babe. Seriously. Meanwhile, Luca goes to see Misa about Kane. Marika and Chiaki are having a talk with Kenjou when they get news of several pirates being downed by Grand Cross. They might not even get 10 pirates here. Of course she is not to blame as it was their decision to come. Marika thought she saw Oyaji but it turns out to be his older brother. He’s spunkier and more talkative. In fact the legendary chef had 5 sons, each of them owning a restaurant of their own. Like a chain, huh?

Marika walks around the area when she comes into the pilot of Grand Cross. She introduces herself as Captain Quartz Christie and Grand Cross is someone’s experimental ship. She is impressed with Marika because she is the first pirate to escape Grand Cross. As for her hunting pirates, they provide good experiment subjects. To her, pirates in this era are useless because they just renew their old Letter of Marque and put on a little show. That’s about it. They’re no longer pirates in that sense. If they’re not needed, nobody will care if they’re gone, right? Marika does care and will fight her. She’ll be expecting it too. Quartz turns invisible when Schnitzer and his men drop in. A little too late perhaps? Marika can tell from the way Quartz said things, there was a spy on her ship. Schnitzer assures that the proper measures have been taken. Luca follows Kane but the latter knew she was tailing her all the while. Luca calls out Misa and the ladies corner him. Then Misa takes out her gun and shoots Luca in the head! Hey! She’s still standing. What a well made android, no? This proves that Luca is the spy onboard. Misa shoots and takes her down. How does she know? The real Luca who is only concerned about nothing but work ratted on Kane. I mean, Luca the caring woman? That was the dead giveaway. Now she will have Kane talk. She feels he is hiding things. Hyakume at a distance away verifies with his scanner that this is the real Kane. But nearby, we see another clone of Kane! Not another android! Or his twin brother! No, let it not! Marika gets a call from Ririka. They talk about the repairs on Bentenmaru costing a bomb and that Ririka has informed her school she’ll be absent for 2 weeks. Hope she can graduate at this rate. Oh, seems Ririka is with Ironbeard on Parabellum. Fate?

Episode 25
Luca the android reformatted itself so Hyakume couldn’t find any other details except it was made by the Galactic Empire corporation called Human Torch for a Stellar Military special operation. Speaking of the real Luca, what happened to her? Suddenly she pops right back surprising everyone! With big bags of souvenirs! From her explanation, she went on a vacation but ended up in a different resort when she changed her plan. Didn’t anybody know she was away? So Marika and Kenjou meet to discuss about Quartz. They doubt her as a captain because why would an enemy come here alone. Speaking of which, she is in the pirate council room now. Many of the pirates do not like her, especially a young hot-headed one. The chef reminds them that there shall be no killing in this room. He also lets them know a little secret. There are more pirates out there than those with the Letter of Marque. Quartz has a gold skull on her shoulder and it signifies a space pirate recognized and endorsed by the Galactic Empire. Quartz introduces herself as one of the imperial pioneers and her goal is to hunt pirates. Though the pirates start aiming their guns at her, Marika suggests that they should fight because she’s underestimating them, the reason she is here. They’ll have a fair fight to settle it all but the young pirate isn’t happy with that and threatens to kill Quartz right now. Before that could happen, Ironbeard steps in and claims he is here to bring Quartz back by the orders of the Queen. He too has a gold skull on his shoulder. However Marika wants to know his identity. Is he an ally or enemy? “The end of space”. Huh? Is that a valid answer? One man who can see into the endless future isn’t enough and only when others stand with him will they see the end of space someday. He questions what Marika sees.

The pirates begin their feast as Ironbeard escorts Quartz out. She feels humiliated because she came here to get the drop on here but ended up with him stealing the light and Marika running the show. Ironbeard says her safety is more important than her pride. The young hot-headed pirate and his subordinates aren’t going to let it slide and plans to kill them before they leave. Swiftly, Ririka fires and disables them all. No chance to fight back. Ironbeard suggests considering joining his side but she’s not interested. With Misa and Kane now in the picture, Misa realizes that the Kane clone is his younger twin brother, Shane (his ahoge must be the giveaway). She will deduct Kane’s pay for his missing days and make Shane pay the penalty for being onboard Bentenmaru unauthorized. She’ll bill it to Parabellum. Misa wants to know what was so important that he needed twin helmsmen to learn. Ironbeard replies pirate in this era are given 2 choices. To become true pirates or renew their Letter of Marque and remain pirates for hire. He saw the sparkle in Marika’s eyes and liked it. The pirates continue their meeting and part of the agenda has Marika appointing Coorie as the leader for electronic warfare. Yeah, her other counterparts really dig her. Bentenmaru has been repaired and upgraded enough for Kane to pull off crazy stunts. Then Marika reluctantly transmit the song to all pirates to hear. It was one that she and Chiaki recorded. Man, Chiaki sounded cute but now she must be regretting it. Embarrassing, no? How was she convinced to do it in the first place? Soon Marika transmit a challenge message to Quartz on their time and location of their next battle. She instantly replies with a nasty tone looking forward to the duel. Marika leads the other pirates to their battle with Grand Cross. She’ll show them the soul of a pirate.

Episode 26
Bentenmaru and the other pirate ships arrive at the battlefield. Seems there isn’t just one Grand Cross but three of them! And Quartz is singlehandedly controlling them all. Coorie begins her synchronized hacking with her other counterparts and she’s so damn good because she’s using her feet for additional hacking! Oh sh*t! All the pirate ships are well spread out so as not to come into friendly fire and to also see each other’s position. One of the Grand Cross beings its zigzag pattern and targets one of the pirate ships. However the pirate ships self destructs and it turns out to be an illusion trick. Grand Cross goes into recharge mode so all the other pirates use this chance to fire all they’ve got and destroy Grand Cross number 1. The second Grand Cross tries to escape the firepower using chaff. Its operations temporarily shut down so Barbarusa sticks a huge missile into it. Another one bites the dust. For the final Grand Cross that Quartz is on, Marika and some of the other pirates take her by surprise by boarding the ship. Kenjou asks Chiaki’s what she’ll do next. He loves this job and this fight is for his pride. He wonders if she will go with Marika. While the other pirates take on those useless android guards in Grand Cross, Marika, Hyakume and Schnitzer make their way to where Quartz is piloting the ship. She wants to continue her conversation about pirates being unneeded. She can’t say about the show they put on and sometimes get carried away. But she knows she is here. The captain of Bentenmaru, Marika Katou exists right now. If that’s not an answer, it’s okay because that wasn’t a question too.

Schnitzer is going to apprehend her but Quartz escapes in her pod. She warns them to get off since the ship will self-destruct. She also wants Marika to come to the vast sea because there is someone who desires that. The pirates leave Grand Cross as it self-destructs. Marika announces their successful failure. They failed to take over the ship but everyone did a good job and were victorious. Quartz notes she got the combat data she needed, destroyed the evidence but lost her pride. She hopes to meet Marika someday. Jenny and her crew board Odette II to take over the piloting by the Yacht Club up in the middle of their cruise. Jenny and Lynn have their moment together. Good thing they didn’t kiss. Once Lynn graduates, she’ll really come after her. Parabellum picks up the Yacht Club members so they can return to school and sit for their exam while Jenny assures she’ll guide Odette II back. It seems this was a job requested by Gruier. She thanks Ironbeard and recognizes him as Gonzaemon. So he’s not dead yet? Asking if he has met Marika, he replies he is just a space pirate named Ironbeard. Marika wants to continue her life as a high school girl pirate. That means she needs to get back and take the exams and pass them, right? Don’t worry, Marika aces them (despite waking up late on the important day). The Yacht Club members welcome Chiaki who will be joining them at Hakuou again. But Marika isn’t with them. Understandably, she’s in another one of those jobs with Bentenmaru.

There is No Business Like Piracy Business
I won’t say it was smooth sailing all the way for me. When this series first started, it was very tough on me because of all the terms and words put into the conversation. My Japanese isn’t that good and the worst part was even trying to read the English subtitles was as hard. Is my English that bad too? It’s not that the subs were bad either. Somehow I just couldn’t grasp and understand all the explanations no matter how many times I replay that scene, reread and reread that sentence over and over again. Hence watching the first half of this series felt like torture and everything moved ‘slowly’. Even the opening narration of each episode felt so philosophical and dramatic that it made me think that I was going to watch a serious documentary show or a Shakespeare play. Same case with the next episode preview. So when it comes to all that tactical explanations and such and even in the simplest forms, I’m lost. I’d be just staring at the screen with my eyes squint and my mouth big and wide open. It was a complete turn off listening to the words so I just ‘admire’ the battle scenes. They may not be the best space battles but at least they are enough to keep me occupied and a ‘salvation’ (or relief) in contrast to the conversation. What else more can you expect from a pirate ship? Shoot laser beams and missiles, that’s about it. You don’t expect it to transform into a robot and pull off some killer technique moves, don’t you?

Marika has grown to fit into her role as a pirate captain nicely. We see her make mature and better decisions with each passing job and mission. She truly lives up to her father’s legacy and is definitely going to surpass that at the rate things are going. Everyone is expecting great things from her and I’m pretty sure she will live up to that. I’m sure she would put Jack Sparrow and Captain Hook look like babies. Looks like life is going to get busier and more hectic now that she is in her third year of her high school and the president of the Yacht Club in addition to be Bentenmaru’s captain. Oh, let’s not forget the part time waitress job at Lamphouse. She’s got a lot on her plate but it looks like she’s capable of handling it all. Now that she has achieved her dream of going into space, will she expand that dream by going further? Space is vast so it will be an adventure of a lifetime to venture into other areas. Bravely going to where no high school girl pirate has one before. Speaking of Gonzaemon, now that it is revealed he is still alive at the end, was his death faked so that they could rope in Marika as the captain? Well, Ironbeard is the captain of Parabellum which is endorsed by the Galactic Empire. So I feel there’s more than meets the eye of what happened. Since Marika doesn’t really know her father, I doubt she would recognize him even if they meet with him unmasked. She couldn’t at the pirate nest, right?

No captain would be where he would be without his trusty crew. The main crew of Bentenmaru may be a colourful bunch but it is a shame that they aren’t really fleshed out more than we already know. I would certainly like to know about Schnitzer’s origins. I believe he is the only cyborg that I see in this series. Don’t other pirates have a cyborg like him too? Quartz’s mindless androids don’t count. Misa is strict with Marika initially, the way she acts and leaves the decisions to Marika in her early days as captain. She is somewhat like her mentor (what else is there for a physician to do especially when Bentenmaru goes into battle?) so it’s best to let the captain do some thinking instead of being spoon fed. Anyhow, just like the other crew, she is very supportive of Marika. Kane’s calm and friendly personality makes him easy to get along with as with the same case with Hyakume. Only difference is one is a hot handsome hunk and the other an old almost scruffy guy. Oops.  Sandaime is the most worrisome character. He’s always worried about his engines and because of the crazy stunts that Marika pull, he can’t help agonize that he’ll lose both his babies. He’s already so young and filled with such anxiety. He is also probably the only Bentenmaru crew that we know who has other hobbies other than work: Collecting plushies. Coorie may look like a typical computer geek and a very good one. So it was shocking when she had her ‘other’ beautiful self. It’s like so unbelievable. Believe me, those looks are real and not CG! The other odd thing about Coorie is that she likes eating snacks while at work. Maybe it helps her brains think. Her hands (and sometimes feet) are already full. Now her mouth is also full. Amazing, isn’t it? Finally there is the most mysterious of the crew, Luca. Always talking with a deadpan voice and seeing things that nobody is interested in (sometimes she too can’t see what it is that she saw. Confused?). But if you pay close attention, there are very rare moments that Luca displays small emotion like a little smile. It’s like a rare gem if you ever get to see this. Ririka as an ex-member of Bentenmaru is a strong willed lady and lets her daughter charts her own path in life. I wonder if she has finally decided to join Ironbeard seeing she is on his ship at the end.

Though Chiaki’s initial goal to stick around Marika was to see if she is worthy to become a pirate captain, I wonder why she continues to keep sticking around at certain points. It’s not like she admitted she is her friend but of course we know deep down inside she truly cares for her. Heck, sometimes I feel that when Chiaki starts reminding Marika about certain stuffs, I thought Chiaki was acting like her substitute mother! So eventually both of them forge some kind of friendship and it’s not clear if Chiaki would join Marika’s crew or stick around with daddy in Barbarusa. My guts tell me she might just do the former. If there is one thing about Chiaki, I thought she would have looked cuter if she smiled more often. I don’t know, maybe she was born with that ‘unfriendly’ face (I seem to get this expression each time I look at her). Despite being serious most of the time, Chiaki isn’t really a robot as we get to see glimpses of her face cheering up. Especially when it involves sweet desserts. She should put that expression up more often. Gruier and Grunhilde are both friendly princesses who are not interested in their royal position. Though Grunhilde is quieter than her sister, both do not like to be left out and love to help out whenever they can. To a point, Gruier would even encourage the use of underhanded tactics when needed. Who says princesses are always goody-two-shoes? However after their arc of the golden ghost ship closes, their roles became minimal and their role is just as good as the other members of the Yacht Club. I don’t know. I just felt they became insignificant. Gruier certainly looks very different when she dons her princess outfit and Hakuou’s uniform. While she truly looks like a princess in the former, I can’t help think that she somewhat resembles Sailormoon in the latter. Those blonde dumplings hairstyle… Do I see a resemblance? As for Grunhilde, I thought she was a boy because when she first appeared it, she was wearing a military coat. Then in her high school uniform, I thought she was Sailormoon’s sister…

As for the other minor characters, I guess they’re rather okay. Show is a flamboyant pacifist and as Bentenmaru’s insurance agent, he gladly handles and sets up jobs for them. I don’t think I need to comment on Jenny and Lynn. Perhaps this show needs some yuri after some pirating action. There are hardly any real villains in this series and the most I would only pinpoint Robert. Big powerful guys in big powerful corporations. Typical traits and setup for typical villains. Junigh is a wimp. Period. The Serenity fleets were just internal conflict while Quartz was just under orders from the Empire. Hmm… I don’t know much about the Galactic Empire but I smell that if they’re going to make another sequel or story, maybe there’ll be some conspiracy from the highest ruling body in the universe. You don’t really see other pirates fighting each other, don’t you? They may look tough but they aren’t cold bloodthirsty killers like we know. Speaking of the other pirate captains, it was amusing to see the bunch of them that made it to the pirate nest. Even their looks varied. From frail looking old men to one that looks like a monkey (he bends spoons with his mind power?) and to one that even looks like a ninja! WTF?! Ninja pirate? Well, there is no rule to say that pirates should all have beards, one hand for a hook, a wooden pegleg and a parrot on his shoulder. I would prefer very much Marika’s pirate outfit. Yeah. Pirate in a mini skirt. You can’t beat that!

When you think about it, pirates putting on a piracy show isn’t real piracy and just a show. Maybe they’ll do something about terrorism too? The real meaning of piracy is lost but I guess this can’t be help since you seriously don’t want a real pirate to ransack and hurt people. Even ordinary folks are not afraid of them but look forward in awe! Especially rich people. I didn’t know insurance companies are that rich to compensate their losses. So really. Pirates may just be another fancy name for entertainer-cum-odd-jobs. Besides, you don’t get the feel that the pirates here are powerful enough to take on the Galactic Empire themselves. If they unite like what they did against Grand Cross then they may stand a chance but how often do you see pirates work together? So it brings the question of who are the shady ones in the universe. The Galactic Empire and military aren’t 100% angelic so for things that need to be done without hurting their reputation or diplomatic ties, pirates are used as backdoor to get such things done. After all, pirates aren’t really bound by the so called laws but you don’t see them breaking any of them and they still pretty much stick within them. See how they follow the rules to get their Letter of Marque renewed? Thus pirates only have their own pride and freedom to follow. They are just like any other team that emphasizes on loyalty, trust, friendship and cooperation and may be much better than the so called righteous people up there in power.

The series divides itself into several mini arcs so in terms of the flow of the storyline it is not so ‘taxing’. It flows smoothly and seamlessly from one to another as it when an arc finishes, another one begins. But sometimes I just thought that there were so many potential, it would have been good to see some of the minor on-goings expanded or answer some of the questions that bugged me. Maybe it was because of the wordy conversations that tire me out so I wasn’t paying attention.  For instance, there were many stuffs I didn’t follow for the golden ghost ship arc. If the ship was drifting for a very, very, very long time, how can the last life on it be just born? Not only that, from what I understand all the royalties are born here so where does Gruier and Grunhilde come from then? Unless their genes and blueprint were taken from this ship if that is what they’re implied. But then again, that last baby… Because Bentenmaru is the focus of this series, we are only told in brief about the backgrounds of other characters. For example, I would be interested to know how Lynn turned out into a troubled hacker. One of my favourite segments is the quote of the episode that is right at the end of the episode. Spoken by one of the characters during that episode, it’s entertaining to read some of them since it probably sums up the important event for that episode. Like the first episode’s quote of “Whoever heard of a legal pirate?”. Some are amusing (“Breakfast beats worrying”, “The illegal skill faking attendance”, “Everything works out when you’re a pirate”, “Make out the receipt to Bentenmaru”, “Dad, I’ll kill you!”, that scribble on using the gravity for garbage is funny too), some gives you something to think about (“Everyone is just a dot in space”, “But you are not alone in space”, “There are times when trying harder isn’t enough”, “What do you think is most important”), some felt like orders (“Begin combat operations”, “Pursue them, beat them to it and take a piece of the action”, “Then let’s take them out”), some just statements (“The time has come!”, “My treat”, “I love chikuwa!” – okay, this one should go into the next category which is…) and some that makes you go WTF (“I don’t know yet”, “Pow! Pyan!”). Are you inspired just yet?

For the voice acting, for me the most surprising one has to be Yui Horie as Coorie. Because she wasn’t in her usual sweet girl role like Kotori in Da Capo or assertive part such as Masako in Mawaru Penguindrum, it was hard to recognize her in that nerdy voice at first. Once I got to know it was her, then it became clearer. I also couldn’t recognize Haruka Tomatsu as Gruier since the character she played really sounded like a sweet princess. It is definitely different from her usual spunky voice like Lala in To Love-Ru and Yuka in Natsuiro Kiseki. Kana Hanazawa wasn’t in her retard mode like how I used to hear her in Kobato or Mayo Chiki’s Kureha. She’s like Kamisama Doll’s Mahiru but instead with lots of angst, has more seriousness that sends warning waves that you won’t want to mess with her. Though she sometimes put up her rare cute side. Since Hisako Kanemoto didn’t go “~de geso” like Ika from Shinryaku! Ika Musume, I guess I couldn’t recognize her as Grunhilde here ;p. Other casts include Mikako Komatsu as Marika (Neko in K), Shizuka Itou as Misa (Haruka in Amagami SS), Masaya Matsukaze as Kane (Ren in Jigoku Shoujo), Kaoru Mizuhara as Luca (Misao in Lucky Star), Kenta Miyake as Schnitzer (Klaus in Hayate No Gotoku), Keiji Fujiwara as Hyakume (Sven in Black Cat), Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Sandaime (Narumi in Kamisama No Memo-chou), Rina Satou as Jenny (Misaka in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun), Youko Hikasa as Lynn (Mio in K-ON!), Chiaki Omigawa as Mami (Minko in Hanasaku Iroha), Hiroki Yasumoto as Show (Sado in Bleach), Yuko Kaida as Ririka (Ryomou in Ikkitousen), Rikiya Koyama as Ironbeard/Narrator (Kiritsugu in Fate/Zero) and Yuko Sanpei as Quartz (Hajime in Natsu No Arashi).

I’m sure the stunning and wild rock electric guitar play of the opening theme must have caught your attention. I found out that this guitar riff is provided by Megadeath’s guitarist, Marty Friedman. But it is the all-female idol group of Momoiro Clover Z that sings Mouretsu Uchuu Koukyoukyoku – Dai-Shichi Gakushou Mugen No Ai (phew. What a mouthful), which overall sounds like an orchestra symphony mixed with rock music. Really. They also sing the main ending theme entitled Lost Child. Feels a bit techno. There are also special ending themes like the one for the 13th episode, Toumei Na Yozora ~Shibataku Hoshi Ni Tsutsumarete~ is a slow-moderate pop ballad while the 16th episodes’ Black Holly plays to a faster beat. The final episode’s Mirai Funaji feels like a fitting happy anime song for a happy anime ending. All are sung by Mikako Komatsu but if you ask me, I don’t think her voice is suitable for singing because she sounds a little flat. Sometimes it also feels that the music overwhelms her voice that it doesn’t make her voice stand out and blended into the background with the music.

You can say that piracy have come a long way since the old days when crude pirates used to plunder and pillage villages, loot treasures and terrorize the sea. In the new age, this piracy business really does give a new name and meaning to the term piracy itself. Treasure is no longer a sturdy box but the vast openness of space. You can even hire them to do all sorts of jobs and when you need an army to rebel against the tyrant, who better than to call the pirates themselves, eh? Wow. They certainly can do everything. I hope. Need to fix a leak in the roof? Call the pirates. Need to find your lost cat? Call the pirates. Need that special delivery of a super rare delicious food from across the galaxy that you can’t wait to sink your teeth in? Call the pirates. There’s something strange in your neighbourhood and who are you going to call? Call the pirates. I need to download tons of animes and cool songs from Pirate Bay. Call the authorities! Boo hoo! Unfortunately that is indeed what is called digital piracy. But why do I get a feeling that pirated versions are better than the originals?

Guilty Crown

August 26, 2012

Oh. It’s another show dealing with pandemic. Well, at least in its aftermath. If humans don’t destroy themselves with warheads, I’m sure those tiny deadly virus will do an equally if not a much effective job. So in Guilty Crown, we have an epidemic that could have brought mankind closer to Apocalypse and extinction. However it’s not the entire world but a country that has closely experienced this. Guess which country? Yeah. Seems Japan is the perfect place for such happenings. Whether it is viral attacks, alien invasions or large scale wars, this is the place to start if you want your story, legend, fable, chronicle, anecdote and whatever that is you want to tell others. How and why the virus ‘chose’ Japan to start this devastating trail of destruction is perhaps anyone’s guess.

Set in the near future of 2029, the aptly named Apocalypse Virus has brought the citizens of Japan down to its knees. Without the help of the good of the rest of the world, Japanese would have been extinct by now and animes, mangas and games will no longer feed otakus with their fervour obsession. Oops. Got side-tracked there. As usual, there will be atrocities and conspiracies going on as people try to eke out a living getting back on their own feet. As usual, there will be the seemingly oppressive government that is made to look like the bad guy and the resistance force that is seemingly made to look like the cool heroes that will save everybody. As usual the vital piece will have to be a normal high school kid who doesn’t want to have to do anything with it all and is happy with his plain boring life but gets involved in it anyway after gaining abnormal powers. Yeah, it’s that destiny thingy. He becomes the hero, the villain. He saves, he sacrifices. He is perfect yet imperfect. Non-human yet so human. Well, if you’re looking for some sci-fi action, check this one out. If only I can grasp those damn sci-fi jargons and explanations, I would need a couple of Panadols to stop my headache and hope I don’t catch a serious virus along the way.

Episode 1
Inori Yuzuriha is running away from the pursuing authorities. She is injured as she puts a little cylinder into her mini robot, Funell and wants it to deliver it to Gai Tsutsugami. Despite getting help from her comrades, the blast was great enough to throw her off the bridge. Shu Ouma takes a train to school as he notes the increased presence of the military due to last night’s terrorist’s attack at Odaiba, now known as Ward 24. In class, his friend Souta Tamadate asks about his video clip for the presentation. He has not done it yet but promise will complete it. Hare Menjou thinks he’s dense. Shu narrates he may be so as he doesn’t know what to say to others so he hides his nervousness and go along with what they say. Ten years ago when the Apocalypse Virus pandemic wreaked havoc in Japan, the country relied on many countries to contain and rebuild the nation. Japan still relies on them till today. Shu goes to his workshop to finish his project but to his surprise sees Inori, the vocalist for the group Egoist right in the middle singing a song on her own. She gets startled when she hears him and Funell intercepts him. She accidentally activates the video of his project which is an incomplete clip of his hometown. She finds it beautiful. Inori doesn’t respond to his questions and is in a world of her own. Except that she says she must get this cylinder to Gai. Showing him a cat’s cradle, she wonders if he’s a coward. Shu looks into it and sees horrifying visions. The authorities storm in and apprehend Inori violently. Major Guin claims she is a terrorist of Funeral Parlour and if Shu continues to defend her, he’ll be purged as her accomplice. Immediately Shu backs off and goes down on his knees. After they leave, Shu felt somewhat relieved he is out of harm’s way but a pathetic fool for unable to do anything. He wanted to take that cat’s cradle and touch her hand. Funell, who has been malfunctioned, activates to show him the place he’s supposed to deliver the cylinder. As a last chance not to hate himself, he goes to deliver it. Meanwhile the GHQ people are discussing about the stolen Void Genome.

Inori is blindfolded as Guin interrogates her where she hid the disease they’ve been authorized to dispose without warning. But nothing comes out from her mouth. He’ll make her regret it and orders his men to purge every single resident in this neighbourhood. Shu enters the supposed area but a group of thugs confront him. They want him to hand over his ‘rice cooker’. Despite being a wuss and getting beaten up, he holds tightly to it insisting Funell doesn’t belong to him. Probably Gai saw his courage and moves in to show us his cool combat moves on the thugs and send them running with tails between their legs. As Tsugumi takes Funell away from him, Gai asks what happened to Inori and if he had abandoned her. Shu is overwhelmed with guilt and couldn’t answer. An explosion rocks the nearby area and it’s the GHQ Whitecoats invading. They’re shooting live rounds at everyone in sight. Gai wants Shu to protect the cylinder for real. Shu makes a run and sees Inori climbing out from the truck she was held captive. She is confronted with a couple of mechas. I guess Shu wanted to play the hero this time and rushes to protect Inori regardless of his own life. The mecha fires and breaks the cylinder. Shu feels weird in this alternate dimension as Inori asks him to use her. To take this power of Guilty Crown that gives shape through the bond between hearts. After seeing more visions, Shu places his hand into Inori’s heart and grabs out an iron sword. You know this sword is badass cool because it creates a light of storm through the clouds. You know this sword can kickass because it slices through the mecha like a hot knife through butter.

Episode 2
Shu just follows his instincts in fighting back despite still in shock in the moves he can pull off. Not as shocked as the Antibodies who have never seen such power. Shu goes to unconscious Inori’s side as Funell picks them up. Meanwhile Ayase Shinomiya engages in a brutal mecha fight with Daryl Yan. Tsugumi knows Ayase cannot win and bails her out before she gets killed by that maniac. Guin is not amused to learn what is happening as he meets Daryl, the son of the famous Major General Yan. He is here on his own initiative and bringing a new Endlave model to the operations centre. Guin is glad he could help out but when he extends a handshake, Daryl becomes angry, cocky and spiteful. He tells him he is here to do what he wants or else he’ll tell on him to his father. Shu is brought back to Gai who is glad Ayase is alright despite her lost. However he is disappointed with Inori’s failure. She may have got badly injured and worked hard but she has failed them at the crucial moment. She has let Shu used the Void Genome in that cylinder when it was meant for Gai. The cylinder was one of the only 3 enhanced genomes that Sephirah Genomics successfully cultivated. The power it bestows its user is King’s Power. That is, it analyses a human’s genome, draws out the hidden power within by converting them into Voids. Voids are ideas that have acquired form and the sword he used is one of them. Different Voids can be extracted from different people and that sword was Inori’s Void. Shu is now given the power to change things and no longer be a spectator. He will have Shu fight with them but he still has doubts of wanting to get involved so Gai tells him he has only 2 options: Sit quietly and be selected out of this world or adapt and change. Gai’s comrades inform him things have turned for the worse. Not only one of their men is captured, Antibodies have taken 100 innocent hostages and worst, that cold blooded psychopath Daryl is here. Gai regroups with his Funeral Parlour team as Shibungi mentions the difference in power is not worth taking the risk for this rescue mission. But Gai can’t pass this up since they’ll be exterminating Antibodies and rescue the residents. From this point on, all Funeral Parlour operations won’t be covert and they’ll make their existence known to the world.

As Shu follows Inori to their station point as all other Funeral Parlours are with theirs, he remembers Gai’s further explanation about the Special Virus Disaster Response Bureau AKA Antibodies who have been granted authority to dispose anybody based on their judgement whom they think has symptoms of the disease. The cornerstone of GHQ’s public security operation is their cruellest and sharpest fang. The enemy that they are facing now. Shu sees the Antibodies ready to execute a bunch of men. A wife of one of the men pleads that her husband is not sick. But when she starts touching Daryl, he becomes violent and beats her up. It ends with him and the firing squad killing them all. That is a cue for Gai to launch his operation. Part of the plan is to draw a diversion and draw the enemy Endlaves from the camp and some of their men infiltrate and take certain points under their control. Daryl is about to go wild when he receives orders to cease attack. There are too many missile targets for Antibodies main camp to intercept. Gai makes an announcement to Guin to surrender to release the hostages but Guin will not negotiate with terrorists and has an ace up his sleeves. In fact, he tells the leader to come out or release the gas planted underground. Gai shows up as Guin wonders the name of his group. Gai says the world operates on the survival of the fittest law so they continue to offer songs of mourning to the ones selected out. Hence their name as it signifies they are always on the singing side, that they are the survivors. Guin gives him to the count of 10 to return the stolen genetic weapon or else. Shu is amazed that everything is going according to plan and Inori believes he can do it. Shu sneaks up and takes out some of the Antibodies and extracts Daryl’s Void, Kaleidoscope from his chest in his surprise attack. When time is up, Guin fires all the beams but Shu uses the Kaleidoscope to create mirrors and lock in Antibodies main camp. The lasers ricochet within the barrier and fry everything inside. Gai praises Shu for overcoming his limits today and wants him to join them in their fight. Will he take his hand? Guess not. Why would he be sitting in his classroom imagining the cool adventures he’d be on if he had taken the offer? I suppose the normal life suits best for him. But that’s not the end yet as his class gets a new transfer student: Inori. And no, she’s the real deal. Not a fake.

Episode 3
As Funeral Parlour announce its existence around the world, Shu’s classmates are hounding Inori since they realize she’s that singer. Souta is a big fan of hers and even asks if she’s part of Funeral Parlour since her songs are so Funeral Parlour-ish. Shu’s other friends, Yahiro Samukawa calms everybody down and to make it easy for Inori. Shu gets more surprise when Inori waltzes into his apartment like it’s her own. Heck, it’s like she’s moved in! Shuuichirou Keido responds to the GHQ higher ups about the recent events and he will be putting Major Makoto Waltz Segai in charge for all Funeral Parlour related matters. Then they talk about the currently trendy genetic drug called Norma Gene (I hope they didn’t name it after Marilyn Monroe) that was accidentally developed during the Apocalypse Virus vaccination. Inori has did some background research on Shu and knows his family well. She is sent to live with him to protect him. Yahiro knocks on his door and gives him a horror movie to cheer him up since he noticed he isn’t being himself lately. But how do you explain Inori coming out from his apartment? I’m sure there’s a good explanation for this. As a good friend, Yahiro didn’t bug him and if he feels like it, he can talk to him any time. Inori receives a call by Gai and wants Shu to follow. Meeting Gai, he says that it seems someone has spotted them during yesterday’s battle. If it was a local resident then he could’ve taken care of it but he notes it was someone from his school. Seems that person who went under the alias of Sugar was making a deal for Norma Gene and there’s a good chance he may have seen them. He wants them to search every student of his school. That’s like finding a needle in a haystack, right? Shu realizes Gai can tell what people’s Void are. If not, he wouldn’t have made that plan if he hadn’t known. He further admits during that battle, he sensed the presence of the witness and his Void. Under the current Temporary Disaster Law, terrorists have no human right so if the witness identifies him, he won’t escape justice. Gai has informed Inori of the Void’s shape and if Shu values his normal life (is there going to be one anymore?), he must protect it at all costs.

Shu remembers the few rules of Voids. They can only be drawn from people who are 17 years old or younger and during the time the Void is drawn, that person loses memories of the time surrounding the event. First he tries to sink his hands into his class rep, Kanon Kusama but it seems he touched her breasts! Molester! And just like that, his reputation has turned from normal to bad. And that pic of him molesting Kanon went viral. So much about keeping a low profile. How the heck did he screw up? Inori mentions he forgot another rule – He must look in the eyes of the person. Or at least make that person think he is doing so (since Shu is the nervous kind and can’t look straight into a person’s eyes). Taking this from the top, Shu pulls out lots of weird Void shapes from the students. Vase? Pliers? Even a refrigerator?! Why is Souta’s one a hand blaster?! Anyway they’re all not what Inori is seeking for. Shu wants to know why Voids come in different forms and her reply it reflects things like a person’s fear or complex. Something like the shape of their heart. Yahiro helps Shu escape before Kanon can catch him. While taking a breather, Shu notices something odd with Yahiro’s words. “If you joined the Funeral Parlour, they would have put you through worse”. Shu realizes Yahiro is Sugar and says aloud that alias. Yahiro instantly turns from a nice guy to one who is ready to beat up somebody without a second thought. Shu pulls out Yahiro’s Void, which is a scissors and the Void that Inori is looking for. Inori is going to eliminate Yahiro but Shu wants her to stop. You know that friendship thing, bla, bla, bla. Inori obliges since he said so. Once Yahiro wakes up, the guys have a guy to guy talk and promise they won’t rat each other’s secret. Shu felt it was the first time he bonded with Yahiro. Shu and Inori take the train and the latter expresses her desire to get to know others. Suddenly the train comes to a crashing halt at the next station. Outside GHQ soldiers are waiting. Yahiro pushes Shu out of the carriage before the train continues his journey. Looks like he has been betrayed. Left stranded, Segai says Shu is under arrest.

Episode 4
Shu is taken in for interrogation but he isn’t revealing anything. Segai reports to Keido about the mystery Shu is. He seems like no ordinary member but displays none of Funeral Parlour’s ideology. Keido then shows Segai a video from Gai whose team are going to raid GHQ’s isolation facility and save their comrade. Segai has an idea. Shu is freed though he has to follow Segai who is going to tell him everything. While bringing him to the ward, he says Yahiro trades Norma Gene not because he is an addict but for money. He needs to save his little brother Jun who is being affected by the Stage IV Apocalypse Virus. He along with many other patients are lying unconscious treated in the ward. With GHQ, they manage to find vaccine for the virus and regain a measure or order. That’s why he hates Gai and his Funeral Parlour for trying to disrupt the order they’re trying to protect. He doesn’t understand why Shu would trample on their goodwill. But Shu mentions about his soldiers killing people so he replies those people refused regular inoculations and that some of their soldiers also died. Soldiers with families and hometowns who died in a foreign soil. Shu gets confused because Gai told him he was going to save those people. If so, why is he trying to rescue a mass murderer? Revealing the Sky Tree bomber, Kenji Kido, he is being locked up securely in their isolation ward and part of the Funeral Parlour. He is the comrade Gai wants to break out and not Shu. Segai passes him a transmitter in which he can push some buttons and punishment will come swiftly to those terrorists. Still unsure? Mentioning if Inori is under Gai’s deception, if Shu refuses to help, he is afraid he may have to ask her.

