Fate/Extra Last Encore

September 22, 2018

Another season, another Fate series adaptation. After the rather okay Fate/Apocrypha (I was satisfied with it although the general public or rather the hardcore fans were not too happy about it), I was wondering if they wanted to give the red Saber its due debut. The one in Apocrypha didn’t really count, okay. Fate/Extra Last Encore is another one of those alternate universes like Apocrypha that isn’t directly related to the original works so I thought there would be something new instead of reusing the same 7 Masters with their 7 Servants fighting each other to win the ultimate Holy Grail and get their wish, that tired storyline that probably has been done to death in the Fate universe. Probably. I’m not a fan of the Fate series and have only known and see them in their anime format. But this series involving the moon and digital format thingy? Oh no. Smells like a heap of confusion ahead. Hold my breath and take the plunge…

Episode 1
Wow. Starting off with Saber fighting Buddha? In space? And lost! We now go to the current scene. Hakuno Kishinami is a student of a school, the teacher talking about summoning of Heroes and other mumbo jumbo I can’t understand. After class, he hangs out with his friends, Shinji and his girlfriend, Misao Amari (this loser has a girlfriend?!). They talk about limbo and existence. Not that I understand again. They go watch a chess match that is won by Leonardo “Leo” Bistario Harwey. Popular enough to have his own legion of fan girls. The mind boggling thing is that the loser in chess got killed off! Even more so his body just left there after the crowd disperses! Hakuno examines it and is met by Rin. They take it to the infirmary as the school nurse has him ‘take out the trash’ at the incinerator as she has no authority. After dumping the corpse-like thingy into the abyss, some scientist dude tells him about the different layers of this world something about illusion and paradise thingy and the days repeating itself. WTF. Angelica Cage. Sea of the Seven Heavens. Don’t get it. Before Hakuno could ask for what it all means, he is told time is up and didn’t make it. Kirei announces 100 participants have qualified and because 28 spots remain, the remaining participants have to kill each other to qualify before the final purge. Hakuno meets up with Shinji as they run and hide. But Shinji betrays and stabs him to death, believing Hakuno has no desire to win this game like him so he should die for him. Yup, best friends alright. After the last spots are taken up, the purge begins. All those who failed to qualify are being killed by Terminator robots. Apparently Hakuno is still alive. He makes his way to the incinerator as some Archer clone tries to kill him. Apparently Archer clone is bad in dealing the lethal blow so Hakuno falls down. Deep enough until he reaches some area with a red sword in the middle. He slowly walks to pick it up. The enemy slowly walks to kill him. Eventually Hakuno picks it up and he summons Red Saber. To show how awesome she is, she destroys the clone with devastating strikes. At the end, she asks him if he is her Master. Kirei narrates about the Holy Grail War abandoned long time ago and hence the activities conducted in this paradise were a mere echo of the past. Things repeated and the results were the same. But with Hakuno as the 129th Master, a miracle has happened, his existence is his final task.

Episode 2
Hakuno and Saber ride the Moon Mile Ladder, a capsule that heads to the moon. Inside is a luxurious facility for them to recuperate as well as explain to us the things we need to know. All participants are to fight each other until one is left in Moon Cell (moon’s version of Holy Grail) and the winner gets to fulfil their wish. More mumbo jumbo about this is all just artificial spiriton world created by the moon’s mainframe. During the preliminary stages, participants’ memories are suppressed but will only regain them once they become a Master in the main tournament. Even so, Hakuno has not had his returned yet. Not that he cares. Participants are supposed to fight their way from the lower stratum to the higher one but it seems Saber is amazed with this festival-like atmosphere of this first stratum. Of course they go around not only to have fun but to find opponents. In this bar, Saber thinks the bar master is a Master but is told many Masters who reached here have sold their Servants to Central Tower because life here is too good so there is no need to fight in any Holy Grail War. Saber leaves disappointed but Hakuno is given a tip that there are some Masters in this stratum who haven’t sold their Servants yet. A bevy of hot policewomen take the duo to Central Tower as they talk about besides Masters, everyone else is NPCs and not humans. The mayor of this stratum is Shinji?! He explains this might be the lowest stratum of SE.RA.PH but it is liberated and has its own laws and government. Shinji buys the Servants to turn them into efficient resources to help provide comfortable lives for all Masters. Shinji wants Hakuno to sell his but after hearing this, his decision is easy: He will not sell Saber. Shinji takes his next action to eliminate them. He separates them and has Saber fight 3 Berserker Servants. Meanwhile Hakuno gets stabbed by the police babes. This is the second time he gets stabbed… But don’t worry. Looks like his intense hatred and again has him pull out their swords. Oh sh*t! Is his true form or memories some sort of monster he is? Dead Face?

Episode 3
Just in time, Rin. Her hacking saves the duo from whatever troubles. Rin is a Master without a Servant and is fighting as a resistance. As they recuperate, Rin explains about the situation. Masters who fear fighting and death all are stuck in this stratum. It is all due to the creation of that wheel in the sky, Chakravartin, the rules of the Holy Grail War has been broken. Each stratum became independent and Masters no longer have to kill. But there was one who won his first round but for some reason could ascend to the next stratum. So Chakravartin changed how SE.RA.PH works and as the only one left on this stratum, he became Floor Master. He used all this resources to create this city. Even those from higher stratum descend here to this city to live in peace. Angelica Cage is acting weird and the only way to find out is ascend to the highest stratum. You can only do that by defeating another fellow Master. Speaking of which, there is only one here who is no other than Shinji and he is the Floor Master. Hakuno gets his resolved to kill him. Payback time? Rin hacks her way and becomes the bait so the duo can ride up to the next floor to face Shinji. Flashback shows he killed another Master to win. Realizing he is the only one left, he feared killing again and will die with nothing to show for. To prove he is alive, he will create a city to house Masters who have given up on the Holy Grail War. If he can gather hundreds of spiriton hackers, he could accomplish something. Now Shinji gives Hakuno the right to fight him. The city is flooded as he summons his Servant, Rider whose real identity is the pirate, Francis Drake. Saber met her before as that bar master. Shinji activates her Noble Phantasm. Not sure if Saber can’t swim and is drowning so Hakuno swims down to kiss her. It’s his way of transferring mana to her. Yeah, she likes it. Because of that, Saber rejuvenates and with a great stroke of luck cuts down Rider. Shinji will not dissolve his contract with her and risk disappearing along for he doesn’t believe she has lost. Saber’s win was just fluke. Shinji regrets of being unable to do anything for a long time that he started going mad. He had nothing and stayed here because the thought of humanity would be judged as worthless if they disappeared here. Hakuno stops him, probably doesn’t want to hear his sorry story. At least he won’t hate him anymore. So are they friends? Shinji’s sarcasm says no. Hakuno and Saber take the Moon Mile Ladder up to the next stratum and Rin just manage to join them in time.

Episode 4
Hakuno ponders about Rider’s last words of why he wants to ascend. He has no memories and only hatred of wanting to ascend. Saber doesn’t care as it is human nature to be greedy. Just go for it! In the next level, Dan Blackmore’s wait has finally end with the arrival of Hakuno and Saber. He will defeat them and ascend to the next stratum. First he snipes at them but Saber being quick to deflect his bullets before they jump into the forest for cover. Dan sends Archer to eliminate them. Archer uses his invisibility to mask himself and his arrows and his poison mist in order to slow them down. Saber uses her body to protect Hakuno from an arrow when he fell into a trap. But before everything could be over for Saber, some miracle burns away Archer’s arrows and causes him to be visible. Archer retreats. It is hinted that Hakuno may have used a Command Spell to get out of this situation and their saviour is Rani VIII. She too is a Master without a Servant like Rin and is fighting the resistance on this level. She explains about Dan who became Floor Master and started hunting Masters who came here. Rani didn’t descend as she saw the stars that a Master who strives to ascend will appear. That was 50 years ago. More about Moon Cell constructing this place as an ideal environment for humanity’s soul to go. It could have been humanity’s utopia had SE.RA.PH been used correctly but is now facing destruction. Hakuno dreams of that scientist telling him about his Holy Grail War was just a means for Moon Cell to gather data on humans but people misinterpreted it and started helping themselves rather than its roots. He will choose one who is fit for the Holy Grail. Hakuno is more confused since he was killed by him and if he was kicked out from Angelica Cage. Later Hakuno sees Rani attending to the graves of the fallen Masters. He asked about that 50 years thing so she is disappointed he failed to notice it himself. The year is now 3020, about a thousand years since SE.RA.PH broke down. Earth’s population has dwindled far below 10,000 and reaching unsustainable levels. If you consider civilization to be the core tenant of humanity, those in SE.RA.PH are the last remaining humans. If SE.RA.PH is destroyed, so will humanity.

Episode 5
Flashback 999 years ago when Dan was fighting as a Master and lost despite being far superior in ability and determination. Apparently he realized it is the quality of that will that gives one the strength to go forth that is important. He questioned his goal to win the Holy Grail to get back his dead wife. Normally that would be the end for him but due to some error in Angelica Cage, he is summoned back to this stratum with his Servant, restored. He took up the challenge to fight again. Rani discusses their battle plan. On Dan, we learn that he isn’t a real Master because he initially lost. That is why all the Masters he killed, Moon Mile Ladder will not appear. Hence he is fighting a futile struggle. Archer’s identity is Robin Hood but they must beware his Noble Phantasm that is triggered after you take a shot from his arrow. Poison will flow into your blood stream before finally exploding. To do that, he must reveal his name. The battle begins with Saber facing off with Archer while Rani takes Hakuno to the tower where Dan is supposedly based. But upon reaching the tower, Rani is sniped. She tells Hakuno not to save her. For Dan didn’t kill her outright so as to lure him back out to kill him. Hakuno is in a dilemma that his selfishness will kill and sacrifice her. Then he transforms into his Dead Face version to swiftly save her before Dan could even see anything. Archer thought he has Saber in his palms. His arrow has hit her and the poison spread throughout her body. All he needs is to use his bow and let her touch it to explode. However nothing happened and Archer is sliced. Apparently Saber drained her entire tainted bloodstream! Was there a character in history who could do that? With the explosion heard from the tower, it means Dan is also defeated. We see how Hakuno snuck in a sniped Dan. Uhm, that easy? Me no understand. Dan lies satisfied in his death as the sound of the bells reminds him of his happy days with his wife. With Moon Mile Ladder here, Hakuno wants to go back down to save Rani as the stratum is collapsing. But Saber reminds him that Rani hinted she never wanted to ascend with them. Her wish is to stay here with the dead and their dying wishes. So up they go. One question: If Dan isn’t a real Master and not qualified to ascend, how can Hakuno a real Master defeat an unreal one and ascend? Double standards? Rin who has been sorely missing since this stratum, pops up to hitch a ride with them again. Sneaky…

Episode 6
We start off by seeing Hakuno claiming victory over loli, Alice. I guess it’s not nice to see how a loli gets defeated. She doesn’t want to be left alone so he promises to come back after getting the Holy Grail before ascending to the next stratum. So okay, we get to see what happens. Arriving at this strange forest, the trio trek through as Rin explains about cyber ghosts. Yup, they can exist in this world. Hakuno thought he saw a loli. Indeed. Alice is happy to have found someone and has been alone for a long time. She admits she is a ghost. They play a few kiddie games together as she tells him once he leaves her, he will forget all about her. He wonders if this is a Servant’s ability. Alice explains her wish to be cured of her illness. After a war that killed everyone, she was alone in a hospital. The adults did things that hurt her. Eventually she died without being cured. She is happy to be in this level where her wishes could come true. Hakuno has had enough and leaves. When he reunites with his girls, he can’t remember meeting somebody although he could feel he did. As they trek further, Rin sees a vision of her confronting Amari on this level. Amari claimed to have cast away everything and came this far to win. She challenged Rin but was given a disappointing excuse why she would not. At the same time, Hakuno sees a vision of Amari and talks to her. Something about she hates her own name because it means unwanted. Her mom got knocked up by a bigwig and then abandoned. Amari was then also abandoned. Her wish is not to be laughed at so she abandoned everything in order to win. But the first few rounds was easy because in order to be stronger, she observed and used a weaker opponent to her advantage. At this stage, there were no weaker opponents. Alas, she had no choice and will still fight. Back to reality, the trio realizes this place is something off. Their sense of time is off and they have been seeing weird visions. After seeing the blood on the wall, Rin suddenly remembers why many Masters fled this stratum. There is a monster that cannot be killed. Don’t look now because it is here! Saber engages it but before they know it, they are back at starting point. Rin realizes the Servant has a Noble Phantasm that restarts the day when defeated. That way she can read all the stories she wants until she gets it right. The Servant’s true identity is Nursery Rhyme. Even a personification of children’s fairytales can become a Servant? Oh well, you don’t know how scary some fairytales can be. Although the motive of the Master is unclear, they continue to stay here and repeat this one day.

Episode 7
I’m confused of the timeline here. Anyway, we see Alice walking around in search for Hakuno but to no avail. She doesn’t care about the challenge Amari throws to Rin. In her bit to replenish her resources, she turns into that monster. So when all the other Masters see her, they attack her out of fear and she kills them all. She knows Hakuno will not recognize her like this but will keep waiting nevertheless. The trio re-enter the place, prepared defeat that monster whom they believe is the Floor Master’s Servant. We see another scene of Hakuno spending time with Alice. After that Amari confronts him to tell him off that he is doing nothing as Alice is his opponent. One must kill the other. Hakuno asks Saber if there is anyone who has ascended without fighting. Surprisingly she says yes. If the opponent resigns, the other wins by default. They are attacked by the monster. As Rin puts up her barrier, the monster is too strong and breaks through. It would have killed her but Hakuno uses a Command Spell to restart again. This is when Amari shows Hakuno the truth. The real Alice is not this cute loli. She is just the dream of the real Alice who is a creepy mummified sick child hooked up to all the IV drips in a hospital bed. This Alice cannot do anything and is being left all alone. After all, saving her makes no sense as she is already dead. The trio begin their trekking again. This time Hakuno talks about this place being a cyber ghost and attachment of the past just like him and his hatred. It is so piled up here that it smothers the present. Saber adds that even if one reaches Angelica Cage and defeat Twice Pieceman, there is no guarantee Moon Cell will even grant that wish. Everything is questionable and uncertain and yet with that people still chose to fight and ascend. We replay that opening scene of Hakuno defeating loli Alice and going to ascend. Because she is dead to begin with, Moon Cell can’t kill her. After picking up the book, they start to remember. No one is really left here. Now the trio fight against the monster and defeat it for good. The book disappears and only leaves behind a bookmark. Hakuno at least now wants to ascend with hope. Alice’s ghost doesn’t think this is such a sad fate and bids goodbye to Hakuno.

Episode 8
The fourth stratum was probably so easily that we see them ascending to the next level! Maybe we’re running out of episodes too? In this next stratum, Rin explains there is no Floor Master and there is a ladder to ascend to the next stratum. Easy. But of course there is a catch. There is a maniacal killer on the loose and his equally insanely powerful Berserker. That maniac is Julius Bistario Harwey, Leo’s brother who is said to be the best warrior. Saber and her previous Master once defeated him but luck played a great factor then. As Rin scouts the area, Saber and Hakuno talk about one being a talented genius. It doesn’t take long before both sides start fighting each other. Saber has a hard time fighting Berserker but with Rin now able to transform and use some spear weapon thingy, she leaves it to her while she goes find Hakuno who is fighting Julius. Hakuno transforms into his Dead Face to fight on par with him. Julius can also do the same. Hakuno remember memories of him and realizes he was killed in the Holy Grail War. So is he a ghost? Julius laughs like a maniac. He claims they are both lower than ghosts. Hence this flashback of Hakuno talking to the scientist to explain more incomprehensible mumbo jumbo. Sighs… Apparently there is a difference between ghosts and Dead Face. Taken prisoners by death, they are curses acting as members of the dead to spread death. Something about death of body and death of spirit is separated in SE.RA.PH. When Angelica Cage closed and Holy Grail War ended, SE.RA.PH became a digital hell with the regrets of the dead stopped being purified and left as they were. He wanted to reform humanity but failed due to naivety. Hence he decided to stop the growth of all humans and killed all victors. Some were worthy heroes but neither were enough to bring salvation. With the regret and hatred piling up, someone who was not anyone awoke to bear those burdens: Hakuno. Thus this Hakuno isn’t the real Hakuno but a repulsive homicidal maniac given form simply from hatred towards living. He is a mass of death. He ascends in order to kill. Normally Hakuno would have died from Julius attacks but you know, he is already dead. With Saber coming into the scene, Julius backs off. However Saber soon collapses as she used her body to stop Berserker’s attack on Hakuno. Because Berserker’s Noble Phantasm kills the enemy in a single blow. Julius and Berserker go off to deal with Rin attacking them while Hakuno is filled with regret for letting this happen to Saber. So we see him walking and wallowing in that regret as the voice of Saber tells him to be positive. He enters a room where a movie is about to start.

Episode 9
This video is supposed to help Hakuno remember the important thing to become a Master. Great. A motivational video? We see Saber’s ex-Master being berated by Julius for not being up to par. Even so Saber came to her defence. She was also shocked that she was an NPC but Saber lifted her up with her positivism. She took Saber as her Servant but misinterpreted she had a joyous life. Hence Saber told her true identity that she wouldn’t at first for fear of learning her bad repute. She was a Roman Emperor, Nero Claudius who loved everything. She too had her enemies and they plotted her downfall. When the Senate put her on trial, she thought the people would be by her side but none did. In the end, she killed herself never ever knowing what true love is. Despite all that, she continued her positivism. Hakuno may have called her out due to desperation but to her, that calling was irreplaceable. After a few last motivating words about himself from the ex-Master, Hakuno wakes up. Apparently Rani still lives and is treating him and Saber. Saber is glad they’re both okay and wants to go take on the enemies. But Hakuno is still filled with guilt and doesn’t deserve to be her Master. She slaps him and tells him off he got the order of things wrong. He fought because he didn’t want to die. He ascended because he didn’t know anything. He didn’t awaken to be another person. Even if things change, the foundation doesn’t. Hakuno is Hakuno. The person with the same feelings and heart. Saber’s ex-Master is also Hakuno. But now he exists with a different face and gender. With renewed motivation, they vow to stay by each other side and defeat their enemy. Saber lets him know her true name for she needs to unleash her Noble Phantasm. Saber does so in her fight with Berserker. She kills him in her grand Coliseum thingy. Now Hakuno faces off with Julius. The latter laments he is like a recurring nightmare that can’t be killed. Hakuno claims he isn’t the Hakuno he knows and won’t share his nostalgia trip. Eventually Hakuno defeats him and Julius warns the dead cannot change things. He will soon become just like him. Uhm, can Julius also die because I thought he was the same like Hakuno? With that, the duo ascend to the next stratum. It is revealed that Rin and Rani are in cohorts to lead the duo as proper Master and Servant before the next Floor Master. Their role is over but Rin still wants to stick around (claiming she is worried) and follows them. She parts ways with Rani.

Episode 10
Flashback shows Rin and Rani as the only 2 Masters left. They propose a truce and form a plan to get out of their predicament of finding another Master and drag them up here to the sixth stratum. Hakuno dreams of a conversation between Rin and Rani back on Earth. Rin worked as a wizard but from her position, she is considered a terrorist by the government. In her fight against the Harwey Conglomerate, she followed Leo to the moon. He might be heavily guarded on Earth but on the moon she has a chance to take him out. You see, with the dwindling resources on Earth, if the people from Harwey wins it, the conglomerate will control everything. The future will be screwed. Hakuno wakes up as Saber brags about how she defeated Berserker. Now that Hakuno is aware of what he is, he theorizes he is able to pull off battle experiences from dead Masters as well as their weapons. Arriving at the sixth stratum, it is a foggy land of nothingness. They are attacked by, uhm, Rin? Oh here comes giant Rani. But Rani kills Rin? But Rani killed by Rin clones? Who are then killed by Rani clones? Rinse and repeat. Hakuno and Saber run for it as they witness this never ending loop as well as the unlimited corpses of Rin and Rani. As they theorize about the situation, the real Rin pops up to refute it all. Although, she claims some of it is true. She admits she and Rani are the Floor Masters here but refuse to elaborate more. It is also true they were trying to kill them. Because their objective of having them reach here has been achieved, Rin doesn’t care if they live or die so she takes them to the safest place around: The dome. But right before they enter, Rin breaks up and disappears. I guess inside the dome they’ll find their answers.

The voice of Rin and Rani’s consciousness explain to the duo about this dome being the centre of this stratum. They fought as Masters on this floor but neither won. Neither winners nor losers, they cannot die nor ascend. At the same time, the Holy Grail was suspended and their original bodies became installed in the centre as supplementation devices. Their souls went into deep sleep and themselves refined. Hence each time they dream of fighting and killing each other to ascend to the next stratum but each time they regenerate new avatars. Thus their meaningless battles and the endless numbers of their corpses. So they thought of an idea if Moon Cell put down a verdict, this endless slaughter will end. Therefore their plan to find another Master to reach this stratum. They found one who didn’t give up on the Holy Grail. They hope he would defeat one of them in hopes that one would be freed. In the centre where their bodies lie, Hakuno has to make a choice who to save. Rin wakes up. So did he choose her? She sees Hakuno by Rani’s side. Her body on the verge of disappearing. It seems he wanted to save both of them. But Rani’s body was somewhat complicated and he failed. Rani doesn’t want him to regret and thanks him. At least she now has a proper chance of saying goodbye to him. Rin realizes that had Hakuno killed one of them, the results would have been still the same but it was a path that would at least let one of them rest in peace. Before ascending to the last stratum, they even have time to make a proper grave for Rani. Rin vows to support the duo as long as she lives.

Fake/Extra Bad, Last Straw
I would say that this is the worst Fate series that I have watched. One reason for me to attribute that is that there is no real ending. All the Fate TV series that I have watched have some sort of ending. And they were 2 cours. This one doesn’t even last a dozen! Oh, that Illya spinoff was somewhat ‘incomplete’ but it is ongoing. So we are left hanging and the final fight on the final stratum is not shown. Couldn’t they just have this season a dozen episodes instead of the same amount normal people have as fingers? You see, there was an extra episode released months after this season ended. However I saw that its running time is 2 hours!!!! FREAKING 2 HOURS!!!! Holy (Grail) sh*t!!!! That’s like watching a movie. Watching just 24 minutes of an episode in this one feels like an eternity and you expect me to sit down for that special for 2 hours? Forget it. I’d rather be disappointed and confused now than risk be confused even more. Yeah, if I was a Master taking part in the Holy Grail, I would have been the first to sell my Servant, give up and live the luxurious life in the first stratum.

Hence I will never know if the final extra long special (pun not intended) would really give a closure and a proper end to this series. Because while watching this series, it also felt like as though there are many other parts cut out or missing. For example, the fourth stratum. I mean, out couldn’t be that easy for our main characters to advance to the next level without any sort of fight, right? What about that Leo kid? It’s not proper to ‘introduce’ him and then for the rest of the season for him not to appear at all, right? But his brother got a shot? Plus, I saw the promotional poster for the special, Leo’s face is on it so I suppose he is going to appear there after all. Remember that big conglomerate Rin was trying to take down? Can’t turn that into a red herring, can we?

So I thought perhaps the special episode would like in this series, pepper throughout its duration some flashbacks as part of this series’ trademark to fill you in and piece the puzzle together. I’m not a very smart guy so trying to understand what the hell is going on is already confusing. Yup. Trying to comprehend this series is my hell and dystopia. I guess it wasn’t going to be as simple and cliché as Master and Servant pair fight together stratum by stratum until they reach the final level and defeat the final boss to get their wish fulfilled or whatever answers to their question. We learn about the opponents’ struggles, we learn more about the characters, add drama and tension, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada, and voila, there you have it. An end to another mediocre Fate series.

One of the obvious things I noticed first when I set sights on this series is how the art style and animation is so Shaft-like. Yup, it definitely wasn’t Ufotable handling this Fate series. Hence all the Shaft trademarks from the bizarre angles and their trademark head tilt are ever present. It is so permeating that I won’t blame you that you would first see this as a Shaft series instead of a Fate one. Heck, when I watched the first episode, I was starting to think if I was actually watching a Monogatari series! Not joking. The art style and presentation are so similar that I was thinking they may even do a crossover. Even that episode involving that Alice monster, I thought it was taken inspiration from another anime series Shaft produced: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. The monster especially reminding me of that Gertrude witch. You know… Scissors? Yeah… But other than the Shaft-like features, the art style just feels rather normal because when you talk about this segment for this series, you cannot help but compare it to the very superior quality of the Unlimited Blade Works TV remake and its prequel, Fate/Zero. This one is just okay.

On a side note, I just want to note that some of the female characters, Saber and Rin in particular, they look more cute than they are to mature. Just a few more modifications, they can be in their chibi format. Really. But looking at them sometimes had me thinking if they are dolls because they really looks as cute as one. Seriously. I also want to comment on Saber’s outfit. While even the original blue Saber’s battle outfit isn’t really practical for battle and more for aesthetic purposes, I find that this red Saber’s outfit to be a little of a wardrobe malfunction. Although her outfit is made out of a few separate layers, I can’t help if there was a design flaw or because some horny dude decided to design it so as you will notice there is an obvious hole at the back, just enough to see her butt! Yes, she wears some weird one piece swimsuit to cover her boobs down to her tummy and ass (but leaving her back wide open naked) but still it is an odd ‘fashion design’. And of course, Saber’s outfit is also to flaunt her delicious boobs. Yummy.

After watching this Saber for a while, it had occurred to me that she has a more bratty personality despite her sunny and positive disposition. In a way, she sounds more like Shinobu of Monogatari series than Saber! Another reason why I thought this might be Monogatari series. Yeah, I thought Saber’s true identity was that vampire girl! Haha! It would have been mind blowing had that really been true. Compared to the original Saber who has more of that arrogant pride, sure they both Sabers are different Heroic Spirits but this bratty Saber makes it feel like as though she is a kid and her reeking bubbliness sometimes makes it annoying. There is a limit to how positive one can get. Or maybe it is just me being a gloomy otaku loser :’(.

Hakuno himself is a big mystery. It is understandable at the start that he isn’t supposed what he is supposed to be but as the series progresses and bits of his identity is revealed, the more confused I get. By the time the series ended, I am still confused if he is the reincarnation of the female Hakuno or as stated, an accumulation of hatred from all the fallen Masters. Because with all that talk about being ghosts even in cyber space and everything, it just made it more baffling. I mean if you die in cyber space, can you really become a digital ghost? Heck, you already exist in digital format but then you ‘die’ so technically if you’re a ghost you’re still in digital form, right? Argh. My brain is so hurting now.

Hence Hakuno having no clear intention except for the fact he moves on based on the sole emotions of hatred and anger might sound like lazy writing at first because well, plot convenience. Then at every level you start noticing that some characters ask the same thing to him, why he is ascending. Ah, there must be a reason. They might have explained it but my mind was already going haywire so I probably didn’t understand well. So if Hakuno actually wins this Holy Grail War, will he himself get the wish or all the mass he is made up? Unlike Saber whom I thought felt like Shinobu, I don’t feel Hakuno is in anyway a counterpart to Monogatari’s Araragi. He lacks the sarcastic punch line the latter has. And he has got no harem. No, Rin and Rani don’t count.

Rin feels like a sneaky scheming little rat rather than someone prideful. Probably she had no Servant so this is what she is reduced to. But it confuses me as I am not sure if the entire event is repeated again, although it is likely it is so. Because Rin remembers something like that. Heck, everybody remembers something like that. It is said that this Holy Grail War repeated itself many times with the same results but only this time (this series that we are now watching), Hakuno somehow broke that cycle and is now part of the happening. Unprecedented? Hence Rin is like the mysterious guide to lead the duo to where she and Rani are in hopes to find an end. And Hakuno being the good guy despite the irony he is made out of mass hatred, tried to save them both.

I don’t really understand how the Holy Grail of the Moon Cell works but assuming it is all digital and there is a winner, wouldn’t any wish be very much feasible because you know, the internet is capable of creating anything! You want to live forever? Sure. In digital format. Forever. You want riches? Sure. Have unlimited amounts of Bitcoins. You want a harem? Of course. Dating simulation for all eternity! Whatever you want, the internet can provide! Hence the thought of people’s souls being trapped and locked down here and the only exit is if somebody wins the whole thing (plus if you die here, your real body also dies) feels like a rip-off from Sword Art Online. Too freaking similar… After all, this series came out a year later after Sword Art Online which debuted in 2009 – almost a decade ago!

The action stuffs are just okay. Just enough to satisfy your thoughts that since this is a Fate series and it involves the fight for the Holy Grail, therefore there must be some fights between Masters and Servants. So the usual Noble Phantasm that is used once because you know it’s not a good thing to always spam your trump card. I think it would have been a little more awesome if we get to see the format of all 128 participants fighting each other for the next stratum. You just need to kill 1 opponent for the next stage. Or at least a battle royale in the early stages. Like PUBG or Fortnite. I suppose with Hakuno as the 129th one, it screws up the perfect elimination format. Heck, it could just mean that somebody may get 2 kills or an unlucky participant gets left behind forever stuck on the first stratum. But instead for some plot twist, we have our main heroes fight a boss of the floor instead. Yeah, it feels like they’ve been put there waiting for this very sole reason.

Some of the old seiyuus of familiar characters were retained such as Kana Ueda as Rin, Hiroshi Kamiya as Shinji and Jouji Nakata as Kirei. New ones are Sakura Tange as Saber (Jack in Fate/Apocrypha – damn if she was voiced by Maaya Sakamoto, I would have continued to make my assumptions how Saber is indeed Shinobu reincarnated), Atsushi Abe as Hakuno (Touma in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Asami Sanada as Rani (Kurumi in Date A Live), Ayaka Imamura as Amari (Angie in Princess Principal), Urara Takano as Rider (Maria in Sakura Wars), Mugihito as Dan (Wombat in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love), Kousuke Toriumi as Archer (Mercurius in Dies Irae), Ai Nonaka as Alice (Kyouko in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica), Wataru Hatano as Julius (Gajeel in Fairy Tail) and Romi Paku as Leo (Edward in Fullmetal Alchemist).

The opening theme is Bright Burning Shout by Takanori Nishikawa. Hard rock music which feels suitable enough for the theme of this series even in its entirety it is not action all the way. If the ending theme, Tsuki To Hanabata sounds freaking similar to you, then you must have seen the anime series, Kuzu No Honkai. Yes, the same singer, Sayuri sings both songs and you can tell how freaking similar Tsuki To Hanabata is. Damn, I thought it was the same song! I suppose this must be her trademark singing style like how Ali Project is to mischievous gothic and that out-of-tune-voice is to Nano Ripe. Yeah… Fortunately because I like Heikousen, this piece also doesn’t sound too shabby.

Overall, not one of the best Fate adaptations and only hardcore fans can either appreciate or hate it to the core with disgust. Or both. But I have a feeling it is more of the latter. Ordinary viewers like me would just be so confused since it is very much assumed that you would have read the Fate novels and played its games to have some very basic knowledge. With Shaft handling this spinoff, it feels more like a Monogatari series than a Fate series from the way the complexity story is told and its visual angles. Having a Holy Grail War and a Fate series in a virtual world sounds like a bold and fresh attempt. But I figure there is a reason why this series has to be the original physical format of Masters versus Servants. At least magic by default looks and sounds more acceptable unlike digital hacking and cheating. You might get banned from the server but cheaters will still find a way to come back and continue cheating. Not even the Holy Grail can ever stop that from happening.

Fate/Apocrypha

May 6, 2018

Not really sure if they want to animate all the stories and spin-offs in the Fate universe. Because after the awesome Fate/Stay Night remake (or rather the other routes that was animated), now we have Fate/Apocrypha. Not being a Fate fan, as I understand this Fate story takes place when somebody stole the Holy Grail during its third war and hence there was no conclusion. It re-emerges during the same time when the original fifth edition was supposed to happen at Fuyuki. This time the organization who stole it declares war on the Mage Association and a new and different Holy War format begins. It is not just ever Master and Servant for themselves but each faction possessing each Servant class against each other. Well, the more the merrier?

Episode 1
Kairi Shishigou makes his way to the office of Rocco Belfaban, the head of summoning. We are told of the Holy Grail War system but that system collapsed during the third edition when a master tricked the German army and stole the Holy Grail. Its whereabouts are unknown and hence the subsequent Holy Grail War never happened. However recently it has been found. The Yggdmillennia clan of Romania declared they have it. Darnic Prestone Yggdmillennia who fought in the third Holy Grail War as a Master is believed to have kept it hidden for 60 years. He looks like he didn’t age… With that, Yggdmillennia has announced they will be seceding from the Mage Association and forming their own. Though 50 of their elite mages were sent to retrieve it, they were all slaughtered. Only a Servant could have done this. Shishigou will not become a Master in this next Holy Grail War. He will be the Master of the Red Faction. In the previous system we know, 7 Masters and their 7 Servants fight each other in a battle royale. Now, it will be 7 on 7. 7 Masters and their 7 Servants of the Red Faction (representing the Mages Association) against the 7 Masters and their 7 Servants of the Black Faction (Yggdmillennia clan). Rocco hands him a rare artefact that would enable him to summon a hero from the English history. The Red Faction’s supervisor is a church priest going by the name of Shirou Kotomine. Darnic talks to Avicebron (Black Caster) who is the unparalleled master of the golem arts. He is using homunculi as his servants to create them to avoid draining his power. Avicebron’s dream is not the Holy Grail but the original giant of the legends of his people. Completing his Noble Phantasm is all that matters to him. Several of the Yggdmillennia clan Masters summon their Servants. Shishigou finishes summoning Mordred (Red Saber) who is the heir of King Arthur.

Episode 2
Flashback shows Jeanne D’Arc being burnt at the stake after being accused as a witch. All she could do is pray to her God. Astolfo (Black Rider) is a cheeky and lively one as he seeks to get to know everybody else. The rest of her summoned servant comrades are Chiron (Black Archer), Frankenstein (Black Berserker) and Siegfried (Black Saber). Their Masters are Celenike Icecolle, Fiore Forvedge, Caules Forvedge and Gordes Musik respectively. Under the command Vlad Tepes (Black Lancer), they officially begin their war. All that is left is for the Jack The Ripper (Black Assassin) to arrive from London. Looks like she is leaving a trail of bodies in her path… Mordred warns Shishigou not to pry further into her past. Legend has it she betrayed King Arthur and killed him. Her wish is to pull out the legendary sword. That is all. Gordes is mad when Siegfried doesn’t tell him his wish since he has none and has accepted his death which was necessary. Shishigou goes to see Shirou. The latter introduces his Servant, Semiramis (Red Assassin). Shirou hopes to share knowledge and mentions they have identified the fifteenth Servant also known as the Ruler class whose role is to ensure a balanced Holy Grail War. Shirou wants them to meet the other Masters but Shishigou believes he can do this on his own and will take their own path. After they left, William Shakespeare (Red Caster) enters in his poetic fashion to inform that Spartacus (Red Berserker) has gone on a rampage alone to the Black Faction’s fortress to fight. Shishigou and Mordred are in one of Yggdmillennia’s towns. They are immediately surrounded by golems and homunculi. Despite their victory, the Yggdmillennia clan is watching to test their aptitude. Karna (Red Lancer) is summoned by Shirou to eliminate Ruler (Jeanne) who is bound to get in their way.

Episode 3
A homunculus sees how his other failed kind gets wasted. That fear breaks him out of his containment as he weakly crawls out. Meanwhile Astolfo is bored being sexed up by sex-crazy Celenike and goes off on his own. He stumbles upon that homunculus who collapsed from exhaustion and brings him to Charon’s room (since Celenike might just barge in anytime). He doesn’t intend to tell Avicebron or his Master, Roche Frain because it’s more fun that way. Karna engages with Jeanne but Siegfried pops up in time to protect her. As the Red and Black side fight, Gordes hopes for Jeanne to join his side but she remains neutral and will not interfere. We see snippets of Siegfried as a dragon slayer. He was hated by his country who wanted him dead. He accepted that in hopes his death will put an end to the war. As the sun rises, it seems Karna is considerate enough to note Gordes will not last. So they agree to put their match on hold and withdraw for now. Gordes would love to show Jeanne their base but she too declines. When the homunculus wakes up, he is already given something to think about. Because of his limited life (he will die in 3 years), it is best he decides what to do with it. Caules tries to get to know more about Frankenstein. Legend has it her master feared her after creating her. She chased him down in hopes to create another one like her for company but he refused. In the end, she killed herself via self-immolation. Caules’ wish is for the Akashic Records but if any of his family members die in the battle, his priority is to revive them. On the other hand, Fiore talks to Chiron about his wish. It is to regain immortality after Hydra’s venom robbed him for it. Fiore also tells him her ‘selfish’ wish. As she is paraplegic, implanting new legs means losing her mage powers. She wants both. As Spartacus inches closer to the castle, ignoring all warning shots, Vlad will have Darnic come up with a strategy that will turn him into their pawn.

Episode 4
Spartacus happily destroys all the golems as Atalanta (Red Archer) and Achilles (Red Rider) watch from afar. They feel odd to have not seen their own Masters’ face and have been ordered into this battle. Vlad easily disposes of Spartacus and has Darnic try to force a new contract on him into their faction. Siegfried and Berserker are tasked to intercept Atalanta and Achilles. Gordes is not amused that Siegfried is fighting for enjoyment. So he forces a Command Spell to make him use his Noble Phantasm. However he is promptly stopped by Darnic who admonishes him for wasting his Command Spell. With Chiron providing excellent range backup, the Red Faction duo are forced to retreat. During all that commotion, Astolfo tries to sneak the homunculus to escape. But nothing escapes the eyes of Avicebron as he informs everyone to bring that precious specimen back. Gordes and Siegfried intercept them. Astolfo fights Siegfried so the homunculus could escape. Gordes corners him and the homunculus fees the desire to live and prepares to fight back. Gordes panics and uses his magic might to strike back, killing him. When Siegfried wants to help the homunculus, Gordes opposes and is knocked out by him. Jeanne enters the scene, confused with the in-fighting. Siegfried was swayed by Astolfo’s words to help others on their own will and instead of just doing orders as Servants. To atone for it, Siegfried sacrifices himself and gives his heart to the homunculus. His wish for Jeanne is to keep him free. Siegfried disappears but with no regrets. The homunculus returns to life, shocked that he is still living. Jeanne introduces herself and swears to protect him.

Episode 5
Jeanne checks the homunculus and hears Siegfried’s heart is working fine. The other Masters and Servants seeking an explanation and are shocked to learn Siegfried died in this fashion. Jeanne reminds them this homunculus will not join the fight as he is unwilling. However he is not totally unrelated as he has Siegfried’s heart. If everyone attacks Jeanne, they will definitely lose. So Vlad offers her to join them but she remains neutral. As long as they fight honourably, she will not intervene. Astolfo is punished by getting his hands cuffed? That’s like a slap on the wrist. His last advice to the homunculus is to live since he is now allowed to. So the first order is to name himself. He settles for Sieg in honour for the one who gave his heart. Then he teaches him about food. Shirou learns that despite they lost their Berserker, the enemy’s Saber is also gone. They’re confused to what might have transpired. Astolfo is lightly tortured by Celenike. Not in the mood for sex? But Vlad intends to release Astolfo soon as punishing one who won’t repent is useless. Besides, it looks like they can re-contract Spartacus on their side. Their next problem is Jack The Ripper because her Master is found dead. Looks like some crazy woman is in possession of her and they’re playing house as mother and daughter. Jeanne explains to Sieg she wasn’t summoned by anyone but the Holy Grail. However she couldn’t construct her own body and is currently possessing the body of a French girl, Leticia who answered her plea. Even in battle, her body will not be harmed. She notes her failed summoning shows something is wrong with this war. Could it be she is summoned here not as a judge but for some other purpose? Sieg is still unsure what to do with his freedom. She suggests going back to where he came from. What about his other homunculi comrades? Noting he just didn’t want to die and his comrades never had the will to leave, she tells him never to return there. Jeanne leaves Sieg in the hands of a kind farmer, Serge. This is where they part. She knows she lied to him as he tells him to live peacefully because she has saw visions of him dying in the battlefield. She intends to fight that fate even if it means throwing away her wish. Shirou sees the other Masters of his faction. He tells the Holy Grail War has ended and that they have won. As part of the agreement, they will give him their Command Spells.

Episode 6
Flashback shows Mordred killing everyone to force Arthur to relinquish to throne. Unfortunately she got done in as Arthur tells her it is not because she is the son of a witch that she did not do so but rather she lacks the qualities to become one. Shishigou and Mordred are on site to investigate the case of serial murders. As told by El-Melloi II, all those who were killed were actually mages. They also have their magic drained. It is safe to assume this is a work of a Servant. It couldn’t be from their faction since all Red Servants have been summoned. It would be odd for Yggdmillennia to let this happen in their own backyard so it must be some third party. Shishigou then goes to the morgue to check on the corpses. All of them have their hearts gouged out. Looks like the perpetrator is bulking up on magic by eating them. As mages are being targeted, they are the perfect bait to lure them out. So that night as they wander about town, a strange fog suddenly shrouds the place. They are forced to get out since it is poison gas. Once in the clear, Jack could have almost sliced off Shishigou’s head without him suspecting anything had not Mordred reacted fast enough. Mordred and loli Jack engage in combat but the latter uses her agility and speed to her advantage. An explosive arrow fired by Chiron breaks them up. Jack has sustained injuries and escapes but Mordred is now targeting Chiron. She intercepts him and he knows better if he wants to win this, he cannot do it without injuries. Shishigou on the other hand encounters Fiore who is walking around in her exoskeleton that makes her look like Dr Octopus. She warns him to leave this place and will overlook his trespassing violation. Guess not. Shishigou surprises her by being reckless like throwing a grenade and then ramming her with a car! Is she done for seeing that all that’s left is for his bullets to reach her.

Episode 7
As expected, Caules saves her. Archer knows he has been cornered and will lose so he informs Fiore to retreat. With that, the battle ends. Sieg asks Serge the meaning of freedom. I suppose gramps have lots of experience but no definite answer because it is up to Sieg to find out what it is. Jeanne enters Shirou’s church but finds no one. She needs to meet him. Speaking of the Red Faction, looks like what’s left of their Servants have all gathered. It is time for the final fight but Shakespeare says he will not fight since it is not his style. He just wants to watch this battle and record it. So how is the Red Faction going to fight? Semiramis uses her Noble Phantasm. This floating fortress is actually the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Cool. They have the walking undead skeletons for the grunts too. The fortress stations itself near the Yggdmillennia’s castle. Vlad leads the Black Faction’s Servants and gives them roles in their upcoming attack. Sieg has thought hard and looks like he has decided on what he wants. With that, Serge allows him to leave (not knowing what it is but then again, why should he) and do as he wishes. Oh, take this belt of his with you. Conveniently it can fit his sword.

Episode 8
Atalanta destroys the homunculi and golem horde to clear the path for Achilles to bulldoze through. Then she supports Karna in his fight against Vlad. Vlad has the power of his homeland and he is powerful because the locals see him as a hero but Karna is the Sun God and has very strong armour. Achilles is stopped in his tracks from the golems. Then he tries to trace Chiron and face him. Once he does, he gets the shock of his life. Flashback shows Chiron was Achilles’ master as he taught him the ways of combat. He was then told about his heels as his weakness. He might be an immortal hero but his heels are still mortal. Sieg returns to the battlefield and helps treat a fellow wounded homunculus. He plans to help as many as he can and hopes to free them. They return to the castle since most of the rest are out fighting in the battlefield. Semiramis is not thrilled that Shirou is itching to join the fray. If he dies, her plans will fall apart. Shirou explains he wants to know if God is testing him. If He doesn’t allow his way, he will die. If everything goes well, it means He approves of his will and thus his wish upon the Holy Grail to grant mankind mercy and comfort. Semiramis then gives him permission to fight. Semiramis now deals with Astolfo who has flown close to the fortress. Mordred is mad that she is late to the battle so this gives her an excuse to drive madly? Hold on tight! Avicebron barely manages to make Spartacus under his command and convinces him that the Mage Association are the oppressors. He sends him out to destroy them. Frankenstein is thumping the undead in her path. She then stumbles into Shirou who offers her to join his side in place of Spartacus.

Episode 9
Darnic narrates he went to Japan to steal the Holy Grail. He got the Germans’ cooperation and then betrayed them. Now that he has sufficient magic, he will be able to open the gate to the Roots, the means to fulfil wishes and become the victor. Frankenstein rejects Shirou’s offer and fights him. Shirou will welcome her if she changes her mind so he fights with a sword that Shakespeare has tempered with. Crazy Spartacus crashes into Karna’s fight. Karna needs to concentrate on Vlad so he has Atalanta take care of him. I don’t think a few arrows into him can work. After all, Spartacus has very quick regenerative abilities. Sieg frees all the homunculi in the lab. Astolfo approaches Babylon but is shot down by Semiramis. Not sure if Sieg has super zoom vision because he could see Astolfo falling down. He is in a dilemma to go save him because he has to see through his responsibility of saving his brethren. The other homunculi assure they can take it from here. The permission Sieg needs to go to Astolfo’s aid. Mordred’s reckless driving almost crashed into Astolfo. I’m surprised that car which has been trashed can still run. Shishigou lets Mordred fight Astolfo as he gets out of here. Jeanne is trying to meet Shirou but Semiramis is trying to prevent that. Jeanne knows the Red Faction are trying to kill her and feels something is wrong. It would have been understandable if they wanted her aid to join their side but to rid of her? As Semiramis cannot stop her, she reports to Shirou so he has to flee and return. Frankenstein surprisingly pursues him so Shirou leaves it o Shakespeare to buy some time. He casts a spell on her. She sees her tragic past whereby her creator hated her. All she wanted was to be loved but he kept rejecting her and calling her a monster. So it was confusing when she sees him extending his hand and wanting her to stop fighting. She goes berserk beating the crap out of him. Caules is forced to use a Command Spell to calm her down. The enemy has escaped. Mordred learns and mocks how Siegfried pathetically died. This riles up Astolfo and he won’t forgive her for making fun of him. Semiramis’ powerful magic is still unable to stop Jeanne. So Shirou relays to Atalanta to lure and send Spartacus to fight against Jeanne. Mordred is about to finish Astolfo. But look who showed up? Sieg is going to fight Mordred?

Episode 10
Astolfo is not amused. He didn’t save him so he could die saving him. So much about the freedom to choose, huh? Now that they are both liabilities, they could have been toasted had not Caules using another Command Spell on Frankenstein to attack Mordred. But after all that hammering, nothing happens. Frankenstein is incapacitated after Mordred counter attacks. Then she kills her off. Now Sieg is mad. Amazing his puny sword can put a dent in her armour. Too bad he too gets killed off. Right in the heart. Oh, now Astolfo is getting mad. Wanna have a go? Shishigou interrupts her to remind her if she had ascertain Frankenstein is dead. Oh, body missing. Frankenstein sneaks up on her and restrains her. Caules uses his final Command Spell so that Frankenstein could release all her limiters and do a suicidal Noble Phantasm move to take out Mordred. After all that power explosion, just a big crater. Mordred is still there. Frankenstein’s gone. Caules can only regret he should have expected the enemy too has Command Spells. During the blast, some of Frankenstein’s power went through Sieg. This means Sieg seeing visions of Siegfried who lived his entire life trying to grant others wishes till his death. So what is his wish? Siegfried asks that same question back to him. Then a sword stuck in the ground appears before Sieg. He is told to pick it up. He can’t. Siegfried asks his reason for fighting. He doesn’t know. He just wants the power to help others. With that, he pulls it out. Mordred and Astolfo are shocked to see Siegfried before them. Is he revived? More accurately explained by Shirou, he possessed Sieg’s body. A normal human would have died but being a homunculus makes it possible. Not sure if Shirou is being overconfident because he doesn’t intend to help Mordred as he thinks Siegfried will not last long. Shishigou suggests using a Command Spell to enhance her skills for this fight. Both Sabers clash. Time to power up. Is this some light sabre show now?

Episode 11
Atalanta leads Spartacus to attack Jeanne. His Noble Phantasm is to transfer any damage receive into power. This explains why he is now some ugly ballooned monster. Mordred is not pleased her Noble Phantasm didn’t wipe out Siegfried. But he has taken enough damage and is at his limit. This means he reverts back to Sieg. Shishigou tells Mordred to get out of there. Looks like Spartacus is going to explode from all that power. Jeanne’s barrier protects and saves a lot of lives and damages. The impaling and burning fight between Vlad and Karna comes to an abrupt halt when Shirou calls Karna to come back. Something happens back at the castle. It looks like Babylon is stealing the Holy Grail. Darnic did not expect this. He narrates about the prophesized downfall of the Yggdmillennia clan 80 years ago. His dream of becoming a first class mage vanished. He made many allies, betrayed them and feed on the souls of others to extend his own life so as to get the Holy Grail. He will not let anyone else have it. Vlad, Chiron and Avicebron infiltrate Babylon. They face off with Karna, Achilles and Atalanta. Vlad’s rematch with Karna seems a bit off. Vlad notices his power is not working well here. Indeed. This is not his territory. Flashback shows Vlad talking to Darnic about the ridiculous fantasies of people throughout the generations that tainted his legacy. His wish to win this war is to erase that disgrace. He warns Darnic never to use his Command Spell to force him to use his Noble Phantasm even if he is at the verge of defeat. Darnic agreed at first but looks like he has a change of heart. What he protects is Yggdmillennia and what he wants is the Akashic Records. For that he needs the Holy Grail. Sorry, Vlad. Gotta use the Command Spell.

Episode 12
Flashback shows Shirou knows Darnic and has waited 60 years of hardship to finally end all this. Oh, something about Iri being dead too. With Vlad not at optimum, Darnic reminds him about his Noble Phantasm. Of course Vlad is not pleased and sternly reminds him. However Darnic will not let his wish slip away and reminds Vlad of his place as a Servant. Then he uses a Command Spell to make him use his Noble Phantasm and turn him into the legendary Dracula! Vlad attacks him and tries to suck his blood but this is all part of Darnic’s plan. Using another Command Spell, he has their souls fused together. Now Darnic and Vlad are one as Dracula! Dracula then bites and infects other homunculi and turn them into similar familiars. The other Servants join forces to take him down but he is formidable. Jeanne arrives and understands the situation. She bestows the Servants power to take down Dracula in this temporary truce. The epic fight is formidable but when it seemed Karna is going to deal the finishing blow, suddenly the Red Faction’s Servants start to weaken. It looks like Shirou has extracted the Noble Phantasm from the other Masters. I thought this was already done? And of all times, now? Jeanne tries to chase down Dracula as he makes his way to where the Holy Grail is. This is where he encounters Shirou. He is shocked he is still alive because he should have been dead during the Fuyuki Holy Grail War. Uhm, surprise?! Shirou then uses his purification swords to purify and turn him into ashes. When Jeanne arrives, she is shocked to see Shirou. He is actually a Servant and also of the Ruler class. She asks why he is breaking the rules. Because he couldn’t help anyone if he was bound by them. Jeanne wants to know what is his plan, the plan of Amakusa Shirou Tokisada. To save all of mankind.

Episode 13
Astolfo has a bone to pick with Sieg. But in the end, she is glad he is alright. Too bad now Celenike has got a bone to pick with Astolfo for sullying her name. Shirou argues he has planned and waited for 60 years for this chance to happen so there is no way in hell he is going to turn back now. With the other Servants present, Achilles and Atalanta want to know what happened to their respective Masters. Shirou tells them about the Command Spell transfer agreement that makes him their Master. They don’t agree and attack. Semiramis and Karna protect Shirou and feel the need to make clear a few points. Shirou starts off by suggesting Chiron and Avicebron defect. Celenike uses her Command Spell to force Astolfo to kill Sieg and wants to see his tormented face. When Sieg opposes, she torments him. Celenike is about to use her Command Spell and detail how he should kill him slowly when she is suddenly decapitated by Mordred for being too noisy! And then she leaves. WTF? So she killed her but not Astolfo because technically she is noisy and not the enemy? Why was she nearby in the first place? With Celenike dead, Astolfo is going to disappear but Sieg wants him to make a contract with him. Somehow he has Command Spells on his hand and will be her Master. No regrets? Okay. Then it’s done. Avicebron agrees to join Shirou on a condition he doesn’t hurt his Master. Avicebron will put his dream above pride and morality so Chiron turns on him. Mordred joins the fray by attacking Shirou. She considers him the enemy the moment he tried to deceive her Master. The fight lasted long enough for the rest to escape. With that, Avicebron makes his contract with Shirou. The other Yggdmillennia family members are arguing with the homunculi defectors who want to live. Just in time for Sieg to join in and argue on their behalf that they don’t need salvation but the freedom to choose. Oh, also why does Astolfo introduce himself as his Servant sound like he is his boyfriend or something? Fiore gets word from Chiron about Avicebron’s detection. She needs to warn Roche but where is he? Happily giving Avicebron some component he asked for.

Episode 14
Shirou retreats now that he has the Holy Grail. Jeanne must be having a headache now that Sieg is Astolfo’s Master and he can turn into Siegfried too. She has no choice but to accept him as a participant in this battle. As though he is going to listen to her if she says no. Avicebron uses Roche as the core for his ultimate golem. Roche is very disappointed of this betrayal as he looked up to him as his teacher. Don’t say Avicebron didn’t warn you he was never interested in the Holy Grail in the first place. With Roche absorbed into the golem, Avicebron begins bringing paradise to this world by destroying it? So his Eden is turning the surrounding areas into some creepy forest? The other Servants attack the golem but it’s not use. It absorbs. Especially life. Touch it and it absorbs you. Although Chiron aims and kills Avicebron, the latter is not worried. His role was already over when he activated his golem. He puts his trust in it to bring forth paradise. Jeanne has an obligation to destroy it since the golem is beyond the scope of the Holy Grail War. However she lacks enough strength to take it down and time is running out because when the surrounding area is turned into Eden, the golem will become immortal. Fiore needs Chiron to use his Noble Phantasm when the time is right but he needs at least one more Servant to help out. Jeanne summons Mordred to assist. Chiron relays his plans how the Servants have their specific roles in taking down the golem and this includes Sieg temporarily turning into Siegfried. In short, the battle ends with all of them playing their part well and destroy the golem’s core before it could reach immortality. Jeanne is worried about Sieg but he looks fine. Later Fiore meets Shishigou. For now they team up.

Episode 15
Achilles and Atalanta are back in Shirou’s side but have questions. They are assured their Masters are safe as they all reveal their wish upon the Holy Grail. Shirou begins detailing his plan to save mankind. Meanwhile the Yggdmillennia clan is holding talks with Jeanne and Shishigou about Shirou who might know a way to make the Holy Grail grant his wish. This means if he has this twisted idea that salvation is killing everyone, the Holy Grail has the capability to do that. Later Chiron talks to Caules and asks if Fiore is fit to be the leader of Yggdmillennia. He is talking about if he could really kill someone. Caules tells him about some pet dog she used to have. It was forbidden in a mage’s house but she tended and loved it. Then when it died, she started crying. Chiron tells Caules he will be the only one left to support her after he is gone. Jeanne replenishes Command Spells for Shishigou and Sieg. She warns Sieg not to use the final Command Spell. Because his situation is a miracle, the last one would cause a problem. There is no such thing in this world as a free miracle. This prompts Shishigou to remember his own family shame as he tells it to Mordred. Something about his lineage became great necromancers but it was also a curse. Kids they adopted and try to pass their magic crest poisoned them instead. His wish is to have descendants. Shishigou and Mordred will again travel and act independently from the Yggdmillennia. Their plan is while they are busy fighting the Red Faction, they’ll sneak in and steal the Holy Grail. Achilles and Atalanta discover Shakespeare knew about Shirou’s plan all along. He is helping because it is interesting. Interesting because despite all the suffering and losses he has gone through, he is still going to save mankind and not abandon them.

Episode 16
There are black patches over Sieg’s body. Chiron examines him and it is believed he is slowly transforming into Siegfried. As he has transformed into him twice for a total of 5 minutes, the magic inside his heart is mixing and eating away his body. But they can’t tell him what to do. It’s his choice. We take a detour to tackle Jack’s case. She has been on a killing spree and last night alone she killed 8 mages and gouge out their hearts. Fiore has to seek Jeanne’s help since they lack the manpower and have to solve this in 3 days before they attack Babylon. The problem is, Chiron and Fiore cannot remember Jack’s face and think her Noble Phantasm that leaves no impression. Investigating the death site of one of the mages, Caules uses his trance to see the mage’s final moments. This means reliving the excruciating pain. Noting that he has been tortured before he died, Caules then realizes that Fiore is in danger. He calls her but cliché signal is out. It seems Jack was torturing some to find out codes to disable the castle’s security. You don’t say because Jack is already here and using her poison mist to kill those who inhale too much. Don’t look now Fiore because here’s Jack! Right timing from Sieg prevents Fiore from being Jack’s latest victim. With reinforcements coming, Jack retreats but vows to kill Sieg next time. At this point Fiore already cannot remember Jack’s face.

Episode 17
The plan is for Jeanne and Sieg to be decoys to lure out Jack before other Servants take her out. It is believed Reika Rikudo is currently her Master. She was supposed to be a sacrifice for the original Master but she turned into a serial killer instead. Jeanne and Sieg experience life in this little town. Jeanne learns Sieg volunteered for this mission to avenge his fellow homunculi. He has no regrets as Jeanne relates she threw everything away but was eventually burnt at the stake. Despite all, she still believes in the good of people. Meanwhile Achilles questions Shirou’s goal to save all mankind. He calls him a liar because he claims he got this goal after being betrayed and killed. Should he have hated mankind even more? He once hated everything but for the sake of mankind’s salvation, he had to throw away everything. Even his hatred for his killers. This means he will save all mankind, whether good or bad at all cost. Sieg poses a question for Jeanne that if Shirou knows a way to save mankind with the Holy Grail, shouldn’t Jeanne help him? She believes all of them as a Heroic Spirit aren’t supposed to lead mankind but merely guide them. Jeanne doesn’t hate those who burnt her at the stake. She can’t. That’s why she still protected Sieg despite being useless. Sieg feels grateful that he wants to repay her with his body? Wait. What?! Awkward talk gets interrupted by poisonous mist. Looks who is here. Sieg goes to save a woman who claims she lost her child. She turns out to be Reika as she shoots him in the heart. Somehow he doesn’t die so she runs away. Jack fights Jeanne but is shocked when her lethal strike doesn’t kill her. Something about resistance to curses is one of her abilities. Jack plays dirty by throwing in innocent civilians. However she is injured in the leg with Chiron’s arrow. She manages to get away as Reika carries her off. However Reika spots Atalanta and uses her body to protect Jack against her arrow. Right in the heart. Jack becomes distraught and pleads to her not to be left alone so Reika uses her remaining Command Spells to have her be fine without her. After that Atalanta fires a shot in Jack’s back. But Jack gets back up and explodes? Now they go back in time and place where Jack was living in hellish conditions.

Episode 18
Understandably Atalanta is freaked out with so many children surrounding her and wanting to be loved. Flashback on Atalanta’s past, she was tossed away by her father for simply being a girl but saved by Artemis. That is why she is kind to all and vows to love all children. Sieg is also haunted seeing this nightmare, especially the children of London being killed or rather consumed by River Thames. He becomes disillusioned with this world where nobody helps nobody. Jeanne too sees this but she is not scared. Although the children want her to save them, she will not and will destroy them. Atalanta cuts in and argues the children are not evil but victims. Jeanne agrees that she is not a saint as many view her as because she too has tainted her hands with blood. This world they are seeing now is just an illusion created by spiritual residue and by ‘saving’ them only means continuing their suffering. Atalanta still refuses to believe and is still murder. The children then confront Jeanne to confirm if she would really kill them. Yes. So you can move on. The children agree to be destroyed by her. Hmm… Feels like exorcism? Jeanne is disturbed by Jack’s last words that she finds her pitiful too. Atalanta is now broken, accusing Jeanne for abandoning the children. As she tries to fight her, other Servants enter the fray. Atalanta escapes and won’t forgive the evil that is Jeanne. Sieg is still confused. What he saw were normal humans, not mages. Jeanne explains the evil of humanity. If she was not burnt at the stake, she would have continued to kill others. She hopes he will not judge people and not give up thinking they cannot be changed. Hating is easy but loving is very hard. After all the despair and disillusionment, she still hasn’t given up. Sieg wonders why Atalanta calls her evil. Good and evil are complex and it depends on where you stand, your view will be different. Sieg had believed the world was always beautiful until that nightmare. While that will forever stay in him, he will not give up in finding the answer he seeks.

Episode 19
Yggdmillennia is planning to assault Babylon as soon as tomorrow but the best plan they can come up is an attack via plane? Easy target. Astolfo then mentions he has a Noble Phantasm that would nullify all magic. Just that he forgot its name. But he knows the condition to summon it and it is on a moonless or new moon night. However that will only happen in 3 days and by then Babylon would have left their airspace. Caules talks to Fiore who is indecisive. He notes this fight will make or break her as a mage. He is hinting she should just be a normal person as she cannot handle death. Remember that dog story? She sure does. Otherwise, where would it have to go? So that’s why. Is it an insult or compliment if he prefers her to stay as a useless girl? They do a process to transfer her magic circuits to him. Painful and why must it be that dog episode? Anyway it is successful and Caules is now the new head of Yggdmillennia. For those who have been wondering if Astolfo is a guy or girl, this confirms it. Jeanne had the misfortune of seeing him stepping out of bath. Shriek at the dick… Sieg and Astolfo bump into Mordred in town. Sieg asks her bluntly about humans. To her, they are not worth saving. Sieg loves humans until Jack’s episode. He is now unsure. Mordred chides him as there is now right or wrong answer. You do what you want, how you want it. Astolfo asks if she would like to be a good or bad king. Good of course. Later Astolfo tells this to Jeanne. He believes Sieg should continue to love people. This prompts Jeanne to ask if he fancies Sieg but is asked back the same question. Why is she blushing? With Sieg still hesitant, Jeanne has to remind him Sieg is Sieg. He is wonderful as he is and doesn’t have to be a Servant or Master. Later Jeanne continues to ponder and worry about Sieg. She can’t help wonder why she doesn’t want him to fight or die so badly. Can I guess this is the work of love? Mordred asks Shishigou for advice to be a good king. Well, he hasn’t served one but here goes. He believes he must face her father even if she hates and adores him. If she wants to surpass him, then analyse everything. This upcoming battle would most likely be the last. Once it’s over, he’ll get his pay and Mordred will get his wish to challenge the sword and be king.

Episode 20
Caules leads his team to go after Babylon. Gordes and other homunculi are left in charge of the castle. Sieg believes he will not return here regardless if they win or lose so he says goodbye to his fellow brethren. Caules goes over the plan to intercept Babylon. Before Shirou heads into the Holy Grail to begin his salvation, he uses a Command Spell to Shakespeare not to write a tragedy about him. After Shirou leaves, Semiramis questions Shakespeare if he wants to see Shirou succeed or fail. He throws that question back at her. She would like him to succeed. He chides her for a textbook answer. Hence she gives her true answer that she would like to see a holy man fall into despair. But more importantly she wants to see the sight he wishes to see so much. How far will he go? How much will he show her? Shakespeare recognizes this adoration as unintended love and would definitely be a hit play. She would have killed him if not the enemies have arrived. Uhm, an army of Boeing airplanes? I am guessing they are all on autopilot mode. Semiramis gives orders to the other Servants on their roles. However Atalanta rejects hers. She wants to take on Jeanne. Achilles assures Semiramis he will cover for her part. The battle begins with Achilles having his rematch with Chiron while Atalanta becomes obsessed in taking down Jeanne. If they’re taking down so many airplanes, I wonder if the people below would be scared thinking it is raining crashing airplanes. Chiron questions Achilles’ goal to follow Shirou’s mad plan. Achilles replies he has been shown it is a worthy bet. Shirou isn’t annihilating men nor selecting who to live. Chiron calls it foolish because it sounds impossible. If that is the case, shouldn’t the purpose of the Holy Grail make the impossible possible? Chiron immediately understands what Shirou is doing. Shirou is going through a field where dead souls are trying to corrupt him but since he has casted away his hatred, he waltzes through until he reaches Heaven’s Feel. A priestess pops up and asks if he would like to activate the Third Magic. Shirou wants to make all of mankind’s souls turn material.

Episode 21
Chiron and Achilles are at odds with each other’s ideals regarding Shirou’s method in using the Holy Grail. Somehow Astolfo remembers his Noble Phantasm’s name and is able to chant it and nullifies Semiramis’ Babylon lasers. Since Karna is hot on their tails, Sieg transforms into Siegfried to keep Karna busy and his wish to fight Black Saber again. Astolfo then goes on a laser destroying spree but not without taking huge damage. He crashes into the garden area and Semiramis would have killed him had not crazy Mordred crashes her jet onto the place! Achilles invokes his Noble Phantasm to turn the area into his advantage. Both men decide to fight each other as warriors. Literally a fist fight. That soon turns into a boxing match. In the end, Achilles is able to deal the finishing blow to Chiron. Before Chiron dies, he unleashes his Noble Phantasm. Something about his Sagittarius constellation which means his bows will always be drawn and doesn’t need to call it. A beam strikes Achilles and although it doesn’t kill him, it takes away his immortality. Now we go back to Atalanta who is still b*tching about killing Jeanne. In her desperate attempt, she uses an item to stab herself in the heart to activate her Noble Phantasm, turning into a beast.

Episode 22
Sieg runs out of fuel to keep Siegfried materialized. Karna then calls out Caules and needs him for a favour. He wants to rescue their original Masters. They might have dropped out of this war but they are still the ones who summoned them. Caules also has his demands that if he cannot defeat Siegfried, he must let them go since it will be unworthy of him to defeat low level foes. After Caules has secured the Masters, Karna tells Sieg of his original promise to fight Siegfried. And hence Sieg transforms once more for a powerfully epic battle finale. Back to more Atalanta b*tching, Jeanne will not deny her wish to save all the children and have them live in a happy world. But she cannot condone her resorting to evil methods to achieve that. The fight is interrupted with Achilles taking over. He has Jeanne move along while it is time for him to put a stop to Atalanta’s madness. Jeanne confronts Semiramis and believes her wish to rule the world after Shirou saves it is a lie. Because an empress is unneeded in a saved world. More Karna-Siegfried epic battle. The tables are turned when Astolfo uses Achilles shield to help Siegfried. Prior to this, Achilles after his victory over Chiron, gave his Noble Phantasm to her as promise made to Chiron. Not really sure what this whole world thingy Noble Phantasm this is but it made Karna one step too late as Siegfried stabs him. Karna is satisfied to have fought like a hero the entire time. We also end Atalanta-Achilles fight as both their attacks take each other out. Atalanta knew her ways were wrong and wouldn’t save the children but what else could she do? If abandoning those children was the right choice, this world isn’t worth living. Even so, Achilles wanted to stop her from falling. Another 2 Heroic Spirits bites the dust. Yeah, I guess time’s running out so it’s time to let 3 Red Faction Servants die now. Jeanne has no time to chat with Semiramis as she makes her way to Shirou. Semiramis warns her of meeting Shakespeare as it will be her undoing.

Episode 23
Mordred and Shishigou walk into Semiramis’ throne room. But it is a trap to assault them. Mordred throws out her Master as she fights Semiramis’ sorcery. But the poison in the air overwhelms Mordred. Semiramis wants her to abandon her Master and join her as her knight. This has Mordred reanalyse her wish. She realizes it wasn’t to become king but to end her father’s solitude. She thought by becoming king would allow that. Mordred’s goal now is to defeat Semiramis but needs Shishigou’s help even if it costs her life. He barges back in and injects her some kind of drug that turns her into wearing a sexier armour? Heck, it’s more powerful and much more with Shishigou using his last Command Spell to defeat the king. Mordred slices through the monster and into Semiramis. With the battle over, Shishigou knows his days are numbered after the wounds received from Semiramis’ shot. Master and Servant have one last talk (and smoke) together with Shishigou revealing his goal wasn’t to find an heir but a lost child. Likewise, Mordred tells him what she has realized. After Shishigou dies, Mordred disappears. Jeanne encounters Shakespeare who initiates his Noble Phantasm. Jeanne finds herself in several locations of her life like the village which she has to say goodbye to her mother and the bloodied battlefield in which she accepted she will never die in peace. Things start to change while being brought to her burning stake. It is Sieg at the stake instead. Jeanne claims this isn’t so but Shakespeare says he is only merely reading from her memories and hence the killing of Sieg is her wish. The final scene is the Castle of Tiffauges, the fort of Gilles de Rais. He is also here in the flesh and as a Servant. He shows her a severed head of Sieg. Don’t really understand about this equal love of humanity thingy here and if she really loved Sieg, she would have done anything to the point of cruel to stop him. Jeanne trembles in fear while her inner voice regrets not telling her clearly that her heart was right.

