Koi To Uso OVA

April 20, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conception

February 24, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tsurezure Children

December 8, 2017

Looking at the poster at first, I thought Tsurezure Children would be some sort of teen superpower superhero series. You know, a group of tedious children as in what its name suggests but got involved in some sort of national conspiracy and hence bringing forth their latent powers to save the country and ultimately the world from disaster. Oh boy, such vivid imagination I have. I should start writing such stories no matter how cliché it sounds. Anyway, this series is nothing of that sort. It is a compilation of shorts regarding these kids on how they deal with love during their high school years. Yup, just your average romantic comedy of teens discovering and experiencing love.

Episode 1A
Haruhiko Takase is being called out by Saki Kanda. He knows she is going to confess him but they have been standing in the cold for 10 minutes! Then she asks if he has anyone he likes. She is really being picky of the words he uses to say no. Takase is about to leave but she won’t let him. Is she finally going to confess? Well, she wants him to come back here same time tomorrow. So that she can confess. WTF?!

Episode 1B
Jun Furuya doesn’t like how Yuki Minagawa is slacking despite becoming a class rep with him. Her answer is simple: She likes him. She starts teasing him and no matter what issues he throws at her like all the admirers she has, it all boils down to her liking him. Well, this one is quite the brave one in confessing. And any negative vibe Furuya has, she positively brushes it aside and believes he is just shy.

Episode 1C
Masafumi Akagi the student council president catches Ryouko Kaji smoking. He will not report her if she kisses him. Yes, he’s serious. He wants to see if he could fall in love with a woman. No, he isn’t gay. Kaji thought she could brush him off that she’ll kiss anybody for money. How much. 100,000 Yen. He has that much money! When he gets serious, she starts trembling. He points out this is proof she has never prostituted herself before and should value herself more than that. He is still serious about that kiss but the stench of nicotine is killing him. He advises her to give up smoking. What is he? Her boyfriend? He doesn’t dismiss that idea. After kissing, he believes he can fall in love with her. With a condition she quits smoking.

Episode 1D
Satsuki Sasahara is in love with her senior, Hideki Yukawa. Tomorrow he is graduating and tonight is her last chance. Thing is, she has confessed so many times but made a joke out of it that he is sick of hearing it and doesn’t take her seriously. As she tries to set the mood, she can’t help going back to joking about it. So when she confesses seriously, it makes her nervous that he has this serious look. She gets scared and jokes about it. Blew it. She starts crying she’ll never get to confess to him again. He tells her he is still sick of it but would like to hear it for one last time. She confesses but I think it’s hard to take it seriously when she is still crying with that kind of face.

Episode 2A
Hotaru is Furuya’s little sister and she is happy to enrol in the same school as him. As she happily goes to see him, all that turns into horror when she sees Minagawa with him. Immediately this brother complex sister starts clinging on to dear brother. Anything Minagawa says, Hotaru becomes hostile. Even more so when Minagawa says they are friends. For now. Hotaru tries to make Furuya reject her since he hasn’t properly reply Minagawa yet. “I don’t hate you”. Standard middle ground answer. Hotaru continues to brainwash him he doesn’t need a girlfriend. His little sister is all he needs! But Furuya can’t give her a serious answer now because there are serious future things to consider like marriage and kids… More devastation for Hotaru but Minagawa views her too cute to hate. Unfortunately the hate is strong for Hotaru.

Episode 2B
Sasahara tries to recruit Yuuki Kaga to her astronomy club. He isn’t interested but since she is persistent, he tries to ask a few questions and she couldn’t answer! He can tell she isn’t even interested in the club. She sounds impressive when she tells him about the Spica star. But that is ripping off what Yukawa told her before. Still not interested? She goes on ranting about other things and Kaga sees this cute side of her. He realizes he has been a boring normal person for so long, maybe he has been looking for something to like. So I suppose he is joining because he likes her smile.

Episode 2C
Takeru Gouda sits next to Ayaka Kamine. He thought she hates him since she doesn’t say things properly. When he learns she dropped her contacts, he helps her look for it. Thinking she has something to say to him, he gets on his knees and assures he will answer it to his best. Okay. She is hinting how kind he was for lending his book earlier on. Didn’t get the hint? And now she wants his answer? About his feelings. He prostrates and apologizes he isn’t good in telling how girls feel. So please accept him the way he is. Not exactly what you think he is saying but Kamine starts crying. So when he is panicking about it, Kamine finally says it that she loves him. Now it’s his turn to panic.

Episode 2D
Chizuru Takano forgot her umbrella so Takurou Sugawara lends his and goes off himself in the rain. However he tripped. She felt bad and walked with him. She notices his shoulder getting wet and sticks close to him, making him fluster. He worries if her crush so them or anything but she assures she doesn’t have any. So he hypothetically asks if someone were to confess to her, in a straight face she says she will turn him down! Gulp. She sees herself as gloomy so he points out her good points. As he is about to confess, her bus is here. Oh, he gets on with her. He finally confesses he likes her. No reaction. Same deadpan face. Is she a robot? Takano takes it the wrong way he was trying to cheer her up. Heartbroken Sugawara alights and you can see his dramatic collapse. And all Takano could think of is to bake cookies for him as thanks for the umbrella.

Episode 3A
Kana Ijima punches Chiaki Uchimura! I guess when you’ve been dating for a year, physical abuse is allowed? Well, as long as it is not the other way round… However despite dating this long, they have not kissed. Hence their relationship looks more like the sibling type than lovers. So when Kana tries to talk about this, he jokes about it. More abuse. Then this is the real wake up call. Chiaki has never thought they were dating! Say what?! When she confessed to him a year ago, he thought she was joking and so he joked back he loved her more! Time for epic breakdown… Kana feels like a fool for thinking like that so Chiaki suggests they hook up properly. Seriously? Serious. Yeah, he even gives her permission to smack him. So let’s continue be the comedy duo. Ah, there’s your cue smack.

Episode 3B
Ayane Matsuura confessed to her crush but gets rejected. Naturally she is sad but her senior, Shinichi Katori tries to console her. Only if he isn’t talking and posing lamely. The cringe is strong. Very strong. Because of that, you can’t blame her for punching him. Or kicking him. Yeah, it sounds like he is teasing her. Even if he intended to let her hit him to relief her frustration, I think his cringe killed it. Double flying kick when he goes overboard saying she has fallen for it. You deserved it.

Episode 3C
Takao Yamane is panicking because Chiyo Kurihara is asking him out. I guess this is what otakus will react if a cute girl does so. Flashback shows he saved her from being groped on the train. So as they are out ordering their food at the café, Kurihara is telling all his good traits. However Yamane is thinking too much. Overthinking. You can obviously see him nonstop panicking. So negative. So pessimistic. And when Kurihara is about to confess, he hits his panic button. Time to order food.

Episode 3D
Sugawara helps Takano on her cleaning duty. She thinks he is a clean freak. Since he can’t explain himself, she thinks she is doing a lousy job at cleaning! Sugawara is worried about her knowing his feelings so when she says he is helping because he noticed her, he replies he is interested in her. Of course she mistakes that he wants to get better at cleaning with her. Sugawara realizes rushing in won’t do it any good. Take your time. And as expected, Takano thinks it is cleaning related. And about just letting her know his feelings? Yeah, just learn to clean quicker. This is going to take some time…

Episode 4A
Kana finds Chiaki’s porn magazine! Awkward! Being the tsundere she is, she dares him to do it with her. Itadakimasu! He wants to grope her boobs first but somehow she is reminded they never kissed. Right, there is an order to things. Crazy things are flowing through his mind when he suddenly poops! WTF?! It killed the mood. She ups the ante by taking off her clothes. But he isn’t allowed to see?! Okay… It’s taking some time to get the mood right again. Oh yeah. Sexy romantic time is here when suddenly Chiaki’s mom enters to serve some snacks. Oops. Sorry to intrude. Please continue. Then she tells the whole family not to come upstairs. The duo try again but mom had to pop back up to ask if they want to use the pill or borrow hers! WHY YOU RUIN EVERYTHING???!!!

Episode 4B
Kaji confronts Akagi to remind him that they aren’t officially dating and she isn’t quitting smoking for that. He wants to make it official so she gives excuses he doesn’t know anything about her. Then he describes how he has been watching her and knows her habits. It proves he has her on her mind for some time. He teases her she is an easy woman and will sleep with anyone if asked. Had he been a player, she would have been done in by him. She dares him to do it to her now so being the smooth operator he is, he says he wanted to take her for himself before anyone else did. He wants to make her his. Kaji is backed to the corner. There is no way out but to say yes. Sealed with a kiss.

Episode 4C
Furuya thinks he needs to answer Minagawa. It’s like she could read his mind and pesters him for it! Since he is shy, she thought he could communicate via messaging. He thought he is toying with her but it backfires when she says because he cannot answer, she isn’t sure if he is serious or just playing around. Guilt… She continues to teasing him through messaging and he is relieved she puts off the bugging for now. She is happy for now he was looking at her.

Episode 4D
Takano’s friend hands her a love letter to pass to Sugawara. So when she calls him to meet, you bet this happy dude gets the wrong idea. So happy when he gets her letter till he finds out the truth. Disappointed? He tries to hint about confessing to Takano herself but she quickly brushes it off it won’t be fun dating her. They discuss about hugging their loved ones and eventually he decides to give up confessing on her. He doesn’t want to be friendzoned and she won’t know what to do either. She still believes she isn’t the person he likes. As for her friend, he will personally turn her down tomorrow. She had the courage to go through all that (but not in person?) so he wants to honour that. Takano notes he is a nice person but if it were to happen to her, oh well, she doesn’t think it will.