Shu’s lawyer comes to see him but it’s Gai in disguise. After Tsugumi puts on fake video and recording to the security room, Gai reveals his plan to retrieve Kenji. His team is making preparations for the invasion as they speak and once Kenji is freed, he wants Shu to draw out his Void. But Shu doesn’t want him he’ll obey his orders and that he never tells him anything. Gai realizes GHQ must have said something to him when the lights go out. Due to external hacking, the system is rebooting. Gai signals to initiate operation and Funeral Parlour launches on a massive attack on the building. Time is running out and Gai wants him to make his decision quick. Stay or move on. But they have another problem. Inori is ignoring Gai’s orders to go break out Shu whom she believes is still in his cell. This is jeopardizing Gai’s plan. Gai will secure Kenji on his own so he wants Ayase to back up Shu and Inori. Shu nearly got owned by a mecha if not for Ayase coming into the picture. She is upset that he must have said something to Inori because she has never disobeyed Gai’s orders. If anything happens to Gai, she won’t forgive him. Kenji is being moved so Gai fires his bazooka and this throws Kenji off. Shu sees Kenji and reaches to draw out his Void, a gun. But this is no ordinary gun as it manipulates gravity. Shu fires at all the mecha to levitate them but there’s just too many of them. Inori jumps into the picture so Shu fires a great deal of the gun to turn the area into a mini gravity-free space. I guess he feels it is alright to believe in Inori and reaches in to draw out her Void. A sniper is about to take out Shu but he was killed by Segai who doesn’t want any interruptions. To his amazement he sees Shu’s transformation as he goes on a slashing spree. Wow. The entire place is annihilated. Gai confronts Shu about his decision to come with them or go back. If he can’t decide, then believe in him. Trust everything in him but obey his orders. I guess he has got nothing to lose so Shu agrees to go with him. But he keeps the transmitter just in case. Once bitten, twice shy.

Episode 5
Shu is taken to Funeral Parlour’s main base as Gai announces Shu as one of them and will be part of their core operation. Then he talks about the next operation to take Leukocyte and wants the members to memorize all 145 diverging patterns of the proposed plans in 3 days. Otherwise, don’t bother in participating. Gai wants Ayase to train Shu because in his current state he’ll only be in their way. Shu tries to be nice to wheelchair ridden Ayase but she knocks him over and tells him not to take pity just because she has a wheelchair. It is what makes her unique. During that, Shu drops the transmitter and knocks out. He has a little dream of his past before waking up for some training that Ayase reluctant wants to do. Shu realizes his transmitter is in her hands and she’s not going to give him back until he passes the test to see if he’s got what it takes to be part of Funeral Parlour. So we see how much a wuss Shu is when he takes on Argo Tsukishima in a knife battle, Tsugumi monitoring his unfit heart rate (he doesn’t get much exercise I guess), the heavy weapons from Oogumo and lighter hand gun training from Inori. Ayase sees them shy-shy and labels Shu a pervert. Kyou is happy she gets to on a mission with Gai tomorrow but is sad she’ll miss Shu’s mock battle. Shu probably is just saying what’s on his mind. That everybody follows the confident one and if he did it himself, he won’t have any followers. He wonders if selfish people get ahead in this world. Argo says Gai is not like that and at this rate he won’t see anything and wants him to apologize since that was an insult to all of them. Shu joins Inori singing alone and asks why she joined Funeral Parlour but she asks him back in return. Well, I’m sure she is the main reason why, right? Yeah, he was happy she came for him then. He asks just what if they both leave Funeral Parlour together. She gets defensive and didn’t let him touch her hand. She says Gai gave her a name, a world. So she can’t go. What about all that I’ll-stay-with-you-forever thingy? Well, Gai told her to say that. The shock must be too much to bear as Inori warns him not to get too close to her. Even more shocking, he sees Inori entering a room with Gai.

Shu feels so humiliated that he didn’t see where he is running that he crashes into Ayase. She says the duo spend the night together like this 2 or 3 times a month and everybody knows it though they just pretend not to see. Ayase knows Shu likes Inori and it’s too bad for him but Shu also knows Ayase likes Gai. She gets rough with him and denies it is love but respect. Yeah, right. Shu laments why girls always pick a handsome cocky guy (would they have preferred a wuss like him?). Ayase says he can find out by winning tomorrow’s mock battle. He wanted to help her up but she says it’s her policy not to receive help from others. However since it looks pathetic crawling up, she hopes he could not see and leave. Gai, who is taking blood transfusion from Inori to prevent the crystallization of his Apocalypse Virus (they do it secretly, thus the misinterpretation by others that they’re a couple) notes how Inori looks more and more like ‘her’ every day. Next day, Gai and Kyou arrive at the airbase and just like he planned, there is only one squadron coming with disciplined people on board the plane with the OAU and Leaving Nations. Meanwhile Ayase briefs Shu on his mock battle that is modelled after a scenario to take Leukocyte. His goal is to evade the mecha she’s piloting, Steiner and take shelter in the truck behind her. The battle starts and everyone is shaking their heads that Shu will lose this one since he’s running away from Ayase’s attacks. Shu bumps into Argo and in that moment, he stumbled upon an idea and pulls out his Void, which is a rod that creates a dark sphere. It engulfs Steiner and Shu makes his way to the goal. Though Shu apologizes he cheated but Ayase that’s okay since he used a part that makes him unique. Everyone cheers for Shu and welcomes him to the team. Ayase returns his transmitter as Kenji wakes up from his slumber to meet them. However Tsugumi says they’ve got trouble. From the footage, they see the place where Gai was supposed to be, totally wrecked. Must be one heck of firepower because at only 3% output, the target destruction rate was 110% Awesome!!! That’s one freaking huge burning crater it left.

Episode 6
Leukocyte is a constellation of quasi-zenith satellites and when completed will have full 24-hour coverage over Japan. What for? To exterminate Japanese. Yeah, they’ve corrupted the world with their lolicons, galges, eroges, etc. Haha! Gai is still alive but has some bruises. Kyou and the other reinforcements were not so lucky. Though the supplies are lost and reinforcements wiped out, there is not enough time and Gai wants the operation to continue as planned. This time their target is the Leukocyte control facility at the base of the Tsukigase Dam. They’re going to sneak in and stop the control cores. From what I understand from the mumbo-jumbo, they can’t touch the core and they have to manipulate it without touching. This is where Shu’s Void Genome and Kenji’s anti-gravity gun comes in. But when Shu hears casualty will rise to 35%, he is not happy that 1 in 3 people will die and opts out since he doesn’t want anybody dying for nothing if he screws up. Either way, Gai says the operation will be carried out. Inori talks to Shu and she doesn’t like how he always talks apologetically to her. Gai heals and talks to himself that he’s just putting up a leader act. Kyou was barely alive after the Leukocyte attack but seeing how much she was suffering in pain (she was still speaking grateful words of him), Gai pulls the trigger to put her out of her misery. Gai is in a dilemma if he can repay their sacrifices. Shouldn’t he be better than this and that he is a much smaller man than everyone else believed. Shu heard everything so Gai says this is the real him. Whenever he loses confidence, he gets mad and lets other people spoils him. Including Inori. This upsets Shu and they both start throwing punches. Shu is surprised Gai allows him to land him one. He tells the kid he shoulders everyone’s lives and feels its weight. He doesn’t want to be indifferent. He wants to be worthy of everyone’s feelings. I guess those words were enough for Shu to offer his help.

Funeral Parlour attacks the control facility as planned. Daryl who has been discharged relishes in getting bloody. He fights Ayase and is not too happy she is occupying his Steiner. Gai, Inori, Shu and Kenji make their way to the bottom as Inori shows she’s not a chick to mess with. Hot babe with pistols in each hand. Feel lucky to die by her hands? Inside the core room, Shu has to concentrate but Daryl barges in and goes trigger happy, disregarding the fact he must not damage the core. Gai uses a couple of cool moves to cease his Endlave’s movements. However the core is damaged and knocks out some of the communications in Tokyo. Furthermore, Leukocyte 1 is falling since its altitude control has malfunctioned. It will fall into Tokyo. Gai wants Shu to give him that transmitter. Segai pops up and meets Gai for the first time. He felt it was a shame Shu didn’t use the transmitter but is now grateful he didn’t. Gai wants to make a deal with Segai. He’ll use this transmitter to do something about the satellite in exchange to erase all data on Shu that he has gathered from these incidents. The signal from the transmitter is connected to the Leukocyte and it is programmed to fire at it when he pushed the buttons. So Gai plans to line up the falling satellite exactly in the path of this transmitter and use Leukocyte to destroy it. However somebody needs to make himself the target. Gai will be it. Shu can’t stand by and watch again and since Inori asks if he wants to save everybody, a different Void weapon protrudes out of her chest. Gai is a second from pushing the button when Shu uses the cool new Void weapon to fire at Leukocyte 1. Communications restored and nobody died. Okay, maybe all those minor guards. Gai wonders why he did that since one sinner taken out would be enough. Shu said that he would help out and now he is his accomplice. I guess this means he’s joining Funeral Parlour for good, eh?

Episode 7
Shu and Inori return to school but he is having it tough since he has got this reputation of being taken in by GHQ. The popular student council president and heir to the Kuhouin Group, Arisa Kuhouin slaps them for shooting their mouth. She was kind enough to help dispel the rumours about Shu and that he was taken in to cooperate with the government. Now with everyone eased up, they start asking Shu lots of questions during his time there. Including “Is the military full of gay?”. Shu notices Yahiro not in class and was being told ever since the day Shu got arrested he stopped coming in. Shu didn’t expect his mom Haruka to come back so early (mommy loves wearing lingerie around the house because it must be boring wearing her lab coat at Sephirah Genomics day and night). He tries to hide Inori but trips and fall on top of her. He tries to reason his way out but Haruka was too hungry to understand all his ranting. Shibungi notes to Gai that because of the last few fights, they are short on equipment. They have the money but don’t have the means to transport them. Gai says they need a partner. Arisa is in a dilemma. Her grandpa, Okina who is the head of the group wants her to come to a party tomorrow and also left some back room jobs in her hands. She feels she’s not up to task but accepts it anyway since results are everything. Meanwhile Segai and Daryl meet Colonel Dan Eagleman at the harbour. He is excited on using his surface-to-air missiles called Dragoons. Wait a minute. How can such missiles fire at a ship when it’s supposed to go up in the air and not horizontally? Just turn it sideways! Seems he is going to fire it at a ship that is hostile to GHQ. Where did he get that information? An upright citizen reported it. That ship is a private party hosted by Okina and he is rallying his guests that Japan needs to stand back on their own 2 feet.

Meanwhile Gai and Shu also infiltrate the ship in this sudden mission since Gai has somebody he wants to talk to since he doesn’t appear in public often so they’re forcing themselves on him at his party. Shu is surprised to see Haruka and Arisa on board. So much so when the going gets tough, he passes the baton to Gai and lets him do his smooth talking. Or rather he’s insulting Arisa that she reminds him of his pet armadillo. How rude. But how true since he notes she curls up into a tight little ball to protect herself when she tries to slap him. Tsugumi contacts Shu that a Dragoon has been fired at the ship. He doesn’t want just them to abandon ship and wants to save the other passengers too. But time is not on their side. Hurry. Shu informs Gai about this when he just passed a phone to Okina in hopes he would purchase Japan’s future. Gai takes Arisa to the deck and is going to put a spell that will let her become her true self. Making her close her eyes and then opening them at the count of 3, Arisa suddenly sees Shu extracting her Void weapon, which is a ball. Not just any ball. A ball that opens up into a shield and turns the Dragoon into beautiful fireworks upon contact! Dan is bewildered that the missile just disappeared off the radar and orders to fire all the Dragoons. Can Shu protect it all? So while we hear Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers in the background, we get to see splendid fireworks being lit up all over the ship. Gai notes Arisa’s Void weapon as the Coward’s Shield that armours the weak self inside. Okina has been watching the spectacle and is convinced with this live demonstration Funeral Parlour has what it takes to defend against a second-order Leukocyte as he speaks to Shibungi. This means the Kuhouin Group will be aiding Funeral Parlour with their domestic transport routes. Tsugumi wonders how GHQ knew about the party at sea and it seems the so called upright citizen who reported was Gai himself. Arisa wakes up in her room safe but with Gai by her side. She tries to act tough and all but he pats her head and notes how she sucks in letting people spoil her. Is she starting to like him? I bet she is. Shu talks to Inori that he is glad he could use Voids. Haruka looks at an old family photo and reminisces that they have to protect Shu’s future.

Episode 8
Shu is leaving for his club’s summer camp and Haruka isn’t happy since he’ll be ‘abandoning’ her for a few days. Since he is going to Oshima, she hopes he would pay a visit to his father’s grave. But there is more to it to this trip. Seems Gai wanted Shu to bring Souta along to Oshima as the latter’s Void is needed for this mission to break through a security in GHQ’s facility there. I guess the mansion that his friends believed to be of Shu’s family villa is supposedly arranged by Kuhouin Group. Since Shu can’t take his eyes of Inori in her swimsuit, Hare doesn’t want to lose out and brings Shu along. Later Shu visits the grave of his father, Kurosu. Gai is also there and knows he was a professor at the old Tennozu College and a leading expert on the Apocalypse Virus. Shu doesn’t know much about him since he died 10 years ago due to the Lost Christmas incident. Gai isn’t really here to visit any graves. He takes Shu to a nearby shrine which is actually a hidden facility of GHQ. He wants the jewel that started it all and it’s situated within it. That’s where Souta’s Void comes in and he wants Shu to bait him by using Inori since he is an Egoist fan. Shu is not happy to use Inori but what choice does he have since Gai won’t hear any more of his excuses. That night, Souta asks Shu if there is nothing between him and Inori. For the umpteenth time, nothing. If that’s the case, he’ll go all out on her. Though Shu may not like it, he says he’ll help him out. Meanwhile Shibungi talks to Gai about Shu using his friend for this mission. Something that doesn’t fit Shu. On the contrary, Gai says that is what friends are for and life would be boring without adventures. Sounds so like him, right? Souta is pretty excited he is hooked up with Inori and is talking about his love and passion for Egoist that moved his heart, bla, bla, bla. Shu has been watching them and he thinks he is no different than him trying to attract her like playing her music video. Well, same thing, same result. Inori is fascinated. Or maybe she just gets fascinated by a lot of things. I guess Shu won’t allow Souta to confess and before he completes his sentence, Shu jumps out of hiding and pulls out his Void. I initially thought it was a hand blaster but it’s actually a sophisticated camera. To add to Shu’s embarrassment, the other Funeral Parlour members pop out from their hiding. It means they’ve been watching him! Oh dear. That embarrassing line… “Inori is my…”. She’s your what? :)

At the facility, Gai tells Shu to point the Camera at the door and it suddenly opens. Shu realizes Souta’s Void is for opening things. Man, this will come in handy opening any damn locked things. Meanwhile Keido who was visiting Kurosu’s grave earlier also heads into the facility. But he enters not as himself but using Kurosu’s pass card. Because of that, the alarm is triggered so Gai and co make haste. Shu uses the Camera to easily open the complex blocks hiding the room that contains the jewel. Wow. So easy. Just like putting forth a cheat code. But to Gai’s dismay, the jewel is already gone and he knows Keido beat him to it. When Souta comes to, Shu says he can’t help him anymore with Inori. He realizes he has feelings for Inori and blows his top that he should have told him earlier. But Shu gets mad about his tactless and pushy behaviour which gives him a hard time to handle. Shu accepts he is going to be hated by another friend but surprisingly Souta does the opposite. He is glad he was honest because he too had a hard time dealing with him as he was always distant. Souta says this means he has opened his heart up to him. On the journey home, Shu asks about the meaning of Void since he doesn’t truly understand but needs to use them. After all, his right hand is always touching people’s hearts. Inori explains Gai told her that her Voids change along with the states of people’s hearts so Shu deduces if he forms a bond with someone, his power will change too.

Episode 9
Yahiro and Jun are hiding at a church but Segai and his Antibodies are hot on their tails. Segai may have threatened the nun to tell their whereabouts but by the time they barge in, the duo have made their escape. Hare worries about Shu like he is a different person. Maybe something happened at Oshima? Speaking about the lucky item of a striped kettle, one drops in and in turns out to be from Shu who borrowed that item for Souta’s filming. Kanon uses this chance to let Hare and Shu be together. Meanwhile Major General Yan questions Keido about someone entering the facility at Oshima using Kurosu’s card. Can’t be a ghost, right? Since Keido was a close colleague to Kurosu, he thought he might not. Of course he feigns he hasn’t the slightest clue. Shu accompanies Hare shopping and some moments that made Hare close to the guy she loves. She’s about to confess and as always the good timing of somebody interrupting them. Someone rolled into the train escaping from the thugs and that someone turns out to be Yahiro. So with him back in the picture, Shu needs to talk to him as he still can’t forget his incident. Hare, you’ll have to go shopping by yourself. Walking along, Yahiro says when he heard that GHQ were putting Jun down, he used the confusion during Funeral Parlour’s attack do sneak him out. He brings Shu back to his place and lets him see Shu covered with crystals of the virus. Pitiful, no? Segai has been keeping a close watch on them and will be making his move soon. Yahiro hopes Shu can lend him some money since they need food. Shu calls Funeral Parlour’s base but Gai is out as Ayase takes the call. He wants to shelter an Apocalypse victim and there’s no two ways about it. He expects them to be at a certain location to be picked up. Shu says he’s not doing it for Yahiro. He can’t forgive his betrayal but Jun hasn’t done anything wrong. As Shu and Yahiro move along, Segai is waiting for them and orders his Antibodies to fire warning shots. Knowing they are walking into a trap, Shu wants to use Yahiro’s Void. However he is not going to let that hypocrite do it but Shu calls him a traitor and that he will not betray people like he does. All he has to do is shut up and let him use him. He pulls out the Scissors and Jun is shocked to see what’s happening.

Daryl is going to apprehend Shu in his Endlave so Shu runs away to draw him away from the brothers. However Jun’s crystals start reacting and giving out the same signal and reading as the Scissors so the Endlave automatically shifts its target and pins Jun to the ceiling. Suddenly the crystals migrate to the Endlave and takes over it. It goes berserk and slices its comrades. Segai who has been watching this from a distance decides to abort the operation for now. Daryl’s Endlave now being controlled by Jun walks up to unconscious Yahiro and takes him in its hands. Shu stabs the Scissors into the Endlave and finds himself in Jun’s vision. He sees the calm peace, moments before the events of Lost Christmas. Jun and Yahiro were also there playing happily at the park. Jun tells Shu he wants to take this one happy memory with him before he goes. He wants Shu to use the Scissors and kill him because that Void is the Void that severs life. The crystals stole his freedom but in return gave him the ability to see Voids. He also saw his brother’s dark side despite Yahiro putting up a gentle front. He saw Yahiro wanting to kill him for being a nuisance in his life. He isn’t the only one with a dark side. Friends, family and other people too. He feels living any longer, there’ll be sadness for him and wants to go out as one who loves his brother. Lost Christmas occurs and Jun wants him to hurry or else he’ll start hating and kill Yahiro at this rate. Shu cuts his life and this brings him back to reality whereby the possessed Endlave stops attacking. When Yahiro wakes up, he worries about Jun but Shu tells him straight he died. Didn’t hear that clearly? Jun died and Shu admits he was the one who killed him. Hare who has been tailing them all day also saw everything.

Episode 10
Funeral Parlour is in a critical mission. Shu is supposed to pull out Inori’s Void but due to the trauma of killing Jun, he can’t. He further goes berserk and the mission has no choice but to be aborted. Thankfully that was just a dream but the trauma is real for Shu. He also dreams of his sister and the Lost Christmas incident. Hare takes care of him and though she doesn’t understand what’s going on, she doesn’t force an answer out of him. Meanwhile Gai visits Okina and the latter knows Gai is the son of that person. He asks his reason for fighting and Gai says it is for a special woman he loves. So saving Japan is just secondary? Well, Arisa can’t be that woman. Haha. Okina says he has received word that the jewel is being flown out of Japan. Seems Yan is trying to transport it overseas and must stop him at all cost as he believes this rock belongs to the Japanese people. Yan is relishing in the turn of events that this rock is in his possession. Confiding with his colleague-cum-flame Emily, he says this will take him closer to the White House. But he is puzzled why Keido stole it and instead of running, waltzed right back here. Speaking of which, Keido is being imprisoned and isolated within the facility. Shu’s trauma gets worse as he starts visioning other students with the virus. Shu wants to quit Funeral Parlour so Ayase gives him her two cents worth about him wallowing in self pity. He thought he could change and be like Gai. Seems impossible, eh? Why the heck did he want to be like him? Shouldn’t he be himself? Ah, maybe for a certain girl… Gai points the gun at Shu’s head and says they’ve known the location of the stolen rock. Because Shu continues to be whiny that he doesn’t want such powers to begin with, Gai says it is possible to remove the Void Genome if its possessor dies. Then blam! Though it was just a warning shot, Gai says he’s dead and will have Inori pull out too. Ayase felt disappointed in him because she trusted him as a comrade. Oh lookey. Isn’t that Hare eavesdropping on it all? Shu goes home and thought he could say his final words to Inori. She wants him to listen to her new song but his trauma starts kicking up. He accidentally destroys her music. Oh dear. I guess that’s it. Goodbye smile. Goodbye tears. Goodbye Shu. Hello normal life. Yeah, like that will happen.

Dan is excited to see off Yan since the Major General will be bringing back some important materials. Daryl caught his papa kissing Emily in the elevator and he’s not too happy about it. Gai wonders if he is at his limits as Inori asks if she’s a monster (as she heard it from Shu’s mouth). He thinks she may like Shu but she is unsure if this feeling in her heart is love. Should be. He tells her to survive first. Haruka confronts Keido about stealing Kurosu’s ID to steal that rock and then handing it over to Yan. But he says he saw Shu at Oshima and he’s already inherited the King’s Power. And does she really think Inori came to live by his side is mere coincidence? Funeral Parlour is ready to hijack the transport plane as Yan meets Dan and gets ready to go. Segai broadcasts to every channel in the city that’s under GHQ control to view Funeral Parlour making their move. Then he orders the Antibodies to take Vaccine D now. Gai and co successfully make their way into the plane but something feels odd. It’s too quiet and easy. In the cockpit, they realize the plane is unmanned. And a message on the screen to Gai that congratulates he will be in heaven. Crazy Segai starts activating something that makes the rock glow. Shu may be turning into a delinquent. Because skipping class is the first step. He even calls Hare to come comfort him. Yes, he is taking advantage of the fact she likes him. However she slaps him! She doesn’t want him to see her as Inori’s substitute. Did he obtain so big a power that he can’t even see himself anymore? She saw him draw Scissors from Yahiro and cut down an Endlave and feels bad for him. She wanted to cheer him up so much but that Shu he just showed her wasn’t the real Shu that she loves. I guess when you make a girl cry this bad, you start apologizing but this might be put off a little later as suddenly the city is filled with a song. A weird song. As Shibungi notes, a genetic resonance that has something to do with the activated stone. Some of the people start having crystals formed all over them. Seems this is all part of Keido’s plan of coup d’etat as he is freed by Segai’s men, Andrei Rowan. He is going to finish what they started on that day. The day Christmas was lost and for humanity’s sake. Crystals are forming all over Gai as the plane crashes into a building. The city descends into chaos and Inori feels uneasy. This is not her song and wants it to stop or else ‘she’ will awaken.

Episode 11
Yan thought a terrorist had hijacked an Endlave and starts attacking him. However it turned out to be his son and he is not happy seeing his father and girlfriend together and fires at them and wipe out his entire staff too. With Yan assassinated, Keido assumes control of the top post and that means all military related matters fall under his command. He uses this confusion to blame the terrorists for launching this large scale viral attack. Segai forces Haruka to cooperate but Dan punches him and enough time for Haruka to escape. Segai subsequently shoots him. Shu knows this can’t be Funeral Parlour’s doing as they will never resort to bioterrorism. Tsugumi agrees (she’s telling him via damaged Funell) and that it’s all his fault because he refused to use Voids. The members of Funeral Parlour are in disarray since they have lost contact with Gai who is on the run with Inori. Shu makes an announcement throughout his school and wants his friends to report to the club room. Not only Hare, Kanon, Souta and Arisa are here but Yahiro makes his return too. Shu needs their favour to rescue his friends. But I guess he has lots to explain. Especially about Void and using them as tools. At first he’s thinking what Gai would do in this situation. But he decides to screw that and just do things his way. He demonstrates using Hare and her Void resembles bandages in which he uses to completely heal Funell. He apologizes to his friends for peeking in their hearts as he has used their Voids before. But Yahiro wants him to admit that the friends he is going to save is Funeral Parlour. Why does he want to save people like that when he can’t even save Jun? It’s because they believed he could do something. If it wasn’t for them, he’d still be someone who didn’t matter. And now they’re in trouble and there’s something he can do. His friends agree to help out. It’s what they can do too, right?

Gai and Inori come into Haruka. She is surprised to see Inori but asks about Shu. Gai assures he has been left behind at school but Inori is confident he will come. Gai is holding out as long as he can as Haruka tries to complete some practical test. A test that will allow Inori to sing her new song all over the city. Hey, isn’t that the ending theme? Anyway her song brings calm that the rock deactivates and dispels the crystals enveloping the people. With Funell at the wheels of the Humvee (I know Tsugumi is piloting that ‘rice cooker’ but seriously, how can it drive?), Shu and his friends make his way to the airport where Funeral Parlour is being hold up. He uses all his friends Voids to barge his way through like Arisa’s Coward Shield to deflect incoming missiles, Hare’s Bandage to fix the broken bridge, Souta’s Camera to open heavily closed gates and I’m not sure what Kanon’s is but it is like some visor that pinpoints the location of Inori. Finally he uses Yahiro’s Scissors to cut Daryl’s Endlave. Wow. Now he’s like a hero. Just when he thought he could reunite with Inori, some kid, Yuu AKA Daath Gravekeeper appears out from a wormhole behind Inori. Calling Shu a big disappointment, he draws out her Void. He uses that weapon to get rid of Shu but Gai takes the strike in his place instead. Man, he’s bleeding massively. With Inori’s song stopped, the rock reactivates and the chaos resumes. Wow. It’s really like the end of the world although it may just be the end of Japan.

Episode 12
As Keido explains, the city is becoming a big Void and Roppongi Fort is an illusion formed by a single girl’s heart: Mana Ouma, Shu’s sister. Keido gives Segai the Void information as promised for helping out but this is as far as he gets and they part. Shu realizes and remembers he may have met Gai before. Took him this long, eh? Gai wants Shu to stop Yuu because he and Keido are cooperating to sacrifice Inori to awaken Mana. Shu chases after him but it seems Yuu will have him remember his forgotten memories first. Flashback time. Ten years ago, Mana showed Shu her secret place by the beach. They also see an injured and unconscious boy on the shore. Mana boldly did the mouth to mouth resuscitation and CPR to revive him. This kid whom Mana named as Triton (because he seemed to have come from the sea) is Gai. Gai becomes part of their family and they spend the best summer together which will be their last and became Shu’s best friend. So how the hell did Shu forget his best friend and gentle sister? Returning back to reality, Shu is stuck in some odd place. He sees Inori at the altar as Keido explains Inori was a host body created to use as an interface for communication with Mana, the first person who touched the rock that started it all and the first person infected with the Apocalypse Virus. Thus she is known as Eve. With her soul being poured into the new body, her resurrection will herald the second coming of Lost Christmas. Shu has no choice but to watch Keido propose to Inori, supposedly her chosen partner will become the originator model of the next generation and new human race. He is going to control Eve via this rock. Further flashback reveals Mana did ask Shu about his feelings if she gets married. Say, Gai. He protests but she assures it was just a joke and asserts she loves him and wants him to promise that he’ll marry her. Seems the night before Gai confronted her as he has spotted those crystal symptoms on her. She did go berserk for a while and tied Gai up, reminding him that she saved him and therefore he belongs to her and can do whatever she wants with him. She says she will marry Shu and nobody is going to stop her.

Shu may be free of his captivity but creepy eyeballs with Mana’s voice are going to punish him for forgetting. Ayase and Gai bust into the building before Shu could lose an eye. Gai is alright because the crystals were protecting his vital organs. Then why was he bleeding so massively like it was so serious then? So while Segai shows Haruka what’s happening (because the ‘loser’ got booted out of the ‘arena’), Gai makes Shu remember more. On Christmas Eve Gai wanted to talk to Shu about the Mana he didn’t know. But it was Mana who turned up at the church instead. She gives him a hand gun and wants him to fire at the Christmas tree. But the gun backfired and hurt him. Then Shu came in and saw what’s happening. He saw crystals forming on Mana and told this monster to stay away. The shock of hearing that was too much to bear that her powers start to awaken. It burns down the church and started the incident of Lost Christmas. In the end Mana ended up destroying herself with her own out-of-control power. Mana looked to them for help that day and they couldn’t deliver. In the aftermath, Gai’s last words were that he is going to be stronger and just parted. To protect himself, Shu sealed away the memories of it all. Now that Shu understands what’s going on, they need to get Mana’s heart back since she has been awakened against her will and put her back to sleep again. Gai wants him to use the Void’s power to consign her evil desires to oblivion and that is to draw out his Void, which is a gun. I’m not sure why Gai is still conscious after his Void is drawn out. Maybe Shu didn’t let go of his hand as instructed. Gai shoots his gun at Inori and draws out her Void and interrupt the ceremony. Keido cannot believe that his Void forces other Voids to manifest. Shu takes her Void and cuts Keido away from Inori. Gai makes his way to Mana at the top and though Keido wanted to stop him, Yuu notes he has failed and knocks him out. Gai is enveloped by crystals and wants Shu to stab Mana through him. Can he? Well, after some heroic words like how he always looked up to him when he was a kid and now has become just like him then, the rest is up to Shu. He slashes him as Gai disappears with Mana into oblivion. She regains conscious for a short while and sees Gai hugging her. While the tower crumbles, I don’t know how Shu and Inori got whisked away out safely in a bubble. Inori notes she could hear Gai thank Shu and that he is happy. But when a cool hero is gone, you can’t help but shed a few tears for him, right?

Episode 13
It has been 2 weeks since that incident and GHQ has quarantined a section of Tokyo known as Loop 7 that has been affected by the second Lost Christmas. Nobody goes in, nobody gets out. All forms of communications are also cut within this area and people inside are living in evacuation homes. A couple of guys think they can harass Ayase but she doesn’t give in. It wasn’t Shu who kicked them away but Tsugumi. Missile Kick! Ayase still refuses help from her friends so they leave. Seems Ayase and Tsugumi are blending well in school and the other Funeral Parlour members’ whereabouts are unknown ever since Gai’s demise. To lift the gloom, Souta decides to do a cultural festival, something their school usually holds at this time. Arisa agrees as this will take the restless people’s mind off for a while. Yahiro holds his own Void in his hands. This is now possible as Shu mentions he thinks his power has changed during the last fight. Shu wonders why he is suddenly interested in Voids as he thinks he won’t be using this power again. On the contrary, Yahiro feels he will have to use it soon. As Inori will be performing a concert, we also see Daryl bumming around in the school grounds and been forced to help out by Tsugumi. Though the rest don’t realize his true identity, he is actually sent by Segai to just keep watch on things. Due to the current situation now, they can’t make any direct moves. During the cultural festival, a mini group of ruffians known as Philanthropists didn’t like how the kids are having fun in tough times. Their leader has returned with an Endlave and Humvee seeing he has got them from a wealthy guy who agreed with their cause. That sketchy guy turned out to be Segai. These blokes are going to teach those kids the harsh world this is.

Ayase talks to Tsugumi on why she cut her connection to her Endlave that day. Otherwise, she could have saved Gai and prevented his death but Tsugumi notes it was to save her. Ayase couldn’t care less about her own life now which is pretty meaningless without Gai around. Even as Shu tries to be friendly with her, she starts feeling guilty that she was the one who let Gai die. I’m sure Shu wanted to take the blame and responsibility for his death too. Suddenly Philanthropists barge in and cause their brand of mayhem at the school grounds. Shu wheels Ayase away from the scene but she gets mad that he wants to cut her connection and turn her into a slacker. She adds Gai gave her legs that could run and jump but can’t let it end this way. She wants Shu to let her stand on her own. Shu pulls out her Void. While Arisa evacuates the people to safety, Hare is on the verge of being rammed over by the Humvee when suddenly she is whisked away to safety by Ayase. Her Void turns out to be robotic legs and this allows her to fly and run faster than The Flash. Together with Shu (wielding Inori’s sword), they put the ruffians out of commission and the crowd applauds to their heroic efforts. Felt good, eh? During Inori’s concert, Ayase tells Shu that though she can’t accept what happened to Gai, she wants to think things through step by step. Finally Tsugumi manages to establish connections to the TV and puts it up on the monitor for everyone to see. Seems Keido is now the newly inaugurated president of Japan as he announces they haven’t been able to find any survivors in Loop 7 who aren’t highly cancerous. Thus his provisional government and GHQ have decided to completely seal off this area for the next 10 years and devote their efforts to eradicate the Apocalypse Virus to dispel the concerns of the international community. He believes it is his duty to bring about rebirth via purification. That’s a nice way of calling it genocide, right? In simple lay man’s terms, he’s going to freaking kill everybody in this area!!!!! Shu, can you believe what you’re hearing? So who was it that was so confident that the quarantine will be lifted soon?

Episode 14
The students are getting restless as Arisa tries to calm them and believe that help will arrive. However a small group of guys led by Hirohide Nanba and Takaomi Sudou isn’t exactly helping things out and is more like trying to persecute Arisa for her inaction. He files for a no-confidence resolution against her. Though they do not have internet to the outside world yet, they are still connected locally within the school’s boardroom and there are many nasty remarks heckling Arisa. Nanba and his boys are going to use the situation to their advantage and gather as much information on what’s outside and along with those who want to leave. He has a handgun as his trump card just in case. Tsugumi hands Shu a Genomic Resonance Gauge that she found during the ruffians attack yesterday. What is does is gauge the level of one’s Void. The higher the number, the more powerful. Let’s say Shu and Inori’s are off the scale. Since they realize they have never seen Tsugumi’s Void before, the girls tie her down to let Shu do the honours. Don’t worry. It only hurts the first time. So it hurts?! Keido initiates the next phase of his plan and that is to shrink the quarantine area. Wow. Those walls could really move. The Great Wall of Tokyo if I should say. Those found within the red line will be automatically shot! Here’s your first massacre since he took presidency. Ironically being once a cold blooded killer, Daryl didn’t like how this is done. Actually he is more concern about the new Ghost mechas that seem to not have any personnel controlling them. Rather, their location is secret. Segai is going to cause his brand of mischief again as he awaits the reaction of those who has been cut of communications for a long time. Yup, he is sending some little false rumour into the quarantine zone. Meanwhile Oogumo and Argo are still alive and are grateful Okina took them in. Bu the old guy says ever since Keido took office, his transport and communication lines have been shut down. Nanba calls Arisa to show her about rumours of the massacre and uses this to attack her inaction. There is going to be a vote for a new student council president today when rumours (from Segai) about handing over a member of Funeral Parlour will guarantee their release. The desperate students start a witch hunt whom they think belongs to the terrorist group as they should have a tattoo on their back (which is of course not true). Shu is worried Inori might be targeted but she looks fine. Actually she already dispatched those who harassed her. It was bloody…

Ayase is also targeted and her tough girl stance makes her even more a target by Nanba and Sudou. Tsugumi tries to help out but they got caught. In the hall, Arisa tries to dispel the rumour but nobody believes her. Nanba shows the crowd Ayase and Tsugumi whom he believes to be Funeral Parlour members since no one knows who they are before the quarantine. The crowd becomes unruly and call for their heads. Arisa totally lost control of the room. Shu steps in as the hero this time. He admits he is a Funeral Parlour member but wants everybody to let him handle this one. Sudou arrives at the border to hand in Tsugumi and Shu and negotiate their release but as soon as they step over the red line, they got indiscriminately shot! Actually those were just clones as Tsugumi’s Void, Hand Scanner is able to create clones of others and even remotely control them just like the real thing. Everyone witnessed the replay that the rumour was indeed fake. Shu tells them they’re afraid because there was so much they didn’t understand. Nanba didn’t like the direction this is going and pulls out his handgun but Shu swiftly pulls out his Sudou’s Void and knock it off his hands. Shu wants everybody to calm down and choose a leader who can save them all. Yahiro isn’t going to make Shu exit yet as he rallies everyone to support Shu as their leader. Needless to say, he got the instant approval. He might not expect this but I guess he accepts it since he’s in for the ride. Later Yahiro shows him a list of students and is going to rank them on a scale of A to F based on their genomic resonance values via the Gauge. From now on, Shu will lead them based on these values called Void Ranking System and that their value as a person is determined by the value of their Void.