Episode 24
So Shirou’s salvation is for mankind to lose their selfishness? Okay. Whatever. Out from the Holy Grail, Shirou is now dressed like a shogun? Shirou and Gilles continue convincing Jeanne about their salvation of mankind. Till Gilles had to say Sieg’s death. Time to wake up. Speaking of Sieg, here he comes. She is sorry he had to come to see her even if it means ending in his death. Shirou offers her one last chance to join forces with him and save mankind. No more evil and people will stop suffering. Time for Sieg to give his 2 cents worth of opinion. Something about good can turn evil and making mistakes is not a sin but just sad. He might be weak but wants to strive to become someone others can be proud of. So touched that Jeanne cries. She rejects Shirou’s offer claiming his salvation doesn’t give strength to the struggle but only crushes it. Gilles is shocked this won’t bring him salvation after all the innocent kids he slew. She tells him there is no way to repent. Even if God forgives him, his victims will not. So just accept his punishment? Because if mankind becomes immortal, they lose faith in their own potential and life would be meaningless. They just merely exist in an unchanging world. I guess talk is over. Fight time. Gilles decides to fight by Jeanne’s side after she lets him hold her flag. Short thank you from Jeanne to Sieg about opening her eyes before she powers up. Gilles defend her till his death while she prays when Shirou attacks. Although the fire blast damages part of the Holy Grail, Jeanne has taken too much damage and ‘dies’. Now Sieg is mad. Revenge? Astolfo comes to his aid but Semiramis holds her down powerfully with Shirou’s Command Spell. Now for a sword fight. With magic. Sieg amazingly is able to keep up and fight like a madman. As though he is like a Servant but maintains his own character. Caules realizes Sieg is displaying abilities of Frankenstein. When she died in the blast, it seemed she transferred her powers to Sieg who was caught in it. She has been fighting with them all along. Shirou might have stabbed Sieg but he unleashes a similar suicidal Noble Phantasm like Frankenstein.

Episode 25
Shirou wakes up on Semiramis’ lap. He is still dying, though. He wonders if she is mad for losing. She forgives him as she has lost as well. She wants to know if he succeeded, how he would have gotten away with tricking her. Well, if apologizing won’t work, he would give his life to her. Semiramis kisses him as her gift. After he dies, Semiramis disappears and Babylon dramatically collapses. Sieg and Astolfo are inside the Holy Grail. The priestess confirms them as the final Master and Servant, hence wining the Holy Grail War. Sieg’s wish is to undo Shirou’s wish. Sorry, no can do. Shirou has used most of its resources for that. The result will soon spread to the whole world in which mankind becomes immortal but lose their curiosity and be bound to the land. So much for granting wishes. So what can it grant? Sieg notices his hand has turned into of a dragon after all his Command Spells are used. He has a wish that the Holy Grail has enough power to grant. Astolfo is against this since it is a fate worse than dying. This is not the reason why he saved him. But it’s his wish. As his last order, he wants him to live in his stead and help others in need. Astolfo rides furiously as he takes Caules and Leticia out. Shakespeare is madly and happily writing until the entire Babylon crumbles. He calls it a happy ending. A dragon carries the Holy Grail. It is Sieg who used the Holy Grail to transform himself into one. As the Holy Grail has created immortality, he will take it to where it is not needed on the other side of the world where people cannot reach. Only the evil dragon Fafnir can do that. In the aftermath, Caules joins the Mage Association. They would have banished him for carrying the Yggdmillennia bloodline but I guess it’s not the time to fight after what happened. Uh huh. This incident put a scar on their reputation. Astolfo parts with Leticia and then sets off to see the world. Epilogue shows Jeanne finally finds Sieg the dragon. Touching him turns him back to his human form. She won’t leave him anymore and they will begin a new journey together. Before they leave, she confesses she loves him.

Fake/Apostasy Appall-Crap-Haha
So many mind boggling questions for the last episode. First, how can the Holy Grail claim Sieg and Astolfo are the last Master and Servant left? Wasn’t Shakespeare still around? If you mean last Master AND Servant together, yeah okay, maybe. But still, that is like breaking the rules, right? You need to be the last one standing to earn the right to wish upon the Holy Grail, no? And if Shakespeare’s Master is Shirou, why is he taking him so long to disappear? Shouldn’t he vanish in about a few seconds after Shirou died? How can Astolfo who is a Servant remain in this world if his Master is gone? Okay, technically he is a dragon but that’s not really him, right? Right?! Even so, that Holy Grail War has ended so Astolfo should go back to his era too? Why does he have the right to stay here? Master’s orders? I didn’t know that overrules the rules of the Holy Grail War. And what’s with this lame ass dragon transforming to hide the Holy Grail somewhere? You mean in another world or dimension? And now that Jeanne touched him and he turned back into a homunculus, who the f*ck is going to watch over the Holy Grail? If you’re saying that nobody will ever reach this place so why the f*ck was he guarding it in the first place? Besides, doesn’t the dragon look like he is sleeping on the job? Could he have just left it there and flown off? Oh right. Then Jeanne wouldn’t find him and they would forever keep missing each other and we won’t have that cheesy ‘romantic’ ending. Somehow I feel that spoilt the general vibe of the series although I was expecting it somewhere but not like this.

Generally if you look at the whole story, it is basically almost the same as in all Fate stories. At least the ones that I know (the adapted animes that I have seen, that is). The Holy Grail is the only device that could make your dreams come true the fastest way and in exchange for that, everyone coveting that cup must fight a battle royale until one is left standing. This spin-off is no different although the presentation and the storyline that goes about it is presented in a different way.

It starts off with the anticipated and usual Red Faction versus Black Faction. Pretty standard. But knowing this series has more than 2 dozen episodes, you will definitely know that something is up. There will be twists along the way. I mean, you really want to drag out the fight between both factions right till the end? Hey, this isn’t Dragonball series!!! Halfway through we see the breakdown of the Factions and both sides have their reservations that blurs the lines. While that is a good change in direction, somehow I feel that the mini arc of Black Assassin before the final showdown feels a bit of a diversion. I felt it could have been done without it because had Jack been a normally summoned Servant and part of the Yggdmillennia family, it would have been boring. With Jack being the wildcard, she is like the unknown variable that could spring some surprise. But personally I don’t find it surprising and like I said, a distraction. Unless it was to give Atalanta a reason to be mad (because you need a reason to take down a Servant instead of a mindless death in battle) as well as opening Sieg’s eyes about the cruelty of the world. I know he was just born a few days ago but could he have guessed if he is fighting this war? Sure, no innocent civilians were harmed so I guess that was the turning point.

Curiously I tried to find out why this alternate storyline is called Apocrypha. Thanks to my lazy Google ability and lack of interest in the series, I just search the meaning of the word and formed my own theory-cum-conclusion. Apocrypha means writings that have unknown or doubtful origins and is used to refer to Biblical texts. As this Fate spin-off isn’t from the actual timeline, hence this alternate setting could be one of those unrecorded and unidentified stories. You can say it is like a standalone. Thus there could be many other unrecorded stories and spin-offs of the Fate series that we are unaware of if you go by this theory. Uh huh. If the authors and creators decided to milk more money and don’t have anything fresh and new, they can just turn a what-if scenario and make it into a spin-off. It is after all might not be canon. And then it can also give hardcore paranoid fans to list down more conspiracy theories and how it all links. Not that I care anyway. On a side note to ponder, since the Apocrypha word popped up big and obvious in the final scene of the last episode, could it be that of everything that happened in the series, only Jeanne’s confession for Sieg is apocryphal?

From the promotional posters to the opening and ending credits, it is quickly established that the main stars for this series would be Jeanne and Sieg. I find it odd that despite this is an alternative setting, war still needs some sort of a ‘referee’. I mean, come on. This is a war so what the hell is the need to ensure there is balance on both sides? Because if both sides have the same power and tactic, it would end in a stalemate. A war is one by a side because of superior power, numbers or tactic so why again do you need a Ruler class here? Sure, this isn’t exactly a cruel war and one big tournament if you want to go so far as to look at it that way but still, having somebody to balance the fight just seems odd. I mean, this isn’t like a boxing match if your opponent tries to hit you below the belt, the referee steps in to stop. So Jeanne’s class here feels more like the referee in WWE… I guess since this is the Fate series, the main hero would always be someone who looks like Saber. That is why Jeanne is designed very closely to that. And since Sieg is technically living because of Siegfried the Saber class, there you have it, both technically Saber related main characters.

For Sieg, it is funny that a homunculus is trying to be more human than most humans themselves. And he is only a few days old. I suppose we were all once like Sieg when we were younger. We thought and wished for the world to be better place but as it turns out, it is still a sh*tty and hell place to live. That’s the meaning of life. So this brings to me the case of Shirou’s salvation. Time and time again when such good versus evil concept is brought up, the villain’s twisted answer to save mankind via such method is frowned upon despite it looks good theoretically. Maybe I’m an adult, that’s why I seem to connect more to what Shirou wants to save mankind than Jeanne and Sieg’s version. Sure, everyone might be some lifeless robot who is happy. No evil so technically no good as well. But if you’re living in such bliss, what that all matter? I mean, ‘good guys’ tend to believe that the current state of the world because it is evil, there is hope, we can grow to overcome it, blah, blah, blah, sounds more like they want people to suffer because that makes human, human. That kind of logic does not resonate with me nowadays. To them, that is not living. So are they the big sadists? Is living much sweeter after overcoming your sufferings? Maybe for you and a few lucky people. But for the many others who are not so lucky (Jack and those innocent children), I think they would just tell the world to f*ck off. Can we all just be happy and not sad? Not this way according to the logic of heroes.

Oddly, there seems to be small hints of Jeanne and Sieg hitting off as a couple. Because we lack Shirou x Saber (or Rin or Sakura, depending on who you support), hence we need that kind of romance too in this alternate timeline. I know it would look weird if a Ruler and a homunculus would get together and just date. Sometimes when the series gets to such scenes, sometimes I just find it cheesy. Because you know, Jeanne’s stance over loving everyone equally as well as Sieg not really being a human so it’s not like he totally understands the concept of love. But then again, most of us humans don’t either. So was the final scene some sort of salvation in this sense? Like I said, it did ruined a little the enjoyment as the series comes to a close. I mean, almost everybody’s dead or gone, might as well reunite the lost lovers.

Shirou certainly looks cool and badass compared to the Shirou in the original Fate timeline. Who could forget that hilarious and dumb people-die-when-they-are-killed line that became such a meme and joke. But the Red Faction which is supposedly the ‘good guys’ look more like a bunch of baddies because of Shirou disabling other Masters who are so sad that they couldn’t even get 10 seconds worth of screen time unless they are unconscious. Like as though Shirou is the dictator and commands the rest of his Red Faction’s Servants. On the other hand, the Yggdmillennia clan is supposed to be the ‘bad guy’ as they stole the Holy Grail decades ago but they look more organized. It isn’t any surprise since they are a military clan. And then they got just desserts when they got the Holy Grail stolen from them. So he waited 60 years for this to save mankind and it is all for naught? Well, it shows that mankind cannot be saved. Sad… Now I know why Jesus never made his second coming.

Commenting on some of the Servants, let me start off with some of them not really displaying their abilities in the class that they are supposed to be summoned in. The obvious offender in this category is Semiramis. She is supposed to be the Assassin class but yet display so much more abilities as a Caster. Then there is also Achilles who is supposed to be Rider but he prefers fighting with his lancer. Doesn’t that make him a Lancer class? Karna doesn’t feel like Lancer class though although he does fight with his ‘lance’ but because as the Hindi Sun God, we often see him using his flames in battle.

Because Arthur was turned into a woman in the Fate series, I expect that some of the Servants would have a gender swap too. Like Frankenstein. Now we have a sexy version of that monster. It is the same case to for Astolfo but something was very off. My guts were tingling that Astolfo might not be a woman. The paladin of Charlemagne sounds so girly and acts like one so there is a high chance this character might be a girl. Heck, there was one time Astolfo was wearing casual clothes and it is for ladies. Even if the character is so flat chested, so much more other anime female characters are also like that. Don’t judge and anime gender by the size of the chest! So Astolfo had to be a woman, right? My guts still tingling. And then that shower scene confirms he isn’t otherwise. I guess all you Astolfo fans who fapped to him thinking he was a she and now this, you must be so disappointed. It could be that Astolfo is just a cross-dresser…

Mordred as the Saber class feels like a delinquent version of the Saber we know in the original Fate series. Because Saber classes are like the main heroes, I always had this thought that Mordred would also be something like this. But she turns out to be a wildcard of the Red Faction instead. I didn’t see it coming that she and Shishigou aren’t the last ones standing. It feels like they are extras and their non-compliance and being solo from Shirou’s groupie makes them feel so. Siegfried who is of Saber class strangely becomes the first Servant to die but so as not to make him a waste, hence he lives inside Sieg and is called out whenever the time needs him to be. Imagine a Saber class who is an all-rounder to go out first. While it is not impossible but it is certainly weird because this is supposed to be the most coveted class by all Mages and being just that just shows the Master’s incompetency. Isn’t that why fatso Gordes got him? I also thought Darnic and Vlad would be the final boss but they only made it halfway. They sounded so important but I guess when Shirou ramps up his badass and goal, he becomes the new antagonist.

As mentioned, Jack feels more like a distraction since she was not part of the Black Faction’s line-up and serves to add some sort of variety and spice to the story. It would be just boring if the Yggdmillennia had all their Servants summoned in nice fashion order. The most ‘useless’ Servant award goes to Shakespeare who just wants to watch and witness the play unfold before his eyes. Sure, he had a role in the final battle but even that he wasn’t really even fighting. But it would be just odd to see a playwright having fighting abilities. Shakespeare kicking ass or slashing with a sword? No way, man. The ‘saddest’ Servant goes to Spartacus because not only he went berserk (living up to his class’ name), I feel he has the shortest amount of screen time compared to other Servants. He came in, got mind controlled to the other side and then died. Like as though they needed some big bang and explosion of this series. Oh, speaking of this…

Talking about the action parts, it still does not disappoint. They are quite good to watch but I tend to notice that in order to make the battles so powerful and epic, there are lots of explosions. Big huge explosions that if your bass and subwoofer audio was set on to maximum, there would be aftershocks and you might even feel the vibration shaking the floor. Mine was set at a decent mid-level and I could already hear and feel its effects. Who knows if it was set to maximum would my house collapse? Would my neighbourhood think it is some earthquake? But yeah, lots of explosions as proof that the clash is so epic. This is what happens when powerful power crash into each other. Literally, crash boom bang.

Next I want to mention about the artwork and animation. Unlike the other Fate series remake, this one is not made by Ufotable but A-1 Pictures (Ao No Exorcist, Sword Art Online, Fairy Tail, Nanatsu No Taziai, Kuroshitsuji and OreImo). Although the artwork is still fine but it is not as grandeur as Ufotable. But I noticed this one has a drop in quality especially during fight scenes that are fast and furious. Like as though they were doing a rushed job and because this fighting scene is rapid and swift, they are counting on viewers not to notice it. And even if they do, they are hoping we will shrug it is off as because everything is so fast that it looks like lines but should be thankful that everything isn’t just simple lines. Well, I think that isn’t a good excuse, assuming that was the reason behind it.

Voice acting feels fine with some recognizable ones like Natsuki Hanae as Sieg, Miyuki Sawashiro as Mordred, Koji Yusa as Karna, Nobuyuki Hiyama as Darnic, Junichi Suwabe as Siegfried and Mai Nakahara as Reika. But the most surprising one to me was Saori Hayami as Atalanta. Never throughout the entire series did I realize it was her! She sounded totally different than how I usually knew her that I was having a hard time believing if it was her. Even trying to hear her dialogues again I wasn’t 100% sure. The other surprising one is Ai Nonaka as Frankenstein. It has been a long time I haven’t heard from her as I thought she has retired. Of course, Frankenstein didn’t have proper lines in the series and had only screams and groans that makes her sound like some retard until her final moments. I once thought Aki Toyosaki was behind Fiore but something was off. She wasn’t. Fiore is voiced by Chinatsu Akasaki (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby) and from my past experience, her voice resembles closely to Aki Toyosaki.

The other casts are Maaya Sakamoto as Jeanne/Leticia (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji), Kouki Uchiyama as Shirou (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Rumi Okubo as Astolfo (Aguri in Gamers), Kei Shindou as Semiramis (Kuro in Kodomo No Jikan), Shunsuke Takeuchi as Chiron (Yamato in Nanbaka), Makoto Furukawa as Achilles (Banri in Golden Time), Kenji Nomura as Shishigou (Kugayama in Genshiken), Tetsu Inada as Shakespeare (Gamagori in Kill La Kill), Yuusuke Kobayashi as Caules (Subaru in Re: Zero Kara Hajimaru Isekai Seikatsu), Ryotaro Okiayu as Vlad (Byakuya in Bleach), Mitsuru Miyamoto as Avicebron (Steven in Kekkai Sensen), Emiri Katou as Roche (Aura in Overlord), Sakura Tange as Jack (titular character in Cardcaptor Sakura), Toru Ohkawa as Gordes (Roy in Fullmetal Alchemist), Shizuka Ishigami as Celenike (Mito in Shokugeki No Souma) and Satoshi Tsuruoka doubling as Spartacus and Gilles (Caster in Fate/Zero).

The first opening theme, Eiyuu Unmei No Uta by Egoist tries to sound epic and all but I just find it as weird. I don’t know, it sounds like the singer sounds a bit off key while singing. It doesn’t match with the choir voices in the background and in fact it clashes and makes it sound a bit like cacophony. Ash by Lisa as the first ending theme is my favourite among all the themes. The tune and pacing are to my liking and makes it quite fitting as an epic ending theme. Come the second opening theme, Desir by Garnidelia turns into an anime rock and it gets weirder for the second ending theme, Koe by Asca. Its beginning has short bursts of the violin play and the rest of the song feels like it is fitting for a drama filled anime instead.

Overall, this might not be the best Fate series I have ever seen but it is still quite a good watch and a different as well as refreshing if you are tired of the usual characters from Fate (the orphaned Shirou and the Arthur’s Saber, that is). If you are not into the convoluted Fate lore and stories, perhaps the action bits would be enough to satisfy you. When you compare this spin-off to the might original Fate series, considering the awesome Fate/Zero and the Unlimited Blade Works TV reproduction, this of course falls short of all expectations especially to hardcore fans of the series. So maybe that is why this was better left off as an apocryphal version. Dubious, unknown, not canon that would spoil the original fun. If fans were in this timeline of this series, they would have wished for the Holy Grail to save this series instead of mankind. Yeah, I think it’s better to have our people-die-when-they-are-killed Shirou version.

So awesome the prequel that I guess that had to remake the TV series again. Yes indeed. Fate/Zero was just mind blowing and epic that another remake was in order. However they are not going to redo the original Fate/Stay Night series that debuted back in 2006. In fact, the remake is the Unlimited Blade Works movie. Therefore this remake is actually Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works and follows the route of this version. Hmm… Something was wrong with the movie that they felt the need to redo it again? As I found out, the original Fate series and movie were done by Studio Deen. Fans of the series didn’t like the ‘poor’ quality that it was adapted. Well, when you consider how superb was Fate/Zero, everything before that pales in comparison. Making it even horrendous was the fact that the UBW movie was a very condensed version of the route and thus the many disappointments and the disappointed. Thus when a new studio, Ufotable took over the production of this series and made the prequel fabulous, it was time to do some justice to that UBW movie and thus the expansion and the need for this TV series. Either way, I know it is going to be just awesome. I know. I can feel it.

Episode 0
In this hour long prologue, if you’re a fan of Rin and Archer, this is your episode. Rin goes to school one morning as she notices the clocks are an hour fast. No wonder the school is void of students. It’s an hour early! She notices this happened after she found her father’s pendant. She meets Mitsuzuri from the archery and then later that douche bag Shinji tries to flirt with her but she just tells him off and this pissed him off (he deserved it). Then she notices Shirou helping Issei to fix some heater. Coming home from school, Kirei left a message on her phone in hopes that she would participate in the upcoming Holy Grail war but she’s not really thrilled to hear his voice. In her father’s basement, she is set for the summoning ritual. She does what is needed and a loud crash is heard from her living room. To her disappointment, it wasn’t Saber she had hoped to summon but Archer. However Archer is not amused that a mere child is his Master and just tells her not to get in the way of his fight. Rin is upset that she is looked down so she uses a Command Spell to order him to listen to her every word. Archer is impressed by her tenacity and agrees to serve her loyally. As for the Command Spell, it is wasted since her command was too vague. At least she has 2 more… Rin wants to know Archer’s true form to formulate strategies but unfortunately he is a bit amnesiac. Archer thought Rin is ready to get down to business but the first thing she tells him to do is clean up the mess he made. I guess Rin overslept so much so Archer has taken the liberty to even make her breakfast! Surprisingly good? Rin decides to show Archer around the city before they make their important contract.

They arrive at an abandoned park where the last Holy Grail war had taken place. There is also a little talk on some of the terms like Heroic Spirits for the uninitiated but those who are familiar don’t need to even bother about this. They sense somebody watching them but they cannot detect who. They then have a bird’s eye view of the city. Archer asks about her wish for winning the Holy Grail but she doesn’t have any. She’s participating and winning it as it is her family’s dream. Archer also asks if there are other mages in the vicinity. Rin notes there is one family but they are a shadow of their former selves and do not even possess sufficient mana to become a Master. That night, Rin discovers there are several insignias placed around the school grounds. This is dangerous because if activated, it will harvest all the souls within the field. For a person doing this, it could mean that person is trying to summon a Servant. They realize Lancer was watching them and this leads to the much awaited fight between Archer and Lancer. Their fight is interrupted (thus saving Archer’s life when Lancer is about to use his Noble Phantasm) when they realize there was a student still on site and has witnessed this. Lancer races to catch him and to eliminate the witness. By the time Rin catches up, that student is already lying in his pool of blood. She orders Archer to tail Lancer to at least find out about his master. She is overcome with guilt over this innocent student’s death. But there is a way she can still save him. She uses her father’s pendant. Later back at her home, Archer reports his failure to follow Lancer. But now the thought if Lancer’s Master learns the witness is still alive, will he not send Lancer back to kill him? They rush back and Rin is not going to allow her hard work of revival go to waste. When they arrive, they see before them is Saber.

Episode 1
The proper series begin but also another hour long. This time the events are set in the same time as the prologue but from Shirou’s side. We see his daily morning life, Sakura always comes over to cook for him and Fujimura (who is also his landlord). Shirou as we know is such a good guy who doesn’t know how to say no because he takes up small job requests to fix things like the spoiled heater. He still has nightmares over what happened to Fuyuki City 10 years ago and continues to ponder how to become a hero of justice. When he notices Sakura’s bruises, Shirou believes Shinji must have abused her again although she denies it. He hears more about that douche bag about his temper in the archery club, taking it out on newbies. When Shirou visits the archery club, he is attacked by a club member who mistakes him as Shinji. She apologizes after realizing he is the guy who fixes things for free. How the heck could she mistake that jerk with this guy? On the way back, he passes by a house that has been cordoned off by the police. There has been a murder and the entire family except the youngest child was killed. This reminds him how Kiritsugu adopted him right after that devastating incident. That is why he hates it when people tried so hard to save others but to only die in the end. Is he selfish to wish from everyone to be happy with smiles? Even more frustrating was Kiritsugu once said that one cannot save everybody. Shirou believes salvation isn’t limited to certain people.

Sakura requests to take time off and won’t be coming to make Shirou breakfast. I think she’s going to need it. At school, Shirou sees Shinji flirting with a couple of girls. He wants to talk to her about Sakura. Not interested. And since Shinji thinks he is falsely accusing him and then retracted his statement, how about making it up by cleaning up the dojo. I mean, he likes to help out, right? Yeah, it’s Shinji’s turn to clean but he rather go flirt and leave the dirty job to this good Samaritan. And this guy really cleaned the entire dojo! Sparkling clean, man! It is already night time by the time he finishes. That is when he heard some clashing sounds in the school yard. He takes a peek and is shocked to see super characters fighting. That is when he is discovered. He makes a run for it but Lancer finds him and stabs him in the heart. After being resurrected by Rin, he is surprised to find himself still alive although very much in a daze. He goes home thinking he could rest but he narrowly avoided Lancer’s attack. He tries to fight back but despite pulling up a surprise tactic, it is still weak and definitely no match for Lancer. He runs to his shed and I’m not sure what kind of ritual he did or maybe it was just all coincidence that everything was in the right place. Saber is summoned. Saber fights Lancer as the latter uses his Noble Phantasm move. Luckily for Saber, she managed to escape with her life. For Lancer, that move has to end with a kill and since it did not, he takes his leave. Shirou is still confused what is happening so Saber goes to hunt down Lancer. This is when she comes into Archer and starts fighting. Shirou wants her to stop and accidentally uses his Command Spell, irking Saber very much. Rin is surprised to see Shirou but greets him as a start.

Episode 2
Rin uses her magic to repair Shirou’s house and is impressed he fought off Lancer before summoning Saber. Then she explains to him about the Holy Grail war, the Master, Servants and all the other terms that veterans would have known by heart. But for further explanation, she takes him to go see Kirei at the church. Kirei is somewhat surprised but delighted to hear Shirou’s name. The kid is not interested in this fight but it seems yielding his Master status is not as simple as walking away. Shirou has lots of questions about the Holy Grail and Kirei has his answers though it is hardly anything satisfying. Like how all the Masters fight but it is the Holy Grail that chooses who wins. So I guess there is no sharing business of the cup. Although it is not in the rules that one doesn’t have to kill another Master, but when a Master is killed, the Servant vanishes. This is of course the fastest way. Also as Master loses his status if all his Command Spells are used. Shirou would love to use them all up right now but Kirei calls him a coward if he does so. But if he wishes to do so, so be it. After that, Shirou will be sheltered under his protection in the church as this is part of his job to oversee the war. Shirou learns this is not the first Holy Grail war and since the cup can grant any wish, what happens if it falls into the wrong hands? The only way is for him to win it himself to avoid it being fallen into such evil. Still not convinced? How about this. Did you know that the last Holy Grail war was the reason Fuyuki City burnt down? That convinced you? Kirei adds about the previous winner who thought he could summon the Holy Grail without fighting but that foolishness made it incomplete. Therefore obtaining the Holy Grail is meaningless till you settle things with other Masters. Shirou agrees to fight in this war and then confirms with Saber to be her Master in which she swears her loyalty to him. Now that Shirou is in the game, won’t that make him and Rin enemies? Well, she’s giving some reason about repaying her debt. Some sort of ceasefire between them for the next 24 hours. Why don’t you just admit being tsundere? However before them is Ilya and her Berserker.

Episode 3
No magical girl Ilya here. Yup. After 3 seasons of magical girl loli and a prequel that she had almost close to zero screen time, it’s hard to get used to seeing the original cruel bloodthirsty Ilya. She sends her Berserker to crush them and while Saber engages in close combat, Archer provides artillery support as he is stationed from a building block in the city. No matter what moves they pull, Berserker is like an immortal! You can’t kill him! Not even a scratch! Even more shocking is how he can move fast and agile! Was he supposed to be a tank character? Isn’t this like cheating? Big strong guy who is fast and invincible and can adapt fighting without his cleaver. Like the final last boss you can never defeat! Shirou gets mad that Saber is fighting Berserker herself (because they pledged to fight together). Oh really? You mean you can fight that hulk? Sure you won’t get in the way? Rin tries to sneak attack on Ilya but she’s ready for him. Her tricks didn’t work and this disappoints Ilya that this is all she’s got. Rin could have died had not Archer supported her. Then she bumps into Shirou and takes it out on him. Why so mad? She saved his life and he is willing to throw it away like that? Why does she care? Oh, she has a lot to care. Yeah, I know… They see Saber continue to take on Berserker at the cemetery. This is part of Saber’s plan because fighting in the open without any cover is like suicide. However at a place like this, she cannot count on any support from Archer. Like his arrows would deal any permanent damage anyway. Saber uses her Noble Phantasm to kill Berserker but oh look, he resurrects! Did he have a cheat code on?! Shirou senses Archer is going to use some awesome arrow so he takes Saber to run for cover. That arrow causes a fiery mini atomic bomb explosion in the area!!!!!!! Of course Berserker survives it and without a scratch. Ilya calls it a day and for Berserker to return. Seems she is quite interested in Archer now and would let them live. She thought of getting the boring ones out of the picture first but now her plans have changed. See you next time. Maybe all that excitement has made Shirou starting to vomit blood…

Episode 4
Ilya’s maids are not impressed she did not kill her opponents even after risking Berserker to show his Noble Phantasm. Don’t worry. Berserker’s Noble Phantasm cannot be destroyed. Besides, she wants to make Shirou suffer like Kiritsugu. Thanks to Shirou’s fast healing, his wounds are gone. Rin continues to give Shirou a free pass to live simply because it’s not her policy to kill somebody sleeping and that she didn’t feel like it. Whatever. Shirou talks to Saber and he learns about identities of Servants and why they must be kept hidden because once it is known, it becomes their weakness. The same case for their Noble Phantasm. Because Shirou is not an experienced mage, others may read his mind so Saber cannot tell him her true identity. He is fine with that. When Shirou is made to bring Fujimura her lunch, Saber wanders around the school and it looks like something tense is brewing when she sees Kuzuki. Luckily Shirou finds her. Saber sensed something different about that teacher but nothing to be alarmed about. Imagine Fujimura and Sakura’s surprise when Shirou says Saber is staying at his place. Sakura asks Fujimura if she will allow it. She okays it and considers it as home stay. Oh, Sakura… Even more so when Shirou hopes they can get along. Oh, Sakura… Meanwhile, Rin and Archer are destroying skeleton familiars. They uncover a room filled with poison gas and believe the culprit is a woman and the Servant is Caster. With the recent coma cases, they deduce the flow is originating from Ryuudou Temple. Rin wants to put an end to this before Caster flees so Archer notes she tends to choose the hardest battle and ignore the easiest ones. Yeah, she is giving excuses that she can take out Shirou any time and ignoring him as long as he stays hidden in his home. So what if he decides to become a real Master and kill her? Then she’ll kill him. Yeah? Can she?

Episode 5
Shirou manages to convince Saber to stay home and replenish her mana instead of following him to school every day. He then hears from Issei that Mitsuzuri didn’t come home after yesterday’s practice. A witness saw Shinji was the last person who talked to her but Shinji is absent today and they can’t get a hold of him. Sakura couldn’t give any definite answers as she rarely sees her brother these days. With the recent events, all club activities after school are cancelled and students are to go home. But Shirou decides to play detective. Rin confronts him and is not amused at how big his idiocy can get. He is walking around without a Servant like as though he is having a death wish. Unable to tolerate all that, Rin is now going to kill him. Not feeling tsundere today? Or has she turned yandere?! Shirou escapes her magic attacks but before she could kill him, they hear a girl’s scream. They find her unconscious and drained of her blood. As Rin tries to heal her, Shirou felt something bad. A target meant to strike Rin, Shirou uses his hand to block! It’s bleeding like mad but he decides to go play hero and go after the culprit. In the woods he is confronted with Rider. She traps him but before she could finish him off, Rin comes to his rescue and Rider flees. With what has happened, Shirou has the guts to ask Rin if she wants to continue their match. Let’s end it here for today. She treats him back at her home. They talk about that girl who almost became a Master’s victim to strengthen his Servant. Rin suggests calling a truce because she wants to deal with other Masters first. Good idea. We’re tired of hearing her giving tsundere excuses not to kill him. When Shirou casually reveals his magic arts, Rin is not pleased to hear such information because a mage will always try to hide it. Shirou’s views are different especially when he starts talking about his father who is a real deal mage. Rin has her views too but believes Shirou’s late dad puts his role more of a father first instead of being a mage.

Episode 6
Rin orders Archer to escort Shirou home although the latter is not too thrilled about it. He also learns that Archer does not covet the Holy Grail. That may just be peculiar to Saber for Servants have no free will and are just tools. Shirou is relieved that Mitsuzuri is found though in a daze. Since it is getting dangerous late at night, he wants Sakura to stay here for the time being. Shirou talks to Saber about the truce with Rin till the Master at his school is discovered. Saber helps train him for hands on combat. When Shirou talks to Rin, he discovers an insignia hidden in the bookshelf. They go around deactivating it. Before Shirou goes home, he is confronted by Shinji who claims he was the one who put those insignias for insurance. He wants Shirou to team up with him but of course he refuses. Because Sakura is staying at this place, Shirou promises he won’t rat out to others about this conversation. Threads tangle Shirou as he sleeps. He wakes up from a weird dream only to realize he is now in Ryuudou Temple. Caster has caught him and is not going to kill him right away. She is going to extract all his mana via removing his Command Spells so she can implant them on her Master. She admits she is the one behind the cases of people fainting as she was testing out this extracting move and building up her mana. Saber senses Shirou in danger and makes her way but at the gates of the temple she is confronted with Assassin. He does not hesitate to reveal his identity. He stops her from reciprocating as his blade will tell him all he needs to know of his enemy. If she wants to pass, then force her way. Before Shirou is dead meat, Archer sets him free. Now be wary the wrath of a furious woman.

Episode 7
Shirou and Archer are shocked to hear Caster revealing Assassin is her Servant since this is somewhat like breaking the rules. Then Archer and Caster start their fight. Shirou being the useless derp almost gets killed when Caster targets him and Archer has to save his ass again. Their fight continues and it ends when Archer uses his mighty arrow technique that pierces through her barrier and blasts her out of the sky. Saber is puzzled that she cannot break through Assassin’s defence despite his weaker physique. As Assassin has sensed things are not going well for his Master, he is going to use his special move. A move so fast that it cuts Saber down. Fortunately she survives this fatal blow. Caster is healing from her wounds and wonders why Archer spared her life. He was just testing her and that his objective was Shirou? Caster finds them interesting and alike although they vehemently disagree. She wants them to ally with her but they of course refuse. Archer would like this match to be called a draw since he is here on his volition and Rin did not send him so he has no reason to kill her. After she leaves, Shirou is mad Archer let her escape. Even more shocking, Archer wants Caster to continue what she is doing by reaping the mana from innocent people. She is doing this so she could defeat Berserker. Once done, Archer will take care of her. Shirou will never agree to this plan to sacrifice others but as Archer drills the harsh reality to him, if Caster wins, it would be more than this city that will suffer. Thus his logic is to keep that sacrifice minimum and sacrifice only this city. This does not bode well with Shirou because it reminds him of Kiritsugu’s words. Seeing only hypocrisy in Shirou, Archer strikes him down! Despite the bloody scene, Shirou still leaves and crawls his way out to the temple gates. Saber abandons the fight and catches him. Assassin allows them to let them go because he admires her loyalty to that inexperienced Master. Besides, it will be a waste to defeat her when she is not at her peak form. Saber is grateful and promises to settle this another day. Archer tries to strike them but Assassin defends them. While they fight, Saber and Shirou make their escape. As Saber patches up Shirou back him, he lets her know of Archer’s vile plan although Saber finds it funny he is speaking ill of somebody for the first time. She believes Archer is not a cruel person as seen from the purity of his technique with his fight with Assassin. Shirou wants Saber to help train him swordsmanship to fight and not just for exercise.

Episode 8
Shirou wakes up from a dream that he turned into a metal hedgehog! Actually, blades are piercing through his body. Although he makes improvement in his training, Saber is jealous he is basing his style on Archer instead of hers. The guys in school are surprised to see Rin waiting outside their class. And when she beckons Shirou, the ultimate shock. I know she’s tsundere but why is she acting like his girlfriend? At the rooftop, apparently Rin’s behaviour was because she had to use another Command Spell to stop Archer from killing him last night. Rin also learnt that Shinji is a Master and that he wanted to team up with her. Of course she turned him down and even cheekily said she already had Shirou. Rin won’t attack Shinji yet as he has no power as a Master. However she is shocked to hear when Shirou tells her he is the one who put up the insignias. Too late, Shinji has completed the ritual and now the school is under an evil barrier that is slowly sucking the life force out of the other students. As the undead golems are proving to be a pest, Shirou would like to return the favour and now uses his Command Spell to summon Saber. With quick lightning speed, she dismantles the horde. Shirou wants her to fight off the undead while the rest go to stop the magic source. Shinji gets cocky but when he sees someone approaching, he turns chicken and runs away while letting Rider handle the threat. Saber faces off with Rider but she soon realizes that it is Caster behind that façade. When Shirou and Rin find Shinji, he is cowering in fear in a corner. He insists this is not his fault. In the room, they see Rider dead! The barrier dissipates. Rin tries to force the face of the Rider’s killer out of Shinji. But that chicken sh*t guy believes he is no more a Master and thus they are the ones who should be afraid as they’ll be targeted. The students are still alive. Rin thinks of calling Kirei to handle things from here. Saber reports about fighting Caster. It proves she hasn’t left the temple. Rin is surprised Shirou is calm and can still think of the injured. It would have been impossible for her. It is no big deal to Shirou. He is used to seeing dead bodies. Why the shell shocked face, Rin?

Episode 9
Archer finally arrives when everything is over and since Rin didn’t like how he took his own sweet time, she still needs to fill him the details. He views Rider as weak and useless and this irks Saber who wants to challenge him to a fight. But they cool their heads and agree to investigate more and find Caster’s Master who is probably under the Servant’s influence. Back home, Saber wants to sleep close to Shirou after what has happened. He has no say. Despite just in the next room and a sliding door between them, I don’t know why Shirou finds it hard to sleep. Shinji runs to Kirei to seek refuge. Learning that he is the first Master to go out this way, he starts blaming everything especially the weak and useless Servant he was given. Kirei asks him if he still has the will to fight. Because he is lucky there is still one more Servant. When Shirou goes to school, Rin immediately grabs him. What’s with the moody mood? She believes Issei is Caster’s Master since he lives at the temple. As he doesn’t want her to do the investigation on him, he’ll do it. But he’s not going to ask him straight in the face, right? So how? Inside the room… Shirou tells Issei… To strip!!! OMG! This is just so gay wrong! Of course he feels violated but even if Shirou can’t find Command Spells on him, he can’t tell him why he did so. On the way home, Shirou spots Rin spying a distance outside Sakura’s house. She then forces him into hiding. They see a blonde guy standing outside her house. Rin wonders if this is the guy she saw Sakura talking to earlier (he was asking for directions). After he leaves, Shirou reports about his findings on Issei. She believes him since he is not the kind to lie. Rin then asks the odd question of a family member being given away for adoption without their consent. I think Shirou doesn’t understand the question well. So if that person is happy, then everything’s alright I suppose. Fujimura talks to Saber about Shirou’s childhood days and especially about Kiritsugu. This turns into a topic of why Shirou is obsessed in becoming a hero of justice. He can’t explain it well either. Is it because he is afraid of something? He just feels irritated remembering bits of this.

Episode 10
Rin dreams of how Archer became a Heroic Spirit. A lone survivor atop a hill with blades. Archer doesn’t think Shirou is a winnable material and thinks Caster would be a better person to team up. However Rin will not categorize herself the same with that monster. She will honour her pact with Shirou. Are you sure it isn’t about anything else? Shirou learns that Issei is close to Kuzuki and looks up to him like a big brother. When Rin eavesdrop that Kuzuki also lives at Ryuudou Temple, she wants to know if Kuzuki has been acting strange lately. He mentions that Kuzuki is going to get married soon as he introduced and brought his fiancée to live at the temple with him 2 weeks ago. Rin suspects Kuzuki as Caster’s Master and wants to test him. Late that night as they wait for him on his way back from school, Rin shoots a light magic burst at him. Caster protected him. Caster thought being out in the open was bad idea but Kuzuki thinks otherwise because they have caught their prey. Shirou then asks Kuzuki if he is being controlled by Caster. As an honourable man who would not condone to Caster’s doings, if he is under her control, he will only fight Caster. If so, this means he is equally a killer and would show no mercy. Although Kuzuki says this is the first time he heard of this, however what Caster does is none of his concern. Lives of other people do not matter to him. About this Holy Grail war, he will not participate in it and allows Caster to do whatever she wishes. Saber attacks Kuzuki but she is caught off guard by his punches infused with magic. It’s very damaging that it sends her flying and unconscious! Caster offer to deal with Saber and the Masters handle each other. Well, Rin got knocked out with a punch. Shirou is still standing after taking in a few. He has to. Otherwise Rin will die if he gets knocked out. Needing a cool weapon like Archer’s swords to fight, suddenly he materializes them with all his might. Saber revives and could have had Kuzuki’s head had not Caster saved him. Kuzuki wants to withdraw for now. Rin is baffled she never knew he had such magic. He admits he can do projection but it was so weak and empty Kiritsugu told him to focus on his fortification magic instead. Meanwhile Shinji happily meets the blonde, Gilgamesh as he has gotten another chance from Kirei to participate. He wants to team up to kill everybody and get his revenge on Shirou. But Gilgamesh tells him not to concern with other Masters if he truly wants the Holy Grail and there are other matters to attend to first. He reveals his wish for extravagant luxury but this world is overflowing with that and too much of it is sickening.

Episode 11
Shirou feels some pain through his body as he tries to hold it in. He starts noticing his left hand slightly numb. The school is abuzz because Kuzuki calls in sick. Rin makes a surprise visit to Shirou’s house since he forgot their usual meeting. He almost shut her out! Surprised to see her here? With Saber, they discuss about the possibility of Caster will self destruct and destroy the temple if cornered. Fujimura is shocked to see Rin here but Rin is slick enough to threaten her back so she shuts her mouth. Shirou continues to accidentally drop and break plates so they think he is tired and have him rest. Rin talks to Shirou about their different family lives as mages. Then she gets mad over his personality since he is considerate to everyone else except himself (WTF?). So does this mean she is staying at his place for the night? Don’t worry. She already got permission from Fujimura. Later Saber knows something about his left hand so he tells her about it and she thinks it might be the after effect of that projection. Archer is surprisingly here as he heard from Rin about his projection. He offers to see what he can do and as he analyzes his back, he detects nothing life threatening except that when he did the projection he opened something that was closed. With mana suddenly flooding his circuits he never used, it sends them into a state of shock, thus the numbness. He puts in some mana to recover him. He knows a lot since he had a similar experience himself. Shirou questions his ideals so he explains about Shirou’s worthless ideal to save everyone is just fantasy. Saving others is not true salvation. Since he has no desire to save himself, he will repeat that cycle till he dies, clinging on to ideals that aren’t his. In the end, he can neither save others or himself. Shirou still thinks that is wrong.

Episode 12
Another hour long episode. Your ears are not deceiving you when Rin wants to go out with Shirou! She tells him straight they’re going out on a date! Fujimura’s not shocked or anything. Because she too has a date herself! Actually that is paying a visit to Kiritsugu’s grave. Shirou is being like a douche trying to rephrase that he’s just accompanying her. Can you be just as cool like Saber? Though she’s just following them as their bodyguard. Nice fund date outing. Rin isn’t a parasite and has made sandwiches for lunch. So that explains the mystery of the missing bread from Shirou’s pantry. Though he could have just stopped there and not comment unnecessary about his thoughts that he thought she ate them as midnight snack. As they take the bus back, they feel something strange. There is no bus driver and the bridge falls apart. Though safe from the crash, they realize they are sealed in a barrier made by Caster. She has water golems attack them. How do you cut water anyway? They cannot make any rash moves because Caster has Fujimura as hostage. She makes Shirou an offer. Work under him and she’ll release her. Refuse of course. Rin is surprised to hear Shirou’s past an as an adopted son of Kiritsugu and thus Caster’s deduction he hates the Holy Grail, which in turn why he wants to claim it as compensation. In fact, she claims she can summon the Holy Grail right now and it is not necessary to have a Servant left. Therefore Shirou can avoid all the fighting he is against. However he still refuses to team up with her and wants Fujimura released. In that case, she will have his Command Spell. This will strip him of his Master status. Shirou is willing to have his hand ripped just to save Fujimura’s life. Saber and Rin cannot standby any longer and attack. However Shirou uses his Command Spell to stop Saber and in this moment, Caster uses her Noble Phantasm that negates all magic to stab her. Command Spells now appear on Caster’s hand and Saber is now her Servant. Caster orders reluctant Saber to kill Rin. Thankfully Archer finally breaks through the barrier and lets them escape.

Back home, Rin discuses with Archer why he is rooting for Saber instead of Caster. They agree the need to defeat Caster as top priority. Fujimura is healthy and under a sleeping spell. No threats, though. Archer believes her pact with Shirou is over since he is no longer a Master but she doesn’t think so. Until he says the fight is over, the pact is still intact. Did she just shift the goalpost? Shirou stumbles out from bed in his weakened state. He sees the familiar pendant and realizes that it was Rin who resurrected his life. Now he falls into super guilt that this is a debt he can never repay. Caster tells Assassin to guard to temple gates and her Master while she is away. Because he says something about doing this behind her Master’s back and doing it in hopes her love will reach him, she rips apart his chest as warning! Seems Caster is going to find a new base now that she has Saber (thus not really needing Assassin anymore who is just insurance) and claiming her prize ahead of schedule. She goes to see Kuzuki at the church. He claims she is breaking the rules by appearing on this neutral ground that no Heroic Spirit should be. But she believes the rules have changed when she shows him her Command Spells and Saber as her Servant. As for the Holy Grail summoning thing, Caster said that single Servant remaining rule refers to the big Grail. It doesn’t apply to the lesser Grail which she wants now. Since he refuses, she sets her golems to attack him. He has got nice kung fu chops and his blades to save his skin but how long will this last? Weakened Shirou looks for Saber and he wants to save Saber. Rin tells him it doesn’t matter to him anymore as he is no longer a Master. Being the stubborn mule he is, she tells him straight that he is a wreck without Saber. Already powerless himself, how is he going to rescue Saber? No more Saber, no more Master, no reason for him to be involved in this war. Stay out or die. You think Shirou has always been a good listener?

Episode 13
Saber is being tied up at the chapel and trying to resist Caster’s will. Though it would be just a matter of time… Kuzuki discovers Caster’s doing and wants her to explain why she did this without his authority (I thought he gave her permission to do as she please?). From obtaining Saber from her master to attacking the church to get the Holy Grail but to no avail, long story short, it’s all for his sake. Anyhow, he doesn’t care how she did it but as long as he gets the results. Rin and Archer make their way to fight Caster. Rin will take on Caster and wants Archer to concentrate on Kuzuki. She believes this is the best strategy. Once they get Saber back, they can reform another pact with Shirou. So as they begin their fight, surprisingly Archer protects Kuzuki from Rin’s shots! What is the meaning of this? Archer knows Caster’s true identity as Princess Medea. He wants to form a pact with her. Of course this is for his own goal but Caster agrees to play into his hands and make him her Servant since she wouldn’t be much of a mage if she cannot control him. The Command Spells are forcefully taken from Rin. Kuzuki targets her. Shirou who has been watching all this jumps in to be a hero but I guess he is still recovering so he couldn’t put up much of a fight. Archer wants Caster to let them go just this once as condition for him to join her by his own will. Of course if they cross their paths next time, they’ll be dead meat. Archer doesn’t want Rin to be angry at him. After all, Caster is the superior Master than her now. Rin promises she won’t give up and will defeat Caster to take him back. Then he’ll regret it. Shirou tries to console her but I guess it only makes her cry. So now she blames him and wants him to take responsibility? By hearing her beating up herself the useless person she is and couldn’t get things done when it matters? Shirou returns the pendant since he has one similar to this that was left by his side when Lancer killed him. She wants to know the real reason why he saved her. The real truth… He likes her!!! Tsundere girl doesn’t believe it but it’s true! Believe it! Shirou admits he does have feelings for her!!! Wait, romance at this time?! I suppose it’s the only way to mend broken hearts. Still, she is grateful for saving him.

Episode 14
Shirou explains why he is fighting in this war. Although Rin still opposes his idea, she can’t say no since after he saved her. Plus, she knows better of his stubbornness. So they’re still partners? Hey, I thought they should be a couple! On a serious note, they think of aligning with other Masters. Since Ilya is the only one they know, they head to her villa in the forest. A flashback on Caster’s past. She was a Servant to some guy whose family is new to this mage thing so he is only participating to increase the family’s prestige. He demonstrates his research that he pours his money and time into by sacrificing fresh lives to create mana. But Caster saw this as inefficient and demonstrates with ease her power. Impressed but jealous, he uses his Command Spell never to use her Noble Phantasm on him. Later he goes to complain to Kirei about Caster as Medea and wants to switch Servants. He has a letter he wants Kirei to give to Lancer’s Master to dispose Caster. When he returns, his lab is all in flames. Caster has burnt it down. If he is willing to listen, she will bring him to a place where the Greater Grail is. He is not interested and uses his Command Spell to kill herself. Nothing happens. He uses it again. Nothing. Because Caster’s Noble Phantasm is nullifying magic, although she cannot use it on him, she used it on herself. Then she kills him via some illusion. Shortly, Lancer comes in to finish her. As she lies dying outside, that is when Kuzuki picks her up and hears her story. He agrees to be her vessel. Rin and Shirou are outside Ilya’s forest but it is laced with magic barrier traps. Ilya is not happy her maids opposed to bringing them in to talk so she tells them to go capture them instead. However Shinji drops in at the courtyard. Still full of himself and looking for Berserker, the maids scare him off but that is when Gilgamesh appears. Shinji is his Master. He gives them a chance to go away but they viewing him as the enemy and attack. They died a bloody death. Ilya bursts in with Berserker. Mad that her maids are killed, she orders Berserker to kill him. Gilgamesh relishes fighting this legendary battle to alleviate his boredom.

Episode 15
As the epic battle rages on, Ilya believes Berserker cannot lose for he is the strongest. Time to have her flashback. After events of Fate/Zero, Ilya was anticipating Kiritsugu’s return. However some evil spirit in Iri’s form told her he betrayed them all and died. Ilya was then brainwashed that Kiritsugu had a son and that they are able to kill each other in the next Holy Grail war. So she undergoes painful surgeries every day to install magic circuits in her body. She finds a pool where it lies dead maids. Ilya hates this war as they explain they are just tools to achieve the Holy Grail. Ilya is told that she is the fines creation the Einzbern made and cannot be replicated. For if she loses, the Einzbern will give up on this thousand year research and they will be freed from their obligations. Ilya grew up to be a cold loli, not even caring when Sella and Liz became her personal maids. Berserker is summoned and she views him just as a tool for the Holy War. She even thinks herself as enough to win it. She experiences pain while trying to make a contract with Berserker. Then she just abandons him and wanders into the snowy forest. Hungry wolves target her. Before she can become their meal, Berserker saves her. It is then she realizes he moved not because of the contract or this Master-Servant thingy. He protected her on his own will. Since then a bond formed between them. Back to the battle, Gilgamesh has killed Berserker enough that he is on his final life. He mocks the big guy he would have stand a chance had he forsaken his Master but Berserker continues protecting her. In the end, Berserker is trapped by Gilgamesh’s Chains of Heaven and stabbed to death. Heartless guy then blinds the loli and kills her outright. Shirou is extremely mad and wants to jump in but Rin is using all her might to shut him up. Gilgamesh almost gets a heart attack when Berserker breaks out and lunges at him. Gilgamesh’s defence saves him and kills the big guy. Now that Shirou can scream at the top of his voice, what is he going to do? What can he do?

Episode 16
Gilgamesh tears out Ilya’s heart just to make sure. Shinji is being a jerk in taunting Shirou and offering Rin to join his side. He gets rejected again so he wants Gilgamesh to kill them. However he won’t since they have run out of time. Any further and this heart prize will ruin. After burying Ilya, Rin chides Shirou for his twisted ideals and wants him to spill what happened 10 years ago because right now he is broken. You know that Kiritsugu saving him story. Then they talk about Gilgamesh whose every weapon is his Noble Phantasm. They get defensive when Lancer is here. But they start arguing for the other to take cover. Since when this is a lover’s quarrel? Rest assured, Lancer isn’t here to fight them but to team up with them to defeat Caster’s little army. I mean, who else is left to team up seeing Lancer’s Master even don’t want a douche like Shinji. Shirou still can’t trust him since he was almost killed twice but with Lancer waxing lyrical about Rin, Shirou agrees. But he has a condition for him to be trusted: Don’t make passes at Rin! OMG! Is it romance time now? Rin could just blow up in embarrassment right now! Archer talks to Kuzuki about Caster’s wish. Kuzuki knows it isn’t about freedom but to go home although she herself isn’t aware of it. Lancer and the kids make their plan to fight team Caster. Lancer is to face Archer and although there is the risk Lancer might fight 3 Servants, he knows Assassin won’t be at the church where the big battle will take place as he is bounded at Ryuudou Temple. Lancer is concerned if they can defeat Caster themselves. Rin believes she can blindside her. Now at the chapel gates, Archer stands before them. Lancer and Archer clash so the duo rush in. Rin takes this chance to say this pendant is the only one and was the one Archer returned to her on the day he died. That’s all she wants to say. What? No confession?

Episode 17
Caster asks Kuzuki why he doesn’t have any wish. Something about his past living like a robot despite having free will to choose what he does. Therefore it is strange to have something to wish for now. Now that Rin and Shirou have entered the scene, Rin tries to mock Caster’s lame fashion sense and such. Their ploy is to separate them but Kuzuki knows it well and is not giving in. Well, time to get down to fighting business. But first we take a peek at the awesome battle between Lancer and Archer. It ends when Lancer uses his Gae Blog to strike at him. Archer activates his ultimate defence shield, Rho Aias. Wow! An atomic bomb-like effect! Although Archer survives, he is gravely injured. It’s safe to say who has won the match. More importantly, they notice Caster is not watching them anymore. That’s because now we go watch the less epic fight. It’s so mismatched if you think about it. Shirou is having a hard time trying to keep Kuzuki at bay while Rin employs her magic tries. However Caster sees through all of it. But perhaps this is just a ploy to make Caster think Rin has run out of magic gems because Rin then uses magic to fortify her body and beats up Caster with her fist. A mage would never have expected that. But before Rin can deal the winning blow, Kuzuki stops her. Did Shirou failed? Kuzuki wants Caster to wake up Saber now when Archer betrays and attacks Kuzuki. Caster protects him and gets stabbed. Kuzuki promises to fulfil her wish in her place but she says it has already been fulfilled. With Caster gone, does Kuzuki have any reason to fight? Well, he wants to finish what he started. Archer easily kills him. Since the church is crumbling, the slab falling on him saves the trouble of Archer dirtying his hands further. Rin has her suspicions of who Archer is because he said Shirou’s same words of trace on. If you think it’s over, think again. Archer misses in killing Saber. Then he tells off Rin that she is still not his Master. Now he is going to kill Shirou.

Episode 18
Archer answers Saber’s question about his pride as a hero. He has none and only foolish regrets. He regrets being a hero. Saber is weak as she fights Archer. Shirou takes over and is equally the same. Rin then recites the oath for a pact in which Saber agrees to become her Servant. Saber is now powerful enough to fight on par with him. They both talk about each other’s twisted ideals. Archer then shows them his true nature by unleashing Unlimited Blade Works. They are transport to a different reality. A hill covered with swords and giant cogs in the sky. Archer mentions he isn’t a swordsman or archer and was a mage in life before he became a hero. This world is all he has left and is his Noble Phantasm. After Shirou fights off his arrow of swords, they are transported back to reality. Archer has taken Rin hostage. He is not at full strength to take them on now and since he can last only 2 days without a Master, she is like insurance. Shirou tells him to take refuge at Ilya’s castle because if his objective is to kill him, Shirou also has something to say to him. Rin dreams of Archer’s sad life and deduces who he is. As I understand, Archer worked hard and thought his efforts would make others happy but he wasn’t rewarded of that and betrayed and exploited even after death. Although Heroic Spirits are summoned from across time, the rules didn’t say about summoning into the time when he lived to the city in which he once lived. Rin knows a fool who would sacrifice himself for others and would voluntarily do so in the afterlife. He sold his peace after death believing he could save more lives but in the end was betrayed by everything. Including his own ideal. So when Rin wakes up, she tells Archer about Shirou despite his naivety, she thinks that itself is sweet because it changed her. Shinji is at the scene but he is not here to fight. Archer tells him he can have Rin once he settles his score with Shirou by dawn. The douche agrees to wait and will gladly have her by then. Shirou has rested well. Time to go save Rin. He tells Saber he will fight Archer and wants her to stay out of it. He has a feeling that he knows who Archer is. I guess Lancer is bored so he decides to join this quest too.

Episode 19
Shirou deduces about Rin’s pendant. There can only be one of its kind. As she used it to resurrect him and had no other catalyst to summon a Servant, this means it was the Servant that held the catalyst and was summoned. As a Heroic Spirit can be someone who will exist in the future, Archer’s identity is the alternate future Shirou. Lancer offers to save Rin as it is his Master’s orders. Shinji is harassing Rin as his plaything when Lancer beats him out. He will free her and she is free to do as she wishes after that. Kirei opposes to that as he reveals himself as Lancer’s Master. He reveals his plan of deceiving Rin for 10 years as an important pawn. He needs her as a vessel to summon the Holy Grail and that’s why he entrusted Lancer to take care of her. From what Kirei says, Rin figures out he killed her father. Then you hear her spill all those uncouth insults at him. Shinji reminds Kirei about their agreement and that Rin is his but Kirei has important business with Rin. He wants Lancer to kill Rin as a vessel doesn’t need a heart. Lancer won’t do that and says he’ll have to use a Command Spell for that. Very well then. Why, he has got tons of Command Spells! He orders Lancer to kill himself! Archer talks about becoming a Heroic Spirit not on his own merits and only posthumously. Something about Shirou becoming a champion of justice and when Archer became one, he knew it was a mistake. Saber explains her goal for the Holy Grail is to undo a mistake she did but failed to do so and did not reach her ideal. Shouldn’t Archer be the realization of Shirou’s ideals? Archer explains after his death, he became some sort of guardian out of time to safeguard human history as a tool. He killed so many that he couldn’t care anymore. He just didn’t want anyone to cry. That is when it hit him Shirou’s ideals were shallow. It’s impossible to save everyone. It drove him to despair. He throws a sword for Shirou to kill himself. The ideals he had were ridiculed. All those he wanted to save were killed. He is sick of cleaning up the mess and repeating this eternal cycle. His only hope for this to stop if the hero never existed. Never born. Saber argues Archer will continue to exist as he exists out of time. True. But there is that possibility. Even if it doesn’t, at least this world will not appear a certain champion of justice. After Shirou confirms Archer’s regret, he is now certain they are both different beings. Whatever Shirou does, he won’t regret it. If Archer is his ideal, he’ll just have to get rid of that misguided ideal. Enough talking guys. Time to fight.

Episode 20
Kirei is going to take Rin’s heart. Sorry Shinji. Your protests are ignored! But before Kirei could kill her, Lancer stabs in the heart! Lancer wouldn’t have been much a hero had he die that easily. Shinji thought he has the last laugh now that it is only them. Still being the jerk. Because Rin still rejects him, he is going to kill her and make her submit. Lancer beats him up. Still not dead? Shinji thought of calling Gilgamesh to kill him but that blondie is nowhere to be seen. Now you’re screwed. Lancer just scratches him and that coward runs away for his life! Lancer and Rin talk about a few things before he burns the place to take Kirei along with him to hell. Back to Shirou and Archer’s fight, although the latter is clearly superior, Shirou’s ability to master his past abilities will have him catch up in no time. I suppose it is time for a change in scenery so Archer invokes Unlimited Blade Works again. As Shirou takes a beating, Archer continues to berate him of his hypocrisy and ideals. Shirou is just someone who is trying to copy the ideals of a dead man who has failed to live up to. As Shirou is struck down, he is left to believe all that Archer has said had been through. Though, he feels that he is forgetting something. After seeing all of Archer’s pain and killings, Shirou is finally at the scene where he was pulled out from the rubble of the great fire by Kiritsugu. So the thing Shirou thinks he has forgotten was about the true wish for this hell to be undone then. Even if his life becomes hypocritical and a machine, he will still continue becoming a hero of justice. After he pulls out a sword, all his wounds are healed. Something to do with Saber’s scabbard, the link that Kiritsugu implanted in them to save their lives. Despite their severed contract, it still continued to protect him. Shirou mentions his body is built of blades. He might lose to anyone but he won’t be beaten by himself. His heart was weak thinking of accepting Archer’s words. But now he realizes being right isn’t everything. He doesn’t care about that. He will become a champion of justice.

Episode 21
Archer has had it with this stupidity. There’s more talk about this ideal rejection. As for Shirou, even if everything for him is fake, he still finds it beautiful. But he knows his dream wasn’t a mistake. Shirou charges up to Archer. I guess due to old sentiments, Archer was unable to strike him as Shirou stabs his guts. It is Shirou’s win. Even if this matter between them is over, Archer is stabbed by Gilgamesh’s swords. In the biggest irony of his ideals, Archer saves Shirou out of harm’s way to get killed and then tells him to save the day. Well Shirou, you’ve always wanted to play the hero of justice, right? After mocking about originals and fakes, Gilgamesh and Saber meet for the first time in 10 years. He explains he remained in this world and took this form after the end of the last war. He explains the entire process of summoning the Holy Grail is nothing but a farce and pretext. What the mages wanted wasn’t the Holy Grail but its contents. However they were unable to fill it. As the Holy Grail must be filled with the highest and purest mana, that is why Masters and Servants were summoned. The more sacrifice, the better. When the Holy Grail burnt down the city in the last war, Gilgamesh was caught in it and he saw its true nature. It is actually a weapon perfectly tailored to kill. Therefore Gilgamesh’s desire is to eradicate all humans in this era by using it. If humans are wiped out, how can a king rule without any subjects? He wants to find those who can survive his hell. Those who do are worthy to be ruled over by him and those who don’t, well, that’s just too bad for those weaklings. Gilgamesh won’t kill them since he has slain his true target. Their lives are worth less than soot to him. He warns Saber to act quickly because he will soon produce the Holy Grail and rain down hell on this world. That Shinji dude is still alive? Yeah, he is blaming Gilgamesh for his minor injury he got from Lancer among other complaints! After mentioning Kirei is dead, he wonders how the Holy Grail will be materialized since they don’t have a vessel. On the contrary, Gilgamesh knows a Master whom he can sacrifice. He sticks Ilya’s heart into Shinji, turning him into an ugly mass of painful blob. Good riddance. I know we can be sure this jerk is finally dead but to see him go this way… Nah! He deserves it!

Episode 22
Rin wants revenge on Archer but certainly they can’t fight Gilgamesh without a plan. She has deduced the Holy Grail will manifest at Ryuudou because of all the familiars she sent to spy, that was the only one destroyed and this means Gilgamesh must be camping there. They plan in destroying the cup before it materializes and figured out that Shinji became the vessel. On who is to fight Gilgamesh, it seems Shirou thinks Saber won’t be right for the job. So he is going to fight that dude? Even Rin thinks Shirou has a better chance against him but the problem is his overwhelming Noble Phantasms. But Shirou might stand a better chance if he were to fight him in that Unlimited Blade Works’ world. Since Shirou does not have enough mana to even open that world, Rin is going to transplant her magic crests onto him. It might be her ultimate family’s legacy but she is willing to sacrifice that for her ultimate fight. So… How are they going to do it? You have to undress, eh? Body heat transfer thing, eh? No wonder Rin looks so embarrassed. Don’t worry. It’s just their top. And disappointment if you want to see Rin in her bra because she’s just wearing a camisole that looks more like a singlet you wear casually around your house. The transplant is successful but Rin starts blaming him for seeing it. No, nothing naughty. It seems during the process, Shirou saw her secret memories. He didn’t realize he was watching from her point of view all the times she spied on him! Rin, you stalker! And he didn’t know that strange guy was himself! She repeatedly smacks him with the pillow and he still doesn’t get what is happening. Later Shirou talks to Saber and the latter vows to protect them so they both can return to this house. Gilgamesh is in his final steps in making the Holy Grail pour hell over the city. Shinji is a hideous gigantic monster although his painful face still looks silly.

Episode 23
The plan is for Saber to enter via the front gate to fight Gilgamesh while the duo sneak from the back to save Shinji. Saber notes she can only user her holy sword one more time as she is running out of mana. Rin has to split her supply of mana to them. Why you so unhappy, Shirou? Someone else tries to be a little bit heroic and that is against your policy? As Rin and Shirou arrive, they see the huge blob that Shinji has become. Plus, the Holy Grail is spilling its curses and overflowing the place. To their shock, Gilgamesh approaches them. Then who is Saber facing then? How can Assassin still be around when Caster is gone? I don’t know about this special rule explanation since Assassin isn’t your typical summoned Servant. He even mentions he isn’t that Heroic Spirit. Although that person might be real somewhere in time, they are definitely different people for that Heroic Spirit might just be a mantle so Assassin was one who was most qualified to wear that using his skills. Rin pops some booster pill so she can wade through the curses to find Shinji while Shirou fights off Gilgamesh. He tries to trace all his swords and spears but it takes quite some time and energy. The Holy Grail then starts to absorb the malevolent wishes of humanity all around the world. Because Rin has pulled out Shinji, the curse that has lost the core is now seeking a replacement and trying to get Gilgamesh. He pulls out the greatest sword, Ea (a sword so fearsome that Shirou can’t even copy it) to put it back at bay. Shirou got caught in it. No, Gilgamesh. You didn’t hold back at all. Saber is hesitating over her options as she continues clashing with Assassin. Thus he has to hint to her about the things they are protecting and therefore there should be no doubt. He hints they are both running out of time. Seeing Assassin is near transparent, Saber reveals her Excalibur as both prepare their ultimate move. Assassin strikes with Tsubame Gaeshi but Saber dodges them all and cuts him. He lets her go before he vanishes. Oh, looks like Shirou still breaths.

Episode 24
Gilgamesh mocks the faker Shirou is. I thought Shirou was done with this? Because now he is reconciling the fact that he indeed borrowed his ideals, blah, blah, blah. Anyway Shirou is still going to believe in his dream even if he doesn’t achieve it. Saber comes to Shirou’s rescue but he tells her to help Rin because he knows he can defeat Gilgamesh. But first he apologizes he couldn’t save her. He believes the Holy Grail isn’t what she is looking for and should destroy it properly this time. Shirou then uses his power to transport Gilgamesh to his Unlimited Blade Works world. Because his body is made of unlimited blades, he doesn’t create swords. But a world with unlimited swords. Even if he is a fake and can’t rival the real thing, he just needs to surpass everything that is genuine and beat him. He even mocks Gilgamesh that he is a king and not a warrior. Therefore just like Shirou himself, he is a jack of all trades and master of none. He might possess every kind of sword but he never took the time to master any of them. I guess this pisses him off now. Going to fight with all your strength now? Stranded and weakened Rin warns Saber not to touch the curse or who knows what will become of her. She even uses a Command Spell to make her stay away since she is adamant in risking her life to save her. But when Rin realizes she cannot make it to safety, she uses another Command Spell to order Saber to destroy the Holy Grail now. In a twist of fate, Archer cannot stand this pathetic state and blasts open a path for her to safety. Rin uses her final Command Spell for Saber to obliterate the Holy Grail till no traces of it are left. She did such a good job that it is raining mini golden light balls. With the contract with Rin over, Saber disappears. Shirou powers up to repel every sword Gilgamesh throws at him and is even fast enough to slash off his hand before he uses Ea! It ends with a deep cut across his body. Back in reality, Gilgamesh acknowledges Shirou’s victory but will still kill him. However the Holy Grail turns into some sort of black hole and trying to absorb Gilgamesh. It might seem Gilgamesh is trying to pull Shirou in too but in fact he doesn’t want to die yet so he wants Shirou to stay put till he can crawl out. Archer fires right into his forehead before the black hole swallows him up. Rin talks with Archer and wants him to contract with her again. Although he has no more goals, she feels bad he cannot be saved at this rate. So he tells her to look after his other self and she agrees to do that so he won’t end up a twisted jerk like him. Rin meets up with Shirou and they go home.

Episode 25
2 years have passed. Shirou still feels nothing has changed ever since. Currently he is living in an apartment with Rin in London. Seems they are studying magic at Clock Tower, the Mages Association’s HQ. Shirou is more of her pupil due to some rule. Then there is also Luvia. Her first debut in this series. Already an annoying rival for Rin, she is also her classmate and neighbour. Sparks going to fly? Shirou treats her kindly because she helped him when he was lost and was the one who found them that apartment. Rin can’t stand her any longer and requests to fight. So in this wrestling match with magic, Luvia wins. Hey, at least Rin has got Shirou to console her. Rin talks to him about his invitation to officially join the association but he is still contemplating about it. Next day, Rin takes him to King Arthur’s grave so he could properly say goodbye to Saber. Then they talk about the big wide world, their insignificant selves and how the Holy Grail war was just one of the many events that sowed the future. We jump back to the past when Shirou is in high school and in the aftermath of the Holy Grail war. Issei is fine although Ryuudou Temple is undergoing major renovations. Shinji is recuperating in hospital as Sakura continues to stick by his side. Fujimura has them gather Kuzuki’s stuffs since that guy has gone missing. Issei still despises Rin but is shocked when she hints about her romantic relationship with Shirou. He never saw it coming. Later Rin tells Shirou about her invitation to Mages Association in London after her graduation. She is allowed to take a pupil under her care. So care to go with her? He is too shy to say it so she takes that as a yes. Now back in London, Shirou is grateful that she took him along. When a teacher passes by him, he asks about his reason to study magic because he doesn’t look like a mage and as a survivor of Fuyuki City, what motivation brings him here. Simple. He wants to become a champion of justice. But of course, Shirou turns down the enrolment to join Clock Tower because he feels he cannot change his way of life. Rin is not mad and expected this although she will be thrown out in 3 years too. Shirou has a feeling he will meet the same fate as him and Rin agrees too. But the difference is how far he can go before ending up in the same destination. Since Rin hints she wants to see the world too, looks like it is Shirou’s turn to drag her around. They’ll share the fun, the pain and everything together because the future is in their hands. Lastly, Archer narrating about a certain kid and his ideals and despite all that, he continues to believe himself is right.