Episode 5A
Kanda thinks of confessing via texting to Takase. I guess after that long winded writing, she just deletes it and writes hi. As they text back and forth, both sides are nervous and fidgeting on what to say. When it eventually takes too long to reply and Kanda finally decides to go all out in confessing, both send their text at the same time. Kanda receives his message that he thinks she has fallen asleep and should meet him tomorrow so he could tell her about the person he likes. Oh, he also hates those who try to confess via text. They’re the worst. Meanwhile Takase receives her full confession and to go out. They’re so dead…

Episode 5B
Sasahara is glad Kaga has recruited a new member, Kaoru Nanase who is his childhood friend and neighbour. It seems they hate each other as Nanase teases Kaga likes someone… When Sasahara leaves to attend a teacher’s call, Nanase accuses him of joining the club just because of Sasahara. There is no way he likes the stars. She wants him to reject her. Then she accuses him of ignoring her since middle school. He argues he thought people would think it would be odd for them to be together but she hints she doesn’t hate that idea. Now accusing each other of hating the other, if Nanase hates him, why would she come to this same school? Still don’t get it? He tries to apologize and console her. But it irks her when he is doing it because they are childhood friends. So more hate you hate me stuff. So if they hate each other, why is Nanase kissing him?! Cliché moment when Sasahara returns and sees this. So awkward…

Episode 5C
Kamine and Gouda are dating but he is keeping his distance. She wonders if they should have stayed as friends and her presence is making him uncomfortable. He drops the bomb when he wants to stop doing this. This is his first time dating so he doesn’t know what to do. It’s not doing them any good. Kamine cannot help cry but finds enough courage to thank him for going out with her. But she is shocked when he suggests holding hands for a start. Wait. Weren’t they breaking up? What Gouda meant was they should stop being so tense around each other. He thought it would be weird to start acting like a boyfriend. He was avoiding her because he was shy and sweaty from club activities. She doesn’t care as she jumps to give him a big hug.

Episode 5D
Nanase is probably regretting kissing Kaga. Nope, she is. Kaga is also embarrassed he was seen by Sasahara. She has likely gotten the wrong idea. When mom wants him to send apples to her, he doesn’t want to and claims she hates him. Mom thinks they got into a fight again and thought Nanase had a crush on him. He is surprised to hear that as mom realized that was still a secret. So he reluctantly goes over to hand over the apples.

Episode 6A
At this rate I think Kaji is going to have a mental breakdown the way Akagi is teasing her and it’s just pissing her off. Like he claims he likes her cute face and boobs but what about her inner character? He doesn’t. Because she herself said so that she is crappy. And yeah, throwing a few kisses to increase that stress. She wants to break up but she gets confused when he continues to say he loves her despite all that. She is so cute that he wants to bully her. As smooth as he is, he has her say she likes him before kissing her lips again.

Episode 6B
Kana feels weird to talk and even think about that cock block incident. Even odder, Chiaki wants her to aid in his FBI-alien comedy skit. While going with the flow, Kana realizes his face came too close. Was he trying to kiss her? Then they reverse the roles and it looks like he wants to kiss her. So she prepares herself but he pulls back. Apparently he isn’t sure about the punch line that is supposed to come here. Both still embarrassed decide to just go home.

Episode 6C
Yamane is being asked out by Kurihara for tomorrow’s date. However his fellow otaku buddy, Tomomichi Motoyama also invites him for a movie tomorrow. Yamane tries to give excuses he can’t so Motoyama suspects a girl. Yamane lies he is a middle school friend wanting to catch up so Motoyama backs out. This makes Yamane to feel bad so he comes clean about the truth. Upon hearing that, Motoyama punches him! So you got a girlfriend?! No more friends?! But the shocking thing is how Motoyama supports Yamane. He is happy his friend has found a girl even though their relationship is platonic. Yeah, lots of manly (otaku) tears. Yamane invites him if he would like to come along. Sure, if she brings her friends. Any of his friends is perfectly acceptable to him.

Episode 6D
Kazuko Hosogawa might have given many others love advice but she herself has never fallen in love before. That is, until she sees Katori saving a cat from a tree. It must be his cheesy lines and poses too that did the trick to steal her heart. She wants him to be her prince but he rejects her since he belongs to everybody. He warns her she will get burnt by doing so. She doesn’t care. And when she tries to hug him, she realizes it was only his after image. Hosogawa is frustrated to she decides to become a cat stuck on a tree. Save me! But she falls and when Katori tries to catch her, she accidentally elbows his gut! Critical damage! Being the ‘cool’ guy he is, he brushes off his injury and continues to play it cool that it is a prince’s job to save a kitten in distress. Looks like she loves him even more.

Episode 7A
Hotaru notices her brother being happier these days. It must be a woman. So without permission she hacks into his handphone and sees his conversation with Minagawa. She thought of sabotaging it by telling her to stay away but instantly Minagawa can tell it is Hotaru. And so it begins as Minagawa trolls Hotaru with some ambiguous words that little sister has yet to learn. She doesn’t even know what sleeping with each other means until Minagawa points out a child in her belly. OH NO! TRAUMA ACTIVATED!!! When Furuya returns, Hotaru is going to tell mom about it. Poor guy is left confused.

Episode 7B
Kamine is nervous as she hints to Gouda to tell his opinion about her. He thinks she wants him to take her out on a first date but after all that flustering she finally tells him she wants him to say in his own words that he loves her. He hasn’t said it to her yet. Kamine feels awkward since it might be forcing him but Gouda declares proudly he loves her from the bottom of his heart. Her face is so red but dense Gouda thinks she is mad.

Episode 7C
Continuing from that texting blunder, Takase things he has screwed up since Kanda seems to be avoiding him. At the toilet, his troubled face catches Katori’s attention. More cheesy lines and poses. He can tell Takase is having woman problems and he understands because he too made a woman cry before. Before Takase could think about asking him for advice, Katori announces he is the dating master. So his advice? He doesn’t know. All he can think about is go to her and hold her tight. Takase is impressed and will take his advice. But the moment he turns around to thank him, he is gone.

Episode 7D
Takano recently feels lethargic and her chest hurts a little. Oh, she can’t stop thinking of Sugawara too. As she heads to the infirmary, Sugawara is also there. She thinks she has a fever so it got him a little worried that her face was a little red. She flusters upon hearing that. However he is cool because he thinks she isn’t the kind who would fall in love. Takano wonders if this isn’t fever, what is it that she is having? She takes her temperature. Normal reading. Oh no. What could it be? I wonder…

Episode 8A
Kamine wants to tell Gouda what she truly wants but is too shy about it. Even if she did, she worries he will worry about her. So she asks if he likes being possessive. Not really. How about in moderation? Maybe. Like holding hands while walking. How about holding hands while sitting? Okay. Kamine gets permission to inch closer to him and doesn’t mind him being sweaty and all. Asking if he would like to cuddle her more since she won’t mind if he says so, Gouda would like to ask her one thing. He suddenly kisses her! Hey! He didn’t ask first! Kamine was clearly unprepared for that first kiss and she is embarrassed because she coughed. Want to have another go at it? Maybe after things calm down a little…

Episode 8B
Rumours of Kamine and Gouda kissing have spread. Because of that, Kana is ‘upset’ with Chiaki because in the eyes of everyone they are a couple and yet they haven’t really kissed. So we have them hinting and arguing using football terms if Chiaki should score or not. When Kana is in ‘stoppage time’, Chiaki thinks this is a good chance for him to kiss her. However at his angle it makes it very hard. When she checks to see what is taking him so long, he accidentally kisses her nose! Missed the shot! Awkward. But Chiaki feels confident with this and wants another shot at the goal! Can he do it? Well, with everyone watching them, I guess the match is over.

Episode 8C
Kaji is satisfied after Akagi helps her study. But now he wants to touch her boobs. Wait. What?! Of course she gets mad and won’t allow. He continues to bug her because he believes she will eventually give in. Then he argues that he is the one holding back, etc. I’m sure the pressure has gotten to her so when Kaji finally allows him to grope her boobs, he doesn’t want to do it. He says it was never his intention as he just wanted to know how much he was holding back all this time. Kaji is left embarrassed because it makes her feel like the needy one and that it implied that she needed something more out of this.

Episode 8D
Hosogawa is sad over her lost love. Till she sees Katori injured by a tree! She wants to call the ambulance (dramatic) but he doesn’t want to as he will be discovered. He blames himself for being famous because he flirted with a girl who already had a boyfriend. He wants to know how to be less popular. Since he needs to go into hiding for a while, Hosogawa is more than happy to let him stay at her place. However he tells her the ones after him are not the scary ones. It is the one who made him popular. You mean God? Hosogawa tries to hug him and this time she manages to keep up with his after image. But he can still break free. He stops her with a finger. How? He kisses it. He warns she will burn if she continues to fall for him. He won’t let her since he is going to find the God of romance and beat the crap out of him to become less popular. Until then, stay clear away from the flames of love. So cool! But cheesy too. Now she loves him even more. Get ready to burn…

Episode 9A
During pool lessons, Sugawara and Takano are stealing glances at each other, each wondering if the other is looking. It gets awkward when they wave to each other but no reaction, thinking they’re waving to someone else. Takano doesn’t think it is her but when she eventually asks him and he tells her straight it was her, she starts pondering why he was doing so and such. So when she finally tells him she was also looking at him, it is the wrong guy! Gouda wonders if he should tell that to Sugawara. No thanks… Hazukashii…

Episode 9B
Kanda wonders if their relationship is over since Takase hasn’t replied her confession since. She is also avoiding talking directly to him and only replying via texting, making him wonder if it is too late to reply. So when they try to talk again, it felt a bit awkward since Kanda misspoke. Because the way she says it sounded like she doesn’t like him anymore. And the way he asks back is like he is relieved she doesn’t have feelings for him anymore. So when they sheepishly agree to be friends again, Takase regrets he was too late to confess to her while Kanda regrets being friendzoned.

Episode 9C
Kamine hopes to try kissing with Gouda again since she baulked the first time. However Gouda thinks she is upset from that sudden kiss and is acting weird since. He thinks he will never do that kind of thing again. Of course Kamine really hopes he would do it. So she tries to recreate that atmosphere again by feigning she is sleepy and wants to sleep here right now. She ends up sleeping on his lap. This is sure to get him in the mood, right? HE FELL ASLEEP!!! Oh my! He really got into that mood. He wakes up, catching himself almost touching her face. Kamine is now frozen in embarrassment. Or was it disappointment?

Episode 9D
Minagawa once again trolls Furuya with more I love yous. He is upset they are not serious. On the contrary she says they are but also aren’t. Are you sh*tting him?! She explains the different type of loves and this one is the kind where he makes an angry face but is cute kind of love. Furuya would love to give his answer but he can’t do it if she isn’t serious about liking him. So she puts on a serious I love you face and then pulls it back since it’s hard to be serious. She thinks she can’t express it in words so she has him close his eyes as her face inches closer to his. Damn curtain blocking our view to see what happened. He is mad that she used her fingers to pretend she was kissing him. But she continues to mess with him that he can’t tell if it was her fingers or if she was serious.