Episode 15
Of course Shu rejects that suggestion and continues to treat everyone equally as they keep it going. He thinks imposing the system would be discrimination but Yahiro points out it is rather distinction. Inori says not to think of what others want but what he really wants. Souta confronts Shu about the system and didn’t like it. But when he learns he’s not going to implement it, he apologizes and they become good friends once more. At least he doesn’t keep grudges long. There is a crisis at hand. There won’t be not enough vaccine soon for everyone. Yahiro thinks Shu should be given priority because if he is out, who else will protect them? The distribution of the rest should be based on the usefulness of their Voids. Yahiro hands him a list of the rankings as Shu sees Souta at the bottom of F Rank. Naturally Souta and the F Rank students confront him and though Shu says he won’t implement the system (albeit he said it sheepishly), Souta wants him to draw out their Voids so that they can practice using it and be of use. Daryl has been ordered by Segai to wait for the students who will come for the vaccine since it’s running low. He has to do it since he was at the scene when the clone Shu and friends were shot down when they came to turn themselves in and thus part of the blackmail to keep those rumours from spreading. Segai is playing chess with Shibungi. No, he hasn’t joined the other side but if he wins, Segai will have to allow him to see someone. Shu is in a depression. He thinks he screw up. He agrees with Yahiro and Souta when they confronted him. Like he has no backbone. Hare hugs him and believes in the good characteristics he has. I guess this is her indirect way of confessing to him.

He gets message that Souta and his F Rank comrades just left the school building. Shu and Hare catch up with them and learns they are going to steal vaccine to prove their worth. So did they lie about practising? Hey, Shu lied too so they’re even. Daryl and his Antibodies spot them and attack. He is going to do nothing but slaughter everyone. While Shu distracts them, Souta wants Hare to fix the car so they could use as a getaway but Daryl fires into them. Shu shields Hare from the blast but is badly burnt. Hare uses her Bandages to heal Shu at her own expense. She notes Shu is like the kind king. So kind of giving everything to its people that they ended up with nothing and the people started hating him. However she likes him because he loses out because of his kindness and feels he will make a great king. The Antibodies’ helicopter fire at her and though the bullets miss her, they sever her Bandages. Shu is healed as crystals start forming over Hare. When Shu wakes up, he is horrified to see Hare dead next to him. The next thing he knows, she disintegrates into thin air in his arms. F*ck! HARE!!! NOOOOO!!!!! Shu is so angry, so mad, so pissed off that he forcefully draws out Inori’s Void and destroys all the Endlaves!!! No emotions. No feelings. No mercy. No forgiveness. DIE EVERYONE!!! Once the friends learn about Hare’s death, Souta apologizes and blames himself. Shu agrees it’s his fault and takes it out on him. Shu is broken. But he sheds tears for the last time. He realizes kindness is wrong and needs to separate the good from the trash. He is going to be king. Oh sh*t. I don’t like that look on his face.

Episode 16
Argo is going to dive down into Loop 7 and rescue Arisa as ordered by Okina. Seems the leader of Shanghai’s largest conglomerate, Ming Hua Group is in love with Arisa and if they pull off this mission, he’ll negotiate with the Association of Asian Nations on his behalf. More like a marriage of convenience, don’t you think? First thing Argo sees that shocks him isn’t the devastation but how the students are somewhat stealing vaccines from each other. Nanba and his Secret Police are apprehending a group of those little thieves. He wants this girl to swear allegiance to President Shu if she wants to live. Argo pops up to tell Nanba a thing or two about bullying but the rest sees his Funeral Parlour logo. Miyabi Herikawa and Ritsu Takarada are part of the Secret Police as they bring Argo to see Shu, who is running his little school kingdom like a tyrant. He sees Shu drawing out the apprehended girl’s Void and noticing her Void’s usefulness, he changes her grade to A Rank. Argo learns this elaborated setup is necessary because the government is making a new genomic weapon and a student fell victim to it days ago (Hare). Argo asks about Arisa and the need to take her out from this place so they bring her to an abandoned army transport ship. It was deserted during the confusion when Tokyo was sealed and inside they are scavenging vaccines. Argo is appalled those diving for the vaccines are showing symptoms of the virus. But as they say if they do their work, they’ll get the vaccine before they hit Stage II. Souta is one of the divers and his oxygen pump is having problems. However Shu doesn’t want the rest to help out because Souta must figure himself out the emergency tank in the suit. If he fails, so be it since they can’t waste resources on Rank F. Obviously the rest aren’t happy but they can’t raise their hand against the king. If he gets the symptoms, then it’s all over. Argo couldn’t care less and fixes the pump instead. Shu puts a Scythe Void at his neck and tells him that they’re currently planning to escape from Tokyo. That’s why everyone is working towards that goal. This isn’t discrimination but distinguishing and they can’t afford to be democratic in these trying times. He won’t hand over Arisa since her Void is valuable and makes Argo swear his allegiance to him. He is restrained and thrown into jail. Argo asks if Inori has switched to doing what Shu wants so she replies it was her choice.

In prison, Argo meets up with Tsugumi. At least she’s talking via Funell. She tells him how there were rampant violence and looting. Fear of the steadily closing in red line was making everyone jumpy. When Shu became king, all that stopped. So this school is like a kingdom by Voids and for Voids. Segai talks to Keido about many youths joining forces with Shu’s school now and knows he is collecting Voids. Haruka is working by Keido’s side and asserts she is just carrying out Kurosu’s wishes. Kanon wonders if Hare really die of a new weapon because she feels it was something else due to some rumours. Yahiro tells her to zip it and report to him anyone spreading those rumours. Kanon feels sad that everyone has changed. Shu confides in Inori and he needs to put up this tyrannical king act so that he’ll get everyone out or else Hare’s death will be in vain. Suddenly he gets word Argo has busted out from his cell. Orders are made to capture him. Shu confronts him at the gym so Argo tells him to fight him one on one now and if he loses, he must drop this king act. He notes he is not even close to Gai and is just a fake. Naturally Argo easily overwhelms Shu and with a neck at his throat, he wonders where that wuss had gone. Everyone loved him when he was a pale faced weakling struggling with all his might. I guess that’s another way of saying they love bullying him when he’s weaker, eh? Shu tells him if he thinks there is another way to keep everyone safe, then be his guest. Yahiro isn’t as soft as Shu and warns to surrender. Argo obediently gives up. Suddenly the iron structure from the roof breaks. Though Shu manages to save that newbie Rank A girl, the structure destroys her Void. Then she starts crystallizing all over and dies the same way Hare did. Shu realizes Yahiro had lied to him but Yahiro knows he will hesitate to use Voids if he had known. They can’t back out now and need to hide in from everyone till they begin their operation. Argo tells Shu to open his eyes and stop using Voids. But Shu draws out Argo’s Void and he has that evil look on his face that if he breaks his Void now, this pest will die. Arisa saw everything is about to warn the others but was attacked by Inori. Okina receives word from the Ming Hua Group’s leader that their deal is void now (no pun intended). As an old friend, he warns Okina to leave Japan as soon as possible because a huge naval fleet is building up in the Pacific heading towards Japan. And what’s this? Keido and Haruka revive Gai!!!!!! For real?!

Episode 17
Because a couple of guys were just not concentrating, Shu sends them to the disciplinary room. They resist so Shu pulls out their Void and threatens to obey him if they want to live. Shu doesn’t sleep a wink since he is planning their Exodus but Yahiro says that his tyranny is going too far and that there is resentment building among the students. Shu reminds Yahiro that it was him who gave him the idea the need for oppression. Inori seems guilty when Shu thought it was the people who resented them attacked Arisa. Speaking of which, she is cowering in fear in her room wanting somebody to save her. She was badly affected by Inori’s attack (she used the crystallized virus as her weapon). Nanba caught her talking to someone on her handphone (Gai as I found out). I guess it’s her turn to break so she seduces him. After that great ‘advance payment’, Nanba and his pals spread the rumour to everyone that Shu has been hiding the fact that if their Void breaks, you’ll die. Naturally everybody starts hating their king now. Yahiro confronts Arisa thinking she’s the culprit who spread the rumours but she reveals the true perpetrator. Shu confides in Inori, wondering if he’ll pay for this someday for trampling on people’s hearts. You don’t have to look far. I can see it’s coming. Inori admits she was the one who attacked Arisa and because of that, she feels afraid of herself. Yahiro sees Shu about Inori and says they can’t give her special treatment or else they’ll lose control of the students. But Shu fires back that he kept lots of secrets for him (his reason was to keep everyone alive). Shu draws Inori’s Void and threatens Yahiro. He thinks he is using him and waiting for a time to sell him out. Yahiro disagrees because he thought about it after Jun’s death that people make lots of mistakes and correcting them requires power. That’s why he wanted to work with him. Shu doesn’t believe him and probably Yahiro realizes this is the consequence of his previous actions. Yahiro has been demoted and sent to F Rank camp. After Nanba gets another ‘advance payment’ from Arisa, she gives him the details containing the date and time of the Exodus as well as information on the students’ Voids. Nanba wants to know why she needs them and she replies it’s for a coup d’etat.

The students begin their trudge to Tokyo Tower where their plan to escape will take place. Shu asks Nanba’s opinion about the students’ view of him. They’ll be grateful to a leader who will free them. Doesn’t sound too convincing. Shu explains his plan to the rest. Inside Tokyo Tower lies the machine controlling the Ghost units. He will use a Void to short circuit them and render those units powerless. Their job is to make a way for him to the tower. So the operation begins but it seems like a slaughter house to me as those in front gets killed. Shu can’t be breaking down and reflecting now so he pulls out Inori’s Void and charges ahead till he manages to destroy the machine and send Tokyo Tower come crumbling down. In the aftermath, everyone makes their way out as Shu invites Inori to come along. However Shu’s Secret Police point the gun at him. Not only them but the other students as well. The ringleader Arisa reveals herself. Inori wanted to rush to Shu’s side but Argo holds her back (so that dude still lives). Souta pushes Shu into the crater as everyone calls for him to drop dead. When Inori manages to free herself and run to Shu, a Void stabs through her. Oh hey look! It’s Gai! He’s back! Long time no see (just 5 episodes only lah). But he’s not going to give Shu a big hug. He cuts off Shu’s right arm!!! OH SH*T!!! So Gai now has his King’s Power? Shu is in total shock that he lost his King’s Power but Gai laughs it off and says he was just an usurper and the real king has always been him. Meanwhile the UN has voted a crushing majority to destroy Japan. What a way not to shoulder your responsibilities and wipe out a nation, eh? RM warheads are already on the way. I think they’ve wanted to do this all along.

Episode 18
Daryl receives orders that they’re supposed to protect Gai. What?! A stealth bomber starts dropping warheads over them so Gai draws out Nanba and his friends’ Void and combine it into a missile. Not only it deflects all the warheads, it also destroys the bomber. So what happens when the Void is destroyed? Too bad Nanba. You’re dead meat either way. So all those students who wanted to go against Gai better think twice because all he needs to do is easily crush your Void and it’s Hasta La Vista Baby. Tsugumi, Ayase and Argo are surprise to see Gai alive but more shocking is his change of character. He tells them he isn’t the same person before but they will obey him nonetheless. Daryl didn’t like the way things are going and attacks but his Endlave got destroyed. This distraction allows the others to escape. Arisa protects Gai from other attacks and hopes to be useful to him. Remember the fleet that was sent to destroy Japan? Yeah, they got destroyed instead. Even before they can warm up the seat. BOOM! They didn’t even know what hit them. Ironically they were sent to help Japan 10 years ago, now they’re going to destroy it in the name of virus cleansing. Doesn’t look like it’s happening now. Gai broadcasts to those UN bastards and the world, threatening them that 256 Leukocytes are pointing at them and that the military is at his command. He doesn’t want anyone approaching within 300km radius of central Tokyo and his demand is only one: Don’t interfere. Three days later, the world continues to watch with silence outside Tokyo. Okina learns about the situation, Shu and Arisa. He lets his secretary, Kurachi to handle negotiations with OAU as he has something to do himself.

Arisa is now working for Gai as her team are out looking for Inori. Daryl is in ICU while Shibungi finally beats Segai in chess. Could it be he lost on purpose so that he could let him see Gai? After all, they both have lots of questions they want to ask. Shu and Inori are taking refuge in the building when Team Arisa spots them. As they are to intercept, they’re being attacked. Both sides exchange fire but Arisa knows who this familiar ‘enemy’ is. After both sides cease fire, Okina comes out. He didn’t think Arisa was this foolish as Gai is a person who only aims for his goals and she will not be rewarded in the end. He can’t let them do this anymore and will clear his name with his own hands as he starts slashing everyone with his sword. He is ready to kill Arisa too but her self-defence has her shoot back at him. Another one bites the dust. Inori has heard she has become their target but is confronted by a group of thugs. Suddenly she changes character and the next thing she knows, she is covered in blood and the thugs writhing in pain. At least they’re still alive. Inori rushes back to Shu’s side all panicky of what is becoming to herself. While eating alone, she knows she cannot keep this up or she’ll kill Shu at this rate. Then her inner voice (sounds and looks like Mana) says on the contrary she will instead. It’s because she’s a monster and her heart is fake. Shu is attracted to Inori’s singing. She goes up to him and wants him not to hate and blame himself anymore. Even if everyone hates him or brands him a liar, she will always be by his side. Inori will be the decoy to let Shu escape. Knowing he will not allow her, she knocks him out and kisses him goodbye. Inori confronts Team Arisa’s Endlaves and turns into a monster by slashing them down. She is fine being a monster with fake emotions but will always protect Shu because she is who she is. Gai uses Yuu’s Void (a bow and arrow) to fire and bind Inori. Gai couldn’t understand why she would stay by a human’s side when she has always been on his. And when Shu wakes up not seeing Inori anywhere…

Episode 19
Segai sees Gai drawing out a Void but feels something isn’t quite right. Haruka tries to sneak in and kill Mana but she isn’t anywhere in her usual place. Or so she thought. Keido notes how she is like Kurosu in her ideals. Haruka reveals that Keido, her brother was the one who killed Kurosu and thought they were best friends. Well, he never thought of that. He pulls out a gun and fires at her. Shu sneaks up on Arisa and wants her to tell him Inori’s location when an alert is announced that Haruka has committed high treason and is on the run. There are orders for her arrest. Segai sees a video Haruka stealing a briefcase that Sephirah used to transport top secret stuff. He realizes what is going on and wants to be the one who will hunt her down. Arisa agrees to drive Shu to where Inori is in exchange he’ll let her speak to Haruka because she wants to know more about Gai (she thinks Haruka knows what his plans are). Haruka arrives outside Okina’s mansion but only sees Kurachi. Since the old guy’s dead and the mansion doesn’t belong to them anymore, they meet up with the others in an abandoned office. We learn Haruka isn’t Shu’s real mom (it explains why the kid calls mommy by her first name) and that she remarried to Kurosu but he died shortly. Even so, Haruka continued to raise him like her own. She thought they lost something and were licking each other’s wounds. A group of people comes seeking for vaccine. Among them is Segai. Thinking there is no threat, they let them in to convince them they do not have vaccine. That’s when Segai orders his Antibodies to fire, killing almost everyone. Oogumo takes in all the bullets meant for Haruka. He fights Segai to let Haruka and Kurachi escape but was easily killed by Segai. Kurachi sees the Void Genome in the briefcase Haruka had stolen. She says this is their last and worst hope. Argo picks them up and returns to where Ayase, Tsugumi, Yahiro and friends are hiding. Ayase and Tsugumi are devastated to hear that Oogumo is dead. Shibungi has his audience with Gai and is disappointed how far he has fallen. Gai points out his goal has always been the same. It is them who chose to build their dreams on it and get disappointed. Shibungi has always thought of him as a friend but Gai replies a king has no friends. Only subordinates and pawns. In that case, Shibungi as a pawn has a new goal: To kill him.

Ayase talks to Haruka about the Void Genome she has. She thought of using it on herself to fight Gai but Haruka warns her entire body may reject it. She doesn’t want Shu to use it too since it will kill him. Segai and his Endlaves start the fireworks. Let every bullet you have fly! Shu dives out from Arisa’s Humvee and makes his way there on foot. How can this be faster? The gang are out of options so Ayase wants Haruka to use the Void Genome on her. She was about to but Segai shoots it away. He reveals he was searching for the last remaining Void Genome and never expected it was with her all along. He wants it to behold that mystical and sublime light. Ayase and Segai race to retrieve the cylinder. Man, even a girl with no legs is still a worthy opponent. The cylinder falls at the feet of Shu. Haruka doesn’t want him to use it a second time as it may kill him. But Shu feels he should bear the burden of this sin and thanks mommy (he called her that for the first time) even if they aren’t blood related. Stabbing it into his heart, Shu recovers his King’s Power and Segai is in awe that this is the light he has been searching for. Shu pulls out his own Void to create an artificial right arm. Then he borrows Ayase’s Void Legs for high speed and destroys those Endlaves with his other friends’ Void (with their permission of course). Crazy Segai is going to ram his truck into Ayase so Shu sticks Scissors into him and severs his life. I’m sure Shu isn’t stupid enough to crash and die with him. But he looks cool walking out from those flames. Yeah, a hero cometh. The king has return. But they see crystals forming over him. Souta notes he has absorbed his virus. Then they realize his Void gathers everything and assumes its weight. Shu says if the Apocalypse Virus turns misery into bad will, he will assume that bad will and let it sink into his body. Watch out! Next stop, Inori.

Episode 20
Gai makes another broadcast to the world. Telling those stubborn people that there has been 34 invasion attempts and 42,000 hacking attempts (?!), he concludes they want to die. He is going to end the world on Christmas and create a new one. Kurachi announces Okina has left orders for her to use all his assets and connections to fight Gai and that they will join forces with a Private Military Company (PMC). She wants Shu to join them. Argo wants to know what Gai is planning so with Shibungi’s return, he explains Gai wants to cause Lost Christmas on a worldwide scale. Gai even gave him Kurosu’s diary because since they’re going to die, they the right to know. Flashback time. Keido was a student graduate at Tennozu College and people were nothing but annoyances to him. Till he met Kurosu. Somehow they clicked because of their ideas and researched Genomic Resonance together. One day Keido wanted to show Kurosu’s article that come out in the journal but caught him having affair with Saeko Shijou, an accomplished woman from the college’s medical school who was bearing Kurosu’s child by then. They got married and moved to Oshima. One day a meteor crashed into the island and it has readings of Genomic Resonance. Kurosu had to thank Mana because she was the one who found it (albeit she got a little cut on her finger. Oh dear). So as Kurosu and Keido research more about it, what I understand from that mumbo-jumbo is that though it may not be generally infectious, it is still dangerous when inserted as it will start replicating itself and is a trumpet for Apocalypse. Then they meet Yuu who told them about the meteorite that has sown seeds of Apocalypse across the nation. Very soon every Japanese will be its seedbed. When Mana matures as Eve, Earth will witness its fourth Apocalypse, which is the invisible hand of God at work. Saeko is already showing symptoms of the virus but is told not to abandon her child because Eve was bent on making him her Adam. So Shu was born but at the cost of Saeko’s life. Kurosu became devastated and since he turned Yuu down, the Daath kid turns to Keido.

So this is where Gai came into the picture. He along with the other bunch of kids were kidnapped or something and are placed in a facility specialized rearing male children to create Adam. After seeing so many deaths, it’s natural Gai got scared and ran away. He fell off the cliff and was washed ashore. That’s when he met Mana. Ironically he wanted to get away from fate but ended up trapped in a bigger one. A few years later as Kurosu left his kids behind at Oshima to continue research on the virus, that’s when he met Haruka as one of the student researches. She got curious with him and started taking care of him since he was so engrossed in his research that he forgets to eat and sleep. Then she told Keido she is going to marry him since he’s a really lonely person. He didn’t exactly give his blessings but just told her to do as she wished. That year, she became his wife and as she gathers the kids to have their first Christmas together, that’s when the Apocalypse Virus happened. On Christmas Eve when Mana and Haruka are waiting for Kurosu to turn up at the church, Mana wanted Haruka to go get papa, thinking he has forgotten. Keido sneaks into Kurosu’s lab and reads his diary. Seems he has found a genetic code that will interfere with the virus and he calls it the Void Genome. He concluded Apocalypse isn’t divine providence so humans can control it with intelligence. Kurosu stumbles upon Keido and the latter is surprised he has solved the mysteries of evolution and natural selection by himself. Keido suggests working as a team since Yuu is getting impatient and that he’ll be silenced if he doesn’t do something. But Kurosu refuses. Not because he is arrogant or jealous of Keido but rather he doesn’t want him to get into this mess. Keido doesn’t believe and has lost his marbles. He tells Keido he has made a big mistake: He is no friend of his. He pulls out his gun and shoots him. By the time Haruka arrives, to her horror she sees Kurosu’s bloodied body. Then Mana went crazy and the rest is history.

Haruka does some test on Shu and concludes he can isolate and absorb the cancer cells. This means Souta is cured. She cautions it might be too late to get Inori back since the transplanting of Mana’s consciousness into Inori is almost complete. But to make her whole, the gathering of all her pieces scattered during Lost Christmas had to be collected. Those shards of hers that got mixed with the people’s Voids. That was what Shu had been forced to do for the past few months. This is all the more the reason Shu must go. Before Shu leaves on a helicopter with the others, he says goodbye to his school friends and decides to give everyone’s Void back since it will be bad if he dies while using them. But they disagree because he can’t expect to fight Gai with only a gun, right? But Shu says he is using his powers to save Inori and everyone, not to defeat Gai. Ayase still wants him to keep her Void because if he fails, their lives are forfeited anyway. Shu wants to make up with Souta but the latter is reluctant to shake his hand. Eventually he loosens up and gets emotional, hoping Shu will always stay as his friend. Haruka narrates Kurosu was the kind of person who could do anything by himself and because of this he was always alone. But the truth is he was really lonely and wanted to be with everyone else. That’s why he gave the name Shu to his son which means “group”.

Episode 21
Gai remembers Yuu telling him Mana will be reborn in Cocytus shortly and that he will be king soon. Nobody, and I mean nobody, not even Yuu or Mana can stop it. The resistance fighters have entered the area as Kurachi realizes the threat of Leukocytes was a bluff and they were dumbasses to fall for it. It’s like Gai was trying to buy time. But Shu is glad they’ve arrive to save Inori and stop Gai. If they secure Inori, Gai’s goal will go up in smoke and they might be able to eradicate Apocalypse Virus all over the world, not just Japan. Shu sees Ayase trying to get into her Steiner and she requests his help to get her in. Out of the blue, Shu says how pretty she is. Not that he is hitting on her. What he meant is that it’s his job to get dirty so it’s hers to stay pure and pretty. As the fleet of UN military arrives, Gai uses the Void of Yuu, Arisa and Kenji to rain powerful crystals over the fleet. 87% damage!!! Freaking useless UN buggers. Keido orders his Endlave and Ghost units to clean up. Daryl wonders what Rowan is still doing here since he didn’t sound like he’s on this side. He also poses that question back to Daryl who has volunteered to be a guinea pig for the Gespenst mecha. He’s getting rather tired of the Endlaves being defeated by the Voids. Plus, he wants to choose how he dies. Shu and co infiltrate the base though Rowan orders to attack on them, it was just distraction and clones of Hand Scanner. This also allows Tsugumi to hack into their system and shut down their mecha units. Gai is about to erase Inori’s memories to awaken Mana. He wants her to hate him. If he had not awoken her back then, all this would never have started On the contrary, she is grateful instead. She gave her life. She met Shu who showed the beauty and ugliness of this world. He suffered, doubted, made mistakes and was ashamed of his ugly side but the reason she loves him is because he is heartbreakingly a human. That’s why although she’s a vessel, she still get to fall in love with him. Shu not only saves a soldier from a berserk Endlave but takes in his cancer crystals too. I wonder how much more he can take since each time he absorbs, it just grows.

Inori begins to forget as she starts singing her song which Shu can only hear. Because the communications have been restored, Tsugumi has been cut off from the rest so Shu is their only lead to where Inori is. In a room, they are confronted by Yuu who needs to have a private talk with Shu and separates him from the rest who will be facing Daryl and his freaking huge Gespenst. Yuu says he is the symbol of unity of Daath, the organization which derives from the will of the human race. When Shu brilliantly recovered his stolen powers, he was forced to re-examine the question who would be king: Shu or Gai. So he asks would he obliterate mankind in order for them to progress to the next stage and live with Mana for eternity. Obviously the answer is no. Yuu says Gai answered yes without hesitation. Thus Yuu will be stripping his right to succession. Shu and Yuu fight using their Voids as Yuu draws Voids from the group of standby followers. But he is using them indiscriminately and doesn’t care if their Voids get destroyed. You die, too bad. Yuu starts blabbing about Shu ignoring the inevitable destinies of selection and evolution, bla, bla, bla. He mocks him even though Mana chose him, he refused her, squandered everything and chose a fake like Inori. Shu tells him off he doesn’t know anything about Inori. Neither does anybody. When he was hurt making the same mistakes, she was the only one by his side the entire time. This time, he will be by her side. I don’t know if Shu made some powerful blast or not because Yuu’s last words were to challenge him to resist the despair. Did he escape and vanish or disintegrate and die for good? I hope it’s the latter. Now Shu faces off with Gai who mentions he just missed Inori. He says Mana, their lost Eve will be reborn by devouring Inori. With Mana breaking out from the crystals, is Apocalypse coming sooner than expected?

Episode 22
Tsugumi can’t seem to regain control of the system as Shibungi realize there is someone on par with her: Kenji. He wants her to hold out till he gives the signal. Mana revives and is happy thinking Shu came for her. However she starts badmouthing Inori of getting in her way till she manages to destroy her and regain this body. Shu tells her off Inori is not a monster and a human because she cried for him. Mana felt sad that Shu is going to reject her again even though she loves him very much. Gai tells her to let him be and leave the rest up to him. He draws out her Void weapon and a world map appears on the ground. Mana is not going to forgive Shu for hurting her. She initiates the Lost Christmas phenomenon by dancing around the world map. Ballet dance? What’s with that tenor voice too? No laughing matter because everyone around the world got turned into crystals! As Gai puts it, this is the fourth Apocalypse. Leave your feeble body and preserve yourself in crystals forever. The Void was just a sign announcing the new world, a new world where the heart takes from. Communications to our heroes’ Endlaves got cut. Argo fights hard to defend Ayase who is out to take manual control of her Endlave. Rowan is worried for Daryl who is pushing this Void Genome emulator which is still under trial but that kid isn’t going to stop. Not after he kills everybody. Gai and Shu fight and Shu couldn’t understand why he wanted to save Mana by asking him to stab him then at Roppongi. I guess that was the reason. He didn’t understand. Gai is furious he was chosen and yet he gave it up. In the past, he would’ve accepted Shu as Adam to be Mana’s Eve. But now he thinks he isn’t worthy of that. Keido thinks he is winning against Kurosu because Mana, the daughter he tried to save is going to end the world. Haruka manages to get up close to him and wonders if that is the reason why he did this to Shu and the world. She isn’t going to hesitate to shoot him.

Shu laments he might lose when he sees a crystallized little tree and hears Inori’s voice encouraging him. He absorbs that tree as Inori allows everyone to use her. Seems Shu is absorbing everyone’s Void and with renewed faith of those people who believed in him, Shu is going to get Inori back. Shibungi confronts Kenji and shoots him before he gets any chance to fight back. In this instant, Shibungi gives Tsugumi the signal to connect Ayase to her Endlave and fight off Daryl. Shu unleashes one final devastating strike on Gai. As he is falling, he couldn’t believe his eyes of seeing Shu and Inori together. Keido commits suicide with some injection and starts crystallizing. He notes neither he nor Kurosu won in the end. Shu catches Gai who tells Shu that it’s alright to be himself. Shu is transported to a different world. A world after the Apocalypse. Everything is crystallized and Daath’s ideal of Earth. Everything of this world is going to be a memory inside the crystals. Gai notes this would have happened to him either way. He was afraid of the selection process and struggled to put an end to Eve and Mana. After being stabbed by Shu at Roppongi then, he thought he’d be able to free Mana but Daath won’t accept Mana’s death as she is the will of the natural selection. Even if she dies, she’ll be resurrected. So there is only one way to release her: She had to complete her story. That’s why Gai decided to become a demon king himself to further spread this Apocalypse Virus and wait for Shu to come. Gai knows his end is near as he hugs Mana and they both start crystallizing. He tells Shu all that’s left is to save Inori. Shu sees Inori heavily covered with crystals trudging closer to him. She doesn’t want Shu to blame himself and thanks him for everything. She hopes he can stay by her side forever. They hug as Shu absorbs everyone’s Void and their crystals. I guess you could say he’s trying to be a hero, a saviour. Due to the Genome phenomenon, the building starts collapsing. Everyone scrambles their way out. Rowan sacrifices himself to throw Daryl to safety and parts with an advice that he should be kind to others if he wants another chance at life. He believes he used to be a nice person. Shu is being swathed with crystals as he feels everyone’s hearts and feelings of love and hate flowing through him. Inori lets Shu take her cat’s cradle and from what I understand, Inori absorbs all the crystals Shu has taken and it’s sayonara for them. Everyone gets out from the collapsing building. But did Shu make it in time? A few years down the road, Yahiro, Souta, Kanon, Tsugumi and Ayase gather to celebrate Shu’s birthday. Well, he is still alive albeit he needs a walking stick (he’s blind?!). Shu alone on the bench listens to Inori’s music and feels like he is embracing her in his arms while thinking back the fond memories with her.

“You Have To Be Cruel To Be Kind!”
NOOOOO!!! What the hell is this unsatisfying ending?! Just as I have feared, everything was going great guns, the plot, the action and everything but the way things ended spoiled my fun for this entire series. It could have easily been one of the best animes of the season and probably of the year. But the rushed and abrupt ending seems to have taken out the major points. It’s like as thought it was making a winning dash to the finish line but stumbled just a few centimetres from crossing it in style and victory. Even before watching this show, I knew there were reviews and comments from many viewers that they did not like how the ending was. Now I understand why. There were quite a few things that were left to be desired. Firstly, you might be asking what happened to this certain character. For instance, Daryl. So he was saved from dying in the battlefield. So what became of him? Argo and Shibungi? I doubt Funeral Parlour is still around seeing Gai is gone (for good) and no need for anymore resistance bodies. So yeah. What happened to them anyway? Arisa? What about that girl? You thought she had died in the final episode while she took in bullets protecting her beloved guy. But it was just a scratch and she’s still breathing. Another minus point for the ending is that the main guy didn’t get the girl in the end. Haha. Sounds like a joke? No doubt the world is saved from Apocalypse. That’s a good end. However I doubt the world won’t even know what saved them. So to me the rest of the world didn’t really matter. I guess this is the price Shu had to pay for saving the world and be king, eh? Now he is a lonely blind guy by himself. Inori gone. Hare was gone a long time ago. Ayase and Tsugumi don’t seem the kind who would make a great pair. Arisa is a wreck. What’s left? Oh no more Voids too. The world is void of Voids. Hah. I just wanted to say that. No more Apocalypse, no more anything. Plain boring peaceful world, isn’t it?

I managed to get a glimpse of this OVA called Guilty Crown: Lost Christmas. From what I understand, this 15 minute OVA is supposed to be a promotion for the game of the same name released back at the end of July 2012. Well, I’m not really impressed with it either. As I see it, the storyline takes place 10 years ago around the Lost Christmas incident and I suppose you have to play the game to understand what really happened. Thus the OVA does not have any relation to the plot, storyline and characters we see in the TV series. Except for Makoto. He may not look like a joker but a bishonen. However he is still ruthless and cold. Seems his army is set out to capture an experimental subject that has escaped from a facility: Scrooge (looks like Shu). This hooded guy is on the run with another girl, Carol (looks like Inori) and a cute little stray dog. Seems they are trying to find Daath. Well, his army has no qualms in shooting in public and even dropping an Endlave on somebody’s house! WTF?! Just to pursue this guy?! Even though they lost him, Scrooge traces the Endlave who chased him back to Makoto’s base. Though Makoto is already prepared and has his firing squad target him. He wants to know Scrooge’s objective before he dies. Carol notes they don’t know about Daath and suggests he take out her Void, which is a cross between a sword and a chainsaw. Makoto is awed at the light and power he sees. Then some strange monster with Apocalypse Virus crystals drops in. One of the crystal debris hit and blinded Makoto’s left eye (that explains his robotic eye) and this nullifies Carol’s Void. When the monster attacks, Scrooge pulls out a Void from the dog. Some kind of tri-blade thingy. The monster crumbles but the poor doggie died. Some lady (the one controlling the monster and perhaps pursuing them), Present (looks like Gai) watches them from afar and notes how Scrooge has the ability of a King. Scrooge and Carol leave. Makoto is still alive but now he’s a mad man because his laugh is eerie and crazy enough to make him one.

Despite the many terms and some of the confusing plots (at least to me), I find the story and the twists to be quite interesting and intriguing. It started out with a devastating virus and the people trying to get back on their feet with the tyrannical rule of the authorities. So you’re not only living in fear of the virus but the government as well. After Shu gets his King’s Power, the pace picks up as we see him and the resistance fighters take on missions to fight those in power. The plot then turns when Mana is on the verge of being revived. Then it turns again when Shu becomes king of his own little kingdom before the final fight against the ex-leader of the resistance group. I won’t go so far to say that the action is totally awesome but even if you are an adrenaline action junkie, the fights will still be enough to satiate your action needs. Cool enough to make me glued to the screen. I may not be a mecha fan but I guess the mecha fights were also okay. I just find it odd that people pilot those Endlaves from another cockpit and not directly inside the mecha themselves. I know this is to prevent deaths as when the robot is destroyed, the pilot also dies (unless there is an eject button in which you pushed it fast enough). However the pilot’s sensations are also linked to the Endlaves so any damage taken, they will also feel the pain. So if it gets too much, the pilot will also die if he/she is not aborted in time. So really, what’s the use of remote controlling Endlaves in this sense? Maybe they can easily switch places since Endlaves are placed at almost everywhere they are positioned to be despatched.

The designs of the Voids are quite cool as they are a mix between futuristic items and everyday equipment. Well, provided if your Void is cool enough to be ‘useful’. I wonder what kind of Void I would have… It’s also cool to see Shu pull out and use the different kinds of Voids he needs when the situation calls for it but since each of the Voids have only one purpose, sometimes it gets a little bland to see them being used for the same purpose over and over again. I mean, Arisa’s Coward’s Shield is just to protect and shield herself while Souta’s Camera just opens up things. It would have been nice to see a person’s Void to have more than one function but I guess that defeats the purpose of making every person having a different and unique Void. That’s why like I said it’s nice to see Shu putting use the different combos of the Voids during battle. But it seems Gai can fuse them and change them into something else and while this is interesting, probability it won’t be so feasible since you are messing with the Voids of others and there is a big probability you’ll break it in the end. Then that’s the end for that Void owner. On a trivial note in terms on design, the symbol for Guilty Crown seems fitting for a corporation’s logo. I don’t know. I just feel it’s like that. The mid-intermission whereby they display this GC logo, I thought the format reminded me a little of Bleach because we see different interesting and creative designs around the GC logo. But not every episode will be similar as I noticed there are some repeats of the same style in other episodes.