The Cup Of Death
It doesn’t disappoint, to say the least. It was as of my expectations as it was as great as its prequel. And no, I did not set and lower my expectations like how I do to some of the anime sequels. I just couldn’t. And it was a good thing that this remake lives up to its awesomeness. Kudos and a very good job well done. As the series has a very deep and rich storyline with multiple alternatives, casual viewers like me who do not even play the visual novel game that it is based on might not understand some of the deeper aspects of everything. Nevertheless, the execution was smooth and seamless that even though I may not grasp entirely on everything, that didn’t stop me from enjoying the epic greatness of it all. Just that maybe the ending and final episode felt a bit lukewarm with its chatty drama but I suppose there is no other better way than to wind down and end the series after all that bloody bloodbath.

As I am not familiar to the routes of the Fate series, it was quite a shocker for me at first when I it was played out that Shirou and Rin are ending up as an item. In fact, this route is supposed to have them end up together. I only learnt that the original Fate series which is also dubbed the Fate route was Shirou x Saber. And now that there have been an announcement for another production of another route, Heaven’s Feel is going to be a movie for Shirou x Sakura. I suppose that is why they need to do justice to her character seeing she was completely missing in the second half of the series. Like her character didn’t matter anymore. Especially when Shinji the douche was used as the vessel instead of her in the original Fate series.

Watching the first few episodes at first had me thinking if they were going to just repeat what happened in the 2006 production. Everything felt the same but before I know it, it soon branches off to another route with different outcomes for different characters. Most notably is how Saber has been very much reduced to a supporting side character. As said, since she isn’t Shirou’s love interest in this route, personally I feel her presence was minor and not really of a great significant importance. I mean, Saber is still important. But not in the way that her character was played out in the original series. I figure that so as not to waste this, Saber ‘reprises’ her role again in destroying the Holy Grail and become the saviour of mankind for the current era. But then it feels like they want to usher her out of the scene quickly and make way for Shirou x Rin. I don’t know. I just felt awkward that it was like this way.

Another notable character is Archer. As this route is also about him and Shirou’s other self, he ‘lasts longer’ compared to the original series where he was taken out by Berserker. There are still some things that I don’t really get between Archer and Shirou but to each his own. Though, the only thing I can’t understand is his return to help Rin and Shirou in the final battle with Gilgamesh. I thought he really died and that was done with. By making his short comeback, it feels like ‘cheating’ because there was no other way our heroes could get out of this. So how? Bring back Archer when you least expected it! I don’t know about this. It just felt weird. Maybe there is something that I don’t understand but this kind of move makes me think it feels a bit cheap especially when you bring back a dead character. But who cares, right? Archer is a likeable character, right? Yeah well… I’m more into Saber… :-).

Taking a big hit this season is Rider. Her appearance reduced to a mere pathetic state since she was killed off as fast as she made her appearance! At least last season she had that fight with Saber, revealing her Noble Phantasm. Ah well. You can’t have everything. And I thought this would also in turn ‘kill off’ Shinji but that guy lasted till the end albeit he became a pawn for unbecoming reasons. Also the biggest casualty is the fact that Ilya died! It was shocking and heart breaking to see that this loli was killed off in a cruel fashion! Because in the original season despite she lost, she continues to stay with Shirou and thus contributing to the harem factor. As a result, this harem factor is also cast aside. Ilya’s dead, Sakura is ‘missing’ and Saber is just another loyal Servant. Oh, I forgot about Luvia but that is another story. As a result, the romance with Rin feels a bit on and off. I mean, you can’t have full blown romance when you are in the middle of a war, can you? So… No kiss at the end?

Caster seems to have more screen time this season albeit her role feels like she is playing the mid-boss and middle antagonist. Unlike in the original she was abruptly killed off by Gilgamesh, Archer betrays her and takes over the antagonist and final boss role before Gilgamesh becomes the ultimate final-final big boss for Shirou to overcome. I almost forgot about Lancer. That guy’s fate in all seasons feels tragic. No doubt he has more screen time here too, the original series sees him being killed off by Gilgamesh. Now, he had to kill himself. This was somewhat the same too in Fate/Zero. Poor guy. Same case with Kirei. Although he is a scheming villain, instead of being killed by Rin’s dagger before, now he gets killed off by Lancer.

One of the greatest contributing factor I believe in making this season as great as the predecessor is the awesome visual effects. They still have not lost their touch in producing all the visual eye candy and retain many of the good stuffs you see in Fate/Zero right here. So whether they are the air particles, the smoke steam, the water ripples and even the majestic effects in the fight scenes, it really does evoke that grandeur sense and everything you see here is made in top notch quality. Even the shadow and lighting of every scene are excellently done. Very good indeed. Hence it is clear to see why this series under Ufotable fares very much better than its predecessor. This is what you call quality.

The fight scenes are still as awesome and amplifying that effect as said are the special effect visuals that come with it. You will be in for a feast for your eyes when you see Servants taking on each other and guaranteed there is no short of breath taking epic blockbuster. Even if it might seem ridiculous, but please bear in mind and remember that these aren’t any ordinary people in an ordinary fight. You can feel the power impact each time they unleash your magic or strike their weapon. Well, at least I experienced it since I was quite engrossed and glued to the screen during the fight scenes.

Another great thing is that all the seiyuus who lend their voice in the original series, reprise their role in this season. Therefore there is no ‘shock’ in hearing your characters sound different than before. Although the visuals greatly improved, there is no reason for a change in the voice acting department since everybody did a splendid job before. Thus it is good to hear all your favourite seiyuus in their usual roles like Noriaki Sugiyama as Shirou, Kana Ueda as Rin, Junichi Suwabe as Archer, Ayako Kawasumi as Saber, Shinichiro Miki as Assassin, Hiroshi Kamiya as Shinji, Mai Kadowaki as Ilya, Jouji Nakata as Kirei, Nobutoshi Canna as Lancer, Noriko Shitaya as Sakura, Rikiya Koyama as Kiritsugu and Tomokazu Seki as Gilgamesh.

The first opening theme is Ideal White by Mashiro Ayano. Although sounding like a generic anime rock piece, the liveliness and upbeat pace will get you into the mood of the series. The second opening theme is slightly less lively, Brave Shine by Aimer. But it is still a good rock piece to hear and befitting the direction of where the series’ plot on where it is heading. The main ending themes are done by Kalafina. If you are familiar with their trademark voice singing style, you will feel right at home here. Believe is the first ending theme while Ring Your Bell is the second one. While the songs do sound great, sometimes you wonder if it is just the same song with a few modifications because many of their songs basically sound almost the same. There is a special ending theme but it lasts only for a single episode. The dramatic This Illusion by Lisa marks the halfway point of the series. Last Stardust by Aimer is an insert song in the form of slow rock.

Overall, this is definitely an amazing and epic series. Even if you are not a fan of the series or even one who is into the action fantasy genre, I will still recommend to watch this series for its great epic visual effects, fight scenes, characters and while maybe not so much the plot, at least enough of a story to drive the direction of the series and its characters. Some may say not to watch the original series but I recommend doing so in order to fully appreciate the great quality of this one. Not too sure if there is going to be any more arcs that need animating (not even sure if there are other routes in the series), but I am sure I’ll be waiting to watch if Ufotable picks it up. And I do know I don’t need the wish of the Holy Grail to make that happen. Speaking of which, aren’t there better, faster and easier ways just to destroy humanity? Like, taking away internet connection? Yeah…

Dog Days S3

November 14, 2015

I knew they announced the third season years ago. And because anime seasons come and go so fast in a normal year, I thought they have forgotten all about it or even abandoned making the next sequel. Yeah, it felt like a really long time. And then to my surprise, it did happen. Yeah. Dog Days S3 is (now was) back and I figure that there are a lot of furry lovers to warrant another season. The first season was interesting enough but the second season was lukewarm although it wasn’t that bad for me to never ever want to watch the third season. And now that it is here, I hope that it will get back on track in making things more interesting as before. I hope.

Episode 1
Today is the day that all our furry friends can be excited again because their heroes will be returning. It’s like their master coming home, eh? Meanwhile in the Iron Athletics on Earth, Shinku and Nanami ended up crossing the line together and thus for the first time co-champions of the games. Our heroes including Becky start packing to prepare for their journey to Flonyard. Everything seems to be going fine till Shinku and Nanami didn’t fall in the expected location and crash deep within the forests. Something must have gone wrong in the summoning. Be careful. Not everything is as cute as thought it would be. Like that carnivorous plant! And they must have had the ride of their lives when a Pterodactyl swoop them up before they drop back down into the stream. No rest for the duo because suddenly there is a stampede of… Hairy Brontosaurus?! Luckily they are chased away by the dragon priestess who resides in this forest, Sharu. She warns them that this is the dragon’s forest and that humans should stay away. By this time, the concerned nations are already dispatching their units to go find their lost heroes. Sharu doesn’t believe they are heroes since they do not possess their holy treasure. Besides, their outfits look more childish than elegant. Judging a book by its cover? Anyway she doesn’t have TV in her home so she has never seen those games the nations play. She warns them that recently there are demons popping up in the forest lately. Her pig familiar, Pega finds Nanami’s keychain so they follow to retrieve their lost items. Sharu notices many of the plants and animals have turned violent when they used to be docile. Could it be because of the Dragon Eaters? She sees a Brontosaurus being chased by a demon and goes to rescue it. But there is more popping up. Don’t worry, this is a cue for our heroes to go into action. Each demon they destroy turns it back into their original cute animal form. Sharu is in awe seeing them. So now do you believe they are heroes?

Episode 2
Shinku finally manages to get some reception to communicate with Millhiore. Everyone is relieved they are okay. They have to stay put in Sharu’s home till the rescue unit arrives. Sharu explains the land being ruled by Divinegons, huge god-like dragons that embody the life of this planet. They exist to restore the balance in mother nature that was disrupted by humans. Dragon priestesses help communicate humans with these dragons. But recently there are demons that keep harming the animals. She needs to find the source and destroy it. The heroes want to help but she insists this duty only belongs to her. Well, hope she is ready to go into action because more are detected. Chasing those Brontosaurus… Of course with so many demons, there is only a limit on how many she can destroy. That is why our heroes jump in to help her. Cue for some hinting romance when Shinku saves Sharu from certain death. Eventually with so many demons, this means our heroes can’t hog all the action together. The other nations arrive in time to demonstrate their demon butt kicking skills. While resting at her home, Ricotta and Noir talk to Sharu about their research that these demons are more dangerous than before as they speculate they might be attacking dragons and stealing power from Divinegons. According to the legend, whenever this happens, this is when the dragon priestess sacrifices herself to slay them. Ricotta and Noir continue their investigations and learn that the demons they fought were actually local creatures that were transformed into demons. There is a mother demon as the source of their transformation and they need to defeat it to save the dragons. Adele and Valery are doing their research on this. Suddenly they realize the great danger the continent is in. They immediately request all the nations to get ready for war because it is coming to the dragon’s forest.

Episode 3
The war is real. They are up against Dragon Eaters who consume other animals and turn them into one of them and repeat the cycle until the entire world is consumed. So while a nation help protect a Divinegon each, the heroes with Sharu go in search of the mother source. Better hurry. Because the demons are already corrupting the Divinegons. Once the heroes find the source, it is some big mother bug that oddly has a penchant for tentacle raping some of the female soldiers. Damn it. Is it time for pantsu fanservice already? Our heroes use their Hero Stone to turn themselves into adult versions so as to power up and do more effective damage. They cooperate to allow Sharu to strike the decisive blow and destroy it once and for all. The energy that the demon took starts raining down on the land in what the legend calls it as dragon’s tears. I didn’t know dragon’s tears were pervy too because it melts your clothes! Everybody in their birthday suit! Sharu seems like she wants to confess something to Shinku but the damn dragon’s tears have to ruin it all. Adele and Valery may not be needed this time but they have to do some extra work behind the scene to seal it and make sure this demon doesn’t reincarnate into a poor one again. As everyone leaves Sharu’s place, Shinku hopes he can visit her again. She wouldn’t want that in fear he would get lost in the forest again. Instead, she’ll come visit him next time.

Episode 4
With everyone returning to their respective nations, time for some fun. Millhiore is already up eager for Shinku to take her for a doggy walk. Oh, don’t forget the Frisbee too. Couvre and Becky sleeping together look like yuri… Nanami gives naked Leo a good body massage. Nanami and Genoise visit Pastillage so the former can thank Adele for giving her a Hero Stone. Trouble soon lurks because squishy little blobs are on the loose, eating all clothes and armour! Time for your fanservice of naked furries. The first person to blame is Valery. True enough it is his fault. Despite those blobs were original sealed, because his ass was always being busted by Liscia and co and wanted to get back at them. So everyone quickly goes to stop the blobs before they turn the entire nation into a birthday suit party. Too bad they multiply so fast that the entire castle is now over flooded with them! Yeah. This means our heroines are pretty much naked too. I thought they should have done this from the start because those with Hero Stone transform themselves to put a stop to this. But it is Couvre who steals the limelight as her gun is able to purify the blobs into spirits. Everything returns to normal although all programmes are pretty much delayed and ended late thanks to this mess. The ladies are resting and having snacks at the end of it all. Some wonder where Valery is. Adele has tied him up upside down deep in the dungeons. Time to repent.

Episode 5
Shinku and co are only leaving for a field research expedition so why does Ricotta need to pack like she is going on a year’s vacation? So we see them research on the ores and crystals in this forest. Shinku spots little green people. No, they’re not aliens. They are Moribito, forest spirits. As cute and friendly as they are, but they are requesting for help because their princess has been captured by a demon. Ah, there is that frog demon eating all the ores and crystals like there’s no tomorrow. So where’s the princess? In his belly! Don’t worry, anything the frog devours will be slowly absorbed in his stomach. So our heroes go to give this frog a warning but I guess he prefers doing the hard work. Wow. This frog throws stuffs like as though he is a pro pitcher! Then of course, he starts spitting yucky sticky gooey slime on the girls. Only Shinku is ‘immune’ to it because he is a guy. For that, he gets eaten alive! Oh the horror! Inside the belly, Shinku finds the princess. Then he uses his firepower to give the frog some mean stomach ache (bouncing all about?) till he spits them out. The frog reverts to its harmless chibi form. It seems a demon sword stuck to it was the cause of it all. Everybody takes a well deserved break at the hotspring. The Moribito people show their gratitude to Shinku by giving him drink their tonic. I guess it was too strong for him that he passed out. So as our girls clamour around him to help him recover (not taking advantage?), Couvre and Eclair happen to turn up late and they see this ambiguous scene. While Couvre wants to join in the fun, Eclair is so stunned that she wants an explanation from everybody on what they’re doing. Oh, why don’t you just join in the fun like everybody else?

Episode 6
It’s time for an exciting festival. Leo’s engagement festival. Say what? Hey. It’s like a carnival atmosphere. It seems there are men from far and wide who want to marry her but they’ll have to do it Leo’s way: A duel. You’ll have to beat her if you want her hand in marriage. Yeah. This is going to be fun. No wonder everybody is looking forward to it. So we see all the contestants vying for her but you know, Leo is still superior and beats them all flat. Yeah, some have been trying for years and the result is still the same. So as not to insult these losers, Leo announces that she enjoys fighting with them and praises their bravery to duel with her. And of course the final contestant is a mystery person. He is able to fight on par with Leo. She deduces it is somebody she knows because he is hiding his face. He says they did meet but will only reveal more when he wins. The fight continues till Leo manages to unleash him. Those rabbit ears and tail… He is Vert’s distant relative, Prince Lief Langue de Chat Halver of the Halver Kingdom. The last time they met was when he was a kid. She thought him swordsmanship and archery. She was also the one who told him to train and become stronger so that women would like him. But if he is here it means… You’ve guessed it. So the intense power battle continues and Leo barely wins by the skin of her teeth. And again this year, Leo will remain single. I wonder, if she continues to do this, she’ll be a very old single in no time. And an unexpected free fanservice for everybody as her armour shatters and her clothes rip in the aftermath. Wow. A great festival indeed! There is a social party afterwards. Everyone learns that Lief had the wrong impression of this battle. He participated so that he could talk to Leo and didn’t intend on marrying her. He always thought a marriage meeting would be something more private and engaging in conversation. But once Vert whispers him the truth, he can’t help blush like mad that he gave the crowd the wrong impression. Well, but you can’t deny the fact that he does like Leo in a way and looks up to her.

Episode 7
Lief becomes the guest of honour at Galette. He is taken a tour around the country. Godwin who just came back from an expedition didn’t see Leo’s engagement festival so he doesn’t know the strong warrior who almost beat her. Imagine his surprise when he learns it is Lief. Lief and Nanami then have an exhibition battle. The power fight ends in a draw but there’s still something for all the viewers at the end: Their clothes rip apart. Why does it always have to end like that? Now everybody wants to spar with him. Then they visit Brioche’s home before go watching Millhiore in concert. There’s an after-party after that. Finally they’ll be heading over to Pastillage to hear old hero stories from Adele and Valery. I guess everybody is interested to listen so why not? Adele begins her story of her travels. Along with her and Valery, there was Isuka and a woman who summoned Adele to Flonyard. She was the last princess of Pastillage, Clarifie Eins Pastillage AKA Fie.

Episode 8
During the days when demons were running rampage and threatening towns, Fie wanted to change all that so she summoned a French girl (Adele) as her hero to aid her in her quest. Adele didn’t have a good impression when she first met Valery because she thought he was a peeping tom (he claims it was his bath time). So as the duo head out to fight demons, the first demons they had to fight were… Clothes melting blobs! Next… Clothes ripping rabbits! WTF. As they fight more powerful demons, they are saved by Isuka and Hina (Brioche’s real name). They explain they are travelling to collect curse swords that impale creatures in this world to turn them into demons. Fie wants them to meet Valery because he is an expert researcher in cursed swords and demons. Valery seems to have a different thinking. He claims the world cannot afford to fight each other as they are busy fighting demons. However, what happens when you rid of demons? Peace will reign and soon they will be fighting among themselves. So leaving things as it is would be a better choice? Fie and Adele still want to hunt demons but Isuka warns them in travelling together. Isuka and Hina were the only survivors of their villager which was attacked by a demon. They were drenched in its blood at the end and have become immortal. There are many things they do not understand about demons so it is too risky.

With Adele’s heartfelt speech which she wants to continue this mission, the quintet set off on a journey to everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE to slay boss level demons. In doing so, they get to bridge nations closer, power up their Hero and Spirit Stones and become world famous! Peace did reign and as expected war among themselves was inevitable. That is why a treaty was setup that lasted till today. Valery gained the notorious nickname of Demon King as he stopped showing himself in public and continued his research behind closed doors. He had to keep a close watch on live demon samples and although it started out as a prank, he unleashed demons to those who challenged him and those who became arrogant. Fie however never stopped hunting demons. She delegated running Pastillage to Adele whom she felt guilty of bringing her over without permission and had no way of sending her back. One day as Fie left to fight demons as usual, she came back messed up. She barely won a fight with a toxic dragon. She used too much spells that made her susceptible to demon miasma. She knew her time was near but couldn’t be happier of her accomplishments. Soon Fie passed on and Pastillage turned from a kingdom to principality. Valery and Adele decide to join her in slumber after watching their grandchildren grow up happily. Isuka and Hina continued their journey but went their separate ways after Hina found Yukikaze. The rest is history after Shinku and Couvre woke them up from their slumber and they couldn’t be happier to see their descendents living happily. I guess the story is so long that everywhere is closed!

Episode 9
It could have been another boring fine day had not Sharu pay a visit on her flame dragon. Seems she has sensed something wrong with Skysea, a place above Flonyard with its own ecosystem. There is a huge Skywhale supposedly related to the gods or something and believed to have existed even longer than Divinegons. Just like dragons having dragon priestess, there is also a sky priestess for Skywhale. Nobody has seen her before but Sharu claims she has as Pega is a celestial messenger born from the sky priestess’ abode. Pega told her something is amiss with Skywhale and since it is floating above their nations, Sharu is requesting permission to investigate. Of course she can but they want to tag along too. Can’t miss out on the fun? Because the princesses are busy with their jobs, those who will accompany Sharu are the heroes, Genoise, Gaul, Lief, Ricotta and Yukikaze. As they ride up above the clouds, it is like a whole new kingdom. They see the gigantic huge Skywhale but as they approach, it seems it is sucking them in. Eventually they cannot fight its force and got swallowed. The gang are split up but Gaul is neither among them. He is alone and surprised to see Moribito with a girl named Aria who only communicates telepathically. She saved him from drowning in the lake but has no memories prior to coming here. He wants to go find his friends and she is happy to come with him but doesn’t want him to go now because it is dangerous. The rest are fighting demons. Gaul can’t sit back and goes to help eradicate the demons. He meets up with Shinku’s group and with Gaul found, they delegate Nanami’s group to find the flame dragon while they find the sky priestess’ abode. They hear fighting coming from the abode. Don’t worry. The sky priestess has everything under control cleaning up the mess.

Episode 10
Farine the priestess is huge! She explains when Skywhale is ill, the toxins turn into dark beings and if they pour out, they will wreak havoc upon the lands below. Farine clones herself into mini versions to guide the gang and help search for them. Shinku’s group is brought to the village of the star people (cosplay mermaids?) and most of them are ill thanks to the disease. When Gaul and Lief reunite with them and bringing weakened Aria in, the star people recognize her. Aria is their diva and an important person for the Star Festival. Apparently she went missing 2 days ago. More explanation of how the Skywhale inhales toxins and tainted air and purifies it inside its body. The song of the star people helps in the purification. But with them being sick and unable to sing, things are looking bad. Till Becky asks a question if only a certain people can sing to cure the illness. Well, as long as that person has a good soothing voice. Instantly everybody knew who the right candidate. Ricotta has brought her player along and plays a sample of Millhiore’s singing. You can see the healing effect! So it is decided, Shinku and Becky will go down to get the real deal here. Sharu, Yukikaze and Ricotta will stay here to protect Aria while the rest head out to destroy the disease. While the girls talk with the star people, suddenly this creepy kid pops up and starts attacking them with his disease. Yukikaze and Sharu are not match for him and got owned a couple of times. Seems he wants Aria to remember about her promise. When the last defence is down, he proceeds to be by Aria’s side and wants her to sing only for him. She recognizes him as Verde.

Episode 11
There is an explanation about humanoid demons that exist long ago. Verde could be its apostle. So the gang goes to find Aria while slashing demons along the way. When Aria wakes up, it’s time for flashback. Verde seems to be a chibi familiar by Aria’s side. Her singing continues to heal Skywhale and all its inhabitants. Because Aria had always wished to go to the earth below, Verde becomes obsessed in making her wish come true. So in some crystal room, Verde makes a wish with his power and that is when it corrupts and starts turning Skywhale ill. Aria is shocked to learn of this because this is not what she wanted. Verde is about to bring her down when Skywhale’s inhalation causes them to be blown away and separated. Aria didn’t have her memories and that is when she saw Gaul falling into the river and saved him. Now Gaul has found Verde as they both engage in brutal mortal combat. This is a diversion for Genoise to steal Aria away. Aria thinks that Verde will listen to her if she talks to him but Genoise is under orders from their boss to bring her to safety. Gaul tells Verde that he can bring them down if he changes his attitude. However Verde doesn’t believe in him. He doesn’t trust anybody else. Because long ago their kind tried to banish him even he did nothing wrong. He is going to put everyone sleep and make the world a safer place for himself. Too bad Verde can’t finish Gaul off because here comes Shinku to his aid. This means the rest of the gang and their entire army are here. Farine wants the Star Festival to begin its preparations. She turns Pega into its true form. What the heck is that? This piggy is a dragon and a unicorn?! Once Verde losses, Millhiore starts singing. Instantly it heals and purifies everything! So amazing! Even more amazing is how the entire song is just her going “Lalala~”!!! Now, all you star people sing along too! Yeah, the world’s biggest “Lalala~” choir!

Episode 12
Guess what? Millhiore’s song is also healing Verde and making him hard to keep up this form. Seeing the enemy in such a pitiful state, the guys want to save him (giving excuse there are lots of questions they want to ask him) but Sharu is the only one against this and wants the demon purged. Because she’s the only one and the minority, she gives in. Yeah. Democracy. Using their Hero Stones to further heal him, Aria and Verde get a good lecture from Gaul and Noir before reconciling and being true to their feelings. A cursed sword is purged from him and shatters. It ends with Verde returning to his chibi form but crystallized. It will take many years for him to recover. Aria then joins Millhiore in singing for the ultimate healing. As token for their heroism, Farine gives them her familiar. Although its true form is a ferocious griffin, so as not to scare us, it takes the form of a little cute bird (Angry Birds?). It takes a liking for Gaul but like guys who don’t want responsibility, it settles to Vert as substitute since she has the biggest bust. I can’t believe even mythical beasts can be perverts. Now it’s time to say goodbye. Gaul wants everyone to say goodbye to Aria but Nanami tells him he needs to do it himself since she saved him. Also, I think they want to see some sort of romance cooking up between them. Long distance relationship? As the heroes make their descend, they get another present from Skywhale as it drops little light balls like snow throughout the land. Don’t worry, they’re harmless. They won’t melt you clothes. Guarantee. And of course, this means the time has come for our heroes to leave for their own world. Time flies when you’re having fun, eh? Miss you. Come back again. See you soon. Yeah. We get it. Thankfully they land back on Earth safely because if they ever crash landed like how they did when they came to Flonyard, I bet humans are not going to help them but whip out their phones and start snapping pictures and upload it on social media sites. Yeah…

Doggone It Daze!
Shucks… To be honest, I actually have read online comments from here and there over the internet before I started watching this show. Many claim that this season is the most boring ever and sad to say I couldn’t agree more to that! Yup, indeed this season has been a total bore since many of the episodes felt like happy fillers. I mean, it is good that the people in this anime don’t fight each other like in real wars where real deaths occur. Heck, so boring that the previous 2 seasons had 13 episodes each and this time around, they are just short one episode! And they didn’t even play their usual war games! Not even a slightest hint of it. I know this breaks the boring pattern but isn’t that what this show is all about? Not really. So it feels like Shinku, Nanami and Becky just came to Flonyard just to visit their pals and play around (other than in the war games), which I think that is supposedly their visit because they are the heroes, right?

Personally, I thought the first few episodes that start it off were the more interesting parts of this entire season but even the arc of fighting demons in the dragon’s forest isn’t as half as interesting as the ones in the previous seasons. Really. Because they were up against a formidable enemy that we know little off and it was interesting in that aspect to see if they can really pull it off, in which they could because they’re the heroes and they have the numbers. Yes, seriously. And then subsequent episodes became so filler-like because how in the world with stories like Leo’s fighting marriage engagement tournament and saving the Moribito’s princess do anything to advance in the plot of the story or characters? They finally end it with the visit to the sick Skywhale and trying to cure its illness. Even if they put a badass Verde that could fight on par with our heroes, personally I still it is one big bore considering I know how it all is going to end. That itself took the excitement out of my watching and in a way decreases my attention that I am paying. Yeah, I have to admit that my mind starts to wander each time I watch an episode of this season.

Also very much lacking this season is the character development. Because there are too many characters in the first place and even the supporting ones are likeable enough. Therefore it goes without saying that for an anime with only 1 cour, there is no justice done to them seeing that they try to give each of these characters some sort of decent screen time but ultimately fails. Like Eclair who was supposed to be the greatest tsundere character of the series is sorely lacking this season. Not just her. Even the princesses of the nations feel very much lacking in appearance. I can say the same for the heroes from our world. The most we get is an insight on Adele, Valery, Isuka and Brioche’s past. Yeah, adding new characters this season like Sharu, Lief and Fie hardly turned up the excitement. Fie is dead, Sharu missing in between the fillers and Lief seems to be turned into a regular background character who seems to always be by Gaul’s side. All in all, it is just disappointing.

Alas, if you are hoping for some sort of romance, forget it. It was already bewildering that Sharu sent mixed signals to Shinku at the end of their first adventure at the dragon’s forest. You’d think they’d follow up on that. Maybe it is just to troll us. Yeah. Maybe. Perhaps all Sharu wants is to be friends. No need to be shy-shy girl. Or is there something in your heart that indicates you want to be more than friends? Because during the Skywhale adventure Sharu doesn’t seem so conscious being near Shinku. I might just be thinking a little too much… Just when we forget that there would be any romance, they hint us with Gaul and Aria. Again, are they trolling us? And the last scene back on Earth, Nanami hinting about love too? She didn’t blush. That guy did. I know all the girls love Shinku (I hope doggie girls won’t see Shinku as their master and that kind of love) but it’ll be just sad to see the friendship and nations torn apart thanks to love. So I think in a way it is great they rule out the romance part. It just doesn’t fit here. Not at this moment.

Therefore it is sad that we don’t know any much more of the demons that haunt this world than the characters themselves. It would have been good to learn a bit more about the cursed swords or whatever is corrupting cute little animals of the world and turning them into destructive demons. Unfortunately, it feels like an excuse too that our casts don’t know any more and thus maybe give our heroes a reason to fight something. I mean, how else can you have them unleash their powers when they have nothing to fight against, right? Can’t be practising among each other always, right? So with demons popping up and terrorizing the land, let’s just ask questions later and keep slashing them first. Yeah. We really don’t know about anything. Well, keep on researching. Therefore I am assuming that every darn living thing in this fantasy world is actually good. Just that some evil sword corrupted and turned them evil. Seems to be the trend, no?

What is more amusing this season is the mid-intermission. This time we see random characters being put in the outfits of clothes another character. It is interesting to see how different they look just because they don another outfit. And then there is one on Valery which just screams funny and disgusting… Really. I don’t want to ever see that picture ever again! Including that picture of Shinku cross-dressing! Never again! And who could forget the little fanservice that each season offers. This season is no different although I feel it is very much toned down. I don’t know if creatures or whatever dangers in this world has a penchant for eating clothes and turning girls naked. Heck, shouldn’t animals/furries be naked in the first place? And why do most power fights end up getting their armour and clothes ripped? Somebody should be complaining about the armour’s quality! Because the way I see it, no bodily injuries. Just the clothes get torn apart ‘nicely’.

Just like in previous seasons, when you have the biggest names in both singing and voice acting, it would be a waste for them just to do just one. And so like we have come to expect, Nana Mizuki sings the opening theme, No Limit and it sounds like your typical energetic lively piece that is on par with the previous seasons’ opening themes. Yui Horie on the other hand performs the ending theme, Stay With me and is a slower piece. The ending credits animation bugs me. I think it is supposed to be cute and fanservice altogether. Because we see the chibi form of Shinku, Gaul and Valery happily running and jumping with their mouths wide open all over the contours of the female characters in this series! It makes you go WTF?! It looks like they’re having a great time. But when they reach to the final girl, a sleeping Millhiore, they stop dead in their tracks and just watch her. Huh? Let sleeping dogs lie?

A sadly disappointing and boring season if I am going to sum up this series. Too bad it fell into that unfortunate trap whereby a series starts off great but declines with its sequels. Too many lovable characters but too little screen time is partially what killed it too. If you love furries so much, your stance might soften a little but I doubt it would change anything. I am not sure if a fourth season is in the midst of being planned but even if they are, I would still want to catch it because I am hoping it will save the entire series. But I am greatly lowering my expectations when it comes. Well, at least I know that although I didn’t have much fun watching the series, our heroes did have a fun and swell time at Flonyard. So all is not lost. At least technically ‘some people’ did enjoy something out of this series. In that case I won’t want to b*tch any further and let sleeping dogs lie. Cats, squirrels and rabbits too.

Hataraku Maou-sama

January 4, 2014

Imagine this. The Dark Lord Satan working part time in a fast food restaurant! Woah! Never seen this one coming, did you? And you thought being the most powerful demon general of Hell or the Underworld with all the undead creatures and demon at his disposal, he could easily burn all the land on Earth, strike fear with his scary expression, slash through an army of mortals or even kill you in a snap of a finger. Never in your wildest dream would you never have imagined that he would end up working in such a lowly job. Sounds like the demon king has just fallen, eh? Hataraku Maou-sama is just that and probably more. With such a low pay, he is stinging and being frugal with the little income he gets! Is this really the Dark Lord? Is this really the almighty Satan himself? More importantly, will the demon king accept all this? To be lower than puny weaklings called humans? Well… Seems like it. What a surprise. I guess you can’t conquer the world when you lose your magic, huh?

Not only is the Dark Lord himself trying to eke out a living in modern day Japan, but the hero who tried to slay him too! Guess what? She’s also having a tough time trying to earn a living as a typical salary woman. I guess on this planet, they don’t pay you enough to slay dragons or even Satan himself. Heck, they don’t even exist here so you won’t even get paid for it! So when both our opposing characters meet, they have to question and face their moral value dilemmas of their own world and the current world that they reside in. Yup. I suppose conquering the world skills aren’t necessary in this world unless you become some megalomaniac (like in James Bond’s movies). That’s not going to happen when you’re trying to work your way up in a fast food restaurant, right? And without a big villain to defeat, that makes the hero’s job redundant as well, no? And if you try to play hero and villains in the big city, you’re going to get arrested for public disturbance. Tough luck. Now do they know how hard life is for us commoners?

Episode 1
In another alternate world, Ente Isla, the cruel and evil Dark Lord Satan went to war against humans trying to annex it into his realm. He sent his mighty generals, Adramelech, Lucifer, Alsiel and Malacoda to conquer the 4 neighbouring islands. But a hero soon rose to counter the threat and lay siege on Satan. Defeating Adramelech, Lucifer and Malacoda, the hero has cornered Satan and Alsiel in his final stronghold. Before Satan could succumb to his defeat, he escaped via portal and vowed to return one day. Satan and Alsiel have arrived in a place we all know as Earth. They both have taken on human form and cannot believe how much magic they have lost. They are picked up by local policemen who think they are foreign cosplayers. At the police station, Satan easily hypnotizes one of the police to get some information about the place they are in now. They need to reserve their remaining magic as they have no knowledge on how to replenish it. Until then, they have no choice but to live in this world abiding the humans’ rules. And so we see the duo trying to make a decent start in living in Japan. Filling up the proper documents, getting a place to rent… Well, it’s pretty odd if some Dark Demon Lord starts living in a dilapidated place. Can’t complain. They meet the owner of this apartment, Miki Shiba (Miki-T as she would prefer to be called). Needing money to continue on living in this wretched condition, the duo take up identities so that they can apply for job. Satan = Sadao Maou and Alsiel = Shiro Ashiya. Can’t change it. Because the ID cards have been printed and it costs money. Bummer. It’s really odd to see the once fearsome Satan now living a very frugal life. Penny punching. They can’t afford this and need to save as much as possible. Ashiya is like a strict homemaker…

Maou on his way to his work at MgRonald gives his umbrella to a girl in the rain. Gee, why the kindness? At work, he is motivated to get promoted as soon as possible. And hard working this guy is. Really. While Maou is at work, Ashiya tries to do research in restoring their magic. Because once they do so, they’ll take over this world and Ente Isla as well. Ah, such grand plans… But first he needs to work hard and as the branch manager Mayumi Kisaki puts it, this one will decide who will win the current promotion (Maou’s other colleague being Chiho Sasaki). It may look like Maou is going to get it since Chiho is being clumsy and all. But a dilemma situation that has Maou wondering if he should use his magic when the fryer machine is down… In the end, he felt he screwed up although it’s not his fault that the fryers broke down. He thought he is done for when Kisaki calls him but to his relief, the main office has decided to hire him as a permanent employee. Happy and going to relay the good news to Ashiya, but that girl whom he lent his umbrella before stops him. She now recognizes who he is better. She almost caught him using his magic at MgRonald. So… what is the Dark Lord Satan working at a fast food joint? Maou instantly recognizes her as Emilia the hero! Oh sh*t!

Episode 2
When Maou escaped to Earth, Emilia vowed to chase him down till the end and followed him. She takes out her knife (she got it from the 100 Yen store) and is going to defeat him. Unfortunately they got picked up by the policeman who thinks they shouldn’t have their lover’s spat in public. Emilia becomes embarrassed that he thinks so and vehemently denies she is in that kind of relationship. The policeman lets them off with a warning. As they part, Emilia warns Maou to be on his guard and to sleep with his eyes open. It seems Emilia has taken the identity as Emi Yusa in this world and is working as an employee at a call centre. Even heroes need to earn for a living. At least she is slightly in a better living condition than Maou. So she pays a visit to Maou’s place and because he won’t let her in, she starts throwing tantrum outside till the Demon Lord pities her and lets her in. This… The Hero? Anyway she tells them she was supposed to kill them and return to Ente Isla as soon as possible but somehow she ended up coming here alone instead with high priest Orba Meyer. Maou mentions his grand plans to move up in this society and conquer it but Emi doesn’t care. Although she claims she can easily kill him with the remaining magic she has, she will not and keep an eye on him. Not until she has at least secure a way home. Because Emi is sceptical about Maou living a frugal life, she becomes like a stalker, spying on their every action after work. This can’t be true, right? The Demon Lord making an honest living. It just doesn’t cut it.

So she confronts Maou in one of his shifts and wants to talk. Chiho is suspicious she may be his ex trying to get back with him. When Chiho leaves her shift, she wonders if Maou felt some earthquake yesterday. Maou did notice one but it wasn’t as bad as Chiho described hers because her place was in a mess. After Maou leaves his shifts, he meets Emi and she continues to be sceptical of his actions in this world. Because of this, she is not sure if she wants to finish him anymore. She suggests he gives up Ente Isla and live a new life here. But Maou vows he will be back to conquer Ente Isla. Suddenly they are attacked by mysterious magic power. They both temporarily cooperate to get out of harm’s way. They could only speculate that the attacker knew their identity but who would want both the Demon Lord and hero dead? They continue to argue about Emi picking the wrong place and getting them ambushed. Maou wants to continue this some other time but he is puzzled why Emi follows him back. Somehow she lost her wallet and her keys to her home so as much as she hates asking this favour, she wants to stay at his place for tonight. Seriously. A hero asking this from the Demon Lord? Maou’s great hospitality takes her in, much to Ashiya’s dismay. But you can tell she is in no shape to fight. So kind Maou that not only he gives her a place to stay but lends her a thousand yen! That night, Maou gets a mysterious message warning there will be more earthquakes and also one from Chiho asking what to do about the frequent earthquakes.

Episode 3
Chiho is happy that she is able to arrange a meeting with Maou to seek his advice. When Emi is at work, she gets a mysterious caller who knows about her predicament and real identity. He didn’t expect the Dark Lord and hero to work together and for the sake of Ente Isla, he will wipe them out. Later Emi gets a call from the police station. She is not happy she has to go all the way there just to vouch for Maou’s identity (he abandoned his bicycle during last night’s mysterious attack). Isn’t it a Dark Lord’s job to give trouble to the hero? She tells him about the threatening call she got so Maou wonders if someone is really targeting them both. Maou and Chiho meet up on that day and since Ashiya can’t leave his master alone, he follows from the shadows. Emi spots Ashiya acting strange and also ‘joins in’. She can tell Chiho harbours feelings for Maou and is appalled what that little girl sees in that Dark Lord. Don’t tell me she’s jealous? Because there is no point in watching them from so far, Emi takes a bold move to enter the café and eavesdrop closely. Chiho talks to Maou about the strange voices in her head. It’s like she is receiving transmission calls from another world trying to make contact here. Although they were talking in a different language, it is strange she understood every word and concluded most of the conversation was about earthquakes. Maou thinks it is Idea Link. To use it, you need to pinpoint your target with a detector spell called Sonar. It causes large shock waves of magic that can have various effects and one of them may be the earthquakes. It makes senses if the Sonar was trying to locate him and Emi. Maou then sees Emi coming in with Ashiya. What the hell are they doing here? Before Chiho can confess, Emi confronts them. He tells Chiho the merciless and cruel person Maou is. There is no point in liking someone who will bring misfortune. Oh? And you are? Cat fight coming up. Chiho thinks the ex is trying to get back and it’s none of her business how she approaches Maou. Though Emi denies anything of that sort, Chiho continues her offensive she is always lurking around him. Suddenly a big earthquake rocks the place. Emi and Chiho are alive in the dark rubble. Emi continues to assert she isn’t in that sort of relationship with Maou and can tell Chiho likes him very much. She warns him if she falls for him, she’ll get hurt. Besides, she believes he can’t die that easy. For she will be the one who will kill him. After Emi puts Chiho to sleep, she tells Maou to show his face. Wow. Maou in his true form! I thought he came out from Fist of the North Star! So muscular! So powerful! So badass! To Emi’s confusion, she is confused why Maou is using his power to save the people.

Episode 4
Emi remembers growing up a peaceful farm life on Ente Isla with her father. She was assured by him that the Holy Church, Royal Army and priests’ prayers will protect them from evil. One day the Church arrived to take Emilia. That was when her father revealed she is the only one who can defeat the Dark Lord and saved Ente Isla. Because she is half angel. Her mom was an angel. Daddy protected and raised her for this day. A few days later, her hometown was razed by Lucifer. She was angry and vowed to learn Better Half, the sacred blade of progress and defeat Satan with her own hands. So it is no wonder that Emi feels confused of Maou’s actions. Thankfully no casualties were reported and everyone is safe. Maou learns Chiho’s father is a policeman and was the one who picked him up when he first arrived in this world. Maou tells Emi that the earthquake is no mere natural disaster. They have been discovered and the reason why the perpetrators didn’t try again is because Maou regained his power. Emi’s colleague, Rika Suzuki is happy to see her alive. Emi is brought back to her place. Emi feels nostalgic about her family because Rika easily talks about hers. Rika teases the fine guy Emi is recently hanging around with. Is he the reason why Emi declines to hang out with her recently? Want to bet how much Emi will deny all that? Emi couldn’t understand that kind of warmth feeling in her heart. What was going through Maou’s mind when he saved those people? Maou and Ashiya are picked up by a couple of policemen who think they are actors from a small theatre. They are later released and are warned about the increased muggings in the area recently.

Next morning, Emi visits Maou’s place to repay her thousand yen loan. Because she got clumsy, she fell down the stairs and is forced to stay longer to get her wounds treated. Ashiya notes they are out of gauze so he heads out to replenish the supplies. Emi then blows her top. She reminds him he is supposed to be the Dark Lord. Work his evil! She has never seen a Dark Lord happy to have a high school girl at his side. Yeah. So we’ve never seen a hero falling down the stairs and require medical aid from the demon. Emi is confused of his kindness. Why did he help people? If he was so kind, why did he kill her dad? The Dark Lord she knew was ruthless and revelled in the suffering of others. She blames him for taking away her carefree and innocent days. Wow. The hero breaking down. Chiho enters the room since Ashiya ran into her in the street and she said she wanted to meet Maou. She misinterpreted the scene of Emi crying before Maou. It’s really the case of the ex wanting to get back with him, no? Chiho runs away in tears but before Maou could go after her, Miki-T shows Maou a letter of consent. Because she would like the refurbish this apartment (after that earthquake, she must be thinking this rundown place needs some sprucing up), she wants all the residents’ consent. Then she lets Maou know about taking responsibility if he got Chiho involved. Because it is no coincidence that girl was targeted by Sonar and used to establish Idea Link. Chiho is still crying and really believes she is in love with Maou to react like that. She is approached by a mysterious kid. He has been watching her and will feed on his envy and despair towards Maou and Emi. He spreads his black wings and destroys a portion of the elevated highway. When Maou and the rest arrive on scene, they can’t believe what Lucifer is doing here.

Episode 5
Emi can’t believe Lucifer is still alive because she remembers impaling him with her sword. Maou guesses it’s because of his new ‘friend’, Orba. Seems they have made a pact. Orba’s goal is to seize power quietly and to rid of the hero and in exchange promised Lucifer to return him to Heaven. Wow. How did Maou exactly guess all this? He watched B-grade movies? Well, they don’t have money and he wasted them on movies? Sure he’s going to get some shelling from Ashiya but not time for that because Lucifer takes him out and goes on the offensive. Maou continues to guess correctly that they are the ones behind the spates of muggings and he has lots of power in this world unlike them because he feeds off the people’s negative emotions. Lucifer can’t understand why Maou would do the same as it would easily bring him back to Ente Isla. Maou has grown fond of this world and doesn’t want to trouble a world that has treated him well. Really? This coming from the Dark Lord’s mouth? Lucifer continues to feed on Chiho’s negativity so Maou and Emi escape. The latter uses enough of her power to teleport to a nearby station. The crowded area means more witnesses but Lucifer isn’t cowed. He will just kill all of them. Thinking he has defeated Maou, he releases Chiho. Emi catches her. Lucifer is going to wreck more destruction when Maou revives in his true form. Fist of the North Star! Thanks to the crowd, he is able to feed on their emotions and gain power. While he holds the falling bridge in suspended animation, Emi uses her barrier to protect the place and put the people to sleep. Emi and Lucifer fight in a high powered battled. Maou grants enough magic power to Ashiya to revive and help Emi. Lucifer orders Orba to use his magic to help out and although the old geezer is reluctant as there is no way he could replenish his, Lucifer tells him off if they are defeated, they won’t even get a chance to go back.

Orba is easily defeated by Ashiya. After Maou manages to put down the bridge, he is going to teach Lucifer a good lesson.  A lesson he won’t forget. Because of this destruction, Maou might miss out on being employee of the month. Lucifer is sh*tting in his pants as Maou powers up his super mega ultra hyper (add in all the cool adjectives you can think off) to pound him in a single strike! So who is the boss now? In the aftermath, Chiho still can’t believe her eyes. If this is not some movie she is watching, who are they? They tell the truth about themselves (including a little argument about how they are pathetically living in this world). Emi assures Chiho that she need not worry about her relationship with Maou. Maou isn’t going back to Ente Isla even though he has got his power because of his responsibility at MgRonald. Wow. The Dark Lord is responsible? Working at MgRonald is more important than conquering Ente Isla? Emi confirms that Lucifer is that one who called her at work and the reason how he discovered her was because he picked up her lost wallet. Because Lucifer is Maou’s underling, he will take responsibility over him. At the same time, Emi’s comrades, Albert Ende and Emeralda Etuva finally end their long journey through the portal and end up on Earth. They are surprised that Emi is cooperating with Maou and Ashiya. Even more surprising, she shows them Maou’s ‘stronghold’. The rundown apartment he lives in… Albert reveals they were the ones using Sonar trying to detect Emi. It was also the voices in Chiho’s head as they limited to recipients to people who were thinking about the Dark Lord all the time. So now we know what’s going on in her mind. Albert and Emeralda are preparing to head back to Ente Isla or else the Church will have it their way. Emi will continue to stay to keep watch on Maou. Besides, the city is back to normal and no one even remembered what happened. Maou is staying since he used most of his power to restore the city (I feel it’s just an excuse). He wonders if Chiho wants her memories erased too but she gets upset and calls him an idiot.

Episode 6
Back at Ente Isla, the Church is alarmed. They are told Emilia and Satan are still alive. Orba is missing and has betrayed the Church. Because Emeralda is trying to spread news that Emilia is alive, this will have consequences the Church cannot ignore as it contradicts their statement that Emilia is dead. They have only a couple of choices. Admit that the Church had been betrayed or eliminate Emilia, Emeralda and Albert. Lucifer is living under Maou’s apartment under the name Hanzou Urushihara. He even got him a computer so he can do his specialty of online research. He has to earn his keep and not make so much complain… Urushihara hacks into Emi’s work place to talk with her. Maou has been promoted to shift supervisor when Emi barges in to talk to him about Urushihara ending up at his place. Because of the police busy investigating the place, he can’t walk around easily. When Maou goes back, he sees Urushihara and Ashiya on the verge of ‘death’. Miki-T vacationing at Hawaii has sent them a picture of herself in a bikini. I don’t even want to see that! Based on Urushihara’s research, he notes there is a magical place nearby called the Forbidden Classroom which might have a good chance of something otherworldly is involved. That classroom turns out to be where Chiho goes to school and Maou requests her to help bring them to the place since it might have something to do with Ente Isla. She leads Maou and Ashiya to that place after school hours and she is happy just to be by his side while explaining the 7 mysteries of her school (6 only if you keep count – because if you know all 7, your soul will be taken. WTF).

They thought they are going to experience one of the mysteries but it turns out to be Emi. She happened to see them sneak into school and followed them in. The gang ditch this troublesome woman to hide in a room but she’s not happy to be left alone and chases them. She accidentally destroys an anatomical model and they even have time to argue it’s her fault and shift the blame. When they arrive at the Forbidden Classroom, they realize that this place was not abandoned a very long time. In fact, it looked like somebody has been living here! More surprising, they see a handheld console on the floor. Maou receives a call from Urushihara wondering if they have entered the Forbidden Classroom. Do they see a handheld console? Yeah… When he first arrived in this world with Orba, he stayed at this place and left behind a game he frequently used to play. He hopes he can pick it up for him. So all this wild goose chase was just a ploy… Maybe they should sell this console and make some money out of it… Next day at MgRonald, Maou accidentally picks up and sees Miki-T’s picture. Chiho found the letter on the floor, picked it up and put it on the table. Well, if demons can’t even stand seeing this picture, I wonder what will the effects will be on humans. When Maou leaves for home, he sees someone moving in and thinks is a new tenant. A girl in kimono, Suzuno Kamazuki trips and falls down the stairs but Maou catches her.

Episode 7
Next morning, Suzuno knocks on Maou’s door to give a package as gratitude for yesterday’s help. She is his new neighbour. Meanwhile Emi gets a delivered package from Emeralda. She has converted sacred power into bottled drinks to restore Emi’s power. Seriously, bottled drinks? There’s a strict dosage to stick to every day too? Emi continues ‘stalking’ Maou and to her surprise sees Suzuno teaching Urushihara household chores. I’m not sure how he got that kid to listen since he never was a good one with Ashiya around. Besides, that guy is sick so that’s why Suzuno is doing the chores. Emi goes closer to spy and when she hears Suzuno coming out, she tries to escape and falls down the stairs. If not for Maou catching her, she would have been hurt. She shows her gratitude by beating him up. Thanks. Divine retribution means she also feels pain after head butting him. So Emi joins them and she is not really impressed Maou has been promoted to MgRonald’s shift manager at Hatagaya Station branch. Suzuno wonders if the duo go a long way back due to their casual talk. Emi denies everything and makes it clear she would prefer him to drop dead now. Because Suzuno’s intention reminds her of Chiho’s, she wonders if Suzuno is after Maou too. Suzuno flusters and brings Emi outside so Maou won’t hear them. She is impressed she could figure it out. Emi doesn’t suspect her as an assassin or demon because it has been a week and she hasn’t made some sort of move. As not to bring up that Chiho experience, Emi tells her to be careful with Maou because he only brings misfortune. She trusts her and will take up her advice. Emi then gives her contacts just in case she needs any help. She leaves and almost falls down the stairs. What’s with Emi and stairs?

Emi continues to stalk Maou at his workplace. She is contacted by Emeralda and has been taking her dosage as recommended. Even Emeralda thinks Emi is acting like lovers so busy they hardly get time to see each other. Whatever the case, she hopes it won’t make them on opposite sides. As for the progress back at Ente Isla, no country is taking any open action for now. The Church is obsessed in searching the truth behind Orba’s disappearance and warns someone may be looking for Emi too and sending people to Japan for the job. Kisaki leaves the place in charge to Maou since she will be gone for a meeting soon and to be wary of their soon-to-be-opened nemesis, Sentucky Fried Chicken. Seriously, Sentucky? As he takes a break and is about to eat the home made bento Suzuno made, this alerts Chiho. Oh, I can guess what is going to happen. She gets alert upon knowing his new young neighbour girl is the one who made it. Wow. Now she’s getting aggressive to know the details. She takes a look at its contents and finds the first compartment filled with exotic New Year delicacies. Her heart can’t take it when she sees the second compartment: A heart shaped rice. Worst nightmare come true. After Emi buys her usual meal at the convenience store, she is being attacked by a masked assailant. Thanks to the drinks, she is able to summon Better Half to find him off but he seems to be able to shoot purple beams and nullify her power. The assailant runs away when the convenient store clerk throws paintball at him. Due to procedures, Emi needs to stay in the store with him till the police come and finish their investigations. Emi is glad that her powers have returned and should be able to summon her Crusader Armour too but is left wondering who that assailant is. She suddenly gets an emergency call from Chiho. It’s about Maou. She is devastated he got a double decker bento from a girl. Huh? Oh…

Episode 8
Chiho has Emi accompany her to Maou’s place with some excuse she wants to give her own bento to him in fear the other woman’s one might be poisoned. Just WTF? Despite being nervous (her silly face is so obvious), she gets along pretty well with Suzuno. They learn Suzuno was given excess food and she is just offloading them till she finds a job. Maou stepped on a land mine when he suggests she should work at MgRonald as they’re short of staff. The rest can guess this is going to be very problematic if she accepts it. But Suzuno will take this into consideration. Noting she has no modern clothes, it is suggested Emi will accompany her after work to buy some. Maou walks Chiho home and wonders if she is bothered by their true identities. She was told by Emi bits and pieces about things and by that time, she had already fallen for him. Emi did try to warn her but she fell for him on her own accord. That’s why she will decide if she still loves him or not. She doesn’t care if he sees her only as a colleague but she will love him either way no matter what. To Chiho’s horror, Suzuno has heard everything so she runs away by hijacking Maou’s bicycle! Suzuno wonders how does Maou feel to be loved by someone. Since the confession was so straight and clear, he hasn’t has time to digest it yet. Suzuno seems pretty surprised by his answer. When Suzuno meets Emi at the train station, Emi wonders how she got here from the country side since Suzuno doesn’t know what to do in a train station. Actually she came here via Gate. Eh? What? She’s from Ente Isla? You should see the shocking reaction both girls put on. Hilarious.

Suzuno thought Emi knew her identity all along because from their first conversation when she told her to stay away from Maou. She listened to her since she was the hero. Suzuno is here because she received information Emi might be conspiring with the enemy. She dismisses it since they’re only cooperating because of a common foe. Emilia concludes she is not the one who attacked her at the convenience smell since she lacks the paintball smell. Suzuno reveals her real name as Crestia Bell and the First Interrogator of the Reformation. Emi doesn’t want to be late for work so they can talk while on their way there. We see the country bumpkin in Suzuno because she is surprised with all the modern technology. Embarrassing, no? Taking a break at Moonbucks (because the ‘Star’ was taken), Emi learns that Suzuno only has traditional kimono is because of some documentary she learnt about Japan. Maybe she should update herself. As for her motive to move in next to the Dark Lord, she was looking leads for Orba and the only info she had was Maou’s address and living arrangements. She though by doing so, the hero would pop up. From her observation, she knows Emi is not conspiring with Maou and what Orba did is unforgivable. Suzuno wants Emi’s help to defeat Maou and return to Ente Isla. Emi doesn’t care about the Church or what other countries think of her. Because Orba and Lucifer’s conspiracy to kill her and Maou also hurt many other innocent people. She can’t trust her unconditionally. It is her duty as the hero to defeat the Dark Lord and not require any help. She warns Suzuno despite Maou’s look, he is still the Dark Lord and one wrong move, he will see through her. Emi hands her some fashion magazines and to at least dress like the people of this world if she wants to continue living here for some time. Meanwhile back at MgRonald, Kisaki is not happy that there is 80% drop in customers since yesterday. Why not? Sentucky just opened and there is bloody long queue… While Maou is at the counter, he is approached by some fancy midget, Mitsuki Sarue who claims he is the manager of Sentucky. He is here to see Kisaki but she’s out and he knows a lot about Maou too (at least for the part of him working diligently as a human). Mitsuki sees the beauty in Chiho and tries to hit on her by ordering take out from her. Chiho is creep out and not impressed. Maou has sent Ashiya to gather more information on Sentucky. When Emi leaves work, she meets Suzuno who seems to have bought lots of stuffs (she sold some rare ring and got loads of money). She wants Emi to accompany her to Maou’s workplace. Rika misinterprets their conversation as a love triangle and lover’s quarrel so she’s interested to be some sort of neutral mediator and happily joins them. Emi, your thoughts are of no significance!

Episode 9
Rika is really enjoying this so I guess Emi doesn’t even bother and plays along. In order to discuss their ‘strategy’, Rika takes them to Sentucky since it is crowded. She is served by Mitsuki and she is more creep out than impressed by his flattery. Rika begins the discussion by having the ladies say what they think of Maou. Suzuno: Just my neighbour. Emi: Nothing going on between us. Rika thinks Emi is not being honest so Emi starts badmouthing why she hates Maou. However Ashiya who was sitting nearby, heard everything and won’t forgive what she said. Meanwhile Maou is in a dilemma. He sent Ashiya for an infiltration mission but he is taking too long. Didn’t he say to investigate thoroughly? He wonders if he should wait till Ashiya gets back with information or to take action now. They have no customers and it feels like a funeral and it is already bad enough today is Tanabata and the crowd is out. The staffs think the shift manager is under pressure. Back to the ladies, Rika learns Ashiya is quite close to Maou and wants to know more about the latter. I’m not sure if this is an outright lie because when Rika wants to know why ‘Emi wouldn’t want other girls to get close to Maou’, Ashiya begins his story of how Maou had his own construction company. Emi was the rival and they always clashed. Due to the poor economy and inexperience, they lost the contract to Emi who had the backing of a big company. They drifted and ended up here. A year later, that’s when they ran into Emi. Due to their history, she must have taken pity on us and comes to check on them from time to time. Ashiya notes they have not given up and are starting from scratch, with Maou working up his way at MgRonald and someday they can start their own company again. Sounds like pure bullsh*t to me.

With Suzuno in the picture, Emi in a way didn’t want her to get involved with them. Rika believes his story and because Ashiya had good words to say to Rika, she starts flustering. Eh? What? What was her intention actually? Now Rika is eager to meet this Maou guy because it might be good for her if she had connections with somebody talented. Ashiya reports his findings to Maou. They have good food and service is nothing special. He concludes the attraction is just out of novelty. After he leaves, Maou ‘confronts’ the ladies sitting down instead of ordering something at the counter. Emi so duh… Suzuno looking so bored… Haven’t we had enough? Rika didn’t like Maou’s attitude and wasn’t the person she expected him to be (at least from what she just heard). She tells him the stories she heard from Emi and Ashiya and came to see him for herself. When Chiho serves them, Rika is taken in by her cuteness and hugs her. After that she continues to berate Maou that she would like to see him in action so he starts using his advertising skills to attract more customers. Didn’t work. People are more attracted by Chiho’s cuteness. A familiar customer, Watanabe drops by to make a Tanabata plant delivery to them. The staffs start decorating it as Chiho explains to Emi about this festival. She also tells how Maou met Watanabe in some volunteer work and managed to ask for a plant (though it’s for his garden). Demon Lord doing volunteer work? After the decoration is done, people start streaming in! The change of atmosphere is definitely good. People are really attracted to the beautiful plant. But is it? Suzuno suspects something amiss.

Episode 10
Kisaki assigns Maou to work at the Fushima amusement park MgRonald branch tomorrow since a friend requested to lend some talented crew to help out. All his expenses will be covered. Chiho wanted to come too but looks like Kisaki views Maou himself can handle everything. Well I suppose she managed to get leave so she calls Emi to accompany her to Fushima. Shortly, Suzuno calls Emi about Maou planning to gather magic at Fushima but Emi scoffs her off there is no way he could do that since he will be there just for work. Maou works hard at Fushima. He is surprised to see Chiho as a customer. She’s trying to flaunt her swimsuit (especially her big bust) but he is too dense as his head is only filled with customer service. What a letdown. What a big turn off. Suzuno takes Emi and Chiho to a haunted house attraction. Because the night before she overheard Urushihara mentioning about his online internet research that such places are best to gather magic. Can you trust this guy? Don’t blame her. She doesn’t know. Chiho gets freaked out by a ghastly figure and runs in deeper. Suzuno and Emi thought they spot a lost girl. But when she starts repeating her sentences, she turns out to be a mechanical ghost! And mommy is on the ceiling! You can’t imagine how freaked out they are. And they came from the other world filled with mythical creatures… Next, Suzuno brings them to the reptile exhibition. Chiho has unpleasant experience with household lizards while Emi has hers with giant ones back at Ente Isla. Suzuno ate such from head to toe in a faraway land during her journey. Yucks…

The girls accidentally bump into a keeper and this causes a lost monkey to steal its keys. The girls also encounter this lost monkey but this simian is more attracted to Chiho’s big bust and rubs it in. Maou delivers the fast food to a nearby circus. As he leaves, he thought someone called his name but it turned out one of the circus guys lost his pet monkey. Yeah. Also named Sadao. Eventually the monkey is found when the girls are nearby. Imagine the indirect teasing they do when they find out they both have the same name… Prior to that, the monkey had unlocked the cage holding the crocodiles. So as the girls play at the pool, suddenly the crowd panics and gets away from the water. The crocodiles have invaded! Maou coolly walks against the crowd and chants his magic to command to tame the crocodiles. However Suzuno is not amused because he could have used this chaotic chance to gain more power and yet he used it for the sake of mere humans. The girls return home and when Suzuno alights the train, she spots a hooded character. He sprouts angelic wings before disappearing right before her eyes. Hey, wasn’t that Mitsuki? Want to bet it’s him? Who else had that kind of blue hair? Maou returns to his humble home. Ashiya continues to be sick since he is spending an awful time in the toilet vomiting. And because he has let his guard down, Urushihara has ordered something from the internet and the delivery is here. I wonder how much this would cost.

Episode 11
More box deliveries to Maou’s home. Did Urushihara buy something off the internet again? Actually they are from Miki-T and she has sent back those stuffs to them so they can sell it on her behalf at the summer bazaar. They can keep the foodstuffs. Suzuno is spacing out. She remembers meeting that hooded character who knows lots about Suzuno. Especially her title as the Reaper, Death Scythe Bell from the Church. Flashback reveals Suzuno was part of the Inquisition as an Executor. The Church and Allied Knight Order weren’t cooperative so she was in charge of assassinating heretics and under Orba’s command. She was always told to focus and only complete her mission and not think more. She thought in the end that it wasn’t them who saved the world but the hero. With Ashiya still out sick (he should just go see a doctor), Maou requests Chiho’s help with the boxes. Because Urushihara has planted a tracker on Emi, he knows she is on her way here. But to see Suzuno. Since she’s here, why not ask her help too? Maou and the girls set up their booth at the bazaar and this has Suzuno think back of her position. Right after the war ended on Ente Isla, some parties turned arrogant and sensitive. They have their own ulterior motives to satisfy your own selfish means. Suzuno overheard them and it got her thinking. Those people never take control as they are afraid of getting hurt or embarrassed. They never get their hands dirty and used others but take all the glory and credit. Suzuno too didn’t want to execute people. So when the hooded fellow told Suzuno to carry out her mission, she only stated she will correct the teachings.

As the girls are walking home, Suzuno suddenly tells Chiho not to stay away from Maou. From the way Chiho reacted, Suzuno notes she knows about Ente Isla and Maou’s identity. She wants Maou to be killed instantly. Reminding us about that Tanabata incident, Maou used his power to attract people. Although that is harmless, what happens if he uses them to conquer the world? Chiho believes Maou won’t do such a thing but Suzuno warns he might betray the world again. That’s why they must kill him while they have the chance. She will also erase Chiho’s memories that have anything to do with Ente Isla. Of course she refuses. Suzuno thinks Maou has plotted to use her affections to his advantage from the start so Chiho tells her off for saying cruel things. The Maou she knows is a nice and kind person. Has Suzuno ever met the Dark Lord in person before he became Maou? She fought his armies but not him, right? So what does she know about him? Chiho continues to add all the kindness he has done for her but Suzuno is not happy that she is suggesting to forgive his past atrocities and let it go. Emi calms the girls down and though she agrees with Suzuno to a certain extent, this world doesn’t have people trying to pretend. That kind of peace is not worth fighting for especially when there are sacrifices. Suzuno still believes sacrifices are necessary but Emi will walk her own path for she is the hero. Since this is going nowhere, Suzuno leaves in tears. Chiho feels bad for saying too much. Emi is attacked by that assailant. He reveals himself to be Mitsuki. Why am I not surprised? His Wicked Light of the Fallen nullifies all sacred energy and he is the only one who possesses this power. He has come to free her from her duty and wants her to hand back Better Half. While Emi gets owned, Chiho tries to call Maou for help but he didn’t pick up. She tries to convince Suzuno but she’s just stoning out. Shouldn’t she be helping Emi if she considers Maou the enemy? Suzuno shuts her up by putting her to sleep. Maou gets a call from Chiho’s mom that her daughter isn’t back yet. He calls Urushihara but she’s not at his place either. Urushihara did some snooping and found something odd about Sentucky’s Mitsuki. Despite being its manager, his name is nowhere on the staff list. Maou wants to know Emi’s whereabouts and Urushihara tracks her movements to the city hall. But he notes it is Suzuno instead. Maou makes haste and rushes over there. Meanwhile, I guess Ashiya finally took some advice and get himself treated in hospital. But in that very same building, Orba is also a patient and has awakened from his sleep.

Episode 12
Ashiya wakes up and walks out from his room. He sees an unconscious police but is knocked out by Orba. That old dude really packs a punch. Orba sees Ashiya’s card and realizes where he lives. Meanwhile Mitsuki or better known as the archangel Sariel, tries to extract Better Half from Emilia. That’s not very nice for an angel to cause pain to a woman. Since Maou is coming, he sends Suzuno to greet him. Despite Sariel’s assurance he will testify the legitimacy of her actions to God, Suzuno knows she doesn’t really want to do this but what choice does she have? By the time Maou uses his power to break the barrier, he almost got smashed by Suzuno’s hammer. Too bad his bicycle got done in. He can save the thought of repair costs later because Suzuno is gunning for his ass. But he makes her stops fighting when he strips down to his boxers! He can’t damage MgRonald’s uniform! How conscious is this guy?! Maou reveals he knows Suzuno’s true identity when she first appeared. I mean, it’s odd for a lone girl to move and take care of a bunch of guys next door, right? He just turned a blind eye. It’s sad that she has made friends with Emi and Chiho but yet turned out to be no different than Orba. If that’s the case, what makes her different than them demons? Plus, he dragged Emi and Chiho into this mess. Suzuno silences him with a whack. Eh? Not defending? Well, he used up all his power. From Suzuno’s expression, Maou knows she doesn’t want to kill him. Suzuno can’t understand why he would throw himself into danger so his reply is that it is his duty as substitute manager to save his underling. He also knows she wants him to defeat this Sariel dude, the reason why she let Chiho called him. Urushihara is greeted by Orba at the doorstep. He offers a chance to return to Heaven if he teams up with him again.

Sariel is going to extract Better Half physically through her body since magically it’s not working. Emi tells Sariel how the Dark Lord is going to kick his ass because he got Chiho involved in this mess. However he laughs it off and doesn’t believe Maou will live by this world’s ideals. And here comes the hero… Oh wait, Dark Lord now. Sorry for the long wait. The elevator is out. Maou couldn’t care what Heaven does and is here to retrieve his underling. Sorry Chiho. He only sees you that way. Sariel blasts Maou away. Maou can’t do anything since he has no magic but Sariel gets more powerful the closer he gets to the moon. At the same time, Orba uses his magic to amplify the moon’s reflection, thus giving Sariel more power. However the electronics in town starts going haywire and this causes the people to panic. Just in time. Maou absorbs the people’s fear to replenish his magic and turns into his true form. Hope those boxers won’t rip easily. Suzuno frees Chiho and apologizes and will explain everything to her later. She switches to Maou’s side and rejects Sariel’s false justice. She might not be the one to say but at least he can say that Maou in Japan is a righteous and just man. Urushihara betrays Orba and punches the daylights out of him. I guess he prefers the otaku NEET life instead of going back to Heaven. With the moon waning, so is Sariel’s power. Maou gives him a choice to retreat with humiliation or fall before him. Do angels listen to demons? Guess not. Fight! Sariel even thought of using Chiho as hostage but was kicked away like a football. Maou saves Emi and they even got time to exchange banter. Maou summons his demonic blade and hopes Sariel has begged to God for forgiveness. So fearsomely awesome this Dark Lord that I guess Sariel is already praying to God to save this lost lamb. Blam! In the end, things return to normal and half the town is destroyed. Looks like he has to work hard again. Ashiya has fully revived and is ready to assist his master. But he was told off for arriving too late. Yeah. Great timing, buddy. Why even bother showing up. And Maou realizes he ran out in the middle of his shift…

Episode 13
In a very dramatic scene, Chiho is sad that Maou is returning to Ente Isla. She wants to go with him but he notes they are from both different worlds. A kiss as a parting gift. Good news: It is just Chiho’s dream. Phew. What are the chances of that being real? Chiho tells this to Maou and that guy says he isn’t going anywhere since he used up all his magic to restore the city and throw Sariel back into the portal. Kisaki calls Maou and asks him about last night whereby he ran out on his shift. Thanks to Suzuno’s alibi (or lie) that it was to rescue her, Kisaki lets it slide. Suddenly Sariel drops out from the fridge! Didn’t he get thrown back to Heaven? I’m not sure, Suzuno says it might have something to do with the Tanabata plant distorting the gate. Sariel becomes a creep trying to hit on Kisaki. Forget calling the ambulance. Call the police! She beats him up but this turns on his masochistic side. Meanwhile Emi too gets another dream. One whereby Maou conquers the world! What’s up with these girls and their dream? Still unable to forgive Maou for destroying her hometown, she goes to check on him only to see Chiho and Suzuno in some sort of argument. Suzuno was trying to feed him. You can guess from there. Suddenly Ashiya comes in and he has something urgent to discuss with Maou. Wishing to speak alone, the girls have to leave. They wonder if Ashiya is going back to Ente Isla because he mentions of wanting to take some time off. And if so, will Maou follow him? Chiho doesn’t think so since Maou said himself he couldn’t. They continue to observe Maou and they notice delivery guys carrying heaps of boxes into their house and Maou requesting to change his shift time at MgRonald. So they tail him and see him working at a construction site. Of course they got spotted. Talking out, it seems Urushihara bought tracking devices on Emi and Suzuno (see how angry Emi smashes it to bits). Although that device is what led Maou to come to their rescue, it costs a fortune! They have to pay up by next week. Since his MgRonald pay is ages away, it only makes sense to get paid daily. Thus Ashiya was seeking leave to go work somewhere else. Maou didn’t tell anybody especially Chiho because he feared she might feel responsible. Chiho is fine with it as long as he doesn’t return to Ente Isla.