Episode 10A
Motoyama meets up with Yamane. But what is he doing here with Kurihara?! Apparently it was Kurihara who asked to meet but since he was nervous, he thought he called Motoyama to come along. WTF. Motoyama can tell that Kurihara has made pudding for Yamane but since both of them are dense, he is forced to play the relationship manager. Since Yamane is too nervous to accept it, Motoyama has to pretend Yamane beat him up real good (bad acting anyway) just to hint that the girl is more important than his friend and thus he will take his leave. Once he is out of the way, he spies back and it looks like Yamane could accept calmly her pudding as much as Kurihara could calmly give it to him. So was it Motoyama’s presence that made them nervous?!

Episode 10B
Kamine is jealous because Gouda is nice to the other girls. And when a girl says nothing is wrong and pouts, you better realize that it is your fault and start thinking on your own what it is! He can’t put his finger on why she is mad so he meets up to apologize. But she’s back to normal. It’s her logic to make him worry about her if she is a little mean. Since he will hear anything she has to say, she starts listing down the things she doesn’t want him to do with other girls. So she’s being over possessive of him? Now she wants him to call her by her first name. Nothing comes out… Probably that was the hardest demand he has to comply.

Episode 10C
Chiaki and Kana see Kamine and Gouda together at the park. They spy on them since the duo are serious in class and never knew they were this lovey-dovey outside. They comment how people change with love but they themselves didn’t change much. They also observe all the bold things they talk to each other. And then the ultimate when Kamine wants Gouda to kiss him but he surprises her with a quick one. So the clowns now start to reflect on themselves and compare with this. So are they going to do it? It took a while for them to prepare but Gouda and Kamine are just leaving and interrupted. What are you doing here? Oh, nothing. And you, what are you doing here? Oh, nothing too. What a coincidence!

Episode 10D
Chiaki invites Kana to his house to study. Note, his parents are away on vacation. Looks like his plan to kiss her is going well. While studying, he tries to ask permission to kiss her but always chickens out. When he goes get something to drink, he returns drunk. He boldly wants to kiss her right now. Kana refuses as she doesn’t want to kiss a drunk Chiaki but the normal one. Because their first kiss is going to be a precious memory. Chiaki then drops his act and quickly steals her lips! Then he starts teasing her with their usual comedy act jokes but she is not impressed. She punches him and leaves in tears. Oh no. He can’t react to that one…

Episode 11A
Takano’s friend can tell she is in love as she stares into space. Of course she denies it but her friend brings up Gouda and Kamine. Speaking of which, here comes Kamine. She starts asking her about some details of her romance as embarrassed Takano continues to deny she is in love. But as Kamine explains how she would look and think about Gouda unconsciously, the more Takano starts to panic. Are you sure you’re not in love with somebody? She then stares at Sugawara and contemplates he is just a classmate. Too bad they could guess it right that she is thinking about him since there are rumours floating about Sugawara liking her. When Kamine is asked how she did her confession, everyone gets embarrassed and returns to practice.

Episode 11B
Chiaki is in real trouble. Kana has avoided talking to him on purpose and in her books they have already broken up. But is she okay to let this go on? Back home, Chiaki is thinking of texting to her one last time and if she doesn’t reply, he’ll give up. Similarly, Kana is waiting and willing to forgive him if he replies one more time. But Chiaki wonders if he should write a long letter… She’s waiting… And when he finally sends, her handphone drops in the bath! OMG! Hey, aren’t handphones these days supposed to be waterproof? Poor Chiaki thinks she had really given up on him. Kana tries hard to turn it back on. She’s never been so sad and desperate. Then mom comes in and learns her problem. She beats up the handphone back to life! OMG! It really worked! At this point, Chiaki can’t give up on her and calls. Kana to her relief answers but is cut off. Poor Chiaki thinks they are done but Kana’s handphone has died for real. Curse you technology!

Episode 11C
During the test, Kanda is running low on her pencil lead but doesn’t want to ask Takase in fear of him suspecting some ulterior motive. Likewise, he also thinks the same. She tries to ask Minagawa but she tells him to ask from Takase instead. Eventually Takase lends her and their relationship is back to normal. Just as simple as that.

Episode 11D
Kaji is really struggling doing last minute studying. It is one of those I-told-you moments because now she is regretting she should have done better. She even told mom she wanted to go to college but now thinks if that is even possible. She starts comparing herself to other classmates who are definitely looking smarter. Akagi isn’t helping her this time as he believes this is part of her practice since she’ll be alone during the exam. But Katori can tell he is the one who is holding it in and trying not to freak out. During the test, Kaji’s constant review makes her feel confident she can get through this. When she accidentally drops her eraser, she feels embarrassed to ask the teacher, thinking others would think of her as weird. Because you know, delinquents don’t study or take exams. Luckily her friend asks the teacher on her behalf. Everything went smoothly. So much so she starts crying right in the middle of the exam! It’s like life is giving her a second chance.

Episode 12A
The boys are having a football tournament among the classes. So we see some of the girls cheering for their crush. We have Chiaki and Sugawara wondering if they look cool in front of their girl or at least a chance to do so. When a ball is accidentally kicked towards Kana, she couldn’t react in time but Chiaki blocks it with his face! It hurts. He tries to act tough but ultimately they end up arguing like usual. So much about making up. Chiaki’s class is losing so the girls decide to cheer and support them. When they do so, Chiaki thinks only Kana isn’t part of the cheer. Why would she cheer for him? Suddenly all by herself she shouts out to him to stop fooling around and go impress her. It’s like he suddenly powers up on his skill as he waddles his way through the defenders. He is about to score but then is blocked. The other team scores and wins the game.

Episode 12B
As summer vacation is coming up, the girls are inviting some of the boys to go to the beach. Some are unsure. Kana thought this is a chance to make up with Chiaki but Sugawara interjects before her to ask him if he is going to the beach. Sugawara isn’t sure to go as Takano will be there and he thought it will be awkward. He gives an excuse he won’t come due to club activities when in actual fact there is none. Because of that, Takano’s eyes are like dead fish. Kana is waiting for a reply from Chiaki and hence waiting for this chance to patch things up. But that reply never came. Damn his handphone ran out of power again. So when he eventually sees her, he tells her they’ve already broken up. So? He believes if he does so, their relationship won’t go anywhere and break up properly. Heart break? However, once that is done, he wants to confess again. Seriously. He does so and it brings tears to Kana’s eyes. Meanwhile Takano is practising alone in the classroom and admitting she has been thinking a lot on Sugawara lately. She fees sad if he doesn’t go to the beach. When Sugawara enters to take his forgotten wallet, she asks if he would like to come. He still think he won’t be coming when she blurts out it won’t be fun if he isn’t there. Looks like he has to go buy a swimsuit. That made Takano happy. Look at her beaming smile.

Crazy, Stupid Love
And so love goes on for our high school children. Nothing really much. Just some of the troublesome pairs have gotten back on good terms so a happy ending? After all, Chiaki-Kana and Sugawara-Takano pairs are the only couples who were having it rough in the end. One wasn’t official yet and the other have somewhat broken off and there is a threat they could break off and drift even further. Compared to the other pairs who were already going steady, so are these 2 pairs going to break the streak and have a bad end? No way!

Despite there are numerous different stories put together (I believe there are like 9 or 10 of them), each story doesn’t feel too heavy or confusing. Thanks to the short duration of each episode of 12 minutes each and in each episode is divided into 4 mini stories. Each of the lover’s stories might be short and condensed and not all of them will be featured in every episode. It might look daunting at first if you’re worried and wondering if you could remember them all by the time the series ends. By the end of the day, you might not remember every technical details of what accurately happens between each of them but you have a general idea of who loves who and how their relationship is faring. In a way it is good but in some ways it is also bad. While shifting between the stories is good, having been thrown too many different stories makes it look like it is all over the place as the stories take place in a connected universe (the same school, that is) but in a mini world of their own. Therefore the straightforward love story can either be intriguing or boring since no love triangles. Okay, Kaga-Sasahara-Nanase as well as Minagawa-Furuya-Hotaru might look so but there is nothing really serious going on.

Like me, after a while when you get used to the characters, at the start of the next skit, my brain will be like taking some ‘processing’ time to remember who they are and how they’ve been. Sometimes it takes a few seconds to recall their names. But as I’ve said, splitting the stories is also good because for example instead of remembering one long sentence, you break them up into smaller sentences to help easily remember them. Or when you are reviewing your studies, you don’t study a particular subject for long periods of time. You take a break and then try reviewing another subject. I’m not a psychology expert but this mixture of diversifying helps the mind to recall better. Except when you’re doing last minute rushing and cramming in of course.

With so many different characters, each character and relationship has its own quirks and moments that makes them unique. But the only thing in common that I can see in all of the relationships is that everyone has this undecided and uncertain outlook of varying degrees when they are dealing with love. This is what mainly drives the dynamics of each relationship and each story to be interesting, hence making the characters interesting in their own right. There might be a few that looks confident, namely Minagawa, Gouda, Akagi and Katori. Like Akagi he looks like he stringing Kaji around only because her reactions are fun to watch as. Especially a delinquent teen like her, love seems so out of place. So he is just messing with her by playing the cool cat but in actual fact deep down inside he is as nervous as hell and doesn’t show it on the outside. The same can be said for Minagawa who keeps teasing Furuya and just enough so that guy won’t find it annoying enough to never want to see her ever again. Gouda looks like the taciturn type but you often here his thoughts and indecisiveness of whether his actions are right. Katori? I think he is full of drama and that drama covers up nervousness. His is dubbed the love master but not in a relationship himself? Suspicious…

One of my favourite couples goes to Chiaki and Kana because the duo have been a manzai comedy duo for a very long time. They take a jab each other while at the same time trying to properly grow their love for each other but at the same time they get cold feet and use that comedy stint to cover it all up. So much so they couldn’t tell what is a joke and what is love. After all, I believe they are the couple who has been together for the longest and the only ones who have tried to take a step further in their relationship. As in, they almost had sex, right? If not only for mom’s timing… Mom, why you have to go spoil it when the things are getting so good?!