On to the characters. Obviously Shu as the main protagonist, it’s hard not to feel any pity on him. It’s also hard not to hate him at certain times. It’s like to us he makes us feel a baggage of mixed emotions. After being given powers, as a normal kid he definitely wanted to stay out of it all as much as possible. He doesn’t want to get involved in anything to do about saving the world or ridding it of the deadly virus. You can’t blame him for not joining Funeral Parlour or having his doubts of the group because all he wants is a peaceful and quiet life in which he won’t stand out. But when your past comes catching up and destiny persistently knocking on your door like an annoying salesman that won’t go away, what choice does he have? Whether he likes it or not, Shu holds the power to change destiny, to change things. To make things better or for worse. And to prove that he is just a normal kid and not some superhero, he makes mistakes. He makes them the hard way. The way it will make him regret and doubt his own abilities. He gets confused on what to do. It’s easy to point your finger at him but do you understand the responsibilities he is shouldering? He wants everything to turn out for the best and learns the hard way. So when Shu became a dictator among his school friends, he easily turned from hero to zero by the way he treats everyone. However without this iron fist ruling, chaos and disorder would have continued. It is funny that people seem to work better when there is a clear hierarchical order. It keeps them in line. It makes them know where they stand. And so the age old law of the survival of the fittest and that the strong shall govern the weak still stands even in today’s modern society. Then of course people start to tire his tyranny and because they have the numbers and someone who will take the lead in overthrowing him, Shu bears the brunt of it all. Call them ungrateful but generally that’s what humans are. So Shu has one last chance to redeem himself and fix things right and he pulls it off. Just too bad he didn’t get the girl in the end ;p. In some ways, Shu’s character and role reminds me of a couple of other anime characters. Shu is like Code Geass’ Lelouch because he is trying to use his powers to change but not without effects and consequences (albeit their personalities were on opposite polar). Also, Geass lost cutie Shirley in a similar fashion how Shu lost Hare. Why do cute girls like them have to die halfway?! Shu is also like Linebarrel of Iron’s Kouichi because he started out like a wuss and when he gets a taste of a new power, he imposes his brand of justice upon others (at least for the tyranny part).

Well, at least sweet Inori stayed by his side through thick and thin. At the beginning she was void of a lot of emotions. She was like a tool. But once she spends time with Shu and finds that he is imperfect, she somewhat changes and feels more emotions. She even fell in love with him. Albeit she doesn’t show it in her actions and just through her words, the impact of that she fell in love isn’t really being felt (at least to me). So can you say that love indirectly saved the day? Love is also about sacrifice, right? Too bad Shu may just end up like his dad being a real lonely guy. Gai as the resourceful and charismatic character, when he became the antagonist towards the end, I thought there was something wrong. Has he been putting up such a good act to deceive his comrades all along? So when it turns out that he was just playing the part of the villain to pave way for Shu to do the necessary, well at least it makes sense. In order to deceive your enemies, you have to deceive your allies first. Gai isn’t the perfect person that some may idolize him to be. He has his shortcomings too but he doesn’t show it to others. He’s got a reputation to keep. That’s why he is the leader of the resistance group. It is not clear if Ayase ‘respects’ Gai anymore after his return from the ‘dead’. But at least this paraplegic who once refused help from others has learnt to open up herself that sometimes people want to help not because they want something in return. They just want to help, that’s all. It makes things and life easier. Something amusing about the perky Tsugumi is that when she’s doing her hacking, she’s sorta like dancing and prancing around. Sometimes in a naughty way. It’s as though she’s showing to us that this hacking thing is fun. Well, if you’re a genius at her level.

For Arisa, I felt that she has fallen from grace. Ever since the move to vote her off as student council president and losing her leadership to Shu in the process, I’m not sure if she turning to the dark side would be the right way to describe her situation. She seems blinded by love for Gai that she is willing to do anything for him. Well, was it all worth it since Gai is gone, has never returned her love. Now what is she? Don’t know. Yahiro on the other hand was trying to work his way back up again. Initially he would sell his soul to do anything to free Jun but was that what he really wanted? So after Jun’s death, probably it opened his eyes and how he had been blinded like a slave to Jun. Then he realized he can’t lose any more precious people in his life but I guess it’s too late by the time Shu became king of his own country. He reaps what he sews and bore the consequences for his initial betrayal. Even so, Yahiro didn’t resort to betray Shu as bad as before when Arisa led the uprising against Shu. Because of Souta’s open character, it’s easy to read his emotions. You can tell when he’s happy and you can tell when he’s not. All he wants was to be Shu’s friend. How hard can that be? Well, if your buddy got super cool powers, it’s real hard then. How many ordinary people openly admit they’re friends of Superman? Hare is probably the only other character aside Inori that stayed by Shu’s side all the way. Too bad she had to die so early. Sad to say, her death indeed opened his eyes. If she hadn’t, Shu would have continued to hesitate on what policies to follow and more people would have ended up dead.

Keido as the main antagonist, I still do not understand the implications of him and Kurosu and what they’re trying to achieve by bringing another Lost Christmas incident. Sure it’s about creating a new world. Keido wants to be the one who shapes the next evolution in mankind. But isn’t that playing God? Plus, what makes him think he is so suitable and the one who will be man’s next model? The same reason why every megalomaniac wants to take over the world or destroy it perhaps. So if his initial proposal to Mana failed, but it’s not over yet because he returns again and this time my guess to destroy the world for real. From what I understand, he was so jealous of Kurosu’s brilliance, the kind he could never attain, his plan in the second half of the series was to destroy mankind for good as opposed to Kurosu’s goal to save it. Still keeping those grudges after a full decade, huh? So I guess when he said neither of them won was because well, Earth continues to spin and mankind is as rotten as it is before. Any hope of saving them despite the virus is gone? It’s a lose-lose situation for them. More perplexing is Yuu and his Daath organization. So again I don’t know why Yuu struck deals, first with Keido then with Gai just to bring fourth Apocalypse to the world. Oh, maybe it’s that destroy Earth thingy. Segai as the other antagonist is a crazier one. He may look like a jester but he’s a dangerous guy you shouldn’t be messing with. He is sharp, manipulative, sadistic and has the knack to obtain what he wants. Merciless and cruel, he will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. Daryl is another cold hearted and crazy bastard in the beginning. However as the series progresses, it feels that he loosens up a lot. It’s as though he has lost his bite ever since he killed his father. He is not as crazy as before. I’m sure it could be demoralizing each time he gets his Endlave butt kicked by Voids. But yeah, he doesn’t seem that wild anymore. And from the way I see things, he might have a thing for Tsugumi ever since he bumped into her at the cultural festival. Nothing concrete about that.

Because the series is peppered with lots of other minor characters, some come and go, it left me wondering some of their roles. Like Kenji. He’s got this seemingly ferocious reputation as a Sky Tree Bomber and is first seen tied down to a chair in a strait jacket like a dangerous mad man. So what is this Sky Tree Bomber incident thingy, we’ll never know. So after busting him out of the facility and using his Void for the Leukocyte mission, he seems pretty forgettable after Gai’s first death. You won’t even know if he even exists if they had not shown him being allied to Gai in the second half. What about Funeral Parlour’s second in command Shibungi? Was his role just to kill Kenji? What about his new goal to kill him? Heck, Shu did that job for him. Speaking of deaths, I thought at the rate things are going, maybe that most of the casts will be wiped out in the end. If Apocalypse didn’t come again, maybe something else would kill them. After all, how could they kill off a cute girl like Hare in the middle of the show (okay so I admit, I may have a soft spot for her cuteness). Minor characters like Guin and Kyou making only a couple of episode appearance (even that was just a handful of scenes) got killed, Jun couldn’t be saved anyhow, that “guts” Dan guy got killed, bug guy Oogumo died an honourable death, Yan was murdered by his own son, the old Okina geezer also got killed, pain in the ass Nanba also got sent to his maker, Segai saw a different kind of light before he went to the other world, Gai and Mana get to die a second time, Keido puts an end to the speculation that he’ll still be breathing if there ever is a sequel by killing himself. Even ordinary people die. And when Inori sacrificed herself, I just thought everybody else should just go with her. Oops. Even Yuu it seems vanished to thin air. So I was expecting people like Daryl to bite the dust but instead that Rowan guy did it in his place. I thought Argo would also face the similar fate since he got injured by Daryl’s Gespenst but it seems he is tougher than he looks. I thought Shibungi will also die after having an audience with Gai since the new king won’t allow those against him to live. I suppose his job was to spread the flashback and let others know about their past. But still, I thought he would die like Kenji due to lacking screen time presence. I thought Kurachi would die since she’s leading the military into the final battle. As earlier said, I thought Arisa would die because she took in some bullets and would gladly follow Gai. I thought Yahiro, Souta, Kanon and the rest of the world will be killed thinking Shu would somehow screw up and break all their Voids he is carrying. Didn’t happen. Can’t make a third mistake at this important point of the show, can’t he?

There are many more other stuffs that I do not understand as you have already read from my previous paragraphs. I’m going to add them more here. For instance, Inori’s case. If she was the lead singer of Egoist, how come GHQ never really took action against her as a terrorist? I mean, she has got to be popular seeing people like Souta are fans of her weird songs. If Gai actually broke her free from her captivity in the facility, then how in the world did she become a singer? Maybe it’s underground music? Even so, GHQ should be looking for her for a long time since she is somehow who escaped from the facility and they need to retrieve her since she is important, right? Another bugging question is, why and how did Haruka and Keido revived Gai? So it’s for Keido’s plan to destroy the world and Gai to put his lover Mana to rest once and for all because if he leaves it hanging like did and got killed for it, this cycle will repeat again and again courtesy of that mysterious Daath kid. So to say Haruka and Keido actually found Gai’s body? Didn’t his body disintegrate into oblivion then? I couldn’t say his body was crystallized like it did the second time he died so maybe there’s a chance they found pieces here and there and put back the pieces. Just kidding. And remember the Shu met Gai in the first episode? If Gai was supposed to have the cylinder which contains the Void Genome, why was he telling Shu to protect it? Then it broke and Shu obtained the King’s Power. Then Shu saved Inori. Then Gai reprimanded Inori for her failure because she failed to deliver the cylinder that was meant for him. Shouldn’t have Gai just took it then? Or maybe it was just an act? One very big act from the start. Gai may have remembered Shu and wanted him to take it so that he could rope him into his organization and use his power for his ultimate goal. And what does Inori’s cat’s cradle signify? What does it mean? Her other personality as a monster, is it Mana herself? After all those mysterious scenes in which Inori beats up those who antagonize her close to death, so her monster self was just someone with lots of sharp crystals and running wild? Well, Gai easily captured her. What about the Voids? What about them being reflective of one’s heart and soul? If that person changes, shouldn’t his/her Void change too? If that’s the case, then you could say nobody changed because their Void remained the same. I remember Inori having another different Void. Is it from her other monster self or is it part of Shu’s evolving power that he pulled out a gun instead of a sword?

The drawing and art is your typical standard Japanese anime with good looking people like Gai, generic heroic high school kid with slight spikey hair, cute pretty looking girls like Hare and sexy girls in sexy outfits like Inori and tight body hugging ones like Tsugumi and Ayase. I like some of the design of the equipment such as the portable mini screen. The physical handle might just be an L shape object but once activated, you get your hologram-like screen. Cool. Quite futuristic if I should say. Of course when Tokyo has been plagued with the second Apocalypse Virus, the city is painted as a dark, depressing, gloomy and desecrated city. A good picture of what the city will look like if Apocalypse comes.

With the extensive cast line-up, I guess everyone played their role that fits their character but none of that really stands out. Maybe for just Ai Kayano as Inori as she is quite soft-spoken and void of any emotions. Even so, ironically it makes her sound fragile and frail, which fits the kind of character Inori is. She also doubles as the voice of Mana. She was the voice as Menma in Ano Hana, Hibino in Kamisama Dolls and Shiraume in Ben-To. The rest includes Yuuki Kaji as Shu (Haruaki in Cube x Cursed x Curious), Yuuichi Nakamura as Gai (Tomoya in Clannad), Kana Hanazawa as Ayase (Kobato in Kobato), Ayane Taketatsu as Tsugumi (Azusa in K-ON!), Aya Endou as Arisa (Miyuki in Lucky Star), Kazuhiko Inoue as Keido (Kakashi in Naruto), Nobutoshi Canna as Segai (Lancer in Fate/Stay Night), Yuka Nishigaki as Yuu (Kazemaru in Inazuma Eleven), Kouki Uchiyama as Daryl (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Anri Katsu as Argo (Tsuchimikado in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Nobuhiko Okamoto as Kenji (Niizuma in Bakuman), Chika Fujimura as Haruka (Sora in Oh Edo Rocket), Takahito Koyasu as Shibungi (Ilpalazzo in Excel Saga), Takahiro Mizushima as Yahiro (Nagasumi in Seto No Hanayome), Daisuke Sakaguchi as Souta (Shinpachi in Gintama), Minako Kotobuki as Kanon (Yuuko in A Channel), Yu Shimamura as Hare (Kurumi in Needless), Katsuhisa Houki as Okina (Jinbei in One Piece), Miyuki Kawasho as Kurachi (Tsuyuha in Manyuu Hikenchou) and Toshihiko Seki as Kurosu (Mousse in Ranma 1/2). The first opening by Supercell is My Dearest and is a fitting rock outfit that suits the action pace of this anime as with the second opening them The Everlasting Guilty Crown by Egoist. Though it is a fictional band in the series, the vocals are provided by Chelly. At first I thought how different it was Inori’s voice when she’s singing. Then I got to know it was by Chelly who substitutes her voice whenever she’s singing. The second ending theme, Kokuhaku by Supercell is also a rock outfit. But the first ending theme, Departures ~Anata Ni Okuru Ai No Uta~ by Egoist is a slow ballad. It may seem out of place but seeing the direction of this anime, sometimes when an episode ends, you just can’t feel sad or heart-warming. There are a bunch of insert songs used in this anime. Euterpe by Egoist must be the most frequently used one as this is the first song we hear from Inori. Despite being a slow and calming piece has a melancholic and depressing feel to it. The rest of the other songs by a bunch of other groups have this upbeat feel which are often used during battle sequences. It makes you want to cheer on the heroes. Otherwise, some of the slower pieces are used for dark and gloomy scenes.

I’m sure there are lots of underlying themes in this series. Firstly about being cruel to be kind. As seen with in Gai and Shu’s actions, in order for them to what is best for everyone in the end, they have to get down and dirty. For Shu, he is the only one who can draw out other people’s Void so he has to use this ability and keep others in line otherwise there would be more meaningless sacrifice. For Gai, he had to show who is in command and playing the antagonist isn’t easy as well. You really thought he had changed when he used other people’s Void without considering what would happen to them, eh? Well, some deaths are perhaps necessary for the better good. Then about the law of the survival of the fittest. This is necessary in basic evolution to ensure that the strongest will survive in the long run. So was it right for Shu who wants to save everyone, strong and weak disregarding this natural law? It’s good he doesn’t discriminate but if you’re talking about wanting to fend off future attacks that become stronger and stronger, say a virus, then I guess you’ll have to re-evaluate your philosophy thingy. Death is also another topic and with the numerous deaths seen here, it tells us that death strikes anyone indiscriminately and you can avoid it. Everybody dies one day. It’s not like you want to be Adam and Eve and live forever, right? Or do you? And yes, the over-used “When great powers come great responsibilities”. I guess you are responsible for your own actions. Sure you can blame others but ultimately it is you who did it. As far as this anime is concern, being king here isn’t fun because you’ll have to shoulder lots of heavy responsibilities and burden. You’ll have to take in the sins of everyone. Thus my theory of why this show is called Guilty Crown. Or maybe… It’s the reverse for the initials of Code Geass…

Even if viruses seem like the major baddies of epidemic shows, it’s usually the human factor that makes us the real villains. I’ve been infected with this obsession with anime for many years and it doesn’t seem it will get any better. Ironically the ‘cure’ to it is to watch more! Hey, that’s not really a cure. Fortunately it’s not infectious because my friends and family didn’t catch them :). The next time a real big epidemic virus is sweeping and spreading fast across the globe, if you ask me, I think I prefer to kick the bucket fast instead of waiting for researchers to come up with vaccine that would probably just be temporarily relief. It saves all the hassle and suffering. And how long would that take for a hero or saviour to show up?   Sometimes it isn’t the amount of effort put into the research of making the vaccine and cure. Sometimes it’s not the size and might of your army. Sometimes all it takes is just one right person and the right attitude to fix it all.

Copihan

June 15, 2012

I’m not sure what to make out of this anime Copihan because as stated it is just a school comedy taking place in Tokyo in the near future, year 2034. This series is a joint project of Gonzo and Kei, the illustrator manga version of Copihan who is best known for Hatsune Miku. But don’t be fooled to see any of that Vocaloid idol anywhere in this series. Besides, with each of the 7 episodes lasting as short as over 5 minutes, I can’t really fathom the randomness even though they are funny in their own way.

Episode 1
In the year 21st May 2034, Yuzuki Tsugayama is on her way to a baseball match. I’m not sure if it has something to do with boys peeping up her skirt. Sisters Saya and Sayu Mihashira are the cheeky commentators for the match between Kumashite High School and Sekishigire High School. When it’s Yuzuki’s turn to bat, she hits a home run on the first try! I guess this answers her critics for those who thought she is on the cheerleading team. Since Saya and Sayu continue to give lips service praising Yuzuki’s excellent play, Yuzuki is rather upset that they didn’t show her outstanding performance instead. And due to space limitations, they already warn this programme will be abruptly interrupted at 1:50, in which the climax has been cut out and replaced by the news. So much about finding out Yuzuki’s heroics.

Episode 2
Saya and Sayu get ready to host their live radio show for Kumashite High School. Saya starts off with a complaint to the principal that the east wing building of the school is taking forever to finish. Then they proceed to announce today’s theme for the listener’s mail (which is “I’m pissed off today”) followed by a corner that dedicates to those things you imagine a certain person would say (filled with corny puns by the way). Finally they announces today’s unlucky teacher and the results has world history teacher Ide as the ‘victim’. Speaking of which, a bucket of water just fell on his head. Coincidence or curse?

Episode 3
We are warned that this is a story about a busy girl who gets into all sorts of things. Yuna Kadokura is seen idling in the store flipping her pen till a customer shows up to buy a pack of cigarettes. The guy suddenly takes interest in her and wants her to be featured in the next issue of his published Playboy magazine. She declines but 3 weeks later, he face is in the magazine and the store owner thinks with her in it, more people will patron the store. While walking on the streets, she is stopped by a reporter who is scouting for new people to enter their makeover programme. Yuna declines as the reporter is interrupted by her handphone. After that, she continues pleading to her to join and what do you know? Yuna is on the programme and her makeover is so outstanding that it makes her look like a mature woman. See the before and after comparison? Her thoughts? Nothing really. Lastly her friends note how good she is at spinning pens and encourage her to enter a tournament. As usual she declines but 2 weeks later, there is a gold trophy sitting in her room. Uhm… I know she gets into all kinds of things but she a busy girl?

Episode 4
The female reporter who is covering the 24-hour coverage Mimasuka Police selects 24 year old police officer Haruhiko Tsugayama as her subject. Not looking forward, isn’t he? He is made to do an embarrassing “P” pose before the reporter follows him to his workplace at Hakoyanagai Police Station. The police chief Koshijo Kuwabara hijacks his screen time and later the reporter asks about Haruhiko’s reason of joining the force. It started off full of inspiration but when it turns into the part whereby his dad who was a policeman got fired, the reporter stops him and doesn’t want him to tell his sob story because it might scare the people. Then she thought there is a case going on as Haruhiko puts on his coat. Actually he’s just going out for lunch. I don’t know, she even suggests making a crime scene. Lastly as she asks him about the case he is working on (some hacker called Rei Deshima), Kuwabara once again tries to hijack the show using place cards. I don’t understand what’s happening because several guys in black start holding Haruhiko down and beating his ass with a club. WTF?! They say he’s out?

Episode 5
Hotaru Kitou leaves work, goes buy convenience store food and beer and then returns to the comfort of her home. After settling down nicely in front of her computer, she logs on to her… S&M lesson site!!! WOAH! As the sadistic teacher, she is going to teach all those sorry desktop pigs a lesson. Or a reward if you’re looking from their point of view. First, put your smelly toes on the keyboard and use them to close the laptop till they turn blue! Then put those toes on the keyboard and lick them! People, unless you are one of those ‘special’ people receiving this ‘special’ treatment, don’t try it anyhow or anywhere. It’s madness!!!

Episode 6
The events are similar to Saya and Sayu’s radio show but instead of focusing on them in the broadcast room, we see them from Hiromi Urino and her cat hand puppet’s view as the programme is being aired. While Hiromi is the quiet girl, the cat is the one who is being noisy and making all the comments. Makes you wonder if she’s a damn good ventriloquist. But definitely a person who is bloody good with her hands literally because on one hand she has this hand puppet and on the other she is texting with her iPhone!!! Superb! So we learn they are the pair who sent in puns and mails under the name of Mayori so much so they always win that handphone strap. It’s their 28th one. Because the puppet is being too noisy, Hiromi has to ‘shut it up’. But what does she mean, ‘no broken clutch system’?

Episode 7
At Hyakuten Shrine, Asagi Tsugayama notes her shrine’s 200 year old history and she is the 13th generation continuing to protect the shrine. Suddenly she sees a vision of a shady guy trying to make a pass on a lady. However she kicks him where it hurts most. This has her to remember when she realized about her modesty when boys started peeping up her skirt. Observing a couple of boys at the shrine, they started talking about a 5 Yen coin. Note that in the future, all sale and purchase transactions are cashless and are by card system so it is rare to see a real coin anymore. The boys make fun of how dirty the coin is and toss it into the donation box. Asagi notes if you look at the past and discover something new, then you have acquired knowledge. This has her remember the time she forgot to put her homework on her handphone. Her friend, Omoto Kumogiri offers to upload his data to hers. However she read his thoughts as this is part of his plan to get on her good side so he can receive Valentine’s Day chocolates. She gets annoyed and changes her mind. She is snapped out when the naughty boys make a mess over the leaves she raked. So she just heaves a sigh and notes there are things that are okay to be seen and those should be left unnoticed. The end omake feels like a dramatic movie trailer filled with madness and power.

Copi-huh?
Well, what just happened? Don’t get it, do you? I don’t blame you. Neither did I. So what I can see here is that each episode is focused on a particular character but nothing much in depth because it lasts for only 5 minutes! They are interesting in their own way like the athletic Yuzuki, the cheeky Mihashira sisters, the taciturn Yuna, the sadistic Hotaru and the ventriloquist Hiromi. You wish there would be some in-depth to these characters but the duration of the series won’t permit. By the time the episode ends, it makes you go WTF. So if you really want to watch this series, make sure you do so because you have free time on your hands. You won’t gain anything and of course you won’t lose much, just you 7 episodes x 5 minutes of life chucked away if you feel this series is a disappointment. The art and drawing is rather okay and your typical Japanese anime and if you like these kind of drawing then I guess you’ll find the cute girls here to your liking. The only interesting thing that caught my attention is the way people pay with their electronic cards. You don’t see them taking out the notes and coins anymore and it is amazing to know that this may be a possible daily occurrence in the future. A cashless society could save all those troubles of robbery and mugging but at the same a bunch of other headaches such as electronic breakdown like suddenly your funds go missing. There are pros and cons of having something that is tangible and otherwise. Oh wait. Was this series supposed to have any discussion on this? I must have strayed a little there. I’m not sure if they will be producing anymore future episodes but if they show more of Yuzuki’s shima pantsu, maybe it would peak my interest and have a peep…

Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040

January 14, 2012

It has been mankind’s dream to develop technology to the extent that robots provide us with lots modern conveniences to ease the burden of our everyday lives. Seems pretty cool to have machines do those tedious and ‘boring’ jobs for you but really, is this the real meaning of living? Many cartoons and animes back in the 80’s and 90’s that tackle the futuristic human lifestyle with robots genre always seem to have this one-kind feeling. At least that is what I felt. Whether it is the Jetsons or Robotech, there is just this feeling of futuristic-but-yet-primitive experience. Hmm… Maybe the animation at that period isn’t that good yet.

So it’s the same case with Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, a year 1998 remake and retelling of the OVA called Bubblegum Crisis that first appeared back in the late 80’s. As usual, in the near distant future, mankind has advanced and learned to live with robots termed as Boomers. I guess it must be humans’ nature to get arrogant and step on the head of those they deemed weak so Boomers even if they have limited artificial intelligence, are a bunch of under-appreciated and discriminated lot of machines being made to do ‘dirty’ jobs that we humans don’t really want to do. Of course there are more dangerous jobs which are more suited for these automated machines but that’s beside the point. Having these Boomers with near-human-like characteristics, there are times their circuits may just go haywire and they snap. Going berserk and attacking their surroundings. So these Mad Boomers need to be constantly being kept a close watch on especially by the AD Police to prevent the livelihood and safety of the citizens from being threatened. Of course with the recent increase in Mad Boomers, the AD Police seems just like for decoration so we have a mysterious vigilante group that cleans up this mess faster before you can say, “OMG! Is that a bird? Is it a plane?”. Herald the Knight Sabers, a group of women in robotic-like hard suits to save the day. But they too have their own issues to deal with as the line between humans and Boomers further blurs.

Episode 1
As narrated, the Genom Corporation’s Showhamm Project, an ambitious endeavour to save the world and solving their energy woes is steadily progressing in orbit. Saleswoman Linna Yamazaki is going to have lunch with her female colleague when a biker lady zooms so close that she falls and causes her to spill her lunch. She confronts her but all she did was point to the scar on her forehead before riding away. She must be that desperate that she chases the biker down the steps (in high heels!) and even slides down the pole! Biker lady plays it cool by just going away into the opposite direction. Is throwing her high heels going to help? Nothing she can do but cry, right? Because of that, she gets reprimanded by her Boomer (robot) employer for being in a mess. She is made to clean up when her male higher-up offers to take her sightseeing tonight since she is new in Tokyo Megalopolis. Nene Romanova finishes her watch at the AD Police Intelligence Agency Management Centre while her colleague Leon McNichol continues to patrol the streets for Mad Boomers (robots gone crazy and dangerous). As Linna dates her higher-up she spots a poster that bears the same eyes of the biker lady. At a bar, the higher-up tries to caress her thighs and even threatens about her future career when a Mad Boomer starts destroying the place. Guess what? The jerk is the first one to run out for his life. As the other bar patrons panic and stampede to the exit, seems the Mad Boomer is targeting Linna. If she can’t get out, she goes up. Bad move because the Boomer destroys the stairways and leaves her hanging on the edge. Just then, a couple of suited Knight Sabers appear to come to her rescue and totally destroy the Boomer. Linna recognizes one of them as the biker lady due to her gesture. Once Linna is safe on the ground, they quickly disappear into the shadows as Leon arrives but it’s too late (seems he doesn’t like the Knight Sabers very much). Next day in office, Linna decides to show her appreciation to her higher-up by giving him a good punch. He deserves it. The biker lady, Priscilla S. “Priss” Asagiri a bar but she sees Linna in front of her. She’s not here to settle the petty grudge. She says she wants to join Knight Sabers but Priss just zooms pass by leaving her standing behind in her wake.

Episode 2
Leon is being reprimanded by his boss, Nick Roland because he was beaten to the scene by illegal armoured groups to handle the Boomer. As for methods to control the Knight Sabers, he gives excuse it is out of their jurisdiction. Outside, Leon’s partner, Daley Wong mentions about their hard suits which has more mobility from their K-suits. Though Leon things that they are only targeting Boomers and not getting into criminal activities, they are a bunch doing it not for justice but violence. Daley thinks that they may be doing it as tests for the suits and may be part of a larger organization. However Leon refuses to acknowledge them. Priss goes to see her superior, Sylia Stingray for her last gig’s pay. She also wonders if she can make another hard suit but reveals nothing further. Linna gets reprimanded while trying to search for info on Knight Sabers at work but her search is futile. Then she goes to use her higher-up’s PC in hopes she may find something. Nene detects somebody trying to access AD Police’s server and decides to scare the other end with a death threat warning. Sylia’s butler, Meisio Henderson advises her about not trying to increase members of the Knight Sabers too quickly but she’s in no haste. Sylia receives a message saying that Tower personnel are spreading counter claims that Boomers are safe. Sylia gets upset and smashes her screen. Seems she views Boomers as monsters and are a threat to humans. The chairman of Genom, Quincy Rosenkreutz talks to his vice president Brian J. Mason on how much he loves Boomers because they bear all of humanity’s burden. He despises humans for looking down on others to justify their existence. Even with the declining market and overproduction of Boomers, he wants the production of Boomers to continue as part of his Showhamm Project. Linna confronts Priss after her band rehearsal and is adamant she wants to join Knight Sabers because she always looked up to them. However Priss plays dumb and leaves. This time Linna follows her as she has placed a tracker on her bike. Can her scooter keep up? Of course not! Even if Priss is testing her, it broke down. Miraculously, Linna manages to push all the way to a place and spots Priss talking to Sylia. She enters the building after them. After following a secret pathway, she meets the Knight Sabers. Sylia seems interested in her after Linna explains her enthusiast in the Knight Sabers. Sylia tells her that the hard suits must be tailored made to fit the body and there isn’t any for her now. She has Linna do a simulation on past Knight Sabers’ action recorder to get a feel of what she’ll be experiencing. Linna seems to learn fast and she gets violent in destroying the Boomer. Though trembling at the end of the simulation, she mentions the incredible sensation of it.

Episode 3
Priss sees Nigel Kirkland to get her bike fix and also tell him that Sylia plans to create a new hard suit. Leon visits Nene to find out more on Knight Sabers but she feigns ignorance and tricks him with false info. Nigel goes to see Sylia and has brought along equipment to make the hard suit for Linna based on the data that she has and then conducting a test on it. Linna and Nene are at a cafeteria together as they talk about how and why they join Knight Sabers. Nene joined as she was scouted by Sylia for her hacking abilities. Their conversation is interrupted when a Boomer waitress accidentally spills a drink on a guy customer. He becomes furious and tells the Boomer to lick it dry. Linna can’t stand it and tells him off and embarrass the guy till he goes away. Meanwhile Mason sees Rosenkreutz about Knight Sabers but the latter is okay to let them roam free since they are taking care of the menace voluntarily. Plus, he has invested a lot in AD Police and that their most important thing is that they are being hated by the public. He also has pressured the media on not reporting the vigilantes. Furthermore, he notes that there is no such thing called Mad Boomers and it’s a non-existent threat. Nene and Linna return to HQ as they see Nigel leaving. Just in time for Linna to try on her hard suit. Yeah, lots of power ups and upgrades that even Nene would feel jealous. It’s a new model, remember? The inner suit is already so tight but it fits perfectly as Linna gets a feel of the suit and is having fun. Just then, Priss calls in to report a Mad Boomer incident. Yeah, it’s that Boomer waitress at cafeteria going berserk… Terrorizing by licking? Sylia has Nene and Linna blast right into action since it’ll take longer to send the suit to Priss. Priss takes on the Mad Boomer herself to free the captive but since it morphs its shape into a stronger one, she goes into hiding. Sylia tells Priss to get out and let Knight Sabers handle it. Leon and Daley just arrive at the scene in time for some Boomer-kicking action.

Episode 4
The Knight Sabers enter the scene exactly the same time with Leon and Daley. Leon goes to cover Priss and thinks he has seen her somewhere before. Priss uses this chance to escape so that she could get into her hard suit in Sylia’s mobile truck. Nene gets hit by the Mad Boomer so Linna charges and grabs it. Before she could crush its core, her suit malfunctions and shuts down. Now she’s a sitting duck. The Boomer starts crushing her when Priss returns in her suit to destroy the Mad Boomer once and for all. Because of the bungling AD Police backup charging in when the show is already over, the Knight Sabers manage to escape. Back in the truck while Linna is catching her breath, Sylia and Nene commend her actions but Priss is upset that Sylia sent a rookie into battle. Though Linna thanks Priss for saving her, she mentions she doesn’t want to be on a team with an amateur and leaves. Next day Linna goes to visit Priss at her trailer home in some rundown street to apologize. She wonders why she joined Knight Sabers and her reply is that it isn’t anything to do about upholding justice and she’s only in for the money. Linna vows to get stronger than her. Meisio is worried for Sylia but the latter insists that everything is alright and that she isn’t doing this to avenge her father’s death nor does she have any ulterior motives. Obviously a lie. When he mentions Jill’s case, Sylia suddenly cuts him off and raises her voice saying that it was an accident. Then she receives report from Nene saying she managed to find info on Genom’s server that all Boomers that have gone mad have serial numbers. However the thing that puzzles her is that those that didn’t went mad are on the list. Sylia fears that it is possible to choose which Boomers to go mad. She is further frustrated by the fact that her father couldn’t have made such algorithm that would be easily understood and that the core of the Boomers can’t be touched. At some factory, several suspicious MIBs inject some virus capsule into a Boomer. Linna trains hard to be strong while Linna continues her stage performance. Leon seems to be a patron at the bar and has found her. After her performance, Priss’ band-mates wonder if there’s something bugging her since she’s not really concentrating but she didn’t say anything. When she leaves, she sees Leon waiting outside but ignores him. Then she gets a call of another Mad Boomer case so she leaves a scathing remark (since Leon refused to be ignored) that she hates stupid idiots at AD Police and leaves him eating her dust trails. Then Leon gets a call from Daley of a Mad Boomer’s appearance.

Episode 5
AD Police along with Leon and Daley arrive on the scene. They barge in assuming that there are no survivors since the factory’s situation is getting dangerous. Yeah, the Mad Boomers are fusing with other Boomers. Sylia dispatches her Knight Sabers and though they also arrive at the scene, they just keep watch behind the shadows. They feel they need to cut the electricity power that is feeding the Mad Boomer power but Nene goes to take care of the AD Police’s spy cameras first. Mason talks to Rosenkreutz about letting the AD Police move first since their goal is to capture the Knight Sabers. Rosenkreutz the possibility of making Boomers go berserk on purpose but Mason denies and the current one was because they saved a core of a previous Mad Boomer (those MIBs) and planted it into this one. Rosenkreutz asks if Mason hates Boomers but he didn’t answer and leaves. Rosenkreutz wonders why Knight Sabers hate Boomers and wants them to love and respect Boomers since they are the ones who revived the megalocity. Once they do so, humans and Boomers can co-exist peacefully. Mason is passionately kissing a lady outside. He mentions that he hates Boomers even though he is kissing that zombie’s ass because he likes Boomers (WTF?!) but is searching for his own Boomer. The AD Police are having a tough time and are getting slaughtered. They never learn that their weapons have no effect. They call in the K-suits and though it seems they are successful, however the Mad Boomer begins to fuse with them! Once Nene cuts off the power supply shrinking the Mad Boomer to normal size, the Knight Sabers go into action to take out the Mad Boomer. Amidst the action, Sylia reminisces how she and her mom watched her dad creating a semi-human. Mom wasn’t happy because it’s like playing God. Of course mommy got upset that daddy considers his work more important than his family. So when mommy died, daddy promises to take care of Sylia. That is, by asking her to work for him. Yeah, use your child as your experiment, eh? What is a confused child to do but to agree all for the sake of her father. Though all she has to do is ‘sleep’, daddy was pretty happy that he can give life to a Boomer. Linna was in the best chance to destroy the Mad Boomer’s core but was paralyzed by shock. She sums up enough courage to crush it. With mission accomplished, they prepare to escape but the K-suit guys start firing at them, though it’s just as a threat. Linna slips down when a beam gives way. Her powers are exhausted so she continues to free fall.