When they return, Maou is furious to see heaps of boxes. It’s got to be Urushihara, right? Among the useless stuffs he bought include a fire extinguisher, mattress and water purifier. How much does it all cost? 128,000 Yen! Maou blows his top. I guess he never learn about not ticking Maou off. Though Urushihara is a victim of a purchasing scam (making one buy things you don’t need), Emi conducts some online research and finds the company behind it shady. Deluxe Life International Holdings. Sounds fishy alright. Maou makes the call to return the stuffs but the polite voice on the other end had excuses why it can’t be done or the conditions needed. Just like any frustrated customer, Maou hangs up. The only way left is to visit the company personally. Guess who meets them at the door? It’s Ashiya! He’s working here! So that person Maou spoke to was him? Once Ashiya learns what has happened, he couldn’t believe that he was dispatched to work in a shady organization for evil without realizing this. Isn’t that what demons do? Besides, ironically he couldn’t even recognize this ‘evil’. He was just reading from the textbook on how to refuse claims. He wants out. Of course the director is here and he smooth talks that he has done nothing wrong. A contract was signed and he didn’t sell any defective goods. So got a problem? Thus there is no proof and no use taking this to the police. Wow. A human outwitted the demon. For the first time, Maou felt he really lost and there’s nothing he could do about it. However Emi asks what is Urushihara’s registered age in this world. 18 years old. Cool then. She suggests the cooling off period. Under the law, a minor needs a guardian’s permission to spend. If the transaction exceeds their personal finances, the transaction is subjected to cooling off period. And so they manage to get out of this mess without paying a single cent. The company takes back the boxes and Maou this time is having the last laugh. Maou and Ashiya eat out to celebrate the trouble they’ve gone through. He notes this time it was Emi who helped them out and she is knowledgeable in this area because her job handles claims. Maou is confident Emi might end up on his side. On a rainy night, Maou doesn’t have an umbrella and runs out. At the traffic light, Emi gives him an extra umbrella. It’s payback for that last time. He thanks her. She’s happy for it.

He Works Hard For The Money…
The interesting part wasn’t about the chaos and politics that was and is happening at Ente Isla but seeing Maou and Emi dealing with their daily lives as Earth’s commoners. Having the Dark Lord and hero doing such lowly jobs really screws with your mind because we have always been fed with stereotypic facts of how awesomely powerful and evil Satan is and how magnanimous and noble a hero should be. I mean, seeing them working as such doesn’t amount to anything wrong, it is just that the perception of Satan and the hero that makes us think how odd and weird everything is. It just doesn’t seem right. Imagine this. A king who comes to greet you all dressed frugally or scarcely like a beggar. Does not seem right, doesn’t it? Where is that projection of grandeur of a king? Holding such position means adhering to certain expectations. That is why at first it might seem odd that Maou, the cruellest demon of them all holding a part timer job serving customers with a smile and Emi politely replying to calls she gets and ‘visiting’ Maou more often than trying to kill him. Of course as far as this anime is concern, it is for the story and some laughs.

Therefore the big mind boggling part is how Maou turned from the cruellest creature into a kind hearted person. It really does screw with your mind that somebody evil can turn over a new leaf and become good. Was the transformation when he came to this world? I doubt it. When he first arrived, he was dazed but learnt quickly his surroundings and tried to adapt. That’s why despite that the Dark Lord becomes a law abiding and hard working citizen, some part in me find it hard to just accept that if this guy is really the Dark Lord. If he was the most evil of evil, he would certainly have no qualms in trying to claims Earth as his own. He just needed time to restore his powers. And what do you know? Maou turns out the good guy that his past enemies couldn’t believe he turned into. So can you blame Emi for feeling frustrated for what he turned into? He destroyed her hometown, ruined her childhood and now that she has chased him all the way to another world, you’re telling her this crap that he is trying to repay this world’s kindness? That doesn’t quite cut it. That doesn’t feel right. Is that what makes Earth different from Ente Isla? Even if she slays this dude, there is no more that satisfaction. She’ll turn into some sort of killer in such circumstances. Can you also not blame Emi for being confused over everything? He used his power for evil, to kill back at Ente Isla but on Earth he uses it for good to save. What the hell is going on you wonder? Not killing him means not acquiring the revenge she has lived for. But if she lets him stay here and allow him to continue what he does, it isn’t such a bad thing since he is doing something good in society. So how can Emi explain to other people or future generations about Maou? He was once a bloodthirsty conqueror who killed countless humans and then he ‘retired’ and become a good fast food waiter. Kids these days won’t even try and believe such crap!

Despite the big focus on how the big bad devil can totally change himself, we also have to remember that the Church and the so called good guys are not entirely good. Especially those at high places. So with Orba’s betrayal, you can see one of the darker sides of humans in the works. Doesn’t make us different than demons, eh? It doesn’t make a difference whether it is this world or the other world because so long as there are humans and demons, there will always be good and evil on both sides of the divide. So what actually separates us from being labelled as a human or demon? As seen in this anime, certainly it is not your behaviour or character. People and demons can easily switch sides even for the most unknown reason. Then there is the question if God really does exist in this anime. With Sariel the angel, it shows there should be. But then you’re asking what is He doing amidst the chaos and everything? And if there are jerks like Sariel around, does it mean that there are other angels with such creepy attitude too? If Satan himself can change, what are chances of this? Just because he has white wings doesn’t mean he is a good angel. Look at the way he tortured Emi just to get Better Half. Aren’t there other better ways?

As much as it is hard to believe that Satan has turned into a responsible citizen and using his powers for the greater good, we still have to give Maou his dues. Because really, he works hard for MgRonald and despite he did say he is working his way up to take over, it feels like he won’t be doing it the evil way like how he usually did back at Ente Isla. Sometimes when I think about it, Maou is more human and better than most human beings themselves because of his good deeds. That’s why it’s another mind screwing thing just to think about this. Perhaps it is somewhere around the lines of a fallen angel. If angels can go bad, so maybe a demon can turn good too. Even so, shouldn’t that be restricted to anybody but the big boss himself? Imagine the Almighty God suddenly turned evil and wreck havoc upon Earth. Then God wouldn’t be really God, right? In Maou’s case, the Dark Lord wouldn’t really be a Dark Lord if he continues to serve the people. And with a smile. Heck, he could even be a good role model on how to be a good responsible citizen. Yeah. A demon showing us how to be nice to others. Many humans won’t give a damn about such trivial stuff such as taking great care not to let a single strand tear from the company’s uniform but this guy has thought about it and goes to great lengths to ensure that. Great guy. Such irony. Seeing Maou can be a penny pincher, I suppose this might lead him to be a great financial advisor in the future if he decides to make a great career industry switch. If he was really evil, he would have resorted to printing counterfeit money or rob a bank. Yeah. Live within your means. Till Urushihara came along… In short, Maou’s new good personality, his willingness to protect those under his responsibility and a power that kicks ass if you get him real mad, makes him a very cool character. Yes, I will admit that much. And I have to say that if the world needs some sort of saving, better rely on him, a demon.

Emi is an amusing woman to watch. Because of the sudden change in Maou’s personality that clashes with her past opinions on him, each time they meet it’s like she is going to burst into some sort of fit. So much so I thought she should take up anger management class. Well, is being graceful part of the values a hero need? The more she observes Maou, the more confused and also better she understands him. If she doesn’t mix his new life with his old style, I’m sure it will be pretty much straightforward and nothing confusing to worry about. Just look at him as a good guy. Leave his past behind, you’ll be alright. When this is out of the way, they cooperate better to save the day for the greater good. It may be unthinkable for a hero and Dark Lord to cooperate but naturally that would be a good choice if they have a common enemy. I’m sure Maou and Emi could be an amusing pair, on and off the battlefield. One thing I would like to see more often in Emi. No, not her fanservice scenes, mind you. I prefer her when she smiles. She should do that more often because she looks cuter. Putting up that serious face just makes her look scary. Oh, she’s got a serious inferior boobs complex. It’s really a big issue for her. Oops, pun not intended. I can only think why she is flat. Otherwise how would she fit into that armour fighting against Satan?! Haha! Whoops…

Miki-T is a big mystery (no pun intended on her body size). Ever since she left for Hawaii, she is never seen again. What about the part she wants to remodel the apartment? What happened to that? Can it be done when she’s away? Or was it a side distraction? There is something more than meets the eye to this fat woman. Because at some points, she obviously state Ente Isla terms and knows what is going on. I am just puzzled that our Ente Isla gang didn’t pick this up. Don’t they notice that this Earthling knows some Ente Isla stuff? Which means she isn’t really from Earth, right? Or maybe they did notice but since there are more pressing matters at hand, there is no time to be in awe who this lady is and get to the emergency now and discuss this later. Well, later never comes. Thus Miki-T can’t be written off as a side character because there is something deeper to her than we know. Just too bad the series is too short to address some of the other unresolved issues too. Another mystery is Orba. Sure he wants to be the next ruler and is willing to betray the Church. But after his defeat at the hands of Maou, how did he end up in hospital? He went ‘missing’ but how did he end up there? I’m sure there is no other accomplice unless you tell me some kind stranger brought him there in the aftermath. That’s why he was ‘missing’ and in subsequent episodes you see him suddenly waking up in a hospital bed. Then when he got double crossed by Urushihara, what happened to him after that? Did they toss him back into a portal back to Ente Isla?

It somehow feels that Ashiya’s role has become a running gag in the series. Ever since he fell sick (thanks to Suzuno’s poisoning the food she serves with her sacred magic – how come only he gets sick but Maou and Urushihara didn’t?), it’s like being weak and getting out of action becomes his only role for the series. Prior to that (and even as of now) he has this guilt conscious of being unable to serve his master or deems unworthy of his praise. Is this all he ever does besides being a good house servant? I suppose the final straw was the one he arrived too late, at the end of Maou and Sariel’s ultimate battle. I thought he was already condemned into a joker’s role. Same case for Urushihara. Ever since his lost while teaming up with Orba, he becomes an otaku shut-in and adapts fast to life around the internet. Then he develops obsession of buying stuffs online, something which I find ironic for a demon. But what the heck. Maou himself is already odd trying to do good so what are the chances his underlings will be odd too? So I guess Lucifer is really a fallen angel. Now he has fallen even further down the depths by turning into an otaku. Big joke, right?

Suzuno, just like Emi, I prefer her to smile more often. Her character when first introduced is already fishy enough. Then for most of the time, she puts on this deadpan expression that probably says “I wish I wasn’t here” and there is some lethargic feel in her speech. So maybe if she can’t be a lively person, could you please at least smile? Come to think about it, maybe that will be harder since she has spent her life taking orders from her higher ups to kill so called traitors. Spilled too much blood that she is somewhat numb. Unlike Maou, maybe she doesn’t have the power to break free. So in a way, it’s a good thing that she met Maou in this world because despite his presence fuelling her hatred, once she really knows who he is, I guess it’s not all that bad. Chiho is a nice girl who loves Maou for who he is. She has seen his good side, but will she ever see his evil side? I mean, his truly bad side where he mercilessly kills people. Although he won’t be turning into that (we pray so), you’ll never know what the future holds. Maou might just turn back to his old ways if he returns to Ente Isla, thus a reason why he might want to continue staying here. If Chiho sees that hideous side of his, can she really say she loves him then? Maybe she will love him so much and so crazy that she will turn into a dark queen to rule by his side! Far-fetched but after seeing Satan work in a fast food joint, suddenly any theory I come up seems plausible. There are some characters that make me wonder the significance of their appearance, like Albert and Emeralda. They left as quickly as they came to Earth. It’s like as though their role was just to explain that earthquake phenomenon and Emeralda a communicator for Emi for updates of what is going on back at Ente Isla. Well, since the anime is focused on Earth, whoever or whatever happens back at Ente Isla isn’t giving much prominence. Like, do we really care?

Just on a little disappointing side, I was hoping to see some sort of romance. Okay, you got me. Actually I wanted to see a love triangle or quadruple with Suzuno being the latest addition. Then maybe a little cat fight here and there. Well, certain scenes got my hopes up but that’s just about it. There is a simple reason why the girls stick with him. For Chiho, it is obvious that she loves him so she might use whatever reason just to be with him, be it the same shift or hand something to his room. As for Emi, despite telling us she wants to keep an eye on Maou, the more she stalks, the more I believe she is starting to like this guy. I know I did say she was confused over his change of personality, but could it also mean that inside her heart is also changing? She might not realize it but it shows she cares, right? If she didn’t, she wouldn’t have bothered so much about him and even going into his house or helping him out. Then Rika always pesters her to make up with her ‘boyfriend’ even though Emi vehemently denies it. Like as though it’s true. You know, when you steal something and when somebody asks you if you stole it and then you go vehemently protesting that you’re not the one. Yeah. That kind. So do you want to believe that Emi deep down in her heart likes Maou? I do so. Because I want to see a love triangle so badly! Haha! Same case with Suzuno. You can’t read her since she has no emotions and since she is like a country bumpkin and doing things like feeding him without hesitation when it’s supposed to be an act that couples do, it makes you wonder if she is sneakily doing this so she can snatch Maou from underneath his nose (and the other girls). Hey! What about Rika for Ashiya? I think that is just a high speculation on my part.

Action wise, I guess it is pretty cool to see Maou in his true muscular form because it enhances his badass-ness. It is that same form that makes him scary too because it is a side that you really don’t want to see. But you can’t help root for him whenever he is about to give his enemy the ultimate punishment. It’s like when he is going to pound his enemy, his power is warming up and you might think that the enemy is so scared that he can’t run away, just stand there waiting to get hit. It’s like a countdown before Maou shoots his blast. Also when he is in this form, he holds so much power that it makes you regret of ever being born if you get hit by this awesomeness. You wished you’d never been born. Just because God never intervened, it seemed to me that Maou’s super power could even take Him out if both sides ever go head to head. The series also being a comedy genre, there are lots of funny moments especially when it involves Maou and Emi, even if it might seem serious. Really. It’s the interaction between them that makes it amusing and funny. But the funniest moments are those when the characters are flabbergasted, their mouths wide open like as though something unbelievable and shocking has happened.

The Ente Isla language that they were speaking from time to time, it made me wonder what language they ripped it off from or they could just be saying some sort of gibberish. I am not a linguist so I can’t really tell if they’re just spouting nonsense or maybe they just modified what sounded like some European language. But you know how Japanese sounds like when they try to speak other language, right? Yeah, there’s that accent. But I have to give them points for trying to speak naturally and putting in some enthusiasm that it almost sounds as if they were really speaking a language from another world. Later as I found out, the so called Entean language is actually English but the position of the consonant alphabets reversed while the vowels maintained. Which means, B = Z, C = Y, D = X and so on while ignoring the vowels. Which means for example, demon = xepon. Wow. If they do this for every English word in their speech, it is really one Herculean effort (to me) even if they are just spoken sparingly when needed.

Youko Hikasa as the voice of Emi, I thought she was her character role was almost similar to another redhead, Rias from High School DxD. Okay, maybe that is just the difference because everything else about both characters are different. From their 3 sizes to their coolness (Emi is more short fused compared to Rias). Kanae Itou as Suzuno, it’s something new to hear her voicing a character that lacks emotion and just plain monotony in her voice. Unlike that squid obsessed pervert Sanae in Shinryaku! Ika Musume or that b*tch Sena from Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai. Hiro Shimono was also identifiable as Urushihara/Lucifer and despite not sounding like his typical lively characters (Keima in The World God Only Knows, Sho in Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love 1000%), there are a handful of characters he voice that are just plain monotonous. Think Kyolo of GJ-Bu or Metcha in Tamako Market. Other casts include Ryota Ohsaka as Maou (Yuki in Tsuritama), Nao Touyama as Chiho (Kanon in The World God Only Knows), Yuuki Ono as Ashiya (Kiyotaka in Da Capo III), Yuuichi Iguchi as Sariel/Mitsuki (Shiratori in Bakuman), Katsuhisa Houki as Orba (Ben Jackson in Tiger And Bunny), Yumi Uchiyama as Kisaki (Aiko in Sukitte Iinayo), Hiroki Yasumoto as Albert (Sado in Bleach), Azumi Asakura as Emeralda (Kumin in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai) and Kimiko Saito as Miki-T (Chieko in Kuragehime).

The opening, Zero by Minami Kuribayashi sounds generic as an anime rock pop and I didn’t find it as appealing. There are a few ending themes and surprisingly the main one, Tsuki Hana sounds the best of all of them. Despite being sung by Nano Ripe, she didn’t sound as bad as I thought she would. Based on my experience on her type of singing, she’s got this drunk-like voice and hearing how she did with the opening theme song performance for Sankarea, Jinrui Wa Suitai Shimashita, the first opening theme for the third season of Bakuman and almost all the themes in Hanasaku Iroha, I didn’t have much hope for this one. But surprise, surprise. Despite Tsuki Hana being a slow ballad, she didn’t really sound as bad as I thought she would (although her trademark voice is still there). Maybe it’s because of the slower pace and the nice acoustic guitar strumming in the background as well as the backup vocals that makes this quite a pleasant piece. Oddly, the ending credits animation for this song seems to be all on Chiho. It’s like to make up for her supporting role in the anime and to appease Chiho fans. First it was a cheeky still pick of Chiho in her swimsuit at her beach before turning into one that has Chiho in various jobs, outfits or positions. Spacewoman? Ballerina? Explorer? Riding on a boat to hell (at least that’s what the Jigoku Shoujo-esque scene looked like to me). But what does time have to do with all of this? The other special ending theme is Star Chart that is only featured in episode 5. Now this is how Nano Ripe really sounds in that voice of hers when she sings this rock piece and also the final ending rock outfit for the last episode, Tsumabiku Hitori. In other words, not so good ;p. Okay, okay. I still have to give her dues. They’re not bad but just that I do not find her voice appealing, that’s all.

I am sure this series is trying to teach us a few things. Especially about the demon being evil part that I have said so many times in this blog. First, never to judge a book by its cover. Also, always give a second chance. With Maou and Emi working as employees and making some mistakes here and there, it goes to show that they are not perfect. You learn to give and take. You also learn to forgive and accept. Move on. Because somebody has a dark and infamous past, does it give us the right to judge them and treat them accordingly based on our stereotyped views? So what Maou was once the biggest evil around, but he has changed so can’t we give him a chance? But this doesn’t mean his past sins are forgiven and so there need to be some sort of way he to make him accountable. Well, maybe that’s why working at MgRonald is his way of repentance. Another important lesson is to live a simple life and live within your means. Despite the poor conditions that Maou and Ashiya have to live in, notice that they are still happy? Maybe they’ll be happier if they have more of other things but you don’t you see that they are taking up this challenge pretty well. They might complain here and there but they still suck it up and get the job done. No use complaining because it won’t finish if you move your mouth and not your hands. Most people these days only know how to complain and do not know how to control their finances thus relying a lot on credit, which makes them accumulate debt over time till it kills them. So when you don’t have such luxuries as seen in the case of our protagonists, you don’t indulge in such and make do with what you have. I figure they are much happier that way.

I still can’t believe that the king of demons actually become a responsible and hard working person. It’s like the end of the world. Hell freezes over. Pigs fly.  But better have Satan live a normal life and be part of society instead of destroying and taking over the world, enslaving all humans. Better have him serve a smile behind a fast food counter rather than an evil smile that reads “Your Earth will now be destroyed, mother f*ckers!”. Can’t complain, can’t we? Boy, it sure made me wish I had the Dark Lord as my assistant at my work place. I can play the senior and order my junior around, reprimand him when he does the slightest mistake, boss around, dump all the work on him, make him do extra tasks, etc. And he can’t talk back because I’m his superior, hehehe… How is that for a taste of your own medicine? But doesn’t that make me the devil instead? Even demons have feelings too…

Dog Days S2

March 16, 2013

I remember the war that wasn’t really a war but some sort of game. A game on a huge scale involving nations. The winner getting the lion share of the reward but the loser doesn’t really lose because they too get some sort of prize for participating. Everybody is satisfied and happy at the end of this big game. No harsh feelings. The inhabitants are people with animal ears and tail. You know what I’m referring to, right? So I guess the ‘war’ between the nations continues with a second season of Dog Days S2. Well, if only ‘wars’ can maintain such healthy relationship between nations unlike ours which is so dirty and evil.

Basically in the first season, we had the desperate ruler of the Biscotti kingdom, Millhiore summoning an athletic kid from our world to help aid her people and boost their morale and break that losing streak. Shinku is tossed into battle and quickly turns the tide into their favour and earning respect and love from both sides. He also quickly got used to the quirky custom and culture of this new world, making new friends, powering up with some cool moves. We had a little drama about some inevitable prophecy and some possessed demon thingy to end it with the spoils going to the heroes of course before the hero returns to his own world but not before promising to return.

In this sequel, you can expect more or less the same thing because what would the war between nations be without their favourite hero and arch rival? Yes. Shinku returns. And he isn’t going to be returning alone because he brought a couple of his friends along too (as I partially predicted in my previous blog). Oh, and there is going to be another nation joining in the fray too so this is going to be a three-way fight. Bigger, more characters, more drama, more power, more action but will it be better?

Episode 1
We get started right off the bat as Shinku prepares to be transported to the world of Flonyard with his friend, Rebecca AKA Becky. Now that the myth of being able to summon a hero once is dispelled, looks like they can do it again as many times they want. So three months after the first season, here Shinku is eager to bring Becky to this new and fun world. Likewise, his cousin-cum-rival Nanami also makes the necessary preparations. And she’s all the way from London. Whoosh! Becky must be surprised to find first that they’re free falling down from the sky! Millhiore summons a safe landing for them but I guess Becky has passed out from the high speed free falling. And look how glad the princess is to have her beloved hero back again. Yeah, that patting on the head must feel good, eh? Elsewhere, Nanami drops into the sea of the kingdom of Galette and is picked up by Leo. Shinku receives a warm welcome by the familiar faces. Including Eclair who continues to be the typical tsundere. Becky is introduced the rest but they’ll have to hurry because they’re in the midst of a big battle! Galette forces are pushing ahead till Shinku makes his much awaited appearance in the battlefield. He’s back. Oh yeah. More familiar faces. Familiar foes. He shows us the results of his training and has powered up so much that he disables the armour (clothing too) of the Genoise trio, Noir, Jaune and Vert. There’s your first fanservice of the day. Leo gives Nanami a glimpse of the battle that they are having and she really finds it fun. Want to have a go? You bet. And so Leo presents Galette’s own hero as she makes her magnificent entry into the battlefield. While Millhiore is being interviewed, she introduces shy Becky to the camera. Elsewhere in Eschenbach Castle in the principality of Pastillage, squirrel Couvre E. Pastillage watches the battle between Biscotti and Galette, while lamenting her nation would like to participate too. Then she sees Becky and gets to know she hasn’t been claimed as a hero by any nation yet. That’s right. She takes a liking for her and is going to crash into Millhiore’s battle and get Becky.

Episode 2
A battle between the heroes is on the cards. Who wouldn’t love to see Shinku and Nanami slug it out. On the other hand, Eclair and Yukikaze take on Leo. The duo lost to Leo’s superior power. Nanami agrees with Shinku that this is so much fun as they trade fire power (actually Nanami’s power is water since Galette is a nation surrounded by water). It ends in a draw when both heroes lose their armour. During the break, I guess the rest try to persuade Becky to join their side but she’s just fine watching them. Then Couvre drops in and wants to participate too. And just like that, the Pastillage people take Becky and claim her as theirs! Falling in love with her at first sight doesn’t seem to be a strong persuasion but what the heck. She challenges them to take back Becky if they want her back so bad. Bring it on. And so the battle resumes into a three-way fight. Because Pastillage has better air troops, head knights Bernard and Roland put aside their differences and work together to counter the threat and shoot the air troops out of the sky. Biscotti and Galette also cooperate as they make their way to Pastillage. Shinku teaches Nanami how to unleash her Seal Spell and she materializes a pair of skates to skate through the water in high speed. Couvre realizes her troops are in danger and offers Becky to become a hero. Knowing Becky lacks the stamina and abilities like her counterparts, she gives her Pastillage’s treasures, Crystalline Magic in the form of the Holy Spear Kormal and Divine Sword Mercurius. Admitting she is still a ruler in training, she hopes to create a new beginning with her because she feels Becky is just like her. I guess Becky is pretty much convinced with her moving speech so she puts on the ring of Mercurius and experiences a magical girl-like transformation. Her weapon is a broom? Don’t look down on it yet. Couvre introduces Becky as Pastillage’s hero.

Episode 3
Becky soars through the sky in lightning speed as Couvre puts on her Kormal ring and… Is she sitting on a flying carpet with a joystick? The duo make a nice combo as they rain spells and lightning on their enemies below. Then they split. Becky faces off with Shinku and Nanami and easily breaks their armour. Then she heads straight to Millhiore’s base and charges straight at her. It ends in a draw when both their armour breaks. Becky retreats for now and Millhiore invites her to come back as many times she wants. True rivalry and friendship, no? Couvre fights Leo but is sent crashing down when the latter splits Couvre’s finishing move into two. At the end of the battle, Galette wins the overall war while Biscotti trails them closely in second place. While the city celebrates, the rulers of the 3 nations converge. Couvre doesn’t want to give Becky back. Millhiore and Leo have no say in this and ask their heroes. Since Becky wants to become Pastillage’s hero, her friends give their blessings. The heroes get to stay for a few days since the rulers will be having a meeting. Shinku plays frisbee with Millhiore, Ricotta takes Shinku and his friends to tour around the castle, Shinku demonstrates his sword skills with Eclair and finally they visit the home of Yukikaze and Brioche. Night fall, Nanami makes a call back to her home world (thanks to Ricotta’s improvisation) while Becky is amazed of today’s experience. Though she wonders how long they can do this. What does she mean? Would Shinku be able to do this frequently if he gets a girlfriend? Shinku ponders the same for Becky. They downplay their chance of getting one. Are they trying to hint us something? Well, they want to stay as friends forever and enjoy this as long as they can. Then Becky pesters Shinku which of the furry friends he prefers. The way she is bugging him makes her look like a pervert… She’s pulling down his pants???!!!

Episode 4
Everyone returns to their respective nation. Nanami and Becky are being given the hero’s welcome. Shinku, Eclair and Noir head to Yukikaze’s place for summer training. After the training by the riverbed, they deep into the cool river to relax (fanservice cue). Shinku hears Noir is here because she wants to learn about demons and cursed sword from Yukikaze and Brioche since Galette doesn’t have anti-demon divisions like Biscotti. For the life saving training, Eclair and Noir battle it out to see who will become the ‘victim’. The power battle ends with Eclair being knocked unconscious. Meanwhile Gaul seems to be keeping his distance from Nanami because he doesn’t want to be pet from her. That would be embarrassing, right? Leo then summons Nanami to her room for a favour. She loves her petting, doesn’t she? Couvre takes Becky to tour their giant library in the border city of Esnault where the centre of research is done on Crystalline Magic. That night Shinku can’t sleep because Yukikaze is using him as a bolster. It’s very choking… So he goes out to talk with Eclair who can’t sleep too. I guess with nobody else around, she gets to be more honest with her feelings because she feels glad she could see him again. Because he petted her, she feels the need to return the favour and pets him. I don’t know if they did it throughout the entire night because next morning Yukikaze and Noir find Shinku sleeping on Eclair’s lap. Oh boy. It’s back to tsundere mode again and so early in the morning he beats him up. Why is she trying so hard to convince them it’s not what they think? When they return to Brioche, they demonstrate what they have learnt and she commends them for improving a lot.

Episode 5
Rumours are spreading that bandits are having a field day in the eastern city of Galette, Ayase. Because they don’t want this to be a big issue if the royal family of Galette investigates, Violet offers to do the investigation with Nanami, Vert and Jaune. In the Japanese-like culture of Ayase, the gang ask around for clues and find out not only the bandits rob, but also assault women and children. Nanami wants to catch the bandits real bad so Violet gives her permission. Nanami walks around that night in disguise and she comes across a guy, Isuka Makishima complimenting her beautiful kimono and as though it’s like she’s asking herself to be assaulted. They think he is the culprit so the rest come out of their hiding to attack him but he gives them the slip. But things indicate that he isn’t the baddie because he figures out that the real culprit is on the move when a couple of guards have been taken out. Nanami and co go look for Isuka but Nanami realizes he isn’t the one when a bunny girl with cleavers starts to pound on her! Isuka’s quick move prevents her from becoming a victim as the bunny girl turns into its true demon bunny form (cute!). Isuka points out they are the real bandits and it looks like Jaune and Vert have fallen victim too. Yeah, they’re naked. Once they’re properly dressed, they want to help out Isuka. He lets them know about the demon rabbits that are targeting girls in kimonos this time. They are very protective of their allies and should be coming to their aid. As they take out the little bunnies, here comes the big bad bunny boss! He’s rampaging through the streets! It’s got briefs on its head?! Violet is chasing it and is about to corner it at the main gates when suddenly Leo and Millhiore appears in a flashy showdown to deliver their punishing blow. Yeah, they stole the show and even had special effects to go with it! Yukikaze is glad to see Isuka. So who is this guy? Brioche’s older brother. He is a famed demon slayer alongside her and also a travelling blacksmith. The demons have been released in the countryside (they’re just wild animals in reality for their size) and all the stolen kimonos retrieved. Couvre and Becky have finished their grand welcoming party plan. They’re so looking forward to it.

Episode 6
Pastillage welcomes Biscotti and Galette as they will be hosting a conference. The heroes catch up with each other and it seems Isuka is now staying with Brioche. After the conference, Couvre takes Shinku to a monument where it lies the King of Heroes and founding father of Pastillage and Couvre’s ancestor. When their land was ravaged by demons, their lord summoned a hero and brought peace. But the lord died and his last wish, the hero became the new lord. This place is also where the Demon Lord is sealed. There’s a legend that states if a descendent touches this obelisk, a miracle will occur. So far Couvre’s miracle lasted for a little while when she places her hands on it before disappearing. Perhaps a hero could amplify it? They give it a try and suddenly the obelisk starts shining. What’s this? The seal has been disabled? Out comes Valerio Calvados AKA Valery. Who? The Demon Lord. Oh sh*t. Because a certain somebody is not here, he is going to take his chance with this freedom. He fills himself up with Shinku and Couvre’s energy. Guess what next? He goes on a peeping spree! PERVERT! Pervert alert! He has no shame dropping in the women’s bathing area! Despite how tough and arrogant he sounds, he got owned by Becky and Nanami. Shinku and Couvre have recovered and rush to bring order back. The Demon Lord is cornered but plays psychological fear on them. Guess what? Shinku punches him in the face! Since he is not repenting yet, he is going to show them his true powers by absorbing their energy. He continues to talk tough when the 3 heroes beat him up. How can the seal away this persistent guy? I’m not sure what words Couvre said by accident, but it was the exact words to summon the King of Heroes, Adelaide Grand Marnier AKA Adele. Oh, she’s a girl. A cutie girl. That’s the King of Heroes? Adele shows no mercy in smashing Valery with her giant mace! Holy sh*t! If that doesn’t make him repent, I don’t know what will. Then she beats him up again when he refuses to apologize. Now he’s on his knees. Even promising not to do it ever again. Wow. She’s effective. So it’s time for the duo to return to slumber despite the rest want them to stay a little longer and show them around. After all, they see Valery as a decent person deep down. I hope they’re right. They could also guess that they’re both lovebirds from the way they react. However the slumber programme breaks down. I guess it has deteriorated over time. Looks like it’s the perfect excuse for them to stay a little longer while it is being repaired. Don’t worry, Adele can keep a good watch on pervy Valery (I think he was trying to touch her ass). Don’t want to mess with her gun, doesn’t he?

Episode 7
Isuka and Brioche is expecting a visit from old friends. Guess? Yeah. Adele and Valery. Hey! That’s one freaking huge badass dragon they’re riding! The quartet blast off to the southern desert to check on the demon seals inside a cave. Isuka swords are still holding the seals pretty well. As narrated, fairies and local deities become demonized when they become ill. Demons possessed by cursed swords can be cured by removing the source of evil and the sealing process will return them to their original form. Adele carelessly touches a fragile seal as it crumbles. An emergency lockdown mode is initiated and soon all the demon mice are released from their seal. How are they going to catch all of them? Big problem, eh? Here’s a bigger problem: They’re hungry. Since they feed on energy, this means everyone except Isuka has been turned into kids! While they take shelter in a gap, Adele contacts her allies about their problem so our heroes and co prepare all the necessary before Adele transports them inside the cave. Wait a minute. Shouldn’t she just transport them out of the cave first? I know they want to fix this mess but what can their kid forms do? Everyone splits up and makes progress in netting the little mice. Some were careless and got turned into kids. Adele gives Shinku and Gaul a Hero Stone each to protect them. Gee, why didn’t she use it herself or gave them earlier on? They are going to haul in the balance but the mice turns into a giant demon rat. The gems protect them but as a result, they are turned into their adult selves! Holy cow! Handsome hunks! This means they are more powerful and combine their powers to take down the demon. A seal appears on the gem to indicate it has accepted them as their master. So it’s time the kids turn back into adults. This means their tight little clothes will be ripped, right? So while the guys are taken away, Valery must be the one who draws the end of the short stick because Adele pokes his eyeballs! Hero Stingers! Becky and Shinku have their little moment together but it’s nothing much. In the end, she still prefers the Shinku she knows. I guess his adult version would make him look like a lolicon, no? A new seal is placed and the mission ends. Back home, Ricotta throws a tantrum after learning she was left out from the adventure so he pacifies her by petting her. Becky tells Millhiore all the coolness Shinku was in his adult version. I think Valery is going to need more than eye drops to heal his throbbing eyes…

Episode 8
Pastillage will be having their traditional annual event: The Esnault Music Festival. Millhiore will be performing as a special guest. Becky and Millhiore talk to each other and they feel the other is suited to be Shinku’s future husband. Of course they worry that may change their relationship now as they know Shinku wants to concentrate on his athletics and work as a hero right now. But Becky as his childhood friend thought she should keep her distance since he treats her well. She thinks Millhiore should step forward and take the lead. Well, Shinku is the one who should decide in the end. Valery and Isuka check on the bunny demons they released and they seem to be no harm. However their boss (still having those briefs on his head?) doesn’t seem to be well. However Adele noticed that one of its members was different. Like as though she’s a little girl and playing with the boss rabbit as if it was her parent. So the demon coming to Ayase was rumoured to be in search for her. Want to bet that this girl is a twin tail cat demon girl? Yeah, she’s stealing jewellery and has no qualms committing daylight robbery! Of course when she sees Millhiore’s accessories on screen, she gets greedy to sneak in and steal. She takes out a couple of guards and wears their uniform to make her way to the backstage where Millhiore and Becky are waiting. Cat girl seems to be able to control other people’s body at will too. After taking the accessories, she sees their ring and also takes it. But Becky’s willpower is greater so she transforms and fires at her. She flees empty handed but now the entire place is put on alert and on the hunt. Yukikaze and Eclair fall prey to her powers while Shinku and Eclair had their lips met! That’s a kiss, right?! Shinku transforms into his adult version to deflect her blast. Since she’s not giving up yet, they chase her to the city’s outskirts and successfully apprehend her. It is learnt she is a lost local deity and before she is sent back to her original place, Shinku bought a bracelet and gives it to her. It bit his hand! Maybe it thought the shiny stuff was food? They think they won’t make it back in time for Millhiore’s concert but never say never. Eclair, Ricotta and Yukikaze ride Shinku’s Tornader at lightning speed. Be careful to keep your eyes on the road. Eclair flusters when she thinks about the accidental kiss. They made it in time for Millhiore’s performance. The festival ends in its peak and tomorrow, the war between the 3 nations will start. The lost cat deity is returned to the rabbit boss and they’re comfortably sleeping together.

Episode 9
Eclair can’t get that kiss out of her head so she acts cold towards Shinku. So obvious that the rest even notices this. Before the war, Ricotta talks to Eclair and knows she loves Shinku and might be embarrassed in expressing herself when others are around. Ricotta has no qualms in confessing she loves Shinku and will do it again and again. She is mad at Eclair because she is not honest with her feelings with him and then she gets depressed. Eclair shrugs her off and wants to be left alone. This doesn’t sit well with Ricotta so she leaves with tears but bumps into Leo. Now she’s hated. Eclair may be feeling bad what happened to Ricotta as it’s Yukikaze’s turn to talk to her. As Leo has heard from Ricotta, she tells Eclair off she won’t win this battle since her spirit is weak. She challenges her to a match and gives her a handicap that she wins if she gets to destroy her armour. If Leo wins, she’ll have Eclair be captain of her battalion for the day. Eclair can’t refuse this or else it’s like she has grown weak. Scared to lose, no? So if Eclair wins, Leo will grant her any wish. The big battle begins and right from the start, Leo and Eclair face off. Clearly Leo is superior since Eclair still has doubts in her heart. She gets owned by her devastating shock blast. Eclair is in grave danger of losing when Ricotta tearful picks up the mic and apologizes for fighting with her. She only wanted to support her because she is down and lied about hating her. In fact she loves her. Eclair gets up and also admits she loves her and everybody else. She draws extra strength to summon her weapon and clash swords with Leo. See, you need a little motivation and push for victory. Eclair shatters Leo’s armour. She thanks Leo for helping to lift the burden off her shoulders and will stop keeping her troubles to herself from now on. Leo retreats for now and this earns Biscotti big points. Meanwhile Becky and Couvre prepare to take on Millhiore and Ricotta.

Episode 10
Godwin pairs up with Nanami to take on Brioche’s division. Nanami fights Brioche but ultimately Brioche summons her big freaking sword and slams it on Nanami! Though Nanami is out, her boomerang ripped through Brioche’s armour so their duel is considered a draw. Shinku and Gaul clash but their fighting in their adult forms. More power, more eye candy, huh? The air battle between Becky-Couvre and Millhiore-Ricotta intensifies. Becky reflects that was glad to have come to this place. At first she was worried how she would fit in but all that worries were for naught. Becky and Millhiore’s strongest moves collide head on and Becky proves out to be the winner in the end. Unfortunately it eats up too much energy so they’re both free falling. Couvre and Ricotta can’t reach them in time but Shinku did. I guess he won his battle with Gaul (he didn’t want to admit he had lost and instead let him win). Shinku is having his hands full because Becky and Millhiore’s clothes ripped! How does it feel carrying 2 naked ladies in the air? As the battle rages on, Pastillage is in dead last. Adele has been watching the footage and Valery knows how eager she is in wanting to join in the battle (her body actions can’t lie). So he gives her a disguise to go join the fight. Seriously, how can a pair of glasses hide her true identity? So Adele as the Masked Hero of justice and hope drops in to give her Pastillage troops a much needed boost. She’s really raring to go too. Shinku, Yukikaze and Eclair prepare to fight the King of Heroes. Oops, they mean the Masked Hero.

Episode 11
At the end of the first day, Pastillage makes a comeback and takes the lead in the overall standings. Shucks. We didn’t get to see the heroes fight with the Masked Hero. The second day continues but it seems more like a carnival because we have beach events (fanservice cue), arm wrestling and even quiz show! Wow. This is sure one big battle that covers almost everything. A toast is held by all 3 nations at the end of the competitive events though conferences and fine arts will still continue. I guess I understand now why they call this event the Union Fest. So it’s just not fighting in the battlefield. After Shinku and Millhiore finish their morning work, they visit Yukikaze’s place. Brioche and Isuka are out gathering ores so only Yukikaze and the housekeeper, Kanata are in. They talk about the old times when Millhiore spots a jewel on the floor. Shinku picks it up and it explodes into a smoke screen. What’s this cute little critter popping out from it?! However everyone except Kanata finds themselves swapped bodies! Shinku is in Yukikaze’s body, Yukikaze is in Millhiore’s body and the princess is in the critter’s body. This means, the critter is in Shinku’s body and it is running wild with its new body and ‘freedom’. Shinku decides to track it down but needs time to get use to Yukikaze’s body and movements (I think her boobs were in the way, hehe). Eventually they corner it on a treetop and at this time, they are able to use each other’s techniques. It’s odd that Shinku didn’t hold back against his own body but I guess it’s necessary since the critter is getting nastier ideas. Shinku defeats it and only Millhiore and the critter swap back their bodies. As the critter is being tamed with a talisman, they figure it swap bodies with those who are close to it. Calling Adele about it, she claims this is a fairy and not a demon and is sorry she forgot to release it into the wild as she was caught up in the battle’s excitement. They don’t have to do anything as in time things will fix itself and they will swap back. Couvre and Rebecca arrive to pick the critter up to Adele. Couvre must have thought about fun using this fairy ideas but Rebecca reminds her about their mission to return it to Adele. After they left, Shinku and Yukikaze swap back to their own bodies. I guess this is much more comfortable. Yukikaze is appreciative he took care of her body while they were swapped. She thinks of recreating this body swapping technique and Shinku could perhaps be her secret training partner. Sounds fun but I think he’ll pass.

Episode 12
Since the heroes will be returning to their world 2 days after Union Fest, for now the swap nations. Becky went to Galette, Shinku to Pastillage and Nanami to Biscotti. Anyhow, they receive a warm welcome from everybody. But do they have to swap uniforms too? This means… Shinku must be looking really dangerous and a pervert in Becky’s outfit, right?! Thankfully, there is a male outfit version. Look at Couvre and Ricotta’s disappointed face. They were really expecting to see something, huh? Couvre takes Ricotta and Noir down to Pastillage’s largest ruin, Eschenbach Basement Treasury of Legends. Couvre is supposed to pick up Becky’s parting gift but accidentally sets off a trap and the trio falls through a trapdoor. Despite the traps are old, some even deactivated, well… I guess that’s what they believe. Because we see the trio dodging and running away from a series of traps in this ridiculously huge labyrinth. It’s amazing they have such luck. And to get away by the skin/fur of their teeth. So when they seemingly reach a large dead end hall, they reminisce about the old times and Couvre especially feeling sad and lonely once Becky leaves. Goodbye seems to be the hardest word. She fears she will be forgotten. I don’t think Becky is that kind of person. They vow to find a way out but the good feeling is ruined when the final badass trap is released. The ceiling is going to crush them! Meanwhile Becky and Shinku realize Couvre and co are taking too long and know something is wrong. Consulting Valery and Adele, they arrive at the ruin. Valery gives Becky a Demon Stone which is equivalent to a Hero Stone. I don’t know why but wouldn’t it be easier for Adele to teleport the trio away rather than teleporting Shinku and Becky there? I mean, this would also save Valery the trouble of trying to hold back the crushing ceiling. I guess it’s necessary for Becky to show off her new power. With the Demon Stone, she powers up and blasts the trap high into the sky! I think it could even fly to the next galaxy! The trio emotionally reunite with the heroes and the most emotional one is Couvre. Sorry this, sorry that. But Becky is glad they’re just fine. And they make it out just in time to attend Millhiore’s concert. See? All’s well, ends well.

Episode 13
The end of the Union Fest means everyone will go back to their normal lives. Eclair gives Shinku a custom made outfit which resembles very close to his hero uniform. The heroes and the rulers have a fun outing together at the lake before returning to a surprised-cum-thank-you party hosted by Gaul. Isuka has made special knives for the heroes to commemoration their efforts. Don’t worry. They’re kitchen knives to cut food or camping knives. Bath time bonding sees Millhiore and Becky grow closer as friends despite being rivals for the games for different nations. Also, Couvre wants to take a bath with Shinku. I guess they are kids so it’s alright and nothing explicit. Couvre asks if he intends to become family with Becky, Millhiore or both since it’ll be troublesome for a marriage between a hero and ruler. He quickly changes the topic. Noting he hasn’t become a full-fledged hero yet, his goal is to beat Nanami in professional competitions and during the Union Fest, he still lost to her. That’s why he can’t think anything further till he achieves that. Shinku sleeps with Millhiore, Couvre and Nanami (again, nothing explicit here). Millhiore remembers she confessed she loved him when he parted the last time. It felt like a dream. And they’re going to do so once more. Shinku assures they’ll be back by fall after his exams. She cuddles close to him so that she could remember his warmth and smell. Next day, the heroes attend a farewell ceremony that has them surrendering their hero rings before returning. Couvre gives Becky a crystal pendant that her mother used to pass down when they parted. It’s also an artefact of the bond between heroes and summoners from 2 different worlds. Millhiore hands Shinku a clock made by Ricotta, Eclair and Yukikaze while Leo gives Nanami the MPV trophy from the Union Fest. The heroes return to their world and Nanami wakes up back in her home in London. It’s not a dream because the MVP trophy is by her side. Shinku and Becky wake up in the former’s house back in Japan. They get a call from Nanami and to assure they have arrived safely. Life goes on as we see Becky picking up Flonyard’s language and trying to write a letter. She meets Shinku and with her hair down, she looks more mature. Even Shinku notes how pretty she is! She wants him to call her by her full name but gets embarrassed since she is not used to it. I guess ‘Becky’ is fine for now. Though they both say they love each other, I feel it’s on just a friendship level, nothing more.

It’s Raining Cats And Dogs… And Now Squirrels…
It’s not really over yet because a third season has been announced! I guess people really do love those animal ears and tails for this series to even make a third season despite the second season was just okay (in my opinion of course). So nothing much really happens in this season except that everybody is having so much fun whether it is a friendly war game on a big scale or just some friendly outing among each other, there wasn’t anything deemed threatening that would have caused casualties like in the previous season. Remember the evil swords scattered throughout the world that could turn local deities or animals into really evil monsters? Remember how Leo tried to prevent Millhiore’s death she saw via some prophecy? In this season, I don’t think we have any dramas that come close to that. Well let’s see. Couvre and co getting trapped in an underground labyrinth filled with deadly traps? Mild. The lost cat deity and the rabbit boss with its little rabbit demons? Annoying pests, that’s all. Body swapping incident? Felt comical. Cave filled with demon mice? Cute! The Demon Lord? More like the Demon Pervert. Once you know him, he’s really such a friendly guy and nice guy. Just that he is perverted. Which makes me ponder this question. How did he get the name Demon Lord anyway? Unless you’re telling me his harassment and peeping tom is on a demonic scale then yeah, maybe. He looks like a ditz when fighting the heroes and doesn’t feel like he’s much of a threat. And for another ditz like Adele to be called the King of Heroes, I guess she must have an easy time taking down the Demon Lord knowing his character. If the great war between them in the past were just lover spats, then I’ll get a feeling the people of Pastillage would surely be embarrassed. So that’s why perhaps their titles and history were somewhat ‘hyped up’.

So with a bunch of new characters introduced, I guess that’s why the screen time among some of the characters were much lesser. I know characters like Bernard, Roland and Godwin were side characters with minimal appearances in the first season but in this season, they are sure lacking even more screen time. It’s like it could have been done without them. Probably if I were to count how many times they appeared, I would have more fingers on my hand anyway. So cameo appearances in the battles were probably just a ‘reminder’ to let us know that they are still around doing well, doing fine. Violet had her single episode of prominence during the investigation trip at Ayase but even so I feel she didn’t really stand out. Even Genoise was sidelined but among the trio, Noir seems to be making more appearance and impact compared to the duo since she is hanging around Yukikaze more often. Brioche feels like unless she is participating in wars, she is just hanging around. What happened to her busy-away schedule to seal evil swords? New characters like Couvre, Becky and Nanami take more of the spotlight in this season. How can the squirrel not get involved and be left out of the action after wanting to be in it so badly? So with the 3 nations each having their own heroes, it is fair game though with Nanami still having better experience and athletic abilities, she still bests Shinku as mentioned and thus earned Galette’s victory. Adele and Valery are sometimes a fun to watch since she is perhaps the only one who can keep that pervert in line. Not to mention some of her questionable tactics that makes that Demon Lord bear painful repercussions. I hope his eyes are still okay… And oh, I couldn’t help but still mention about the demon bunny boss. As seen in the end scenes, he still has the briefs over his head while some of his bunny minions are frolicking in the panties they have in hand! Are those stolen or donated? As long as he is not making big trouble, I guess it’s fine.

Everybody else is probably the same. Shinku may have powered up but I don’t really see any much difference. Maybe he has gotten too strong and agile that my eyes couldn’t catch up ;p. Anyhow he is still the hero that everybody loves and the nice guy that will help out whenever his friends are in need. Millhiore is still the singing princess, Leo is still the commanding princess warrior, Gaul her equally confident and powerful little brother, Ricotta the genius scientist with her annoyingly “~de arimasu” catchphrase and Eclair the moody tsundere. I wonder after that spat with Ricotta, has she become more honest with her feelings? Well, it doesn’t seem that she has been giving Shinku the cold shoulder after that. So I guess things are back to normal? So we’re still short of the romance, the kind that would send hearts aflutter and emotions to rise. What am I expecting? They’re just kids. Now that we’ve seen Shinku and Gaul in their grownup forms, maybe they’ll use be in this form more often in the next season? Will we see other characters transforming to that too?

Everybody in Flonyard is so unbelievably friendly and even take the war games as a just a big friendly battle scale that I think everybody should just unite and become one nation. Such an ideal world. Why even bother to go back to Earth? I did browse back my previous blog and remember the reason for conducting such wars is to protect themselves better from such evil sword incidents that happened in the previous season. But the way everybody was having a blast participating in the games (which now I have seen extends to all other areas instead of the battlefield – should have been the Olympics), that it never occurred to me and mostly I have forgotten that this was the reason why they hold such big scale event. Another thing continues to bug me, though. During the battles, we see multiple ‘clones’ which are supposed to be the foot soldiers of the respective nations. I can’t really tell where they are from nor differentiate them since they all look the same! What bugs me even more is that when they go out of the game, they turn into furballs after taking some friendly damage. However this is not the case for our main characters and the higher ranked ones because all they lose is their armour and the most their clothes! There’s your fanservice, I guess. Perhaps it would have been totally weird to see Millhiore, Leo, Couvre and the rest turn into cute furballs when they are done in, no? Absolutely weird. The action sequences during the battles are still okay though I somewhat feel that everyone utilizes less of their special skills (unless I have forgotten about them).

With all the returning characters’ original seiyuus being maintained, the new ones of course bring in new life for the new characters. Aoi Yuuki is still impressive as Couvre because of her shrieky bratty voice that suits the squirrel so well. Think of her as Senki Zesshou Symphogear’s Hibiki, Kurenai’s Murasaki and Akikan’s Budoko on a much shrieky and bratty scale. Added to the casts are Eri Kitamura as Adele (Cana in Fairy Tail), Kousuke Toriumi as Valery (Gennousuke in Basilisk) and Anri Katsu as Isuka (Tsuchimikado in To Aru Majutsu No Index). Since Nanami is making a regular presence in this season as compared to just a short cameo one in the previous, it’s sometimes amusing to spot her and Ricotta talk since they are voiced by the same seiyuu. Well, Nana Mizuki can really pull off a sweet cute voice (Tsugumi in Jigoku Shoujo, Hinata in Naruto) or mature sounding ones (Tsubasa in Senki Zesshou Symphogear, Rina in White Album). Just like in the previous season, Nana Mizuki once more takes on the opening theme with another powerful rendition of Scarlet Knight while Yui Horie (voice of Millhiore) does the pop idol-like ending theme, Natsu No Yakusoku. The mid-intermission and next episode segments still retain its amusing bits. As the mid-intermission shows a character in random poses (sometimes  for little fanservice), the next episode segment continues with a comical still picture like Ricotta imagining herself as a busty woman and Valery reeling from Adele’s Hero Stingers!

Who knows what the third season will bring. Maybe another nation getting involved? Darker events to surprise us with this cheerful season? Or even perhaps the Flonyard residents falling through the portal and into our world. I would like to see the culture shock on their faces about the kind of ‘wars’ and ‘games’ we people play. Anyway this series isn’t that bad so I still have intentions to watch the third season when it comes. No, I don’t have animal ear and fetish that made me want to watch the third sequel. For the record, I’m still going strong with my own Iron Athletics marathon of watching animes. Is it coming to nearly 7 or 8 years since my customary ritual weekend of watching animes? Wow. Feels like a personal record. Feels like an achieved feat. Feels so old. Feels like my back is killing me and my butt hurting like hell for sitting down for hours straight…

Fate/Zero

March 3, 2013

“People die when they are killed!”. Hah. I can’t resist using that line whenever I remember about the Fate series. However, don’t expect any of such bloopers in Fate/Zero because it’s going to be grim. Much grimmer than before. This series is a prequel to the Fate/Stay Night anime and it tells the events that happened 10 years before that fateful tragedy that engulfed the entire city of Fuyuki in flames.

As those who are familiar with the series or even played the visual novel game that it is based on, the story line pits seven different Mages against each other in the battle over the Holy Grail. Each Mage will summon a Servant class, supposedly Heroic Spirits from the past to do battle on their behalf and the last remaining Master-Servant will win the right to the Grail and get any wish granted. Sounds easy? Well, the previous 3 Grail Wars ended in an inconclusive fashion. Meaning, no real winner is produced. So you can see why the lineage of Mages are getting desperate to win this fourth Grail War at any cost. Will a new history be written or will history just repeat itself. Well, the answer is clear. For those who have at least watched Fate/Stay Night, that is.

Episode 1
In this 47 minutes prologue, we go back 8 years ago at Einzbern Castle, Kiritsugu Emiya’s wife, Irisviel “Iri” von Einzbern gave birth to a girl, Illyasviel (Ilya). However he feels he has no right to hold her and will be responsible for his wife’s death though Iri accepts her destiny. She believes the Holy Grail will save him. Next change in scene to three years ago somewhere in Italy. Kirei Kotomine talks his father (in real life and occupation) Risei and Tokiomi Tohsaka about the Command Spell he received on his hand as proof of been chosen by the Grail despite having no relation to magic. He is given the basic explanation about the Holy Grail War at Fuyuki City, the summoning of Servants by Masters and how the Church will act as judge during the battle since Mage Associations tend to favour their own kind. They also discuss about the Grail that will appear in Fuyuki does not belong to the Son of God but too powerful to ignore it. They devise what-ifs scenarios should it fall into the wrong and right hands. Thus Kirei’s participation in this war is to assure Tokiomi’s victory though they’ll be acting as enemies as the Einzbern and Matou families have forgotten the wish they once shared. Thus Kirei will be transferred from the Church to Mage’s Association where he’ll become Tokiomi’s student for 3 years and study magic. Though Kirei still has his suspicions over why the Grail had chosen him, Risei notes he recently lost his wife so a change of goal in life may just be what he needs to recover. A year ago in Fuyuki City, Kariya Matou pays his childhood friend Aoi Tohsaka and her daughter, Rin a visit. But he is devastated to learn the younger daughter Sakura has been adopted by the Matou family. So he goes to confront the family he left, the patriarch of the Matous, Zouken (looks like that baby boss in Half Life) to make a deal with him. Knowing he wants the Grail for immortality and will toss away Sakura after he has obtained it, in exchange to release Sakura, he will win the Grail for him. Can somebody who hasn’t practise magic become a powerful Mage in a span of 1 year? But it is already too late as Zouken has tossed Sakura into the bug room! GROSS! BUGS CRAWLING EVERYWHERE OVER THAT POOR GIRL!!! I don’t know if she’s dead or alive. Of course alive but ‘dead’. If Kariya is serious in saving her and take her place for a week, he’ll consider. So be it.

Kiritsugu and Iri learn another Master has been chosen by the Grail, Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald from the Mage’s Association, Clock Tower. At London, Kayneth is lecturing the basics and importance of bloodline in magic to his students. The reason being he has read a thesis of one of his students of his ideas about wizardry in the new century. Something about those without the bloodline of Mages can also do magic. In short, he finds it a complete nonsense and a juvenile’s fantasy. That kid, Waver Velvet just thought he wanted to point out issues the Mage Association was reluctant to address. Unfortunately Kayneth continues to mock his stand and he became the laughing stock of the class. Not pleased with the way things turned out, Waver bumps into a lazy delivery guy who wants Waver to pass an important package to Kayneth. So what’s a vengeful kid got to do than to open the package himself? It contains a relic that is needed to summon a Servant. Then he researches on the Holy Grail War and finds out Kayneth is participating in it. He learns more, its history how the Holy Grail was founded by the 3 families of Einzbern, Makiri and Tohsaka. Since the Grail can only answer 1 wish, it soon turned into a big bloody battle. Ever since, the Holy Grail appears once in 60 years in Fuyuki City and it selects 7 Masters the right to summon their Servants of different classes to a battle to the death.

In a secret hideout, Kirei has his own Servant, Hassan the Assassin. Kirei and Tokiomi discuss the Einzbern taking in an outsider 9 years ago out of the blue. He is Kiritsugu and they think they must be desperate to win the Grail to cast away their pride in pure blood. Further details reveal that he is a skilled mercenary and earned the nicknamed of Mage Killer because of he has no qualms in using underhanded tactics to kill his targets. Since he lacks the pride of a Mage, it might be money that is motivating him. At the same time Kiritsugu is going through the list of known Masters. Apart from himself, Tokiomi, Kariya and Kayneth, he notes Kirei’s strange personal history. He seems to be working his way up the path of the Church but suddenly leaves it to join its secret organization. He was also once an Executor, another name for what Kiritsugu once did as a mercenary. He feels odd he one he masters something, he throws it away and moves on to the next type without looking back. Why is he risking his life for the Grail then since he has no wish and doesn’t believe in anything? Similarly, Kirei is intrigued with Kiritsugu during his time as a mercenary in warzones. It’s like he chased after death and was obsessed with it. His string of battles came to a sudden halt 9 years ago and must have found what he was seeking in the Einzberns. But what was he seeking in those battles then?

Kariya’s face is really messed up. I’m not sure about the bugs crawling inside the veins of his face!!! FREAKING SCARY!!! Zouken is amazed he could last for a year and had made some progress as a Mage. Waver is happy that the Grail has chosen him because he too has a Command Spell on his hand. He goes to have breakfast with his grandparents downstairs but in actual fact he has cast a spell to make them think he is their grandson back from overseas as an exchange student. Kiritsugu and Iri discuss the Excalibur relic. Kiritsugu notes that despite the Servants being heroes from the past, as long as they are Servants to their Masters, they are no more than just mere tools. Knowing this relic will summon him Arthur Pendragon and the best Saber class, he figures out a strategy on how to use this Servant. Meanwhile Rin packs her bags and is to leave with Aoi to go live with her family (the war is coming). She doesn’t like Kirei because he couldn’t promise her to protect her dad (Tokiomi) during the battle. She won’t forgive him if her father is hurt during the fight. Kirei sees Tokiomi and just in time, he has received a relic from the package. Kariya talks to Sakura as the latter fears he might be turning into a different person. He tells her he will be busy with an upcoming ‘job’ and once he is done, he promises to bring her along with Rin and Aoi to somewhere fun. Somewhere faraway. It will be like old times. He goes to see Zouken who has made preparations to summon his Servant. Likewise all the other Masters too prepare and chant the right verses to summon their very own Servant. If you have watched the prequel, you would have known Kiritsugu got Saber while Tokiomi got Archer (Gilgamesh as he was known and we are more familiar with in Fate/Stay Night).

Episode 2
Waver gets Iskandar the King of Conquerors who has been summoned as Rider. The kid isn’t pleased Rider is stealing books of… The world map? Preparations for war? Okay. But war cannot be waged without maps? Hmm… Maybe you need to know where you are and what you’ll be conquering. Talking about the Grail, Rider hopes he won’t wish for world domination because the world can’t serve 2 lords. Waver mentions his desire was to have everyone at Clock Tower treat him fairly but Rider slaps him for having such small ambition. If he really wants people to respect him, maybe he should use the Grail to grow another 30cm. Was that a joke or sarcasm? Waver is pissed and wants to use his Command Spell on him to show who is boss. But he calms down upon knowing one can only use it 3 times for absolute obedience. Since Waver wants a demonstration of his power, with a swing of Rider’s sword, a couple of heavenly bulls complete with a chariot zap down from the sky. Rider tells Waver to find him another Hero or two if he wants the Grail. Until then he shall entertain himself with the world maps. He loves maps, doesn’t he? Kiritsugu is spending some time with Ilya as Saber watches on. Thinking if this is his true self, she feels she might have offended him when he summoned her. But as Iri points out, it wasn’t the fact that King Arthur was a woman that Kiritsugu is upset. Rather, how the people around her forced a young girl into taking up the role as king and that she herself accepted that fate. Saber feels Kiritsugu and Iri’s desire to save the world is right because she too wants to save Britain.

The recent string of murders are done by this young adult name Ryuunosuke Uryuu. Yeah, he is in another one of those killings. Each murder has baffled the authorities because there are weird pentagrams drawn. Seems Ryuunosuke found out his ancestors were trying to summon demons and he thought he had to find out if they really exist. Plus, the media is labelling him one and if demons do exist, wouldn’t that be an insult to them? Yeah, he kept a boy of the murdered family alive just in case the demon needs sacrifice. Suddenly a Command Spell appears on Ryuunosuke’s hand. He has summoned Caster (fish eyes?). Ryuunosuke doesn’t understand this Grail thing because he mentions his hobby is killing. Especially women and children. Offering the kid as sacrifice, Caster surprisingly lets the boy go. When the kid least expected it, Caster unleashes some ferocious darkness to violently kill the kid. I’m not sure about his explanation about the more intense the fear, the more the emotions die and that this is the taste of fresh terror and death. Hell, Ryuunosuke doesn’t understand what is happening but finds him so cool that he wants to follow his footsteps. He couldn’t care less about the Grail as long as he could kill. Caster is glad his master is understanding. Ryuunosuke asks his name so Caster takes on the nickname of Bluebeard. Kirei has learnt the final Servant has been summoned. He sends Assassin to kill Tokiomi by infiltrating his house. Looks like he is going to make his first move of betrayal. Assassin waltzes easily through the magic field but when he gets to the main magic generator, Archer slays him with his rain of swords.

Episode 3
Tokiomi thanks Gilgamesh that everything is going as planned. His actions will prove further his status as King of Heroes. Gilgamesh on the other hand wants to explore this age and see what is important to add to his treasure collection. Failing which, Tokiomi will pay with his life for wasting his time summoning him here. Waver is happy that Assassin is dead but Rider doesn’t seem to give a damn. Yeah, he’s bumming around watching war movies. This is much better than that sneaky guy who posed no threat to him in the first place. He wants to buy those bomber planes too?! They talk about Noble Phantasm (special attack or ability that defines the Hero) and how Servants are limited to only one each. Waver mentions he saw Archer’s flashy attack that involves throwing dozens of swords at the enemy. Plus, each sword was different. The night was too dark so Waver couldn’t see any more details about the enemy. Rider then wants to go out. Seeing that not only he knows the death of Assassin, this means other Masters will make their move too. If they encounter any other teams, they’ll crush them as they go along. Meanwhile Kirei seeks protection in the neutral Church since his Servants has been killed. Risei allows him in. He assures no one will be watching this place because it will be against the rules and any Master caught doing so will be censured. Suddenly out from within the shadows, dozens of Assassins. Shadow clones? Seems there is a ploy to have Masters believe that Assassin is dead as this will let their guard down. Iri and Saber arrive in Fuyuki (Kiritsugu arrived 12 hours earlier). Saber mentions how Servants receive knowledge on the modern world upon materialization. For example she can pilot a plane if she needs it and just needs to let her intuition take over. We also learn this is the first time Iri has stepped out of her castle and she laments she is just a puppet created for the Grail.

Kiritsugu meets a subordinate, Maiya Hisau in a hotel and looks like she has all the equipment he requested for here. Does he really need all that firearms? Also, his plan of having Saber accompany Iri is to deceive enemies to think she is Saber’s Master. Maiya shows him videos of the incident outside Tokiomi’s mansion. She suspects something amiss. Since Assassin is a master of stealth and creeping in, it is hard to believe he was detected so soon. Like as thought his presence was expected. Plus, in battles among Servants, learning their identity is crucial. So why did Tokiomi expose his Servant for all to see? Learning that Kirei has retreated to the Church, Kiritsugu wants Maiya to send a familiar to keep watch there. Despite being a forbidden operating zone, he wants it to keep it as close without the priest noticing. Iri and Saber are together at the shore. Iri likes the sea but Saber doesn’t because it is where her enemies always come from. Then they feel a presence of a Servant. More like that Servant is inviting them. They decide to take up the offer. Elsewhere Rider and Waver are watching on top of a steel bridge. It is a strategic vantage point according to Rider. Waver can’t take anymore of this and wants to go home. Home to England. Regret getting involved in this war? Saber and Iri confront Lancer at the harbour and it seems Lancer had sent out ‘invitations’ to all other Servants but Saber only responded. Both Servants prepare to face off. Saber is more worried Lancer’s Master is nowhere to be seen and perhaps plotting something. She hopes Iri will cover her back despite all she can offer is healing as support.

Episode 4
While Saber and Lancer begin their bout, Kiritsugu and Maiya are keeping a close watch on their battle and the surrounding area. Kiritsugu spots Lancer’s Master and was about to take action when he spots Assassin watching from another location. Isn’t he dead? Assassin is supposed to be Kirei’s eyes watching the match. Kirei is reporting what he ‘sees’ to Tokiomi. Upon learning Iri is in the battlefield, Tokiomi thinks she is an Einzbern homunculus and that Kiritsugu was just a pawn Jubstacheit had in store for them. Believing Iri will greatly influence the outcome of this war, he wants Kirei to keep a close watch on her. Kiritsugu too doesn’t want Maiya to act hasty to take out the rest and for now just observe things. Saber and Lancer exchange powerful blows and due to the inconvenient rules of the war, they can’t conveniently reveal their true identity which isn’t something honourable for knights. Saber watches Lancer and tries to determine which of his 2 lances is his Noble Phantasm. Despite exchanging chivalric words, Lancer’s Master tells him not to delay and end the match. He gives him permission to use his Noble Phantasm. Lancer drops his shorter spear, proving his long spear is his Noble Phantasm. This spear can also dispel the Invisible Air that keeps Saber’s sword hidden. Now that he has seen her sword, he can estimate her attacking range and need not hesitate. Saber comes up with a tactic to slash Lancer when he charges but her waist got pierced by his lance instead. Iri heals her back to normal and Saber thinks hard how his lance broke through her armour since she was pretty sure it would deflect it. Wait a minute. Her armour is still intact. She concludes the lance went through her magically woven armour. She understands the secret of his red lance. It cancels out mana. So facing him with this lance is as good as being naked. So how? Saber makes a bold decision to cast away her armour but must cut him down first since her sword can’t defend against his lance. Lancer thinks it’s a foolish decision. Saber charges when Lancer suddenly picks up a golden spear from the ground. Realizing a Noble Phantasm need not be limited to just one, Saber although gets cut, manages to avoid ultimate defeat though the tendon to her left hand is severed.

Rider isn’t thrilled the battle may soon end. He thought that the other Servants will show up but fears at this rate Saber will be defeated. To him, it would be faster to fight everyone together instead of finding them one by one. After all, how often do heroes of different age get to fight each other? This is a rare chance for him to face up to 6 heroes. Waver thought they’re supposed to kill each other for the Grail but Rider tells him about true conquest. To win but not to destroy. To conquer but not to humiliate. Rider summons his chariot and will be joining this battle. Iri is baffled because Saber’s hand is supposed to be fully healed but it isn’t. Lancer reveals that she did realize her armour was useless before his Gae Daerg (name of his red spear). But had she not abandoned her armour, she would’ve guarded against his Gae Buidhe (gold spear). Saber realizes the red spear negates magic and the gold one is a cursed blade that inflicts wound that never would heal. Coupled in with his women-enchanting-mole beneath his right eye, Saber now knows his identity as Diarmuid of the Radiant Race, the first of the knights of Fianna. Since Lancer has seen her Excalibur, nobody will ever mistake she is the legendary King Arthur. Now that they know each other’s name, they can fight honourably. Saber rearms herself with her armour and they prepare to make their final attack. However Rider gatecrashes in between them. He has no qualms immediately revealing his name and class to everyone. I guess he is the only one who looks the happiest. And though the rest put on a surprised expression, none is as surprised and in disbelief as Waver. Just unbelievable.

Episode 5
First thing Rider asks is to give up the Grail and join him as his subjects for world conquest! Offer rejected!
Saber and Lancer think his interference to their fight is an insult for knights. So much for his negotiations. Lancer’s Master, Kayneth learns Waver was the one who stole his relic since Rider was supposed to be his Master. He is going to show him what a fight to the death between magicians is all about. Now Waver is wavering, scared sh*t in his pants. However Rider stands up for Waver. He commends the kid for being brave enough to ride into battle with him unlike Kayneth who can’t even show his face. Rider then calls all those watching in the shadows to come out or face his wrath. Archer pops out and is as arrogant as ever. Because Rider couldn’t tell who he is, Archer is going to kill him with his pair of Noble Phantasm swords. Kariya orders Berserker to enter the fray and Archer didn’t like the cursed Berserker ‘gazing’ to his eyes. He shoots his swords at him but Berserker swiftly grabs the first one and uses it to destroy the second one. Archer fires more but Berserker dodges or deflects them all. Now that Archer is so mad, he is going to unleash his Babylon Gate even further. Tokiomi didn’t like who Archer is acting so rash and uses his Command Spell to quell his anger and have him withdraw. Though Archer is not pleased Tokiomi got the nerve to order a king, he has to obey and leaves the scene. Suddenly Berserker goes crazy and picks up a pole to attack Saber. Rider observes whatever Berserker picks up becomes his Noble Phantasm. Saber doesn’t stand a chance and her head could’ve been knocked off if not for Lancer deflecting it. He hasn’t settled business with Saber yet and shouldn’t just barge in. But if he refuses to back down, he’ll take him out. However Kayneth thinks this is his best chance to take out Saber. Lancer’s pride as a knight wants to take care of Berserker first. Too bad Kayneth isn’t that kind of Master he uses his Command Spell to order Lancer to assist Berserker and kill Saber. Against his wishes, Lancer with Berserker charge at Saber. Saber wants Iri to run but she will stay because she wants her to believe in her Master.