Most amusing couple award would go to Akagi and Kaji. This guy has really strung her and made her dance right in the palm of his hands from start to finish. It is fun to see Akagi being the smooth operator while embarrassed Kaji trying to resist it all due to her pride but eventually caves in. This guy is the Jesus of romance if he could fully rehabilitate a bad girl like her under his thumb. Also amusing to watch is Minagawa and Furuya but only when Hotaru is in the picture because little sister thinks her precious big brother belongs to nobody else except her. She can never beat Minagawa as long as the latter doesn’t see her as the enemy.

If there is one couple that is plain draggy and boring, personally I have to point out Takano and Sugawara. Both are being super hesitant although Sugawara is trying to take the initiative but he still lacks confident. On the other hand, Takano is probably the densest character even with hints pointing right in her face, she just can’t seem to get the hint that he likes her. And when she starts to develop strange feelings (it’s called love), she becomes more uncertain. I believe their relationship is the farthest if you compare it to others. They weren’t officially a couple at the end too. They just started to get better with each other’s company. Watching them feels painful as sometimes you want to scream out to them to just realize it and confess to each other already. Making it slightly worse is the fact that their story is one of the most prominently featured with more skits (hence, screen time) compared to some that are not as notable like Yamane-Kurihara and Kaga-Sasahara-Nanase pairs.

Art and drawing feel pretty standard but plain and simple. But it certainly feels lacking if you compare it to other Studio Gokumi works like Kiniro Mosaic, A-Channel, Seiren, Yuuki Yuuna Yuusha De Aru and Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru. At least these had some moe and bishoujo effect. Well, maybe on the same level as the Saki series.

There are a handful of recognizable seiyuus, namely Kana Hanazawa as Minagawa, Yui Ogura as Kamine, Daisuke Ono as Yukawa, Hiro Shimono as Yamane, Ayane Sakura as Kaji and Haruka Tomatsu as Hotaru. Other casts include Kaito Ishikawa as Sugawara (Iida in Boku No Hero Academia), Inori Minase as Takano (Rem in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatstu), Seiichirou Yamashita as Chiaki (Kakeru in Orange), Akari Kitou as Chiaki (Yonaga in Alice To Zoroku), Kensho Ono as Akagi (Arata in ReLIFE), Daisuke Namikawa as Katori (Italy in Hetalia series), Kouhei Amasaki as Furuya (Takeshi in Mob Psycho 100), Tomoaki Maeno as Gouda (Takeru in Maken-Ki), Kentarou Kumagai as Takase (Aston in Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans), Haruka Miyake as Kanda and Souichirou Hoshi as Motoyama (Kaoru in Ai Yori Aoshi).

The opening theme is Aimai Moko by Inori Minase. A decent lively anime rock pop. Not too bad. As for the ending theme, Dear, I had mistakenly thought Yukari Tamura was singing this slow piece. Funny I thought she had no voice acting role here but had a singing one. Then I later found out it wasn’t her but Yui Ogura instead. Up till this day I am still straining my ear to confirm whether it is really her because I still ‘hear’ the sound Yukari Tamura singing no matter how hard I try. Most probably because there is no real ending credits animation so the song is played quiet softly in the background as the skit is still ongoing. Looks like there is going to be another person whom I will be confused with if she starts using her trademark cute squeaky voice to sound similar to another trademark cute squeaky voice.

Overall, this short series is actually fun to watch if you are in the mood for some light high school romance and comedy. Despite the fact that generally each story is just a repetition or copycat of one another but it feels different thanks to the different approach. Sometimes it feels like your high school romance (if you had any) falls into either one or more of the stories featured here. Well, they sure had a supporting love role but they had none on gays and lesbians. It’s a must in today’s politically correct era! Thank goodness it didn’t. Let’s just allow the children to fall in love naturally the way they see fit, okay? That is why, to each their own. Hence, Sorezore Children. Oh, did they subtly make a pun on this?

Koi To Uso

December 3, 2017

Imagine a future whereby your future spouse is decided by a few complex and sophisticated calculations by the government. That’s right. The government selects the person whom you will be marrying with. What the heck is this?! Is this some sort of marriage communism? Heck, it still feels like matchmaking of the olden days but at a government level and with all the ‘sophisticated’ variables to match your partner. While it may seem draconian, this plan is to enhance the quality of life and happiness for the married person’s life and family. But you know how love works in mysterious ways. Not everyone ‘accepts’ this law. So what happens when the person you totally love is totally different from the person the government has assigned you? Well, that’s what happened in Koi To Uso. A guy has liked a girl for a long time. Confesses it. Finds out girl likes him for a long time too. Wow. Super. Happy ending, right? Nope. Government technically shows middle finger to that and assigns him a more ‘suitable’ partner. So you accept this proposal or reject it but with consequences. But don’t worry and take you time because it’s not like we’re rushing you into marriage, right?

Episode 1
As narrated, to combat low birth rates, the Yukari Law was passed 40 years ago. It is a nationwide matchmaking scheme. You are not allowed to marry anybody else as recommended by the government. It is illegal to do so. But thanks to that, birth rates have increased and the average intelligence of the population has gone up. However Yukari Nejima doesn’t like this system. Apart from the fact he likes another girl, it’s embarrassing to know he is named after the law. When his friend, Daiki Takeda gets a notification of his future wife, he protests and vows never to get married. Nejima and a few of the other friends also make the pledge but they are shocked that Misaki Takasaki also joins in. Are girls not allowed in this oath? As you can tell, Nejima is in love with Misaki since elementary school. It started when he broke his eraser in half to give it to her since she forgot hers. She whispered thank you in his ear. That was the beginning of his love. As Nejima’s birthday is looming, he too will be getting a notification and his parents are very excited. Not Nejima himself. Thus he needs to confess to Misaki as soon as possible. He talks to her that he will wait at the park and to make matters worse, she doesn’t remember they were in the same class back at elementary school! So Nejima waits. And waits and waits. So he made some burial grounds from the sandpit to kill time? Maybe she isn’t going to turn up after all.

As he leaves, here comes Misaki catching him. She made it. Now she’s catching her breath. After that nervous long winded talk, Nejima finally confesses he likes her. Yatta! Oh wait. You made her cry! But here is the surprise. She shows him the broken half of the eraser she has always been keeping! Yes, she too likes him. Everything feels so weird but soon they hug. And then they upgrade to a kiss! And another kiss! Yahoo! End of story. Just kidding. Could have gone further had not it been ruined by Nejima’s handphone. His parents. The notification is here. Dang. As he reads the unclear message, it states his future wife is… Misaki!!! OMG! Is this for real?! He is literally hitting the jackpot. Why is it at such crucial times the handphone power has to die? Shortly, a couple from the ministry of health, labour and welfare, Kagetsu Ichijou and Motoi Yajima pop up to hand him an official notice for his future wife. Wait a minute… Who the f*ck is Ririna Sanada?! He tries to argue the notification on his handphone saying Misaki. However they point out it might be a mistake and the black and white makes it official. No doubts about it. Bye. So in all the confusion, Misaki wishes him happy birthday and thanks him for giving her the motivation to live on. Something feels strange. Her hands are cold and shaking. Now she’s crying and running away. He manages to catch up to her as they both embrace amidst the confusing tears.

Episode 2
Nejima is not pleased his parents already arranged for a marriage meeting. So when he ditches and goes to school (he got permission for leave of absence), everyone is shocked. They didn’t think he really believe their oath! He even got detention. Misaki talks to him and is appalled at what he is doing. What she was trying to tell him then was to keep this as memory. Nejima was in shock that he just went with his parents to the marriage meeting. The first time he sees Ririna, OMG he never knew she was this cute?! Anyway as the meeting gets underway, Nejima stays silent while the rest talks. This makes Ririna blow her top for being rude. She storms out and Nejima is forced to go look for her. He finds her alone in a room and looks like she is as nervous as him from it all. Still, he realizes he was running away unlike her who was facing this head on so he apologizes. For some reason, he has to tell her about the girl he likes and Ririna makes him spill everything! In fact, Ririna is very fascinated with their love story! Heck, she even volunteers to help him figure out how Misaki feels for him! They go back to their parents pretending to hold hands. At this point I wonder why Nejima had to point out her button is undone so he had a sneak peak of her bra. She slaps him in front of everyone.

In school, Nejima’s friends are admiring how cute his future wife is. Strangely, Yuusuke Nisaka goes over to Misaki and asks her if she would like to see Nejima’s future wife! She’s giving off that what-the-f*ck face. Nejima goes to Ririna’s all-girls school to meet as requested. He finds her sleeping in the infirmary. When he talks to her how he heard rumours people keep calling her tapeworm (sanadamushi), she starts panicking and then explains the whole damn thing without her skirt on. Really. Something about her being socially awkward since she always have a hard time talking to other girls. They realize they are talking normally but can’t help ponder their relationship. If they are not friends or lovers, what are they? Too late for Ririna to realize she is without her skirt. That’s the second slap for him this episode… On the way out, Ririna wants to know more about Misaki. Speaking of her, look here she is passing in front! I don’t know why Nejima has to point out it is her so Ririna approaches her and introduces herself as Nejima’s future wife! Strangely, the girls talk it over as Ririna asks what Misaki likes about Nejima. She explains a few weird things about him she likes. Even more surprising, Misaki wants to continue talking more about Nejima! See the glow in her eyes. At the end of the day when they part, it’s like they’ve become friends! Ririna is crying thinking she made her first friend! Oh wait. It could have gotten more confusing since Ririna thinks she likes Misaki! We’re not going down the lesbianism road yet!!! In his bid to calm her down, Nejima being the idiot he is somehow spills how he already kissed Misaki. Oh, tell her more about it. But Ririna isn’t mad. She has an idea. Go kiss Misaki one more time.