Episode 6
Nene and Priss find that AD Police have surrounded them when they reach the top. But they go back down to save Linna from a rampaging K-suit who has a grudge against the Knight Sabers. Though Priss fights them, her hard suit soon loses power. AD Police has them cornered but suddenly a white Knight Saber appears before them. She is Sylia and she kicks AD Police ass so hard and fast enough to avoid their gunshots, she makes them reeling in defeat. This must leave another black mark in the AD Police records. Yeah, everything is showing on live telecast. Sylia gets a surprise guest: Mackey. He is her younger brother. Even Meisio is surprised by it but she welcomes him with open arms. Sylia sees Nigel repairing the hard suits. He needs at least a week to restore them back to normal. She blows her top thinking that period is too long and there may be possibilities of Boomers going mad. She apologizes after realizing her outburst and tells him about Mackey. Mason discusses with Rosenkreutz about the increased frequency of Boomers going mad lately but their Showhamm Project is on schedule. He wants Mason to focus on the project and let Yoshikiri handle all matters relating to Boomers. Mason then asks his lady to laugh for no reason. She laughed so long that it sounded so creepy. Mackey visits Nigel repairing the hard suits and admires what he does. Sylia then says he has no permission to enter here and wants him to come eat with her. Mackey praises Nigel and that he likes machines too. Sylia gets upset and yells not to consider machines like human beings. She soon apologizes for her outburst and assures him that he’s her real younger brother and will live together. Linna talks to Nene and she is envious that she didn’t need to put in much effort to move in the hard suit unlike her who has been going to the gym but feels her efforts are wasted. Nene comforts her by saying she too doesn’t understand how the suit functions too but if they don’t work hard, the hard suit will just be a heavy suit. Mackey brings food for Nigel and continues to watch him repair. Nigel slowly opens up and gets him to help out. Since he notices a part missing, he wants him to go upstairs to find it. Mackey gets excited and jumps at the chance of doing it. Thing is, he doesn’t know which room. Call it bad luck because the first room he had to pick was where the Knight Saber girls are changing. He panics and rushes back down but the girls follow him. Nigel tells them about Mackey being Sylia’s brother. But Nene is still upset and wonders how much of her he saw. He assures he left the room quickly so he didn’t see her pink panties. Oops…

Episode 7
Bill Nordberg operates a remote slave Boomer called Moto in the deep seas of Atlantic. He calls his wife Erin but she is furious that he only came home twice this year and even so that was only for 5 hours. She hangs up. Bill replays the video and his eyes must be bloody sharp because he zooms in the reflection of her watch and sees a naked man in her bed. Oh sh*t. He goes crazy. Nene tries out her fixed hard suit which has much more improvement. Though Nigel mentions that tuning has become faster due to Mackey’s help, Sylia wants Mackey to stay out of this since she wants him to be an ordinary boy and all this has got nothing to do with him. Later Sylia sees an informant, Kuzui and is upset that the production of Boomers will be increased. Something about exploration to the next frontier for resources like Jupiter and Saturn. Then she learns that Moto has been sighted in Tokyo. Kuzui reports to Mason the appearance of Moto in Tokyo for about a month since the reflector controlling it has a wife living there. Mason will have the AD Police take care of it. While Erin is frolicking with her lover, she spots Moto outside and is shocked her husband has returned. Nigel and Daley with the AD Police surround Moto but it escapes. Then they storm into Erin’s house but finds the situation under control (that lover is stark naked!). Daley does some investigation on Bill and thinks Genom is hiding something. Based on the video clip on Bill operating Moto, that latest clip is one month ago. Suddenly water bursts into the room and the transmission is cut. Moto starts rampaging on the streets and it seems to have memories of Bill spent with his wife. Nene and Priss only are dispatched to the scene since Linna’s suit isn’t ready yet. Nene gets pumped up to test her new improved skills on the Mad Boomer. Lucky Priss is still around to save her butt. Mackey learns that Priss’ suit isn’t ready yet and Nigel is lethargic in telling Sylia since he considers his job only to maintain and fix the hard suits. When Mackey is able to get through to Sylia and tell her about the problem, Sylia panics and feels guilty that all this is her fault. Too late because Priss’ left arm starts malfunctioning. Mackey then gives instructions on how to overcome her problem. Nigel makes this a special exception and helps out. Erin comes running frantically to the scene, thinking Bill has come back to see her. She is restrained by Leon and being told that her husband died a month ago in an accident. Priss manages to untangle herself and destroy the Boomer before they escape. In the aftermath, Erin is being consoled by Leon and Daley. They even went far enough to investigate how much her husband has been planning to come back to see her for his 3 week vacation, a trip to the southern islands that he is planning with her and a gold watch gift! Wow. Erin realizes how much Bill kept thought about her and breaks down. Well, too bad he’s gone.

Episode 8
A video interview on pensive Priss about her singing life and one if she wasn’t. Is this episode for Priss? We see her surprised that Nigel has taken on an assistant but he insists it’s more of Mackey finding his own comfortable place. After her performance, we see her ride her bike. Nigel spots her and gives chase. Stopping by somewhere (I guess Priss was too fast, so she stopped to admire the scenery), Nigel comes up to her and starts ranting how he was once a traffic cop chasing crazy bikers. However Priss knows what his intention is and asserts she hates the AD Police whether they’re corrupted or honourable. She ranks them lower than bugs and doesn’t intend to be his friend before zooming off. Daley teases him for being rejected. Mackey eats with Sylia as she notices he still continues to frequent Nigel’s place. Mackey goes on talking about Nigel working on a super bike and is amazed by it though he doesn’t understand it well. He says Nigel and Priss are similar. Though they don’t talk much, they love machines very much and somehow communicate with it. Sylia is upset and tells him not to chat during meal. She soon regrets her actions but Mackey says he’d always love her and thought if he came to live with her, things will be the same. However he is the only one who hasn’t changed. He is going to live with Nigel. Linna sleepovers at Nene’s place. Nene did invite Priss but she prefers to be a woman. Linna wonders if Priss likes women but Nene laughs it off but says Priss once loved a man but he died, the reason she’s singing in a band now. A Mad Boomer in the form of a race car goes berserk. Nigel and Daley dispatch to the scene. Nene and Linna are rudely awakened from their slumber by Sylia to quell the menace. The duo have a hard time keeping this fast machine at bay. Mackey contacts Sylia and says Nigel has completed his super bike called Motoslave and will have Priss use it since it is able to keep up with the Boomer. Sylia orders the duo to back off since Priss will ram into the Boomer head on. Playing chicken? Priss has full confidence in Nigel’s creation that it won’t break easily. They collide. Priss and the Motoslave seem okay. But the Boomer… It’s still going on. Priss turns around and catches up before successfully taking out its core and sending it crashing off the bridge. Priss sings alone on stage in her empty bar. She notices Linna, Nene and Mackey clapping while Leon watches from a distance. She continues her performance.

Episode 9
A reluctant maintenance worker and his Boomer conduct underground tunnel repairs. Then something starts to go wrong because he starts panicking. Linna learns from her colleague some office gossip (somebody got demoted for receiving kickbacks from Genom) and recently there are several Boomers going missing. Sylia is also investigating this case and finds it suspicious since there are several similar cases and though no humans were harmed and no Boomers went berserk, the news did not report anything on it. Also, Kuzui reports to Mason about the missing Boomers and thinks they may have been destroyed on site. He believes that many of the disappearances occur in Area 28, an area with a lab company called Bioscape is located. Suddenly somebody tries to hack into the data so Kuzui cuts intermission to catch the hacker but failed. The hacker turns out to be Nene. Leon almost finds out what she’s doing. Then they talk about that live house Priss performs. Nene could guess that he’s interested in Priss but he denies and says Priss was the one who invited her, surprising Nene. Since he doesn’t know much about her, she teases him if he wants to know her address but won’t give it to him. He ‘panics’ when he wonders if Priss has a special guy. Later Nene contacts Priss about Leon and teases her that she is after all a woman. She brushes it off. I guess Nene still couldn’t let this hot topic go so she tells Linna about it. Yeah, something about being a late bloomer and needing somebody to give a little push. A Knight Saber and AD Police as a couple? A group of maintenance workers discuss about not going to underground areas in outlying areas because everything below a certain level was Deep Underground, a forbidden and secret place whereby some companies and even the government built secret facilities. Those facilities did experiments like P4. He advises that if they ever hit one of those labs, never go in further. Meanwhile Sylia realizes that she may not hate Boomers but fear them. But why is Mackey still around? I thought he is living with Nigel? Unless Nigel lives here too? Sylia asserts that she will protect him. Later as Nene shows some hacking technique to Mackey, Sylia comes in. When she hears about Leon who is Nene’s colleague at AD Police and is interested in Priss and thinks of helping him, Sylia blows her top and ticks her off. She warns if she doesn’t know what she’s doing, she’ll get fired for dragging everyone down. Nene sulks every since. Linna sees Priss at the bar and asks why she hates AD Police. Priss thinks Nene may have said something so she replies that she just didn’t like the way they do things. They get a call from Sylia that a Boomer has gone mad. Nigel and Daley arrive at a facility in Area 28 where a Boomer is running rampage. I guess they couldn’t take care of it soon because the Knight Sabers kick into action. Nene charges straight to prove that she’s not a burden but her plan backfires. Suddenly the ground gives way and emerges a large Boomer (or is it a monster from those Ultraman shows?). It grabs Nene and the Boomer with its tentacle and starts devouring the Boomer!

Episode 10
Seems the monster is only interested in eating the Boomer and tosses Nene away. As usual the AD Police arrive late but the monster returns underground. Since the Boomer threat is gone, the Knight Sabers have orders to return to base. Kuzui reports this to Mason and that he has taken care of the media (covered up, that is). Leon and his boss are in a heated argument. Leon isn’t happy they have received orders from higher ups to drop this investigation. He is worried that no one will take care of the monster but the boss reiterates their job as to keep the city safe from Mad Boomers. A little trivia: Leon is so upset that he punches and destroys a button at the vending machine. I noticed the machine has the words “Coffee Breaker” on it. Breaker. Geddit? However they both have an idea. They visit Nene at AD Police in hopes of getting some information. She thought it was regarding Priss and tells Leon to do it himself. I don’t know how, but he managed to persuade to give him a top secret map of the underground of Area 28. Mason too has his own personal team who believes in him that Rosenkreutz isn’t aware about. The team descends into the tunnel to search for the monster. Mason he is not interested in the monster but rather the possibility that Boomers may have been born at the same place with it. Priss goes to see Sylia and tells her straight about what’s bugging her. She doesn’t want to suffer the mistake of others (though she doesn’t care if they get hurt) and wants Sylia to use her authority to withdraw Nene from the battlefront. But Sylia makes a bet. If Priss wins, she will have Nene withdraw but if Sylia wins, she must do whatever she is told to. The next mission will be the next bet. If Priss performs better than Nene, she wins. Vice versa. Mackey apologizes to Nene for Sylia but Nene feels that she’s been dragging down and that Linna is also surpassing her. But Mackey still thinks she’s incredible due to her hacking skills. As Nene takes out her little hacking device, she realizes the AD Police duo are missing some important equipment before heading to that place.

Leon and Daley are underground and see with their own eyes the monster devouring Boomers. Mason’s men arrive and attack. The monster backs away but they follow. Knight Sabers are also at the scene. Daley and Mason enter a place they think was once a lab but now the monster’s lair. The see all of Mason’s team dead on the ground. Then they are caught by surprise by the monster. It uses its sonic wave but it is only effective on Boomers. Though if you’re not careful, its enormous strength can still kill you like what it probably did to those guys. Leon is in the path of its direct hit when the Knight Sabers arrive to save him. Nene on the other hand hacks into the data to find the monster’s weakness. Because of so, Mackey and Mason’s professor is able to see the data as the latter tries to collect as much as possible. Then Sylia realizes the sonic waves only affects the formation of the Boomers and wants Mackey to prepare her hard suit. Linna and Priss are in a pinch since their suits become powerless. They are freed by Sylia who in turn gets captured (do we see a trend here?). Then she starts having this vision of her young self. A tidal wave is about to engulf her but she saw her dad (very gigantic) in the background. She snaps out when Nene calls to her. Seems she has found its weakness as she fires into the monster’s mouth and destroys its core. After it collapses, the Knight Sabers escape. Mason’s professor reports that the place was definitely Bioscape Lab and there were Boomer developments there. When he starts ranting about the monster’s origin, Mason cuts him off! Not interested in that kind of details, eh? Meanwhile it’s Priss loss so she has to keep her promise. That is, to wear feminine dress and make-up in a photo shoot. Nene can’t help herself to help Priss smile as she pulls her cheeks for the camera.

Episode 11
Another Boomer attack. Because Linna had to work overtime, she is rushing over to the scene in her mini scooter! Can she get there in time?! Unfortunately it breaks down. Nene and Priss are at the scene and took out the Boomer. By the time Linna pushes her scooter all the way there, the crowd applause the Knight Sabers. Mason reports the recent incident and status of the Showhamm Project to Rosenkreutz. Seems some Dragon construction of an underground stream is behind schedule. Rosenkreutz reminds him about the project’s goal to create unlimited energy. Then he adds that he is able to continue living without organs due to machines and these machines depend on energy. He bought all the Boomers and facilities created by Dr Stingray because he thought Boomers were a new form of humanity. But he was wrong. They are friends of mankind and he can’t be one of them. In short, he plans to become the system of this planet and guide humanity and Boomers to the true path. Forever. Oh uh. That doesn’t sound good. As Mason leaves, he comes into Kuzui who starts asking him several questions but he does not reveal anything. Kuzui reports to Sylia what he knows on Dragon construction and the use of outside specialists. This has Sylia remembering who Mason is. When she was young and her dad was busy with work, Mason told her to be a good girl and not disturb daddy at work. She wonders what his target is. Mason is researching the recent clip of the Knight Sabers in action and notices it is not an ordinary suit. He wonders if they are inherited from Dr Stingray. He pulls a list of staffs from Wiz Lab who aren’t dead and notices Nigel, an engineer in the Boomer facility, among them. Meanwhile Linna has taken leave from work to return to her hometown. She can only stay for a day but her mom insists to stay at least till the day after tomorrow. Linna could guess she wants her to attend a marriage interview. Damn right she is. She probably didn’t like the idea very much but when the other family and his handsome son come in, she starts blushing. Heh. Masaki seems to be quite a nice chap as they chat about things like Tokyo and what they want to do. He suggests that they start becoming friends to know each other better. Nene leaves her shift sharp but Leon and Daley wants her to work overtime to research a video clip of the Knight Sabers attacking a Boomer. Seems some good citizen has captured it on his video camera. Nene loathes it but she has to do it. While watching the clip, she notices how the Knight Sabers were perfectly recorded. But she senses something amiss. She wonders why the film was rolling even before they got there. Like as though someone was waiting for them. Then an alert of another Mad Boomer. As Priss rushes to the scene, Nene can’t seem to leave her office. She contacts Linna in the middle of her conversation with Masaki and wants her to take action now. You mean, really now? She is having a nice time with her date and you want her to leave him to take care of some Mad Boomer?

Episode 12
As Daley finds out, the Boomer just escaped from the hangar of the Ministry of Defence. The place is turned into a warzone as there are lots of missiles fired, destroying the homes. Civilians are being evacuated while the place is being cordoned off. I guess Linna can’t stop worrying so she had to excuse herself. Nice guy Masaki understands and lets her go do what she has to do. Because Genom isn’t releasing info on the Boomer’s specs, Nene uses her sophisticated virus to hack into the Ministry of Defence’s site to download all the necessary in a blink of an eye when the firewall’s down. Priss is the only one arriving on the scene as she watches the Boomer transform before her eyes. She is having a hard time finding the core and using up too much of her energy. So much so, Leon had to fire shots to back and cover her. He’s never done this for a Knight Saber, eh? Then Linna arrives on scene. Man, she must have taken the express train back and rushed into her hard suit. She gives Priss the much needed booster so they both combine their attacks to rip apart its core. In the aftermath, Rosenkreutz is reprimanding that Mason didn’t do anything to censor the media before it turn into this mess. He is not too happy knowing that the AD Police too didn’t do much. He worked so hard to get people to accept Boomers and also opposed to military Boomers and this is the result he gets? Well, Mason said he left it to handle it. Rosenkreutz got so stressed he starts coughing like mad. But Mason is smirking… While Sylia and her gang are having a nice meal down at the pool side, Mackey is impressed with Nene’s hacking and wants her to help him with the system downstairs. She shows him what she can and their face got too close and almost turned into a romance drama. As Mackey leaves for Nigel’s place, he is shocked to see him with Mason. So shock that he dropped his bicycle. Mason recognizes Mackey as Dr Stingray’s kid but Nigel dismisses it and says he has the wrong person. After Mason leaves, Mackey hounds Nigel for answers on what Manson wants or told him about Sylia but he didn’t respond. Sylia is being informed by Kuzui that Mason is searching for the Wiz Lab (supposedly Dr Stingray’s lab) underground which using his team of engineers of Dragon project. Sylia shivers in fear upon knowing that and mentions the name Galatea. Seems all this was part of Mason’s ploy. Kuzui sells out information to anybody who can give him the highest price. Simple economics? As a reward, he has his Boomer assistant strangle him! I guess he deserves it too. As Nene thinks about Mackey (nothing romantic lah), she runs a search on Sylia’s family. But she gets alarmed when she realizes the picture of Sylia and Mackey was taken 10 years ago in 2030 and wonders who this boy is.

Episode 13
Sylia goes to see an old acquaintance Dr Shan and needs his help. However he already knows the situation of Mason boring underground holes in Mega Tokyo to find Wiz Lab but kept missing. Though he too doesn’t know its exact location, he thinks the reason why Mason keeps missing is may be because of the old data. He notes the dots data Mason has and the lines data they have. And if they can find the right variable, they may know where the lab is. He gives the data to Sylia as a form of atonement since they’ve invested a lot in this study. Nene goes to talk to Priss about Sylia. She is curious about her and the reason why she created the Knight Sabers and her hatred for Boomers. Priss can tell she’s pretty bothered about it. Nene at work, hacks to find more information about Dr Stingray and finds something shocking. Sylia uses Dr Shan’s data, some sonar and the hard suit to narrow the possible locations to 27 places. She thinks of using Genom’s help to seal it and she’s confident now since technology now has made it possible as compared to 7 years earlier. Later Nene goes to talk to Mackey to find out more about his past with Sylia. Seems pretty much ordinary. Mason receives report that Dr Shan has been contacted. He notes that Dr Shan’s organization who’s active behind the world economy is quiet now because Genom had pushed them away. Since their history is longer than Genom’s, he thinks it’s worth using them. He also used Kuzui’s leak data after considering Dr Stingray’s past personnel network. And the reason he is negotiating with Nigel is because he wants to use the inheritance left by Dr Stingray. Sylia calls her Knight Sabers to check the undergrounds for Wiz Lab and will pay double. But Priss has a question and wonders if there is something dangerous since it’s her father’s lab. Sylia requests not to ask any more questions but Priss accepts the mission. However Nene ponders why she won’t let Mackey know about the mission. She goes on revealing that she did some personal search on her background. She found out that there are no records that Dr Stingray had a son. She thought it was a mistake in the family registry or reports on his birth or adoption. It’s like there’s no trace of him whatsoever. So who is that kid? Sylia remains silent. Nene continues if he is related to the lab accident. The year before the great earthquake, the company Dr Stingray was working for, Bioscape was bought by Genom who took over the Boomer project and it underwent mass production since Dr Stingray managed to create the core. Suddenly a mysterious lab accident happened and though police were called in, they failed to secure the situation and all lab personnel were killed. And since that situation is judged to be impossible to be saved, Rosenkreutz ordered the creation of an artificial earthquake which was in trial in that lab. Yup, so that killer earthquake that caused many lives was indeed artificial. Sylia can’t say anything. Not even what secret the lab holds. However she can say that Mackey has nothing to do with the accident. Because of that Nene can’t trust her anymore and walks away. Sylia feels remorseful that she didn’t tell them anything and took them for granted. But Priss and Linna are sticking with her since they can’t leave something dangerous like that. The duo start their mission as they blast off into the sky but a spy outside reports to Mason that they have begun their move.

Episode 14
Nene continues to be gloomy as Leon even notices this. But she changes the subject concerning his progress with Priss. Even Daley joins in teasing him, much to Leon’s dismay. Priss and Linna continue their underground work for Sylia. After that as they treat themselves to a well deserved hot spa and massage, they talk about their job. At one point Sylia seemed desperate. When Priss wanted to go off track and explore a region herself, Sylia was yelling at her to come back like a mad mother scolding her daughter! When they returned to her, Sylia wanted to continue on her own from this point but since they’ve come this far, Priss just can’t let it slide. Sylia agrees for them to help out further. Mackey is looking for Sylia but as Meisio points out, she’s not around. The butler says how she cares for him but it seems Mackey is rather feeling something strange in his body. Like as though somebody’s calling him. Sylia continues her investigation and even gets a gigantic cannon from Dr Shan. A spy reports Sylia moving out to Mason so he has them standby in action. Nene at AD Police receives a report of an underground explosion at the south area. She remembers this is where Whiz Lab is as Sylia had mentioned. She wanted to rush off but her superior gave orders for them to standby and do nothing since the decision came from top management. Nene contacts Linna at work, informing her that Sylia has gone alone to the lab and those agents from Genom are chasing her. Priss picks up Linna shortly as they rush to base. Sylia in her hard suit descends to the underground at the south area. Soon Mason and his team arrive and follow. And shortly after that, Mackey too sneakily climbs in. As Sylia wades through the underground maze, she enters a room and activates the power. Wait a minute. Power is still running in this area?! Continuing her journey, she passes by a machine that she identifies as Guinea Pig. Finally she reaches a room with a big blob in the centre and sets her microwave cannon to destroy it. Before she can do that, Mason and his team arrive. Mason thanks her for guiding her here and knows she intends to destroy the contents without unsealing it. He notes that 7 years ago, ‘she’ wasn’t affected by a destructive power like that. Sylia is confident because that’s 7 years ago. She isn’t going to let him have ‘her’. Then Mason realizes Sylia is using the power from Skyhook (some electric train/plane transport) to fire her weapon. I don’t know why, but everybody just stood there in shock while Sylia fries the blob. Shouldn’t Mason at least order his men to stop her? Nooooo. Instead they all just watch her. Then Mackey comes in. And he’s glowing! Oh, shortly after that, the Knight Sabers too. So hey, everybody’s here. Sylia is shocked that he is here. But the blob starts to crack and Mason notices ‘she’ is awakening. The Boomers in Mason’s team goes berserk while those in hard suits find it hard to control or command it. Mackey in a trance walks towards to blob as it opens and reveals a young naked but glowing girl. She looks like young Sylia? Since Mackey collapses, Mason has her come with him instead. As they leave, Sylia calls out to her ‘Sotai‘.

Episode 15
The Knight Sabers eject themselves from the hard suits but since Sylia is still in shock, Priss has no choice but to free her. As they head upwards, Priss went ahead to scout but comes into Leon. He realizes that Priss is part of the Knight Sabers. However he doesn’t take any action since he says top management has ordered AD Police to stay out of this and that he is off duty. Plus, reports are said that the Knight Sabers are committing some sabotage here. Mason talks to Sotai and notes she is not a golem but a true Boomer. He decides to call her Galatea. He continues that Dr Stingray wanted to create a new species beyond mankind but changed his mind. Not only had he sold his technology to that old fart, but his mind as well. He notes he is different and wants her to give him the power to awaken the Boomers. Nene visits Mackey and Nigel comes in shortly. They talk about Mackey not being a Boomer but he’s not human either. Mackey reveals that Sotai is the same age as him and that they are Sylia’s younger brother and sister. Nigel explains that he is more accurately a part from Sylia’s body but separated from her. These are called doppelgangers. Clones? Not exactly. When Sylia was young, her dad implanted some mechanism within her. It had been copied by synapse conduction from a human brain and integrated into her brain. Sylia is the only one how has it since her body didn’t reject the nano-mechanism. Of course, it was created by copying her mother’s Corpus Pineale. This is what gave birth to Mackey. As a doppelganger, he can’t grow. As for Sotai, she’s the archetype for all current Boomers. Since Mackey resembled too closely to a human, he was rejected. Mackey thought she was buried under the earthquake so Nene notes how cruel the earthquake was killing many people. However Nigel says that causing the earthquake was just the lesser of 2 evils.

Flashback 7 years ago when Sotai tried to escape from Wiz Lab. Anything that was machine related went berserk. Mason reported Dr Stingray’s inability to contain the Sotai Phenomenon and suggested Rosenkreutz create that earthquake. Though Dr Stingray managed to persuade Sotai to return to her room, all the wires bind and killed him although he tried to explain that he didn’t create her to do things like this. After she enters the room, the earthquake soon happened. Nigel says that he is the only survivor from Wiz Lab. Mackey explains that this is the very reason why Sylia hates Mad Boomers because at one point, he too went out of control. He is grateful that he is able to spend some fun times with the gang and shouldn’t have come here. He blames himself for making a bad decision to see Sylia and thinks he shouldn’t exist in the first place. But crying Nene disagrees very much because she feels that Mackey is Mackey. Linna talks to Priss at the bar. Priss indicates that she isn’t going back to be a Knight Saber. Thinking back at the events when Sotai appeared, anything Boomer related went out of control. Seeing that only real humans weren’t affected, this means that their hard suits are also Boomers! Isn’t it any wonder that their powers were more than ordinary? Mackey and Nigel knew about this. Only the Knight Sabers don’t. Then Leon comes in. He has eavesdropped them. Actually, they were talking so loud, anybody in the room could’ve heard them. Well, he’s not going to arrest them since he’s off duty and is here because he thinks there’s some live performance. As Linna leaves, she is confident that everything isn’t over yet. Priss invites Leon out to ride with her to some place. They talk why Leon didn’t report them earlier on (AD Police weren’t supposed to be there in the first place so there’s nothing to report). Priss thought he hated Knight Sabers. He agrees since they’re making a fool out of the AD Police. But with them disbanding, it’ll be hard to get any motivation to work. They also note how everyone from the government, AD Police and Genom tried to hide the truth from the public. But with the recent increase in Mad Boomers, it’s going to be tough to hide it anymore. Suddenly Priss is paralyzed like as though she has seen a ghost. She starts seeing visions of Sylia’s horrifying experiment. Not only her, but Linna, Nene and Mackey as well.

Episode 16
Sylia collapses and is unconscious. All the Knight Sabers rush back to HQ. Seems there is some glow on her chest. Seems she is resonating and reacting to with Sotai. Mason enters a dome to see Galatea ‘calling’ her friends but notes it’s too early to do so. She wants to go out and play. Sylia wakes up once the phenomenon is over. They talk about the same dreams they saw. Sylia reveals that she formed another group of Knight Sabers before them. One was a martial arts specialist and another an American Special Ops. No matter how good they were, they were too ordinary to use the hard suits. A hard suit can only maintain its shape & special functions by forming to a female’s body. Though the hard suits were originally from Boomers, the cores in their hard suits were copied from clean ones so the hard suits could never have a mind or move on its own. But another factor to successfully use the hard suit is that Sylia must like that girl. Nene panics upon thinking she’s a lesbian. Thus that person must not only get along with her but on the same wavelength as well. Priss isn’t amused that she manipulated them so now it’s her turn to get upset and leave. Sylia wants Mackey to call Nigel so that he can make new hard suits themselves. If the rest refuse, Sylia will do it herself. Daley teases Leon about his midnight rendezvous with a certain singer. But that soon turns into a conversation that AD Police will be absorbed into the normal police. Looks like Genom has decided to do them away. Leon goes to see Nick to confirm this. Leon says the only reason why he applied for AD Police because he hate those normal police sh*t. Nick notes that an excellent policeman can only be a policeman. Rosenkreutz warns Mason for hiding something and will lose his life if he betrays him. But Mason gives an excuse of some energy overflow experiment. Nene is bored at work. She receives email from Mackey to take measurements for the new hard suit since Sylia’s body has already matured and the core can’t be kept pure. Nene learns that the entire AD Police office is empty because they’re on strike against the merger. Suddenly somebody hacks into the system so the building automatically goes into a lockdown. Nene bumps into Nick and another couple of guys, Yano and Haruma. They are the only ones left in this building. To make matters worse, countless Boomers are swarming the place. Mason is pleased to learn some phenomenon spreading through at the Dragon Lines. He notes it is Galatea allowing the Boomers to show their true self. This means all those Boomers that are stored in the warehouse previously recovered by frontline officers. As Sylia takes measurements for the new hard suit, suddenly she collapses in pain as the resonance occurs. Mackey also feels it and seems to be losing herself, noting how Galatea wants to come out. But Nigel snaps Mackey out and tells him he is not a Boomer. Nick and the guys are pushed back by the swarm of Boomers. You can’t kill them all. Also, the lockdown has severed all communications to the outside world. Nene got the scare of her life when she sees a Boomer popping out from her book! Then she gets a call from Mackey that Nene is in danger. But how to help when you got no hard suit?

Episode 17
Leon and Daley talk about their possible future. Leon is puzzled why Genom decided to throw away AD Police since it’s their ‘shield’ to evade taking responsibility on Mad Boomers. Leon gets a call from Maria, Nick’s daughter, who is worried she can’t contact her dad. They learn that AD Police has been cut off from the outside world. Nick and the guys are trapped in the elevator as the countless Boomers are hot on their trail. Nick tries to open the door with his knife and climb out when a Boomer emerges. No matter how much they shoot and run (even with Nene’s guide), the Boomer waves are endless and many times nearly become Boomer victims. Very close shaves. On a floor stocking up their ammo, they discuss the downside of their firewall security system which ironically locks them out rather than protecting them. Something about till it rids of all the intruders, they can’t lower the firewall system. But Nene already managed to turn off all the internal sensors and shut down all the security systems. How is it even possible? Nene isn’t a hacker girl for nothing. But cutting off the sensors means she’ll be blind to Boomer movements. After Nene lowers the firewall, she starts the emergency call but the system blacks out. It is then taken over by Boomers and anything machine related goes berserk. Nick and the rest have no choice but to go higher and get better weapons at the substation at the top. Four more floors shouldn’t be a problem, eh?

Mason confronts his Boomer secretary as she is searching for data on Galatea. He asks if she will ever betray him and her reply is that she wasn’t programmed for treachery to the person who registered her. He points his gun point blank and asks who gave her the order and since her answer is the same, he fires several shots into her. Mason notes how the chairman is like a naked king protected by dolls since no Boomer will ever betray him. Rosenkreutz have discovered Galatea and is appalled that he wants to be evil but is confident that in this place he is God. Mason sees Galatea and she is quite close to him. However he is shocked to hear that she has made a new friend: Mackey. Priss, who was in practice with her band, couldn’t hear her handphone call. Once it’s over, she finally realizes it’s ringing (I wonder how long has it been ringing). It’s Linna and it’s about Nene in trouble. Priss rushes back to HQ and they discuss on how to save Nene since they can’t communicate with her. Nigel says the hard suits will take a week to complete and the fastest in 5 days.  Even so, Priss isn’t going to wear that Boomer thing but thinks of riding Motoslave. She wants Nigel to install an adapter so she can ride it without a hard suit. She’s going there by hook or by crook. Nene is hiding somewhere and makes a run for it when Boomers start invading the place. Everywhere she goes, she sees Boomers. She picks up a gun and fires. Well, not bad. But it’s just 1 Boomer. She is to meet up with the rest but the shutters come down, trapping her. Leon and Daley are outside AD Police HQ and soon all their other colleagues arrive. Something really is happening inside there and they need to get in. Priss then comes by and wants Leon to help her out.

Episode 18
Daley and his team are going to raid the tower via underground. After a colleague blasts a hole in the wall, Priss rides her Motoslave into it but she has to bring Leon along since he knows the place. Nene thinks she’s a goner when a Boomer corners her. Turns out to be Nick in a K-suit. Phew. But don’t count your chickens yet because Boomers soon swarm them. Just when they are caught in between, the Motoslave ambushes on one side. Nene is very much relieved to see Priss. Leon tells her to get Nene out first. As the guys continue defending against the Boomers, a stray Boomer (with a creepy maniacal laugh) fuses with Nick’s K-suit and causes it to malfunction. If Yano had not chopped it, Nick wouldn’t have made it out in time. Priss rams through a group of Boomer but skids and crashes. I don’t know how but they are reunited with the guys. How did they get down so fast? Unless Priss was riding and speeding around in circles. She wanted to pick up the Motoslave but it was too heavy. Ultimately she had to ditch it and barely dives through the closing gate to safety. Well, even if they’re safe from this side, there are more Boomers on the other side too. The gang are climbing up the Electronics Core Centre, which turns out to be some giant cooling system using Liquid Nitrogen. At this point Daley has restored power to the tower. The Boomers are catching up and fusing fast so Leon wants Daley to do something about it while they continue climbing to the top of the building. What the hell can he do?! Just then, Sylia, Mackey and Linna pop up behind Daley. They’re going to the top of the building as well via her helicopter. When the Boomers catch up to the gang, Nene’s conclusion was right as she mentions it’s not chasing after them but fusing with the core. At this rate, the entire tower will be filled with Boomers. But Nick gets an idea and he wants Yano to help him out and a little task for the rest. Nick is going to freeze the whole tower by turning the temperature down. Leon and the rest are at the top of the tower. Daley pilots the copter but he can’t get close since the taken-over-tower is trying to fuse with it! Yeah, now the AD Police tower looks like one big bad ugly mother monster. When Yano reduces the temperature to negative 140 degrees Celsius, Nick gives the signal for Leon to push the button to blow up the bombs he placed at the reservoir. The water that gushes out instantly becomes ice and in no time, the entire tower freezes. Now it’s like a giant ice tower. Now you can all relax and heave a sigh of relief as the copter comes to their rescue. One thing that boggles my mind is that when the ice turned into water, how the heck did the humans stay alive without getting frozen themselves? Meanwhile Rosenkreutz is going to teach Mason a lesson to make him remember that he is just his pawn when the female Boomer Mason shot dead enters the room. Unheeding his orders, she starts unplugging his life system.

Episode 19
Leon hijacks the TV transmission to warn everyone to evacuate as Boomers have taken over the city. Well, looks like everyone heed his advice because no humans are in sight. Only dead ones. Even that Rosenkreutz guy has been fused with Boomers. A narration of the brief history of Boomers. Created by Dr Stingray not as machines imitating humans, but a living metal forged with intelligence, how its seed was implanted in his daughter, how Rosenkreutz commercialized Boomers without making humans feeling guilty, how a Boomer’s date should be and their tendency to go mad recently. Also the huge investment of Genom in the formation of AD Police from an urban anti-terrorist force to specially deal with Boomers and the start of the Showhamm Project and the Dragon Lines which is believed to cause Boomers to go mad. Leon thinks of doing something about it and uses the remaining weapons to destroy the Dragon Line. The closest one connected would be the north of Nerima. Then they get a message from front line officers awaiting their instructions. Looks like they haven’t left. Priss is bumming at Sylia’s place. Perhaps the safest place in town? Unless it gets a direct nuclear hit. They talk about the Boomer’s controlled core in their hard suits that allows them to function it perfectly. Though Sylia hates Boomers, she is the most intimate with them since Mackey and Galatea were both born inside her brain. She thought as long as they used the purest core, the Boomers won’t go out of control. But they did. She concludes as long as Boomers can change shape, they can have a self conscious and logic that is totally different from humans. Thus a real Boomer is a Boomer that changes shape. That’s why she wants to exploit this feature aggressively and had Nigel and Mackey implement it in their new hard suits. Whether they go out of hand depends on the strength of their minds. Then Sylia starts feeling pain because of her resonance with Galatea.