Kiritsugu is scrambling to end this madness. He will take out Kayneth while Maiya attack Assassin on his mark. But that won’t materialise because Rider rides his chariot over Berserker. Berserker then retires from the scene. Rider tells Kayneth not to spoil the magnificent battle between knights with his petty tricks. If wants him to withdraw Lancer and if he insists, Rider will assists Saber in taking his Servant down. Kayneth has no choice but to order a withdraw. Both knights are grateful to him. Till the next time. Saber wonders about Rider’s intention when he first arrived. Let’s say he didn’t have any and the reason he interfered was because he believes Saber and Lancer should settle their business first. This is because if Saber doesn’t and undo the curse, her severed left hand will be a liability in facing other Servants. Whoever wins will face him. I think Waver has had enough for tonight and is out cold so Rider leaves. Meanwhile Kariya in the shadows is happy everyone turned and ran from Berserker (was it?) especially that arrogant Archer. He wished he could see Tokiomi’s disappointed face. He suddenly vomits blood (with worms!) and knows he won’t last long. But if he can control this, he can win. Elsewhere a subordinate reports to Kirei that she found a familiar sent to observe this church though it was outside their field. Ryuunosuke is thrilled in seeing the Grail War via Caster’s crystal ball and hopes he’ll take part too. Yeah, they aren’t special effects either. But Caster starts crying in happiness because he claims he has found his holy virgin, the maiden of his destiny. I’m sure Ryuunosuke is at a lost on what he’s ranting about. So Saber is his holy virgin? Did he mistake her for somebody or is he just deluded?

Episode 6
Iri is taking Saber for a spin! She’s drifting and loving it! Man, she’s good! I guess this is what happens when a countryside girl gets loose in the city. But they are stopped dead in their tracks when Caster appears before them. He has come for Saber whom he has identified as Jeanne d’Arc but Saber doesn’t recognize him nor have they met before. He is appalled she has forgotten about him and tries to make her remember by identifying himself as Gilles de Rais. He has been praying for her return and spent his life waiting for this miracle. In return for revealing his identity, Saber also reveals she is Arthur Pendragon and he must have mistaken her for somebody else. But Caster isn’t listening and thinks she has gone mad. Furthermore, he curses God for inflicting such a curse. He says the Grail War has ended without fight for the Grail has chosen him as his wish for her revival has been granted. Saber strikes her sword but misses. This is just warning. Noting her heart has been tightly sealed, he promises to return when he has made the necessary preparations. Assassin is thrilled he has killed 2 birds with 1 stone because he has located Caster and must tail him. Ryuunosuke must be happy with his ‘work of art’ but returning Caster is furious that God still wants to keep his beloved. He is going to create a hill of live sacrifices. That means a killing spree, right? Ryuunosuke isn’t so sure about going for quantity over quality. Lancer gets lectured by Kayneth about his actions that made him waste a Command Spell. His fiancee, Sola-Ui thinks Lancer did a good job and mentions Saber has been inflicted with a wound that will not heal so he can finish her off anytime. She also reminds him of the advantage he has over other Masters. Because of the special alteration to the usual Master-Servant contract, Kayneth gets the Command Spells while Sola-Ui acts as an additional Master and supply mana.

The alarm bell rings and there is a call to evacuate the building due to fire. Kayneth knows this is a direct attack by Saber’s Master because he would want to lift the curse as soon as possible. He orders Lancer to greet Saber while he will allow her Master to enjoy the magic filled traps throughout the tower. All the residents of the apartment are safely evacuated and the management is taking a roll call. Kiritsugu pretends to be Kayneth since they can’t remember every resident, right? Once everyone evacuates, Kiritsugu gives the order to blow up the entire building! He orders Maiya to withdraw for now but couldn’t reach her. She is in a fight with Kirei who knows she was the one who sent the familiar to observe the church. Maiya is injured in the fight but manages to escape. Assassin then appears to inform Caster’s location have been identified. Kirei reports to Tokiomi that Caster and his Master are the ones responsible for the murder spree and have been abducting sleeping children in the area. They have already kidnapped 15 kids and are using magic without hesitation and do nothing to hide its trace. Clearly they are violating the rules and must be eliminated. Since defeating another Servant needs another Servant, Kirei notes they can’t send his Assassin. Risei will allow a special rule change and mobilize other Masters to defeat Caster. Kirei returns to his room to see Archer in casual clothes bumming around. Yeah, he’s bored. He’s disappointed in Tokiomi for being boring. They talk about accessing the Root and this leads to Archer asking Kirei’s wish for the Grail. He doesn’t have any but Archer doesn’t buy it. If so, shouldn’t he wish for pleasure? Kirei dismisses it because he links pleasure with sin. Archer rubbishes his logic because only pleasure through evil is sin and no philosophy calls pleasure a sin. Archer finds him interesting and lectures him about entertainment, something he really needs. I’m sure a king like him has experienced all kinds of pleasure so he can give his 2 cents worth of opinion that pleasure is basically a form of the soul. That is what Kirei is lacking since he doesn’t see the form of his soul. He wants Kirei to start by joining him in his entertainment and though he has been given a mission by Tokiomi to watch the other Masters, he can do in between. What’s in it for Archer? He loves observing humans and is bound to find one or two who are interesting. Kirei agrees with his plan but will need time. Archer will wait. This way, Kirei may learn what it is that he seeks.

Episode 7
There is a large mercury ball in the middle of town. Something weird happens to you if you touch it. Risei informs all Masters a temporary change in the rules to cease ongoing combat and to defeat Caster. The one successfully exterminating Caster will receive an extra Command Spell, unused and left behind by previous Masters of the Grail War. But it’s just a ploy for other Masters to hunt and weaken Caster for Archer will deliver the finishing blow. Since there were 5 familiars on the scene, this means Kayneth has survived. Meanwhile Rider gets his first courier package. A t-shirt with a fitting motto of “War Tactics” printed over it. It’s amazing the shirt didn’t get ripped. Is it XXXXXL size? Watching Saber in her modern clothes gave him an idea since he too wants to explore this world. Waver warns him about going outside. Not without proper pants. Yeah, he forgot to order that too. He’ll buy him all the pants he wants if he defeats an enemy Servant. Kiritsugu discusses his next plan. Having Caster mistaking Saber as Jeanne is convenient but doesn’t allow her to fight and would prefer to focus on the enemy attacking Caster as they make better targets. Also, since her left hand isn’t healed, this could mean that Lancer is still alive. Despite the new rule, Kiritsugu can’t trust the judge because he is sheltering Kirei and is most probably in cohorts with Tokiomi. Later Kiritsugu talks to Iri if they could just drop everything and run away. Even if he says he can, she knows he is lying because he would never forgive himself for abandoning the Grail and fail to save the world. He’d take his own life first. They sense an enemy entering the area. It is Caster and he has brought little children with him to draw Saber out. He plays a game of tag with them. How far can those children run? How long will he take to catch them? Well, if he catches them, there’s a live demonstration something horrible happened to one of them. Iri orders Saber to defeat him.

Saber runs into the forest to see Caster and a child. The rest are dead. Caster releases him to her and while Saber tells him the path to safety, the boy dies when a monstrous plant bursts out from his body. And the other dead bodies too. It binds Saber in a strong grip. Angry with Caster, Saber will no longer fight him as she was fighting him for the Grail. Saber cuts through the flowers but notices his mana is not reducing. She realizes his spell book is his Noble Phantasm. A grimoire to command demonic legions his friend left behind. Just as Saber is about to be defeated, Lancer drops in for a much needed assistance. Both sides have their reasons why they want to claim Saber as theirs. Since Lancer’s order was only to defeat Caster, it’s best they cooperate. Kayneth infiltrates the castle with his mercury familiar to challenge Iri to a duel for the Grail. The place is besieged with traps but luckily the mercury protects him from all sorts of harm. He will now exterminate her. He comes into Kiritsugu who tries to make a run. Kiritsugu uses his Time Alter Double Accel skill to slow time down to avoid being killed. Kayneth knows this magic puts a strain on his body so he is confident he can’t run far in that physical condition. Kiritsugu is catching his breath hard and uses Time Alter Triple Stagnate to slow down his heart beat and breathing to prevent that mercury thingy from sensing his presence. He manages to fool Kayneth for the moment and pulls out his special pistol.

Episode 8
Iri and Maiya are escaping through the forest but Iri senses another enemy approaching: Kirei. Despite knowing Kiritsugu ordering Maiya to protect her, Iri feels Kirei must not reach Kiritsugu and vows to protect him. She wants Maiya to believe in what is to be necessary, not what Kiritsugu told her. When Kiritsugu fired his special pistol, the special bullet pierces through Kayneth’s magic barrier and into his shoulder. Kiritsugu makes his escape and Kayneth is one mad Mage. Kirei is ambushed by Maiya’s trap but she let her guard down thinking he got snagged by one of them. Kirei easily overpowers her and beats her up. Iri shows up and uses her magic to bind Kirei’s hand to the tree but his magic is so powerful that the tree splits. Saber and Lancer aren’t making any progress with the demonic minions. They need to dispose of Caster’s grimoire. The plan is Saber will make a path so that Lancer can run with the wind up to Caster and destroy the grimoire. They only have one chance. Saber sets the plan in motion when the demons attack. Lancer manages to cut the grimoire and turn all the monsters into a river of blood. As the duo face off with Caster, the coward flees by casting a red mist. Lancer feels uneasy as he realizes his Master is in danger. As a knight, Saber wants him to go protect him because they swore to settle matters as knights. Kayneth is weakening though his angry grows. Eventually he finds Kiritsugu and vows not to kill him so easily. Kiritsugu fires his special pistol once more and Kayneth is confident his trick won’t work a second time because he has beefed up his magic barrier. We have a short flashback of Kiritsugu meeting with some woman. She told him the properties of this special bullet. I don’t understand all that technical explanation except that it works very powerful against Mages. It destroys Magic Circuits and then reconnects them improperly. The more powerful, the more the Magic Circuits will lose control and they won’t recover as a Mage or human. That’s why his mystic code is Origin Bullet and has only 66 of them (I believe it was made out from his ribs). So use them sparingly.

The special bullet once again tears through Kayneth’s defence and it is breaking him apart. It’s like as though he contracted some sort of deadly virus. Kiritsugu is about to finish him off but Lancer protects him. He knows Kiritsugu is Saber’s Master and won’t allow him to easily kill his Master. He also won’t kill him and lets him live for now. He can thank Saber’s nobility as the King of Knights for that. Lancer takes Kayneth and leaves the castle. Kirei is interrogating Iri for answers. He knows she is not Saber’s Master because she lacks Command Spells. He knows the ladies fought him to protect Kiritsugu but wants to know on whose will they are doing so. Assassin reports Caster, Lancer and Kayneth have all left and Saber is coming soon. Kirei stabs Iri with his swords and escapes. He can’t believe these women fought him on his own accord and not someone else’s order. He believes Kiritsugu is just like him. Understood and acknowledged by nobody. Empty to the core. Saber arrives on the scene with Maiya heavily wounded while Iri has lost lots of blood. But no worries. Iri suddenly gets up. Iri remembers Kiritsugu giving her the Noble Phantasm called Avalon which heals all wounds. Since Iri will accompany Saber from now on since Saber needs someone to supply mana to her or the scabbard’s effects won’t manifest. Kiritsugu wants her to keep this a secret and not even tell Saber. As Iri heals Maiya, she notes they were lucky today to have fought against the Executor and lived. She is certain she can’t let him reach Kiritsugu.

Episode 9
A short flashback of Lancer’s life as Diarmuid. Fionn MacCumhaill, hero of Aillen and leader of Fianna got engaged to Grainne but it was Diarmuid that Grainne has her heart on. They both elope and Fionn sent a chasing pack after them. Despite Fionn recognizing their marriage in the end, he still won’t let go of the old grudge and thus Diarmuid was betrayed and left to die. Those were the memories that Kayneth saw. He is in a daze, still shocked from what has happened. He is strapped to the bed and Sola-Ui is by his side. Noting that his Magic Circuits are destroyed and that he can’t use magic again (his organs were regenerated by her and it’s a miracle he didn’t die), all is not lost as she is confident the Grail will restore everything to the way it was if they win. She wants him to give her his Command Spells and take over as Lancer’s Master. He refuses seeing Lancer won’t easily abandon him and swear loyalty to her as his Master easily. Besides, he thinks Lancer is hiding something because he doesn’t believe that he has no wish for the Grail. Persuasion failed. Time to get nasty. Sola-Ui breaks his little finger to coax him into giving the Command Spells! If he still refuses, she will have to chop off his right hand! Devil woman! Iri puts Maiya into bed as Saber feels the need to hunt down Caster soon before more children is sacrificed. Iri goes talk to Kiritsugu and it seems Maiya won’t be able to move for another day or two. Kiritsugu decides to hunt Kayneth down himself and knowing Saber wants to stop Caster, he reminds Iri that their goal isn’t to save a dozen of children. Although Saber does not doubt Lancer’s sincerity, if he betrayed them, the Grail War would be over for them. Sola-Ui summons Lancer and concocts her own story that cowardly Kayneth has abandoned the Grail War. She shows the Command Spells on her hand as proof she has become his Master. Lancer refuses to acknowledge her because he only serves 1 Master and that he is a knight before a Servant. Sola-Ui tries to persuade Lancer to work together but he is willing to not seek the Grail if Kayneth has abandoned this battle. Finally Sola-Ui tells him the only way to return him back to normal is to win the Grail. He needs a miracle. She even swears on her heart that she will seek the Grail on Kayneth’s behalf and not her own. Lancer notices the look in her eyes is the same as Grainne. All he sought for in this life was the loyalty denied to him in his last.

Rider seems to be making himself like home, drinking and laughing with Waver’s ‘grandparents’. Back in his room, Waver takes out his alchemist set and conducts experiments from the water samples he took from several points along the river. Most of the samples turn out to be spell casting residue and if he follows the lead, it might lead him to Caster’s hideout. Finally there is a spot that is clean without any magic remnants and Waver deduces this is where he may be hiding. Rider is eager to take on Caster but Waver cautions that he has the greatest advantage when it comes to territory defence. Rider wants to strike when the iron is hot. After all, territories can change within seconds in battle. Miss it and you might regret it. Rider and Waver ride through the sewer tunnels, crushing over the little monster familiars over the place. Though Caster is not in, Rider doesn’t want Waver to look at this hideous spot. Against his advice, Rider takes a peek and can’t handle it. It must be so gross and sickening that it can’t even be shown! Feel like puking? Blood everywhere… No time to get emotional because Rider just deflected a blade from Assassin. Waver is surprised because he thought Assassin had died. Apparently a few more Assassins pop up to flank them but they soon disappear into the shadows. Noting this is their territory, Rider advises it’s best they get out of here. Not before torching the place so Caster have no place to return and hide. Kirei reports to Tokiomi about the discovery of Assassin’s existence by others. Tokiomi wants Kirei’s Assassin to continue watching Rider to uncover his trump card but be extra careful.

Episode 10
Rin tries her hand in magic but fails. Tokiomi demonstrates and shows her how it is done by controlling his mana, be careful not to put too much power in it or it will backfire and most important of all, do it with elegance. It may be hard for Rin now but with hard work, she’ll be able to do it. She is after all the daughter of the Tohsaka family. In school, Rin is quite a popular girl. At least her classmates seek her guidance in doing school work. Feisty Rin was also cool enough to help defend her friend Kotone from a couple of bullies. When Rin learns that she will have to leave Fuyuki City with her mom because daddy is participating in the Grail War, she becomes upset that she is unable to help out and thought they’re just in the way. Still adamant in wanting to help, she goes through Tokiomi’s collection of grimoires. I don’t think those complicated stuffs are of her level. One of the grimoires got activated and tried to pull her in. If not for Tokiomi putting a stop to it, Rin could’ve been devoured by the book. He gives her a mana compass that detects anything with mana. If its needle goes out of control, it means that mana is beyond her capability and should be careful. The serial kidnappings of children in Fuyuki have become so rampant that it causes Rin to be worried for Kotone. She didn’t come to class for days and when one of the bullies went missing (though a funeral was held, his body wasn’t really in the coffin), she thinks it’s time to head to Fuyuki City by herself to look for Kotone.

Fuyuki City looks scary at night. It’s like a different world. Mana is everywhere.  Rin walks around to search for clues when she sees a strange guy with a kid out this late. He is Ryuunosuke and it seems he has hypnotized a kid to come with him. Rin follows them till she realizes he got another kid in his hand. Feeling she won’t accomplish anything at this rate by tailing in the shadows, she decides to go on the offensive. This leads her to an underground closed bar. To her horror, she sees Kotone and other children lying around with no response all over the place. Of course Ryuunosuke spots her and ‘invites’ her to join the ‘party’. Not enough people? Either way he’s not going to let her go. Rin realizes his bracelet is the one controlling the kids and focuses her magic into destroying it. The backfire causes a slight painful distraction to Ryuunosuke. All the kids awake from their spell and in a daze. Rin tells them all to make a run for it. In the aftermath, the police have cordoned the place off and Rin heaves a sigh of relief watching the events close from an alley. Suddenly her compass goes berserk and a monster plant drops beside her. Kariya saves her before she becomes monster food. Aoi is driving all the way to Fuyuki City unable to believe her daughter went there all by herself. She finds Rin sleeping soundly at a park bench and to her surprise, Kariya. Even more shocking is half his face has become hideous as the price paid for using the magic of Matou family. You offer your flesh, it devours your life slowly. Kariya lets her know that he will win the Grail War to release Sakura since Zouken only covets the Grail. He is confident Sakura and Rin will become sisters again and they can all play in this park like they used to. Aoi wonders if he is planning to die after killing Tokiomi. Life returns to normal for Rin. She takes her magic practice one step at a time, working hard to uphold her father’s teachings. Till then, she’ll do her best elegantly.

Episode 11
Saber and Iri are walking through the ruins of the castle when Rider rides in. He’s in his t-shirt…  I guess this means he isn’t here to fight and invites Saber to drink. At the open garden, they talk about the Grail War and he wants to ascertain their ranks among each other and to see who is more suited to be king of the Grail. Archer makes his appearance and it seems he was invited by Rider too when he saw him in town. Arrogant Archer didn’t want to drink from his cheap wine and lets them have a taste of his fine wine. Truly good indeed. But Rider quips the Grail isn’t a drinking cup so it doesn’t automatically makes Archer the king of them all. Archer asserts all treasures in the world could be traced back to him and thus each one of them belongs to him. Anyone who thinks of taking it is just a brazen thief. So is he saying if they ask, he’ll give them the Grail? If they become his subjects. Rider points out Archer doesn’t really want the Grail and his reply is that he has to administer punishment to thieves. Because he is king, he makes the law, he executes them. For Rider, his style is to take whatever he wants. All that’s left now is to cross swords. Saber is puzzled because Rider acknowledges the Grail’s ownership to someone else and yet he wants to take it. Rider embarrassingly reveals his goal for the Grail is true incarnation. Wasn’t it world domination? He won’t have some cup do it for him and he would prefer to that with his own hands. This is what true conquest is about. Saber disagrees his way to be a king. Her wish is that she wants salvation for her country and avert Britain’s destruction. Kirei reports to Tokiomi about the kings having their conversation. Tokiomi wants to distinguish the strength between Archer and Rider so her orders Tokiomi to send Assassin to attack. Regardless if Assassin win or lose, they have nothing to lose in this gamble since they’ll be able to discern Rider’s strength.

The conversation between kings continues. Saber feels guilty and responsible for the downfall of her country. Archer couldn’t hold back his laughter because she calls herself king and is praised by everyone and yet she laments it. Saber feels it is a king’s duty to sacrifice and ensure the prosperity of his nation. Rider thinks otherwise. A king does not sacrifice but it is the country and people that sacrifice for the king. That sounds like a tyrant? That’s because they are tyrants that they are Heroes. If a king regrets his rule or conclusion, that king is a fool, worse than a tyrant. Saber points out Rider’s crumble of his empire and dynasty but Rider doesn’t regret it. He may feel sad but certainly he would never regret. He won’t even undo it. By doing so would be a mockery to those who fought with him to build his empire. Saber adds only brute warriors find glory in destruction. She doesn’t mind dying for her just ideals. Even if it’s not how a human should live, being a king means forfeit being human. She doubts he will understand because he only seeks the Grail for his own benefit. If that’s the case, Saber must have been a saint in her life. But who will admire the martyr’s thorny life? Being king means to be greedier and more furious than everybody. He must exemplify all things, good and evil. That’s why everyone adores him. Saber’s righteous ideals may have saved her country once but what happens to those who are constantly saved? Saber may have saved them but she never led them. She never showed them what a king should be while abandoning everyone who got lost as she followed her own petty ideals. She is just a little girl bound by a false idol of a king who serves others but not herself. Saber is pretty stunned by his words. I guess she realizes there are truths in them. In fact, all. Archer couldn’t help laugh because seeing her anguish expression was really a sight to behold. Like a virgin getting deflowered. He likes it. Saber draws her sword when suddenly the place is surrounded by Assassins. They proclaim they are one but split into many. Rider offers them to drink and talk but Assassin throws his knife to break the ladle. If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they’ll get and regret.

Rider transforms into his battle gear and asks the final question if a king should be alone. Saber answers yes to that. Wrong answer. Rider will show them what it is to be a true king. Suddenly the field turns into an open hot desert. A place where his armies rode across this land. He can materialize this because it exists in his heart. Then he summons his army. They are other Heroic Spirits from around the world. Some are legendary fighters and they all are loyal to him. This is his bond with them, his greatest treasure, his path to kingship. This is his Noble Phantasm, Ionian Hetairoi. Every one of them is his Servant. Rider adds a king must live more vividly than others and collects the envy of all his heroes and stands as their guide. Therefore a king is not alone for his will equals that of all his followers combined. Rider orders his army to annihilate all the Assassins since they have a disadvantage of being in an open area with no place to hide. After the slaughter, they return to the open garden. Rider calls it a night and doesn’t acknowledge Saber as a king anymore. He hopes this little girl will wake up from her sad dream because if she doesn’t, she’ll lose that pride as a Heroic Spirit. The dream of kingship she spoke is a curse. After Rider leaves, Archer tells Saber she need not listen to him. All she needs to do is follow her own path in what she believes. After all, nobody would understand the burden she shoulders. Also, he enjoys seeing her face squirm in agony. So keep it up and she may be worthy of his love. After Archer leaves, Saber remembers a knight who claimed King Arthur didn’t understand his subjects. She feels those sentiments were shared by everyone at the Round Table.

Episode 12
Tokiomi and Kirei discuss Rider’s Noble Phantasm and they’re glad they have known it is on par with Archer’s. Should they have gone head to head with him, they might not be able to defend against it. With Assassin out of the game, Tokiomi will use the information Assassin gathered and mobilize Archer to defeat his enemies, confident a means to defeat Rider will manifest along the way. Maiya reports to Kiritsugu about Assassin eliminated for good. Kiritsugu summarizes the current state and location of the other Masters. He is baffled with Kirei’s actions because if he was cooperating with Tokiomi, he wouldn’t step out of the church but yet he went out and ambush his castle and Kayneth’s plaza. Archer sees Kirei coming into his room and notes how happy he is. Kirei is relieved that he has been taken off this burdensome game. They discuss about unused Command Spells that return to the Holy Grail should a Master loses his Servant. Then the Grail will choose a new Master and redistribute them to him. The Grail chooses the next Master it has previously found suitable thus there is a high probability an ex-Master will receive those unused Command Spells. That’s why participants in the Grail War kill enemy Masters rather than disable them. That’s also the reason why the Church protects Masters that have dropped out. Kirei believes he won’t be chosen again because if the Grail chose him to support Tokiomi, then he has fulfilled his duty. Maiya guides Iri and Saber to a new house, a Japanese mansion that they will use as their new base of operations. They check the insides of the rundown house and Iri feels it is too open to work her magic and needs a room that is walled off. Saber remembers the key Maiya handed her was for the storage and takes her there. Iri finds it suitable to craft her magic and starts making her preparations. Saber then asks about her not touching things today. She thinks she is not feeling well. Iri get permission to squeeze Saber’s hand. She has no power to even hold it. Because she wasn’t feeling well, she severed one of her senses (touch, in this case) so that it won’t interfere with anything she does. It’s an ability she has as a homunculus and she reminds she isn’t exactly a normal human so a normal doctor won’t be able to treat her.

Archer continues his conversation with Kirei. The latter thinks he is being mocked and his efforts wasted. On the contrary, Assassin’s death wasn’t wasted and paid off splendidly. The talk shifts to pleasure that Kirei is still having a hard time to understand. Archer points out that all of the Masters except for Tokiomi, he noticed has been somewhat obsessed with Kariya. He spoke of him in great detail. Kirei says the circumstances around him are complicated and admits he made a judgmental error as Kariya poses no long term threat and not worth the attention. Archer asks him to imagine a scenario if Kariya and Berserker survives till the end. What is the point of imagining Kariya’s victory? Archer points there is none. What he is trying to say is that the usually sharp Kirei would’ve immediately realized the pointlessness of investigation a Master that would be deemed unworthy. That was not how it went with Kariya. He abandoned his sharp wits and wasted time in pointless thoughts and didn’t mind if the effort was wasted. In short, he enjoyed it. Kirei disagrees that there is nothing entertaining in Kariya’s life but Archer feels he is viewing pleasure from a narrow point of view because he is confused and doesn’t understand. Kirei becomes upset because though Archer loves seeing the torment of others, to him that is the soul of a sinner and must be punished. Maybe that’s why he equated pleasure and sin together. Suddenly Kirei feels pain on his hand and the Command Spell reappears on it. Looks like he’s back in the game. This makes Kirei questions what he truly seeks from the Grail. He can only know that after he destroys 6 other wishes. Archer tells him to do as he desires. That is the true meaning of entertainment, which leads to pleasure and ultimately happiness. From now on, everything else is up to him.

Episode 13
Waver sees in his dream Rider reaching the sea of Okeanos. Next morning he has a ‘change of heart’ and brings Rider out to town. Meanwhile Ryuunosuke is disheartened that his works of art in the sewers are destroyed. Ironically he calls those destroyers inhuman. He thought they had too much fun and God punished them. Caster tells him God never punishes humans but only toys with them. That is because when he committed greater atrocities and blasphemies, God never once punished him. It was the Church and State to destroy him. The same people like them with self-interests. So what brought an end to his evil wasn’t God’s judgment but theft because the Church and State took his wealth and land after executing him. Ryuunosuke still believe God exists. He starts explaining how boring this world is and how one needs to find ways to entertain. There has to be an entertainer who is writing a saga for all the humans. To describe such feat, God is the only thing you could call that person. Caster wonders if God loves humans and Ryuunosuke couldn’t agree more because he writes the saga continuously and restlessly. He may love good virtues but also bad ones. Otherwise there’s no way fresh intestines could be so colourful. Huh? Caster admires his views but wonders if his atrocities would be a farce according to his viewpoint. On the contrary, God loves playing along with his antics. Caster takes that that both praise and blasphemy are forms of worship. He has a new respect for his Master and sees God in a new light. They need to stain His garden with brilliant colours of despair and terror. So the duo are going to begin the greatest entertainment on Earth as Caster begins chanting his spell over the river. Waver is at the library looking researching about Alexander the Great when Rider finds him. Yeah, he bought some video game and is eager to play it. Rider realizes what Waver is doing and finds it odd because he could’ve just asked the real deal in front of him. So was he this short as stated in the records? Well, no. But Rider isn’t upset and though people in power do want to leave their name in history for immortality, if it’s just his name and nothing else, he’d rather have a hundred of that to his life.

On the way back, Waver laments the boring person Rider is and even if he won the Grail War, he couldn’t take pride in it. He feels he should’ve contracted with Assassin. He is okay if he dies since he prefers to die in his own battles. Rider advises him this Grail War isn’t the most important event in his life but down the road, he’ll be forced into his own battles whether he likes it or not. Waver points out that he isn’t the only one who is dissatisfied with this contract and is sure Rider didn’t like to have a pathetic and incompetent Master like him. Rider takes out the world map and points out this is their enemy. He wants him to draw them fighting it side by side, which is impossible. The point is, against the enemy, they’re both the same. There is no point in comparing how big they are. Waver still feels inferior but Rider says that feeling is king’s quality because he may complain a lot but he knows how small he is and yet struggle to reach greater heights. When Rider mentions his dream of reaching Okeanos didn’t come true, Waver realizes the scene he saw was just an imagined scene Rider held very close to his heart. Anyhow, Rider is fine with a contract with him. Suddenly they feel something strange coming from the river. Saber and Iri rush to the scene and see Caster in the midst of his nefarious scheme. He is pouring and incredible amount of mana out. Caster gets absorbed by the giant monster surfacing from the river. Rider arrives and he tells Saber he went around telling others. Lancer agreed to help out and should be here in no time. Because Iri has fought Caster before she warns that the monster is currently maintaining its form via Caster’s mana but once it gets its own food source, it’s game over. They need to settle this before it reaches the coast and starts eating. But Caster has sealed himself within that monster so it won’t be easy to draw him out. Rider says as long as his Noble Phantasm is visible, he can thrust his Gae Daerg and destroy it in a strike. Rider and Saber will take to the frontlines then. Rider’s mobility means his road is anywhere but as for Saber, since she has the protection of the Lady of the Lake, no body of water can stop her. I take that she can walk on water! Rider and Saber being their assault.

Please! Einzbern Consultation Room 1
We take a break from the first half of the season to bring you this special from the DVD that lasts 10 minutes each. Here, we have Iri and her amnesiac student T-chan as hosts. Because T-chan is student number 0, she is nicknamed Zecchan. I later discovered she is Taiga Fujimura who lost her memories. They explain to us the workings of the Holy Grail War. So we are given the brief introduction of what is this war all about (the 7 teams killing each other for that single cup – you know this drill) and mainly the history of how this war came to be. The first war started out as an internal strife between the Three Families that discovered the system of the Grail. When they realized only one wish can be granted, they betrayed and turned on each other. Because 7 Heroic Spirits are required to conceive the Grail, they invited 4 other outside Mages to participate. By the time the second war came, the ritual turned into an all-out war and because there were no rules, everybody died in a murder spree. Thus the Three Families took precautions and establish precise rules for the third war which include inviting an outside third party, the Church to supervise the many Grail Wars. However the war hasn’t produced a single winner yet because in all 3 wars, everyone went down simultaneously. With no suitable to activate, the Grail disappeared from the world. It will take 60 years for the mana to accumulate in which a new war will begin. This segment ends with Iri and Zecchan discussing about Iri’s husband, Kiritsugu who is participating in the fourth war. Well, let’s just say she really loves him. Love is blind indeed.

Please! Einzbern Consultation Room 2
Now Iri turns her consultation room into a law office. No customers so far… The consultation continues with Iri defining the meaning of magic and how Mages preserve it by passing it down their generations that’s why bloodlines are important to Mages as each passing generation the Mages will grow stronger though the magic used by each family differs. Because magic is expensive to pursue, only wealthy and distinguished families remain in using them. Zecchan isn’t happy that Kiritsugu doesn’t look like a traditional magician because he uses modern weapons in his fight and no magic at all. As Iri puts it, there are champions of tradition, deviants of tradition and those in between. For example, Waver may be of the new age that values tradition but feels there are certain areas that can be revisited, Ryuunosuke knows nothing about magic while Kariya totally shuns them. Kiritsugu has no pride of a Mage and does what is needed once his enemies’ weakness is exposed. Next topic is about summoning of Heroic Spirits who are from legends and tales of the past. They are referred to as classes because one of the reasons is to conceal their real identity. Once their real identity is out, the enemies may use information to bring down him down which will be a severe disadvantage. After all, it is already written in the legends and tales of that Hero’s downfall. While Saber, Lancer and Archer are top combat classes, their ability to collect information is weak. Thus classes like Caster may not be strong in battle but his forte is collecting information. So simply being strong in the war isn’t enough to guarantee victory. Zecchan must have grasped the basics and probably would like to have a go at participating in this war and fight a Servant herself. She’s going to work hard and repay Iri’s kindness so Iri gets ecstatic and even quips her passion nearly turned her into a lesbian! She takes Zecchan out to drink. Only thing is she’s underage…

Please! Einzbern Consultation Room 3
Iri has remodelled the place to look like a kitchen. I don’t even want to know the ingredients she’s putting into the tea. Suddenly they receive their first customer! Wow! Who could it be? Erm… That’s Assassin, right? Well, whoever he is, he is still a customer. So we have Assassin introducing himself as Zayd, one of the many personalities of the Hundred Faced Hassan. See how he is stressing this point? He’s lost them. Yeah, he’s ranting on how great this Hassan guy is during the Grail War. So while we learn that this Hassan Sabbah isn’t just a guy but a religious organization (thus the reason why there are many of them and the separate multiple personalities is his Noble Phantasm called Zabaniya), Zecchan points it bluntly he is a fake among fakes! That must’ve hurt his pride. Even more so when Iri puts it he got killed in the second episode and tricked and used by his Master. Getting back on track, the trouble Zayd is facing is that he feels he has been used no more than for surveillance and can’t stand the slander of being called useless anymore. It’s not his fault. Suddenly Zayd finds himself in the dark room while the girls circle around him. They’re trying to question him if he didn’t do anything wrong. Hmm… His shady job, his snuck around coolly doing cool poses just to show off. So? Did he do nothing wrong? At this point Zayd is overcome with guilt and wonders what he did wrong. The girls relish in his reaction. Before he knows it, he’s back in the room and has repented. He’ll mend his old ways and wish to work for her by serving tea. However Iri says no can do because there is a place he needs to be now despite having his troubles cleared. He needs to go realize his ambitions as a Servant once more and to the battlefield. She knows he can do it. Zayd is touched by her words and encouragement and leaves. They ask him his wish and that is to leave his name in the pages of history as they have no name. Zecchan is excited that their consultation has saved troubled young men like him but Iri says they didn’t save him. You can’t change fate. The most they can do is listen to their problems so they can pass away without regrets. Zecchan becomes depressed but soon picks herself up and is confident the Grail can save anything. Lastly, Zecchan recites textbook style what she has learnt about the Grail War. I think I need time to digest everything. I’m puzzled because they say this Grail is the 726th when so far there has only been fourth of such wars. Iri is impressed with Zecchan and thinks she could be a good teacher. They’re going to work hard to bring success to this consultation room. Meanwhile Zayd is rushing along confident he has no more doubts and will earn Kirei’s respect. Suddenly he is absorbed into the wormhole whereby Rider is mercilessly slaying all his other personalities. You can’t change fate alright.

Episode 14
A couple of JSDF jet fighters are flying towards the monster. You think their missiles can work when the Heroes are having a hard time cutting it down? Thanks to its quick regeneration, it’s like wasted efforts. Risei feels the situation is going out of control. A thick fog is enveloping the river and there are more witnesses gathering. He feels the need to request aid from the Mage Association. While he handles the cover up, he wants Kirei to aid Tokiomi who is on his way with Archer to the scene (what kind of UFO are they riding?). Tokiomi wants Archer to eliminate the beast but he is reluctant to do the ‘dirty job of a gardener’. He agrees when Tokiomi mentions this is his perfect chance to show his true strength as a Hero since none of them can do it. Archer drops his swords on the monster but unfortunately it regenerates. Archer wants to leave seeing he has wasted 4 of his swords (he won’t take them back since it got ‘tainted’ by the beast). Tokiomi suggests drawing his greatest treasure to destroy it in a single shot but was shot down by Archer. He feels those words are insulting and should be punishable by death. Tokiomi is in a dilemma. Should he use his Command Spell? After all, all this was supposed to get him back his Command Spell but now it has backfired. Using another one would hurt his relationship with Archer.

One of the jet fighters closes in on the monster and gets devoured. His other comrade is going to avenge his death and fire everything he’s got when suddenly the jet gets taken over by Berserker. Tokiomi goes to confront Kariya while Berserker and Archer have an aerial battle. Kariya has only one question for Tokiomi: Why did he give Sakura to the Matou family. He only wished for a brighter future for his daughters. Any Mages with 2 children face a painful dilemma because only one can inherit the family secrets and the other must fall into the rabble. Because both his daughters had that high potential, they needed the protection that a Mage association can provide. As a father he couldn’t risk destroying the future of one for the other. No choice, he gave up Sakura for adoption and the Matou’s request couldn’t be more than a blessing. Kariya isn’t happy this will pit Rin and Sakura against each other. Even so, Tokiomi notes his descendents will be happy. Glory goes to the winner and the loser will rest, knowing it went to the family. Erm? Isn’t that a contradiction about his statement for a brighter future for his daughters? Tokiomi feels grateful to Kariya since he refused to carry on the Matou line magic, it went to Sakura. However he can’t forgive him for running away from the responsibility of his blood and death is the only answer. Enough talk. Let’s get on with the killing. Oops. Kariya sends his insects to devour him.

Ryuunosuke revels in seeing all kinds of guts and gore when suddenly he is shot in the stomach. Maybe he was too noisy that he was targeted? The monster stops dead in his tracks and Caster knows his Master is in grave danger. Ryuunosuke sees the blood from his gut and realizes it was what he was searching for all the time. Yeah, most beautiful thing ever? You could say it was right under his nose. The final shot to his head kills him and his Command Spells disappear. Caster is saddened over his death but will fulfil his promise by showing him the coolest parting gift. The monster starts moving again and grows stronger. Kiritsugu is revealed as the sniper and his next move now is to stop the immortal monster. They know the irreversible damage when it reaches the shore and the Grail War may even be abandoned. They need to destroy it in a single strike. A Noble Phantasm that is suited not for destroying people or armies, but fortified structure. Saber has that but Lancer’s curse on her hand leaves her unable to use it. He feels the need to show them the meaning of chivalry that they’re so proud of.

Episode 15
Rider wants everyone to regroup since they aren’t making progress. He suggests drawing the creature into his Ionian Hetairoi and even his combined warriors can’t destroy it. While he stalls the creature in his Reality Marble, he wants them to come up with a plan to victory. Kariya is bleeding like mad but his insects have no effect on Tokiomi’s barrier. Seeing the pitiful state he has fallen, Tokiomi gives him his final gift by burning him. Kariya falls off below. Kirei wanted to finish him off but remembers Archer’s words about entertainment and unconscious interest and heals him. Since Iri doesn’t know how to use her handphone, Waver takes the call. It is from Kiritsugu and he wants to know if Rider can position the contents of Reality Marble at a particular location. Only about 100 metres or so. Kiritsugu wants him to wait for the right moment when he’ll fire a flare. Rider is to materialize underneath it. He also wants Waver to tell Lancer that Saber’s left arm holds an anti-fortress Noble Phantasm. Lancer confirms with Saber this Noble Phantasm can kill the monster in a strike. However she considers this wound as an honour. Lancer as a knight cannot allow Caster’s terror to spread so it is not who should win this fight, but their knight’s path of chivalry. He breaks his golden spear to free Saber from the curse. Another problem creeps up because Berserker abandons his dogfight with Archer to attack Saber. Archer views this as an insult and he carelessly got slightly wounded by Berserker’s surprise shot.

One of Rider’s messengers appears to report that they can’t hold the creature much longer. Saber is having her hands full fending off Berserker so Lancer volunteers to take care of that pest. He destroys the jet fighter and Archer finishes him with his swords. Kiritsugu is at the designated spot at sea and fires his flare. Waver tells the messenger that is the signal for Rider. The monster materializes at that spot as Saber powers up her Excalibur that contains the hope of all warriors, past, present and future. Archer wants to see and judge her brilliance as a Heroic Spirit. In a single swing, Excalibur breaks open the monster. Caster is attracted by the light and believes this brilliance that blessed him and Jeanne. I guess that’s goodbye. Archer wonders if Rider’s opinion on Saber has changed after seeing her brilliance. He is still not convinced and that brightness is still what makes it tragic. Archer sees those tears she shed during her final moments as sweet. Rider concludes they can never see eye to eye but will settle this the next time. Archer allows him to retreat as killing him when he is not at his full strength will give him no satisfaction. Rider takes it as Archer is wounded from Berserker’s fight. Archer takes an interest in Saber and claiming himself as the only one in Heaven and Earth who has the right to love her in her destruction.

Episode 16
Kirei drops Kariya off at the latter’s home despite knowing he’ll be a threat to his master. However he is confused with this excitement he feels and does not feel regret. While Kayneth sees Risei to obtain the additional Command Spell for Lancer’s important role in destroying Caster, Sola-Ui is revelling in her Command Spells when suddenly Maya cuts off her arm!!! OH SH*T!!!Then she shoots and destroys the arm. Risei accepts Kayneth’s reasons and gives him the additional Command Spell. Soon after, Kayneth shoots and kills Risei. The reason being since he has only 1 Command Spell, he is at a disadvantage and cannot allow other Masters to acquire additional Command Spells. Lancer learns of Sola-Ui’s predicament and reports back to Kayneth. He is enraged he couldn’t protect her. She is now missing and because there was no proper contract between them, Lancer couldn’t discern her position. Kayneth is worried that she has the Command Spells but Lancer assures she is still alive because her mana is feeding him. Kayneth continues to admonish Lancer that he is all talk about his pride and thinks he was trying to seduce his fiancée. Saber and Iri soon arrive. Lancer learns they do not know about Sola-Ui’s case. Saber isn’t here to talk. She’s here to settle their match since the other Servants won’t be fighting tonight and will be on the defensive. This means they won’t be interrupted. Both Heroes engage in their honour fight but Lancer notices she is not using her left hand. She says not to get the wrong idea because using it will only dull her blade and a fatal mistake to make again against his spear. Thus this is the best strategy she can use to beat him.

Kayneth is appalled that Lancer couldn’t even beat Saber but his concern right now is that they should run and find Sola-Ui. No need to do that because Kiritsugu is nearby holding her unconscious at gunpoint as hostage. Kiritsugu throws him a Self Geas Scroll. From what I understand it is a magic binding contract that cannot be broken even in death. The condition for this Geas to take effect so that Kiritsugu can never kill Kayneth and Sola-Ui has Kayneth realize his fight for the Grail will end here. The honour match is interrupted when Lancer stabs his own heart with his spear. The Geas condition was to have Kayneth using his Command Spell to order Lancer to commit suicide. Lancer in his final breathe becomes enrage that they tainted his honour for their personal gain and curses them and hopes the Grail will bring only misery. With Geas in effect, Kiritsugu now cannot kill them. However Maiya snipes and kills them! Sneaky bastard! Saber finishes off the job since Kayneth is pitifully pleading to end his life. Saber is disgusted with Kiritsugu’s ways and now cannot believe that he will use the Grail to save the world even if she wins. Iri is also shocked and wants an explanation. Kiritsugu explains if only the Master is killed, the Servant would be free to form a contract with another Master. That’s why both Master and Servant must be simultaneously killed. He continues to add there is no honour and glory in a battlefield. It is hell itself and victory is the name for the crime paid by the pain of the defeated. Though his wish is still to win the Grail and save the world, what he did was employing appropriate methods at his disposal. He cares nothing about righteousness because it cannot save the world. He will make sure this Grail will be the last blood humanity will spill and will achieve it if it means staining his hands with every evil in the world. After Kiritsugu leaves, Iri collapses.

Episode 17
Kirei finds Risei’s dead body at the church and reports to Tokiomi who is visibly upset. Archer thought Kirei’s no-show of emotion was due to the fact that he didn’t have the chance to kill his father. Iri is healed back at their mansion when Maiya comes in with a letter from Tokiomi requesting to meet at the church to form an alliance. They discuss about him making elaborated preparations for the Grail War and if he is the one controlling Kirei in the shadows, all the more reason they can’t ignore this offer. Iri wants Saber to remember Kirei’s name for his is the man who can defeat Kiritsugu. Before Tokiomi proceeds to the church he stops by to meet his family. He talks to Rin, telling her to keep the Church in her debt. Everything else is based on her judgment and if she wishes to continue to be a Mage, she must undertake the responsibility of the Tohsaka family to attain the Grail. Tokiomi and Iri meet. He introduces Kirei as his student and once his competitor in this Grail War. Because 3 of the participants left are from the founding families and 1 an outsider, Tokiomi doesn’t want the Grail to fall to the outsider’s hands. Iri doesn’t want an alliance but a temporary ceasefire. They’ll settle things between themselves once other Masters are defeated. She lays down several conditions to work together. He must share any details he has about Rider and he must remove Kirei from the Grail War because there’s bad blood between the Einzbern camp and that Executor. Tokiomi seems surprised to hear this. When the leave, Saber rides first to check if the path is clear. Maiya follows behind and drives Iri home. Iri grows weak and explains about herself as a homunculus created for the Grail. That vessel for the Grail is disguised under the veil of “Iri”. She is surprised she could last this long. That’s why Avalon was left with her because it halts aging and has infinite healing powers. Its effects are what prevent Iri’s shell from collapsing. Of course the further Saber is away, the less effective it becomes. Iri is telling her this because she would acknowledge her and not pity her. Maiya promises to protect her with her life.

Tokiomi though would’ve preferred his dealings with Iri, dismisses Kirei from the participation. Kirei packs up but Archer comes to talk to him about his hesitation. Kirei gets a phone call and now he knows Iri’s location. Archer laughs and believes he is going to continue with this game. Kirei admits he once hesitated and did think of stopping and acknowledges Archer as correct because there is no other way to have his questions answered. He shows his arm filled with Command Spells. Before Risei died, he wrote in his blood a chapter from the Bible, Jn424 and Kirei took in all his Command Spells. Kirei reveals the truth behind this war. The ritual in Fuyuki is an attempt to open a passage to the Root through sacrifice of the souls of the 7 Heroic Spirits. Once can activate the Grail by killing all 7 Heroic Spirits. That’s why Tokiomi tried so hard not to use them as he needs one to force his own Servant to commit suicide once all the battles are over. Archer seems disappointed that this is all Tokiomi is worth. The both of them talk and indicate they should form a contract and be Master and Servant. Before Kirei leaves town, he talks to Tokiomi at his mansion. He gives a letter to Kirei that in worst case scenario, it leaves the Tohsaka family headship to Rin and Kirei named as her guardian till she comes of age. He wants her to train Rin as a senior apprentice when the Grail War is over. He agrees. Tokiomi gives him an Azoth dagger as gift as it symbolizes his mastery of the Tohsaka family’s magic and marks the end of his apprenticeship. As Tokiomi shows him the door out, Kirei stabs him in the back with the dagger! You can really say this is backstabbing. Kirei and Archer then make a pact and they become Master and Servant respectively. As long as Kirei continues to amuse him, he is okay to give the Grail to him as his reward. Kirei has no qualms in playing to fool till he seeks the answers he wants.

Episode 18
A little flashback at Kiritsugu’s past. He was growing up as a boy on a tropical island with his father, Noritaka as a researcher. One of the island locals, Shirley treats him like her little brother and even calls him Kerry (I guess his original name is hard to pronounce). Shirley is also Noritaka’s assistant in his research and has successfully created her first plant that will not wilt. Noritaka however has already reached his hundredth. He has altered the plants’ time flow and though they won’t age beyond their present appearance, they won’t die either. The question now is to test this theory out on humans. Shirley thought Kiritsugu should try planting one too but Noritaka forbids since it is too early for him. He only let Shirley tried because he believes she has the necessary knowledge and expertise. Even if Kiritsugu gets along well with the other locals, the villagers never liked Noritaka since he keeps all to himself. Even the local priest Simon hopes Shirley will stay away from his mansion for fear she might be possessed by a devil if she continues working there. Of course Shirley isn’t going to follow that and looks up to Noritaka. She believes his medicine could eradicate human mortality and just wants to people to understand that he is using his power for the good of the world. Even if Noritaka has given up on that, she believes Kiritsugu can do it. She also dismisses that she is her student and just an assistant. Her first flower has wilted. Next morning, Noritaka asks if his son had entered his atelier last night. Since he didn’t, he further warns Kiritsugu not to go to town today. Stay home. Shirley is late so Kiritsugu is worried and goes to town to find her. To his horror, he sees her killing chickens in her backyard and drinking its blood! Squirming in pain and trying to hold it back, she mentions all she wanted was to prove Noritaka’s research but it failed (must be some bottle Kiritsugu found emptied in her home). She wants him to kill her because she can’t hold back anymore.

Kiritsugu calls Simon and while he waits inside the church so Simon could go tell the villagers, he sees Simon getting killed by… Zombies?! Oh sh*t! The entire town is turning into the undead and the village is being burnt down. Men in cloak and suits are seen killing the zombies as Kiritsugu tries to run to safety. Just as he is cornered, a silver haired woman, Natalia Kaminski jumps in and coolly kills all the zombies with her guns like as though she’s a pro video gamer. Kiritsugu follows her and starts asking what the hell is happening. She explains the term of vampires whom they call Dead Apostles. They drink blood to reproduce themselves. Two groups are eliminating them. One, the Church’s Executors (guys in cloaks) who believes they have the right to kill anyone who defies the will of God. Of course this means Dead Apostles. Second, the Mage’s Association (guys in suits) who believe in keeping all secrets who create entities like Dead Apostles. In short, they kill anyone outside their circle whom they suspect of knowing such knowledge. They are the ones who set the village on fire. Natalia considers herself a salesperson for the Mage’s Association. Now it’s Kiritsugu’s turn to answer her questions. She wants to know the first person here who became a Dead Apostle, the medium that turned her into one and most important, a bad Mage who made it who is hiding on this island. I guess you know who that is. Kiritsugu returns home to confront his dad who is burning away his research notes. He wants to know why he is researching on Dead Apostles because Shirley used the magic on herself. He also wonders if he will use him one day like he did with Shirley. Noritaka regrets what happened and that it isn’t his intention but it means Shirley gave him her early answer. A Dead Apostle is a failure since it can’t control its blood lust. Since his research requires unlimited time and they can’t reach the Root with a mortal body, the failure of this time consuming research means he’ll need to rewrite his theory from scratch. He knows this would happen and has prepared an escape boat for them. However Kiritsugu coldly kills him with several gun shots. Natalia thought it was a weak excuse for a kid to kill his father since had he escaped, he would’ve continued his Dead Apostle research elsewhere. She will help him get off the island but what he does after that is up to him. Everything in the village is burnt to the ground while the duo leave the island on the motorboat. Kiritsugu decides to take nothing with him.

Episode 19
For the next several years, Natalia takes Kiritsugu under her wing and this means following her path as a bounty hunter. He was trained from how to assemble a gun and following her around the world to assassinate targets. She notes how he is aptly named because his name means cut and fasten. She was also the one who gave him the special bullets. As Kiritsugu follows Natalia around in her job, he learns that tragedies still occur in the world. I guess he was naïve when he killed his father thinking it would stop all evil. Natalia even ‘joked’ unless he got rid of every scum then it would be possible. Kiritsugu is also thought about survival and doing what it takes to survive and along the way picked up smoking from her (she didn’t give a damn. Hey, who is she? His mother?). One day Natalia got a request from the Mage’s Association to assassinate a Mage named Vorak. Apparently he is a Dead Apostle who uses bees as his familiar. Let’s say he’s such a dangerous guy that he upended the last town and a high bounty is placed on his head. So dangerous that he was one of the few failures in Natalia’s record. Now she gets the chance to clean up her own mess. They both cooperate and make plans to take not only Vorak out but his allies who are waiting at New York. While Natalia boards the same plane with Vorak, Kiritsugu is already in New York making the necessary moves. Suddenly it seemed so easy because Natalia just cast a spell behind Vorak’s seat and he just died. Kiritsugu has also taken out his allies. As Natalia neutralizes his bee familiars in the compartment she notices that the air stewardess is acting strange. Everyone on this plane has turned into a ghoul since Vorak had kept bee familiars inside his body too. Didn’t see that one coming. And Natalia didn’t make any preparations to skydive.

Somehow Natalia manages to make her way to the cockpit, re-establish communications to inform the control tower for an emergency landing and use all her knowledge she has to pilot the plane. Just a thick door separates her from being devoured by the 300 odd crew and passengers. Scary, huh? Kiritsugu isn’t just going to wait and pray for a miracle as he too makes haste on his preparations. Within the final few minutes before Natalia lands, the duo talk about how Kiritsugu had lots of potential as a killer because he was able to separate his feelings when he pulled the trigger (something that most killers take years to do), the gratitude of teaching him to survive and thus she is like a mother to him and the possibility of what she’ll do if she quits or retires (probably play that mother part). By now you could’ve guessed that the preparations Kiritsugu had been making by renting a boat out to sea and loading his bazooka is to blast the plane out of the sky! And he pulls the trigger without hesitation. BOOM! On the verge of losing his sanity, he feels what he did is right and didn’t mess up like Shirley’s case. For if Natalia had successfully landed, there is no telling how many more people might’ve turned into ghouls. So her sacrifice prevented that. Then he loses it and screams from the top of his lungs. I guess nobody can see him go crazy at sea. Then he hardens his heart. No more emotions. No more his naïve justice. Just like how we know him.

Episode 20
Kiritsugu visits Iri who is resting back at their house. She returns Avalon to him because he’ll need it. I guess when people are close to death, they get sentimental. Iri talks about being happy with him for 9 years and to guide Ilya and perhaps bring her to this country one day. Kiritsugu orders Maiya to continue and watch over Iri. He predicts a fight between Saber and Rider will occur and Archer will intervene. That’s why he is going to assassinate Tokiomi. But as he is staking out his house, he realizes something amiss. There is no magic barrier. He heads inside and sees blood stains on the carpet. Using some spray, he concludes it is Tokiomi’s blood and he has been killed. Saber heads over to Rider’s base but doesn’t sense his presence. Actually Waver is resting at the place where he first summoned Rider to replenish his mana. He knows he has exhausted them after the river battle. Waver is willing to have him use his mana then but Rider won’t put his Master’s life in danger. Because Waver is determined to fight and win the Grail, Rider mentions if that only exists. Just like him, Rider too fought for something that may not have existed: Okeanos. He told his people he would show it to them and they blindly believed and followed him. Many died along the way. When he came to this world, he saw the map and realized the world was round. It hit him and felt like a bad joke but had no choice but to accept it. He is done letting people die for his fairytales but is willing to risk his life for Waver for the Grail. By night fall, his mana will be replenished enough to fight Saber though he can only use Ionian Hetairoi one last time. He thinks it’s better to save it for their fight against Archer. As why he is obsessed in fighting Saber, Rider feels it’s his duty to guide that girl the right path or else she won’t learn. Meanwhile Kariya wakes up from a nightmare from becoming Berserker’s sacrifice. Zouken is impressed he lasted this long and gives him swallow some worm. It is his trump card for this stage and it contains Sakura’s purity. It had been devouring her life force for an entire year so make sure to make good use of that stolen life force and acquire the Grail. If he can, that is.

Iri talks to Maiya about her loyalty to Kiritsugu. She has nothing else. She doesn’t know her family or her name. Maiya is the name Kiritsugu wrote in her fake passport. All she remembers is her country is extremely poor. So poor that it can’t maintain its army, ironically there were killings every day. Instead of training an army, they devised a cheaper and quicker method to kidnap kids and arm them. Maiya was one of them. She is dead inside as a human but her body continues to move. That is her way of life. Even so, Kiritsugu took her in and she allows him to use her in any way she wants. But Maiya is surprised that for Iri who has spent most of her life within the castle walls, why is she fighting alongside Kiritsugu to change the world. She admits she borrowed his ideals and doesn’t understand what he is trying to change but her true wish is to end all conflict. She hopes this will be the last Grail War and that she will be the last homunculus. Because if they fail, it will be Ilya’s turn next as it’s the destiny of every Einzbern homunculus. Their conversation is cut short when Rider barges through the door. Maiya is able to contact Kiritsugu so he uses his Command Spell to order Saber to return to their house. However all she sees is badly injured Maiya. She wants her to go after Rider as he has just kidnapped Iri and can still catch up. She will wait till Kiritsugu arrives. I don’t know how far he was but it is already night when he arrives by Maiya’s side. He starts to get emotional but she wants him to save those tears for his wife instead. Kiritsugu assures to leave everything to Saber and that she has served her purpose. With her heart at ease, Maiya finally lets go her last breathe.

Episode 21
Saber weaves in and out through traffic as she chases after Rider. Even going the opposite traffic flow! Not to be emulated. When Rider notices she is catching up, he decides to settle their match via race. Saber’s bike is at its limit so I don’t know what she does to power up. Now it’s one mean looking machine and a faster to speed to match its futuristic look. Rider isn’t going to play by the rules either so he uses his chariot wheels to smash the walls and send it crumbling to Saber. Guess what? She outmanoeuvres all of them! Eventually she catches up and they clash swords (albeit just one strike). Then Saber realizes Iri is not with them. Where could she be? She was so sure it was Rider who took her. Meanwhile Kiritsugu notices some oddities surrounding Maiya’s death. He tracks it down and it leads him to a Matou subordinate. He interrogates the guy for Kariya’s whereabouts because based on his deduction, Rider’s Master is incapable of gathering necessary information to find the place and Tokiomi is in no position to attack. The guy swears he knows nothing except that he saw Kariya leaving with a priest. That could only mean one guy: Kirei. Seems Kariya and Kirei had made a deal. Kariya used 2 of his Command Spells to order Berserker to masquerade as Rider (the appearance of the real Rider made it better for them). In exchange for bringing Iri to him, Kirei replenishes both his depleted Command Spells. The other promise is Tokiomi and Kirei wants Kariya to come to the church at midnight where he’ll definitely find him. Soon, Kirei senses Zouken’s presence. The old fart is amused to see what kind of tricks he is going to use to break Kariya. He admits he loves seeing Kariya suffer and is torn between that or seeing his clan win the Grail. He believes Kirei has the same smell as him because like a maggot, they are attracted to Kariya’s rotting flesh. Kirei attacks him but he turns out to be just a familiar substitution. Zouken notes he is still a dog of the Church and hopes they will meet one day.

Rider and Saber prepare to face off. Rider notes Saber can only truly shine when she joins his army. Waver realizes he was never interested in his enemy’s power or wealth. He sought to conquer their souls without destroying or degrading them. Rider charges while Saber power s up her Excalibur. The results? Saber wins of course. Rider is hanging on the tree with Waver in his arm. His chariot is toast and could’ve been the same if he didn’t leap off. Saber leaves as Rider apologizes for his failure. Waver wants him to use Ionian Hetairoi but he is only willing to expend his chariot on her. So I suppose it’s a long walk back home. On foot. Kariya enters the church and sees Tokiomi sitting in the front seat. He starts boasting about coming back from the dead till he realizes something amiss. He’s dead! In perfect timing, Aoi just came in and thought he killed Tokiomi. I understand he is panicking but couldn’t he just deny he was the one who killed him? Instead, he starts blaming Tokiomi for the cause of their suffering when Aoi points out he had to go this far to win the Grail. When Aoi says he doesn’t understand a thing because he never loved anyone, Kariya snapped. There was a person he always loved. The reason why he went through this hell. So when he is denied that, what was all the pain and suffering for? If he’s going to die then he might as well kill her too. And so he strangles Aoi to death in his fit. When he realizes what he has done, he becomes hysterical and goes crazy. Archer and Kirei are watching this ‘horrible play’ that is ‘written’ by Kirei. Not bad at his first attempt? Kirei tastes the wine and it felt different. Archer points out it means his horizon of understanding is expanding. Now that he has a taste of such wonderful taste, he would love to sample it again.

Episode 22
Waver returns home and grandpa invites him up to the roof to talk. Seems he knows Waver isn’t his real grandson. He should be angry but notes he and his wife felt happy recently. Also, it’s not like he is staying here to harm them. He wants him to stay a little longer but Waver can’t guarantee that and might not come back alive. Noting that Waver is risking his life for something important, grandpa mentions that once you have lived very long and look back, you’ll realize that there is nothing worth risking your life for. Kiritsugu is waiting at Mt Enzou shrine. He notes that to win the war and summon the Grail, one must perform a ritual at one of the four Fuyuki ley line areas. Among them are the church and Tokiomi’s residence but Kirei is not there. That leaves this shrine or Fuyuki city hall. If Kirei chooses the latter, he can launch a frontal assault. If Maiya was still around, he would’ve had her secure the place. But now he’s alone again. Naturally. Iri wakes up and learns Kirei has brought her to Ryuunosuke’s hideout, a place Kiritsugu will never figure out. He notes the Grail War will end but when Iri points out he is different that Kiritsugu, he becomes angry. He admits he is an empty man but Kiritsugu is no different. Why does he want the Grail? Iri replies he wants to save the world from bloodshed and wish for eternal peace. Can’t understand? That’s the difference. Kirei thinks conflict is mankind’s primal instinct and wiping that out means eliminating mankind. Iri adds by explaining Kiritsugu’s kindness. He can’t help but love others despite knowing he’ll eventually lose them. Kirei than strangles and kills Iri. He has somewhat understood who Kiritsugu is and has a reason to fight. He will smash his ideals and the Grail to smithereens right in front of his eyes. That night, Rider and Waver see magical lights flaring up the sky.

Waver knows it’s a signal to means the Grail War is coming to an end. However that signal is not coming from the church so it’s like someone is getting ahead of themselves. Rider prepares to go to war knowing that tonight is where everything ends. Since his chariot is gone, he summons his horse. But Waver doesn’t want to go with him. He then uses up all his 3 Command Spells to order him to fight till he gains victory, win the Holy Grail and conquer the world. Now that he lacks Command Spells, he no longer considers himself his Master and can go anywhere he wants. But Rider picks up him onto his horse. After giving those annoying orders, it must mean he is prepared to see the end, right? Also, Rider doesn’t consider him his Master but his friend. He has ride into many battles with him and stands as his equal. It’s getting a little emotional for Waver. And off they go riding into their final battle. Kiritsugu knows that it is Kirei’s plan to bait and kill other Masters because he chose the place least suitable for the ritual. It also indicates he doesn’t plan to steal the Grail. Archer and Kirei had a last chat together and Archer is given permission to go out all out and fight the rest though he won’t be here to protect this place of ceremony. Kirei will then use a Command Spell to save himself. What about the Grail? He can’t guarantee its safety if he’s away. If fate has it that way, then so be it. Since Kirei still has no wish upon the Grail, Archer’s only recourse is to have the Grail reveal what is hidden in his heart. Asking about Iri, Kirei tells him he killed her after thinking there is no reason why she should live. Iri is in some dream whereby Ilya is crying due to a scary dream of becoming a cup and seven big lumps appeared inside her stomach. Iri assures she won’t let that happen. She then realizes she is inside the Grail and gets absorbed.

Episode 23
Rider sees Archer before him. But it seems unusual for both kings to have their last drink together. Rider asks a final question that if his Ionian Hetairoi were armed with his Gate of Babylon, it would be the most powerful army imaginable. Care to be allies and conquer the stars? Well, the world doesn’t need 2 kings. With that, Archer accepts his challenge and both kings get ready to battle. Rider mentions Archer might be the last opponent he’ll face but Waver reminds him about the Command Spell orders. Rider unleashes Ionian Hetairoi and with his army behind him, they charge straight towards Archer. Meanwhile Saber is ambushed by Berserker, who is going berserk with his machine gun. Firing as though there is unlimited ammo. Oh wait. Is it? He’s not giving Saber any breathing space. Close by, Kariya is squirming in pain. He sees a vision of Sakura asking why is he in pain. He needs Berserker to fight because Kirei told him to and in the end will be given the Grail to save her like he promised. Everything will return to as it is. Well, till he remembers he killed Aoi. There he goes crazy again. Berserker blocks Saber’s Excalibur (not that any direct hit would have any damaging effect either). She is surprised that he knows the length of her blade and thinks he must be one of her knights and demands he reveals his identity as a knight’s pride demands. Then when Berserker’s helmet cracks open, she is shocked to recognize him as Sir Lancelot! Rider’s words ring through her ears that she never guided her subjects. Though she is saddened at Lancelot’s fate, he is like a mindless beast being fuelled by grudge, continuing to attack Saber.

Archer isn’t sweating in his pants as Rider and his army charge closer. He summons his ultimate sword and greatest treasure, Ea and chants “Enuma Elish”! The desert starts crumbling, a wide abyss opens and all the army men fall into the gap. The sky is also disintegrating as Waver realizes the sword is an anti-world Noble Phantasm capable of destroying all creation. Rider returns to the real world. He asks Waver if he wants to serve him as his subject. Waver gladly will serve his king and wants to see his dream. Rider puts him down from his horse and wants him to live. It is his task to speak to future generations of his dream and tell tales of his glory. Rider charges at Archer but the latter opens the Gate of Babylon and fires all the swords at Rider. Even if the horse is down, Rider continues to trudge forward on foot. Eventually he gets stab and is this close in striking Archer with his blade. Unfortunately, the chains from the Gate of Babylon restrain him. Archer stabs him in the heart with Ea. Archer guarantees this entire world is his garden till the end of time and feel free to challenge him as many times he wants. Dying Rider sees Okeanos but realizes the pounding of his heart was the sound of Okeanos’ waves. Archer walks towards Waver and wonders if he is Rider’s Master. He says he is his subject. Though a loyal subject has a duty to avenge his king, Waver knows challenging him would only mean death (in which Archer doesn’t deny). He can’t do it since he was ordered to live. Archer respects his loyalty and wants him never to tarnish it.

Episode 24
Saber laments if Lancelot hates her that much and wonders if it’s her fault he became this mad. Iri’s body turns into the Grail as it overflows with blood. Kiritsugu and Kirei face off. His special bullet seems to have no effect as he realized Kirei used his Command Spell as his mana source so the bullet doesn’t work if he isn’t using his own Magic Circuits. Both men are neck to neck and Kirei matches his speed to give Kiritsugu a knockout punch. Thanks to Avalon, Kiritsugu remains breathing and his injuries healed. Both sides recount what they have left and the next recourse to take (seems Kirei has 8 spare Command Spells left). Kiritsugu plays dead to surprise Kirei and fire his special bullet once more. Though this time it only manages to disable Kirei’s right hand. The fight is about to reach its climax when the ceiling caves in from the Grail’s blood. Saber stabs Berserker through his chest with Excalibur and vows to win the Grail otherwise there is nothing she can offer to him as compensation. Kirei finds himself on the island and Iri telling him he is inside the Grail and that black moon in the sky is the Grail that has yet to take form. All he needs to do is make a prayer and wish to give it form. Kiritsugu knows she is not Iri and she admits she is using a pre-existing personality as a shell or else she can’t communicate. She is the Grail’s will and wants to be reborn in this world. How can it grant his wish? Iri adds he learnt to save the world a long time ago and she will take over from him and continue. She is going to show it to him.

Kiritsugu finds himself inside a room and a question thrown at him. Two ships, one containing 300 passengers and the balance in the other. They are the last of mankind. There is a hole in both ships. Whom shall he save? He picks the one with most passengers. But the one with least passengers capture him and demand he fix their ship. What will he do? Next thing he sees dead bloodied bodies all over. This is his supposed answer. He killed them all. Next, the 300 survivors split into another 2 ships. One having 200 passengers and the other only 100 and both ships have a hole forming at the bottom. Whom shall he save? Same thing. The one with more passengers but he is captured by the ship with least passengers and forced to fix their ship. The 100 are slaughtered. Kiritsugu views this as wrong because the scales are wrongly tipped. The Grail insists he was correct because he chose to save the majority at the cost of the minority. He has always been killing the minority on the lighter side of the scales even if it meant leaving a long trail of dead bodies. This is his truth. This is the course of action the Grail will take to grant his wish. This is not what Kiritsugu wished for since he was hoping for a miracle but the Grail says it cannot include a wish in which oneself is not aware of. If he wishes to save the world, it must be done in a way he can understand. So how is this a miracle? The deed he tried failed can be accomplished at a scale beyond the power of any man. The Grail points him out as Angra Mainyu, the one who is worthy of bearing all the world’s evil. The final question is thrown. Three people are left. Maiya and Iri-Ilya. Choose one. Maiya is killed. Kiritsugu finds himself in the happy company of Iri and Ilya. Iri tells him the Grail has realized his prayer and now all he has to do is wish for it. However Kiritsugu bids goodbye to Ilya and shoots her! Iri becomes frantic but he starts strangling her. So why did he refuse the Grail? Six billion people at the cost of two of his family members… Iri curses him till Kiritsugu breaks her neck.