Episode 3
Apparently Ririna also told him to kiss Misaki once a day. Every day. Since when is she their love coach? Nejima is thinking too much about it that Nisaka remembers the first time they met at cram school. Nisaka was being harassed by a guy whose future wife couldn’t stop thinking about him because of his flirting. Then Nejima saw this harassment and called the cops! Nejima is invited to Ririna’s place. He didn’t count on Ririna inviting Misaki too! It’s really awkward for the 3 of them in there. Nejima might look out of place since the girls are having fun talking among themselves. Then Ririna changes topic and tells Nejima to quickly kiss Misaki. She doesn’t mind. Both of them awkwardly prepare to kiss as Ririna watches it eagerly like some TV romance. Just inches away from their mouths in contact with each other, Nejima pulls back. Misaki finds it funny but Ririna has this disappointed looks on her face. As Misaki leaves, she tells Ririna that she wants her to fall in love with Nejima as she might not be the right girl for him. She might not mind they kissed now but she will soon do. Ririna returns to her room breathing hard. She really wants Nejima to kiss Misaki once a day. Every day. When they are out in the streets, they stumble into Nisaka. Ririna immediately snarls like a cat? Shockingly, Nisaka points out Ririna is a virgin. Erm, aren’t all girls her age are supposed to be? Well, I can say they’re not going to like each other.

During PE, Nejima notices Nisaka and Misaki staring intensely like each other like as though they are rivals. The thought that the most attractive guy and girl in class as an item just worries him. Yeah, Nisaka has his own unofficial fan club in which girls swoon when he just as much walks passes them. When Misaki asks Nejima about Ririna after she left her place that day, he reveals about the daily kiss. So want to try? And here is today’s first kiss. Oh, a second one. And another one! Each time it gets more passionate! Man, they’ve filled up a week’s worth of kisses! Nisaka passing by, is shocked to see this. Later Nejima wants to ask Nisaka something but since the latter has club activities, he has to wait. He must have waited so long that he fell asleep. When Nisaka arrives, he sleeps his sleeping face… Those delicious lips… HE KISSED THEM!!! OMFG!!! DIDN’T SEE THIS GAY THINGY COMING!!! Now I understand why about Nisaka… By the time the idiot wakes up, he asks if Nisaka has someone he likes like Misaki. He brushes it off. The simpleton feels relieved. We all know why and where his true heart lies, right?

Episode 4
You know it is awkward when Nejima’s parents ask the lovebirds if they have kissed. Not only Ririna spilled the entire mayonnaise on her food, she even asks why they kissed! Not that they’re too shy but rather eager to tell them how they’re still so in love with each other. I guess it’s good but it’s just awkward in front of the kids… Ririna enters Nejima’s room. Messy as hell! Glad she cleaned it up. Good future wife. Looking at his old photos she starts asking this thought provoking question if he likes Misaki when he gave her the eraser or because he liked her he gave it to her. Yeah, need to be specific when he fell in love with her. Nejima asks if she has her first love. Yes. An anatomy model. Bear with me. The doctor told her the anatomy model came in a set, a mother and ‘son’. Since the children’s wing opened, they were ‘separated’. So the ‘son’ is alone. Just like her. They clicked. It made her heart beat faster. Yeah… Ririna asks about Nejima’s kiss with Misaki. Sure, he did it. She goes into analytical mode. Conclusion? Kiss her more! Ichijou and Yajima are here to explain about the Science of Red String. It is determined via many surveys and tests they have taken throughout their childhood. So they compile all that data for the best matchmaking. Studies also show that marrying one based on physical looks tend to fail. Therefore the scientific conclusion is that people don’t fall in love with outward appearance. They ask them about their feelings for each other. Of course they’re still confused. More awkwardness when Ichijou says it is fine to even start having sex because they’re going to get married after all so why not make a head start? So pre-marital sex is okay this instance?

As they leave, Ichijou asks for directions to Misaki’s house but refuses to divulge any more information. That’s privacy. It makes Nejima go blank that she too has received a notification. Ririna tries to snap him out of it by asking if this is how far his love for her. Otherwise she threatens she won’t help him anymore. Nejima feels he doesn’t want to kiss Misaki anymore just because Ririna asks him. It just feels weird. She notes it is even weirder for a world to forbid you from kissing the person you like. At school, Nejima is really curious to ask about Misaki’s notification. So he waits for a chance after school to do some errands together. She does confirm a couple of people from the ministry did come to her house but they were dealing with her parents. Big relief? This prompts Nejima to wonder what kind of future husband she’ll get. She replies it doesn’t matter because they’ll all be the same. Nejima will only be the special one. Wow. Before you know it, they start kissing. Today’s quota automatically fulfilled. Back home, Ririna calls Nejima about his family camping trip. As she was invited to join, what shocked Nejima most is that Ririna also invited Misaki to come! Panicking, he wants to bring a friend. Okay. Too bad Nisaka outright rejects him! Oh please, don’t start begging… Eventually Nisaka relents but finds out too late that Ririna and Misaki or on this trip too.

Episode 5
The young ones meet up at the train station. Ririna can’t stop complaining to learn Nisaka is the friend he has brought along while Misaki and Nisaka have this intense rivalry look at each other again, prompting Nejima to really think they like each other. At the camp, the guys make curry. Nejima goes to call the girls but gets super embarrassed to see them in their swimsuit by the river. So he goes to hide and peek?! Ririna spots him but as she approaches him, she slips. She twisted her ankle. Nejima carries her like a princess since she doesn’t want to spread open her legs and touch his body via piggyback. I think this is even more awkward since his hands are touching her skin so I’m not sure if that face is orgasmic or pain. Either way, she looks like she is struggling to hold in her composure. And all the thanks he got for carrying her back is being called baka. Thanks a lot. Nejima sees Misaki and Nisaka chatting together again. Ririna’s dad puts ice on her foot as he learns Nejima has a great interest in burial grounds and hopes to pursue a course in college related to that. That night, Nejima is still bugged about Nisaka liking Misaki. So he goes up to him to ask if he is keeping a secret. Nisaka thinks it is that gay kiss. It is hard for him to keep his composure when his face is so close like that. Nisaka looks nervous and when he is about to confess, Ririna calls them to go do kimodameshi. On purpose she pairs Nejima and Misaki together. So the duo take the chance to hold hands but while being distracted by a light, Misaki slips down a cliff. Nejima tries to catch her but she pulls him down instead. Thank goodness the cliff was just a few feet high. But the fall leaves them in a compromising position. In fact, Misaki wants to stay this way for a while.

While Ririna is lecturing Nisaka to stay a metre from her, he asks why is she so desperate in trying to make Nejima and Misaki a pair. Although she isn’t doing anything that is breaking the law, how does she fit into this relationship? If Nejima chooses Misaki, the arrangement is cancelled and she will be an outsider. She can still be their friend but can she stay so once they get married? Ririna might get a man who is much worse than Nejima. Even if Nejima rejects this arrangement, Ririna will be fine but Nejima will have a penalty to pay. It will be on his permanent records that he rejected the matchmaking and thus it will be some sort of ‘handicap’ if he is out looking for a job, etc. So all Ririna is doing is leading him to a disaster. Ririna starts to feel scared. She is doing this because she loves them both. She just wants them to be happy. Sorry girl. That only happens in fairytales. They see Nejima and Misaki down the cliff. Caught in the act? If Nejima’s guilt look and robot act didn’t give him away… They stumble into a firefly sanctuary. Nisaka is really afraid of bugs. Afraid of one laying eggs on his face?! The quartet enjoy the beautiful scene, forgetting the world of marriage and love for that moment. When they are back in town, Nisaka seems apologetic about the thing he tried to hide and this only makes Nejima worry more that he does like Misaki. Ririna tries to be nice to Nejima by asking him to take her to some burial grounds. That guy is so happy that he can’t stop talking about it… In fact he wants to bring her there as soon as possible. Well, school comes first.

Episode 6
Nejima is aggressive and bold in making out with Ririna. Oh wait. That was just Ririna’s dream?! So she does more research on French kissing and doesn’t like what she finds… Yeah, exchange of millions of germs… She is called by Arisa Mimasaka who wants to be friends with her. Wait. Who the f*ck is she? She is the sister of the intern doctor who looked after Ririna 6 years ago when she was undergoing treatment. Arisa heard stories about her and is amazed. So she wants to hear more? Sorry, Ririna rejects her. It’s not like they have anything to talk about. Heck, she doesn’t even know what friends are supposed to do! Well, you had Misaki, right? Nejima attends the special government programme for the newly paired couples. He thought he spotted his old classmate from middle school, Shuu Igarashi. Takeda is also here as he introduces his future wife, Haruka Yoshiki. Wow. She’s a cutie. But not as cute as Ririna, right? When she arrives, she gives him a haniwa keychain as a gift. He gets excited like a nerd! In return, he also gives her a haniwa keychain but with cat features. It’s cringey looking at them but hey, it’s love, right? For some reason, Ririna is still embarrassed about that kissing dream but why she had to be a tsundere and tell him she has never dreamt of it?

The lecture starts out normally. Till they start passing out condoms. Woah! Are they really trying to shoot some gangbang here?! Naturally Ririna doesn’t know what it is but Nejima had dig his own grave and says he doesn’t too? It gets awkward when the speaker talks about the benefits of having sex. It’s a feel good factor. She’s saying like it’s nothing! Then they even show clips of sex! What is this?! Training for future porn stars?! Nejima feels so weird out he has to start thinking about something else or he’ll start fantasizing about making out with Misaki. Then he looks around. Ririna looks like she is clutching her haniwa and praying to God (huh?). Everyone else looks uneasy too. But Takeda and Haruka are already making out?! WTF?! It gets weirder when Yajima talks to Nejima about the dilemma if he would choose the one the government chose or the one he loves. Did he troll him about watching them in the next room? Super weird. Even more awkward when Nejima heard others saying that if you don’t bang, you get penalized. Woah! If only reality was this easy! And now for the main show. Nejima and Ririna alone in the room. Better look out for hidden cameras and devices. Hope they’re not shooting illegal teen porn. But Nejima decides to screw all that baseless anxiety. Because now he is going to screw Ririna and pushes her over the bed. Well, nothing changes if you don’t take the first step.