Mason is lying on Galatea’s lap. She doesn’t understand lots of things especially Mason’s act of doing unreasonable things when he is human. He says he is not a perfect human. As revealed, he has artificial organs implanted in his body since young. Unlike Rosenkreutz who hated implants and thus chose to live a disgusting fashion with all those hoses, Mason believes humans can’t evolve anymore and the downfall of living organisms. He wants to see with his own eyes the complicated future brought upon by her kind. Galatea notes the Boomer parts has blended with his body and since it was made in an early stage, it won’t wake up. Mason asserts he is neither a human or Boomer, but an observer. Leon, Daley and Nene plan on how to destroy the line while waiting for the current and former front officers to show up. Nick arrives first and though he wants Nene to stay out (since this mission doesn’t use her incredible message), Nene tries to convince him with her strange kiddie talk. Then all of the front officers arrive so they can start their mission. Priss visits Mackey and Nigel working on the more powerfully enhanced and faster hard suit. Linna tires on for size. To see the biggest feature of this suit, Nigel leaves her to see it for herself. They receive a call from Nene about the pinch they are in. The front officers are attacking a large Boomer but to no avail. Leon and Daley get an idea of ramming the car into it but the Boomer stops it dead in its tracks and is going to devour it. It was a ploy to get it closer to its core and fire on it. We see how Leon is panicking while Daley is playing it cool. The Boomer is starting to fuse with the car but Daley wants Leon to wait a little more. How much more? A little more? Can we shoot already? Just a little more? Even they can come up with some wise crack. Leon is shouting if Daley wants to go back to his hometown farm. He replied he already did but didn’t like it so he came back here. Hah. With precision, they fire right into the Boomer’s core and escape from the car before the explosion rips it apart. However the Boomer still lives as another monstrous head jolts out from its body.

Episode 20
As Nene guessed, the load from the Skyhook has disturbed the Dragon Line and since the Boomer is connected to it, it’s like an immortal. Linna arrives and after being instructed by Nene to cut its connection to Dragon Line, the Boomer is successfully destroyed. Mason doesn’t want Galatea to talk to machines because he wants her to make his dream come true by changing the world. She thinks he wants to be God so technically in a way, yes. He mentions about Dr Stingray implanting seeds into Galatea to have some human traits and waited for a miracle to happen but didn’t as that was just a clue. Mason did it to himself and a Boomer core in his artificial organs as a control factor as he wanted to be an advanced human. Galatea notes that even so, he is still human. Then his chest starts glowing and in pain, Mason realizes Galatea has done something to him. Soon Mason is really in pain and in big trouble. It’s like he is being fused with machines as Galatea tries to awaken Dragon Line. Well, he did say he wanted to be God, right? And God watches from all those he creates below, right? Right. Sylia is with Nigel and she thinks he thinks she’s only been using him. I think what she’s trying to say that she’s in love with him. Nigel changes the subject and wants her not to wear to new hard suit since she has reached her limits and already a mature woman. When Priss returns to her trailer, she is attacked by… Little clown Boomers?! WTF?! There are too many of them and before she can become a laughing stock, Leon shoots them all away. After cleaning herself from some of the bitten wounds, she notices the city void of any citizens. Leon shows her a clip that Japan has been occupied by the International Organization Army, Boomers and other countries. Suddenly, Leon tries to kiss her! I understand Priss is stunned by why isn’t she resisting?! Where has that tough chick gone to? This proves she’s still a girl deep down, eh? But that moment is interrupted when she gets a call from Linna and Nene that monsters are on a rampage. As Leon gives her a ride back to HQ as fast as he could, the rest get suited up. Hmm… This new suit seems bulkier and they have to get totally naked to get in. Plus, there’s this yucky inner metal they’ll be covered with. What I understand is that by using the command from their brain, they can transform this inner metal and use it to their desires with most effect. As the trio leaves, Mackey hopes Nigel will continue to help Sylia although Mason did ask him to leave her. Also because he feels he can’t stay close to Sylia for long. Nigel assures him that he will continue remaining as the same person in the future as he is now. Priss just arrives and she intends to get suit up despite her pain. Sylia and co arrive and see the Dragon Line like a semi-living thing and its phenomenon is spreading rapidly. All underground equipment have been fused and turned into Mad Boomers. They attack but it is futile as the Boomer grabs Linna and Nene. Sylia is disheartened that it wants to become a living thing that badly and Galatea’s goal of covering the entire world with Boomers.

Episode 21
Priss returns to Leon all suit up and with a newly upgraded Motoslave, supposedly with the ability to merge with her hard suit. Priss doesn’t want Leon to go since he’ll be in the way so he wants her to promise to come back alive. Of course. She’s not going to do kamikaze, right? He then kisses her! If only her helmet wasn’t in the way. So with the girls out fighting, the guys are just hanging around, waiting and believing the ladies will come back. Yeah, Leon joins Mackey, Nigel and even Meisio for a drink. What a gender role reversal. Sylia fights hard against the menacing monster and realizes she needs to cut its line to stop it. She searches and attacks but the monster just wouldn’t allow her to get closer. Even if she manages to do some damage, it regenerates. Priss arrives and Sylia tells her to back her up but is soon ‘eaten’ up. Priss merges with her Motoslave to fight off other Boomers. Then Sylia tells the rest that with their new hard suit’s ability, they need to impose their own logic into this monster since it is rampaging without one. They manage to stop the monster and this allows Priss to fly into it and destroy its line and free the rest. Back at their HQ, everyone have their own little celebration. Leon talks to Priss the irony how he once hated the Knight Sabers because they easily cleaned up the mess the AD Police were having a hard time dealing with. He is impressed with them now. Well actually he was impressed with them for a long time. Just that he was envious. He then tries to remind her about their promise. You know, that one when she returns and without the helmet on. But Priss just flicks his forehead and calls him an idiot. Mackey is also feeling the irony that with Tokyo desolated and turned into hell, he feels like he is having the fun of his life with the gang. Then he goes to back up all the data to the media. That’s going to take some time but he’s going to use the remaining time he has to do so. Deep into the night, Sylia wakes up from a nightmare of an army of Boomers. But that’s no dream either because Boomers are invading from the rooftop! The alert is sounded and everyone is rudely awakened from their slumber. Mackey is so engrossed in backing up he didn’t even hear the siren? As everyone converges in the computer room, Nene informs that Boomers have invaded the building. However security cameras don’t show any visuals of Boomers. As safety precautions, Sylia orders the complete lockdown of the building. However Boomers continue to advance till they are just a wall away from where they are. But where are they? Nobody can see anything on the screens. Then it hit Sylia. They are invading from the top of building’s swimming pool. See them knocking on the aquarium glass? It took her this long to realize that?! Besides, how big and deep is her swimming pool anyway?!

Episode 22
Say hello to all the ugly Boomer mugs staring through the glass! No peace for the girls when they strip to get into their hard suit. Boomer staring happily… Like they should care about that. In no time, the glass breaks and water starts gushing in. They wait till the room is filled before making their swim to the top. It’s odd to see the Knight Sabers fight the Boomers underwater. Slow and floating like in suspended animation. Now if they just played a waltz piece here… Reaching the top, they are devastated to see their HQ fused with Boomers. Worse, the entire Tokyo has been fused! Apparently the HQ sits directly on the Dragon Line so it was directly affected by the phenomenon. Mason is having delusions seeing the ‘beautiful city’ so much so he sheds tears of joy. Ah well. At least that’s the only part he is left a human. And at this rate, the city may even become Cybertron. The gang rides through the transformed city but Sylia has an idea of a safe place. They reach the park filled with greeneries and true enough, there is not a sight of Boomers. That’s because they are busy fusing with machines. Can’t be fusing with Mother Nature, right? They are surprised to see several survivors staying here. But they get scared upon seeing the Knight Sabers and mistaken them for Boomers. Luckily no untoward incident happened. See, it’s good to sit down and talk. As the ladies get out of their hard suit, they learn these odd 50 survivors tried to escape when the city is being engulfed by Boomers. They ran everywhere but couldn’t escape till they reach here. However many more died along the way. They apologize for their earlier hostility and quickly get acquainted. How do they get food supplies? They take turns to go ‘hunting’. That’s a fancy term of pillaging unmanned shops. Hey Leon, how does it feel for a police officer to steal goods from an abandoned convenience store? That night, the rowdy bunch eat and drink like as though there is no tomorrow. Why not? Is there any? Nene goes to see Mackey typing something incomprehensible at the computer in the truck. Then she gets stunned upon seeing Mackey laughing like an idiot and glowing.

Episode 23
Leon talks to Priss about the International Army arriving and will disintegrate Tokyo since it is deserted. He wants to know who she is going to fight for and what to protect. She notes how talkative he is. Then it’s like they have this Mackey-in-danger sense. They rush back to the truck to see Galatea taking over Mackey’s body and implanting her data in him by deleting his human information and memories. How to solve this? Well, Priss takes a wrench and smashes the computer! There, fixed it. Okay, so Mackey’s out cold. The girls get the resolve to finish things off and especially Nene, she’s going to retrieve his memories back. I guess Leon got spurred from one of the survivors so he kisses Priss before she leaves (and the rest of the guys evacuating the area for good). He says he’ll give her a better one when she comes back. She calls him a coward and kicks his shin. Since when did he get so bold? The Knight Sabers prepare to infiltrate Genom but the fog made out of nanomachines is preventing them from penetrating. Mackey comes to for a moment and with his little memories barely intact, he contacts Nene and is going to do a risky move to send his human information to confuse Galatea since he is connected to her. At that short moment, they will break through. Nene is against this self-sacrificing move but Mackey is already prepared and says his farewell. I don’t know how he’s doing it, but the entire truck is shaking! The confusion is successful as the Knight Sabers pierce through the fog and into the tower. Inside the truck, it’s like everything is decimated. But why is Mackey like unscathed? Anyway, he is so robot-like now. As they fly to the top, they see fused Mason sticking out like a sore thumb. Priss was about to destroy him to put him out of his misery but Nene pleads not to since their enemy is not the Boomers. They just let him be. Yeah, his suffering will continue then.

Inside the tower, seems there is no gravity. They see Galatea but she unleashes several of the phenomena to attack them. They can’t touch it or their hard suit will become Boomers. Priss pulls off a risky stunt by ripping a power line. This results in her hard suit temporarily being fused with the Boomers. With Nene cascading the power, Priss blasts and disintegrates all the phenomena. Sylia confronts Galatea and says her birth is a mistake and her father’s murderer. But Galatea is confused why she looks like her even if she was born as an anti-seed of her brain, she was supposed to copy her brain functions only as she is neither her child nor clone. Well, she still came out from part of her body, right? Oddly, Sylia gets upset when she starts talking in robot language and orders her to speak in human tongue and stabs her. Hey, she’s a Boomer, remember? She gets her wish but she’s impersonating the voice of Mackey! Now do you wish she hadn’t talk? In his voice, Galatea tries to screw around with Sylia’s mind, saying Boomers are all connected in here and since they are born from her, therefore humans can also be connected. She wants her to become one with her or else she will suffer. The rest know those words belong to Galatea and not Mackey but Sylia can’t move as she is being fused. Nene fires several shots to separate them. But Sylia is still traumatized and feeling guilty for what happened to Mackey. The tower starts shaking and it seems the tower is becoming Galatea. Wow. That’s one big Galatea alright. And it’s flying too! I wonder which part on her Mason is sticking out from.

Episode 24
Galatea flies into space while the Knight Sabers retreat back to base. Worried Sylia stays by lifeless Mackey’s side so Priss tells Nigel to stay by Sylia’s side. Nene hacks into some spy satellite to see Galatea heading for the Umbrella, which is part of Showhamm Project. What I understand is that she intends to turn every machine in the entire world into Boomers and doing it from space is the fastest way. However as Leon notes, if others find out about Galatea’s plan, they may rain a nuclear attack on Tokyo. So they better get there first before she does. Yeah, see all the nuclear missiles attacking Galatea instantly turned into Boomers? You can’t kill her that easily. I didn’t know Leon has turned into some kind of romantic, saying how he wants to be with Priss till the end and don’t mind putting on the hard suit to fight with her. If Sylia ever made one for men, that is. I don’t know Priss was that receptive of Leon because she puts her finger on his lips and they both kiss. I guess this feels much better than all the words said, right? Too bad they have to be interrupted by Linna and Nene (probably they enjoyed spying on them) to tell them a way to launch to space. That is, to ride the Skyhook’s line via its cargo pallet. So only Priss, Nene, Linna and Leon make their way to Skyhook. Priss tells Leon the reason why she hated the AD Police. Seems a Boomer went mad at a place she once lived. The AD Police arrived and rammed through the place like nobody’s business. Priss wasn’t injured but ran away. However, a disk containing her favourite song and her dream to sing at the Wembley Stadium was destroyed. That’s it?! Don’t laugh… Leon has her sing it to him. When they arrive, they are shocked to see the pallets being thrown into the sea as they’ve been taken over by the phenomenon. Leon wants them to promise that they will come back safely (but of course). So the Knight Sabers trio ride Motoslave to match Skyhook’s speed. Priss may need more power seeing it’s a little heavier with additional passengers. Please don’t take it as an offence. I guess with that kind of speed, even Motoslave is able to blast off into the sky, enough to land inside Skyhook, though it is trashed. Inside, they see an operating Boomer not affected by the phenomena. It even can make a comeback by telling them off for not having tickets to ride Skyhook! Since the Boomer has no contact with its master and isn’t able to accomplish its mission, Nene tweaks a little to give it a new mission. Nene and Linna talk about fulfilling their dreams (Nene wanted to be an astronaut but was rejected due to her height, not intelligence. But now her dream has come true in a way, eh?). Priss pays her last tributes to Motoslave for all that it has done. Notice how Linna and Nene resemble more like a pair of jokers here? See their incredulous facial expression and action when they interrupted Leon-Priss’ kiss and explained how to get to space, the time when the pallets crash and Priss’ commented on their weight?

Episode 25
A narration of Galatea of how she came to be. A creation from Sylia’s brain despite being planted in the brains of many, it was only Sylia’s brain that has taken root. Her existence only serves as a focus for other human beings to hate and love and thus the creation of Boomers. All the while, she only watched mankind’s actions via the Boomers till her awakening. The time Mackey was rejected and her rampage through the facility and decided to be a good girl when Dr Stingray told her to go back because her mind wasn’t mature enough to revolt. She questions the things she is about to do and why she exists, why humans won’t accept Boomers for the soul that exists in them and to destroy her would mean severing every connection to everything inhuman. That’s why she thinks of becoming their God. Skyhook reaches Umbrella but breaks up upon contact. Luckily the trio got off in time. They rush through the corridors before sunlight could activate Galatea’s plans. While Nene heads to the control room, Linna and Priss follow the voice of the goddess (Galatea) to find themselves in the energy centre. Linna’s hard suit almost got taken over by the phenomenon and all she needs to do is stay focus. Nene tries her programming but is unsuccessful. Seems the phenomenon has already taken over Umbrella. Galatea creates clones of the Knight Sabers for them to fight. Not only they mimic the real ones, they can also mock. As in the case of Linna, she mocks her as a stupid living thing for trying to destroy her.  With all her flashbacks from the time she first met Priss, her higher-up’s harassment and failed marriage meeting, Linna isn’t swayed by her words.  After all, she accepts her destiny isn’t that good and the only thing she can do is to change it herself. She destroys the clone just as her pals did with theirs. But it’s too late because the solar power has powered the cannon as it fires its first shot down to Genom’s base. The only way is to destroy the energy centre before it is completely recharged for another shot. At first Priss plans on going alone since she thinks the rest will just be in the way but I don’t think the rest are going to let her get the good parts. As they are destroying the energy balls (looks like they’ve been overtaken by the phenomenon too), I’m not sure what Nene is doing because it looks like she’s trying to shift the direction of the cannon. Linna helps to distract her mind and prevent her hard suit from becoming a Boomer, but there’s only so much they can take. The cannon explode into pieces as Linna and Nene fall down into the atmosphere.

Episode 26
So are they going to really crash and go splat? Maybe. MAYBE???!!! YOU KIDDING ME?! Well, there is a way. Accept the hard suit as the Boomer, concentrate on changing its shape and wahlah! Is that a human plane they turned into? On second thought, it looks like a shark. But re-entry into the atmosphere is no easy feat. They’ve got to withstand the burning but thankfully they end up on a deserted island. Their hard suits destroyed for good and yes, they’re totally naked. Hey, who’s around to see? So Priss is all alone facing off with Galatea. She has Priss enter her memories as Galatea notes that the Anti-seed is now within her and her vital organs have been taken over by the Boomers. This means her mind and body have been dedicated to the Boomers. Her hard suit turns into a Boomer as Priss hang around lifelessly. However she breaks out with lots of determination because she knows she is very much different from Galatea. Her hard suit returns to normal as Galatea resume her attacks. I find Galatea’s low howling to be somewhat annoying. Unfortunately Priss’ hard suit runs out of energy. Then she hears a voice. It is Motoslave and he wants to combine with her to give her more power. I didn’t know Motoslave had a talking function? Besides, I thought it was really trashed then. Guess not. Motoslave considers Priss its master and not Galatea but even so Priss insists she is not that kind of person. With new firepower, Priss fires all she got at Galatea. With an even louder and more annoying howl, Galatea speeds up her evolution. A lump of Boomers start covering Priss but she focuses and transforms them into part of her body. Then she pierces through her core. Yeah, this is humanity’s gift to God. The explosion is so bright, you can’t tell which is the real sun. Even in her final existence, Galatea mentions how she found the right path of evolution. Her existence became eternal when Priss entered her and her consciousness was born from Sylia. Calling that as true assimilation, she will be everything and thus God’s real form. Galatea explodes into, well, ray of beautiful lights? It showers down onto Earth but it seems harmless. To Sylia’s happiness, Mackey is back to normal and is able to move. Galatea’s last words is that she wants Priss to accept her and allow to enter her. Probably she did or else how did she end up back down on Earth safely? Sure, her hard suit is totally done for (in a shape of angel wings?). Priss treks through the desert naked, singing. Hey, nobody is around to watch, right?

Bubblegum Burst…
Uh… What is this sudden ending? So abrupt. I don’t like it. It didn’t wrap up things. The battle to turn everything into Boomers around the world ended. That’s a good thing because we won’t have a machine to serve as a God. But I wish that the series could have wrapped up things by seeing how the main characters are reunited and even if life goes back to ordinary. But it may take a while for Tokyo since it will be an awful big mess to clean up the Boomer mess lying around just about everywhere. Somebody has to do it. And it won’t be Boomers. Aw… Now humans can get a taste of what it is like to work their ass off without much appreciation.

Maybe that’s where the OVA sequel called Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2041 comes in but very unfortunately that OVA was cancelled even before production started. I thought it would be the aftermath of it all and would glimpse what happened to the main characters. As mentioned that this is the remake of the original OVA series, I had a thought of wanting to watch it, but after seeing the animation and drawing style, it was a turn off and decided to shelve the idea. Yeah, just like that 2041 OVA, eh? You can say that the females here are drawn and look way much better than its predecessors so I would prefer the 2040 version of Knight Sabers as compared to the original ones that has that from-the-80’s-or-90’s typical look. There are other prequels and sequel spin-offs based on this series as well like AD Police and Parasite Dolls but I too didn’t have much interest in watching it. But I can pretty much guess it’s about the same thing. Boomers and vigilantes clash. Villains down, heroes win, world is saved till the next time.

Back to this TV series, the story changes from a mere Mad Boomer hunting to the awakening of Galatea and her obsession in turning the world into Boomers. So it still beats me how Boomers can go berserk if Rosenkreutz did mention that it’s a non-existent problem. Maybe to him. Though his intentions may be good in wanting to make humans and Boomers co-exist, but he is oblivious to the problems that the Boomers are causing the ordinary humans. I’m not very sure but I think he’s dead. Same case with Mason. I don’t know what kind of future he dreams about Boomers but he got more than he bargained for and perhaps the short end of the stick. Now he’s God. A dead one. There isn’t any interaction between the Knight Sabers themselves that makes it memorable or the impact that shows them they are really close to each other after being in battle for so long. It still feels like they’re a rag-tag team put together in the end. Just with a little more trust. Linna as a newcomer easily settles in, Nene still the perky hacker genius, tough girl Priss is after all a woman beneath her tough exterior and I find Sylia has these mood swings if you push her wrong buttons.

Chemistry and romance-wise, it was rather disappointing. But what would you expect from this kind of genre, right? Leon and Priss’ love may have progressed but it still feels that they haven’t gone up to the next level. It’s like hot and cold between these couple. While Leon clearly loves her, Priss is like playing hard to get. So with that kind of abrupt ending, do we get to see Leon and Priss reuniting and that guy who promised her to give her a better chuu~? Yeah, the last time we saw him in the final episode, he was just waiting. Waiting for Priss to come back. She’s stuck in the desert lah. Initially Nene didn’t quite like Mackey but as the series progresses, you can see her opening up more towards him. True or not, but I think Nene really does like him in the end because she truly wanted to regain his memories. You can’t love a guy if he’s being a vegetable, eh? So will Linna and that Masaki guy get back together? I think that case has already been closed because they both decided to walk their own path. But the most intriguing and puzzling one is Sylia and Nigel. I didn’t really notice she had feelings for him. But after that short outburst, they just went back to how their relationship was like in the beginning as we know. Why and how she came to like him is still a mystery. And that Nigel may be a cool guy who walks his own path and talks his own mind but I guess when it comes to women relationships, you don’t really want to hang around this ‘no fun’ guy. You know, every time he speaks, he gives off that feeling that he isn’t interested or it’s-just-too-troublesome impact.

The action is rather okay but sometimes I find it a little hard to believe. But then again, it’s one of those old animes from that era. When Boomers are involved, you can expect to see lots of mashing and explosions big time. I just keep wondering why the AD Police still continue to fire normal weapons when they very well know their pea shooters won’t even tickle them. Stall for time? Don’t they have better weapons to invest in? Oh yeah. Budget limitations. Along with corruption and red tape bureaucracy, is it hard to see why they don’t get things done and thus the formation of vigilante groups like Knight Sabers? It also boggles me how hard metal and iron that the Boomers are made of (including the hard suits) can suddenly turn into flexible flesh-like skin when they go mad. Maybe it’s science and technology. Too advanced for me to understand.

The series subtly takes a look at the prospect of men and technology. This is what happens when we decide to play God and not nurturing it good enough till it gets out of control. Kinda reminds you like the Rise of the Planet of the Apes, doesn’t it? So Galatea wanting to be God, can you say that mistake stems from us who created the artificial intelligence? Machines are supposed to do things based on what we programme, right? So if it develops its own logic and rationale from there, then we only have ourselves to blame since we’re the root of it. Our intelligence is reflected in the very essence of the machine’s programming. On a trivial note, whenever Galatea speaks in computer language, I find it pretty funny because it sounds like as though she is scatting! Don’t know what that is? Go Google it! Man, I thought she was going to break into a song. Technology is like a double edge sword. It can strike and it can also backfire. Especially if it ends up in the hands of the wrong people, you can tell that sh*t is going to happen. A very basic premise and ingredients for genres like these. Technology is supposed to enrich our lives, right? Here, Tokyo seems to turn from utopia into dystopia so did life for normal citizens improve?

So show a little appreciation for all the machines that make your life easy. They may not turn into Mad Boomers but if you don’t take care or treat them nicely, they can still get back at you by malfunctioning or just completely stop working. It may seem like the norm to hit your TV when something goes wrong. Well, it always works, right? At least on TV (oh, the irony) but have you ever thought that you may be just aggravating the problem? Strange as it seems, do you feel that it is the machines that control our lives instead of us? I have to admit that I am pretty much hook on this computer even as I am typing this… But in the event if machines do go mad, it’s much better than humans going mad, right? Because we’re more dangerous, unpredictable and harder to handle.

Fractale

November 26, 2011

Fancy the utopian life? The ultimate luxurious lifestyle that you’ve always dreamed of is now attainable. All your utmost and deepest desires will be fulfilled while living out the lifestyle you have always wanted. This is true freedom. This is true living. This is where your dream is your reality. Folks, welcome to the world of Fractale. Seems like a far-fetched idea, eh? But then again, it’s not wrong to dream, right?

The setting is in a distant futuristic world. But that term is just relative if you’re living your dream world. Many people have gained the ultimate way of living through a system known as Fractale. A system that ensures mankind’s stability and prosperity throughout the ages. All you need to have is just a terminal inserted in your head to enjoy the benefits and blessings of this system. I’m not sure if the human population has dwindled or not but it seems in addition to the humans, there are holographic artificial intelligence creatures called Doppels. They take a life form of their own and have their own thoughts, feelings and can act independently. Whether it is some trader on the street or friends or even substitutes for your parents, Doppels have become part of life for those using the Fractale system. So does this system really bring happiness to mankind as it seems?

Clain Necran is one of the many users of Fractale. His Doppel parents are very odd looking creatures. Aliens? Unlike many other residents, Clain prefers to live in an old fashion house instead of a mobile one (rational of opting the latter is to experience true freedom and not being ‘tied down’). Plus, he loves anything old and before the Fractale system era. I guess with too much wired and advance technology, young kids like Clain have taken an uncanny interest in rare items. Remember the time when handphones used to be such big bulky items? There were no iPhones or iPads for your modern conveniences. Yeah, those were the good ol’ days. Heck, for those of us old enough, do you still remember what a typewriter is? Thank God I still do.

Episode 1
Clain must be in his rebellious age as he decides to head to the flea market to see if he can get any old junk rather than eating with them. Do Doppels really eat? Along the way, he ponders the weird lyrics of the Day Star Song because instead of wishing upon it, you offer your wish to it. Clain got some data disk at the market but soon it turns into a ghost town when the Data Security turns up. Clain listens to the disk in hopes it’s some music data but it turns out to be a textbook-like history of the Fractale system. It has several trillion processors? Woah. Can today’s technology match that? Clain seems to be content with this boring life. The usual 5 o’clock prayer in which everyone has to face to the direction of the temple and not blink. But appearing before Clain’s eyes is a priestess, Phryne riding a little glider being chased by goons in a mini blimp. Clain chases them (unbelievably his bicycle can match the high speed chase of the aircrafts). But he trips and tumbles. His eyes met with Phryne. He blushes. She jumps off her glider. SHE WHAT?! Sorry Clain, she can’t fly. He climbs down the cliff to see her unconscious and they hide in a little cave before the pursuers gave up. Clain brings Phryne back to his house and he has a tough time explaining to his Doppel parents about the situation. Have you ever seen a tomboy priestess in your life? Well, Phryne is one. Without shame, she takes off her clothes right in front of Clain! Don’t worry, she’s not getting horny because she wants him to apply ointment for her wound on her back. Sheesh. Asking a guy to do it. But then again, who else is around?

Phryne sees a hologram album of Clain when he was a baby and a time when he had real parents. She thinks he treasures the memories and times with his parents but he says it’s rather he is interested in the antique device. Phryne starts crying because he doesn’t smile like that anymore but soon pulls his mouth to make him understand what she means. She notes that he is the one and starts singing the Day Star Song. She then gives him a little amulet as a charm to protect his smile. Then the pursuers came knocking on their door. Clain could tell them because of their horrible disguise and excuse. They’re so dumb no wonder they couldn’t find Phryne when she dropped right off the cliff right on to the edge. Couldn’t her blue outfit be easily spotted against the backdrop? Yeah, they tried as staff from the hospital and travellers seeing their sick mother but even a normal person can tell they’re just trying too hard. Anyway the goons, led by obnoxious loudmouth loli Enri and her underlings Butcher and Takami, storm into the house to search for Phryne. Enri spots Phryne’s dress and thinks Clain has done something perverted on her. They ‘disinfect’ him by throwing out of his own house. But they soon leave seeing that they couldn’t find their target. Their blimp experiences problems after flying off thanks to cheeky Phryne ‘borrowed’ a screw from it. A little missing part can cause such a problem? Clain brings Phryne to his secret hideout, a ruined chapel supposedly where radio waves can’t reach. Phryne is talking about the moon light that gives her peace but that kid just doze off. At least it’s not as bad falling asleep when a girl is confessing to you. I’m not saying Phryne is but just saying… He wakes up at the break of dawn to find Phryne missing. He goes back home to analyze the amulet she gave and suddenly a red haired girl appears.

Episode 2
That energetic and happy girl is Nessa. Clain thinks she is a Doppel but to his surprise he can touch and feel her. Nessa is one quirky girl because she bluntly says she loves love and hates hate. Erm… Yeah, I figured that one out too. Though she has no memories prior whatsoever, she starts singing the Day Star Song and goes exploring the house. What would Clain’s parents say after yet another girl in the house? They advice him to give her back since she isn’t human. Clain peddles Nessa to the main town. She is rather playful causing Clain little worries. Like running off on her own into a building. Clain has a hard time chasing her down because since she has this ability to pop up just about anywhere. So when Clain catches up at the top of the building. She’s already down there. Boy, he’s going to need lots of strength to keep up with her. See how technological conveniences have made us unfit? Nessa then causes havoc with those freedom-living citizens at a campsite because her mere touch causes their machine to go haywire. Now they are gunning for Clain’s head. Clain thinks of leaving Nessa with Security but she wants to be with him because her home is wherever he is since he is the one who summoned her. But Clain can’t touch Nessa anymore so he leaves her with Security and goes off. He finds his bicycle dismantled courtesy of Enri and her goons. Revenge? WTF?! They bring him to Enri’s brother, Sunda Granitz. He is interested on the one causing an uproar at the campsite but since Clain doesn’t know any much, he has him leave, much to Enri’s chagrin. Sunda parts with words to Clain that though they leave work and stuff to Doppels, but something you can feel on your skin will have a totally different impression. Clain goes home to do research on Doppels like Nessa. He is shocked to learn they are sold on the black market as sex toys. Uh? What? Later Clain’s parents talk to him about his recent change in behaviour and the importance of trust in families. Well, when you have strange looking Doppels for parents… Yeah, just turn them off. See how convenient if you don’t want your parents to lecture you? Every kid wished they could do this. But Clain still feels bothered. Or rather lonely. So he runs the whole day till he tires out. Lying flat on the ground, then the reminder for the 8 o’clock prayer. He dreads that it’s just some excuse to collect data. Suddenly he sees happy Nessa approaching. She jumps into his arms as he thinks her smile isn’t that scary after all. But the mood is ruined when he notices the 3 Stooges (Enri and the gang) stalking them nearby. They’re so easy to read. Then Nessa spots a suspicious treasure chest nearby but and approaches it. It was an obvious trap as the duo fall into a pit. Enri and co captures them and prepares to take them away in their blimp.

Episode 3
They are taken to Granitz Village as prisoners. But Clain gets excited upon seeing all the old stuff. Some of the citizens meet them and it seems they need a special visor to see and touch Nessa. That’s because unlike Clain, they do not have terminals input in their head. So there are many villages living outside the Fractale system too. Sunda has a man to man chat with Clain. Sunda feels that the post-Fractale system has caused humans to have lost their pride and spirit and robbed them of their true lives. Thus the Lost Millennium is a big rebel group formed to bring down Fractale. To Clain, it’s just a big terrorist group. Clain further learns the village does everything without the help of Fractale or Doppels. From growing food to the good ol’ schooling system. Sunda feels recently the Fractale system is collapsing because Balloons everywhere are crashing. As for why they’re chasing after Phryne, she is the priestess of the temple and Key to the world and ran away carrying data of a Doppel with her. He thinks there are invaluable secrets and data hidden in that Doppel. Meanwhile Nessa continues to freak Enri out by appearing anywhere, including the toilet. Hey, she’s a Doppel. That night, everyone celebrates to welcome their guests. I thought they’re prisoners? Clain doesn’t like the people here though Nessa thinks everyone here are nice. Then Clain tastes a soup and finds it really delicious! Yum! Why not? He has never eaten anything outside from a tube. Eww… Clain and Nessa are given a room to live as Butcher and Takami advises him to go easy on the horny stuff. Yeah, what else to do but to spy outside. Since Nessa couldn’t eat, she asks Clain the taste of the soup. He has a hard time describing it to her (like explaining colours to a blind man) so he starts dancing in weird poses to convey it to her. Uh? What the? I don’t know if Nessa really understood that but she seemed so happy. As for our spying duo, they think Clain’s horniness has just kicked in. Yeah, those shadows cast on the curtains… Man, he’s good…?!

Next morning, Clain learns that Sunda will be leading his team to gatecrash the Star Festival. We learn that this festival is a must to attend. If you don’t you won’t get your blessings. That is, your Doppels stop functioning properly. Sunda gives Clain special visors so he won’t be influenced by the festival. The place is packed as the priestesses arrive. As the process begins, they see everyone staring at the sky like as though they’re possessed. Sunda mentions this festival is just a cover-up for a mass update of nanomachinery. In short, brainwashing. Before humans start to stray by asking questions about their lifestyle, this is what this festival is for. So much so it is normal for them not to be living together as real families. No wonder nobody rebels against the system. Sunda and his gang start the rebellion by firing at the old priestesses. The priestesses in turn protect the main priestess. Her hood falls off and she reveals to be Nessa! The real one? But the temple also retaliates with guards firing back. Many of the innocent people were hit and died without knowing what hit them. Between the firing from both sides, Butcher was hit and killed. Clain gets sick upon seeing so many dead bodies. Suddenly Phryne shows up to continue to ritual. She goes up to priestess Nessa as she greets Phryne as her sister.

Episode 4
Sunda changes his plans and wants Phryne captured. When the people snap out of the ritual, they panic upon seeing so many dead bodies and cause a stampede. Phryne is surprised to see Clain here but smoke screen soon fill the place. Sunda knocks Phryne out and takes her with him as his gang retreat. While Enri is saddened over the passing of Butcher, Clain and Nessa go to cut Phryne lose and want her to escape with them. She is not amused and slaps him for awakening Nessa. Nessa gets upset and starts hitting Phryne for hitting Clain. Their kiddie fight is interrupted when Sunda (after kicking Clain in his ass) comes to escort Phryne for questioning. Phryne also shares the same view of wanting the Fractale system to break down so Sunda offers her to join them but she doesn’t answer. Back at Granitz Village, everyone attends Butcher’s funeral. Clain is still confused that these murderers are being called noble warriors. Elsewhere at the temple, many old priestesses report to the grand priestess Moeran about the recent events and the Lost Millennium faction. With no choice, she thinks of suppressing the rebellion. Sunda also has predicted that the temple will be after them so he and his big Granitz family will be preparing to leave the village to spare its people. Clain and Nessa take this chance to escape. Since Clain is thinking about Phryne, Nessa gets upset and wants him to only think about her.