Kirei wakes up to find Kiritsugu pointing a gun at him. He has also seen that dream and couldn’t understand why had simply thrown away something he worked so hard to obtain. Kiritsugu shrugs it off as a wish granting device so Kirei wants him to give it to him instead because if it is born, it can answer all his doubt. Kiritsugu shoots him. Saber arrives in the room where the Grail is floating. Archer stands before her and wants her to become his wife. She claims the Grail is hers but Archer tells her to throw away her foolish ideals and vows and why obsess in something so dubious. Be stained by his colours and he shall give you every pleasure there is to feel. Well, why want her answer when he obviously stated he did not ask for her opinion and it’s what he has decided? You think Saber would gladly give up so easily? Yeah. It wouldn’t be fun if she had. So Archer plans to give her more pain because it is essential to learn that before she learns the joy of serving him. Saber sees Kiritsugu behind Archer. He uses his Command Spell to order Saber to use Excalibur and destroy the Grail. The Servants are surprised at his decision. To show he is serious. Kiritsugu uses his last Command Spell to repeat that same order. Can you defy that?

Episode 25
Saber couldn’t understand Kiritsugu’s actions. Naturally how can she when she can’t understand the hearts of those who served her. This must be God’s punishment. The Grail is destroyed but it seems a black hole is forming from the sky and pouring out magma! It is flowing and burning through Fuyuki City! Ilya narrates how she woke up from a bad dream that she became a cup and it’s tearing her apart. She’s so scared but she can’t run away. She also sees Kiritsugu crying. Iri’s voice assures her that Kiritsugu is doing his best and will come home when he is finished. Kiritsugu is running through the city in a frenzy trying to find any survivors but his actions are all for naught. Kariya returns to rescue Sakura. We see him unite her with Rin and they’re both grateful for him. Aoi’s alive too? Well, this would be the scenario if he had won. In reality, Sakura kills him and lets his body get devoured by the bugs as punishment for defying Zouken. Kirei wakes up to find naked Archer sitting beside him. He pulled Kirei out of the rubble and isn’t sure what happened too since the ‘mud’ spat him out and thinks he has achieved true reincarnation. Kirei remembers he was shot and has no heartbeat so did Archer healed him? Not too sure either. He thinks with the others Servants gone, this means he has won the Grail and tells Kirei to look at his surroundings. If the Grail was really a wish granting device, then this destruction and annihilation is what Kirei must have wished for. Kirei starts laughing at the madness but he is not satisfied yet. Though the answer has been presented to him, he wants to know the workings to reach it and will use the remainder of his life to understand it. Archer finds him interesting and shall watch over him in his quest for truth. Kirei then sees Kiritsugu trudging through the rubble like a zombie, digging through anything he can find. He leaves him alone. The only survivor he pulled out is a boy, Shirou. He is so happy to find a survivor that is though it wasn’t Shirou who was saved but more like he saved himself. Despite Shirou on the brink of death, Kiritsugu’s gratefulness made him green with envy.

In the aftermath, we see Waver talking to his grandparents. He thinks of travelling but needs to get a job and earn some money. Till then, he hopes he can stay with them. They would gladly have him continue his stay. He goes back to his messy room and goes through all the stuffs Rider had bought. Kirei reads his sermon at Tokiomi’s grave with Rin now as the head of the family. He praises her for making a flawless debut and is confident she will do well in carrying on the family’s magic. Aoi is still alive but has gone senile. She is unaware of the bearings around her and thinks Kirei is her husband and Sakura is still her daughter. Kirei gives Rin the Azoth dagger and it brings her to tears. Saber finds herself back in her own time, standing atop the heaps of corpses. She remembers Lancelot’s last words when she stabbed him. He couldn’t stop loving Guinevere and thus couldn’t forgive himself. But Saber/King Arthur never questioned his crimes and continued to stand before them in her righteousness. Lancelot wanted his judgment and had she judged him then, he might not have set on his own path of madness to find atonement. He can say for all who served her, she is the greatest king of all. Saber vows to win the Grail someday and laments she shouldn’t have become king. Kiritsugu narrates he tried to visit Ilya but because he didn’t win the Grail, Jubstacheit never opened the forest’s magic field to their home. He never saw her again but will be the last person he’ll ever lose. He soon adopts Shirou and repairs the Japanese mansion. Five years later he tells Shirou how he wanted to be a hero of justice but gave up because being a hero is a limited time thing and it’s hard to call yourself one when you’re an adult. In that case, Shirou will do it on his behalf then. He’ll carry out his dream since he is still a kid.

All Because Of Some H-Cup…
So this is how it all happened. Reading back my blog on Fate/Stay Night sure did refresh some memories and made sense of everything. The pieces that I couldn’t understand then seem to have fallen in place. At least most of it. Overall, I could say that this prequel is way better than the sequel in terms of just about everything. The storyline, the presentation and the quality. The plot is interesting enough for me to be kept glued to the screen. If I can recall, there was never a dull moment even with all the conversational drama, some filler episodes like Rin’s bold adventure into the city or Kiritsugu’s flashback. I thought I was going to be bored and have my rhythm of the series interrupted with such episodes and boy was I wrong. Instead I was also engrossed in watching them and with each passing episode, the more I wanted to find out what happen next. So as the series ends in such a tragic and sad note, I feel moved by all the events that had unfolded that eventually will lead to the inevitable despite knowing from the beginning that I was going to expect something like this. To sum up this prequel, it is one brilliant and amazing piece of work done and perhaps one of the very few good animes that have managed to keep my interest afloat throughout the entire duration.

Each of the ‘new’ characters in this series brings in their own life and dynamism to the story. They have their own past and reasons for wanting to attain the Grail even if it is something ambiguous and never proven to have come true. Until now. The best Servant character in this series in my opinion goes to Rider. His eccentric and superior character truly makes him a man to be reckoned with. Despite every character having their own views about leadership and such, Rider was probably the most convincing in his argument so that’s why I felt that he is such a cool guy. Perhaps if I were to participate in the Grail War, I would want this fun and sporting dude to be my Master. But putting him side by side with Waver makes it feel like a big mismatch and the total opposites between them make it feel like they are strange bedfellows. Having Rider as his Master proves to be a blessing in disguise because Waver gets to learn a lot and become a better person in the end. Saber may have been the main star of this show but it doesn’t feel that she t overshadows everything as other characters take their fair share of the centre stage. Because Rider and Saber are both kings in their own right, their views differ greatly but as seen during the conversation of kings, Saber lost out her argument to Rider. She was in a dilemma as her role as king and came to realize too late that it was probably her own doing that got her into this mess. Archer is arrogant and haughty in his own right, which suits his title as King of Heroes very well. How can he be king if he doesn’t show who is truly the boss around? It still bugs me if the Grail considers him the winner. After all, he is the only Servant that didn’t lose and return to his original time line.

Kiritsugu is a hard-bitten, hard-boiled and emotionless person who gets the job done thanks to his horrible past. You can say that his way of saving mankind is twisted, killing a few bad seeds for the sake of the majority. But it still doesn’t discount the fact that he leaves a trail of dead bodies behind. So what happens when you add up that tally? Yeah. He may have killed the entire human race by then. His cold, underhanded and merciless way of killing off his enemies would earn the scorn of noble Saber but I suppose for a guy like him to live in this harsh world, you do what it takes to survive and not get your emotion in the way. What happens when Kiritsugu’s final salvation in the Grail’s wish falls apart? You also see him fall apart. His twisted ideals once more crushed to bits. Thankfully a shred of humanity in him has been retained when he saved Shirou. Otherwise, my guess is that he could have become a crazy person beyond help. Equally as twisted as Kiritsugu and one who could stand equal as him is Kirei. He too has endured misery and suffering in his life so it’s no surprise that he doesn’t know what he seeks for in life anymore. I guess he revels in committing sin even if he himself doesn’t realize it. So is he the winner of the Grail War? He was shot, right? Kiritsugu couldn’t be such a lousy shot at such close range. What brought him back to life? Not even Archer knew. So it has to be the Grail, maybe? How else could you explain the Master-Servant pair still hanging around after Fuyuki’s devastation? Tokiomi I thought he got what was coming to him. He was so confident that his plan would work despite a little diversion here and there. How could he not suspect that Kirei would be the one to betray and kill him in the end? Either he was too trustful or just stupid. And it cost him his life. Never knew what hit (stabbed, rather) him.

Some of the characters just had me feeling that they didn’t really make much of an impact. What do I mean is, take for example Ryuunosuke. He is just a serial killer who loves killing and the colour of guts. I felt that bringing in a random ordinary person who has no relation to Mages and the history of magic was just to fill up the roles and have the Grail War start. Look, Ryuunosuke was the last participant to enter the fray and technically the first one to go out (Kirei and his Assassin wouldn’t count if you consider that it is all part of Tokiomi’s big grand plan thingy). So how the Grail chooses its participants is still a mystery. How Ryuunosuke entered the Grail War too was perhaps by luck since he was just drawing some random pentagram to summon demons. So if it wasn’t him, it could’ve been anybody else. Then there is this Kariya guy too. Besides having the goal to save Sakura, he is someone who is just lurking in the shadows. He doesn’t show himself upfront regularly so it’s hard to ‘feel’ him around. Though I think his fate is the most tragic one among the rest because he almost killed the person he loves and got killed by the very person he tried to save. Even sadder made by the fact that Zouken enjoys seeing him squirming in pain so much so that it seems that he has no interest in obtaining the Grail whatsoever. Even if he had, it was just an excuse to watch Kariya suffer. After all, he sounded like he never expected him to win it or put high hopes on him in the first place. Kayneth felt like a minor antagonist for the series. You know, you need someone who is prideful and such. When he went out of commission, I thought his scheming fiancee would take over next but that didn’t last long and it was a surprise that they were taken out together.

When the second half of the series started to get grim and serious, meaning that the pace of the story starts to pick up and we see the characters fall one by one like ants, there is at least one character that will die in each of the episode. Starting with Assassin’s elimination and Ryuunosuke’s assassination to get the ball rolling right down to Kariya’s death at the end. I considered Iri dead because she turned into the cup. That’s as good as being dead. Although Aoi is still breathing, but now that she has turned into a cuckoo state, that’s as good as being dead, no? I thought that the ‘new’ characters in this series would all eventually die but I guess this wasn’t made true because Waver is the only ‘newbie’ that survived all the madness. New as in those who did not appear in Fate/Stay Night because their demise is why they don’t appear, right? Despite Waver not appearing in Fate/Stay Night, I hope he is happily travelling around the world telling great tales of Iskandar. Or you can just pick up the history book and read what is believed to be written on him as him. Or just Google it.

It makes me wonder how the founding families did find out that the Grail was a wish granting device. If it was, whose wish was it that was granted first that led them to believe so and eventually the creation of this Holy Grail War? Though Einzbern Consultation Room did explain some bits of it but I don’t think people like me who don’t even play the game would understand. So now that some have witnesses it is not really a wish granting device and perhaps an Armageddon inducing device, will they drop this Grail War thingy? Not likely. As long as there is human greed and desire. The cup will always be there waiting to replenish itself. So it also bugs me that the next Grail War takes place in the next 10 years when it was mentioned that it takes 60 years for everything to gather once more. Maybe things got a little hastened? My guess that Saber is the only one who returned in the next Grail War is because she has yet to fulfil her wish. Well, she did promise she is going to have another try to win the Grail. If her, why not other Servants too? Caster probably saw shades of Jeanne and died happy. Rider probably has come to terms with his own dream so he doesn’t feel the need for it anymore. Berserker has already got the atonement he wanted. Lancer may never get the loyalty he wanted but he was unceremoniously dumped out of the war and who wouldn’t be raging mad after being forced to commit suicide. Heck, he even cursed the cup so what are the chances of him returning if he had the chance to answer the call again? Assassin… Who again? I don’t know much about him. Too many personalities. Archer? Did he really win the Grail like he thought he did? Well, he did return in Fate/Stay Night as the eighth Servant. Even so, he is hanging around as long Kirei can amuse and entertain him.

The animation quality is crisp and it is definitely superior than its predecessor. Whether it is the flow and reflection of the water or the sparks that fly when the swords clash or the casting of magic spells, each one look awesome enough to draw you into the world’s setting and get immersed in it. It also manages to pain a very dark and grim atmosphere and the tragedy that will befall onto the characters and the city. The action also doesn’t disappoint and personally I feel that each fight between the Servants is tantalizing enough to keep one glued to the screen. Each of the Servants has their own strengths and weaknesses so it is interesting to see how they use what they have to turn the battle tide to their favour. Whether it is the honour battle between the knights, the cooperation between the Servants to take down rampaging Caster and even the vehicle race-cum-battle between Rider and Saber is exciting and engaging. Although I had a hunch who would have made it further into the final moments of the Grail War (especially Saber and Archer), I still can’t help feel sometimes when Saber engages in battle, there is a chance that she will still lose since her rivals are no easy pushovers. However I lament her fight with Berserker because it felt somewhat short that it doesn’t do any justice. Don’t get me wrong. We see them engaging in a pretty close exhilarating duel for a minute or two but the way it ended with Saber suddenly overcoming Berserker and stabbing him in the chest with Excalibur, I thought it just felt cheap. So would have a longer battle suffice? Maybe. But perhaps that episode was more focused on Kiritsugu and Kirei’s bout and the former’s inner battle with the Grail. Also, I thought I could see the final fight between Saber and Archer but I supposed they only had their bout in Fate/Stay Night.

Due to the lack of subs, it is unfortunate that I can’t finish the Einzbern Consultation Room specials for the second half of the series (there are a total of 6 of them). It would have been fun to see what Iri and Zecchan continue to discuss so I just went browsing online and briefly read what the balance specials were about (I may be wrong so feel free to correct me). It seems Special 4 was about Caster ranting about his Jeanne and also the Noble Phantasms’ cost and power. Special 5 is about Lancer while Special 6 is extended to a half-hour special discussing about the skills of the classes, Lancer in his original form (and having more vocabulary and talking much more than we see in the TV series) and how his conflict with Saber came about, and the tragic fate that befalls on all Einzbern women. As I read, those who played the games would appreciate these specials better than those who only watched the anime. Maybe that’s why there are lots of stuffs that I didn’t understand.

Ayako Kawasumi is retained as the voice of Saber and she still commands strong presence as her character. It’s something like her other role in Kaibutsu Oujo as Hime. Kana Ueda and Mai Kadokawa are also retained as the voice of Rin and Ilya respectively. The rest of the other casts are also superb and they really fit perfectly with their character roles. Like Satoshi Tsuruoka (Usui in Maken-Ki) really made Caster sound like a mad magician and Akira Ishida (Gaara in Naruto) is convincing as a serial killer who enjoys killing children. Archer’s arrogance and superiority is made possible thanks to Tomokazu Seki (Chiaki in Nodame Cantabile) while Akio Ootsuka (Blackbeard in One Piece, Kyouraku in Bleach) truly made Rider sound like a brazen conqueror and Rikiya Koyama (Emonzaemon in Katanagatari) as Kiritsugu the hard bitten and disillusioned character. Other sterling casts include Sayaka Ohara as Iri (Alicia in Aria The Animation), Jouji Nakata as Kirei (Giroro in Keroro Gunsou), Daisuke Namikawa as Waver (Kazehaya in Kimi Ni Todoke), Tarusuke Shingaki as Kariya (Eishirou in Prince Of Tennis II), Sho Hayami as Tokiomi (Aizen in Bleach), Ayumi Tsunematsu as Maiya (Takako in Hanasaku Iroha), Hikaru Midorikawa as Lancer (Rukawa in Slam Dunk), Takumi Yamazaki as Kayneth (Harada in Mezzo), Megumi Toyoguchi as Sola-Ui (Ran in Super Gals), Ryotaro Okiayu as Berserker (Byakuya in Bleach), Akeno Watanabe as Natalia (Rito in To Love-Ru), Masashi Hirose as Risei (Hades in Fairy Tail), Masane Tsukayama as Zouken (Karl in Fullmetal Alchemist) and Hasumi Itou as Aoi.

The first opening theme is a rock outfit, Oath Sign by Lisa while the first ending theme is Memoria by Aoi Eir doing a powerful rendition of this moderate pace rock piece. The second opening theme is To The Beginning by Kalafina and it isn’t as ominous as I expected to be like the ones she sang in Kuroshitsuji II and Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. But you can still identify her choir-like vocals. Though the special ending theme for Kiritsugu’s flashback by Kalafina, Manten doesn’t have that ominous feel too, this one has a hint of sadness in it which fits perfectly the direction and ambience of this back story. The second ending theme is Sora Wa Takaku Kaze Wa Utau by Luna Haruna and it feels like the tone for the series has been reduced with this song sounding like a pop ballad. As for the background music, from what I sampled from some of the OST, most of them have this grandiose feel with a full orchestra and choir voices to accompany them. They are most fitting for majestic battle sequences and dramatic scenes, though I may not have noticed them while I was watching the episodes since I was too engrossed in the storyline. Really. Of course there are some other background music that range from slow piano solo and just plain eerie.

At the end of each episode (where the title of the episode appears) right before the ending credits, there is a countdown timer to what I believe was initially the time left for the entire series to end. I didn’t really pay attention to this because in the beginning it seemed like there was a lot of time left. Then as the episodes dwindled, I began to notice that the amount of time remaining doesn’t seem to add up to the number of episodes left (each episode is worth around 24 minutes, so do the math). Then after thinking about it and subsequently confirming it with my ‘lazy’ online research, I realized that it is actually the countdown to the end of the Grail War. Then it becomes apparent when the timer reaches zero in the middle of the final episode. I guess this is only appropriate to the storyline and more suitable than a timer to signal the end of the series. Well, the time ticking down feels like a bomb. And we all know what happened, right? Nobody was able to cut the right fuse. Was there any? Just like a time bomb waiting to explode and there is nothing you can do about it.

So we can see that people will go to great lengths just to obtain something ambiguous and not proven to get what they want. After all the blood spills and lives taken, do you think your wish is really worth it all? Feels like playing God sometimes, huh? And as the Grail worded it, you don’t really expect some super miracle that only exists in our imagination and fantasy. If you want something done, it is best you get it done yourself with your own hands. By hook or by crook. That way, you’re already halfway of what you want to achieve. Therefore, don’t rely on some H-cup for some support because they don’t exist. Boobs that size don’t really exist in reality. Oops. I almost forgot this isn’t an ecchi series and made such a statement. Let’s hope the cup you seek is the one where you’d enjoy your favourite coffee or tea. And drink it with no worries that it will never spill over whatsoever. That would be better fulfilment and satisfaction. Thus always remember, cups are not meant for granting wishes but only for drinking or support.

Dog Days

March 16, 2012

I thought Dog Days had something to do with the hottest day in summer or at least with the stars. Not exactly, though it does bring you to another universe or world. Having a canine in the title, one may conjure that this is a show about dogs, right? Well, let’s just say the inhabitants of the other world are cats and dogs. Honestly, I can’t tell them apart because every feline and canine have ears and tails that look so similar. And I even thought that this was the anime version of the Hollywood TV series like how anime remade the Supernatural series. Nothing close.

So to have an idea what Dog Days is about. Picture this. A very athletic kid from Earth, gets summoned to another world whereby both nations are currently engaged in war. Fight, fight, fight with special powers and weapons. Losing nation turns the tables and ends losing streak on winning nation with new hero. Battle is won but the war is not over. And something sinister is lurking underneath it all. Get the idea? So if you like your animes in medieval fantasy-like setting with moe in your characters (animal ears and tail, that is), I’m sure you’re going to like this action and adventure.

Episode 1
In the world called Flonyard, the Biscotti Republic is in another war with neighbouring Galette Lion Army and is on the losing side. Leonmitchelli Galette de Rois AKA Leo is a 16 year old princess leading her troops to battle and is confident that tomorrow will be another day Biscotti will taste another humiliating defeat. On the other hand, the Biscotti royal committee are having an emergency meeting to take drastic measures. Also led by a 16 year old princess, Millhiore Filianno Biscotti, she feels the need to use the final trump card to win this war. Plus, her people’s morale is at all-time low due to consecutive defeats.

Back on Earth, half-British half-Japanese Shinku Izumi meets classmate Rebecca “Becky” Anderson to school. Don’t try and imitate his acrobatic stunts (like jumping down from his balcony complete with somersault) because Shinku is a professional athlete and acrobat. He came close in winning last year’s Iron Athletics (something like Ninja Warrior game show) and vows to work hard to get higher than second place this time. Today is the last day of school before the holidays. After the closing ceremony, I guess Shinku got this idea of jumping down from his classroom window as part of his practice. Little did he know, a weird dog with a dagger in his mouth, Tatsumaki activates an insignia and before he knows it, Shinku falls in and into another world. In Flonyard, Shinku meets Millhiore who is more than happy to see the hero she summoned. I guess she can explain the ongoing war on their way because Leo and her men including her general, Godwin Dorure are advancing their troops into Biscotti’s kingdom. Riding with Millhiore on her Cellkull (a dodo bird-like creature), she feeds him details of what is going on and that she needs him to lend his powers to turn the tables. Then this is the oddest part. There is a commentator for the war like in game shows?! Hey wait a minute? Is this a real war or a game show? Why are the props and obstacles looking like game shows too?! There are points earned too? Both sides even have a guest commentator to comment on the ‘war’? So is this really war?! Plus, defeated warriors get turned into feline and canine furballs and taken away by friendly medics!!! WTF?! So let me get this straight. As Millhiore said, wars in Flonyard are events for people to enjoy athletics and competition in a healthy manner? That’s not called a war, right? Maybe in this world it is? I guess Millhiore was really placing her hopes and trust in the hero to alleviate her people’s morale that Shinku agrees to help out. Taking Shinku back to the castle, she has him geared up and makes the much awaited announcement of the summoned hero. Maybe that flashy entrance was all part of the show too, eh?

Episode 2
Shinku meets up with the leader of the Biscotti Knights, Rolan Martinozzi. Apparently Millhiore had briefed Shinku the rules of war (wait a minute, there are rules for war?), so he is able to get by. Like knocking them unconscious or just tapping on their back or head with his palm will turn them into harmless cute furballs. Shinku is swift in advancing to the front of the troops, overcoming all sorts of obstacles and attacks, surprising everyone on both sides. Shinku rendezvous with the captain of the Imperial Knights, Eclair Martinozzi. Remembering further what the princess told him about the Seal Spell, collecting and mixing it his vitality with Flonyard Force allows him to convert it into spirit energy. In other words, he can shoot fireballs and the likes or conjure barriers. He was also given a Biscotti holy treasure, Palladium the heavenly sword. Though its dormant form is a ring, he can change it to any shape he desires, in which he selects a pole. Shinku and Eclair summon their Flonyard power to use a Seal Cannon to blast away the hordes of Galette foot soldiers. Leo steps into the battle as Shinku and Eclair try to stop her but got into each other’s way. It doesn’t help that Shinku accidentally ends up in perverted positions on Eclair and earns her wrath. Everyone thought they had some internal fighting. Leo unleashes her Gigantic Explosion, taking out everyone in the field from both sides. Shinku and Eclair manage to escape the impact as they come diving down from the sky. Finally their cooperation hit the right note as they both flank Leo and destroy her armour. Leo admits defeat and surrenders. Biscotti rejoices in their victory as Leo commends the hero and even shakes hand with him. So are you really convinced this is a war or just a friendly game? As it is Eclair’s turn for her comment, her clothes suddenly ripped, leaving her naked in the battlefield. Seems Shinku also accidentally hit her when he hit Leo. Shinku is going to get it… Shinku also learns that with Biscotti’s victory, Millhiore will also sing since she is a renowned singer. Shinku would love to stay for the concert but wishes to return home and contact his relatives. But he was being told (as with Millhiore too), that summoned heroes can never return to their world. That is why the ritual of summoning hero is rarely done. Oh no. See how Shinku and Millhiore are panicking?

Episode 3
Chief Researcher of the National Research School of Biscotti, Ricotta Elmar volunteers to research and help find a way to return Shinku back. In the mean time, enjoy your stay. Hope it doesn’t take 100 years. Millhiore has a busy schedule to follow following the victory but luckily she has her secretary Amelita Tremper to handle it. Shinku hangs out with Eclair and learns there was a disclaimer on the insignia that says that there is no way to return if one chooses to step in. Anyway, how the heck could he see that small print and in foreign language too?! Shinku learns the workings of the ‘war’. Ordinary people participate for fun and would at least like to retrieve the participation money. Though war is a diplomacy method (WTF?!), there are other smaller battle scales like inter-village and inter-group battles. When a war is called, both sides collect participation fees from all participants from both sides. After the war, the winner receives 60% of the ante and the loser 40%. Wow. Even losers to get something out of the war. Half of the earnings goes to those participated in the war and the balance goes to the nation’s account like building hospitals, fortresses, etc. And all these are stipulated in the treaty! This is one war I would like to have. And there are no deaths in this war because it is conducted on lands protected by the Flonyard deities. I can’t believe this. But not all lands are protected like the mountains and valleys as they tend to have dangerous wild animals. They go see Ricotta still in the midst of researching (he has to be back in 16 days). She gets an idea after seeing Shinku’s handphone signal. Modifying and using the waves to amplify this and that (don’t understand the mechanics as usual), the amazing part is Shinku is able to call Becky!!! WTF?! If it was stated that no contact no matter what could be made to the other world, how is this possible? Furthermore a signal? Yeah, I have an idea. Turn Shinku into a signal and send him back! So Shinku is able to assure Becky he’ll be away in an uncontactable place and not to worry. Shinku sees several transparent little creatures and learn they are local gods. Them showing up is a sign that nature’s harvest is plentiful. Millhiore is preparing for her concert and wonders if Leo will turn up seeing they used to be such good childhood friends. Leo is drinking alone in her camp and will not do anything shameful like interfering with the winner’s banquet. However her brother Gaul has returned and plans on invading not because as revenge for his sister, but wants to challenge the hero. Shinku is taken to freshen up at the hotspring. Because he can’t read the local language, he enters the female side. Good thing was only Millhiore was there. And that’s a bad thing too seeing that they’re both naked. She leaves to give time to himself and would like to talk to him about many things after the concert. After Shinku comes out, he sees the super sentai-like trio called Genoise (elite unites under direct command of Gaul made up of Noir Vinocacao, Jaune Clafoutis and Vert Far Breton) kidnapping Millhiore. They announce that they will be waiting at their fortress for him to come and rescue. Is this legal? Well, it is according to some treaty. Damn treaty. Of course Shinku accepts the challenge because he is the hero of Biscotti.

Episode 4
However Shinku gets a direct missile kick from Eclair for declaring war on his own. From what I understand, accepting a war declaration makes it official. So Shinku, Eclair and Ricotta ride on their respective Cellkulls to rescue Millhiore before her concert. They 1.5 hours to do so. Lots of time, eh? Meanwhile Millhiore isn’t mistreated as she waits patiently in her waiting room and being served by maid Rouge Piedmont. She also has a friendly lioness Banon and her cubs to keep her company. Gaul even sees Millhiore and apologizes for the sudden kidnapping and had his reasons. If everyone was so on good terms, why the hell are they fighting? Oh, for the fun for it. Meanwhile freelance knight Brioche d’Arquien and ninja squad leader Yukikaze Panettone return from their journey to see Galette and Biscotti in war. They think of not interfering till their little doggy returns with a message from Rolan. Shinku and Eclair charges straight into the enemy’s base. That’s the fastest way, right? Eclair provides artillery cannon backup in the forest to take out the big hordes of army. Till she got surrounded and surrendered. Shinku and Eclair are surrounded inside the base but since they’re both arguing that the other should advance to rescue Millhiore, Godwin didn’t like their petty argument and throws his giant steel ball at them. However he is interrupted by Brioche who has accepted a request from Rolan to help out. She lets the duo go ahead and stays behind to handle Godwin. Her single slash is so powerful that it took out all the archers and cut the building! Yukikaze knocks out the troops holding Ricotta as they rain fireworks all over the base. While Eclair faces off with the 3 idiots (that’s what she calls the Genoise trio), Shinku and Gaul clash weapons on their Cellkull.

Episode 5
Everyone is giving all their best in their respective fight. Gaul unleashes his Lion King Double Claw to knock Shinku off his Cellkull when both their weapons break in half. Gaul finishes him off with his Aerial Explosion Destruction Circle. However Shinku is still standing thanks to Palladium. But Shinku is still injured (since he can’t turn into a furball) and this has Gaul worried. Eh? But no time for that because Shinku counter attacks after observing Gaul powering up and does the same. Galette’s reinforcements are coming. Only one: Leo. She isn’t happy her brother has done this on his own accord. First she takes on Brioche and they’re both equally powerful. But Leo lands the devastating blow on Brioche and wins her fight. Gaul learns of Millhiore’s concert and believes he made a grave mistake. Leo barges in to yell at those kids to stop fooling around. Entering Millhiore’s room, she apologizes for what has happened and will repay her somehow. More importantly, her concert starts in 20 minutes. Shinku has an idea. Using his spirit power as booster on his feet and with Millhiore on his back, he blasts off to deliver the singing princess. Along the way, he materializes the booster into a jet board, Tornader to run faster. Since we have time, Millhiore takes this opportunity to tell him she just became the ruler of Biscotti. As a complete beginner, she feels she has failed her people and caused trouble. Shinku doesn’t feel so and in fact has gained lots of invaluable experience since his summoning. Shinku arrives even with 10 minutes to spare. Enough time for Millhiore to get ready. Shinku is completely burnt out from using too much power while Millhiore awes the sell-out crowd with her singing.

Episode 6
Millhiore rewards her royal subjects in an official ceremony. Shinku spars with Eclair as demonstration to the other knights. Both their swords broke. Eclair feels something bad but Shinku thought she slept with her tummy exposed. This embarrassing statement earned him a punch in his tummy. Then Shinku visits Brioche and Yukikaze at their village. Then Shinku remembered: He still doesn’t know how to find a way home. However they cheer him up with a little bit of hope that they heard stories about heroes finishing their job and then returned home. Shinku has an audience with the princess so he has to be cleaned by the maids once more. Meeting her, he asks her reason for choosing him. She replies that she used some star reading method to peek away into faraway worlds, though not much. She saw the one Shinku flipped and leaped his way at the Iron Athletics. It was then she wanted this kid to be her hero. However Shinku got depressed upon knowing she saw that because he lost that ‘war’ and got second place. Because he wasn’t able to reach the top, he cried like crazy despite trying his best. And the difference between the winner was just 2 seconds. However Millhiore notes that those were beautiful tears from someone who worked hard and tried his best. Elsewhere Rolan and Brioche are talking about Galette acting suspicious lately because they are waging war at a ridiculous pace. But Brioche feels it isn’t Galette but rather Leo. Meanwhile Leo is very distraught. Her star reading has made her see visions of Millhiore and Shinku’s death within 30 days. And nothing can change this fate. However Leo isn’t the kind of person who lets her destiny be determined by the stars and will do anything to change that. She is going to make a surprising declaration tomorrow.

Episode 7
Shinku and Millhiore go for a morning walk and at the flower field, Shinku plays… Frisbee catch with her? I hope he’s not treating her like a real dog. Then they talk about Palladium and how Shinku is handling it very well. He mentions he can’t turn it into a sword but she says when the time comes, it should appropriately change. As Biscotti’s ruler, Millhiore also shows her holy treasure, Excelide. It is also a sword but she has never once seen its true form (currently it is in a ring form). Excelide and Palladium are a set of divine swords that go together. Other countries also have their set of paired weapons passed down to current rulers. Like Galette, they have the magical battle axe Granveil and the Holy Sword Ex-Machina. Returning to the castle, Millhiore sees on TV a report from Galette’s castle. Leo declares a new war on Biscotti since 2 consecutive defeats will leave a black spot in their knight rounds warriors. Leo is able to rally the people from both sides to participate. However she wants wage something else. Her Granveil and Ex-Machina. She expects Biscotti to do the same and wage something of equivalent value. Can other country’s treasured weapons be waged? Yeah, read the treaty. It can. For 60 days maximum. Usage and display at the discretion of both countries. Biscotti’s committee are contemplating to do so because if they refuse, they’ll have a bad image. Gaul personally goes to see Shinku. He says he and Godwin are against the war and too many things don’t seem right (before the war both countries used to get along so well. What the f*ck happened?). It’s too late to withdraw as the people are looking forward to it. Gaul will try and get more information out from his sister but if he fails to find out her true intentions, he wants Shinku to win the war. Gaul mentions his love for Biscotti. The food, the scenery, the people and yeah, the kind princess. He also feels the people shouldn’t be burdened and it’s important they have fun, be it win or lose. What did I say about war? Taking up Gaul’s advice, Shinku sees Amelita to ask about Millhiore and Leo’s past. Before both rulers passed away, Leo used to take great care of Millhiore. So close they were like sisters. Millhiore had feelings for her people while Leo was strong in martial arts and spell casting. Both even taught what each other lacked. When they both became rulers, they continued their unwavering friendship and continued to meet officially and unofficially. Then it happened 6 months ago. Leo suddenly was concerned with Millhiore’s living conditions and her knights. She suggested increasing her military. Then about 3 months ago, Leo turned into a cold-hearted person and stopped all contacts with Millhiore. Millhiore felt deeply hurt because of both political and personal matters. Next morning, Millhiore rallies her people’s spirit and accepts Galette’s declaration. She vows not to lose and will also be staking Palladium and Excelide.

Episode 8
Millhiore announces her strategies in this fast paced battle. Everyone from both sides move out and is excited for the war. Even the commentators can’t wait. Genoise discuss about battlefields with no protective powers and that monsters do appear in such areas even if the barrier is weak. Godwin doesn’t believe in those folklore that those beasts are being spotted throughout the continent and those known as Twilight Hunters who are dispatched all over to rid of those monsters. A flashback of Leo talking to her loyal vessels, Bernard Sabrage and Violet about the vision she saw. This is the reason why she has been relentlessly trying to invade Biscotti. Six months ago, she saw Millhiore in danger. Then 3 months later she saw her dying. Then it became clearer and worse after the hero appeared. Though it is not necessarily Millhiore and Shinku dying, but the ones who are carrying Excelide and Palladium. She is worried that both countries will be unstable if they are to die. She thought of stepping down as Galette’s ruler and felt Gaul was more suitable to become one since she’s just acting as his regent. She also thought the star reading may change if she steals Biscotti’s treasured weapons. But Bernard suggests declaring war and wage each other’s weapon set as reward. After they get their hands on it, they will put it somewhere safe for safekeeping and this may change the star reading. Both sides have gathered up and await the countdown to the start of the war. A countdown? Anyway when it starts, the Galette foot soldiers surround Shinku and Eclair. Seems they are targeting Shinku and were being told they will be reward handsomely if they bring Palladium to Leo. But those guys make a wrong move because they mock Eclair in showing them some fanservice (like she accidentally did in front of national TV). So angry she will never be embarrassed like that again that she blasts them all away. The furballs are piling up at an increasing rate. With Galette targeting Palladium, Shinku is advised not to use it. Meanwhile Violet and her troops sneak into Millhiore’s base to steal her Excelide. However it’s a decoy because in place of Millhiore is actually Ricotta. Violet and co are rounded up and will have to spill everything. Ricotta sends a firework signal indicating the raid they the base. Millhiore (disguised as Ricotta) is with Shinku and Eclair and with this sneak attack, she knows Leo is clearly hiding something from her. For someone who always fights fair and square and with honour, Millhiore feels the need to talk to her and the reason why she wants her treasured weapon so badly.

Episode 9
News of Violet’s failure reach Leo. Seeing Gaul isn’t so eager about it, Leo vows she’ll do it alone and win it. Bernard requests a one-on-one fight with Brioche but Rolan offers to handle things here so that her troops can press ahead. Ricotta is to be launched in her Cellkull to Millhiore but the Galette archers led by Vert are firing a rain of arrows. Though the Galette archers are defeated, the impact ripped Ricotta and Vert’s clothes. Much awaited fanservice and morale booster for the troops? Shinku and co are being ambushed by Galette artillery troops. Shinku’s shield, Defender is able to block the blasts and even sends one back to the enemy by repelling it with his pole. Leo wakes up from her nightmare vision of seeing Millhiore getting killed and a giant beast behind her. Brioche and Yukikaze sense danger ahead. They feel this one is something big and the ones who dwell on the power of the land. The kind that burns down an entire country and kills gods. Leo and Rouge wait on top of the fortress as the Biscotti heroes arrive at the gates and a nasty storm is building up. Leo sees Shinku and Eclair and feels that they can both take on her simultaneously. She is confident the duo will bring their treasured weapons but to her shock, it is Millhiore who is seen appearing on stage. So she is doomed to meet the star’s fate? Rouge attacks Millhiore in hopes of stealing the weapons but was taken out. Millhiore wants Leo her reasons for wanting the treasured weapons and she will give it to her. However Leo remains silent but inside her heart is being torn apart seeing Millhiore’s tears as she wonders if Leo started hating her this much. Shinku and Eclair are anxious. I guess Shinku learnt how to make his way round Millhiore’s words about not following her. She didn’t exactly state from anywhere else so Shinku and Eclair climb the outside walls to the top. An announcement is made to stop all war operations due to the surrounding conditions that have made Flonyard’s protective powers weaken. Suddenly the rooftop starts floating in the air, taking Leo and Millhiore with it. A big dark ball emerges from the storm.

Episode 10
It turns into a giant ugly beast, a beast that was supposed to be sealed in the underground hundreds of years ago. Though it looks scary, Millhiore sees it crying. The monster attacks with its tentacles. Millhiore protects Leo but was impaled and absorbed inside a ball. This is what she saw in the vision. Enraged, Leo relentlessly attacks but is no match and sent back falling onto the fortress injured. Shinku and Eclair reach the top only to learn what has happened. Rouge tells them that Millhiore is in the process of being absorbed by the monster and the holy weapons are what is trying to prevent her. Once her willpower runs out, she gets digested. Shinku and Eclair ride Tornader to catch up with the beast. Eclair learns that Shinku is scared but he is more afraid of unable to meet someone’s expectations because someone who believes in him is waiting for him. Eclair uses her powers to give Shinku a boost to catch up as she falls off (don’t worry, she’ll be alright). On the beast, Shinku uses all his determination to break Millhiore out from the bubble. Meanwhile Millhiore meets a fox god. She is supposedly the mother of this beast and apologizes for her son’s evil acts. Many years ago, an evil sword fell out of the sky and pierced her son. It turned him into an evil monster that would devour mountains and one that would destroy the world. 200 years ago, it was sealed by a master of the Holy Sword. However as time passes, either the seal weakened or it got attracted to the scent of her Holy Sword. Ever since becoming a monster, her child has been crying in pain and wanting to die. The only way is to kill it by severing his head with her Holy Sword. Millhiore has to do it since mother fox can’t touch him. However Millhiore refuses to do so. If she slays him, the monster may go away but his pent-up sadness will never go away. She mentions her treasured weapons are swords that destroy evil and lead the people and their lives. Her willpower was powerful enough to break her out of the bubble. Forgive her birthday suit. The juice must’ve dissolved everything except the sword and her. The amazing part is how her treasured weapon’s glow not only allowed her to be clothed, repairs Shinku’s damaged clothes and heals all their wounds! Wow! Both Palladium and Excelide transform into their true sword form. Combining both their swords into Holy Saber to blast away those little pesky spirits, they then pull out the evil sword stuck deep in the head. The little child fox is tossed out as the monster turns into dirt. However the evil sword is trying to absorb Shinku. Leo fires her Magical Force Wave arrow to throw the evil sword off into the chasm. Shinku and Millhiore get ready to jump off the crumbling ground.

Episode 11
Shinku and Millhiore manage to get away on Ricotta’s Cellkull. Brioche, Yukikaze and their team of dogs prepare to seal the evil sword. It is revealed that they have been going around the world to seal such swords and this one is their 509th. Wow. That’s a lot. Later Yukikaze sees Millhiore to thank her for not only helping to destroy the monster but also saved one of her kind. But Millhiore insists that she got help from Shinku and Eclair. Yukikaze takes the little fox into her custody and also mentions its mom is no longer around since it was absorbed into the monster and only ‘came out’ due to their connecting hearts and concert for her child. Soon Leo makes a broadcast to both countries. She apologizes for the cancellation of the war due to the monster’s appearance. She feels it is divine retribution for wanting to get the treasured weapons and promises to prepare an enjoyable war in the future without these problems. War enjoyable? War without problems? She also vows to become a better rule and she has got the voice and support of her people as proof. As replacement for the cancelled war, Millhiore will hold a surprise live concert. Rolan talks to Shinku and assures him he shouldn’t feel worried with these many dangers in Flonyard. He lets him know the other reason why they hold such wars: To maintain power to fight such threats. Even so, I thought calling it war was so out of place. Don’t we have a better name for that? Like, a drill? Eclair accompanies Shinku out to the stalls while Ricotta and Yukikaze spy with glee over the development of the duo. Eclair is acting strange. I’m sure Shinku’s bravery and heroism weren’t what she wanted to say. Maybe it could’ve gotten further if Gaul and Genoise didn’t turn up. While they’re having their meal together, Ricotta receives a message and takes her leave. Millhiore is being prepared for the concert when Leo sees her. She personally apologizes for the trouble she has put her through. But Millhiore knew the things she did were for her sake. Leo is surprised because she came all the way to tell her about it. Seems she already know this fact from Violet and Rouge. Millhiore feels happy and angry. Happy because she protected her but angry because she believed in the star reading instead of her. Leo gets emotional because she doesn’t want to lose her and a world without her won’t do but Millhiore assures she will not disappear from this world. Then off Millhiore goes, stunning the crowd with her performance. Except for Ricotta. She totally missed the concert. Alone somewhere and with that worried look on her face.

Episode 12
Ricotta learns from her researchers that they were able to find a way for Shinku’s return. However there are 4 conditions. 1) The summoner must conduct the ritual; 2) The summoning and returning must be done within 16 days; 3) The returning hero cannot take back anything obtained in Flonyard; 4) Once returned, there is no chance to return again. Ricotta sees Shinku and tells him about it. However she is sad of the conditions that disallow him to bring back anything. This is not limited to anything physical but knowledge, feelings and experiences he had in this world. As good as a memory loss, eh? She is upset that she failed as a researcher and would still love to have him around since he got along so well with everyone. But Shinku seems pretty calm. Since Ricotta hasn’t told anyone else yet, he wants her to keep it a secret from everyone else. He doesn’t want this to be a sad farewell and would like everyone to feel that he can still come back. Besides, he is confident he will not lose his memories when he returns. How can he be so sure? Over the next few days, Shinku spends time with Millhiore playing Frisbee (she finds out about his time watch that he won as a commemorative prize for the Iron Athletics), trains with Eclair and the other knights, visit Brioche and Yukikaze to learn about their job as wanderers destroying monsters around the country (and also learn some sealing technique from Brioche) and meet up with Gaul. Shinku heads into the bath and his studies on the local language pays off. Yeah, now he is able to tell which is the male and female section. However he sees Millhiore bathing. Did he screw up? Actually the maid wrongly messed up the signage. Don’t they have a permanent sign? Millhiore feels that Shinku should bring his friends over the next time and will gladly welcome them (she really enjoys his patting and rubbing, eh? Like a real dog…). The day before his return, Millhiore holds a Hero Appreciation Banquet. Shinku gives his speech that would seem like the Oscars because he is thanking everyone. Promising he won’t forget his experience here, he pledges he’ll definitely come back whenever Biscotti needs a hero in their time of crisis. Oh really? Besides the monster incident, has everything else constituted to a crisis?

Episode 13
Millhiore organizes a farewell ceremony for Shinku as he returns his cloak and Palladium. Ricotta continues to do her research and can’t help cry while doing so. Shinku comforts her and gives her a colour ball point pen and portable speakers as memento. As Eclair escorts Shinku to the place where the ritual is to take place, she knows he won’t be able to return again based on Ricotta’s obvious body language. Yeah, everybody does. Shinku also tells her he won’t retain his memories here and gives her his wristband. Apparently he went around and gave others his stuff as keepsake. Eclair may be being tsundere says she won’t remember him because she’ll be busy with her affairs. But if he finds it sad to be forgotten, then whatever happens, never forget them. Say what? Shinku meets Millhiore as she begins the sending off ritual. Millhiore’s is thankful that she got to meet him (you know the typical emotional farewell speech). I guess her tears were infectious enough that it affects Shinku as well. So he promises to remember and come back. Can he? Soon as the ritual starts, Millhiore has a change of heart and doesn’t want him to go. She confesses she loves him. Shinku also says he loves her and promises to return. Then he vanishes into the sky. Becky visits Shinku’s home and is surprised to see him crying. From what Becky summarized, Shinku felt for the last 2 weeks of vacation, he felt he travelled to somewhere but had no clue where he went and something sad happened. She tried to Google about memory loss but it came out 84,000 hits! Forget it. Then the duo go visit Shinku’s parents and Nanami Takatsuki (Shinku’s cousin, mentor and rival). Though he has fun, he can’t help feeling something missing. That special something. That important something.

Ricotta continues her research and even Noir brought research books from her Galette library. Then a sealed letter from previous Biscotti’s rulers dropped out. Inside, notes of sending back a summoned hero. Sending back is to be strictly used when the hero disagrees to have proper relationships with either the summoner or Flonyard. When this is done, the hero is unable to take back anything including his memories. But the memories aren’t lost forever but in a locked state and will be completely lost in 6 months. Therefore to re-summon that same hero, the following conditions must apply: 1) There must be at least 91 days between the first send back and re-summoning; 2) The hero must promise to at least 3 people, not including the summoner, about his intent to return to Flonyard (which Shinku probably told the whole Biscotti); 3) He has to leave behind his a possession from his world (he nearly gave everything he had, so check); 4) To the summoner, a token of contract and a written promise must be made, in which the hero and the summoner’s name as well as the intent to be written must be stated. Phew. That’s heck lot of conditions. Ricotta rushes to Millhiore to confirm if Shinku had left any memento. Seems he did and is his watch. Plus, he had written (albeit I feel a horrible handwriting in their language) about his gratitude and promise to return. Oh, how convenient. Or rather lucky he had all those done without even knowing those conditions! With all those conditions met, Ricotta is ecstatic that she can re-summon Shinku again. When spring arrives, Shinku sees Tatsumaki. On his collar is a letter and inside it is Palladium. Shinku instantly remembers his trip to Flonyard. He is so happy that he hugs Becky and they fall over. Nanami saw the fun and decides to join in. Three idiots rolling on the ground… So it’s decided. For his next vacation, he wants to go back there again.

Every dog has its day…
The second season has been given the green light to be produced. You know what that means. That means Shinku will definitely come back to Flonyard and be reunited with the Biscotti people as well as the neighbouring Galette. What else can I say from this series? Two things continue to bug me even though they are somewhat explained. Firstly the term ‘war’. When you say that on a large scale that involves nations, you expect to see violence, blood, pain, suffering and deaths. But you know, all we see here are action and the citizens engaging in sporting fun. It’s like a game show on a national level. Call it reality TV if you want. And because there are many rules and treaties drafted for war so as to make it fair for both sides. From the world that I live in, there is no such thing as rules when it comes to war. Everything goes. You can say the other party is being unfair, bla bla bla but really, that is what war is about. So even if the war as revealed are to keep the power balance in maintaining areas that have low protection, couldn’t they just do it every other time? Maybe that will take out the fun, eh? Besides, engaging such wars with almost everyone from your country is going to cost you a lot in terms of money, time and energy. So really, I felt they should just rename this war name to something else.

Secondly, it’s how the hero is sent back and re-summoned. At first, it was surprised for everyone to know that due to the inability for the hero to return to this world, that’s why this method of summoning a hero from another world was never done very often. Then somewhere along the way with lots of hard work and research, suddenly there is a way (that handphone communication back to Earth should have been a giveaway sign). And you have lots of conditions to fulfil to do so and it’s not easy as casting and chanting a spell to send the hero back on a first class express ticket back to his world. And then, suddenly there is a way… For the same hero to return again. Yet again, another long list of conditions to be met. So long that probably I would have finished my thesis by the time all the conditions are read (please note the sarcasm). No wonder it is much easier to just tell everyone that if you summon the hero, you can’t send him back or call him again. Enough said. Amazingly such an important summon wasn’t in any of the research books and even if it was, it had to be secluded. I guess that’s what you call the fruit of your success because if you could have Google it or find it at first go, there isn’t much fun or appreciation in the amount of time and energy spent in researching this elusive subject. And for the previous rulers of Biscotti to put the caution of the re-summoning in a sealed letter instead of some official book, well, to me that means they don’t really want others to use it.

I suppose everyone in Flonyard (okay, maybe in Biscotti and Galette) get along so well with each other. So good that I thought that they should just unite into a single country. Then everyone can live happily ever after. Millhiore and Leo are close enough to be inseparable and it was Leo’s love for her childhood friend is like a double-edged sword. Because of wanting to protect Millhiore, she went and believe her star reading instead of her. Would it be different if she had told it to her? How sure is she in this star reading thingy? Besides, what happened in reality was we only see Millhiore ‘die’ and not Shinku, right? And since both of them are very much alive in the end, you can say the prediction is pretty off, isn’t it? For a tough girl like Leo, she should believe in her own hands to change destiny and not the stars. She was trying to change the outcome with her actions and her hands but that is only because she believed in the prophecy. I’m wondering if there are many evil swords all over Flonyard, it bugs me to wonder where they come from. Another world? So if Brioche and Yukikaze manage to destroy every single one of them, does that mean Flonyard will be free from these evil? Maybe something the second season could address.

I don’t know what else to say about everyone because as I have already mentioned, everybody is kind and gentle. At least between both nations. Your enemy is your friend and your friend is your, well, your friend. Eclair’s tsundere behaviour and tendency to beat up Shinku each time she thinks she is embarrassed only serves as a break and comic relief in what I would call a monotony of the other characters’ nice and friendly behaviour. So let’s see. Millhiore the nice princess, Shinku the nice hero, Rolan the nice knight head, Ricotta the nice researcher (she really wants to take apart and experiment with Shinku’s handphone but I guess if you do that, she won’t have anything memorable from him), Genoise the nice comedic trio, Leo and Gaul the nice Galette siblings though they may be a little rash. Is there anybody here who isn’t nice? As in, the real villain? That monster might appear so but that is only because it is being possessed by the evil sword. So I was hoping that Eclair would somewhat confess that she likes him but I guess Millhiore beat her to it. Okay, there was nothing to suggest Eclair may have feelings for Shinku but her body language do give off such indication. Maybe some love triangle but seeing where the series was heading, I didn’t bet much on it.

The action scenes are quite okay and with Shinku being able to pull off moves because he is athletic and fit, I guess it’s better than a certain kid dropping into another world only to realize his strength, physical abilities and eyesight improved a lot till the point he is like a super hero. Point to ponder: If the low-level soldiers turn into furballs when they are hit, I wonder how the higher ranked ones and the main characters would turn into if they ever slip up. Can’t imagine them being cute furballs, eh? Besides, with their exceptional level of skills and magic power, you can assure that they will never let that happen. Oh, don’t you just realize that the low-level soldiers of both sides look all the same? Why the need to differentiate when they’re not going to last 10 seconds on the screen? This series is without its bit of fanservice too. But they are so mild that hardcore ecchi fans would rather go and watch something else. Oh, the writings of Flonyard somewhat remind me of those error fonts you see when you print out on printers…

There are several stellar casts lending their voices to this series. Undeniably it is Yui Horie (Kotori in Da Capo series) doing her usual cutie voice as Millhiore. Likewise, Nana Mizuki puts on her cute display while voicing Ricotta like how she did as Tsugumi in Jigoku Shoujo and Shinobu in 2×2=Shinobuden. She also doubles as Nanami in the series. If you pay close attention, you can hear the similarities. If you ever need a female voice that fits the reprimanding role, hand it to Ayana Taketatsu. Just like what she did as Azusa in K-ON! and Mio in MM!, she also does the same here as Eclair. Tetsuya Kakihara as Gaul, at any point I always feel that he would burst into the character like Natsu of Fairy Tail or Kouichi of Linebarrels of Iron. The rest of the casts include Mamoru Miyano as Shinku (Kento Miura in Kimi Ni Todoke 2nd Season), Ami Koshimizu as Leo (Horo in Spice And Wolf), Takehito Koyasu as Rolan (Kururu in Keroro Gunsou), Norio Wakamoto as Godwin (Charles zi Britannia of Code Geass), Daisuke Ono as Bernard (Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji), Youko Hikasa as Brioche (Mio in K-ON!), Kana Asumi as Yukikaze (Miya in Amagami SS), Sakura Tange as Violet (Suzu in Marmalade Boy), Yukika Teramoto as Rouge and Mikako Takahashi as Becky (Rushuna in Grenadier). Apparently Noir didn’t make much of an appearance, even if she did, I wasn’t paying attention so it never occurred to me that oh-so-familiar-voice belonged to Kana Hanazawa (Kobato in Kobato). Nana Mizuki does the upbeat pop Scarlet Knight for opening theme. She has quite a powerful voice so it’s a big waste if she doesn’t get to strut her stuff as a singer and reduced to a supporting character with a cutsey voice. Yui Horie then takes the ending theme entitled Presenter. Since her character in the series is a famous singer, this means all the insert songs are sung by her (I think there are 3 of them). Well, sounds Yui Horie-ish.

While there is lots of potential for this series, let me just speculate about the sequel. Since Biscotti and Galette have somewhat buried the hatchet between both princess rulers, they will meet other rulers from other countries and more danger meets them in the form of those evil swords or any other forms in areas that have low protection. Once again it is up to the hero to save the day (maybe he could bring Becky along as well since Millhiore did invite and would welcome Shinku’s friends if they come over the next time). Perhaps they could summon another new hero too. As long as they don’t summon me because I’ll be too busy in my own Iron Athletics marathon: Watching animes.

Tiger & Bunny

March 4, 2012

Have you ever thought of getting a job as a Hero? Yes, the kind of hero where you get to fight bad guys and protect the city you love in the name of justice. You get to wear super cool Hero suits (some may look at it as an embarrassment), pull off cool moves and manoeuvres and perhaps come up with your own great catch phrase. Seems like a dream come true, eh? Well, in Tiger & Bunny, being a Hero is one of those full time jobs that you can get provided if you have some sort of super power. And like the over-used super hero movie line, “With great powers come great responsibilities”. Initially I thought this show has something to do by ushering the new lunar Chinese New Year. You know, it came out in April 2011. Just a couple of months when the year of the tiger has turned into the year of a rabbit. However there are no relations whatsoever to it.

In the fictitious city of Stern Bild, your typical metropolis that has everything that it needs that makes it a city status. The towering skyscrapers, the high technological facilities and amenities, the 20 million population and the crime rate. Oh yes, it sure is a city alright. Reminds you of the Big Apple that is New York, eh? Furthermore, I find that the multi-levels of the city are somewhat amusing. I guess they lack space so that’s why the city is ‘stack’ up in several layers, making it look like a layer dessert/cake plate. I wonder if those statues serving as support pillars are strong enough to hold it up. Of course they should. Don’t want everything to get crushed below, eh? Ahem, back to the blog. So in this era, there are 2 kinds of people. Those without power (ordinary folks like you and me) and those with super power termed NEXT. Gee, I thought it was a funny acronym for something. Perhaps New Evolutionary X-factor Things. Just kidding. I guess the word ‘mutant’ has been taken and trademark. So what better than to call the ‘next’ evolution in mankind as NEXT. Get it?

With different NEXT wielding different powers, there are those who use their powers for evil. But don’t despair, there are those who equally use it to uphold justice and protect the weak. That’s why with great powers come… You get the point. However another amusing thing sets this series apart than your typical superhero series. Heroes as we know here are another kind of job. Though the action in catching and fighting criminals are real, they are subjected to the cameras and videos. Yup, being a Hero here means show business and via Hero TV, everyone can watch their favourite Heroes in this so called reality programme channel. You get points for arriving on scene the quickest, saving citizens from danger and apprehending the felons. And the highest point scorer earns the MVP (Most Valuable Player) Award at the end of the season. Wow. With all the big sponsors chipping in, this is really a huge money spinning business with audience and fans guaranteed to be glued to the screen. Man, this has got to be better than the World Cup.

Episode 1
Hero TV is bringing you live the Heroes in action taking on crimes right to your living room. Three robbers are on the getaway. First Hero to arrive on scene is Fire Emblem followed by Rock Bison, Dragon Kid and Origami Cyclone. Though Dragon Kid arrests 2 of the robbers, another one flees and takes a monorail hostage. Hero TV producer, Agnes Joubert wants Wild Tiger to move in 30 seconds after the commercial but he doesn’t listen because he feels Heroes should only care about keeping the peace. He uses his super strength to bend the rail and when he smashes in, the robber somehow escaped and boarded the airship. The people’s favourite, Sky High makes his entry as the robber tries to slow them down but his missile is causing the blimp to crash. While Sky High saves the civilians, Wild Tiger goes to apprehend the criminal. Yeah, he too gives up but wants to be arrested by Sky High instead! The airship is going to crash into a passenger ship when super idol Hero, Blue Rose freezes the ocean. The robber changes his mind in getting arrested and starts shooting, making Blue Rose flee. Wild Tiger powers up but it seems his Hundred Power’s 5-minute limit is up, causing him to turn back into a normal human. Just then a mysterious new Hero shows up and saves him and at the same time saves the civilians. He lifts his mask much to the audiences’ delight as the programme ends. Later Wild Tiger lectures him about showing his face to the public but the new guy thinks he is old fashion and walks away. Wild Tiger is being reprimanded by his manager, Ben Jackson about the damages caused and being reminded that it is the sponsors that made him a Hero. As the Heroes line up for the MVP Award, as expected Sky High tops them all. Then the CEO of Apollon Media and president of OBC, Albert Maverick turns up for his speech. He introduces Barnaby Brooks Jr (that mysterious Hero) as a newly approved Hero by the Justice Bureau. Maverick makes a comparison between Barnaby and Wild Tiger’s similar power but only difference one of them is old. Wild Tiger leaves the ceremony as Maverick continues his speech on NEXT, individuals with super powers who suddenly appeared 45 years ago due to a mutation. Peace in this city has been upheld thanks to these people working as Heroes. Wild Tiger’s real life alter ego, Kotetsu T. Kaburagi isn’t impressed seeing Hero trading cards of himself unsold. It’s a huge stack as compared to Sky High or Blue Rose sold out. Yeah, even that remark as a veteran Hero making his debut 10 years ago. Feeling old, isn’t he? Better buy them up! Back home he gets a call from his daughter Kaede reminding him about her recital. Then his mom talks to him, warning him to be careful and not lose his life or else she’ll have to tell Kaede’s his true occupation. It seems he has to keep his work a secret from his own daughter. Kotetsu goes to his agency and to his surprise, a notice of closure. Ben tells him they have been bought out since they’re struggling with funds. He gives him the contacts of his new boss and doesn’t want him to worry since he’ll always be a fan of Wild Tiger and not seeing him fight as a Hero is much worse. As Kotetsu goes to his new workplace, he helps a kid with his balloon stuck on the tree. He drops his own trading cards so the kid misinterpret he is a Wild Tiger fan and gives him his own Wild Tiger card since he doesn’t need it and is a fan of Sky High. Feeling unwanted? As Kotetsu talks to his new boss, Lloyds, a Steel Hammer Statue wreaks havoc at an industrial area. Kotetsu has to go into action and reluctantly work with his new owners. He can’t be picky because Lloyds always tells him he can quit. Plus, he has to wear a totally new and enhanced suit and will be working with a new partner. He thought it was Rock Bison but it turned out to be that Barnaby guy.

Episode 2
While the statue continues to bring carnage, Tiger isn’t happy Barnaby is trying to locate the other Heroes’ whereabouts so as to time his grand entrance. As they both go into action, Tiger isn’t used in using his new string equipment so much so he blunders and ties them both up! Don’t they look comical in that position? The statue is about to smash them and all of a sudden it stopped. It has been that ever since for an hour. Kotetsu gets an earful by Lloyds that he’s supposed to be Barnaby’s foil and his assistant. You can tell Kotetsu isn’t happy. Besides, the mechanic is angry with him too. Yeah, the very soft speaking mechanic Saito that you can’t hear the f*ck his says. But when he speaks through some communicator, he sounds very loud and rash!!! Don’t underestimate people with soft voices. As the person who developed his suit, Saito demonstrates how crappy his old suit is compared to his new one. Doesn’t it make you cringe seeing your old suit blown to bits? He has also taken into account his 5 minute power limit and has equipped the new suit with a… Clock?! Yeah, it keeps track when his power is running out. You thought it was something super, didn’t you? Kotetsu is obviously late for his daughter’s ice figure skating competition. She knows he won’t make it but he insists he will. She is also excited that Isaac, the junior champion is entering the competition. True enough, the alarm sounds as the statue resumes moving. Looks like he’ll have to skip the competition. Heading on scene, they see a child on the statue. Barnaby deduces that he must be a NEXT and the culprit but Tiger doesn’t care about that crap and wants to save him. Barnaby warns him that it was his rash judgment that got them into a predicament the last time and doesn’t trust him. Flashback reveals there was a robbery-cum-hostage at a bank. Mr Legend barges in to save the day. A robber takes a kid (Kotetsu) as a human shield but Kotetsu starts glowing and repels the guy away. Kotetsu feels down as he can’t touch anyone when he’s shining like this and his powers hurt power. But Mr Legend says he saved him and that makes him a Hero. Those words cheered him up and gave him encouragement. In present time, I don’t know how but the duo are stuck in the statue’s hands. Yeah, it stopped moving again. They start arguing as Tiger calls Barnaby “Bunny” because he ‘hops’ around and his long metal things resemble like bunny ears. Yeah, Tiger childishly repeats Barnaby’s words. Tiger then uses his power to free himself and leave Barnaby behind (he has his 5 minute power limit too). Then a Lion Statue goes on a rampage and Agnes doesn’t want Tiger to damage it since it is considered a cultural artefact. Unless he doesn’t mind paying the high price. Tiger sees that same kid riding the lion as it crashes into the skating rink. While Tiger lets the other spectators escape, he sees Kaede lying on the rink. Debris are threatening to fall over her as he races over. However he was too late as the debris crush her. No way! Thankfully, Barnaby was there to take her away from being squished. The duo confront the kid, Tony who is doing this because the other kids left him out for having such powers. Even Isaac agrees it is creeping them out and wants him to go away. Tiger understands how Tony feels and relates the same experience when he was young. He persuades him that his power will be useful when he’s older but first he must apologize to everyone and go to the police. Tony believes him and turns himself in. Suddenly the building’s top is falling off (oh, why is that Isaac in it). All the Heroes try to hold the structure but Tiger’s power is reaching its limit. Tiger wants Tony to help out. Though reluctant at first, he finally uses the statue to lift the structure. Everyone applause at how cool he is. Before Tony is being taken away by the police, Tiger tells him he is a Hero because he saved them. Barnaby talks to Maverick and he isn’t happy working with Tiger but Maverick says this is his chance to sell his name. While Kaede isn’t happy about her dad’s no-show, Kotetsu insists he’ll still save her if he was there. But to add salt to wounds, Kaede mentions how Barnaby saved her has become his fan. Oh dear.

Episode 3
Tiger and Barnaby are yet in another war zone. Yet in another argument. While Tiger insists on his instincts, Barnaby would rather rely on his theories. Till Tiger gets shot. Then it’s revealed this is just simulation. Barnaby is fed up of Tiger and can’t work like this and leaves. Flashback reveals how Lloyds reprimanded Kotetsu for being unable to get along since their Hero team is the agency’s selling point. Thanks to Barnaby, their stock prices have been skyrocketing. He wants Kotetsu to guide Barnaby since he is young. Perhaps a simulation. If he doesn’t like it, he can always quit. Agnes and her crew are interviewing other Heroes on Barnaby. They all sing praises for him except for Tiger. Agnes isn’t happy his attitude is ruining her show and even comes up with words just for him to say on camera. The Hero TV crew even makes a visit to Barnaby’s home, calling it an in-depth interview as fans want to know about his private life. Later Barnaby remembers reading a newspaper article how his parents were assassinated when he was young and was left all alone. Agnes continues her filming on Barnaby and wants Tiger to take him out to town as part of the scenario. He has to, or else. Acting naturally like what they usually do, Barnaby is a hit with the kids and chicks while nobody is even looking at Tiger. Then they head to the newly opened Fortress Tower. Upon entering a lift, Tiger sees a suspicious repairman exiting though the latter insists he was just oiling the elevators. At the top, Tiger tries hard not to be a jerk but it’s tough trying to be serious when you’re not interested. Suddenly the alarm goes off and a security guard rushes to tell Agnes and the Heroes there has been a bomb detected but its location unsure. Tiger remembers the repairman and rushes to the lift while cool Barnaby directs the crowd to evacuate. Climbing to the top of the lift shaft, Tiger sees a real C9 bomb. Agnes wants to film them all the way but Tiger tells them they should evacuate too and not fool around. I guess she wouldn’t listen to him but Barnaby. Yeah, he suggests that Tiger do the filming for her. The duo go to diffuse the bomb but with Tiger’s hands full with the camera, Barnaby will have to handle this himself. He asks Tiger how he knew where the bomb is. Tiger mentions about the repairman and the dead giveaway was this building was recently opened so it’s odd to have repairs. Secondly, he was too clean and not dirty. Barnaby sarcastically praises him. As Barnaby is done with most of the work, the final hurdle is to cut one of the wires, top or the bottom one. The wrong one will of course blow up the building. Are we going to rely on Tiger’s guts? If Barnaby had a theory, he wouldn’t be in dire straits. Better hurry, the clock is ticking fast! Oh sh*t! Ten seconds left! Tiger yells “Top!”. And in the aftermath we see the Heroes still breathing and the building still intact. This was what happened. Barnaby didn’t cut the top part. Rather when both of them start to glow, Tiger destroyed layers of the building to create a gaping hole to the sky. Then Barnaby uses his kick to send the bomb flying and exploding in the air. Kotetsu meets Antonio Lopez (Rock Bison’s real identity) at the bar and they talk about the incident and Barnaby. Due to the good words he said about his partner on TV (most likely he was made to say it anyway), Antonio thinks they’re getting along well. The pianist at the bar, Karina Lyle (Blue Rose) sees Kotetsu applauding at her. She didn’t seem happy and turns around, much to Kotetsu’s bafflement.

Episode 4
Karina’s mom is telling her daughter how she should put more enthusiasm in her catchphrase. But you know teenagers in their rebellious years. Tiger and Barnaby chase a criminal running away in an armoured vehicle. That is considered a civilian vehicle? Tiger scares the felon when he climbs up on the vehicle and says hi. Effective enough to put stop him dead in his tracks. But he escapes. He is running towards Blue Rose’s direction. As she is halfway through her catchphrase, the felon starts firing, shocking and throwing Blue Rose off her balance. Luckily Barnaby was quick enough to save her as Dragon Kid make a lightning arrest (pun intended). Later Blue Rose notes Barnaby’s nasty attitude so Tiger mentions she isn’t paying enough attention due to her side job. He says he can’t be a Hero this way but she tells him to shut his trap since he hasn’t scored any points this season. Plus, he’s lame. Karina’s normal life is hectic because she has to attend supplementary classes and can’t hang out with her friends (they don’t know she’s a Hero). Then meeting her boss, he is lecturing her about that embarrassing stint that made their rival earn points. Karina blows her top about risking her life to win battles all for the sponsors’ sake. She mentions that she doesn’t want to be a Hero in the first place and the reason she is one now was because the company said it was a requirement if she wanted to debut as a singer. Karina takes out her complaints to Nathan Seymour (Fire Emblem) so Kotetsu steps in to say that they’re not risking their lives just to be appreciated by someone. She has the last straw when her mom mentions about Barnaby’s noble words (which is what Kotetsu exactly said) so she wants to quit being a Hero. Mommy is shocked. What about being a singer? She can always do that at the bar. As Karina plays her piano at the bar as Kotetsu ‘bugs’ her and gives her a dollar as tips because her singing is good. Karina asks him why he continues being a Hero so he asks her why she sings. Because she loves to and wants everyone to hear her. That’s the same answer Kotetsu gives her. Because he loves saving people and it doesn’t matter if people acknowledges him or not. Back home, Karina’s dad goes to talk to her. Not about her quitting but rather her half-assed attitude that will lead to disaster. He thinks she should quit. She then gets a call to replace a singer who couldn’t turn up but at the same time, the Heroes are being called. Which to choose? The mission today is to search and rescue at an oil rig which is being engulfed by flames. As usual, Tiger doesn’t listen to Agnes’ orders to wait and wants to head in and rescue. Barnaby also has the same idea but he’s doing it for the points. Karina chose to go singing at the bar when she notices a bunch of drunk men criticizing the Heroes and making a bet if they can rescue the victim. Karina gets pissed off and tells them off about Heroes putting their lives on the line. Tiger, Barnaby and Rock Bison are holding up a heavy beam so that Sky High can swoop down and save the victim. They are barely holding on and the structure is going to collapse on them. But what do you know, it freezes and it’s about time Blue Rose shows up. She returns her answer to Tiger that she wants to save those in trouble. Then to her dismay, she finds out Tiger had betted if she’d turn up or not with Barnaby but the latter insists he never betted. But with that, she feels better (albeit still disgusted with Tiger) and puts more effort in her catchphrase.