Episode 7
Nejima thinks of pretending to make out with Ririna. Don’t worry. Just remember it like the movies. First kiss… Oh no. She’s crying. Screw that. More kisses… Oh sh*t. She’s crying more. It killed the mood. So when Nejima explains that surveillance thingy and his pretending, Ririna shoots it down because it is illegal and the people will lose faith in the system. Nejima must be feeling stupid right now. Because of that, Ririna now feels uneasy around him and is scared to have him touch her so she wants them to keep their distance for a while. For the rest of the demonstration, it’s just awkward that nothing else happened between them. Nejima then confronts Yajima for lying. His reply is that this proves he would have done it with the other girl. Nejima returns to his class. They’re practising a Romeo and Juliet play for the cultural festival. Only, genders swapped. And Misaki and Nisaka are playing them. A minor accident has Nejima got his hand hammered by a classmate making the props. Misaki rushes down to the infirmary to talk to him. She can tell something has happened. He tries to change the subject like how she has gotten more popular without him around. Huh? Misaki says she banned herself from him. What? Eventually she makes him spit out the truth. He believes he has hurt Ririna and he looks very shaken about it. Hence Misaki calls Ririna to hang out and talk things over.

Nejima sees Yajima at his school (since this was his alma mater). He tries to help out with this story of a guy he knows (that’s himself, right?). That guy once dated a girl before. Then she got a notice and told him she will reject the assignment if he loved her. Though he loved her, he did not have the confidence to marry and make her happy. Then he got his own notice and realized she was precious to him. In the end, they broke up. There was only one truth to it all: He should have been honest to his feelings. So for Nejima’s case, he shouldn’t think so much and just act. This motivates him to text Ririna to hang out next time. However she never replied. But one morning he receives a handwritten letter from her. Her feelings are still confused and that’s why she couldn’t answer him yet. But this letter is okay? There are lots of words of encouragement for him especially for him to do best at the cultural festival. That made his day. But it’s not so for Misaki. She remembers Ririna telling her how she didn’t want to see Nejima but felt lonely. That is what love is, Misaki said. She fears she has become selfish because on one hand she is glad Ririna is Nejima’s chosen partner but on one hand she hates it. He might even be in love with her by now. Why is it such a cruel thing loving someone?

Episode 8
The sketch for the dresses of Romeo and Juliet play is ready. While everyone loves it, it seems Nisaka doesn’t and wants to quit. So Nejima tries to convince him to do it for the class, do it for him but that’s not going to cut it. When Nejima tries to touch him, he swats his hand away. A guy pops up before them. Nejima tries to run but is caught. Who is he? Nisaka’s dad! OMG! I thought he was his brother! At the sushi restaurant, dad tells his son not to hit his friend. Nejima thought he could justify that by saying Nisaka has good looks and hitting him may rub some on him. So hit him more. Wait. Seriously? No wonder dad’s laughing. Dad adds that Nisaka doesn’t talk much about school and must have his reasons for building a wall around himself. He hopes Nejima could continue to be his friend. Later when the friends walk back, Nisaka explains he dislikes being the centre of attraction. Nejima argues he really want to see him play Juliet. When Nisaka likens the old play as idiots in love who don’t give any thought about their social position, they fall in love and then they die, Romeo and Juliet are just like them. Others are trying to deny their love but only to them their feelings are the truth. Well, I’m sure Nejima hasn’t got the slightest idea on the dark truth. Nejima likes the old story because it is as old as burial grounds? Let’s not go there… I guess with Nejima convincing him that much, Nisaka is going to play Juliet after all.

We see the double standards when both the lead players take their size measurements .The boys are not allowed to peek when Misaki is getting measured (although they can still hear what’s going on) but the girls can come in and see Nisaka getting his. Some even thinking of putting pads for his chest for the play. Later when Nejima and Misaki talk, he asks her opinion of Nisaka. Trying to paint him as a cool guy, she then asks him has he fallen for Ririna. He can say Misaki is the one he loves but what makes of Ririna then? This makes him ask the question: What is love? No, not that Haddaway song. And so Misaki explains her growing love experience from staring at him in elementary school to thinking about kissing him in middle school and wanting to go to the same school as him. It looked like everything went her way and even the guy she loves also loves her back. This is the best dream. However she wants to end it here. Because in the end, she was not picked to be his wife despite how much she loves him. The more she falls for him, the more she realizes there is no hope for them. As the notice is your destined partner, any other love will seem like a lie. She doesn’t know if he loves her but her love for him continues to grow stronger. With the steady flow of tears running, Nejima hugs her as she continues. She knows she is happy having him touch her but those feelings will one day hurt her and yet she can’t throw them away. So she asks him back: What is love? Why you want to make me sing that Haddaway song so badly?!

Episode 9
Nejima is handing out fliers for the play. He can’t help notice how beautiful Misaki is in her Romeo outfit. No wonder all the females flock to her. He then remembers what she told him the other day after crying about what is love. She still likes Ririna and doesn’t want to see her sad. Nejima sees his old middle school classmate, Mina Koyanagi talking to Misaki. They don’t get along so he tries to tiptoe away. However Misaki’s other friends soon spot him creeping out of here. Nejima talks to Yajima about the investigation about his notice that popped up Misaki’s name. Although there isn’t anything wrong, he did notice some sort of interference. However there is no evidence of that either. Then what made him think there was interference in the first place? Eventually, Ririna is his assigned wife and he checked the calculations again. There were no mistakes. He asks him what he is going to do if the notice is wrong. Knowing he can’t answer, he just tells him to make up with Ririna. Nejima knows Ririna would be coming here. But does he have to look this surprised when they bump into each other? Didn’t know she could be this cute, huh? Anyway she just takes his flier and runs away. Nejima thinks she still isn’t talking to him. So he goes to talk to Nisaka about his fight with Ririna. He is sure she didn’t come all the way here to be mad at him. He worked hard at this and she came to see that. So Nejima tries to make himself useful by helping around but it isn’t like urgent help is needed everywhere. I guess he needs to seek more ‘advice’ from Nisaka. After everything they have done together, Nisaka doesn’t want him to have regrets. Just watch the play. He is going to blow his regrets away and show him proof that this love wasn’t meaningless. The play begins. It is wonderful and amazing that the crowd gives a standing ovation in the end. Nejima is so glad he watched it because true enough he forgot all his regrets. Well, that won’t last long. Because soon he bumps into Igarashi. She asks him what happened to the notice that paired him with Misaki. He is shocked to hear this. She further asks him about the play. Does Misaki look cool as Romeo? She could predict what Nejima would say word for word about her being a beautiful mirage vanishing into thin air. She concludes Misaki is his true partner. Apparently this talk is also overheard by Ririna. Another person in disbelief.

Episode 10
Ririna spams lots of questions so Igarashi says Misaki has something she wants to protect even if she has to break through her lies to do it. Hence Igarashi is going to protect her. Nejima and Ririna are confused as they have more questions than ever about the pairings. But since they are officially paired, they decide to call a truce for now. They thought of asking Misaki but looks like she is busy attending to the swarm of fans. Ririna didn’t know it is Nisaka playing Juliet. She praises such a beautiful person till she learns who he really is. Awkward. Not as awkward as Nisaka’s brother who is here to tease him and can still laugh while Nisaka is choking him! See what I mean when Nisaka’s dad looks young enough to be his brother because I couldn’t tell him apart and thought he is his brother! To thank Nejima for the other camping day, he wants to invite him and his friends to a family wedding next week since some of his other relatives can’t come. Nejima tries to be friends with Igarashi on the social site. Instant rejection! So he is complaining about it to Ririna like the end of the world?! Well, sulk more because Igarashi accepted Ririna’s friendship instead and they’re already messaging each other. They are invited to come to her school where they will talk things out. Ririna asks right off the bat if Misaki is Nejima’s destined partner. Igarashi doesn’t want to discuss so openly and changes the place. A cat café?

Igarashi remains steadfast about protecting Misaki. She learns about Ririna’s reason of supporting the duo, it feels like some sort of stimulation. She wants her to stop being selfish and impulsive because it is hurting Misaki. In that case, why did Igarashi said Misaki is Nejima’s partner if she is not going to support them? She notices a bond between them that is more than just on paper. Igarashi used to hate Misaki as she is popular and cheerful. One day she saw her trying to buy class trip photos of another class and realized she likes a boy named Nejima. Igarashi offered to help buy it for her since Misaki didn’t have the courage. Misaki smiled and thanked her. It was the first time she saw the real her. They soon became friends as Igarashi tries to find out more why she likes this plain if not useless guy. Misaki felt her own feelings are important but they might not be together in the future and wants his assigned wife to understand that he has some good points. Igarashi asked what if she is his assigned wife then. She’ll cry. Ririna and Nejima find out that Igarashi’s grandma is the one who created this notification system. Igarashi isn’t sure about this system of matching people with their love of a lifetime. She wants to know such feelings and Misaki’s feelings shone so brightly she wants to protect her. The talk is interrupted when Yajima is here to stop Igarashi from confusing the kids. The calculations on Nejima’s assigned partner is correct and that’s it. Igarashi ‘agrees’ she shouldn’t have said all this for someone who has no plans to choose Misaki. She will be the sole protector of Misaki. To keep quiet about this, Igarashi has Yajima pay for their bill. Now Nejima and Ririna are even more confused. She wonders if she was wrong in supporting them and if he is going to choose Misaki. Nejima says her being straightforward is one of the things what he likes about her. He takes her hand as they walk along.

Episode 11
Nisaka and his friends head over to his brother’s wedding reception. In the hallway, an event coordinator is searching for couples to be models for a pamphlet. So how does the idea of 2 lovely ladies putting on mock wedding dresses for a photo shoot? Why you asking Misaki for permission, Ririna? She wants to try out. So will you? Nisaka’s brother and his bride enter the hall. Their supervisor plays their life story ever since matching them 4 years ago. This has Nejima wonder if this will happen to him to. It’ll be embarrassing to dig out his love for another girl. Everything in the wedding seems so wonderful so Misaki hopes Ririna would invite her to her wedding when she gets married. After the group photo, Nejima realizes he forgot to take his handphone at the table. There, he sees Misaki overwhelmed by emotions. She is sorry she lied but can’t tell him. He wants to do anything for her. She wants him to say he loves her even if it is a lie. Quickly he takes and kisses her. Ririna happen to walk by and sees this. When they depart for home, Nejima thought it was a careless thing to do and regretted it. He starts thinking he must have been always hurting her when he didn’t need to. Ririna and Nejima’s family head to the hotspring together for a vacation. Ririna tries to act normal but she can’t help think about that kiss. The parents set them up to spend time together and even have them stay in their own private room. This only reminds them of that awkward ‘sex’ scene during the special government programme. Although still technically on a truce, so much has happened since so they just forget about it and start enjoying their stay. When they soak in the outdoor hotspring (separated by a wall of course), they discuss about Igarashi’s words on destined love. Nejima doesn’t understand it but he explains why everything he has done up till now is because of Misaki. She made things fun. It felt like a goddess was directing his fate. That night they can’t sleep as they lie awkwardly facing away from each other. Then Ririna wants to talk. She looks serious. She wants him to choose Misaki over her.