Suddenly part of the temple’s army led by Barrot arrive at the village. Under the name of God, they seek to capture the Granitz family and not kill those who aren’t related to them and only use force as a last resort. As mentioned, the temple has always known about their location but chose to keep quiet and tolerated their actions. Sunda and his gang spring into action to defend the town while at the same time make their escape to their ship, Danan. Clain sees Phryne trying to climb down from her prison tower with a makeshift rope. She’s no damsel in distress that’s for sure. Nessa blocks him from going to see her but he still insists so she starts sulking. Meeting up with Phryne she notes that Nessa hates her and never thought someone like him could break open such a data. She won’t allow the temple to capture her so like the tomboy she is, she rides a quad-bike to escape with Clain as her pillion. Wow. She sure is multi-talented. Barrot’s ship is hot on their tail, even firing beams at them. Then Barrot corners them but she isn’t going to follow him back to the temple quietly and continues to escape on her quad-bike. Phryne probably has more balls than Clain because she rides off the cliff! Oh sh*t! Probably everything was calculated because she lands on Danan. They leave Barrot’s ship with a farewell present: A barrage of missiles. Clain and Phryne meet up with Sunda and the crew in the cockpit. Sunda thinks he likes their company despite of what he said against them. As for Nessa, Clain feels bad for leaving her behind and won’t be appearing till she cheers up. However Phryne doesn’t think that’s possible. Nessa is seen standing on a cliff watching Danan fly away.

Episode 5
Clain is given a choice whether to leave the ship or work and earn his stay. Since it won’t be a good idea to just parachute down to nowhere, I guess it’s better to take the latter. But that means doing boring chores like cleaning toilets and the laundry. Clain finds it odd that everyone eats together but as they say, food taste much better when eaten together. Except for Phryne who is nowhere to be seen. As Sunda notes, she doesn’t blend easily unlike him. Clain couldn’t get Nessa out of his mind. For the longest time, she has not appeared. He sees Phryne at the laundry room and they talk about Nessa. She envies him because Nessa thinks highly of him. Clain bombards her with lots of questions pertaining to the temple but she didn’t answer. As for Nessa’s case, she mentions she can’t allow herself to love her. Suddenly Danan’s cooling system breaks down. Everyone heads to the laundry area as it is the coolest area. Yeah, they even crack jokes why it’s so hot because of Clain-Phryne thingy… Clain goes to the cockpit to find out what has happened but the grumpy grandpa throws him out thinking he’ll contaminate the system. So where to search for the source? In the toilet of course. Anyway from the mumbo-jumbo talk about the pre-Fractale system that this ship is using, Clain thinks Nessa is the source and is hiding somewhere in this ship. She is in some sort of bad mood and they need to cheer her up. So how to cheer her up and make her appear? Dance? Okay, let’s dance. Everybody starts dancing that it looks like a very weird orgy. Believe me. It really looked like that. Shake it everybody! It just feels so wrong… Then when everybody tumbles to a side together, Clain spots Nessa. Everybody starts chasing and finding her in this hide-and-seek game but it would be hard to catch a Doppel who can just disappear and pop up anywhere. Nessa spots a weird spider and plays with it. Turns out to be a spy camera of Moeran. Then Phryne got locked in some room. She thinks Nessa won’t come out because she’s still mad but Clain says she has forgotten about that and having fun playing hide-and-seek. But Phryne continues to talk in riddles and wants him to forget about her. As she sits by herself, she sees Nessa who thinks she’s hiding too. They made up as Nessa ‘catches’ Phryne who is ‘it’. Once that is done, the ship’s system recovers. Everyone smiles more often and they don’t treat Clain like an outsider anymore. Yes, Phryne also eats with the rest at the table.

Episode 6
Danan lands so that they could undergo maintenance. Nessa and a young girl of the ship are having fun in the water. Phryne wants to join in the fun and suddenly strips naked and jumps in! Has she no shame? And if Clain happens to come by… Oh wait, he already did. Enri really thinks his pervert radar is super strong. However they see an old guy snapping photos of them. A voyeur? He runs away but Clain is interested in his old fashioned camera. Then they see a group of lost people wandering aimlessly. Sunda points out that they have stopped receiving Fractale’s blessing when the Balloon crashed. They can’t live on their own and was totally reliant on Fractale. The dark side of human nature is seen when they tussle with that old guy after thinking he is hording food in his bag. Clain goes to help him out when suddenly an army arrives to retain order. Another Lost Millennium faction led by the dashing Dias. He gives the accuser a taste of pain and seems to know Sunda. Then he proclaims he wishes to help those who have been betrayed by Fractale and wants them to follow him. The old guy dashes off so Clain goes after him. He too is living in an old fashioned house and the first thing Clain said to him is he wants to be his friend. This old man is some antique collector too so it’s no surprise Clain is absolutely excited about the treasure hoard. He tells Clain to meet him tonight at this place because he wants to show him something. When Clain returns to the rest, he talks highly of Dias compared to Sunda so the latter punishes him by making him do the night patrol. When everyone is asleep, Clain uses this chance to sneak away but was caught by Phryne who insists she wants to tag along.

On the way, they pass by Dias’ camp as he treats all the lost Fractale citizens. He seems to be a pretty nice guy so it’s no surprise that they feel very indebted to him. But Phryne says she prefers the people of Granitz more. Because of this, Clain and Phryne try to outrun each other, accusing the other of being a sore loser. Huh? What? Upon reaching the old guy’s place, he takes them to his roof whereby he tweaks some device and suddenly the entire place turns into a beautiful town landscape. As explained, the temple accesses these Balloons at midnight on a full moon. The radio waves become stronger so his antenna managed to pick this up. This is what the town looked like before the Balloon collapsed. The old guy’s dream is to bring this region inside the active zone (areas receiving Fractale’s blessings) once more since people can’t live without Fractale anymore. So instead of wandering and searching about for radio waves, why not bring Fractale’s blessings right here themselves? He tells them to go down to the town to see the truth with their eyes. Down there, they see some of the lost people relieved upon seeing the return of the Fractale system. However there are some getting upset that they can’t. As mentioned by Dias, he removed some of their terminals so they can’t see utopia anymore. Dias shows his true colours when some of them try to escape and has them shot dead!  Though he assures that he will save them, they have no choice but to follow him. Hey, they said they were indebted to him, right? Soon the place loses the waves and return to normal. Clain rushes back to the old guy. He can tell he is dying but he is not leaving this place since there are precious memories of his past. He wants to keep searching for radio waves from where all his memories lie. He gives Clain his camera as his parting gift before they all depart in Danan.

Episode 7
Clain is having fun experimenting with his new camera. Suddenly he finds himself in bed with a sexy hot babe, Meegan. Clearly she is a Doppel but she claims they had a passionate night. This is a dream, right? Well, this is definitely a dream city, Xanadu. Remembering back how it all happened, seems Clain and Nessa took the little blimp out and it crashed after Nessa starts feeling sickly. Phryne, Enri and Takami investigate the crash blimp and are curious where Clain went but meet some Tibetan-like guy. He claims his village isn’t part of the Lost Millennium as everyone lives a simple life alongside nature and appreciates its blessings. Clain is taken on a tour of Xanadu by Meegan but he is worried of Nessa’s whereabouts. She takes him to see one of her friends, Collin, some sort of Doppel designer. Clain finds Nessa in fever on his couch. He explains that she is being hacked. So it’s something similar to human bodies following sick. You know white blood cells attacking the virus so in Nessa’s case her antivirus programme is fending off whoever is hacking her (it’s the temple actually). Then later Clain overhears Meegan and Collin discussing about handing over Nessa to the temple since she is a wanted girl and getting their share of the reward. But Collin isn’t giving an inch to Meegan. Meanwhile Enri talks to Phryne if she’s in some sort of a sexual relation with Clain (tsundere mode on!). She claims that they are just friends because she has no right to be loved. Then Phryne enters the art workshop of that Tibetan guy. He sure has a weird taste in art. He asks for her opinion and in her honest words, it looks like a tap-dancing neurotic worm. Haha! That’s what I thought too. However that guy isn’t happy and slams a vase at Phryne! He accuses her of being a parasite of the network and is going to kill her. But Enri knocks him out with a giant work of his. Enri explains everyone here are liars. They are billionaires completely immersed in Fractale while they let their Doppels do their work as they themselves go around pretending to be environmentalist nomads. Meanwhile Clain takes Nessa and tries to escape. He feels how warm Nessa is and realized that being in a world one can’t touch is sad and cold. Meegan prevents Clain from escaping by inputting a virus worm in his terminal. Nessa gets distraught seeing him writhing in pain. She goes berserk as she promises to protect him. A bright light engulfs the city and turns Xanadu to its original state. Yeah, a desolated city void with all the ‘cosmetics’. Collin (in a form of a stuffed doll monkey) confronts Clain as he won’t let Fractale end because some people can only be free here. He also mentions about the rumours that the Key that could destroy or save Fractale. Then he shoots Clain. To complicate matters, Barrot has also arrived.

Episode 8
Enri notes that Clain and Phryne are captured. Nessa went crazy after that and is currently hiding somewhere in Danan. Phryne meets her father Barrot and we this creepy scene is enough to disgust you. He rubs his freaking face over her stomach, happy that he is reunited with her. He then wonders how close she and Clain is and will have her undergo a test to see if she is still worthy of being the Key. She has too since Clain’s surgery is on the line. Impatient Nessa wants to go safe Clain so even if the rest are properly watching her, you can’t hold her down. Poof in a blink of an eye. Clain wakes up fine and sees Nessa by his side. She is the one at the Star Festival. She claims she is here to watch over him. He learns her name is Phryne but he wants to go see HIS other Phryne. Oh, this is getting confusing, the names that is. Sunda talks to the other Lost Millennium faction leaders about attacking the temple-cum-laboratory. But they disagree and would prefer to sit and wait. But only Dias agrees to come along because he deduces Sunda has found something interesting, perhaps the Key? Phryne Nessa (that’s what I will call her to distinguish from the others) takes Clain to a room filled with her clones in a tube. They are all Phrynes and they can be touched and not Doppels. They are all also Keys. Clain gets a headache after reflecting on Sunda and Collin’s words. Then he notices Phryne Nessa’s hand bruise and wraps a cloth around it.

Elsewhere Phryne is taking an eligibility test which turns out to be some virginity test. Just sick. Suddenly the room bursts into flames. Nessa is here to the rescue but the alarm has already sounded. Fate has them meeting up with Clain. Phryne leads the way as Clain asks about everything (including Barrot as her father but he’s only a father for raising her, that’s about it). She mentions that she was trying to run away from it all as she couldn’t bear that she was just a Key and afraid she wouldn’t be herself anymore. Till she met him. They end up in a chamber with lots of Phryne Nessa clones being vaporized. As explained, they are all failures and deemed useless. Phryne says they are all her, her younger self. WHAT?! So if Nessa is her younger self, how come they looked so different? Nessa is engulfed in sadness that she fades away. Then Clain spots the Phryne Nessa with a bandaged on her hand and tries to safe her. Is he serious in pushing to tube out? I mean, it doesn’t seem to be even budging. Phryne thinks his attempt is futile as there will be many more replacements but he denies that each and every Phryne is different and unique. It was enough for her to go help out. Too bad Barrot has got to them. Sunda and Dias prepare the charge head on since sneak attack won’t help as the laboratory has already detected them. The blast throws everyone inside off-guard. Clain takes this chance to escape with Phryne. Dias launches a daring move by blasting his missiles right into the laboratory. Clain sees Phryne Nessa and wants her to come along but she points the direction to the safety shelter before the whole area blows up.

Episode 9
Thankfully Clain, Phryne and Nessa are safe and well. Thankfully the shelter is the only one standing as the whole place is now a crater. Too bad all the other clones had to die. Enri and Takami pick them up back to Danan. Moeran talks about how perhaps they are receiving the same punishment from God. You know, in the Bible the time when men tried to build a tower to reach the Heavens? That freaky Barrot is still alive albeit bandaged and sulking that he is humiliated and tortured after find the Key. I think he deserves it. Moeran is left with no choice but to make an announcement to all the remaining Fractale citizens to exterminate the Lost Millennium factions. Clain talks to Phryne and learns that Nessa is the first girl who looked like her (really? I don’t see the similarity in terms of physical and personality). That personality that is called God is residing in a girl’s body is the soul. Thus Phryne is the body, the physical medium created to house that soul. The Key will be born when the body and memories come together. That very Key will allow the Fractale system which close to collapse due to entropy accumulation to reboot. They don’t know how this come together thing will happen but she feels if it does, they won’t be themselves anymore. Nessa wakes up from a nightmare of disappearing. Clain comforts here and promises that they will all be together. A group of Fractale citizens gather outside Danan as they tell Sunda and his crew to get out of their place or else the temple will stop giving them blessings. They think their actions to destroy Fractale will only kill them. Enri becomes distraught that what she struggled for to free people had turn into this. Yeah, we’re all only human. Then they receive report that villages of the Lost Millennium faction are being hit by the temple.

They rush back to Granitz Village as the Lost Millennium leaders hold a meeting about what to do next. Dias suggests that since Sunda holds the Key, they have lost their rational. Which means there is no reason for them to exist. In short, it’s going to be a big showdown and an attack by every Lost Millennium force against the temple. Sunda wants Clain to stay back to protect Phryne and Nessa. Before Sunda and his crew depart, they take a group picture with his camera. Butcher has not been forgotten either. Perhaps Enri’s body language was telling us she wanted to confess to Clain but she ends up punching him when he thought she wanted to go to the toilet! Haha! Sunda wonders why they can laugh so Phryne says that it’s because they are scared. But they are more afraid if they can’t protect the ones they love. Sunda and his crew leave and rendezvous with the other factions. Clain, Phryne and Nessa spend time together and take time to notice the beauty of the natural world regardless of the kinds of people. Phryne asks Claine’s wish on the Day Star so he says he wishes for all 3 of them to be together. But it seems that night, Phryne decides to leave them while they’re sleeping. Noting that Nessa is herself when she was beautiful, if she can be with him forever, she’ll be okay with that. Phryne plans on returning to the temple to negotiate with Moeran and Barrot and is confident because since she is half the key and thanks Clain for giving her the confidence to do so. So when Clain reads her goodbye letter, he’s not going to let her have her selfish ways. Yeah, he’s going to rescue her with Nessa. The big showdown with the temple and Lost Millennium begins. Lots of aerial missiles and beams like it’s some day time fireworks show.

Episode 10
Of course the temple can’t go down that easy. It won’t be the main temple if it doesn’t have loads of cool arsenal, right? I don’t know how this is possible because Clain’s mini blimp get to catch up with Danan and board it. I know it is light and face but distance-wise, can it really match Danan’s speed power? Sunda is not happy that they came because it means their efforts are wasted if both the Keys fall into the temple’s hands. He punches Clain. Despite that, though he thinks they are murderers, he considers them his friends. That’s why he wants to go where Phryne is. Dias has overheard them and plans to use himself as decoys to give time for the negotiation. Meanwhile Phryne sees Moeran. Phryne threatens she will kill herself if her request to let Nessa go isn’t met though she will stay here and endure the pain. Moeran explains that it will be useless since they need both Keys to reboot Fractale and there will be no point to stop this battle if she doesn’t function as the Key. She continues that people are dependent on Fractale. Take that away and the world will descend into chaos. Sunda and Clain have breach into the temple. Moeran asks Phryne’s intention to return if she doesn’t intend to become the Key. She wants to stop this battle and is confident she can do it. That’s because she knows Moeran understand her feelings as they used to be the exact same Phryne. Oh God. Don’t tell me this grand priestess is the older version of Phryne. Maybe. That’s why Phryne called her mother or rather, her sister. Phryne explains even if she is successful in rebooting Fractale, the same problem will recur again in hundreds of years’ time. Then they will have to undergo painful experiments to see if they’re fit to become the Key. With tears in Moeran’s eyes, she has Phryne come to lie on her lap. Then she starts strangling her. Moeran is envious Phryne is trying to protect something for someone she loves but she on the other hand has no one to love but have to continue to protect this world. She will reboot this world as many times as it takes so that the people will die without knowing the true joy of being born or what is important to them. She considers this her revenge to the world for giving birth to her. So she is just as twisted as any villain who wants to rule the world.

After she lets go of Phryne, Phryne now understands Moeran’s sadness and leaves. Sunda and Clain are cornered by the temple’s army when Dias’ ship comes crashing in. They have also hacked the temple’s systems. Sunda is surprised to see Enri and Nessa in the temple. These girls are just so impatient, eh? The army has captured Nessa in a spell so for the first time, Clain fires his machine gun, killing the army and the old priestesses. Then they are surprise to see a blob floating around Dias and realize he has a terminal within him. He claims this is a necessary tactic to have a winning chance against the enemy on their ground. Clain and Nessa go off to search for Phryne.  Sunda then hears Dias’ actual sneaky plan to destroy the actual Key to prevent the reboot for now. Sunda punches him but Dias mocks him that he has fallen for her. Nessa begins to fade as she sings the Day Star Song. Clain wonders if that song was popular during pre-Fractale days. Meanwhile as Phryne escapes, she comes into Dias’ men. They fire at her but the old priestesses protect her with their bodies. Finally Phryne and Clain meet but a glass wall prevents them from contacting. Nessa becomes their medium of communication as Phryne says Nessa is all she wanted him to protect, the time of her memories when she was beautiful. It’s such a bad time to have Barrot coming in now. He’s saying that Phryne is still beautiful in both body and soul. He hugs her and starts licking her cheek!!! He wants to let her ‘boyfriend’ know how they are bonded by a deep love. Now this guy just totally creeps me out.

Episode 11
Barrot explains the truth about the world. To conserve and protect the biological data of the original Phryne whom they called God, the scientist who created the Fractale system split God into body and spirit, creating the Key. Hundreds of years later, for some reason, the Key did not fit into the keyhole when it became necessary. Thus they decided to have God descended again to reboot the system. God’s spirit was of a 10 year old girl and thus it is that 10 year old girl they recreated attempted to imbue into the spirit. However the results failed no matter how many times they tried. Thus the many rejected experimental bodies we see in Phryne Nessa. Barrot was given this task and in the process adopted several of them as his daughters. Then one day he found the elusive secret to God and Phryne. It turns out God’s age was 16 (which is this Phryne as we know) and not 10 as believed. Due to some traumatic experience, God created a 10 year old personality and hid herself in it. So do you understand everything? Hell, no. I’m still bloody confused. Barrot continues that God and Phryne went through the same experiment: They knew love. He starts bragging how she belongs to only him and mocks the total loser Clain is. Watch your mouth buddy because Phryne stabs him while he is ranting away! He deserves it. Phryne upon realizing what she has done, runs away in shock. Nessa goes after her and comforts her. Then they hear a familiar song. Meanwhile Clain is so troubled with Barrot’s words that he starts seeing visions of him! He nearly mistook Enri for him and almost shot her! Anyway as Sunda explains, Dias’ team has set explosives all over the temple and are attempting suicide. The reason being is that he knows he has been betrayed since all other factions have pulled out. Nevertheless it proves that they’re human after all. Sunda orders reluctant Enri to take the rest of their men out of the temple and assures her he’ll return. Sunda and Clain follow a familiar song to a room whereby Moeran is conducting the sacred ceremony. Phryne and Nessa have volunteered to be part of the ceremony and become the Key to the world. She invites to witness the historical moment that happens only in a thousand years. Dias comes in and wishes to be part of the moment. He goes up to Moeran and hugs her. The way he says things indicates that he’s going to sacrifice himself (he’s already badly injured by the way). The way she says things indicates she cares little about her life. And yeah, Dias blows both of them up. In the commotion, Sunda has Clain, Phryne and Nessa enter an elevator to the Firmament. I guess Sunda too wants to be a hero because the way he says things indicates he’s going to sacrifice himself. Follow the path you believe in? Those are the words of a man going to meet his maker. So what about his promise to return? Maybe not in human form, eh? He stays back to stall the advancing soldiers.

As the trio ride the elevator up, Phryne is going to merge with Nessa though it may be risky and they may lose their lives. Clain wants to know if they cared about his feelings and though both the temple and Sunda had some things right and some things wrong, he is definite he’d be sad if he loses both of them. He then hugs Phryne and says he loves her. Even if she’s stubborn and decides things on herself, he loves her for being that way. Enri has managed to get Danan out of the temple and finds it hard to contain her tears. Grandpa comforts her by saying Lost Millennium wasn’t created to destroy the Fractale system but to pass down true freedom of being humans to future generations. Clain and co reach the top of the Firmament. Looks like a pretty flower garden in space. Phryne says this is where Nessa’s memories will lead them from here. They see a short video clip when God, a happy Phryne recording a video of herself summing up her courage to go to some place called Fractale for ‘data collection’. She gets her confidence from a stuffed toy rabbit named Nessa. So God is that girl?! Oh God! But as Phryne notes, they are both different because that Phryne was able to accept this twisted world with a smile. At first Phryne thought she couldn’t but now feels she can because of Clain and Nessa, they were there for her. She wants to protect them with all her strength. Clain promises that no matter what happens, he’ll take them both back and live together. Phryne and Nessa start the process as they sing the Day Star Song. Clain could only watch but oddly he couldn’t shed any tears because he feels that there are people wishing for his eternal smile. In the aftermath, Fractale has been rebooted and a year has passed. People have begun to rely less on Fractale to live. Enri and the Granitz family are doing fine (minus Sunda). Enri is grooming into a fine leader as grandpa says that another reboot is impossible since the temple was completely destroyed. Meanwhile Clain continues to live in his permanent house. Phryne is also there but sleeping in his bed. Then she wakes up and it’s like both personalities of Phryne and Nessa are in this girl. Hard time guessing which, eh? When Phryne says that she loves him ever since the first time they met, he breaks down and hugs her. Aww… How sweet. Phryne finds it odd since he’s crying like a baby. And the group photo they took back then, Nessa is missing from it.

Welcome… To The Real World
So the world was not destroyed like I thought it would be. Considering that there are quite a number of deaths in this series (though most of them are unimportant minor characters like the temple people and innocent civilians), I was expecting a major tragedy at the end. Maybe having people relying on Fractale system from the start is already a tragedy itself. I think I can consider this to be a bittersweet ending because though we have the main characters continuing with their normal lives, it is sad that all the sufferings and sacrifices that had to be made in order to achieve this. The idea and concept of the Fractale system seems interesting in the sense that mankind has reached its ultimate utopia but at what price? Does mankind really achieve true freedom by being too dependent on sophisticated technology? Immersing yourself in the fake digital world, is that call true living? This depends very much on the individual. Some like it, some don’t. But the bottom line is, are you truly happy with your lives now? But when you’ve been brainwashed for such a long time, it’s hard to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. How many of us can do that?

However the explanation of the rebooting system of the Fractale system seems a little far-fetched to believe, if not complicated. If God was a young girl, they could have given Haruhi Suzumiya the job. Sorry, jokes aside, the reason of why they need this Key thing to work the Fractale system still bugs me. How it didn’t fit one day and how they came up with the conclusion that a 10 year old is the key to solving their woes add to the confusion. So is this Phryne girl, a descendent of the original one many centuries ago? If so, she must have been over-cloned. No wonder the experiment hurts. I wonder if it really was a virginity test. Assuming despicable Barrot may have laid his on Phryne, what are the chances she isn’t that pure in this sense?

Clain has turned from someone who prefers to be alone at the start into someone who enjoys the company of others. Though he leads a simple life but I guess you’ll never know the meaning of loneliness if you have never have friends before. Having Doppels do not count. It’s like talking to your television or some other electrical appliances. Just that it has more interaction capabilities. Phryne also learns to open up at the end from being someone who keeps to herself. Nessa is always the happy girl and she really acts like a kid, throwing tantrums and fits whenever she is unhappy. It boggles me that if she was part of the Key to rebooting the system, how did Phryne get her hands on it? Where was she all the while when others searched high and low without finding an answer in sight? Enri’s tsundere proves to be amusing and a comic relief. Too bad she just didn’t have the chance to tell Clain her true feelings. Either way, Clain would have preferred very much to live with Phryne and Nessa. Sunda and Dias aren’t as bad as they seem. While Sunda may sound arrogant and Dias hides a cold blooded nature, ultimately they stood for what they believe for and fight all the way till the end of their lives. Barrot is the creepiest character, possibly the most hated character. I’m sure his molesting of Phryne creeps you out. Because this isn’t an ecchi series, caressing a girl’s stomach and licking her face is utmost disgusting. Partly because he’s an old geezer and not a hot bishonen :p. I thought we’d seen the last of him when the slab collapsed on him at the lab, but he is one tough nut to crack. Well, we must be all happy since he’s dead for good in the end. Moeran’s jealousy is fuelled by the fact that Phryne is considered more important compared to her even though her intentions of protecting this world is sincere. Any point bugging me is that if Nessa is the younger version of Phryne, then Moeran must be the older version of her, right? I mean, she did address her as her sister. So we all know what she’ll look like when she grows old :p. And don’t tell me all those grandmas at the temple are her too.

I need to say something about the drawing and art. It reminded me so much of Sora No Woto in the sense that the scenery and backgrounds are breathtaking that it makes you go ooh and ahh. However the same can’t be said about the human beings. Their details are so lacking so much so it feels like not much effort has been put into them. At one point (the part where everybody was dancing and getting jiggy with it), they really look like weird sketches. Just horrible. Therefore I sometimes would avert my eyes to the scenery behind rather than the characters in focus. Of course the main characters like Clain, Phryne and Nessa are given more details but generally the quality of the art isn’t as good as they give to the background. Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Hitomi Azuma. I’m not sure if I could classify the opening theme, Harinezumi as a dance song even with its upbeat nature. That’s because the animation is just all about zooming in and out of the colourful kaleidoscope effects. Not sure if you’re watching some virus thingy or light show. The ending theme, Down By The Salley Gardens is a slow and calming piece. It is totally sung in English though I feel that some of the grammar doesn’t make sense. Then halfway it changed to a Japanese version before reverting back to its original English. The animation here is nothing surprising. Nessa sitting by the rocks watching the scenery till a little butterfly flutters by and in her distraction, she falls off the rock. Cute, no? For the Day Star insert song, humming it by yourself is just horrible. The full version with other instruments accompanying it sounds better.

I don’t really have any problems with the voice casting except Clain’s. Yu Kobayashi is the voice behind him and I feel that her voice doesn’t really suit this character. Based on my views, Clain just sounded odd and with Yu Kobayashi’s crazy voice antics, I had this feeling the character would burst into a crazy fit somehow. Though she has voiced some boy’s role before, I still feel that she would suit better in other roles than this. In contrast, Kana Hanazawa was perfect and definitely suitable for the sunny Nessa. After watching her voice lively characters such as the titular character in Kobato and Kozue in Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin, there is no others who would be better than her to play Nessa. Other casts include newbie seiyuu Minami Tsuda as Phryne, Yuka Iguchi as Enri (Index in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Shintaro Asanuma as Sunda (Tsuda in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Sumi Shimamoto as Moeran (Kyoko in Maison Ikkoku), Mitsuru Miyamoto as Barrot (Ayame in Fruits Basket), Tomoaki Maeno as Dias (Junichi in Amagami SS) and surprisingly Aki Toyosaki as Meegan (Yui in K-ON!).

Modern conveniences serve to lessen the burden of humanity and to make life easier. But depending too much on it has reduced the quality of life. You can say that this is some sort of apocalypse. Some sort of illusionary prison on Earth without everyone realizing it. In a way, this series reminded me of a Hollywood blockbuster, The Matrix. See the similarities? The people in general are living in the fake world with those in power trying to brainwash and keep things as they are. Then there are a few outsiders and rebels trying to break into the system and save humanity once and for all. If you are given a choice, would you really want to be part of the Fractale system or get down and dirty with reality? For me, as long as I can watch my animes, I’m fine. Come to think of it, is this life of mine just an illusion too? If so, I don’t want to wake up yet.

Koisento

November 12, 2011

Hmm… Even religion has taken a technological advance. At least that was my first impression when I saw Koisento. Imagine a self-automated Buddha statue, other deity statues that are able to move about themselves like as though it’s some kind of parade. Oh wait, isn’t it a parade here? Well, this anime isn’t about Buddhism or Shinto but you can feel that this city is heavily influenced by these religions.

I’m still trying to figure out what this 1 episode OVA is all about. Set in the very distant future in the city of Nara, it is the year 2710. The city is celebrating its 2,000th anniversary of the relocation of the capital. Wow. Four digits in celebrating your anniversary. We have this kid, Shinichi Kajimoto who is on a school field trip with his male buddies, all probably some kind of otaku because they’re cheering on the hologram Himiko bus operator. Everyone’s caught up in the festive mood as Shinichi’s pal is hyped out just about everything like the rumours that the Buddha statue is said to bring love and luck and perhaps Shinichi himself will be able to meet a girl. Even Himiko herself. Shinichi daydreams about getting some love letter from Himiko. But he misread the words and to his surprise, Himiko’s head turns into a white deer.

In a laboratory, a Himiko nicknamed HRF-12 is locked in a capsule being under heavy scrutiny as the scientist mentions he has discovered problems in her nervous system and visual ability. Petite but evil Mama (her big lump of hair is so big like a cushion, it feels like it could crush her head anytime!) wants the problem fixed and have the genetic sequence of her nervous system genes improvised. HRF-12 wants to go out but Mama disallows it and wants her to listen to her orders instead. She has her goons keep a close watch on her. However, being the unreliable goons they are, HRF-12 escapes. Yeah, even Mama mentions that there was a case of a sample running away 20 years ago. And history repeated itself. Why not? I mean, look at their outrageous hairstyle (enough to turn heads), colourful suits and ridiculous make-up. They look more like clowns than villains.

Shinichi is ruing his luck of seeing a deer in his dream. At the deer park, Shinichi’s friend is being glomped by several deer while a white deer cheekily steals Shinichi’s bag. Not willing to give it up, he chases after it and ends up having the wildest ride of his life. Imagine a deer jumping and prancing throughout the city in high speed. Hold on to your horses! Or deer in his case. Mama and the goons are hot on HRF-12’s tail. She escapes but is dangerously tiptoeing outside the building’s ledge. One of the goons accidentally bursts open the hatch and sends her falling. All in good timing, her fall is broken when the white deer with Shinichi zooms pass by swooping her along.

Once somewhere safe, HRF-12 is fascinated with the crowd and blends into it by transforming her priestess robe into a high school girl’s uniform. And Shinichi is still fighting with the white deer for his bag. Hey, it’s his, right? They introduce themselves and HRF-12’s real name is Yamto Totohimomosohime. Tototototototo what? Just call her Toto. They walk around the city as Toto mentions this is her first time outside. She wonders about seeing the ocean since she was never allowed to go anywhere. Shinichi apologizes for bringing up this weird question and says that he has been lost before and wasn’t able to anywhere. Toto suggests they tour the city together. Shinichi thinks this is some kind of date like what lovers do. Keep dreaming pal. What Toto had in mind was visiting the various Buddha statues. How disappointing? Mama has located Toto’s whereabouts and prepares to move in.

Inside a temple, Shinichi and Toto climb onto a giant Buddha’s palm. Toto connects with the statue and moves them closer to the its nostrils seeing that there is this rumour that if one climbs into Buddha’s nostrils, your wish will come true. What again? If that was true, don’t you think many would have done so and look so odd embarrassing themselves. Nevertheless it didn’t stop Shinichi from trying. Urm… He seems stuck. But when he manages to pull himself free, Toto gets shock thinking that he lost his head! Actually it’s just ‘sunken’ underneath his shirt. In her relief, she cuddles close to him. Shinichi is now in a dilemma. Is he going to take advantage of this situation or not. Yeah, his angel and devil are toying over this. But they’re taking too long and by that time, Toto’s already up and away. Then she starts acting strange, like as though she felt some pain. She thanks him for making her day fun. He gives her his charm and promises to go to the ocean together.

Their nice moment is interrupted when Mama and her goons come in. Yeah, they are riding temple guardian machines. Since she isn’t going to go with them, Mama prepares to take her by force and if necessary, give her pain. Toto connects and moves the Buddha statue. It wreaks havoc all over the place and manages to throw the villains off their footing. Toto tells Shinichi to run as she will stall for some time (she doesn’t want him to get involved). He is reluctant but the white deer pulls him away. Then she transforms into her priestess outfit and do battle with the temple giants. However her leg stops functioning so she takes a beating. Messed up Mama gives Toto an earful about disobeying her. She rants about placing her entire life on her and reminds that she is her creator. Every inch of her body is created by her. However Toto says that she only belongs to herself and the emotions she felt like crying, laughing and falling in love are real. Suddenly a deer stampede crash into the temple, stomping all over the baddies. Shinichi rides on the white deer looking for Toto. Mama is one hard mama to stay down and continues to threaten Toto. Unfortunately for her, the white deer sinks both its back hooves into her face. Maybe she’ll need facial surgery now. Shinichi picks Toto up as they escape outside. He is going to take her to the ocean but there are no oceans in Nara. Well, you won’t know if you don’t try looking for one. He is so determined that he even ride and jump pass the lines of police surrounding the area!

In the aftermath as Mama and her goons are arrested, who knows where Shinichi and Toto reach. He tries to confess but was cut short when all the deer resonate. Don’t tell me he’s shy to say so in front of the deer? Unless those deer understand human language. As the sun rises, they see the magnificent view of the ocean. While Shinichi is gawking in awe, Toto closes her eyes, stops functioning and disappears. Shinichi goes to find her but she was nowhere to be found. Down and out, he returns to the parade and his friend thinks he got messed up due to a girl. Shinichi sees a parade float with Toto and the white deer on. A group of deer shove Shinichi right in the middle of its path. This is the Toto that Shinichi knows because she is wearing his charm. In her happiness, she rushes down and hugs him. Wait a minute, they’re doing this in public? But what is odd is that we don’t see any shocking reaction from the crowd. Then she whispers something inaudible but it was enough to make his face turn redder than a tomato. Wanna bet it’s “I love you”?

WTF?! So can someone tell me what all this is about? Maybe it’s a short story of a chance encounter of a boy-meets-girl. He becomes her unwitting rescuer from her chasers and end up happily reunited. Oh, not forgetting the deer. Other than that, I try not to think hard of the other stuff like Toto’s background of how she’s someone important to Mama for something. And will Toto continue to be with Shinichi from now on instead of going back to her mundane experimental life? Maybe if they turn this into a TV series or a few more OVA episodes, they could expand on this area and several others as well. So this OVA was just weird and it’s best you watch it with a pinch of salt.

Another odd part is the ending credits whereby we see the group of deer dancing! They’re standing on their hind legs while their front legs holding each other’s hooves, swinging from left to right and right to left. You know those scenes of those human chains? How can they hold each other without fingers? Then they are joined by Mama and her goons but they are doing more posing than anything before Shinichi’s friend, Shinichi and Toto get down and jiggy with it. Both the ending themes are sung by Minako Kotobuki (the voice of Toto). The opening theme Metamorphose has a hint of Chinese feel in it and mixed with pop. The ending theme Startline is livelier since we have the characters dancing, so why not get up and dance to this party pop beat too?

There is something about the art and drawing. At first they seem like they are 2D but upon closer look, I think there are some computer generated animations blended into it. For instance, if you take a close look at the movements of the characters, they are moving in a way that only computer animation can do so. Slightly smooth transition. Of course the zooming in of the scenes and some of the effects like confetti falling are definitely CGI. So the next time you see a deer at the park, don’t think they are just some creature who wants to feed on you biscuits and lick you all over your place. They may lead you to a destined love one and one heck of a short adventure. Then you can exclaim “Oh deer!”. Haha. I just wanted to say that anyway.

Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin

July 23, 2011

I was never a fan or follower of any sort of occult or the supernatural. Neither am I for the horror series. So what made me decide to watch Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin? You know me. I read that there was this comedy element so I thought it was going to be one of those spoofs and rip-offs for instance like how Hollywood did with that Scary Movie. Not exactly like that but this is what made up my mind that this show could be a funny one. Looking at the promotional poster, I saw a commanding and superior-looking lady in white, sitting on top of a wuss guy like as though she’s using him as a human chair! That definitely seals it. Now this I got to see.