Episode 5
Kotetsu is in court and once again his agency will have to compensate for the damages he made. Outside, Barnaby tells him off that he has had it with his destruction, causing trouble around him and meddling in his private affairs. Suddenly a lady goes up to Barnaby to ask his autograph for her son who is his biggest fan (he’s just an infant!). She wishes him happy birthday for tomorrow but accidentally drops her pen. Kotetsu tries to pick it up for her but accidentally kicks it away and a truck goes over it. He’s just trouble, isn’t he? Because Barnaby isn’t in good mood, Kotetsu thinks he is depressed about his birthday. He wants Karina, Nathan and Antonio to throw a surprise birthday bash but they’re not interested seeing that they’re rivals. But when Keith Goodman (Sky High) agrees in doing so, the rest wholeheartedly joins in! He even said the same words Kotetsu did! Kotetsu needs to get Barnaby a present and bugs him what kind of fashion clothes he wants. Annoying. Finally he just says he wants that diamond currently being displayed at the Central Museum. Seriously? But a fat baddie, Pauly is eyeing on that diamond. Yup. He’s a NEXT who can change his skin into hard diamond. Kotetsu is out with Bunny. Bunny the stuffed doll! Haha! He’s even doing falsetto voiceovers for Bunny! They’re supposed to catch some robbers when one snatches Kotetsu’s handbag. Chasing him and cornering him at an alley, they are cornered but several robbers and their boss. The robbers fire their gun and “Happy Birthday” banners came out. So, this is their birthday surprise? The gang dressing up as robbers? Yeah, they feel pretty confident in pulling it off. While Pauly manages to steal the diamond, Kotetsu calls Barnaby to meet him. He does but isn’t interested in playing along, putting a damper on their plans. The ‘robber’ snatches Kotetsu’s bag and Barnaby still isn’t interested. They lose sight of him when they bump into a woman and her trolley. Kotetsu still doesn’t give up and drags Barnaby to find the ‘robber’ at the alley. Unknown to them, they meet the real Pauly in cloak but Kotetsu believes he is part of the play. Of course things didn’t go as plan as Pauly fires a real bullet, barely breeze past them. Then he escapes via getaway car by his henchmen. When Barnaby learns of this surprise thingy, he chides Kotetsu for meddling once more. Soon a call from Agnes to go into action. Barnaby says he will handle this one himself and under the notion that they’re not a team. Sky High, Blue Rose and Fire Emblem apprehend the underlings but Sky High say to leave the big fish to the duo since it’s their special day. Due to Tiger’s blunder, Pauly knows their power is running out soon. He lets them punch his diamond body all they want. With time running out, suddenly a part of Tiger and Barnaby’s limb transform into a bigger and super cool power up as they smash and crack Pauly together. They thought this amazing feature called Good Luck Mode boosted their power but was being told that it was their teamwork that finished the job. The feature is only for them to look cool! Of course the duo still deny that they are working together. Tiger lets Barnaby arrest Pauly as his birthday present. He wants the points, right? Sure, Barnaby may still be mouthing off about his meddling thingy but he still took Pauly in. What happened to the bunny? Antonio got arrested because the cops think he’s the real robber.

Episode 6
Remember those criminals Barnaby arrested when he first debuted? They’re sitting nicely in jail but they get suddenly burnt by a mysterious flame! WOAH! Barnaby is in a photo shoot. Kotetsu reads the newspaper and learns those criminals are dead. However Barnaby’s indifferent attitude to death has Kotetsu raising his voice. Criminal or not, it’s a person’s life. But Barnaby isn’t happy he is shoving his values down his throat. Lloyds gets a call and sends Kotetsu over since he is ‘free’. Tiger is getting burnt by Fire Emblem’s intense heat. Seems they are doing an experiment and recreating a scenario of that murder seeing Fire Emblem has been suspected as the killer. No other Hero uses flames like he does, right? Plus, if he’s a suspect, he’ll be suspended from the programme and that’s not good. Tiger isn’t too happy he has to do this over and over again. Can they use a dummy? Well, Saito wanted to show off the durability of this suit. Suddenly a prisoner in the field gets burnt quickly before the other inmates’ eyes. Kotetsu, Nathan and Agnes rush over but he is badly burnt. Kotetsu thinks he spotted the culprit but looks like he slipped away. Barnaby is going around asking people about a certain mark known as Ouroboros. He has been doing this ever since young after his parents were killed but of course nobody knows of it. This is why he hates fire and he can’t remember the culprit’s face who killed his parents before his eyes. The only clue is that mark on his hand. After Nathan drops Kotetsu off a few blocks from home, Kotetsu is suddenly attacked by a mecha. He runs for his life and tries calling Saito for his Hero suit but he doesn’t reply. As for Barnaby, he thinks this is one of Kotetsu’s pranks. I take it he’s not coming. Amazingly Kotetsu managed to escape the hail of bullets and catch up to Nathan. Then arguing for that fire guy to use his powers, the mecha reduces Nathan’s car into smithereens! Just when they thought it was out of bullets, it then spews flames. Could this be the murderer? Nathan isn’t amused that there is a more powerful fire weapon than his. He distracts the mecha so Kotetsu could rip it off. Inside it, someone piloting it. Hey, isn’t that the repairman? Once Barnaby arrives, the culprit uses a flash bomb to escape. As they discuss, seems Kotetsu can’t remember from where he has seen this guy! Unbelievable! Wondering why Saito didn’t answer his call, he mentions about being trapped in an elevator (he’s claustrophobic it seems). This has Kotetsu remembering who he is. Barnaby realizes his intention is to wipe out those who have seen his face. This means Agnes and her cameramen are in danger. As they rush to the scene, true enough, the repairman attacks Agnes. The Heroes arrive in time to save her as Barnaby puts him out of commission. Then he sees the Ouroboros mark on the back of his neck and gets rough on him while interrogating him but he doesn’t answer. Because Tiger and Fire Emblem tried to calm him down, the culprit takes Agnes as hostage. Tiger wants to know why he killed those prisoners but he has no idea what he is talking about. But he may not be that murderer because a mysterious figure from afar burns him and vanishes in the blink of an eye.

Episode 7
Barnaby becomes enraged and tries to go after the culprit but loses sight of him. He blames Tiger for stopping him back then. He can’t calm down seeing that Ouroboros killed his parents. Back in the trailer, Barnaby is visually upset. But there is nothing more he knows about Ouroboros. He wants to be left alone. Next day, Nathan shows Kotetsu a newspaper article on Barnaby’s parents’ death, the reason for him acting this way. Nathan deduces if Ouroboros is a crime syndicate, then it may be trying to wipe out its members to silence them seeing all the burnt victims are criminals. They can’t contact Barnaby because he can’t be reached. Even Lloyds is puzzled on his behaviour and never thought that this super star could get cranky. So I guess Tiger has to team up with Blue Rose to take out another bunch of criminals, save the hostage and then later a charity concert (Blue Rose steals the show in all aspects by the way). As Tiger takes a break, a kid comes up to him unhappy why he arrests criminals instead of killing them. Yeah, for nothing Tiger gets his shin kicked. Later Maverick visits Kotetsu to show his appreciation (at least somebody appreciates that veteran). He brings him to Saito who has finished creating a prototype oxygen chamber for them to test out. Barnaby is also here since Maverick called him and he couldn’t turn down his saviour’s request. Maverick understands how frustrated Barnaby is but if he gives up now, he won’t achieve his goal. Both the Heroes enter the chamber to rest. Barnaby wakes up from yet another nightmare of seeing his parents killed. Again he can’t see the murderer’s face. But it seems this time there is a call for the Heroes to go into action. This isn’t show time but the real deal. A group of criminals hiding out at an abandoned church. Agnes and her crew got approval to work with the police and shoot live footage so as to increase their studio’s reputation. While standing by, Tiger tells Barnaby what Nathan told him. Before Agnes could give the signal, the mysterious figure pops up and burns the church and blacks out the area. Barnaby loses his cool and goes after him while Tiger assures him that everyone else has this place covered. The initial goal to arrest the criminals has turned into one that saves them. However the flame was too intense so none of the criminals survived. Barnaby continues to chase hard but it seems the NEXT guy is toying with him. Then he speaks all over the city. Saying how their form of justice is weak and frail. They can’t save or punish anyone. Introducing himself as Lunatic, seeing that their justice is fake, he will follow his own code of justice. Once Barnaby catches up to him, the first thing he asks if he is part of Ouroboros. He didn’t give a definite answer but if he was, what is he going to do about it? They say action speaks louder than words. Yeah, Barnaby goes straight to tear him apart. He was about to finish off Barnaby when Tiger uses his strings to bind him. Tiger ticks him off about his sense of justice which makes him no different to committing massacre. Lunatic isn’t amused and will remember him as he breaks free and disappears. Barnaby thought it’s over but Tiger says they still have hope. One of the criminals is still breathing thanks to Rock Bison reviving him. Kotetsu and Barnaby are at the hospital and though they find out the crime syndicate isn’t Ouroboros, all they have to do is wait till he regains consciousness and interrogate him. The judge from the Justice Bureau, Yuri Petrov comes out of the ward. He doesn’t mind the trouble doing these kind of things and would like to know if there is anything he can help them with. Say, doesn’t he sound very close to that Lunatic guy…

Episode 8
Because of Lunatic’s act of killing murderers, the people are starting to like him and doubt the Heroes’ capabilities. All the Hero agency’s CEOs and Yuri meet in an emergency meeting to deal with this problem. Maverick suggests winning back public support and rebuild the trust in Heroes via Hero Campaign. That’s right. The Heroes are doing public charity work and as for Tiger, Barnaby and Origami Cyclone, they’re visiting the Hero Academy. When taking a break, Kotetsu is surprised that Ivan Karelin (Origami Cyclone) is a lot more negative than his Hero self. Then the principal comes in to see his ex-students, Barnaby and Ivan and is glad they are doing fine. Tiger and Barnaby give motivational speeches to their respective groups. Erm… Points are important to a Hero? Destroying building is okay so long you protect the people? But Origami’s speech on pleasing the sponsors did not sit well with the students. Later Ivan sees several students demonstrating their weird powers to Tiger. Erm… Sweat a lot? Able to stretch cheeks or neck? I doubt they can be Heroes with this kind of power. Looking more like circus freaks! Ivan remembers back when he was a student in this academy and his best friend Edward had all the ingredients to be a Hero unlike him. Ivan calls Kotetsu to demonstrate his powers: To shape shift into other people. However he laments he can only copy their looks but not their powers and isn’t cut out to be a Hero. Kotetsu is sure there is something his power is capable of handling but Ivan notes how his best friend once said that to him. He still thinks Edward should’ve been a Hero and not him. Later Kotetsu talks to the principal to find out more on Edward. Though he was a top student, there was an incident that left a very bitter memory for them. There was hostage incident and Edward wanted to save the lady though Ivan was scared and didn’t want to since it is against academy rules to use their powers outside. But Edward couldn’t wait and sneaks up on the baddie and grabs his gun. A struggle ensues as Edward calls for Ivan’s help. Before he knows it, Edward accidentally shoots at the hostage. Since then, he has been to prison and ineligible to become a Hero. So is he still there? Actually, he escaped a few days ago. Speaking of which, he appears right in front of Ivan and is going to kill him, blaming him for ruining his life. Luckily Kotetsu and Barnaby arrive in time so Edward backs off. Ivan feels he should’ve died to make Edward feel better since it’s his fault for ruining his life and guilty for not helping him back then. In that case, Kotetsu tells him he has to stop him since he committed a crime because of him. Is he going to let it happen again? This was enough to motivate Ivan to find Edward. It isn’t long before they find each other (he’s trying to kill him, remember?). However a warning shot from Lunatic streaks across them. Lunatic is going to punish Edward for escaping from prison without repenting. Fearful Edward flees for his life but is cornered. Ivan needs to do something drastic to save him. He morphs into Edward and tries to convince he is the real one. Since Lunatic doesn’t do mindless slaughter, he asks this ‘Edward’ if he is willing to repent. He does. Lunatic points his weapon to the real Ivan because he knows true sinners are cowards. Ivan rushes to Edward and asserts he will protect him. Thus Lunatic is going to kill him too since he is defending a criminal. Tiger and Barnaby arrive in time to battle him. Though he mentions his mission to bring atonement upon evildoers, seems he is not with Ouroboros. Tiger takes a shot meant for Barnaby and even manages to land a punch on Lunatic’s face! Lunatic doesn’t want to quarrel with Heroes and asserts his own justice of giving murderers what they deserve. So Tiger says in that case, his justice is to arrest idiots like him. Amused, he shall see where his sense of justice leads him and escapes. In the aftermath, Edward is taken into custody but thanks Ivan for saving him. Ivan becomes more motivated to doing more Hero-like things. And yeah, Lunatic is that Yuri guy.

Episode 9
The manager of Huang Pao Lin (Dragon Kid) thinks she should put up more charm and be more feminine. Of course she is quite tomboyish nevertheless to say and didn’t like the flower hair accessory gift her parents just sent. Kotetsu gets an emergency call to meet at the training centre by Agnes. Actually, he is put in charge of babysitting the mayor’s baby, Sam. Why not hire a real babysitter? Recently there are thugs who target wealthy family so he thinks of leaving it in the hands of Heroes. Well, Kotetsu’s got a 9 year old daughter so I guess that’s why he was called in. His wife? Unfortunately, an illness took her 5 years ago. However Sam not only starts crying when Kotetsu gets near him, everything seems to start flying! Oh, Sam is a NEXT too and has telekinetic powers. The other Heroes try to pacify him but he only stops crying in the arms of Pao Lin. How unexpected. Kotetsu and Pao Lin temporarily stay at Barnaby’s place. Just when Sam throws another tantrum, Barnaby saves a precious toy his parents gave him. He then gives it to Sam to play. Kotetsu teases the flower pattern so Pao Lin isn’t amused. Barnaby advises she should treasure the things her parents give her. Then another tantrum drops the controller to reveal all the newspaper cuttings Barnaby has amassed on his parents’ murderer. But Barnaby turns it off quickly. After Pao Lin and Sam are asleep, Barnaby shows Kotetsu those data and has been desperate for the last 20 years. When a criminal with that mark was sentenced to 250 years in prison, the only reply Barnaby got was Ouroboros. However he gone mad and died in prison so he lost his only lead and he still can’t remember the murderer’s face. Kotetsu tells him he should relax because you can’t remember something just because you want to remember it. Because the guys have been sleeping in the hallway and reeking of alcohol, Pao Lin decides to take Sam out for a walk. She got kidnapped by a bunch of sisters. Agnes drops by to see how the baby is doing (it’s the mayor’s baby so they better be doing a fine job). The kidnappers want Pao Lin to contact her parents so when they made the call, Agnes picks up and they think she is Pao Lin’s mom. She is to bring a million bucks to some warehouse if they want to see them alive. Barnaby has a plan. Agnes will act as the mother since they only heard her voice and the guys will barge in to save Pao Lin and the baby. Two of the sisters meet Agnes but they can smell she is a fake. They escape so the guys try to chase after them. Meanwhile Pao Lin learns that the sisters are behind the spate of kidnappings, though they prefer the term babysitters but with high fees. The sisters are NEXT and have a type of smell sense as their power. One of them could smell money, the other sniff out lies while big sister can sense danger. Big sisters mention how the marigold pattern on Sam’s cap represents health and knows the child is loved very much and thus will pay any amount to secure their release. Pao Lin reflects all the gifts her parents sent to her and realizes their importance. Big sister senses danger in Pao Lin when she tries to break loose with her lightning powers. Her other sisters come running back and they need to escape. They want to leave Pao Lin behind and take the baby but that’s when Sam starts crying. So loud that it causes the warehouse to burst into flames! They don’t trust Pao Lin to take off her cuffs to pacify Sam so she busts out herself to rescue the baby. Then she scares big sister so much that she passes out! Her sisters then surrender. The guys arrive too late but no worries since everything has been taken care off. Barnaby sees Tiger and his position with the fire in the background reminded him of the scene how his parents were killed. He got so traumatized that he breaks through the roof. Sam is handed back to his parents (I thought daddy look like Obama) in good hands. Kotetsu notices Pao Lin wearing her flower hair accessory. She looked up its meaning and discovered it meant “thinking about you always”. Kotetsu calls Kaede and wonders if she is wearing the hair clip he sent her. Yup it is being worn every day. By grandma. So disappointed… And Barnaby thinks hard to remember that killer’s face and we may have a glimpse of how this mad guy looks.

Episode 10
Kotetsu calls Kaede and you know, she’s not happy he is treating her like a kid. Well as grandma said, she’s upset probably she lost her favourite stuffed animal. Lloyds gives Kotetsu a surprise paid vacation since they don’t want to be seen in violating labour laws. But Heroes never take a day off! He can quit if he doesn’t like it. Oh yeah, Barnaby will be holding the fort then. So with his day off, Kotetsu goes to the toy store and was convinced by the store staff to buy some ugly stuffed teddy bear called Mad Bear for Kaede. Barnaby is doing research on serial killers when he stumbles upon the profile of Jake Martinez. Suddenly his face becomes clear to him and realizes that he is the murderer. He was apprehended by Mr Legend and now serving time at Abas Prison. Kotetsu drives along the bridge and as usual, Kaede knows he isn’t really coming back even if he insists he is. Plus, she even knows what kind of present he bought her and doesn’t want that ugly toy! So looks like Kotetsu has to break his promise once more when the bridge ahead suddenly explodes. Yeah, looks like his paid vacation is off and now he has to go into action. Heroes never take a day off, remember? As for Barnaby, he is heading to Abas Prison so Kotetsu allows him to go and will take care things here with the other Heroes. But the Heroes find themselves confronting heavily armed mechs in what it looks like a terrorist attack. Do Heroes handle this kind of war too? Tiger destroys one of the mechs and finds a Mad Bear piloting it! Plus, the bear is moving by itself! Seems a NEXT lady is controlling it and she has that Ouroboros mark around her place. More and more bombings occur throughout the city as the Heroes spread out but are overwhelmed by the sheer attack. Agnes is in a dilemma whether to continue or cut the broadcast as the crew don’t want another repeat whereby people lose confidence in the Heroes like Lunatic’s case. But Maverick tells them to continue since they have to believe in the Heroes. What good will it do if they don’t trust them? Though the Heroes are having a hard time, the people watching are cheering them on. Tiger is having it tough, out of power, trying to save a lady trapped in her car from being dropped into the sea and fending off those firing mechs. Somehow he manages to pull it off but is sent falling into the sea. He is saved by Barnaby (probably he was moved after seeing his fearless feat on screen). Seems Barnaby has learnt Jake has been sentenced to 250 years in prison so he can see him any time. Before the duo can get into action, the Mad Bears eject from their seat and explode in mid-air, releasing cards bearing Ouroboros mark. A blimp passes by and a voice, Kriem announces she has control of the city’s major traffic routes and has been completely cut off. In short, the 20 million citizens are now their hostage and in exchange for their lives, she wants her fellow comrade in prison to be released: Jake. Otherwise, they will destroy half the support pillars and sink the city. So much for the hard work in finding out the murderer and then suddenly this sh*t happens. And that Jake guy happily finishes his forest mural in his cell. See the death symbol between in the picture?

Episode 11
All the Heroes are on standby as the mayor and his committee meet to discuss their next step. Suddenly those mechs destroy one of the pillars. This is a warning from Kriem that she hasn’t heard a favourable answer from them and the next attack in an hour will be severe. Agnes orders Sky High and Blue Rose to evacuate the public but Kotetsu doesn’t want to wait any longer, ignoring her orders. The mayor is really panicking and unable to make any decision so Maverick says to release Jake to ensure the public’s safety. He will take full responsibility. Kotetsu and Barnaby barge in to tell them off about protecting their own self-interests (Kotetsu can’t pronounce that word?) and to make saving people’s lives top priority. However an Ouroboros members, Hans Chuckman comes in with a hostage and forces the mayor to make a decision or else. The mayor soon announces the release of Jake as he walks away coolly out of prison to Kriem and the helicopter piloted by Chuckman. However this is part of the big plan. You see, the real Chuckman has been beaten up and tied up. It is Origami who is posing as that pilot. Barnaby takes it out on Chuckman but was told to calm down by Kotetsu. Jake is suspicious of Chuckman so Kriem introduces him. Though he is not a NEXT, he believes in their cause. It doesn’t help this ‘Chuckman’ is sweating and nervous. As Kriem is going to order the release of the hostage, Jake tells her to hold the bus as he realizes her method of getting him released. 30 minutes later, the mechs haven’t been withdrawn yet. Then Jake pops up on screen and he isn’t going to release the hostages. I mean, if he’s got their lives under his thumb, he can request them to do anything, right? The press hounds the mayor for answers but he has entrusted everything to Maverick (since it was his idea and he volunteered). Maverick then holds a press conference and tells the people to direct their anger at Jake instead. He also reveals a Hero patiently waiting to fight these terrorists: Barnaby. Flashback reveals Maverick called Barnaby to reveal his past to the public so as to get them inspired. With Barnaby acknowledging everything from his parents’ death are true, the public rallies behind and supports him. Origami has infiltrated Jake’s hideout and reports back to his mates. The hard part now is to look into the secret behind those powered exosuits. Shortly after he terminates contact, Jake approaches him and starts asking him things. Then he shows a picture of a Hero and if it is his power ‘Chuckman’ would like to have. Of course Origami is unable to give a straight answer because the Hero Jake showed him is Origami.

Episode 12
Jake knows this guy is a fake and nullifies Origami’s power. He tries to escape but do you think anyone can from this guy? Thanks to Origami, the Heroes now know Jake’s location as they prepare on standby. Barnaby offers to scout the hideout first alone. Tiger wants to come along but Barnaby wants him to trust him on this one. When Barnaby arrives, he sees Jake in the warehouse and powers up. However Tiger grabs Jake away and tells him to calm down. Unfortunately this is a trap set by Jake as the ‘Jake’ Tiger caught is Origami. Jake demonstrates his power by shooting out beams by the snap of his finger. Man, it’s a big explosion! In the end, Jake got away. Barnaby lashes out at Tiger for interrupting. He knew it was Origami all along and had waited for this chance and now it’s up in smoke. Just when he thought he could trust him as he partner, this happened. He won’t trust anyone who doesn’t trust him. Well, it’s Kotetsu’s bad this time. All the while he’s been talking about being a team but in the end he didn’t have faith in him. Maverick thinks their only choice now is to release Chuckman and use him as a decoy to track Jake. But that won’t be necessary because Jake busts into the room and reveals that he has killed Chuckman for he needs not a weakling who gets easily captured. He is here to deliver a message. Seeing that NEXTs are being uses by inferior beings and to an extent reduced to a side show, he is going to wreck them all on behalf of NEXT for such embarrassment. He is going to organize a little show. Soon broadcasted to the public, Jake is going to host a series of 7 matches. The rules are simple. A random Hero will be picked to fight Jake one on one. If the Hero wins, he’ll call off the mechs. Otherwise the city collapses. The first hero drawn is Sky High. As he arrives in the stadium, Jake continues to be cocky, bored and rude to the Hero. Sky High unleashes a barrage of wind projections at Jake. It seem Jake has taken the hits but with a flick of his finger, Sky High is sent flying away. Well, Jake didn’t get hit at all because all Sky High’s attacks are deflected by his barrier. Once again, the blame goes to Tiger for giving the wrong info and jumping to conclusions about his beam because in fact he doesn’t shoot them but makes barriers which he uses to attack. Sky High is chained high up a monument as the people start losing their confidence that their King of Heroes lost. Next is Rock Bison. He is going to use his strength to break through but he lost instantly! Same hanging fate as Sky High. Next is Tiger but Jake didn’t want this dipshit so he picks another one and to his surprise is Barnaby. Meanwhile Origami is in hospital and tells the committee how the mechs are being controlled. Something about they are following orders from Kriem via communicator. This means they need time to set up jamming signals. Seems Tiger go to face Jake. He thought he could take him down with speed but he is mistaken. Then he runs out of power as he wonders why he can’t land a hit. Jake says he can hear everything. But Tiger continues to fight despite without any power. In a fluke shot, because before Tiger goes temporarily unconscious, is able to land a kick on Jake’s head! Because of that, Jake becomes furious and pounds him till he is unconscious! Agnes then persuades Jake to take a break for TV rating purposes and resume tomorrow morning. This is so that they have enough time to place the jamming signals. Actually Agnes is in awe with the high ratings… Morning comes, Jake ups the ante by saying since they are halfway through the show, if this Barnaby guy loses, he’ll level half the city. As for Tiger, he is being rushed to ICU. I wonder why he wasn’t dangled like the rest.

Episode 13
Well, it seems Sky High and Rock Bison are in the hospital ward too. Jake makes an ambush for Barnaby. But Barnaby didn’t use his power and gets beaten up by Jake. He can’t even touch him. Agnes contacts Blue Rose, Fire Emblem and Dragon Kid as they must race to the mechs and destroy them as the jamming signal will soon be up. Kotetsu wants to go to but was being told off by Blue Rose that he will only be a nuisance. Instead, he should think of a way to help his partner defeat Jake. The jamming signal activates so the trio go into action. However when they touch the mechs, they go into self-defence mode and attack them. This is going to take a while. Because Jake is rather bored and disappointed after pounding Barnaby numerous times (he’s still able to get up?), he hints to Barnaby that God has bequeathed him 2 powers. This has Kotetsu think and remembering what Jake said to him, he realizes his mind reading power. Because he needs to tell this to Barnaby, his determination was so great that he activated his powers to heal his wounds fast! Then he goes to Saito for a favour. Everything now rests on Barnaby because if they fail, the entire city may be destroyed if Jake finds out their plan. Barnaby is knocked to the top of the roof. He is about to give up on his fate when he is surprised to see Tiger. He tells him Jake’s second power as super good hearing and hands him an ultrasound grenade to wreck his ears. Barnaby still doesn’t trust him and will do it his own way. But no time to bicker because Jake wants that bunny to come back NOW! Jake could ‘hear’ Barnaby’s thoughts about his super hearing and knows he is way off. Barnaby throws the grenade so confident Jake avoids it and blasts Barnaby followed by the grenade. However it is a decoy as the grenade gives out a bright light. Tiger yells to Barnaby that this is his chance now. Barnaby is able to land him a powerful kick right up to the roof and break his ribs! Barnaby is about to strangle him to death but after seeing Tiger, he releases him and would rather have him repent for his sins. Barnaby isn’t amused Tiger lied to him but if he had told him the truth that it was a stun grenade or Jake’s ability to read minds, Jake would’ve found that out too. Plus, he realized it when Jake called Tiger by his real name then, something which he never revealed to the public. Still, Barnaby isn’t amused because there is a chance he might not have trusted him. Tiger’s answer? He believed he would trust him. That’s a big gamble but hey, that is what trust is, right? Kriem is going to have them release Jake and escape in her helicopter. True to their villain status, they’re not going to let the city free. Unfortunately for them, our other Heroes have finally taken out the mechs. Jake panics and tries to jump into the helicopter but Tiger binds him with his wire. Jake tries to free himself and shoots his barrier but it hits the helicopter as it goes crashing onto him. Well, a befitting end for this evil-doer. In the end everyone praises Barnaby’s name and the city is safe. It’s back to the hot-cold relationship of Tiger and Barnaby. But it is slightly better now because for the first time Barnaby calls Tiger by his real name.

Episode 14
It’s been 10 months since the terrorist incident. Tiger and Barnaby are now appearing on a special TV programme to acknowledge their achievements. Lot has happened. Barnaby took 1st place while Tiger got 4th in last year’s Hero TV season. They prevented Lunatic from taking more casualties. Kriem is in custody but has yet to make any statement (she jumped out of the helicopter then but is in coma). Tiger and Barnaby are so close to each other that they praised each other instead of themselves! Blue Rose is punching the bag harder than usual so Fire Emblem can tell that she’s jealous or missed that old guy. She sounds like a tsundere denying it all but Fire Emblem knows the complicated heart of a woman. Since Blue Rose is going to debut her next single with Tiger and Barnaby, she has to teach them how to dance! Seriously?! Well Tiger would rather quit being a Hero than do this but as Lloyds said, HE CAN’T QUIT NOW! Oh, how Lloyds has changed. Tiger shows her his robotic dance moves that sucks but his intention was to make her laugh. In school, she is confused and wondering if she’s in love but even so, that guy is a doofus. A friend of hers confirms she is but the other one doesn’t think so (because she is afraid that Karina may screw up herself since she isn’t honest to her feelings). Kotetsu and Barnaby practise their dance with Karina but as usual Kotetsu is a beat off and takes a break. She wonders his attitude so Barnaby lets her know that after working with him, he realized he is a man who thinks about others before himself. He believes he’ll get it right before the concert. Kotetsu returns with a new towel for Karina because he accidentally spilled his coffee previously. Not that she likes it but since she has no towel, I guess she accepts (tsundere!). Then he asks her if she is free tonight. Could it be? Turns out that he wants her to give him private practice on his dance. Disappointed? Kotetsu thought she’s upset because her boyfriend would think she’s hanging out with an old guy (he meant it as a joke). But she denies having any boyfriend and goes off. Definitely tsundere. On the day of the concert, Agnes introduces Tiger and Barnaby to a group of amateur Heroes. Due to the popularity of the Heroes, the league has been split into 2. The first division whereby the veteran Heroes will tackle major crimes while the second division with new Heroes will take on minor ones. So happen there is a backstage thief and they are having a hard time catching him. Why not? He is a NEXT with invisibility powers and snuck into Blue Rose’s room to steal her handbag. Yeah, he cross-dressed as her and looked so horrible. After the concert (it was funny to see the guys in the suit dance), the newbies report that Blue Rose’s room has been ransacked. Tiger and Barnaby will also help search for the criminal and this will go on air. What about the encore? Tiger says retrieving her back comes first. She realizes inside the bag is the towel and remembering her friends words, tears stream down her cheeks as she realizes she is really in love with him. Tiger and Barnaby come back and soon they realize strange movements in the room. Like as though there is a ghost. They realize the culprit and chase after him. Tiger uses his power to go after him and wants Barnaby to reserve his in case anything happens. During the chase, Tiger notices his powers greater than usual as he is faster, stronger and could jump further. He is confident in catching the thief but he loses power even though he has 30 seconds left on his timer. In the end it was Rock Bison that nails the sicko. Barnaby and Blue Rose think Tiger was being kind as always, pretending to lose power so that Rock Bison could get the credit. Plus, Rock Bison was undergoing depression seeing he finished in last place last season and his manager was thinking about firing him. Of course Tiger knows he didn’t do it on purpose but Barnaby praises him for his amazing work and Blue Rose will forever cherish this towel. Huh? While Kotetsu drinks with Antonio, he thinks his powers may be evolving.

Episode 15
Keith is feeling down because of his recent drop in rankings due to Tiger and Barnaby’s boost in popularity. While taking his dog, John out for a walk, he meets a white haired lady sitting on a park bench, Cis. You can tell from her body language and speech she is not normal. Keith gives her an apple but she crushes it. He thinks she’s a NEXT who just found out about her powers and has difficulty controlling them. Meanwhile Kotetsu is pumped up thinking about his power evolution. But he and Barnaby are having tight busy schedules. So tight their schedule that they do a photo swimsuit and an interview together! Kotetsu didn’t like doing all these stuff having to smile in front of the camera and not doing their Hero job. But Barnaby feels he prefers it this way since it’s better than living a life of revenge. Plus, isn’t it a good thing since they aren’t called up by Hero TV. Which means no crime, right? Nathan, Karina and Pao Lin think Keith’s depression is due to his slump but he reveals it’s more of love. They find it hard to believe. So our trio ladies (yes, Nathan considers himself to be one) give him their love advice on how to tackle a woman’s heart. Smile, compliment and physical touch. He did all but Cis wasn’t really moved (literally too). Tiger and Barnaby are in an interview conducted by kids. The little ones aren’t interested in Tiger’s boring answer about his most admired person (Mr Legend, by the way). But Barnaby’s answer how he looked up to his scientist parents who create robots to save people caught their attention. On their way to another interview, Kotetsu is surprised Hero TV is on but they are not called. Lloyds mentions their busy schedule and had permission for them to be exempted. Plus, they have those amateurs so it’s nothing to worry, right? Oh, Hero TV ends with Sky High in a big blooper. How the heck did he have his head stuck into a wall? Didn’t see where he was going? That night Keith sees Cis at the same spot in the park again and pours out his woes and complaints and his dip in form. But Cis only replies “Why?”, forcing Keith to realize that he was just giving excuses. After he leaves, Cis’ acquaintance Rotwang finds her and picks her up. Kotetsu and Barnaby are cruising along the highway when a billboard nearly smashed into them! Looks like Cis is destroying a poster of Tiger and Barnaby. The duo save Rotwang before he gets pummelled by Cis and while powering up to fight her, they realize she is an advanced android as her ‘skin’ disintegrates to reveal her steely exterior. Cis is even stronger than the duo. Rotwang explains that he is her creator and is making androids that will surpass NEXT. As for going after Heroes, that is a malfunction. In order to surpass them, she has data on all the Heroes. A few days ago as he was transporting them, a lightning strike their truck and she ‘escaped’ when the truck crashed. Thus her system appears to have been damaged by the electrical shock. Rotwang thanks Barnaby for his parents because he based Cis on their research and believes they would be proud of it. But Barnaby refuses to believe that this is what his parents want. Rotwang warns that unless they destroy Cis, she will continue to destroy the city since it is filled with Hero posters. Yeah, anything Hero, just smash! Tiger’s power runs out before the due time so as Barnaby chases her, Sky High catches her and drawing his inspiration from Cis, he breaks her into 2. With that, he gets his confidence back and it’s the reverse for Tiger (who is wondering about his power’s instability) and Barnaby (about his parents’ wish). Keith is going to thank Cis and buys a big bouquet of rose. He arrives at the park and obviously she is not there anymore but he continues to sit around. Waiting or does he already know? Lastly, Ben is working as a taxi driver as he meets up with Kotetsu. He seems to know his power boost and drain. The problem? His powers are declining. Though rare, some NEXT gradually lose their powers. Before that happens, they become more powerful. His not joking, right? Has Kotetsu ever looked this worried?

Episode 16
Flashback sees how Yuri killed his drunk abusive father when he couldn’t stop beating his mom. That’s when his powers awakened. Tiger and Barnaby are chasing after a criminal but they come face to face with Lunatic. However he didn’t put up a fight and escapes when the duo manage to prevent him from causing another death. There goes the ratings. At least for Agnes… At the party, Maverick makes a congratulatory speech that Barnaby has broken Mr Legend’s record of raking up the most points for this quarter. Yeah, he’s the runaway leader on the scoreboard. Noticing Kotetsu down, Barnaby talks to him and thanks him for his support. He also lets him know how Maverick is like a father figure to him since he and his parents were very good friends. Maverick always took care of him whenever his parents were busy doing research. Even after they are murdered, he took him in and raised him up as his own child. To the extent of suggesting him becoming a Hero despite knowing he was out for revenge. He is grateful to him and now his new dream is to make a Hero world that Maverick built become bigger and more exciting. Kotetsu’s dream? Get his kid to say he’s cool. Well, only if she knew who he was in the first place. Yuri remembers another of those abusive days from his dad. Seems his mom is living with him but she is acting as though daddy is still around. When Yuri reminds her dad is dead, she becomes violent and blames him for killing him. She was certain that he would turn over a new leaf. Instantly she becomes afraid when Yuri gives her a scary look and she fears he will kill him. Kotetsu kept the time on his declining powers. Sad to say, the limit is getting faster and faster. He gets a call from Ben to meet. He has discovered something shocking. Seems Mr Legend also experienced the same power declining thing. What about his record then? All other Heroes were told to collaborate so that Mr Legend will get all the credit. Records that didn’t make him look good were erased (the reason there weren’t any on Jake). Mr Legend didn’t like this idea too so he drowned his sorrows in alcohol. Ben wants him to think about his future and though he doesn’t want him to quit but he can’t be doing this forever. Kotetsu is adamant that he still can go on. Oh, here is another shocker: Mr Legend is Yuri’s father!!!!! I guess everything make sense, eh? Yuri sees a vision of his dad as Mr Legend and being asked if he was right in killing him. Yuri asserts that he is punishing evil-doers. Kotetsu hears a lady screaming for help. He goes to help her before the serial lady killer (literally), Benoit Depardieu could kill her. Realizing he’s a Hero, he tosses the lady away so Kotetsu could go save her and buy himself time to escape. But Kotetsu is able to save her and catch up with Benoit. Unfortunately his powers run out so he gets mocked by Benoit to quit being a Hero if he can’t catch an ordinary person. Kotetsu is sent falling below and the pile of garbage bags break his fall. Benoit is going to choose another target when Lunatic appears to put an end to his killings. Benoit feigns surrendering but each time foiled but when he truly wishes to surrender, he realizes Lunatic isn’t a Hero and bam! He’s dead. Kotetsu sees the news of Benoit’s death but the latter’s words of quitting rings in his head.

Episode 17
Kotetsu manages to get a paid leave from Lloyds to return to his countryside hometown. Barnaby will be okay handling things by himself and wants him to spend time with his daughter. Besides, she’s one of her precious fans, isn’t she? Kotetsu returns to his home, nothing much changed. Mom is there but Kaede is out to school. Mom is surprised when he first called saying to come back but I guess she wasn’t THAT happy to see him that she needs to hug and kiss him. Kotetsu looks through Kaede’s drawer and it is filled with pictures of Barnaby! Yikes! Then Kaede returns and she didn’t like daddy going through her stuff. Aside from being called a pervert, he gets ejected from her room. Even during dinner, she isn’t on talking terms. Kotetsu apologizes but she’s not buying it. Time to use his secret weapon: An autographed book of Barnaby! That did the trick! She’s so happy. But that’s about it. Oh, he still has to stay away. Dang. Later he goes talk to his brother, Muramasa at his sake shop. He is reluctant to tell the reason for his return. Eventually he lets him know about his power decline and the dilemma he is facing. Muramasa offers him good advice that he needs to rest because worrying won’t change anything. That’s why he came back, right? Plus, even if he loses his powers, it’s not that his life is over. Kotetsu watches TV and sees Barnaby continue to dominate the scene and rankings. He remembers visiting his wife Tomoe on her death bed. He had to leave due to his Hero’s call but Tomoe wanted him to promise her to be a Hero. And thus he went on his life-saving, building-destroying Hero act when he gets a call about Tomoe’s death. Kotetsu feels he can’t keep his promise anymore. Next morning, he is rudely awakened by Kaede about grandma collapse. Though she did, it wasn’t anything serious as she just hurt her back. Kotetsu tries to assure Kaede that grandma is alright and wants her to go to school but Kaede gets upset and yells he doesn’t understand anything. To top it, she now hates him. Kotetsu prays at Tomoe’s grave and is at a loss on what to do to a 10 year old with raging hormones. Muramasa comes by to tell him the reason about why Kaede was so upset. Grandma is the all she has left. So by losing her, she’ll be all alone. She has been living with that fear every day since she had an experienced with her mom. That’s why she gets upset even at the slightest thing. He isn’t trying to blame Kotetsu for this because he too has his own life to live. Kotetsu goes home, noting he really doesn’t know anything about Kaede when he is shocked to see mom doing gardening! Well, her back pain is gone so I guess you can’t keep a stubborn old woman down, eh? Kaede goes to the shrine on her way back from school to pray for her grandma’s wellbeing. A sudden storm passes by so she seeks shelter inside. A lightning strikes several trees blocking the door and the building is sitting precariously on the edge. Chances of a landslide? Somebody better hurry up and save her! What could possibly go wrong? Oh, no handphone signal. SOMEBODY!!! Of course the grownups sense something wrong so Kotetsu and Muramasa go searching in the rain. Kotetsu then uses his power to hear Kaede’s voice (I didn’t know he had this power). He does and rushes straight there to clear the trees. Unfortunately his power runs out but that didn’t stop daddy from drawing his inner father strength to reunite with his daughter. They emotionally reunite and make-up just in time before the shrine is washed away. Next day, Kotetsu is heading back but will be back soon because he is handing in his resignation and made a promise to Kaede. Leaving by train, Kotetsu realizes Kaede is a NEXT when she runs alongside the train to hand him her drawing of her family. This brings tears to his eyes so he can’t break Tomoe’s promise and feel he still can go on being a Hero.

Episode 18
Kotetsu returns back to the city and his Hero mates are happy he’s back. They sort of missed. It’s just different without him. Even tsundere Karina can’t make excuses about that. But where’s Barnaby? Seems he’s got a call from Justice Bureau that Kriem has awakened from her coma. But Kotetsu gets a call from mom, reminding him to hand in his resignation quick and to come home as soon as possible because Kaede’s NEXT’s power is wrecking the home and anything she touches! Kotetsu then confidently tells Barnaby he’s quitting. A poster of Barnaby, that is. Haha. Then he goes to meet him at the hospital but still can’t bring himself to say it. Then they enter the room to see Kriem. Barnaby asks her about Jake’s motives in killing his parents. First off, she praises Jake for saving her then goes on to reveal her past whereby she was shunned by everyone just because she’s a NEXT. Even her parents didn’t love her. One day she was kidnapped by Jake as ransom but in the end, her parents never turned up with the money. Feeling that she’s better off dead, she wants Jake to kill her. However upon learning she’s a NEXT, he manages to convince her that they are superior beings to humans and the weaklings are just out to crush people like them. He sets her free and that’s when she followed him ever since because he’s the first person who accepted her existence. She blames the duo for interfering or else Jake could still have been alive and living in their ideal world of NEXT. But Kotetsu says that will make them the same as the persecutors on the humans. Her reply that is given since humans are weak. To defend Jake’s honour and to let Barnaby live with this torment for the rest of his life, she tells him that Jake isn’t his parent’s murderer because on that day, she was kidnapped by him. Barnaby is horrified as Kriem continues that they are just a small part of Ouroboros and unplugs all of her life support. After all that spasm, she dies so she could rejoin Jake in the afterlife. Outside, Barnaby is obviously confused and feeling dismal. It’s like back to square one. Kotetsu has no heart to tell about his resignation. He tries to reason that Kriem was lying but Kotetsu mentions there are newspaper articles about her being missing so it’s true. Because Barnaby is still adamant Jake is the killer, Kotetsu takes him to rewatch videos on Jake during the 7 match series. This is to see if that mark is on his palm. Well, there is a clear shot that it isn’t. Barnaby rationales that he might have had surgery to remove but there isn’t any sign that indicates he had one. Barnaby’s mind starts going crazy as now he sees several faces in place of the murderer that includes Maverick, Rotwang and his housemaid, Samantha Taylor. Then Kotetsu’s mom calls again. Hurry up with the resignation already because it seems Kaede now has magnetism powers! She wants him back now to do something about it before something bad happens. But as Kotetsu finally summons his courage to say, Barnaby misinterprets that he wants to leave early because of Kaede’s instable powers. Then he calls Samantha and questions her on the night his parents were murdered. She was in a bed with a cold. Kotetsu didn’t like the way he is interrogating a nice old lady so he hangs up the phone for him. Depressed Barnaby is so confused with his messed up memories, he doesn’t know what to believe in anymore. He drops the bombshell by saying he will quit being a Hero since he isn’t confident in this confused state. My, this is getting more complicating, hasn’t it? So once again Kotetsu begs to Kaede for forgiveness that he can’t return and as usual he gets an earful. He tries to change the subject about her multiple powers but she mentions she only has 1: That is to automatically copy the powers of the NEXT she touches. At least that’s what Muramasa told her. And if he isn’t coming home, she’s not going to talk to him anymore. Hmph! Ah, back to square one here as well. Barnaby’s mind goes crazier when he sees more faces as the murderer. Lunatic, Kotetsu and… Himself? I wonder if he can handle this.

Episode 19
The messed up memories are really getting to Barnaby. He’s feeling so frustrated with the ever changing faces so Kotetsu suggests retracing his steps on that day to help remember the murderer’s face. The duo are at the park where Barnaby spent Christmas Eve with Maverick on the night before his parents were killed. He remembered everything they did so clearly. From buying a Santa hat to taking a picture together. Still, Barnaby breaks down upon knowing he’ll be tormented for the rest of his life. Kotetsu offers to stay by his side and support him till this case is solved. I guess Barnaby is so relieved that he collapses. Kotetsu brings him to hospital as once more Barnaby dreams of that horrifying nightmare. But this time the Ouroboros mark on the murderer’s hand vanishes. Then he wakes up and goes looking for Kotetsu. Kotetsu calls his mom and once again tries to give excuse of his delay to return home. Unfortunately, Kaede is fed up with his lies and tells him off never to come back again. Barnaby overheard all that and wants an explanation. Obviously he knows his partner too well to know about that aging crap and thinking of getting a steady job lie. This is not the Kotetsu we know, right? This has Barnaby conclude that the reason why he wanted to stop him from quitting was so because it would make it more difficult for him to say he’s quitting. Then it’s that issue of “You don’t trust me ah?” again. Barnaby is obviously upset that he believed in him so he tells him off he can quit and can handle everything himself. But he crosses the line when he says things will be better if he retires. Well, Kotetsu slaps him. Better than a manly punch, right? No? Later Barnaby goes to see Maverick and tells him the problem he is facing and that his parents’ murder isn’t solved. He agrees to help research on Ouroboros when Samantha calls to inform him that she remembers what happened on that day. She lets him know of a photo that she stumbled upon and she too is stumped. Barnaby asks Maverick about the day they spent together at the park on Christmas Eve. He assures him he was there but Barnaby shows the picture that Samantha found: It was a picture of young Barnaby and Samantha. Pestering Maverick of why he would go so far to lie, Maverick replies he should be grateful he raised him and didn’t finish him off with his parents. He was impressed with his powers and wanted to make him a Hero. When he first started Hero TV, only his parents supported him in making the Hero suits and all. But ratings weren’t good as people were still sceptical about NEXT. In other to boost ratings and make the Hero business thrive, he teamed up with a crime organization and set up flashy crimes. Then on Christmas Eve, his parents met him and are furious that he was using their nano-metal technology behind their back and giving it to criminals. Their strong sense of justice wanted him to make everything public and atone for his sins. And the rest is of course history. But he wasn’t the murderer in Barnaby’s memories so who did all this fit? You see, Maverick is also a NEXT and is able to plant new memories within people. So now it all makes sense. And he is so confident telling Barnaby everything because well, he’ll forget it soon. As Barnaby is paralyzed in shock, Maverick prepares to alter his memories once more. Kotetsu is hanging out at the bar and sees a special interview whereby Barnaby indirectly praises him for working his ability with great pride and hopes to become like him. And he doesn’t mean being clumsy or rash like him. Get it? Kotetsu calls Barnaby but obviously he isn’t picking up.

Episode 20
Now Maverick may be targeting Kotetsu seeing he learnt that he too was with Barnaby when they went to see Kriem. The other Heroes are worried about Barnaby seeing Agnes called them about Barnaby’s duty to host a dinner. They think it’s Kotetsu’s fault due to his body reaction but he can’t tell about that slapping incident. He is saved by the phone. It is Maverick and he wants to see him in his office immediately in private. Maverick tells Kotetsu about Barnaby’s strange call last night. Something about he can’t trust anything anymore and is missing ever since. Of course tells the truth on what he knows about the unsolved case of Barnaby’s parents’ murderer and their decision to reinvestigate it. Kotetsu sees a matching pin he bought for Barnaby at the park on the carpet but thinks he dropped his and picks it up. Maverick has drugged Kotetsu’s coffee but each time he is going to sip, something stops or distracts him. Frustrating, isn’t it? Then he gets a call from Samantha wanting to show him that photo so Kotetsu leaves. Maverick then makes an important call. Want to bet that call is for a terrorist explosion at a mall? Kotetsu thought he could see Samantha at the office but Lloyds tell him to jump straight into action and will keep Samantha waiting. While the Heroes easily save the people, Samantha has been kidnapped by Maverick’s MIB and thrown into some dark room. Kotetsu rushes back after done with his saving but finds Samantha has left. Barnaby wakes up in Maverick’s villa and his memories have been completely altered. Yup, Jake killed his parents for the money. Kotetsu enters his jeep to find another pin. Then he realizes the one at Maverick’s office belongs to Barnaby. He calls Maverick to tell him about it. But being a fool, he thinks Barnaby was in his office when Maverick wasn’t around. He plans to go to Samantha’s house to see her about the photo. Of course nobody is in so he enters and waits. Wait and wait and wait… With the new events unfolding, Maverick has come up with a new plan. He gathers his staff the Heroes and Agnes to tell them about some super secret project that will make Tiger the star. He also assures them that Barnaby was just tired and currently resting. Without rushing into details, he has everyone toast but then, their drinks are drugged. Maverick goes to see Samantha and burns that photo. He can’t have her bringing up the past. Doing things like this are only going to make him suffer and sometimes there are truths that are best left unknown. Normally he would just alter her memories and let her go live her normal life but he has an important new role for her. Oh no. See that fear on her face? Something tells me she isn’t going to see tomorrow. Morning comes and Kotetsu finds himself dozing off in Samantha’s home and she has not returned. Going back to the office, he sees Lloyds but he doesn’t know who this idiot is. Kotetsu thinks he offended him somehow but Lloyds isn’t joking. Even the security guy doubts who this guy is though Kotetsu has a staff pass. Not even putting up the Tiger mask could convince him. I mean, he’s got lots of fans lately who tried sneaking into the building. Suddenly Hero TV announces that today’s arrest will be the fugitive Kotetsu! There are reports that he murdered Samantha as fingerprints are found all over her home. Now the security believes he is the real Tiger. But he is so scared pointing his gun at him that his hands are shaking. Kotetsu uses his power to escape. Soon the entire city and all other Heroes are hot on his trail as Kotetsu goes into hiding. Barnaby is saddened to hear Samantha’s passing and even worse learning that Kotetsu is the one that killed her. The news even spread to Kotetsu’s hometown and poor mommy and Kaede got the shock of their lives.

Episode 21
Everyone sure now recognizes the murderer. What a way to become famous, eh? And Maverick has all data on Tiger wiped out from the network servers. Kotetsu calls Agnes but she doesn’t believe him and since his position is revealed, Sky High chases after him. Kaede still believes that her dad is innocent so grandma tells her that daddy is a Hero. The Hero named Wild Tiger. Surprised, she looks through some of the magazines and makes sense of some of the events like when he came to save her at the shrine. What is she going to do now? She breaks her piggy bank to head to the city. I hope she has enough change. Meanwhile Yuri tries to look for info on Tiger but it’s either there are no records or access denied. He smells something fishy alright. Maverick sees Barnaby who is feeling much better. He tells him that the new upgraded Hero suit has finished developed for both him and Tiger. Kotetsu bumps into the other Heroes who of course only remember him as a criminal. Plus, nobody knows Tiger’s real identity or his real face (which is partly true in reality). He is cornered by Blue Rose and tries to remind her about that towel he gave. Did it work? Well, the wall behind blew up and he is face to face with… Tiger?! Hey, he’s in a new cool suit. They fight but Kotetsu knows he is no match and makes a run. Suddenly Lunatic pops up and is going to pass judgment on the killer. He creates a wall of fire for Kotetsu to escape.  He reasons by allowing him to be captured by the hands of false justice goes against his justice ideal of passing judgment on those who are truly sinful. Kotetsu disguises as a homeless and is surprised to see the news report. A contradicting statement by Maverick that Barnaby is staying at his place when Maverick told him he didn’t even know his whereabouts. He manages to get a ride in Ben’s taxi. At first he thought Ben too forgot about him but rest assured, he’ll always be his number one fan. To prove that, Ben throws him a suitcase containing his old Tiger outfit. With the buddies giving out a good laugh and remembering the good ol’ times, Kotetsu gets down to serious business. He knows he is being framed and Maverick is behind all these but unsure if the memory lost is done by him or some NEXT. Yeah, that old geezer went as far as putting some impersonator as him. He is going to make them remember who Wild Tiger is and for that plan, he has all the Heroes gather on the rooftop of Apollon Media. Well, almost everyone except Barnaby is here. So hello everyone. Do you remember this old Tiger? Kaede has arrived in the city and is outside her dad’s workplace. She chances upon Maverick and feigns looking for Barnaby but was told he was too busy. Maverick leaves in his limo and Barnaby is with him.

Episode 22
So what is Tiger’s plan? Doing funny trademark poses to get everyone to remember?! Not working. Then he proceeds to tell the memories he had with each one, like that babysitting and hairpin thingy for Dragon Kid, Blue Rose’s ambition to be a singer and that stint at Hero’s Academy with Origami. He also reveals some personal, private and embarrassing habits that they have. Their conclusion? He’s a stalker! Okay, one final try. “Do I look like a someone who would kill?”. Everybody: “Yes”. Haha! You’re screwed. However Blue Rose slightly believes Tiger because if he is the culprit, why is he trying so hard to prove his innocence? But it’s not enough as the Heroes prepare to make an arrest when Kaede enters the scene. She pleads for them not to hurt her dad. Giving out a loud scream, suddenly her NEXT powers are activated. A white ball of light emerges over her and in a flash, the Heroes regain their normal memories back though they are still puzzled on treating Tiger as a criminal. So father and daughter the usual conversation. He apologizes for not telling he was a Hero all along. She doesn’t want to be treated like a kid. Realizing she copied the powers from someone else, he learns that the last person to touch her was Maverick (he patted her head before he left). He tells the other Heroes that Maverick was behind all this and tried to frame him by altering their memories. Perhaps Blue Rose was trying to confess (or say sorry) but Tiger thanks her first for being the only one who tried to believe in him. On the other hand, he chides Rock Bison for trying to really treat him like a criminal. Yeah, he feigns his fuzzy memory. How convenient. Then Barnaby (black bunny?) arrives on scene and he is real mad believing Tiger really killed Samantha. No amount of persuasion would do so it’s up to Kaede to work her magic. Unfortunately, she starts flying. Remember seeing Sky High pat her shoulders? Dang. There goes their only chance. The Heroes try to restrain and reason with him but it’s no good so Tiger teases him to chase after him. Tiger crashes into Saito’s lab to get his new suit (not the upgraded one) but to his surprise, Saito remembers him. Seems everyone who watched the telecast got their memories restored. I guess Barnaby was the only one left in the dark, eh? After suiting up, Tiger and Barnaby go on a high speed chase on their respective bikes. He still tries to remind him about the things they do, the place where they first met but as we all know, it’s futile. They zoom pass the vehicles as everyone recognizes them as the Heroic duo of Tiger and Barnaby. So really, Barnaby was the only one who wasn’t watching. As the Heroes wait for Tiger’s return with Kaede, the imposter Tiger shows up. He doesn’t look friendly. In their Good Luck Mode, Tiger and Barnaby’s epic clash continues as they play chicken over a raised bridge and a ship passing underneath. How epic is this going to get?

Episode 23
Well, Good Luck Mode breaks upon the high impact so it’s back to that good ol’ fists and kicks. In the end, Tiger knocks Barnaby’s helmet off. He doesn’t want to go on anymore and remembers the slap he gave him. Thinking it would jolt his memory back, he gives Barnaby that ‘pain of friendship’. Did it work? Barnaby thought he pulled off that cheap shot when he’s off guard. Now Tiger has turned into a punching bag. Persuasion didn’t work before so why is Tiger trying to reminisce the old times when they first met? I mean, yeah sure, he didn’t like working with this young smart ass but as time passes, he felt natural being his partner. Not even his tears can make that mad bunny stop. Tiger thinks he is done for but the next thing he knew, he’s still alive. How? Well, Tiger called his bunny nickname and Barnaby instantly rebuked how he hated it. That was enough to return him back to normal?! Unbelievable but thank goodness. So relieved that Tiger hugs him and wants to smooch him (just kidding on this last bit). Barnaby apologizes for turning against him and realizes he has been used by Maverick all these years. Ben then comes by in his taxi, worried about Tiger. But you know he is fine. He offers to give them a ride to anywhere but Saito picks them all up in his trailer. Saito mentions he did not develop the upgraded suits. Tiger thinks of having Agnes broadcast Maverick’s true colours but Saito says this isn’t possible. Seems when Saito talked to her, she was still under the impression that Tiger is a baddie. Either she didn’t watch the bright light or she got mind controlled again. Then they receive a call from Maverick himself. He has got all the Heroes in has palm and Kaede too. He wants them to come to Justice Tower. Riding to the top, they confront the imposter Tiger. The real Tiger unmasks him and to their shock, it is an android, H-01. What’s more, it is Rotwang who developed it as he has been working under Maverick. Rotwang is confident they aren’t able to defeat this upgraded H-01 since they have a hard time fighting Cis. Plus, even with the combined effort, all the other Heroes weren’t able to stop it, thus led to their capture. Maverick’s new plan is to have this android replace all NEXT as Heroes as he views them as the perfect embodiment of justice. He wants the duo to fight it to their heart’s content and the data from the battle will be used for future references. Unless they can defeat H-01, they can’t protect anything. You think using Kaede as a threat is going to make that father shrivel in fear. Exact opposite effect, man. Meanwhile all the other Heroes wake up in a separate room filled with spikes and a weird collar around their neck. Through a TV, Rotwang announces the end of their era and H-01 as the new Hero. The Heroes realize he is a NEXT hater. They assert it can never replace them as Heroes because androids are just weapons that only move on command. Plus, they listen to the cries of the people, being Heroes makes them human and they wouldn’t have become one if it’s not for the bond and trust for each other. Rotwang is going to put their trust to the test. Informing them the collar is a bomb, he will only save 1 of them and that is the one who is fastest to flip the deactivation switch on it. By doing so, that 1 person is saved but the bomb will explode for the rest. They have until Tiger and Barnaby’s defeat to flip it, failure in which will result in all of them blowing up. And if they do anything funny with their powers to get it off, Rotwang will manually blow it himself. So their battle starts as soon as Tiger and Barnaby start with theirs.

Episode 24
Saito is trying to find a way to reboot the android seeing it was developed based on Barnaby’s parents’ design. Of course Ben couldn’t understand a single thing he said. So do I. H-01’s powers are too much for the dynamic duo to handle. With that laser gun and sword, you don’t want to mess with it. In addition, their powers ran out so they need to stall for time till it replenishes. How? Run around! Just hope they don’t get hit. Easier said than done. Elsewhere the committee are worried that they can’t contact the Heroes. Yuri remembers when he let Kotetsu run free, the faces off with the imposter Tiger and vows to reveal its identity and the real mastermind. Unfortunately the imposter was quick enough to evade Lunatic’s flames and fire a shoot and injure his shoulder. Maverick comes in to assure everyone the Heroes are fighting a terrorist together. Just like that Jake incident, eh? But his real intention is of course to have them all die and give an excuse that they died honourably in the line of duty. Yuri feels something amiss. The other Heroes are starting to feel the strain and doubt. Rotwang broadcasts Sky High’s words to the rest. He was pondering if it would be better if one should survive rather than all to perish. This has the Heroes doubting each other and at any moment they could give in to the temptation to press the button. Yeah, Rock Bison nearly did it but was tough enough to refrain himself. Unknown to them all, Rotwang plans to have them all killed so anyone who pushes the button will blow everyone up. Finally Tiger and Barnaby got their powers back so they go into action. But even with the combined effort and their Good Luck Mode, H-01 still stands. It’s like it’s not even scratched. While the Heroes watch with baited breath, Blue Rose finally makes her decision. No, not to push the button. She is going to believe in Tiger and Barnaby. They will never lose and will trust them till the end. Her words regain confidence in the rest so they too start putting their faith in the duo. Kaede isn’t going to sit around till Prince Charming shows up. Since the last person to touch her was Blue Rose, she materializes an ice pick to cut herself free. Tiger manages to grab a hold on H-01. Now the only choice left is for Barnaby to use that laser and fire through it. What about Tiger? Just shoot! No time to be thinking about anything else so Barnaby pulls the trigger. I wonder how many walls the laser break through. The good news: H-01 is destroyed. Bad news: Where the hell is Tiger? Rotwang is totally upset that H-01 lost so he plans to manually blow up the Heroes. Fortunately Kaede shoots her ice pick and destroys the controller. Then she freezes Rotwang and destroys his command centre to free the collar off the Heroes’ neck. Everyone breaks out and rushes to meet their saviour. Barnaby finds Tiger badly wounded. His suit is vaporized. I don’t know if he had time to jump away but his powers ran out then. Barnaby learns of his declining power and realizes the events that happened. The old guy doesn’t want the young kid to worry about him. Then Tiger starts talking like as though he is saying goodbye. Thanks for everything. NOOO!!! DON’T GO!!! When the Heroes and Kaede arrive, they are shocked to see ‘the calm on sleeping Tiger’s face’ and in emotional Barnaby’s arms.

Episode 25
Too bad they won’t have time to mourn because the big bad wolf shows up. He still has his trump card. No, he’s not going to alter their memories again. Looks like he has massed produced H-01 androids and they’re attacking the Heroes on his command. If they can’t handle 1 previously, what makes them think they can handle a bunch of them now? Death of a comrade? Doesn’t look any different. Barnaby won’t forgive Maverick but he tells him to blame his parents instead for creating the androids. Of course he knows this is not what their intentions to create these androids are for. The Heroes were seconds being blasted to smithereens for good when suddenly all the androids stop functioning. Seems Saito has managed to reboot the system. Maverick is going to restart the system but Rock Bison destroys the bridge. Rotwang is holding dear to his life on Maverick’s leg. The old geezer has no further use for the scientist since the development of H-01 is complete. He reveals he is a NEXT before kicking him down and let him fall to his death. One bad deed deserves another. The Heroes confront Maverick at the system and he is confident that he will get away scot free. He has friends in high places and nobody will dare question him. Don’t forget his NEXT’s power. As for Tiger’s death, Barnaby killed him, right? Man, this guy is smooth. He is fit to be a politician. But bragging like that has its downfall because Agnes has recorded everything he said from her helicopter. Surprise! She too regained her memories after seeing that bright light but decided to play along. With the broadcast now resumed all over the city, this is the highest rating she’s ever got. Yeah, everyone is watching. Still, Maverick doesn’t know how to give up. Now he takes Kaede as hostage and plans to escape in Agnes’ helicopter. Suddenly a zombie creeps up from behind him! Oops, sorry. Tiger actually as he knocks that heartless bastard out. That’s for trying to mess with his kid. So did he come back from the depths of hell? Actually he didn’t die. He just passed out. Hey, nobody checked his pulse, right? The emotional reunion is cut short once more when Maverick (yes, this damn guy again) isn’t going to be turn himself in. He believes he has not committed any sin. What he has done is to make the public accept Heroes in which they saved the people from despair. But still, he is finished, right? He mentions Ouroboros will never be finished. Knowing this is the end for him, he uses his own powers to alter his memories and turn himself into a vegetable. As Maverick is taken away, Kotetsu apologizes to Kaede for getting her involved. He finally gets his dream when she says how cool he was. Saito meets Barnaby to show him an equation which was the password that stopped the robots. Barnaby doesn’t understand what it means though it was the password his parents used. When everyone learns of Kotetsu’s declining powers, Kotetsu takes this chance to inform he is retiring from the Hero business. Barnaby also express his wish to resign since there is no point going on without him being his partner and being a Hero was just a setup by Maverick. The security escorting Maverick is ambushed by Lunatic who then kills Maverick.

A year has passed and we see some of the Heroes incorporating changes to their life. Pao Lin becomes more feminine, Ivan thinks of incorporating sumo to his routine, Nathan trying to hit on Antonio, Blue Rose already debuted her single as Karina is reading a book on how to hit on single fathers! But still, the usual 6 Heroes continue their routine of stopping crime on Hero TV. Yeah, the Second League Heroes are still running around catching minor criminals. But wait! Isn’t that Tiger running with them?! He’s back in the Hero business after retiring? Because these amateur Heroes don’t get much screen time like the regular ones, I guess Kaede won’t get to see much of papa on TV, eh? Barnaby pays a visit to his parents’ grave. Then he realizes the meaning of the equation. It consists of his parents’ birthdays and his birthday and weight on the day he was born. This has him to remember how they told him they will protect him forever. As for Tiger, he has renamed himself as Wild Tiger 1minute and is not afraid to let others know of his limited power. Lloyds works under Ben who has become the CEO of Apollon Media. As Tiger is trying to apprehend a lowly criminal, he crashes through the roof but Barnaby catches him. Barnaby thought he retired. We learn Tiger came back because Kaede thought he was uncool for being a couch potato at home. Tiger says he realized you don’t set your own limits. Even if he loses all his powers, get mocked, ridiculed, he’s not going to let that stop him or give up. He’s going to be a Hero till the end. And if Tiger is back, this means Barnaby is coming out of retirement too? Yeah, it’s because he is his partner. So the first thing they did? Argue who should pay the fine for the damages! That’s the team we know! I guess Tiger’s popularity has increased so that Sky High fan kid who thought Kotetsu was a Wild Tiger fan and gave his card to him, yeah he buys a trading card of Tiger and Barnaby now. But as the wind blows his dollar away, we are left with another baffling teaser. The picture on the dollar upon getting soaked in the puddle transforms into an Ouroboros mark! Are they saying that crime organization runs the city or it’s just a safety and security mark on the bill?

Who says being a Hero is easy?
Wow. I didn’t expect to find myself to enjoy this series. Firstly the action was engaging enough for me to glue my eyes to the screen like all those audience watching Hero TV. Maybe it’s because that the Heroes do not pull off their powers needlessly and thus avoiding the pitfall of repetitive moves. Yes, the Heroes do not own an arsenal of unlimited moves and so you can guess they are most likely to pull off that same move whenever they fight against baddies. The other interesting bit is the interaction between the Heroes, especially Kotetsu/Tiger and Barnaby. At first the duo didn’t really like each other, getting in each other’s way. Surprisingly they are able to maintain their cool most of the time and not break into any serious physical fistfight though the sarcasm still flies. I mean if they both are going to be partners for a long time, might as well try and get used to it.

Like the opposite ends of the polar, both Kotetsu and Barnaby see the essence in working together for the greater good. It’s just their method of doing so differs. It is admirable that there are still people like good ol’ Kotetsu sticking hard to his ideal way of justice. It may not be economical (since it involves destroying buildings and monuments – things that will COST you money!) but you can’t replace a human’s life as compared to all those structures and construction. I don’t know, I wouldn’t say his way of thinking is old just because he is a veteran in the Hero business for donkey years. Maybe it’s just that with lots of new and younger Heroes, his way of thinking may not be ‘trendy’. But heed his words because what he says are usually words that make you think so and so. Barnaby may be a young cock and certainly is lucky to have Kotetsu around to guide him and the err of his ways. But can you blame him for wanting revenge after watching his beloved parents murdered in front of his eyes? It’s a good thing he still manages to keep his calm composure in front of everyone (and the camera) only when he doubted Jake was the murderer, that he is close to breaking down. Otherwise his ways of getting things done via his theories are commendable. That’s why Tiger and Barnaby both complement each other. They are after all not only partners but friends for life.

It is also nice to see that the other Heroes are given a little focus of their own albeit not much and Tiger and Barnaby are still pretty much involved in a way. For instance, Karina’s singing dilemma, Ivan’s old school buddy and the babysitting incident with Pao Lin. Even behind the masks, the Heroes are still human and face their own set of problems just like any other ordinary humans. Each of the Heroes has their own unique personality and it makes the ragtag team of Heroes a colourful bunch. From transgender Nathan to tsundere Karina and the tomboyish Pao Lin, it’s never a dull moment. Notice how when Keith talks, his hands start moving too? Your typical ‘American Hero’, good looking and upholding justice, but Keith can be a little ‘dumb’ or rather comical at times. For example, he should have guessed Kotetsu wasn’t a villain when the latter mentioned about his secret way of sucking eggs on fried rice. I don’t think that’s the problem, right? Besides, everyone is on such good terms that it’s like going out to catch the baddies in their respective agencies is like as though they’re just putting up a show. Where is the intense rivalry? Friendly rivalry, yes. But not to the extent that there will be jealousy and sabotage. These guys are truly the Heroes they are.

You thought Kaede finally be on good terms with her father, eh? Well, it was just such a short spell. Even if Kotetsu can handle and chase after bad guys, he still can’t handle his own daughter. Being a father is a much tougher job than being a hero. So Kotetsu got his dream come true that his daughter finally acknowledges the cool Hero he is but I guess he has to stay being a Hero if he wants to keep that reputation up. Maybe she can be the next generation of Heroes seeing that she did play pivotal roles in the final arc, saving the city and even the Heroes from a certain death. Ben is a true friend for Kotetsu and he stick with him at all times. So I guess it’s only timely that he deserves to get back his original job as a Hero CEO but in a bigger company. Agnes isn’t a bad woman, just that she puts TV ratings as her top priority.

Many of the villains here live up to their tag as baddies. They are really despicable. I guess if you have one who isn’t rotten, it’s either that person is an amateur or isn’t one at all. Jake and Maverick were equally dastardly. The former was more direct in his crimes against humanity whereas the latter prefers to cover his tracks. Truthfully, I had a feeling that Maverick was going to turn out to be the culprit or villain simply because… He has got the looks of one. Call it stereotypic but I mean, a big corporation boss with some sort of keloid or big protruding mole on his forehead (can’t avert… eyes… away from it…), that doesn’t make him exactly Buddha, right? Lunatic may be playing the antagonist but I don’t see him entirely as a villain. Sure, killing bad guys may seem like you are no different than the baddie themselves but if the person most important to you got killed, I’m sure you want the perpetrator dead at all cost, right? Besides, just like Barnaby, Yuri comes from a broken family, what more a father who is supposed to be the most famous Hero of all time. So can you say he is totally wrong or right in his actions? This is of course debatable and everyone is entitled to their own opinions of him. If not for Tiger and Barnaby thwarting each attempt, the crime rate may have gone down, Stern Bild a safer city but then again, Hero TV may not have enjoyed high ratings with no criminals to catch. But I learnt in Madoka that even without ordinary or super power criminals, evil will still exist in another form :). Because Maverick became the main villain towards the end of the series, Lunatic’s role was somewhat redundant because I thought there would be some epic clash with the Heroes as well. He is only reduced to an observing role (due to his shoulder injury) and the only ‘important’ thing he did at the end was to eliminate the former Apollon Media boss. And the end of the TV series left us with that Ouroboros teaser. So what is this organization exactly? If they ever make another season, my bet is that perhaps this group will take centre stage as the antagonist and hopefully Lunatic too.