Episode 12
As she explains, her life is one big bore. Nothing but studying and studying until she met him and Misaki. Life has become more fun. She made new friends in her own class. She changed. Their love had the power to change her. Ririna has also researched on a way to get this official assignment dissolved without him getting black marked. Something about keeping up the lie that they’re not compatible and the fastest it would take would be 6 months. But Nejima starts crying and says no. Don’t want what? No to Ririna or Misaki? Yes Nejima, we know you’re in love with Misaki for a long time. Ririna says she loves Misaki’s smile. The smile that looks like she is in love. She wants to protect that smile. Nejima then confesses about that kiss he had with Misaki at the wedding. Just so you know. Good, she’s not bothered. She mentions she would like to fall in love with the next person she is assigned to. So she wants to practice kissing with him. Wait. What?! Whatever. I thought a goodbye kiss was a better reason. Anyway, he kisses her. Once isn’t enough. Another time. And then it descends to a great kissing session. Strange to see 2 sad people making out like that. At this point they’re both confused what love is (cue Haddaway song…) but they decide to ignore it because there is someone more important whom they want to protect.

A week later, today is supposed to be the day Misaki and Ririna attend the bridal shoot. Nejima doesn’t want to go and holes up in his room. Nisaka visits and hears about him being confused over his choice. He finds him pathetic that he is feeling guilty to see either one of them for fear of hurting either one of them. Nisaka tells him it isn’t his problem if someone falls in love with him and gets hurt over it. If they really you, you can make them happy as easy as you can hurt them. This is love. He doesn’t need to be fair. They just want him to acknowledge them. And with that, Nejima suddenly changes his mind and puts on his running shoes. Nisaka remembers Nejima asking him if he had ever lied. At times like these. Misaki and Ririna and getting into the bridal gowns as they talk about the love and lies. Misaki is willing to make the lie the truth just to protect this love. The duo are stiff during the photo shoot. So the cameraman tells them to relax, think of the guy they like. Oops. Even stiffer. And then here comes Nejima. Their face lights up. The moment he says how pretty they both look, Misaki starts crying. Ririna notes she is a bad liar. They also invite him to take a picture with them. Wow. It looks like the most ideal perfect ending if it was real, Nejima flanked by 2 girls he love and marrying them. If only monogamy wasn’t the law…

Nisekoi: Seikatsu Wa Kimi No Uso
Uhm… So did they decide to dissolve the official notification or not? So after a long deliberation in the final episode, they still can’t decide whether to dissolve it or maintain? Can we make it an exception that he marries both of them? Hey, if you can’t choose, choose them both! After all, if their official union is dissolved and they are assigned new partners, assuming they are worst off and they repeat this whole dissolving process again, wouldn’t that take another long time? It would be kingdom come before they get what they want. They’ll be dead! Who knows what algorithms the government used for the matchmaking so Nejima and Misaki may never end up together.

The concept of this sophisticated government level matchmaking seems interesting at first because it potentially sets up love triangles and misunderstandings. You know, the kind of ‘ingredients’ such romantic love comedies and dramas need. However along the way, it starts to get a little boring. Because you see, the entire plot of the series mainly revolves around the main trio who are just confused as f*ck about their own feelings. So they’re like playing the wait and see game to see if there is anything that would change their minds or something. And that is where the drama drags out and the entire series starts to become mundane. Personally if you ask me, had Ririna not been such a cute and technically a nice girl, Nejima would have outright rejected her. Screw whatever punishment he will get because I’m not going to spend the rest of my life with an ugly b*tch. Assuming that she has a not so spectacular personality too. I mean, you have got to admit that Ririna is on the same level of cuteness as Misaki, right? But Misaki has bigger boobs… Whoops! But you get the idea that he has to choose between 2 angels, it is going to be a tough choice, right?

So this system brings up a few questions like for example, what if you are gay or lesbians. I believe Japan is still predominantly a traditional culture so they’re not going to let this western culture seep into it. Too bad Nisaka will never be paired with Nejima, that’s for sure. But what if you’re a minority like gays and lesbians, do you have a say in this too even if straight young people don’t? Also, what if you don’t want to get married and stay single? Or even if you have been assigned but both never get married? Will there be a penalty. Hey, can’t get penalized if you never reject the marriage in the first place. Just keep delaying it till kingdom come. It also brings about the thought of how perfect the system is. We are shown in this anime that the success rate is very high but that doesn’t mean it is 100% perfect. The initial plan for a happy family is good but if the government starts taking control on who you should marry, what’s next? Telling you what kind of job you should have and the way you should live your life? The freedom of the ordinary people is soon being taken away. Therefore sometimes people only put up with this so as to look good in the eyes of the government.

But let’s not stray too far and remain within this Yukari Law system context. By having this system itself, does it show that the government doesn’t trust its people to make their own decisions and hence decide for them? Or is it the people are not smart enough to decide their own future and therefore the government had to step in with this some sort of programme. Either way, it is a good thing that we see many people who have been paired off in this anime to marry happily and give their thanks to the system. But it feels like they’ve been brainwashed… It’s like saying without the system, they would never have met their destined partner, etc. Well, it depends on how you look at it. There is always that question that if they could have met a better person or one that is far worse. And I guess that because of the high success rate of this law, nobody is particularly complaining. That is why they allow this to happen. Wow. The government got something right for once?

The most WTF and mind boggling event for this is the special government programme whereby young kids who are still in high school are being taught about love making. Wait a minute. Are kids too dumb to figure out about sex and go with instincts?! That was my first thought when that episode played out. Of course for plot purposes, it is meant to ‘bring in some excitement’. Too bad no sex scenes ever happened. What about porn? Kids their age in this era would have been experts in using the internet to find out about porn. Therefore the make-out session during the programme doesn’t really make any sense and my Spidey senses are tingling it could be one big scam to film some unsolicited high school porn and sell them to horny gaijin overseas. Or it could be just one big collateral. You know, you made out with me then, now you have to marry me. That sounds more like blackmail…

The main characters aren’t anything special. Like I’ve said, they’re just confused with the entire thing because what your heart wants isn’t necessarily the same as what the government wants you to have. Like Nejima who is just a pretty normal guy with nothing eventful going on his life. They make him have this bizarre fetish of burial grounds so as to give him some sort of character but more than that, there isn’t anything more. Misaki and Ririna are trying to be so considerate by playing the nice girl that they go so far as to hide their feelings. All for the sake of Nejima’s happiness and the other girl. Well, it made Misaki into some sort of walking emotional time bomb. Ririna trying to be some sort of freak interested to watch the ‘illicit’ romance between Nejima and Misaki I feel is somewhat a way to suppress her feelings. Because if Nejima really goes for Misaki then she wouldn’t have to feel so bad that he never loved her before in the first place. I guess if it is a smile that they want to protect and in makes them happy, so be it.

Nisaka was a surprise because I never thought he really liked Nejima on this sort of gay level. There were faint signs but I never gave it much thought. I believe he doesn’t want to lose the status quo of being his friend and staying close to him. When your friend is a straight person and suddenly you confess that you like him as a gay. Super awkward. I mean, Nisaka don’t mind being next to him but how will Nejima react the next time? The guys are always together and knowing the simpleton Nejima is, he is going to freak out and avoid him more than he is nervous to Misaki or Ririna. Hey, at least Nisaka is good looking too. Why does the plain guy like him always get the attraction of hot people?! It’s a good thing Nejima is too dumb and dense to realize this. Arisa might be a very minor character and I feel that she is very much wasted and pretty ‘useless’. I don’t know why they need to introduce her in the first place as the girl who makes friends with Ririna. I guess it’s to tell us that she too has a friend. Isn’t Misaki one? It isn’t like Arisa became her friend before she knew Misaki. Heck, it was after.

Igarashi is being one big mystery because I still don’t get it why she is trying to do it all for Misaki. Heck, I believe she is partially responsible for all this mess and messing with Nejima’s head about that fake notification. Had it not been sent, I believe Nejima won’t be this confused and devastated at first. Like how Nisaka is being gay for Nejima, perhaps Igarashi is being lesbian for Misaki. After all, you can see that she doesn’t like Nejima very much. Yeah, this was all to screw with him but it also ultimately screwed with Misaki. So I don’t really get it why she sent that fake notification assuming if it was really from her. It just made everyone darn confused. Maybe it did some good and maybe it did not but for sure it was one of the weirdest way to mess around.

One of the things that kept ‘bugging’ me throughout the series is the art style. Everything seems simple and plain and for a romantic comedy like this one it is acceptable. However the thing that stands out a lot is how big the characters’ eyes are! I’m not kidding you. Not to say that they are monstrosity big but they are obviously big enough to make you notice that they are. If you thought 12-sai: Chicchana Mune No Tokimeki had big eyes too, but that series covered it up with all the moe and kawaii cuteness. Hence a show which looks like it is technically for kids and it wasn’t that distracting.

However as for this series, it gives the characters this very strange look. Even if Ririna and Misaki are cuties, because of big eye art style, they look cute in the strange sense. Like life-like dolls… Kinda reminds me of that Cyclops girl in Monster Musume No Iru Nichijou. Oh heck. Wait a minute. Doesn’t she look very close to Misaki?! Just take away and eye and you get this… And here is another odd freaky fact I noticed: Doesn’t Misaki look a bit like Kana Hanazawa, the one who voiced the character? Must be the hairstyle… Animated by Lidenfilms who did Yamada-kun And The Seven Witches, Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi To Akashic Records and Terra Formars.