As part of the occult theme in this series, I’m sure that many of us have read or at least heard about the famous end-of-the-world prophecy of Nostradamus. Remember that 2012 movie that stroke fear worldwide about the possibility of the world ending on that year just because some Mayan calendar wasn’t clear whether it just ran out of space for further dates. Apparently in this year as shown in this series, mankind is facing a different kind of Apocalypse. Towering beam-firing aliens are destroying our world. Hmm… I thought those aliens resemble something like those ATs in Star Wars. Well, at least we won’t have to worry about destroying ourselves from global warming. Hehe, I’m not helping either.

It seems that something dubbed the Nostradamus Key has triggered the events of the world back in 1999. So the future surviving agents are sending time travelling agents back in time in hopes of finding the Key and hope restore humanity. Unfortunately this isn’t going to be an easy job because well, agent #5 just died. Oh boy. What does this mean? Send in the next agent #6 lah. So in addition to occult and horror themes, we have to deal with sci-fi too? I just hope the comedy part will be as interesting and entertaining as well.

Episode 1
The large Waldstein Academy is founded amidst the lush greenery of a remote village in Nagano prefecture of Japan to cater to those students who would like to pursue their passion in the occult. The date is July 1999. Maya Kumashiro, the daughter of the founder and principal of Waldstein, Junichiro, returns to the school because her dad has just recently passed away. She reluctantly has to assume the principal role now and despite her vast knowledge on the occult, she despises it. The academy is currently holding a funeral ceremony with all the students attending. Maya doesn’t seem too thrilled about it as she sits on stage with her arms and legs crossed. Maya’s childhood friend, Ami Kuroki and her bespectacled friend, Kozue Naruse recognizes Maya upon her return. Waldstein’s vice principal, Chihiro Kawashima reads a tearful eulogy and plays Junichiro’s last words on a player. Seems goofy. But it’s like as though he knew his days were numbered. During the ‘speech’, Junichiro mentions about a successful spell of summoning dead ancient spirits. Call it fluke or coincidence, suddenly the windows start flapping and mysterious gas appearing. Junichiro’s lifeless body moves and it is clear that he is possessed by a spirit. The hall turns into chaos as everybody runs helter-skelter for safety. Dead Junichiro charges but Maya takes a chair and whacks him right in the face. No respect for your father! Maya takes charge by telling everyone that this is all staged and that spirits do not exist! Tell that to the students again when Junichiro starts to rise once more. This time he breaks out from the hall.

Maya does her research in the library and needs to capture this spirit known as lamie. She meets Kozue who expresses her admiration for the occult and deep respect for Junichiro. Ami brings in more help in the form of Smile, the school mechanic who holds a real big spanner (like that Graham guy in Baccano, eh?) for fighting purposes, and JK (no relation to that Harry Potter author), a big chubby guy with horrendous make-up never seen without his pair of dowsing rods. Yeah, this school is definitely weird alright. Following JK’s rods, they try to track the lamie. Eventually it possesses Kozue and starts attacking the gang. Maya rushes to find the source in order to kill it. Upon opening a room, she sees her father and the entire scene changes into her home. He mentions that this was all a set up and starts getting emotional how he neglected his family while building this academy. Maya plays along till she picks up an axe and is prepared to chop off his head. She knew the lamie has the ability to read one’s mind and heart so she wasn’t swayed by her its words. The lamie is destroyed (releasing Kozue from its possession) and the room returns to a storeroom storing all sorts of occult torture devices. Maya remembers how she was fascinated with the occult when she was young. But her father was too busy researching the occult that he slapped her when she reminded him about their promise to go shopping. Because of that, Maya and her mom left while Junichiro continued his obsession to build his academy. Thus the reason Maya decided to return to this school: To destroy it and the occult that brings nothing but ruin to the world and delusion to the people. As Maya takes a breather on the rooftop, a handphone drops down from the sky. She picks it up when suddenly a bright light comes shining down from the middle. Is an angel descending? Heck no. It’s a naked guy! Her shocked expression wasn’t the fact he was floating down from the sky before her. If you look closely at his shadow over Maya’s face… You’ll understand why… Meanwhile Chihiro and her bodyguard resolve to keep a close eye on Maya.

Episode 2
Like any normal girl after seeing a naked guy, Maya runs for her life. Yeah, don’t take any chances. He might be a pervert or rapist. Worst still, that guy chases after her. Naked. Thank God he fell into a pit. Maya rests back in her room and watches a television programme. Currently there is a young boy, Fumiaki Uchida AKA Bunmei on the rise to popularity as he is able to bend spoon using his psychic powers. Maya takes a picture of herself using the handphone but gets freaked out upon seeing a skull and bones as its result. Next day in school, Maya discusses certain school matters with Chihiro. The latter introduces a new history teacher, Minoru Abe. Uh… It’s that naked guy! After excusing Chihiro, Maya tries to kill him! After she mentions about his weird handphone, Abe tells her that he is a time agent sent from the future to protect the future. Narrating how the world is overrun by aliens and on the verge of being destroyed, Abe was sent as agent #6 because of his top class psychokinesis. Abe was bloody cool and calm when he was being explained about the Key, the rift in the time-space dimension rift that causes the appearance of the aliens and the special handphone he was given to. Using some kind of special technology, the object that is being taken while thinking of your intentions with it, will allow one to see whether or not it exists in 2012. For instance, if you take a picture of a human and it turns out to be skull and bones, you can bet the future is still the same gloomy and apocalyptic end that it’s heading. It’s an interesting feature but really, how can such a technology see into the future? It’s really mind boggling if you think about it. I wonder if this could be the new application feature on our iPad. Anyway Abe needs to use this handphone in order to find and pinpoint the object that is the Key. Oddly enough, Abe can communicate with the agents in the future, though it is just one way. I can think of all the contradictions about this but that would a big headache. Hmm… Maybe he’s from the past so when he ‘communicates’, the message may take a decade to reach our future folks but really if you consider it, wouldn’t it be like ‘instant’?

So that is how Abe is transported to the past. But Maya still doesn’t believe this crap. Abe mentions that the Bunmei kid was him 10 years ago (which is now). She wants him to prove himself by bending a spoon. Since he took too long, she kicks him out. He lost his powers? Abe goes around taking pictures of stuff in the academy while Chihiro takes Maya back to Junichiro’s place where she is going to live. During shower, strange events start to occur. A warning in blood not to interfere is written on the mirror, an invisible creature breaks into the window and only its wet footsteps are visible (creepy!). Abe was nearby and crashes in Tarzan style. Maya thinks he is the Great King that will bring terror to mankind on July 21st as prophesized. The creature closes in and Maya accidentally pushes Abe away, revealing a secret passageway. Down the stairways, the creature tries to strangle Maya when a great flash of light behind the bricks disintegrates it. Maya sees a notebook belonging to Junichiro. Upon reading it, she learns he was researching about the Nostradamus Key and trying to find ways to destroy it. There were some parties who disagreed and tried to take him out. Junichiro seems to know his time is up if Maya finds this notebook and has written all sort of defensive magical spells in it. This means that somebody killed her father. Next day, Abe becomes the homeroom teacher of Ami and Kozue’s class. To his surprise, Maya becomes a student in his class too. Later Maya reveals that she plans on cooperating with him (though she hasn’t forgive him yet) by exchanging information to find Junichiro’s murderer and using herself as bait to lure the perpetrator out. They shake hands as sign of agreement. But when Abe mentions that she really loves the occult, she punches him and asserts her hate for it. Nothing went right for him ever since he came, eh?

Episode 3
There are rumours that several townspeople are going missing. They suspect it may be the doing of a tengu, a spirit of the Japanese folklore. They decide to investigate it in hopes that it will lead them to the Key. After Abe leaves, he bumps into Chihiro. She starts falling in love with him after he praises her hairstyle instead of teasing it. Eww… Those puckering lips look disgusting. Abe takes a picture of her and it reveals skull and bones. Better get yourself away and not associate with her. Abe reminisces about his past and desires to go back. He even calls his mom but didn’t say anything. He enters an eatery and is taken in by a beautiful and busty waitress, Mikaze Nakagawa, politely serving him his favourite curry dish. Abe isn’t just taken in by her looks. He is surprised that she calls him Fumiaki. Her mom only calls him that and so it’s a surprise that someone else does so. Abe makes frequent visits to Mikaze’s shop and one day she asks him if he has free time. Would he pass this chance up? The funny part wasn’t the fact that this small town girl owns a flashy sports car, but rather the way she drives! Abe is in a hell ride of his life! Look at the way she drifts! She can put all those expert drifters in Initial D to shame! Thank God, I don’t know how Abe survived the ordeal but it is sure a traumatizing experience. She takes him to several historical spots in the town. As the duo visit an underground bunker, Maya is pissed and suspicious after she spots him fooling around instead of investigating the tengu case. Abe and Mikaze soon leave the bunker and they spend a little tome closer to each other. Meanwhile Maya is in a pinch as she tries to escape from an attacking creature. Did it get her?

Episode 4
Kozue is missing, Abe tries to turn down Chihiro’s advances as he seeks Mikaze’s help to find Kozue. Oh no. It’s that hell ride all over town again. At a shrine, the duo uncover a secret passageway so Abe tries to become a man to protect Mikaze though we know that he is just putting up an act. Trekking deeper underground, Abe and Mikaze got separated. Abe then bumps into Maya. Looks like she’s still alive. They discuss about pyramids and how this mountain based on some theory is one. The passage leads them to a large world tree. Abe takes a picture of it but it isn’t the Key they’re looking for. Abe falls into a giant dung and a giant moth starts attacking them. Maya is going to let that guy take some responsibility to save the future of mankind. That is when Abe reveals the true story. In the future, he’s some sort of poor guy trying to make a living via road side entertainment. I guess he must’ve lost his spoon bending powers and tries to cheat the audience but they saw his trick and left without any ‘donations’. That’s when the future agent picked him up for a mission. Abe was like a total coward, screaming in defiance about going on this dangerous mission. He was forced to against his will. So! That guy is a complete worthless wuss after all! So much about his grand story. Maya and Abe walk deeper and discover several human bones on the ground. There are lots of cocoons on the wall as Maya spots Kozue in one. She tries to dig her out but coward Abe fails her when all the other moths start awakening so he runs away! F*cking chicken!!! Maya is left to deal with the monstrous moths alone as she has her hands full with unconscious Kozue. Luckily for her, Smile and JK who were also searching for Kozue, bump into Maya as they battle the moths. JK’s dowsing rods are quite handy for fighting if I must say. JK also brings his special keyboard that unleashes a certain frequency to immobilize the moths. Everyone manages to get out of the cave alive before an explosion seals the moths in. They bump into Abe (who is still thankful that he is alive) so Maya gives him the cold shoulder and returns with the rest to the academy. Then he is reunited with Mikaze and he told the most despicable lie ever. He said he saved the missing student and sent her back to the academy. F*ck you! As Chihiro writes in her love diary for Abe (oh, if she’d only seen the kind of wuss he is), the Bodyguard comes in reporting about the explosions that sealed the moths in. Chihiro becomes wary of Maya for being a troublesome principal.

Episode 5
Kozue shows Maya a spoon that never rusts. She in turn tells her about some OOPart thingy. Over the next few scenes, Kozue gets excited at the slightest everyday occurrence and thinks it must be some sort of occult. Like the teacher’s bad handwriting to be some sort of alien language! Or following a black cat just to have bad luck but her injury she got was of her own doing. Abe gets a visit from Mikaze. She thinks of selling bread at this school to help pay her car loan (it’s that trauma again!). Maya, Ami and Kozue meet at the rooftop during recess. Kozue laments how she was the only one who hasn’t experienced an occult. Seriously? Has she forgotten about being possessed or kidnapped by one? Apparently she claims she didn’t see them since she believes what is important are the things you can’t see with your eyes. Soon Kozue goes missing again but this time it didn’t take long for her friends to find her trying to reach a near-death experience state in some cold storage room. Abe tries to get Maya to approve Mikaze’s bread selling activities in school. I guess after pissing her off, she stamps her approve mark. On his forehead. Be careful to stamp it on the paper… Later, Kozue volunteers as a test subject for a near-death experiment. Oddly enough, they have a big screen to see what Kozue is seeing. Is the afterlife a colourful and fantasy-like place? Up to you to interpret as Kozue goes deeper into this world. Her time limit is up as the scientists pull her back out. When Kozue regains consciousness, her friends are suspicious of her change in behaviour. She doesn’t seem to take this occult thingy seriously. Then on the big screen, they see Kozue trying to search for the glasses she dropped (around the time when the scientists pulled her out). Is the real Kozue still trapped there? Besides, the Kozue that came out from the capsule did not have specs on. Hmm…

Episode 6
So Kozue becomes somewhat lethargic to the occult. Ami decides to make Kozue remember and want Maya to help her out. They did all those so called lame occult tricks like what Kozue got excited over in the previous episode but Kozue tells them straight why it’s not. Eventually Maya orders Abe (busy accompanying Mikaze and a guinea-pig for her bread) to do spoon bending in front of Kozue. Of course he flops (since he admitted his powers are long gone) and makes a fool of himself. Kozue still doesn’t believe in the occult but it is strange when tears suddenly stream down her eyes. Maya concludes that Kozue left her heart in the aftermath so Maya plans to go back to the lab and bring her back via near-death experience. I guess Abe wants to redeem himself so he decides to step in instead of Maya. Good, she lets him do it. As Abe goes deeper, the rest sees his memories during his childhood as Bunmei. He seems a lonely kid but a traumatic one crops up. On a day Bunmei was looking forward to go to the planetarium with his mom, she rescheduled his performance on that day. When Bunmei tried to remind her, she slapped him! Maya felt guilty because he was the same like her as her father did to her. Then they see the alien invasion that wrecks havoc in the future. Abe finds Kozue sitting alone dejectedly lamenting about the need to see with her heart but still can’t see it. Abe realizes that she may be looking for her glasses which are on her head. Kozue returns to her perky self and this dumbfounds all her buddies. Later Maya agrees to work with Abe to find the Key seeing that what he said about the future is true. Now he believes him. Next day, Mikaze thanks Maya for allowing her to sell bread on the school grounds. Maya gets upset when she sees Abe helping to sell and punches him for doing other jobs while on duty. Relationship, back to normal.

Episode 7
Ami’s labourer dad, Shigeru spots Maya walking by but she isn’t interested to stay and chat. Come Sunday, Maya and Kozue pay a visit to Ami in her room while Abe bumps into Smile and JK at Mikaze’s shop. The TV news reports a mysterious crop circle so Maya calls Abe to go and investigate. Shigeru and Maya’s friends offer to help. Reaching the spot, the police have barricaded it. Maya suggests to camp here tonight seeing that the crop circle was only recently made. Of course Shigeru and the other girls won’t let them have all the fun and invite them to their BBQ dinner back home. Then later that night, as the gang stake out, a UFO suddenly appears so they chase after it. Thankfully in this town, traffic isn’t bad so they can speed how fast they want. Thank goodness Shigeru’s driving isn’t as horrible as Mikaze. They reach a cow farm and have to go on foot. They get freaked out when they stumble upon several dead cows and their blood have been sucked out. Then the UFO appears again. This time a little gray alien floating down. Abe takes a picture of it. Wait! Something is amiss. Why are there pictures of JK?! So yeah. The whole thing is a set up. JK is dressed up as that alien while the UFO is attached to ropes coming from a crane handled by Smile. Ami confronts her dad who admits that he set up all this because he wanted to see Maya smile and have fun again. Maya chides Shigeru for wasting their time because they’re serious about this. Ami slaps her for being rude. Then Shigeru slaps her daughter and wants her to apologize but Ami runs off.

Episode 8
Maya and Ami’s relationship hit rock bottom. They’re not talking. Maya learns that all the events of the crop circle were made except for the dead cows. She and Abe investigate it and it is too big to be a prank since the place is scattered with carcasses. Then Maya remembers that she forgot to meet up with Ami at a shrine (Ami wanted to talk things out) and rushes there. Eventually Maya manages to get there. Before they could talk, a little green creature sinks its teeth into Kozue’s shoulder! What the hell is that?! Plus, more of them appear surrounding the girls. Then a big mother emerges and kidnaps Ami. They rush back to Shigeru and tell him about the situation. Maya says those little green things are chupacabra (I thought it was that large Amazon rodent. Oh wait, those are capybaras. Hehe…). The gang stock up on their ammos, weapons and head to rescue Ami. How do they know where she is? Use those dowsing rods, baby! Abe is in for the ride when they abruptly pick him up after another visit to Mikaze’s store. At an abandoned shrine, they trek across the graveyard as several chupacabras start pounding on them. Everyone fights back but Kozue goes missing (again). Inside the shrine, Maya finds Ami on a stone. Ami comes to and realizes many chupacabra around her. Maya extends her hand to pull her up. Both girls reconcile as they fight the little green things. Then the big mother comes out but was taken out easily by Shigeru. I can’t believe its head fall off after just a few rounds. With all the chupacabras taken out, Abe snaps a shot but they aren’t the Key. And for Kozue, she’s found asleep safe and sound amidst the skeletons. After the gang leaves, the shrine is burnt down and it seems to indicate of Chihiro and Bodyguard’s doing. She wants him to keep an eye on Maya. Maya and co gather back at Ami’s place as Shigeru tells a ghost story that only Kozue gets freaked out. Abe notices Maya smiling.

Episode 9
Abe manages to get Maya’s approval to let Mikaze sell ice cream at school (yeah, just want to impress her I guess). She gets defensive when he notices real estate documents on her desk. During a class by Chihiro to summon a spirit via medium (using herself), instead of summoning Junichiro, a little girl named Akari appears instead. Each time she appears and disappears, she leaves a trail of snow behind. Akari asserts that she wants to go home. Maya agrees to help her return home. The only clue they know is that she is 7 years old and a first grader at elementary school. I’m sure Abe would love to help the gang out but I guess they had to leave him behind since he got so distracted by Mikaze. After checking out several elementary schools in the vicinity, finally they find her home. However she starts sitting outside the door and feels cold. The entire around suddenly turns into snow. The blizzard is so powerful that it shattered windows. Akari soon disappears. They meet the landlady as she explains Akari’s past. When she just entered elementary school, her parents divorced and it was hard for her daddy to raise her all alone. The landlady tried to help her out the best she could but maintained not to get too involved. Akari froze to death on Christmas Eve as she was sitting outside her house’s door on a very snowy night. The gang then go in search for Akari’s dad and find him working at a construction site. Despite numerous persuasions to help save his daughter, he tells them to leave since he believes he is responsible for Akari’s death.

Episode 10
Abe calls Maya to the teacher’s room in an attempt to get an answer why she’s avoiding him or if he did anything to upset her. He wants to more about her and get to know her better as her partner. I think we all know why Maya’s so hothead against him. Just when Mikaze starts calling him, he diverts all his attention to her. Yeah, enough to earn another Maya’s super punch in the face. Maya and the rest later go visit Akari’s father. He won’t let them in so they plan to stay outside till he lets them.  Finally he gives in (it took all day?). Daddy explains how Akari was such a cheerful girl and their family was a very happy one. Till he spent too much time working so mommy didn’t like all that pressure and left. Daddy continued being a workaholic and even if Akari tried to cheer things up about hoping for Santa Claus, he shoots her down that there is no such thing. Akari was adamant in waiting to Santa to show up. At work, he received a call from the landlady that Akari was locked outside her house. He rushed to the hospital but it was too late. Akari passed away. Maya plans to hold a Christmas party for Akari. Meanwhile Mikaze and Abe have returned from an outstation trip. Guess what? Chihiro is there. I smell a cat fight coming up. Abe tries to get out before the fireworks start by saying that he got an important call to help Maya. Chihiro wonders if it is the demolition of Maya’s residence at the academy. Then it hit Abe about those documents. Abe enters the soon-to-be-demolished residence and meets Maya. She talks about her dad and the party they’re planning. She has an idea for him to help out. During the party, Akari appears and everyone have a fun time celebrating. Then Maya’s cue for Abe to enter as Santa Claus. However he is knocked out. Santa enters and everyone is surprised to see Akari’s dad. He hands her a present, hugs her and apologizes. Akari thanks her daddy and can now peacefully rest in peace. Maya returns to her partially demolished residence and remembers how it was her Christmas wish to Junichiro that she wanted a monster school (thus the birth of Waldstein Academy). Maya felt guilty for never realizing his feelings and only turned her back on him and hated him. Abe comforts her as he holds her hand. This strengthens Maya’s resolve to find her father’s killer and protect this school as well as humanity’s future.

Episode 11
Abe returns to his place one evening to find Mikaze in his room. Seems she manages to get a spare key from the landlord and enter to cook him dinner. Then she hugs him from behind and wonders if he is free tonight. I’m sure you know what that guy is taking this as. Turns out that she brings him to a group of occult people (why is their dressing like KKK?). Mikaze passionately seduces Abe and tells him about the den of evil at Waldstein and that they have to kill the witch that has returned. She brainwashes him into saying that Maya is the witch and that all the occult events that has happened was her doing. After all that hugging, licking, kissing, etc, do you think that guy has the guts to say no? Next day Maya takes Abe out on an outing but his mind is pretty much preoccupied with Mikaze’s words. Eventually he tells her about this so Maya says that she has snapped a photo of herself with the photo but the picture turned out negative. Abe reminds her in order to make it work, she must think about destroying the object. Maya tries to take another one of herself but Abe snatches it away, conceals it and lets Maya repeatedly kick his ass. I guess all that kicking has her tired so Maya leaves. On her return, she encounters Chihiro. What is that creepy smirk on that vice principal’s face? Suddenly it is all over the news that Maya is found dead! Can this be true?! Her bloodied body found sprawled across the floor! Everyone sinks into depression and even Abe misses her mocking. Ah, is he admitting he’s a masochist? While crying alone in his dark room, Chihiro and Bodyguard enter. Abe yells if she killed Maya. Chihiro only nodded so angry Abe charges at her but was pushed back. He is further surprised when Maya appears. Chihiro explains that the body was fake and they used magic to do so. Furthermore, she reveals herself to be a white mage in service to Junichiro to protect Maya and deceive the enemy. Abe still wouldn’t buy this is the real Maya and asks her to show her notebook. She passes it to him when Mikaze suddenly floats in, freezes Abe and destroys the notebook. The rest escape as Mikaze turns herself into a dark witch and hunts them down. Maya and co are surrounded by the occult people. Chihiro orders Bodyguard to take Maya to safety (Maya was getting emotional after learning she is her father’s killer) as she transforms into her true white mage self to fend off Mikaze.

Episode 12
A power battle between the mages begins and their clash of ideals of human’s desire and meaning of love. Mikaze reveals she was the one who unleashed all those occult happenings intended for Maya though she never realized that. Also, she fooled Abe into getting close to him so she could get close to Maya. Bodyguard transforms into a panther with wings to take Maya and escape. Ami, Kozue, Smile and JK are trying to summon Maya’s spirit via various tools but eventually the dowsing rods are the ones that proved useful. Hey, she’s not dead, remember? They see Maya and the panther and go after her. I don’t know how this happened because Kozue becomes part of the brainwashed occult members. The mages’ battle ends with Mikaze vanquishing Chihiro (probably the latter got caught off guard when Mikaze said Abe kissed her). Mikaze goes in pursue of Maya but before Chihiro bites the dust, she goes back to Abe and unfreezes him. She tells him that Junichiro is alive and how they used the same magic trick on Maya to do that. She whispers something in his ear and pecks his cheek before hitting the ground. Mikaze’s chase has them ending up in Waldstein where she blasts and injures Bodyguard to send him crashing down. She confronts Maya but the latter reveals this was all part of her plan to lure her here to activate a spell and that the notebook she destroyed was a fake. Abe arrives in time and ignores Mikaze while calling out to Maya. Mikaze transforms herself back to her harmless form in an attempt to confuse Abe. Maya is able to snap a shot of her and realizes that she is the Key. Abe starts reciting the magic spells from the notebook Maya dropped earlier on as Maya repeats his words to activate a spell around Waldstein and destroy Mikaze. Then every supernatural occult starts disappearing (including Chihiro and Bodyguard) and those under her hypnotizing spell are set free. In the aftermath, Abe tells Maya that Chihiro told him the page of the spell. They both embrace. After Abe reports to his future agents of his mission accomplished, everyone runs out but to their horror, it is still the annihilated world.

Episode 13
A flashback reveals how Junichiro completed his notebook of spells and Chihiro teleported him away to another location and faked his death to find the Key. On the day before the closing ceremony of the academy, Abe tells Maya that Junichiro is still alive. Maya calls Abe’s mom and arranges for them to perform at the ceremony thinking Abe wanted to meet her. However Abe mentions that he has no recollections of visiting this school when he was young. The footage of his memories also proved that and there was a blackout in it. Abe reports this to the future agents and they explain some mumbo-jumbo about time and space dimensional rift about meeting yourself in the past. In short, they’ll both disappear. Furthermore, Abe is revealed to be the Key. Not exactly him, but the act of meeting himself! You know that part Maya snapped in the previous episode? Well, it wasn’t just Mikaze in the picture but Abe as well. I’m sure many of you saw this coming. They are arranging for Abe’s immediate return to prevent that from happening but Abe requests to stay an extra day. The future agents discuss this and it is revealed that their leader is no other than Junichiro. He narrates about the irony of events. He knew the Key was not found at the academy and sent an agent back after his funeral thinking that the Key must have been brought in after he left. However this act itself was the trigger. Maya blames herself for arranging this but Abe notes that he just need to meet his mom and not his younger self. So Maya arranges a meeting with his mom to tell her that the performance is cancelled. She seems pretty upset about it seeing that they’ve travelled from far to this remote place. When she returns home, she finds that little Bunmei had already ran away. Earlier on, Bunmei wanted to come with his mom to see the school but she forbade him in her usual strictness. So I guess that’s why he decided to come to Waldstein all alone and is having a blast, going through all the rooms in the academy. As for Abe and the rest, they have a farewell party at Ami’s place.

The next day after Maya’s closing speech and Abe’s resignation as a teacher, she meets him on the rooftop. It’s time for him to go but Maya doesn’t want him to. Oh. Could it be? Suddenly Abe comes face to face with little Bunmei. The sky turns dark and a dimensional rift opens up in the sky. Aliens start attacking the academy. Bunmei charges at the alien intending to protect this school but gets knocked away unconscious. Abe then takes a spoon in Bunmei’s coat and tells Maya that history changes from now. Now it’s his turn to charge towards the alien and unbelievably, his spoon deflects the alien’s beam! Suddenly he gets his psychokinesis powers back (I’m not sure about the flying part as well) as he sacrifices himself to seal all the aliens back into the rift. He tells Maya to look after Bunmei. The sky returns back to a sunny one and the world is saved. When Bunmei comes to, Maya takes his hand and they walk away. In the future, the agents rejoice that the scenery of their outside world has changed. Junichiro steps out and no longer sees the destroyed world but the one thriving with human life. He gets a call from Maya to join her and Abe for dinner. And what’s this? Maya and Abe are married? Hey, she married someone who is a decade older than her!

Paranormal Activity…
Okay, wait a minute! I’m not saying that the happy ending sucks but the point is not the happy ending. It is the way the world turns out due to the change in history. Remember the time paradox thingy from the Terminator film? The reason it worked out was because the future didn’t change unlike this one, whereby it turned from the bad ending into a happy one. My thoughts and confusion about this sci-fi theory is the same as discussed on this site: Random Curiosity. Think about it. If Abe was sent from the future to save the past and he manages to do so, where do you think this Abe came from seeing that in the peaceful future, Abe is happily married to Maya and thus there is no need to send him back to change the future. In addition, shouldn’t the future Abe have memories of meeting Maya the first time when he first met her in the first episode (considering the case of little Bunmei meeting her in the final episode)? It would have been more plausible if they made it as an alternate future like what they did in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn. But not that I would approve of it either. Instead, I suppose of having an expected bad ending, I feel that the producers made a happy one so that viewers won’t be disappointed of how everything ended. I mean, Abe died but Maya still get to live with him, right? So which Abe are we talking about? But aside Abe as the Key, I am wondering Mikaze’s role as the antagonist. Unless her belief in Maya as the Key (which is of course false) to save the world, it’s ironic that she wants to open the door the demon world. Well, she was against Junichiro in finding the Key.

There are other inconsistencies as well. For instance when Maya took a shot with Mikaze and Abe in it, I remember that Abe said that you have to think about the object you want to destroy in the picture to produce the results. So, Maya has got to be thinking about Mikaze when the serene picture came out, right? She couldn’t be still holding a grudge on Abe and made that mistake. Unless a technical glitch… At such a time? Then the part about Abe being able to directly communicate with the future agents in the end. How the heck do you do that? Even communications from Earth to the Moon is delayed about 1 or so second. If the future people can create such a superb invention, they could’ve used their geniuses to create a better weapon to destroy the aliens. Plus, if you think about it, if those future agents are still stuck in their desolated world, it means that the past hasn’t changed, right? If it really does change, they won’t be sitting in that rut and most likely their memories of the events that led to the change will be altered. So yeah, this sci-fi thing really made me go scratching my head especially how it screw out the whole time line and history. Damn sci-fi theories! Damn time paradox theories!

Abe initially is the kind of wuss that everybody would love to hate after his lie and acting big. All talk and no action. So I guess that last part whereby he sacrificed himself to regain his manliness and redeem himself that he wasn’t a total wuss after all. He changed in a way that Maya too changed. She was the kind of girl that will not open her heart easily to anyone. Not even her friends. She may be assertive and strong-willed but is lonely. Her hate for the occult was just a diversion and misguided feelings for her dad but after she gets to know his true feelings, she realizes what is most important to her. It was settled that when Abe made his cool self-sacrificing move, she fell for him. Mikaze may have been a wolf under sheep’s clothing. But seasoned viewers would have probably sensed something amiss for a side character like her to recur many times even if the events of her and Abe don’t seem that all important. Chihiro’s actions are less obvious because she’s been acting like as though she is keeping a close watch on Maya secretly. She’s been made to believe that she’s the culprit and antagonist. But I guess it’s just her way of getting serious to protect Maya. Cheery and lively Kozue is an amusing girl. Noticed that she is some sort of comic relief character who either lost her glasses (she’s really blind without them) and a penchant of getting possessed or abducted by the occult. And she has got the cheek to say that she has never really experienced one! JK and Smile are cool dudes that make a perfect combo pair. I just wish that they have more screen time. You got to love Smile swinging his giant spanner and who wouldn’t smile whenever pudding maniac JK comes into the picture. He is inseparable from his multi-purpose dowsing rods so much so it’s like his extended body part. Really, perhaps his rods could even serve as a TV antenna.

I’m not saying that the horror part is scary enough to scare seasoned horror fans. But there were several scenes that were creepy enough to spook me out! Perhaps it’s because I’m watching this show late into the wee hours of the night all by myself. Another creepy fact is the ending credits whereby we see a guy and a girl lying down on the grass with their eyes open. Not sure if they’re corpses or it’s just a still picture but the real images can be scary if your mind starts to go astray about those occult stuff. Fortunately, nothing scary happened. But for the few occult creatures that appear, I guess it’s enough for this short series. Some of the occult information bits are interesting but if you’re fascinated to find out more, you can always do your own research. As for the comedy part, other than Abe getting beaten up by Maya (yes, those are funny and no, I’m not a sadist), Mikaze’s awesome drifting and Chihiro’s genuine but hilarious fawning over Abe (man, I really thought there will be a cat fight when Abe’s rival showed up but not expected it in the form of mages), it is the facial expressions that Maya puts up. We all know her typical cold and unfriendly mug that is enough to make a spirit think twice of approaching her. But she has other expressions too and the funny ones are when she is surprised, flabbergasted or just annoyed. It’s fun to see this variety of facets. Of course she is also shown to have more emotion as a human being like the time she shed tears and also smile.

One thing about the drawing and art of this series. I have to admit that the background and sceneries are rich and well done. From the lush forests to the flowing water, they provide soothing eye candy with their smooth animation and quality texture. However, I can’t say the same about the characters. They seem simple and at times their animation jerky. At times if you stare straight at their faces, they just look at a little too odd. I had this feeling towards Chihiro and Mikaze especially. Sometimes if I don’t feel like paying attention on the characters, I would just focus my concentration to the background. On a trivial note, during the next episode preview, they feature bonus songs sung by the seiyuus in the series. You can get them if you buy the DVD of course.

Speaking of which, if you buy the DVD, there a total of 5 specials in all. The first one is some sort of a music montage in which Maya sings the Love Machine song in about a minute and a half. Though you can see many of the series’ characters dancing, some of the other scenes are taken from the first episode. Special 2 is the start of a series of shorts lasting about 3 minutes. It is about young Maya and Ami together with their snake-like pet with a big bulge in its middle stomach they found, Tsucchi. As the girls are going to the pool, the come across another girl (Kozue) running for her life. A snake strikes out from the bushes, barely missing them. They take it back as Junichiro explains it is Tsuchinoko, some sort legendary Japanese creature. The girls are fascinated and decide to keep it. After naming it Tsucchi, they hope they can get along. But Tsucchi attacks once more but thankfully it misses and hits the wall. In Special 3, Ami tells Shigeru about Tsucchi. Noting that Tsuchinoko isn’t a friendly creature, he trains her how to avoid its poison fangs. Meanwhile tries to feed Tsucchi with all sorts of foodstuff but it only takes interest in sake. Then Maya learns about Ami’s training and after a little demonstration, it’s Ami’s turn to train Maya. I guess they got good enough to know when Tsucchi is going to strike and avoiding it becomes like some sort of a reflex. After it calms down and is rather tame (perhaps it doesn’t want to end up banging the wall), the girls discuss if Tsucchi is lonely and decide to find it a mate tomorrow. As they trek into the woods, a truck driver spots them. In Special 4, they contemplate if Tsucchi is male or female before hearing voices of Kozue searching for her glasses. It’s right on top of her head. After she leaves, they come across a swamp pit. Suddenly a giant black salamander surfaces and attacks them. Tsucchi goes into defence of the girls and bites the salamander unconscious. Wow. It’s like David versus Goliath. The girls are thrilled and happy of what Tsucchi did and vowed to stay together. In Special 5, Tsucchi doesn’t look well. They hope it will be better soon but unfortunately it died and they had a tearful burial. Then they watch a TV report, a witness retelling his encounter with Tsuchinoko. The news is abuzz with it so much so they dug up Tsucchi’s grave and did some test on it. They call it pseudo-Tsucchi. This pisses off Maya and Ami as they repeatedly shout aloud that they hate adults. In present time, it seems it is a story told by Ami to Kozue. Kozue still ponders the identity of the clumsy bespectacled girl (seriously, she doesn’t remember? Even if she hummed those same lines?). Ami gets a call from Maya that she is arriving soon for Junichiro’s funeral so they head back into the building. Note: Maya looks much cuter when she is a child. Second note: No, I am NOT a lolicon.

At the end of each episode, the tongue-in-cheek disclaimer that states this work is purely of fiction and that aliens, psychics and other occult stuff do not really exist. Unless if you believe in them! So really, it is all up to you of whether or not you want to believe not just about the supernatural but the other stuff in life whether it is the truth or fiction. Everyone is free to believe in them all. Including whether or not the end of the world will really come in 2012. It’s just how we use that information and belief in our everyday life that makes the difference. Like how I believe anime is the new religion, manga the bible and games for ‘real life’ experience. It’s no joke! Anime has invaded the world and became a growing fad and trend like some sort of an occult. All hail the maids and gothic lolitas!