The theme of this series I feel is about trust and believe. This is important in any team or partnership. Otherwise the city would have fallen into chaos and mayhem if everybody were selfish and looking out for their own interest. And even if there are those powerless and aren’t able to do anything, at least the most they can do is to put their faith in the Heroes and cheer for them to go on. Perhaps Tiger’s phrase of “I believe that you will believe in me” would catch on like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann’s Kamina’s “Don’t believe in yourself. Believe in me who believes in you” expression. So do you believe me that this is one cool series? Believe it, dattebayo!

The production of this series is very Americanised. So much so you may think that this is an American production. Heck, every word in the show is in English. You may be forgiven if you are seeing shades of New York landmarks like Central Park or Empire State Building. Even the Stern Bild dollar resembles closely to the American note! But this isn’t so bad as Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt (PSG) because in PSG, every damn thing is so Americanized that the only ‘Japanese’ thingy left is the dialogue. Even so, PSG is riddled with profanity and immoral jokes unlike this one. At least the music and songs are still sung in Japanese and though we have some characters looking very much like Americans, people like Kotetsu and Pao Lin still do have that Asian look, if not at least looking like an anime character. On a trivial note, the next episode preview is either narrated by Kotetsu/Tiger or Barnaby. The amusing part is when they read the next episode’s title. Though Barnaby can pronounce the words smoothly but heavily accented, Kotetsu has a hard time pronouncing, fumbling at each word because it sounds so foreign to him!

As seen on the outfits of the Heroes, there are several real sponsors. I’m not sure if they really do sponsor this series but I guess just like show business, these sponsors realize the importance of product placement. It isn’t the case whereby in order to avoid lawsuits, they purposely misspell popular brand names (like a certain computer operating system or an internet search engine. If you have watched many animes and have a keen eye, you’ll know what I mean). So in this series, we see big names like Bandai, Pepsi, Ustream and Calbee among the many real life brands. Speaking of Pepsi, since Blue Rose’s agency is their main sponsor, every episode in the mid-intermission, we see a short advertisement of her promoting the Pepsi NEX soft drink. I have a confession to make. I am not a Pepsi fan. Get what I mean? And with all the merchandise for each Hero, this is more than just a reality TV. I guess it isn’t a bad idea that Heroes = Idols.

Because Hiroaki Hirata is the voice behind Kotetsu/Tiger, each time I can’t help think that he may burst into his other famous role as that ladies men cook in One Piece, Sanji. Or maybe he would even unleash a Black Leg Style attack! After hearing Bleach’s Ichigo Kurosaki’s voice, it never crossed my mind that Masakazu Morita would be the voice of Barnaby in this series. I mean to me, Ichigo was always shouting and screaming in his fights, full of angst. And if he isn’t, he is like some sort of a guy with few words. So when he voices the calm and cool Barnaby, it really was a surprise. Other casts include Go Inoue as Keith/Sky High (Miura in OreImo), Minako Kotobuki as Karina/Blue Rose (Tsumugi in K-ON!), Kenjiro Tsuda as Nathan/Fire Emblem (Inui in Prince Of Tennis), Mariya Ise as Pao Lin/Dragon Kid (Stocking in PSG), Nobuhiko Okamoto as Ivan/Origami Cyclone (Accelerator in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Taiten Kusunoki as Antonio/Rock Bison (Uruoge in One Piece), Koji Yusa as Yuri/Lunatic (Lau in Kuroshitsuji, Gin in Bleach), Nobuaki Fukuda as Maverick (Chouza Akimichi in Naruto), Keiji Fujiwara as Jake (Sven in Black Cat), Michiko Neya as Kriem (Melissa in Full Metal Panic), Yuko Kaida as Agnes (Ryoumou in Ikkitousen), Rina Hidaka as Kaede (Last Order in To Aru Majutsu No Index) and Katsuhisa Houki as Ben (Jimbei in One Piece).

So there you have it, Heroes continuing to protect the city and unsung ones that go unnoticed every day. They may not be perfect like in fairytales but at least they have what is most important. Just like how Manhattan is to Spiderman and Gotham City is to Batman, it’s safe to say that the dynamic duo of Tiger and Barnaby will ensure baddies to think twice if they ever want to mess around in Stern Bild. I might want to try handing in my application to be a super hero but I guess the only thing I am good at is watching animes and stare at the screen all day long.

Wow. Not only just a hero. But a legendary hero as well. Furthermore, having his/her own legend thus the name The Legend Of The Legendary Heroes. How epic and legendary can you get with that? Initially after a few rounds with RPG themed animes, I thought this would be another RPG-like genre based on its name. However this resembles more of a fantasy adventure. No group, classes or parties like archers, fighters, priestess, rangers (insert other classes you can think of) but we do have magic wizards here. Heck, almost everyone who has the ability to fight can use some sort of wizardry powers. Each power is unique enough so much you can tell the user hails from which country.

And being the fantasy adventure type, this doesn’t mean that I am spared with all the epic names of characters (read: hard to pronounce, spell and remember – okay some aren’t that bad), names of the countries (surprisingly they are short and sweet) and the unique terms and jargon that come exclusively in this series. Not your typical good versus evil as the lines between them are blurred. What we’ll see here are basically corrupted nobles, warring nations, civil unrests, scars of wars, traumatic pasts, political conspiracy, backstabbing, and the eternal fight to uphold justice and peace of the people of the land. For slightly more info on the characters and detailed summary of this series, go to Wikipedia and Anime Evo and loads of screenshots from Tenka Seiha. That’s where I go read up when I don’t understand. Not to say that I fully comprehend whatsoever since I didn’t read the light novels that this series was adapted from.

The main protagonist is no other than Ryner Lute. Looks like your ordinary peace loving guy who loves spending his time napping if not for the troublesome task of searching for Heroes Relics throughout the Menoris continent. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone could just take an afternoon siesta instead of fighting for supremacy? Apparently many others in higher places don’t think so. Unlike others, Ryner possesses something rare. He is one of the few with God’s Eyes (or Cursed Eyes if you’re afraid of them) called Alpha Stigma (see the insignia in his eyes close-up?). Though it allows the user to completely analyze and copy all sort of magic, Alpha Stigma bearers are extremely prejudiced and shunned to a point they are feared and being labelled as monsters. As far as everyone knows, Alpha Stigma bearers have the tendency to go berserk and destroy everything it is path. Don’t want to be near to that when that happens, eh? Accompanying Ryner on his journey is the beautiful babe and skilful swords(wo)man, Ferris Eris. Wait. To say she is his company isn’t right. He’s more like a manservant to her. Yes, the most amusing interaction from the duo stems from Ferris actions towards Ryner. In her usually deadpan voice, this sadist will not hesitate to beat up, whack, abuse, insult, mock, ridicule, scorn, tease (and all other words associated with it you can think of) Ryner. She even will not have second thoughts of making up stories, putting atrocious words in his mouth, create his fake past and future dreams that he is a pervert, sex fiend, immoral piece of garbage, etc. Not only that, acting in the front of unsuspecting third parties that she is ‘sullied’ by him though she tried to resist! You’d normally hate women who act like that but you can’t because it’s simply just funny to see Ryner bear the pain. It’s the kind of ‘chemistry’ between the duo that makes them, well, get along with each other so well. Maybe not. It’s a love-hate relationship. Not even the almighty Alpha Stigma could stand up against or even touch her, eh? No matter how strong and swift she is for a normal human, Ferris has a weakness: Dango. Yes those tasty little balls on a stick, especially those of the Wynnit Store. She’d do anything for them (Ryner usually bearing the end of her antics) and has a bottomless stomach to chow down boxes after boxes. No wonder the dango shops are flourishing. And yeah, any motivation or job needed to get done, dango is sure a pretty good excuse. Then there’s the good young bishonen king of the Roland country located at the south of the Menoris continent, Sion Astal. How many kings do you know work as hard as him in his quest to create a place that nobody will have to fight or suffer? A king that laments and blames himself that he lacks the necessary power to change his country for the better? No wonder all his subjects and people love him very much. There are many other characters but you’ll get to learn about them as you go by.

Episode 1
So the series basically starts off with a narration how countless beings and kingdoms fought wars just for that world domination thingy. Till some legendary heroes came along and kicked their asses. Whoever they are, they must be hell good to become legends. Then we see Ryner and Ferris in the middle of fighting some guards during their quest to look for Heroes Relics. Ferris’ excellent skill has them running away. Then they take a rest while Ferris chomps down her usual dango fix while reiterating that she’s just to guard him on his mission to find those relics for Roland. Back in the kingdom of Roland, we are introduced to Sion and his close and trusted subjects, Claugh Klom, Calne Kaiwal and Rahel Miller. Back to Ryner and Ferris, they stumbled into a tomb (Ferris just sliced the big door open as opposed to using Ryner’s ‘ineffective’ Alpha Stigma which was taking too long). They get into all sorts of activated traps but Ryner being the unfortunate chap nearly getting pierced, burnt and drowned. They notice a group of Taboo Breaker Squad following them. Led by the scatterbrain captain, Milk Callaud, she’s from the same orphanage as Ryner but obviously that guy doesn’t remember, breaking that girl’s heart (yeah, she has a crush on him). I guess she introduced herself too long so much so she bit her tongue. Even Ferris teases her for being in a ‘casual’ relationship with Ryner. She wants Ryner to follow her back seeing that he’ll get a chance to get off lightly but I guess the pair doesn’t see her bungling-ness as a threat so they nonchalantly leave. Milk tries to stop them with her magic but trips and causes a big explosion. Luckily Milk gets saved by her team comrades, namely Luke Stokkart, Lear Rinkal, brothers Lach and Moe Velariore. Meanwhile Sion thwarts a boy, Fiole Folkal who is trying to assassinate the king after mistaking Sion as the kidnapper of his sister, Eslina. Fiole wishes to die since he can’t save his sister but Sion saves him with his speech to change this corrupted land. After Sion frees Eslina in his chambers, he attends a party for nobles and learns that it was them who kidnapped Fiole’s sister as their ‘gift’ to the new king. Back to Ryner and Ferris, they encounter a big freaking rock creature. The obvious option is to run like hell. But watching it cause destruction? Well, whoever said they’re heroes in the first place? Ferris even leaves the cleaning up mess to Ryner. He notices a jewel on her and thinks it might be another of those relics. She says she picked it up from inside the tomb. Before anything else could happen, the jewel floats into the air and emits a bright light which turns into a massive explosion, turning the creature and the surrounding land into a huge crater. Some kind of Heroes Relic that was.

Episode 2
Flashback time. We see Sion’s mom was killed and that he is an illegitimate child of a noble and a commoner. Because of that status, he is being put into Roland Royal Special Military Academy. It may seem that the academy trains teenagers for the army but is in fact a place where the offspring of ‘bad’ people are put. Orphans of the war are also placed here and so that they can be sold to nobles and sent to war on their children’s behalf. Despicable. Sion notices Ryner as the Alpha Stigma bearer and wants him and Kiefer Knolles as part of his team. Obviously that sleepy guy isn’t interested. Till Sion coaxes him that he will tell everyone about his eyes. During a mock battle, Sion displays his leadership and strategic skills by ambushing the other team, earning praises from his team members. Back at the academy, Sion extends his hand to Ryner and wants him to join him in his quest to build his ideal country where no one will suffer or die. They are interrupted when cloak people came to assassinate Sion. And Ryner really left the scene to let Sion handle his pursuers! Sion is cornered in an alley but is saved by Ferris. She makes him return the favour by… You guessed it: Dangos. Man, you got to love this lady on how she imposes on everyone. Sion continues to deliver more dangos to Ferris at her family home. He learns that she was being ordered by her elder brother Lucile to protect him (Lucile’s orders are absolute as proclaimed by Ferris) and that the Eris family has personally served the previous kings of Roland for generations. He also meets Ferris’ perky little perky sister, Iris. Your typical little hyped-up loli who looks up to her big sister all the time. At the academy, some of the students are horrified that the neighbouring country of Estabul is trying to invade their land and that they’ll be in the front lines. Another war going to start. Meanwhile Ferris and Iris are torturing some noble in his manor to find out if he was the one behind the assassination of Sion. He laughs his head off since he tells them that the academy people are trekking to their doom because it’s a trap with 50 Magic Knights of Estabul are already waiting for them. Plus, he mentions of a spy within that group. It’s going to be an onslaught.

Episode 3
Lucile appears from nowhere to slice off that guy’s head and do a quick kill. He mentions that this is a test to see if Sion would be a competent king. As they young soldiers take a break in the plains, suddenly they are ambushed by the Estabul Magic Knights. Each one getting their heads or body sliced off in a bloody and violent manner. Each getting picked off one by one. Sion orders the rest of the survivors the retreat as we see that Kiefer is the spy. Then several Estabul Magic Knights got Sion in their grasp. Ryner uses his Alpha Stigma magic to wipe them out in an instant. Sion is upset that he should’ve used his magic earlier and prevent casualties. Then Ryner gets knocked out and when he opens his eyes, he finds that Sion and Kiefer in custody and the only survivors left. Everyone else was killed. The Estabul Magic Knights try to awaken his Alpha Stigma by trying to rape Kiefer. Let’s just say it was effective enough for Ryner to collapse into his dark self. Hear that maniacal laughter? Note that ‘destroy everything’ line? That means you’re in sh*t. BIG SH*T! He turns the entire Estabul Magic Knights into heaps of bloodied dead corpses in an instant! Don’t mess with him. He is even going to kill Sion and Kiefer via strangulation if Sion didn’t close his eyes. Yeah, it’s just that simple to stop a rampaging Alpha Stigma bearer. But can you get this close to him in the first place? In the aftermath, Sion has been hailed as a Hero King while Ryner is being beaten up badly while Kiefer is thrown into jail. Ryner makes a deal to take Keifer’s place in exchange for her freedom. Kiefer feels guilty for putting him into all sorts of trouble but Ryner is okay with it and that she isn’t a monster who killed people unlike him, the greedy ones and wars. She kisses him before she leaves. Soon Sion pays Ryner a visit and wants to take this chance to bust him out but he refuses. This is his only way to get this much needed nap, right?

Episode 4
Sion meets Lucile who puts him through some test to see if he is worthy to be their Roland king. Whatever it was, I’m sure Sion passed because he’s still breathing. Two years have passed since Ryner’s condemned and isolated imprisonment. He even made friends with the sole guard watching his cell. During his captivity, Ryner requests lots of books from the library as he begins writing his report. One day, the guard receives a bad news and reluctantly lets him out of his cell. No, he is not free. Seems he is judged to be too dangerous to even be locked away and will be executed. On the way out, he bumps into and even battles Ferris who is to escort him back to the palace (so that’s how their ‘relationship’ started, eh?). In the palace hall, Ryner is shocked to see Sion crowned as the king. Sion has been reading his research about the search for Heroes Relics and gathering them all will lead to a world without deaths, suffering and crying. And don’t forget afternoon naps too. He takes a liking to it and orders Ryner to go on a mission to retrieve those relics with Ferris accompanying him in case he slacks off. Why the heck would he do that? It’s that or his life. And why the heck would Ferris do that? She’s not his subordinate. Sion must have learned the magic word. If she doesn’t her favourite Wynnit Store will burn down this instant! Get your ass moving now! For the sake of the dango and its future! And yeah, Ryner has to be dragged along with her pace. For her dangos. So the report he wrote to pass the time has come back to be one big pain the ass, huh?

Episode 5
Ryner and Ferris arrive in the country of Nelfa as part of their search. After more of Ferris’ wicked accusations of Ryner’s lust, they save a pair of young children and a teenager from a bunch of unruly thugs. That teenager is Toale Nelphi and he is just like Ryner in the sense that he is born out of a union between a noble and a commoner. They visit his library to do more research on the Heroes Relics. Meanwhile Sion attends another banquet and the stuck-up nobles have not changed a bit. After the party, Sion becomes depressed and blames himself for his lack of powers to make changes when he finds Fiole murdered in his room (and he was supposed to take the day off to see his sister). Noting that this is part of the nobles’ scheme to bring him down (Fiole is a commoner and holding a noble position, thus their resentment for it), he orders Claugh to make arrangements for Fiole’s burial and Calne to protect Eslina before the nobles get to her but chooses not to get revenge yet as he thinks he would be no different than them. Back at Ryner and Ferris who are staying at an inn with lots of noisy children. Iris makes her debut. She takes a very much dislike to Ryner and calls him a wild beast. I’m not sure what kinds of ideas were put into her head but she’s too overprotective over her sister. She even has this thinking that if you talk to a wild beast, you get impregnated regardless whether you’re a man or woman. WTF?! And yeah, Iris does not hesitate to throw her loli punches and kicks whenever possible at poor Ryner. Too bad Ferris worsens the situation by lying about putting up with his advances. Back to Sion, he is approached by Miran Froaude a fast rising and high ranking officer in Roland’s army. He is here to offer his assistance to Sion in creating his ideal country. However as we know, achieving it the good ol’ way isn’t possible so Miran is here to bear the darkness on his behalf. Gulp. I can think of shady tactics that this guy will come up with. Yeah, he even mentioned that he is willing to get rid of his own father to achieve his means. And Sion accepted him? What choice does he have? Since this Miran guy is quite a smooth talker too.

Episode 6
Iris returns to Sion because she’s supposed to be a messenger between the king and that travelling clowns, oops I mean, duo. Anyway her drawing is horrible. I can’t make out anything of it. Sion visits Nelfa to improve relations. Though the Nelfa king is welcoming him, his eldest son, Starnel remains arrogant and even mocks Sion so much so the king has to berate him, get a little physical before he leaves. Ryner gets a rude wake-up call. No, not his nap is being disrupted by a certain blonde bombshell, but rather he is surprised to see Sion in person in Toale’s residence. After that, he gets more abuse from Ferris who continues to show her unreserved and merciless side on him. Sion asks if Toale is Starnel’s son and though he replies affirmative, he is just a burden to his father. His simple wish is to raise his other siblings in a happy manner. That night as Sion attends a party in Nelfi’s castle, Ryner and Ferris protect the castle from outside assassins without letting the party from being interrupted. Those people inside don’t even know what’s going on on the outside. Back at the inn, Ryner and Ferris sense somebody coming. It is Miran. He mistakes Ryner for Toale and wishes to dispose of him. They put up a good fight so Miran knows he’s got the wrong person. After all, even Ferris got injured by Miran’s darkness power that originates from his shiny finger ring. Miran continues to history of this powerful ring that was used in many assassinations till some hero, Halford Miran sliced it off its fingers and stopped the power. Even in this time, Ferris has the cheek to put up a fight with Ryner for talking too much instead of finding the enemy’s weakness or do something about the Heroes Relic (Miran’s ring) right before his eyes. Miran finds them interesting and promises he won’t kill Toale but will kill them since they will pose a threat to the king he serves. However he has bigger matters to deal with first and leaves. After that, Ferris collapses from her injury (she must be one tough woman to be putting up with that bluff) and Ryner catches her. Back in Sion’s room, Claugh digs up some info on Miran but couldn’t find much. He is still wary and suspicious of him. Then Miran shows up for his report of the incident in Nelfa. Noting that his background is being researched into, he coolly asks if he would be dismissed. However Sion says that he would still keep him and will use him as and when he deemed fit. It’s a total opposite if one at such position would do, to get rid of dangerous people at once. That’s what makes him a respected king. Then Sion learns about Miran’s encounter with Ryner and Ferris and wonders if he made a mistake somewhere in accidentally attempted to kill them. Next morning, Ferris’ injury is healed so they leave the place to prevent from being a burden and that incident to happen here again.

Episode 7
A flashback of Milk’s past. Seems she went through hell when she was a child. She wanted death as a way out but Ryner gave her the courage to carry on living. That’s why in a way she’s grateful and chasing him down. She wakes up from that dream and goes to have breakfast with her mates. I think they love seeing Milk’s moe expression every time she digs in her favourite food. Sugoku moe! Elsewhere, Ryner and Ferris continue their raid on the search for Heroes Relics. However the bunch of treasure chests are filled with details of tax evaders. If you think about it, those who don’t pay their taxes are some sort of ‘assets’ or ‘treasures’, right? You can hound money from them in the future. Anyway, they meet a pair of seemingly harmless pink-haired siblings, Kuu and Sui Orla. They too are searching for the relics but gets dismayed when they only see those filings before leaving. Ferris torments and threatens Ryner to rethink the accuracy of the map he got to find this Heroes Relic so I guess in the end he is made to dig the spot of the supposed relic in the woods. Milk and her Taboo Breaker Squad were supposed to use this chance to ambush and take back Ryner but you know, such goofy team can never beat that pair who has gone through so much. They tie the quintet up (another round of weird interjections – what else but the master pervert) and return to work but come into contact with the Nelfa garrison patrol. Milk quickly thinks up of a plot before she loses her chance to capture Ryner. That is, to squeal that she needs to go to the toilet! The patrol spots the quintet but Ryner and Ferris return to impede the patrol. Milk is upset because Ryner wasted a chance to escape himself. I assure you he’s not the kind of guy. Besides, who would leave a damsel in distress behind? As the fight continues, Ryner tries to use the dagger, which is a Heroes Relic that he just dug up, but since nothing happened, he throws it away. The dagger is thrust into the ground and a giant red dragon emerges. So what’s the next plan to deal with that ‘unnecessary dangerous thing’? Walk away like as though nothing happened. WTF?! Seriously?! Yup. That’s what they did. Milk laments over her inept position as captain but her comrades back her up that they will always be with her because they’re like family. They’re even there as far as to correct the mistakes she makes. She remembers how the team was assembled and called into Sion’s room. They were handed a mission to capture Ryner even if they knew the job would mean betraying their own brethren. She accepts it without a second thought because of her gratitude for Ryner. Sion pays a visit to Fiole’s grave, still blaming himself for his failure to protect him. Eslina is also there as she shares the tears over her brother’s death. She later offers herself to serve him. Lastly, Miran tells Sion that Estabul has started a rebellion. It’s going to be busy.

Episode 8
While Ryner is obviously in unbelievable mode at how many boxes Ferris could eat and bring on their trip (he has to carry them all, by the way), Sion and his subjects are in discussion to quell Estabul’s rebellion. Sion comes up with tactics and strategies based on the information given by Miran. He orders Claugh to head the army instead of Miran, who will continue his intelligence gathering. Later as Sion and Miran pass each other, Sion knows that he is the one behind the uprising as the latter says that it’s a way to eliminate those who are against him. At a base in Estabul, Lady Noa Ehn, the popular daughter of the previous king talks to her subject, Salawell about the rebellion. She is against it since she notes that Roland has taken good care of Estabul’s people. Salawell’s reasoning is that it is to get out of Roland’s iron grip before it’s too late. Then a flashback how they wanted to create a kingdom where everyone can smile and be happy. Claugh and his army arrive as he easily takes out the enemy with his powerful magic arm (though he first tries to make them surrender instead of killing them). Estabul is at the losing end as Noa and the rest discuss their further action. I guess they’re desperate enough to say something about beheading the prisoners if they do not withdraw. The internal conflict is interrupted when Miran somehow manages to get pass all the guards and into the hall. He kills everyone as Salawell takes Noa and run. In a room, Noa is horrified to learn that it was Salawell who had a hand in staging this rebellion with Miran. His plan is to kill her and be viewed as the new hero and saviour of their kingdom. And all the while she had truly believed in him. Too bad he won’t live long to see that dream come true because Miran cuts off his head. Now it’s his turn to tell his story. The hostages get killed, Noa commits suicide, the end. Sion predicted this that’s why he put Claugh in charge rather than Miran. Speaking of the devil, before Miran’s story could be a reality, Claugh steps in to protect Noa. Both guys get ready to duke it out but Noa comes between them, having had enough of bloodshed. Noa suggests talking to them in hopes of convincing them to follow Roland instead of letting the hostages be killed and sully their reputation. And if Miran wants to kill her after that, so be it. But not everyone else. This was enough to convince Miran to back down. Noa notes to Claugh that his king is a great one. Meanwhile Sion seems depressed of the bloodshed in Estabul. Perhaps Iris didn’t know what crying means so much so she seems excited that Sion is going to put on a crying face like those she has read in books. She continues with her horribly drawn report about a certain wild beast and a beautiful angel of retribution. Oh God… Then after receiving some alerting news from Miller, Sion wants Iris to head back to Ryner’s whereabouts. Speaking of which, that guy is incredulous over the increase in boxes of dangos. He’s got to carry all that! Easy to put the blame on Sion, right?

Episode 9
The usual hostility when Iris meets Ryner and the usual fawning when she greets Ferris. Anyway, leaving out all those antics, Iris is supposed to hand them a letter from Sion but it seems she misplaced it (it’s in the dustbin with all the stoopid dango boxes). Iris faintly recalls it has something to do with that red dragon so the duo think that Sion probably wanted them to investigate it and head off. However the contents of the letter states about that dragon killing an entire village then suddenly disappearing. Sion wants them to abandon searching for the relics in this area. Too late. The duo arrive in a dead forest and corpses of humans hanging lifeless on the tree branches. They see Kuu and Sui around but notice they have the dagger relic that Ryner thrown away. Seems the siblings were the ones responsible for the village’s massacre. They can’t let any other witness live so you know what this means. Sui shows them how to properly use this relic as he stabs the dagger into his arm. It turns into a dragon and breathes hot fire. As explained, the weapon materializes when it is stabbed into something and its power based on the bearer’s will. Since the ground had no will, thus the reason why the dragon was relatively harmless earlier on. As they fight, Ryner and Ferris learn that they have more Heroes Relic: Kuu’s scythe that can shoot out ice and Sui’s comb that can nullify any magic. Sui also knows that Ryner is an Alpha Stigma bearer and unleashes a crystal to paralyze him as he wishes to obtain the Alpha Stigma. His dark side starts to awaken as Ryner in vain tries to prevent its awakening. Finally Alpha Stigma is fully awakened and is going to destroy everything. Sui is confident that his comb will nullify his powers but he’s gravely mistaken. Alpha Stigma blasts a powerful shot enough to vaporize the comb and if he didn’t cut his own arm, he might have vaporized with it. The siblings make a run for it while Ryner relives his horrifying past how everyone labelled him a monster when they found out he’s such a bearer after he disposed the guards who were punishing the villagers for stealing items off corpses of fallen soldiers.

Episode 10
So Ferris is left to deal with this menace spinning out of control. Even in this state, Ferris remains calm and acrobatically avoids all discharges. Even more amazing, she can spew all those insults like he’s already known as the legendary pervert. Even so, the bottom line is that she has never viewed him as a monster (but her manservant or tea companion at least – hey, she’s honest about it). Can Ryner hear her? Maybe she should speak louder. Does that tears streaming down his eyes tell you something? Ryner awakens a little and manages to give her a hint on how to seal his Alpha Stigma before he actually strangles her. After Ferris closes his eyes, she lends him a shoulder to cry on. Meanwhile Eslina continues to chide Sion for overworking and not eating his meals properly (like shades of Fiole, eh?). After Noa ‘borrows’ Claugh, Miran comes in with news that the northern most country of Gastark is starting some invasion but they don’t have to worry yet as their neighbouring country of Stohl which boasts the mightiest army will be stopping their tracks. Miran also suggests unifying Roland by purging all those (especially nobles) who are against Sion. The king doesn’t seem keen on it till Miran mentions that his country will be destroyed by the time his ideal ways are done. Later Miran meets Duke Stearead. He wants Miran to work for him but Miran only sees Sion because he knows he is the only one who can make his ideals come true. He throws back a question at Stearead on which side he would choose, prompting that old guy to sweat in his pants. Claugh and Noa seem to be like a cute couple. After he escorts her home, Noa finds dead bodies in her hallway. She is being held captive and asked to strip. Claugh senses something wrong and returns. He becomes very mad that the perpetrators may have violated her (naked and crying – does that tell you something even if the baddies said they haven’t done anything to her – yet) so he unleashes his magic on them without mercy. Meanwhile Ryner and Ferris trek their way to a village called Regit they believed may have some hint about the Heroes Relics. They spot a couple of ruffians chasing down a little girl, Kuku. What’s with these people abusing children anyway? After knocking them out, Kuku pleads to them to save her childhood friend Arua who seems to be captured and taken away for investigation because he has that Alpha Stigma eyes too. Yeah, the soldiers killed her parents and was about to kill her when Arua saved her by using his Alpha Stigma, something which he has never used before in his life. Now, this is getting personal for Ryner. Back to Sion, he is being told by Miran about Noa’s assault (of course Miran had no hand in it this time). Then he mentions about his plan to purge the nobles by feeding them with sweet honey and letting their guard down before slaughtering them all in one go.

Episode 11
Sion promotes many of his subjects to high positions. They aren’t happy with it because they’re sincerely following him for his beliefs and not for the promotion. They also discuss about the growing influence and occupation of Gastark. Then Miran tells about his plan to purge the nobles by gathering them all in one place. Claugh is against the idea since it will involve women and children. To his surprise, Sion agrees with Miran. Even if Roland nobles are against him, they are still people of his country and have the right to be protected. I’m not sure the rational of this. Sion wants to save his country without losing any lives but he is taking the aggressive method to do so. He gives them a choice of whether to join and build Roland into a better country and if not, they will be purged. Elsewhere Miller and Luke meet up and talk about the latter’s duty in the Taboo Breakers Squad. They also talk about Milk who comes from an orphanage and was made to go through tough military training at a young age. They note she can’t remain in this country for too long. Ryner and Ferris spot Arua being tied up and instigated by a noble and his Magic Knights to use his Alpha Stigma. They hasten the process by killing his mom. His dad is next. Ryner can’t stand anymore of this and leaps into the fray. Ferris no choice has to kick some serious ass too. Ryner tries to give Arua’s dad some time to take his son and escape but the noble stabs him to death. Arua becomes traumatized after witnessing his dad’s death before his eyes and goes berserk. Yup. Alpha Stigma activated. Luckily, Ryner manages to close his eyes and put him to a long slumber. They are to make their way out but the guards insist that they do not steal their precious research sample and that they will be punished by God. Ryner hates this kind of hypocrisy talk and wonders who are the real devils themselves. And if God really existed, why create such people like them when they have done no wrong at all. Is their own existence a sin? So much heavy thoughts on Ryner’s mind as they take a break at a waterfall after successfully getting away from the reinforcements.

Episode 12
Morning comes. Seems Ferris has stolen a horse carriage. I don’t want to know how. They’re supposed to bring Arua back there and reunite with Kuku. It’s a good thing since Ryner can’t carry him all the way there. However, Ferris makes the poor guy run after them after he puts Ryner in the carriage. At Miran’s mansion, his father hosts a party of nobles. After the doors close, Miran’s dad rallies the nobles to go against Sion and preparations have been made. He requests Miran to explain the details but he wants everyone to do him a favour: To die. With this shocking revelation (they sure didn’t see this coming), Sion uses his darkness power to massacre down to the very last person including his dad. Except for Stearead. He’s so scared of Miran that he’s now like his subordinate doing his every bidding and will never cross his path. Even if this old guy has no backbone, he won’t live long too. That’s because somebody soon decapitates his head. Seems to be the work of a pink-haired guy, Lir Orla. Eventually both guys fight with their power rings (Lir possesses the thunder beasts) but Lir’s power seems superior to the point that it is even eating up his dark beasts. Miran could’ve been dead if Claugh didn’t bust in to save his butt and make their escape. Outside, Miran wonders why he did that so Claugh replies that he was sent due to orders from Sion. Elsewhere, Kuu and Sui are coaxing the Runa king to form an alliance with their country Gastark. Though the king says that their side has already made an alliance with Roland, I’m sure his current situation being all his guards dead around his feet makes him think that it would be wiser to team up with these guys for now. Ryner and Ferris continue to ride into the night with reinforcements chasing after them but were easily taken care off. Then at the border of Stohl, there is an influx of people coming in since Gastark and Stohl are at war. Among the crowd is Kiefer.

Episode 13
Another short flashback. Four years earlier, Kiefer and her sisters were ambushed at a festival for being spies from Estabul. The older sister tried to hold them off but was killed. They’re going to the same to the younger one so Kiefer pleaded that she’d do anything. Anything? I guess that’s how she ended up being a double spy agent. Back in Stohl, Kiefer receives orders from her captain to retreat since Gastark will be upon them soon. However she refuses to leave seeing that there are innocent civilians still in the area. Then she spots a pair of young children in danger of being killed by a magic attack. She rushes to save them. But second round is coming. She was resigned to her death fate when some guy swings his giant sword to dispel the attack. He turns out to be Refal Edia, the king of Gastark and his sword is of Heroes Relic. They get into an argument which prompts Kiefer to say that she hates war (does anybody really love them?). Refal is amused by Kiefer and takes a liking for her (is he trying to flirt with her too?). Then he goes on saying that he hates war too and that wars are inevitable as long as different countries exist. So another contradiction because he says he’s fighting to end all the wars. Huh? That’s like fighting fire with fire, right? Only difference is, so far it hasn’t ended yet. Refal than makes a deal with some contractor to exchange his left eye for a powerful power. He swings the unbelievably awesome and freaking huge magic towards his enemies and destroys them all in a single blow. Apparently this isn’t the only sacrifice he made. He too has exchanged his sense of smell and right leg for previous powers too. Refal offers Kiefer to join him to save more lives but she turns him down (still got Ryner on her mind, eh?). But maybe one day she will. Back in Roland, Claugh is tasked to merge Roland and Estabul’s army. Claugh is against it seeing that many Estabul armies still hate Roland. Sion thinks of using Noa’s popularity for the job. She doesn’t mind since Sion assures her that her people will be taken care of. Ryner and Ferris are in Regit and learn that Kuku is under house arrest. Then they encounter Kuu and Sui. Considering the events of their previous encounter, Sui is very much interested in him now. He’s not just an ordinary Alpha Stigma bearer. Sui tells Ryner where Kuku is being held and expects him to see him there. Miran pays the king of Runa a visit but he isn’t there to greet him but his daughter. She apologizes that he is unwell though Miran suspects something isn’t right and that Runa may have teamed up with Gastark. He later threatens a guard to spill the beans and after disposing of him, Miran feels he has to take action by eliminating those threats by himself.

Episode 14
Arua wakes up. He is still upset about the deaths of his parents when he has done nothing wrong. Ryner tries to cheer depressed Arua when Ferris saves the boy from being a victim of Ryner’s paedophile ways (here we go again). Ferris gives Arua some training so at least he has a chance to save Kuku. That night they arrive at the mansion where Kuku is being held. Sui and Kuu are waiting for them. Each give their reasons why their own king is great and the one who will save the world. Since neither is willing to give way and the ‘negotiations’ have broken down, get ready for round 2. Ryner vs Sui, Ferris vs Kuu. Ryner catches Sui off-guard when Arua unleashes a surprise attack on him. Since Sui can’t win, he thinks of killing Kuku to get Arua. No lolis are going to die today because Miran’s good timing bites off Sui’s dragon arm with his shadow beasts. Kuu is distracted so Ferris snatches Kuku from her arms. Miran questions Sui if his comrades were the ones responsible behind the movements in Runa and is going to kill him anyway when Ryner steps in between. Now he’s saving the guy who just wanted to kill him a minute ago? Sui and Kuu take this chance to escape. Ryner and Miran have a verbal confrontation. Something about eliminating all those every obstacle (according to Miran, if he does so only useful ones will be left). Anyway Ryner thanks him for saving Kuku but Miran doesn’t think so and confirms that he’ll have to kill him one day (didn’t he say that the last time?). Kuku and Arua are reunited but since they can’t follow them on their relic searching mission, Ryner has a good idea on who to leave those kids to: Milk.

Episode 15
Ryner and Ferris adrift at sea? Something like this happened. They came into contact with Milk and her Taboo Breakers Squad, they fight, blast the ship into bits and now they’re all separated. Then a sea storm comes. Ryner is washed up ashore and spots Luke making a meal. They both shortly clash before realizing each other. On the other hand, Milk spots Ferris and thinks this is her chance to save Ryner from that violent woman. Too bad she trips and falls down the cliff. Then Ferris proceeds to fill her innocent mind with lewd, indecent acts and intentions that only Ryner could possibly do. At first she won’t believe a single word but when it comes to making up such lies, Ferris is a number one convincer. Because of that when the ladies find the guys, Milk didn’t hesitate for a moment to fry Ryner with her lightning spell. Ah, she really fell for it this time. Then as Ferris mentions, they are on Roland shores. Ryner gets excited because he can return to kill the king for making him go through hell. Ferris is with him since she has intentions to be the new dango king (what else?) and since Ryner pleaded for afternoon naps, she gives in but on the ratio of dango to naps, 9:1 . Unfair! Sion seems to be reading some document about the world being overrun by demons and a legendary hero appeared to destroy them and save the world from demons. And if anyone finds those Heroes Relics, perhaps peace would return to the land. He wonders if all this is just a fabricated dream in the end. His scary face seems to startle a maid cleaning his room. He apologizes but the maid praised him for being such a nice ruler as compared the king of the country she came from. As Milk and co try to chase down Ryner in hopes to stop them from assassinating the king, Ryner and Ferris already breach into Sion’s palace and are thinking on how to torment him. Stealing the things he likes? What does he like then? Dango! Obviously not. Milk and co run into Claugh. He was supposed to be in Estabul but he heard rumours of someone planning to assassinate the king so he returned. Milk gets more paranoid so she excuses herself (that toilet excuse again) to find Ryner. She finds him but he tells her to duck. He takes out a cloaked assassin behind. Though she is relieved that he isn’t the one to assassinate Sion, Ryner realized that he should’ve let the assassin do the job instead. I hope he’s joking. Sion enters his bedroom but notices a dictionary falling before him before stepping in. Then he sees Ryner sleeping comfortably on his bed and wakes him up by throwing the dictionary on his face. Apparently this was Ryner’s idea of killing him? Is he even serious? Anyway Ryner starts his incessant complain about the troubles he went through on his journey since day one. Then they got into some compromising position that fujoshi girls would go crazy over. Then Ferris and Milk come in. Uh oh. She didn’t know he swings that way. Here we go again… Meanwhile Miran is reading some report and wonders if Milk is the reason why Ryner can’t leave Sion. Then something about the illusion of ideal kings breaks the people and the king himself. He is certain than ever that Ryner’s elimination is necessary.

Episode 15.5
This next episode is a recap episode. Except that it is from the viewpoint of Iris as she reports her biased, one-sided findings of what she observes to Sion. No prizes to guess who she labels the evil one and the all-good saviour. I’m sure Sion is patient enough to listen to her ‘easy to understand’ report. Horrible drawings included. A funny part in the end is that Ryner is having a tough time to finish up his own report too. His main concern is the amount of dangos eaten by Ferris on their journey! Oh the food expense is going to burn a hole in his pocket (he has to treat her anyway). So much that even the number onscreen seems like a rubbish number. And from Ferris’ report, she thinks she hasn’t eaten enough of them! And so far all those she has devoured is only half her usual capacity! WTF?! How much more can she go?! And it’s been a long time since she had a dango?! My foot! Her room is littered with empty dango boxes! With Ferris trying to beat up Ryner again, his room furniture is destroyed so Sion notes that the repairs will be coming out from his allowance. Trouble is so his middle name. And yeah, that montage of him getting beaten up is sure amusing. I’m such a sadist…

Episode 16
Back to the story proper, another flashback this time it’s Ferris. She’s asking the meaning of love so Lucile departs his knowledge on what that feeling is. Seems kinda broad, doesn’t it? And 4 years prior to that, we see her in some tough training with her mom. Mommy isn’t impressed with her ‘uselessness’ so she and daddy had no choice but to make her ‘useful’ by raping her?! Lucile didn’t like how this is developing and kills both his parents and says he’ll protect her from now. Maybe that’s why Ferris is so like that these days. That’s why she abruptly wakes Ryner up from his much needed slumber to go check out new dango stalls. Hey, isn’t this love? Back in Eris house, Ryner pays a visit to Arua and Kuku who are temporarily sheltering here (I guess it was too much for Milk). Ryner learns about Ferris’ abused past though the butler didn’t mention directly but his hints were enough to know what they mean. Then Ryner tells Ferris that Sion wants them to accompany him to Estabul. For once they both agree to ditch that mission and return on their relics searching mission. She wants him to meet her at Wynnit store tomorrow (expect to carry loads of dango backpacks). Soon he meets Lucile personally. The brother does some magic intimidation but Ryner didn’t flinch. Lucile mentions something about Ferris being his partner. Ryner questions back that he senses that Lucile isn’t human unlike Ferris. He gets suspicious of Lucile, seeing that he is close to Sion, he isn’t the one who is being tasked to escort him to Estabul. It’s like as though there is some binding curse and could only protect Sion within Roland. Lucile grabs him by the throat and warns that she is not his nor his blood will ever mix with hers because he is a monster that could never take anything. I’m not sure if this is a comforting note because Lucile mentions he feels safe leaving Ferris in his hands. As Ryner is walking back, he chances upon Milk who hands him an invitation card to her birthday party tomorrow. Uh oh. So it’s the dango trip or her party. A man can’t be at 2 places. After Milk leaves, Ryner reads the contents of the invitation and finds it shocking. Seems the invitation card has been switched by Luke to a letter personally signed by Sion to say that Ryner must be eliminated if he goes out of control outside Roland or betrays the country. Then Milk bumps into Miran. The worse possible match-up.

Episode 17
Ferris waits for Ryner at Wynnit but he never showed up. Oddly, the Taboo Breakers Squad guys are also worried that Milk is missing since last night. Ferris barges her way into Sion’s room to find him (like as though it’s her own house?) and the rest are surprised to learn that the Alpha Stigma guy is missing. Yeah, Ferris had no qualms about telling Sion straight in the face that they plan to shun the Estabul trip. Ferris even asks Lucile but he doesn’t give away anything. Then they receive word that an Alpha Stigma bearer is causing great havoc in Estabul. Sion feels that it can’t be Ryner since he only went missing just this morning. Claugh is ordered to head there to quell the problem. On his way, he learns that this Alpha Stigma bearer has black eyes, black hair and black clothes. Plus, he consumes those he kills. Claugh has a rough idea who he is seeing he met this person before when he was younger. Meanwhile Kiefer is in a library doing research on the different type of God’s Eyes differentiated by the different insignia pattern in their eyes. There are 5 known types so far. Other than Alpha Stigma, the rest include Ebura Crypt (ability to look into other’s dreams), Iino Dwoe (ability to consume the soul of others), Torch Curse and Wil Heim. Reading more about Alpha Stigma, it is believed the bearer will go berserk and will not return to his/her original self (ultimately leading to self destruction). However in Ryner’s case he did return to normal each time. She is interrupted with Refal coming in. He boldly tries to flirt with her though Kiefer tells him for all he knows, she may be a spy for another country. He replies he has a good eye for women (erm… He’s blinded in the left, isn’t he? Unless he likes dangerous women). Claugh arrives to see the culprit in action. He confirms that he is the one he has met before, Tiir Rumibul (looks a bit like Lelouch from Code Geass). He relishes the chance to fight him again. While the other soldiers are shocked to see him consume his soul in front of their eyes, Claugh charges straight. But Tiir is swift and goes on a killing spree, consuming some of the soldiers. The battle climaxes when Tiir tears Claugh’s magic arm! Oh sh*t! Tiir is happy that he made the right decision to let him live, now that he is ‘tastier’. Claugh orders his soldiers to retreat but the soldiers continue to fight on so that they could buy time for another could to take weakened Claugh to safety. Luke is searching for Milk when he is confronted by ruffians. They claim to have Milk in their custody and want him to follow him or else it will be Milk’s life. However Luke has set magic traps on them and knocks them out. Deducting that this could only be the work of military training in Roland, he concludes Miran must be behind this. Speaking of the devil, Miran appears. Miran wants Luke to follow Sion’s decree to kill Ryner but he refuses. As they both prepare to fight, Luke binds Miran in his strings. Elsewhere, Ryner is seen eating dango (he’s a dango lover now?) while contemplating Ferris is mad that he broke his promise. He knew this was coming, right?

Episode 18
Ryner wakes up from a nightmare. The one whereby he heard his mom wanted to kill him but dad calmed her down and assured he’ll protect them all. That calmness is shattered when his Alpha Stigma goes berserk and the next thing he knows, both his hands are bloodied. Sion learns of Claugh’s predicament as Noa accompanies him, in tears that he could’ve died then. Lear bumps into Calne and Eslina and tells them about Luke and Milk’s disappearance. Everybody is disappearing lately, eh? Ferris is so depressed that even her dangos can’t cure her! Is the world coming to an end?! Even Iris isn’t sure what to do. Then Eslina comes by. She has information about Ryner’s whereabouts. Ferris’ mind just spring into evil action, eh? Imagine the divine punishment she’ll give him. Ryner better enjoy his last few moments idly in some inn. That’s because Ferris blasts her way in and starts trashing the place, regardless of anything. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. He knew this was coming eventually, no? He thinks she is one of the elites sent to kill him but Ferris clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Then they hear a scream outside. It’s Tiir and he is glad he has found Ryner. He lunges at Ryner as Ferris tries to stop him. Magic doesn’t seem to work on him because he consumes them and gets stronger. He introduces himself and an Iino Dwoe bearer. Then a hail of arrows rain inside and some of them pierced Tiir. It is Sion and his army. The arrows are not covered with magic that’s why Tiir couldn’t avoid them. Tiir heals himself by consuming one of the soldiers. Sion and Tiir confront each other and the latter says he didn’t kill Sion yet because if he does, Ryner will go berserk. He goes on saying about the discrimination of humans calling them monsters. Ferris tells Ryner not to listen but Tiir’s words seem too true to ignore. Tiir offers Ryner to come with him and his other similar comrades as there is no place for him in the human world. Ryner doesn’t blame Sion and Ferris and doesn’t want to cause them more trouble anymore. By simply existing, he is causing Sion pain and such. Ryner chants a spell so Sion quickly orders his troops to fire but it’s too late as Ryner vanishes with Tiir. Sion is deeply saddened but he forced a smile and rallied his troops that victory is theirs since the enemy is gone. Ferris walks away while Sion tries to reconcile with himself that he did the right thing – to protect what he’s supposed to. Ryner and Tiir make their slow journey away from Roland as Tiir wonders if he has any attachment to the country. It’s not like he ever liked Roland in the first place. Next day, Ferris enjoys her usual dangos but is prepared to leave on a mission to bring a certain idiot back. Yeah, nobody does a better manservant job than he does. Besides, won’t it be boring and lonely if there is no one to beat up and tease?

Episode 19
Back in Gastark, Refal gets word of several God’s Eyes forming an anti-Gastark movement. Who wouldn’t after that kind of invasion. Tiir continues to ‘brainwash’ Ryner about human’s discrimination towards their kind. He states that they are not supposed to be inferior, but superior beings. Some of the subjects of Sion expressed surprise that he was keeping an Alpha Stigma bearer though Sion explains the great importance of such bearers in the military and in the case if he ever went berserk, that is what the Taboo Breakers Squad is sent to keep track of him. Refal is discussing military matters when Kiefer barges in. She’s not too happy that she is being put in a nice gown. Refal says that he plans to marry her. WHAT?! He can think of such things at this time? Not that Kiefer approves, not that his second-in-command approves, but he’s still king so he calls the shots, right? The fling is interrupted when they heard Kuu’s scream outside. Looks like Sui is badly wounded. Her scythe is damaged after using its remaining powers to bring him back. In his last breathe, Sui says his injury stems from an attack from someone who had the same Rule Fragment (Gastark’s term for Heroes Relic) like Lir. Though he doesn’t know the attacker’s country of origin, he notes that there is one similar from Roland: Ryner. This name startles Kiefer. Then the second-in-command says that Kiefer may know this Ryner guy. Reports that Sion was keeping Alpha Stigma bearer Ryner reaches the ears of Claugh and Calne. Briefly going through his history from his early days in the bandit village to some military training facility where he flopped missions, argued with superiors and was thus put into Roland Royal Special Military Academy to keep an eye on him. Calne is surprised that even with this much happening, he has never betrayed Roland. Tiir and Ryner arrive at a small cottage that houses several Alpha Stigma bearers, most of them kids. Recalling an earlier incident whereby the Orla siblings attacked them just to obtain their crystallized powers and succeeded in slaughtering 38 of them! Who are the real monsters? Tiir will not forgive those Gastark bastards and vows to protect these children. That’s why he is happy when he heard that there is another of their kind in Ryner. Ryner continues to join and spend time with the kids. While preparing for dinner, he meets Tiir’s friend, Lafra who possesses Ebura Crypt. He knew of Ryner because he watched him from his dreams and feels he is special, thus taking an interest in him. That’s why he told Tiir to go get him. They talk about wanting to protect those they love but the stigmata that prevent them from making friends with others. Lafra feels is kind but yet sad, weak and lonely. He wants Ryner to save the kids because he himself is unable to do so. Ryner thinks hard on Lafra’s words when he senses someone outside. Lir thought his cover has been busted but actually it is Luke who emerges nearby. He is here to exterminate him under Sion’s orders.

Episode 20
The mystery of what happened that night between Luke and Miran is explained. Luke told him that he will be killed if he lays a finger on Milk. Miran assured him that Milk is alright. He noticed Luke’s Heroes Relic so he admits that he picked it up after Ryner forgot to take it with him. In present, Ryner continues his fight with Luke. He uses his Alpha Stigma but Luke already has traps set around. Ryner thought this is the end when he is slammed away by Ferris. Oh, that was just good timing. It’s like she’s making for all those times he wasn’t around by maximum abusing him. Anyway they have to cut that short because an explosion is heard from the direction of the house. Lir burns the house down and Lafra was killed. That’s when one of his mates, Pueka starts to go berserk, activating her Alpha Stigma. Before Ryner could close her eyes, he was bitten by Lir’s lightning demon. Lir fires a crystal shot right through Pueka’s head and obtains her Alpha Stigma, killing her outright. This is getting personal for Ryner so he becomes rash. Ferris reminds him about the part of him being her manservant and such but will not ever consider him a monster. Lir is amused by their relationship and goes on to taunt the danger this monster is in the eyes of others. But Ferris is unfazed and couldn’t care less about that. Ryner is moved to tears that Ferris cares for him because without him, she’d be lonely (I thought there would be no one to abuse). Lir uses the crystal to force wake the Alpha Stigma inside Ryner. It’s that deja vu feeling again. However this time Ryner didn’t let his dark side get the better of him and on his own, cuts the Alpha Stigma off. This causes Lir’s crystal to break. Frustrated Lir prepares to counter-attack but Luke’s golden threads bind him but he manages to break free. Ryner fires a shot at him but actually was intended to revive Tiir (he was injured when the house burnt down). Ryner tells Tiir to take the kids to safety. Lir is upset that he is only left with one crystal and escapes. Luke lets Ryner live seeing the situation has changed. Ferris tells Ryner the facial expression Sion made after he left. Ryner resolves that he is going to return to Roland and is done with running away. He asks for a favour from her. That is, if he ever goes berserk, he wants her to kill him. As for Sion, he seems to be going through some sort of dilemma. Lucile mocks him about his orders to kill Ryner in which it could’ve been better for him if that guy was dead. However Sion reiterates that he will not kill him. Lucile continues with his riddle talk about sacrifice and choosing the proper path. Either way, he hopes the hero king will not regret it.

Episode 21
Some monster soldier going on a rampage. Refal discuss this issue with his men and fears that forbidden magic is being used. They go see Kiefer who is tied up in a dungeon. So where has that love gone? I thought he wasn’t taking Kiefer’s words as a spy seriously but after knowing her connection with Roland, she’s treated as a prisoner? Ryner and Ferris return to Roland castle and upon entering Sion’s room, they are shocked to see heaps of paperwork! I guess the king hasn’t been sleeping for days, eh? Worse, the duo are made to help him complete his work! No escape! Not even Ferris since she left her sword outside to Eslina. Miran’s sleeping spell on Milk wears off as she wakes up from a weird dream of seeing Sion crying and mumbling about wanting to die. Milk feels that her other comrades are hiding something from her and the first person she thought of who would know something is her father (this includes flashbacks of her tough training getting beaten up while her parents just watched her). That night she sneaks out to her dad’s mansion but to her horror it is in ruins. Luke followed her as he explains that they were killed, prompting Milk to become emotional. Even if they weren’t her real parents, she is grateful that they took care of her up to that point. She wants an answer of what is happening in this country but he couldn’t say. Claugh is fitted with a new black arm as he and Noa spend a little intimate together only to be disrupted by Calne (Noa got really embarrassed that she excused herself). Calne reports the murder of Milk’s parents and even though the purge is still going on for nobles who object Sion, Claugh notes that they are earnest people and wouldn’t do anything for their own benefit. Perhaps they were killed to be kept silent after learning something they shouldn’t have. And yes, Miran doesn’t have any part in this. Always easier to blame to suspicious guy, eh? Ryner notices Sion working too hard and at this rate may end up rate but he asserts that he has to in order to make his ideals come true. After Ryner leaves (probably to get some long nap), seems there is a voice clashing inside Sion’s head about having Ryner killed. Miran is outside offering his thoughts about letting Ryner get killed and the completion of Sion as king. However, Sion will not allow him to kill Ryner, surprising Miran even if he accepts whatever punishment that comes after. Miran continues to pester but was silenced by Sion. The door opens and a bright light emits from it. Miran continues to be shock of what he sees so Sion says he will show him both the light and darkness, causing that general to laugh insanely. Meanwhile as Ryner takes a walk down the street, he sees a familiar man: His father, Lieral Lietolu. I thought he is dead? Well apparently it is Ryner who will be dead because he got stabbed in the heart! And what does Lieral mean by “Welcome home, Ryner”? Is he a ghost taking Ryner back to the after world?

Episode 22
Lieral is approached by Lucile shortly. Lucile says something about Ryner isn’t ready to see some door yet so Lieral escapes using a Heroes Relic like the one Ferris possessed in the first episode. When Sion finds out about Lieral, he orders Lucile to find and kill him. Then Sion opens a door to a room with stained glass as he confronts his other self (clone?). Ferris jumps from building to building searching for Ryner and spots that manservant being carried away by Lieral. Ferris draws he sword and attacks him. Even so, she can’t touch him. He makes her sword heavy and taunts her if she likes Ryner. Then Ferris starts crying when she hears that Ryner is killed (seriously?! I thought she’d put on another poker face at least). Overcome with anger, she manages to lift her sword and charges straight but Lieral knocks her out with a punch to the stomach. I wonder if that will affect her dango input. Just kidding. Lieral notes that she passes and disappears, leaving the duo together. Elsewhere Milk and her Taboo Breakers Squad take down a monstrous masked soldier. Milk is horrified to learn that this is what everyone else is hiding from her. Seems Sion is resuming in secret some human experiments that he once banned. Milk gets emotional and feels sorry for the poor human experiment. So much so she doesn’t want to kill but her other comrades have no choice since this is part of their orders. She has a flashback when she was young, asking Ryner to marry her. She didn’t get an answer as she was called away but he gave her some words of encouragement thus getting her resolve to protect the country he in which he lives. As for Ryner, he is inside his own dream, facing some weird being called Alpha. All I know this being isn’t fond of Ryner whom he calls Solver of All Equations. He tries to use his Alpha Stigma but it has no effect. Alpha is stopped when his mom comes exploding out from its body. Huh? She tells him to get away from the Weaver of All Equations, head to some door and protect those he loves. Alpha regenerates and swallows her whole. Ryner continues running up to a door and after entering it, he sees some knight slaying all the demons. That’s when he wakes up in bed. Next to him is Ferris. Uhn… Did something happen? Who knows what Ferris will do if she wakes up… Oh too late, she just did. So after all the mocking that he is some perverted wild beast, I guess it really got to her mind that he finally did something to her, eh? Even if she was early to jump the gun, her retribution slap was enough to shatter all the windows. Super power, man. Meanwhile Sion continues to fight himself. Each thinking the other can’t do a better job. Something about Ryner. Always about him, eh? Whatever their methods whether it’s killing him or not, both wants to save him. So when one of them fades away, Lucile wonders which one had won. Back to Ryner and Ferris, when everything is calmed down (read: everything else destroyed), Ryner notices a weird symbol on his chest where it was stabbed. Then soldiers come in and swiftly take them away. Elsewhere, Kiefer is still locked up. Refal tells her a story about some hero who fought demons to save the world. As he sought some forbidden power, he was eventually sealed. To break free, he consumed the powers of the Demon of Loneliness. He tells her Gastark is advancing their invasion to the centre of the continent so a clash with Roland is inevitable. He also wants her to save Ryner before Sion betrays him. Kiefer is surprised on why she has to do that. Refal continues that the Black Fallen Hero devoured the Demon of Loneliness in order to save the world. Before despair consumes Ryner (Demon of Loneliness), Kiefer must save him from Sion (Black Fallen Hero). Are they reincarnations of that? Anyway the massive Gastark army gets ready for their invasion.

Episode 23
I don’t know how this happened but Ryner and Ferris are in Sion’s office working their ass off completing all his paperwork. Wait, actually it’s only Ryner who is doing all the work for 4 days straight without any sleep. So when he collapses due to sleep deprivation, Ferris slaps him up. Now his face is swollen. Thanks a lot, girl. Then Ryner and Sion struggle over some paperwork completion which accidentally crushes Ferris’ precious dango box. King or not, punishment is inevitable. Elsewhere too, after a few exchange of blows, Miran manages to convince Claugh and Calne to help in preparations of Sion’s grand birthday bash. They get some ideas from Noa and Eslina. I guess they can’t move without the main star: Ryner. So they drag him away while he is accompanying Ferris in her dango meal. Say, Ryner now has acquired some taste for dango after all this time. He even compliments a dango recipe made by her. A few days later, Sion is seen trying to escape in his carriage but was ambushed by his subjects as they take him back for his birthday party. Ryner is not going to let him slip away after all the torment he has gone through. As Sion steps out from his balcony. The people below cheer for their king as the celebration continues with a firework display over the mountains. Halfway during the party, Sion leaves to pick up Ryner in the woods (that poor guy was the one doing all the pretty fireworks). He takes him back to the place where he first offered his hand wanting Ryner to join him in his quest to make his ideal dream come true. They continue to talk about the endless work. Ryner isn’t happy that he isn’t getting enough sleep time. So how much does he need? 300 hours?! Sion agrees but wants to meet in the middle: In 4 hours time. Haha! Who says his maths was good in the first place? As the sun rises, Ryner apologizes to him that he first thought his ideal was an empty dream but now he knows it isn’t because everyone is happy and smiling. However Sion says it is an empty dream after all because many have died along the way. It’s like they both exchanged stands. Ryner praises him for his hard work bringing change to this country and that he doesn’t need bear everything to a point of punishing himself. Sion remains defiant and suddenly takes out a knife to stab him! Ryner was swift to evade it. It goes downhill from here as both ex-best friends fight each other.

Episode 24
That Black Fallen Hero and Demon of Loneliness story. The Hero went mad killing all the demons and was sealed in the south where he met Loneliness Demon. Hero wanted to break free and eat Demon’s body and the latter was more than happy to do so because he thought he found a friend. That’s when the equations were split into Solver of All Equations and Weaver of All Equations. The Hero continued his mad destruction spree but found only darkness and pain and thus realized he was dying. He needed somebody pass on this pain and the Demon gladly offered his body because for that brief moment he really felt had had a friend even if he was a fool till the end. Ryner continues to battle Sion and this time those masked human experiments emerge from the ground surround them. So Sion says he wants to kill him but apparently Ryner can’t let that happen because he already promised somebody else to that for him (Ferris). The undead soldiers attack Ryner left and right as Ryner dodges them, promising he would save Sion. Sion materializes black swords and stabs Ryner, activating his Alpha Stigma. Their Hero and Demon reincarnations seem to be calling out to each other, possibly repeating history itself. Then Ryner’s mom pops out from his stomach saying that it isn’t time yet. Soon, Lucile too turns up, saying something about underestimating her since he didn’t expect her to manage this long. She wants him to stop Sion and release Ryner because at this rate the world won’t be saved, no one will be saved. Lucile agrees and does so. After mom disappears, Lucile touches Ryner’s forehead and sends him to a dream world. The one where he and Sion are completing loads of paperwork. Back to reality, Sion is in a dilemma to thrust his knife into unconscious Ryner’s throat. He is fighting with his other self again and in the end, couldn’t kill Ryner. The thought of killing his friend to move forward was too much. Once he recollects himself, he walks away wishing farewell to Ryner. Ryner wakes up all bandaged and in a cell. Then the wall crumbles and we see Ferris. Ryner must be thinking he’s in real sh*t this time. But wait! Ferris did something we never expect her to do in a million years. She cries and throws herself in his arms!!! I didn’t see that coming! She was in despair when she heard from Sion’s mouth that he killed Ryner but refused to believe so. She also felt there was something wrong with Sion because when he said that, he was crying. Ferris continues that Sion is marching his undead armies through Nelfa, surprising Ryner. What’s odd is that the Roland people are cheering him on and that he is using forbidden magic in his killing spree. Ryner and Ferris make their escape before the guards come. Shortly outside, they see Kiefer across the bridge she cut off as she buys them time to distract the guards to go after her instead. Ryner and Ferris are going to save Sion as he narrates that he is grateful to Sion because he saved him and he never felt more alive than before. So he is going to save him no matter what because he is his best friend.

What Legend?!
Wait a minute. That is how it ends?! So incomplete, so unfinished?! And there I was worried that after so much potential build-up in the plot, development and characters, there number of episodes seems to be running out so much so I was wondering if they’re going to pull it all off like perhaps doing a rush ending or as it turned out, a potential continuation if ever that happens. Of course there are the novels if you are interested to continue reading but for me, if it isn’t turned into an anime, there is no chance that I will be picking it up. Thus I was a little disappointed of how this was ‘suddenly’ ended since I was expecting a clash between Roland and Gastark army seeing that everybody was already getting very prepared for the inevitable. Then when they throw in more characters in the end, coupled in with the development of those existing ones, my mind just went complicated. I mean, their names were already hard for me to remember, then with so many intrigues, incidents and occurrences taking place for the build-up, I thought I’d eventually lose track of it all. Not to say that this is one hell of a confusing series but I’m not used to this kind of genre so in a way, the abrupt ending was also a good thing and reliever since my head was going to explode with it all. As far as I can see from the storyline, it turned from one of searching for Heroes Relics to the purging of traitors, preparation of war to fighting inner demons.

Ryner is an amusing guy himself but he is more amusing when we see the chemistry and interaction between him and Ferris. He may not be perfect but at least deep down in his heart he is more human than many others. Ever since he started on this quest, he hardly has any good night’s rest thanks to Ferris’ constant abusing and the tons of work Sion throws at him. For a heavy sleeper like him, he could die from insomnia! Just a theory. And if he were to make up for all his sleep deprivation, he could break Rip Van Winkle’s record. Ferris’ character in the end really thrown me off-guard. I never thought she would turn into something like a tsundere! Maybe all those initial hints of abusing and teasing Ryner is a way of showing her tough love for that guy. After all, who else would be so fitting to be her dango expert. At first many would hate Ferris for taking out and even making up stories for Ryner but somehow I felt the opposite. Would you like a straight heroine or one as eccentric as her? She too shows that she isn’t a perfect being with her own traumatic past that probably makes her what she is today. Somebody who only does what is right or wrong based on those sweet little dango balls. Speaking of which, I think her bottomless stomach for it would put Clannad’s Nagisa to shame. As the series progresses, we see her showing more emotions than before. So she’s not a heartless and cold b*tch like we all thought her to be (okay, maybe at least to Ryner). There is something that is more than meets the eye for Sion. He is always putting up his nice smile up to a point that I was suspicious and having reservations if his ideals were true or not. Even if it was, there were several points that indicate that there is much more going on behind this gentle facade, like his contorting angry expression that nobody else sees. His different way of analytical thinking and foresight are perhaps what makes him a good king because for instance he keeps dangerous people near him as he has use for them. You know what they say about keeping your friends close but your enemies closer. His inner self is something that puzzles me because it is just as mysterious as Lucile himself. Is he an ally or foe? His actions make you keep wondering if Lucile is just waiting for a moment to kill him when Sion slips up. Miran is also as enigmatic. My stereotype views on such ‘evil-looking’ characters would mean they had an ulterior motive and would do something despicable like betraying the kingdom in the end. However as for now and till this series ends, he is still sticking to Sion even if he did some questionable things. Somebody has to dirty their hands.

Because of the final arc of Sion fighting with his inner self, many of the other characters were sidelined such as Milk, Claugh, Calne, Noa, Iris and the Orla siblings. Tiir leading a group of God’s Eyes bearers in the end would also be interesting watch since there will be a third force that will be clashing between Roland and Gastark. Too bad, he too got sidelined when the story focuses more on Sion at the end. I also thought Kiefer would be reunited with Ryner (and possibly see a love triangle or quadruple – but who am I kidding?) so it felt somewhat ‘injustice’ that they just glimpse each other in the end. Milk’s naivety makes her another funny and amusing character. Without her Taboo Breakers Squad guys, I don’t think she would manage to get by even if her feelings to protect Ryner and kindness to all those living are strong. Noa was initially staying at Roland as some sort of prisoner but came close to Claugh enough to care for him likewise Calne and Eslina did. It’s funny to see Claugh and Calne teasing each other when it comes to women. With lots of other side characters, some of them were killed off. Some expected (like those arrogant betraying double-crossing bastards) and some unexpected like Fiole’s. His appearance was so short as I thought he would have a little more screen time seeing he serves an important position to Sion but got murdered a few episodes later. And then there are some who came back from the dead like those undead human experiments (duh…) and Lieral (well, at least Ryner thought of him to be dead).

I need to mention something about the action sequences. The sword fights and magic battles are rather okay and nothing that will blow your mind away. But the thing that may bother certain people is the bloody and gruesome deaths that befall on the characters. It is very graphic so if you’re not used to seeing limbs getting chopped off even if this is just 2D animation, you may have that sense of throwing up. Everything is just so gory so much so the blood even stains the ‘camera’ from the viewers’ point of view. But yes, that is the horrible effects of war and I guess they’re purposely done for realism. Hey, you’re not going to see people being killed nicely, right? And what the heck is being killed nicely? Does that even exist? Another gripe that I have with this series is the darkness. My estimation that nearly half of each episode there will be dark scenes such as the deep dungeon or even the rainy storm. It is so pitch black that you can’t really see anything. I had to strain my eye each time, thinking that I would miss something important. I thought I was going to blame my hardware problem but this wasn’t so as after turning up the brightness and contrast levels, it just feels too dark.

The irony that had my eyebrows raised is the reason for going to war. Whatever they may be, trying to save the world by killing off others and fighting doesn’t seem convincing enough. It’s just the same like killing off all those that opposes you and all that is left are those who agree and are on your side. And yes, the effects of war are definitely that will affect the land of the people, who are the ones who really suffer. So why can’t we just sit down and have a nice talk to iron out our differences? Why must we get violent and spill blood to show our might and who is right? Is it because it is our deep and dark human nature? Simply, it’s because we can. Just think about it. Why do men still dare cheat on their wives knowing well the consequences and even if they get caught in the end? Because they can. So it’s true though how dreadful it is, as long as difference in nations, race, religion and ideals exist, war is unavoidable. I guess it beats destroying the whole damn world so that we can start from scratch again.

Jun Fukuyama excels in his role as Ryner. I guess he really does fit the character as you’d be amuse with his different kind of moods whether be it serious, rebutting or joking. After voicing various roles like Lelouch in Code Geass, Lawrence in Spice And Wolf and Watanuki in xxxHolic, I feel that there is no one else suitable in playing Ryner but him. Ayahi Takagaki as Ferris (Mikako in Sora No Otoshimono, Noe in True Tears) is also befitting of her character especially her usual deadpan voice, slightly dramatic tone when making up stories about Ryner’s wild beast and the all-omniscient expert on dango. Daisuke Ono as Sion (Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji, Koizumi in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu) is also appropriate for the hero king seeing he sounds better when using his calm and gentle voice. Other casts include Fuyuka Oura as Kiefer (Hiro in Kaibutsu Oujo, Ren in To Love-Ru series), Mikako Takahashi as Noa (Rushuna in Grenadier), Saki Fujita as Milk (Ao in Yozakura Quartet), Tomokazu Sugita as Lucile (Gintoki in Ginatama), Tomosa Murata as Iris, Atsushi Imaruoka as Claugh (Dallas in Baccano), Miyuki Sawashiro as Calne (Shinku in Rozen Maiden), Junichi Suwabe as Miran (Atobe in Prince Of Tennis), Takahiro Sakurai as Tiir (Suzaku in Code Geass), Mariya Ise as Kuu (Aruka in Needless), Takuma Terashima as Sui (Arima in Princess Lover) and Kazuya Nakai as Refal (Zoro in One Piece). On a trivial note, some of the next episode preview which is narrated by Ryner is amusing because it really reflects that he prefers to nap rather than going through all those ‘troublesome’ and ‘bothersome’ deeds.

War is really one big messy affair. It is good if we learn from it and move forward. But often it doesn’t and what makes it sadder that many of them are avoidable if people just come to understand each other a little bit more and show some tolerance. That’s why heroes are made, the antagonist becomes the scapegoat and history rewritten. With all the recent uprising and rebellion of the people towards those holding high power, it’s up to you to think whether it is a good or bad thing in the overall picture. But really, how do we put a stop to wars once and for all? Do we need to find that special Heroes Relic or the rise of a special saviour-cum-hero that will bring salvation to the land? Ah, screw all that. Sounds too complicated after all. Aha! Maybe we need more nap time so that we can sleep over it and yes, dangos.