Aside Kana Hanazawa as Misaki, I only recognized Akira Ishida as Nisaka’s dad. I didn’t realize it was Eri Kitamura behind Igarashi’s voice since the last few animes I watched with her in it, she was voicing haughty characters. So this very quiet and mysterious character didn’t really make me think it was he behind it. I also mistakenly thought it was Tetsuya Kakihara behind Nisaka’s voice but it turns out to be Shinnosuke Tachibana (Tomoe of Kamisama Hajimemashita). He other casts are Ryota Ohsaka as Nejima (Marco in Shingeki No Kyojin), Yui Makino as Ririna (Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle series) and Kishiou Taniyama as Yajima (Jean in Shingeki No Kyojin).

Surprisingly, the opening theme, Kanashii Ureshii by Frederic is quite catchy. At least at the beginning. It has this very playful and prankish tune to it when the song starts off. Quite fun. And then as the song progresses, it gets really monotonous and weird. Maybe it was the drum beats in the background which felt like it was banging something else. Somewhat a reflection of what this series feels like? Starting out great and then it went slightly downhill. At least the overall for the ending theme isn’t that bad, Can’t You Say by Roys. The hip hop beat of this song makes it quite likeable. There are also quite a few nice BGMs to listen. My favourite in particular is the ubiquitous Confession which I believe is the main theme song and overplayed several times in every episode. Because of that, I believe there are a few variations and versions of this.

Overall, this series started out interesting and with an interesting concept too. But unless you are a hardcore fan of shoujo manga type of drama and romance, it will soon turn into a drag with the young ones pondering about their love as they stumble along what is truth, what is lies. Yeah, expect lots of blushing moments here as they stare deeply into each other. After all, they have only one future and have to make it right. If not now, then when? Sometimes it feels like love and lies go hand in hand. You keep lying to yourself you love that person or vice versa and at the same time love is so irrational it makes you do and say crazy stupid things. Yeah, love and lies are like accomplices to mess with the humans’ heart. No wonder men always fail to say “I do” at the right part. No, not the part where the minister tells him to take him as his lawfully wedded wife but the part where he should object by speaking now or forever hold your peace! Haha! Sorry, bad marriage joke. Is it love? Is it a lie? Well, it’s just life.

Tsuki Ga Kirei

October 20, 2017

Normal boy meets girl. Normal middle school drama. Normal teen romance. Normal love between youngsters. If you like all that normalcy and can’t take anymore of today’s crazy love stories with bizarre twists, settings and plots, then Tsuki Ga Kirei is that right normal love story for you. Nothing very overly complicated. Nothing that is so overly confusing. Nothing so dramatic that it makes your heart stop. Nothing so emotional or tear jerking that you would finish a box of Kleenex in no time. Nothing that is so controversial and outrageous that would stir up unnecessary feelings throughout and after the end. So normal that it is abnormally normal. Or could it all be just one big yawn fest…

Episode 1
A new start of the school term. Kawagoe City Middle School starts its opening ceremony. Nothing really much. Akane Mizuno notes all her friends are in different classes. Kotarou Azumi visits the library. After school, both their families go out to eat at the same restaurant. Akane and Kotarou see each other and get embarrassed. They try not to make contact. But the awkwardness gets real when they are at the drink bar at the same time. Akane’s sister, Ayane finds out that the boy is her classmate. She tells this to her parents. Before you know it, both parents get acquainted with each other! Super awkward! When both families are done and are leaving, Akane hopes he won’t tell this to anybody. It’s embarrassing. But wearing the track and field club jersey is not for her? In school, the students are divided for their roles to help prepare for the sports festival. Kotarou skips out and visits a bookstore. He sees a book called Schoolgirl by Osamu Dazai, which is about a woman’s inner thoughts in first person. After he buys it, the bookkeeper gives him some record album as well as what it seems to be a swimsuit magazine (on the house) so he could read a variety of stuffs. Kotarou is now forced by the teacher to help out with the preparations. Akane sees this and remembers her friends were asking her to get group contacts for everyone. She sums up her courage to go talk to him (although it startles him at first). Since he doesn’t have his handphone now, she gives him her contacts. She helps him out to ease his workload. Later after Kotarou joins the group, Ayane teases her about talking to her boyfriend in which she strongly denies.

Episode 2
Kotarou has been up all night writing. That’s why he looks somewhat tired in the morning. His dad knows what he is doing because he too was once like that. He tells him to continue doing so since you can only be young once. As the sports festival begins, Akane is the fastest sprinter in one of the early races. It makes her looks cartoonish! Kotarou isn’t so thrilled to be in the 200 metre race. Takumi Hira looks as fast and cartoonish as Akane. What’s more embarrassing for Kotarou being zoomed past by others? He tripped and bruised himself. That’s got to hurt outside and inside. As he tries to see the teacher at the infirmary to get his wound treated, the teacher isn’t in but Chinatsu Nishio is. She knows a bit about him as Akane is her friend. Not sure why she’s feeling ticklish and laughing at lots of things. Heck, she gave him a sloppy treatment. If this was the real world, she would be sued for negligence. No disinfectant and just look at how horrible the way she bandages his bruise! Hira makes a pass at Akane so her friends think they should just date each other. While preparing for the scavenger hunt race, Akane accidentally drops her ‘pressure relief’ doll in one of the baskets. Because of that, her mind is elsewhere and there are a few ill-prepared bloopers like the scavenger hunt had not slips and Akane dropping the baton in the relay race, forcing her team to forfeit top spot to another in the overall points. Her friends have Hira talk to her but I don’t think it would do anything much. At the end of the day, it is Kotarou who returns it to her (he found it while putting things away). It made her so happy that she becomes talkative? As she mentions about her nervousness and how embarrassing it was today for her to mess things up, he tells her she is fine the way she is. Her happiness gives him motivation to continue writing. He starts showing his writing to the bookkeeper for feedback. Meanwhile, teacher Ryouko Sonoda is in a pinch. Her student, Roman Yamashina took her as his scavenger item. His slip said the person he loves. She couldn’t believe it. So that’s why she’s drinking? Even more so when she hears Roman say he actually likes her! Well, this teacher looks so young to be a fellow student…

Episode 3
Kotarou seems to have submitted his writings to a publication but I guess he didn’t make the cut… You can tell he is a bit dejected and furthermore at a time during the exams. Nothing like a little messaging with Akane to help lighten the mood, eh? Once the exams are over, the sports clubs are busy with their trainings for their meets. Kotarou heard Chinatsu talk to her friend that Akane should just date Hira and is sure she wouldn’t turn him down. Akane and Chinatsu are at the track meet. They have decent times. Chinatsu vows to train harder to match Akane. As Kotarou keeps in touch with Akane, he is itching to ask if there is any guy she likes but can’t bring himself to do it. Next day at the track meet, Hira goes up to Akane. He wants to tell her something but something else distracts them and eventually the mood. So while the meet is in full swing, Kotarou prays at the shrine before heading to some traditional drum practice. I guess they’re using tyres so as not to be noisy to others. They look like a weird zombie cult if you ask me… Kotarou can’t help look at his handphone for Akane’s reply. She never did. He even waited there until night fall. What if Akane never shows up? Of course she did as she has returned from her meet. She thought he might be here. So they talk. Sheepishly. And then it’s like they’re talking with puns of moon (tsuki) and love (suki) till it gets serious when Kotarou asks her to go out with him (tsukiatte).

Episode 4
Akane’s answer was “I don’t know”. Because of that, for their school trip, the 2 have this awkwardness between them. The teachers are spot checking their belongings and confiscating those that are prohibited. See how creative some came up to hide them. Like Roman hiding handphones in a snack wrapper. Even the oldest trick of tricking the teacher while pretending to sleep. After they are gone, it’s staying up late to chat. As usual, the girls talk about who they like. They pressure Akane for an answer so she hints there is someone she is interested. They get excited but assume that guy is Hira. Back at Kotarou’s side, its’ so funny to hear Roman and Daichi Ogasawara playing some mobile game together. The funny sounds they make when they’re winning or losing back and forth. It’s hilarious! 4 combo? 5 combo? 16 combo?! WTF?! I guess Kotarou was so engrossed with his messaging with Akane, his friends pull a fast one over him to steal his handphone. Luckily he manages to steal it back and runs out. Unfortunately it was quickly confiscated by the teacher. Not before making an appointment to meet up with Akane tomorrow. So as the next day arrives, Akane seems to be finding it hard to ditch her friends to go meet him. She tries to give excuses but they don’t see the picture. Man, she is running 2 hours late… When they finally wise up and ‘split up, Akane rushes there. Kotarou not around. I guess he didn’t wait. So she waits. After all, she texted him but he never replied. Actually they keep missing each other. Kotarou spots Chinatsu and asks to borrow her handphone. However she doesn’t know Akane’s number and can’t let Chinatsu find out so he gives it back to her. However Chinatsu can tell he wants to call Akane. She observes he was always looking at her. Chinatsu calls Akane and then hands it to Kotarou. Akane doesn’t sound impressed. So they change the place to meet and this time they really meet. You can tell she is mad despite he explained the teacher took his handphone. But why from Chinatsu’s handphone? Aha. Gotcha. I see where this is going… But when she says she wants to talk more with him, that’s supposed to be her reply to his confession? Man, I’m still a baby in trying to figure out a woman’s thoughts.

Episode 5
Kotarou and Akane are secretly dating. Chinatsu sees Kotarou being lectured by his teacher about his poor proficiency test scores. She is probably in the same boat so she asks him if he goes to any good cram schools. Akane must be finding it hard for love advice online. So she asks Ayane for advice. You have to live with the teasing that comes. Ayane promises not to tell their parents. Similarly, Kotarou is looking at online forums for dating tips. I don’t think it helps either. The duo message each other and he is quite happy when she agrees to come with him for the festivals. During lunch, they are supposed to eat with each other at the school’s library. However Akane can’t break free from her friends without suspicions. I guess Kotarou has to eat alone. Just when he thought it is her, it’s actually Chinatsu. And when Akane comes, she sees them together. What’s the meaning of this? Don’t worry. She was just asking about the cram school. After Chinatsu leaves, you can see that pout. So does Akane want to come to the same cram school? Baka! This effects Akane that she has no form in running. Hira picks it up and wonders if she would like to talk about it on her way home. Maybe that guy isn’t interested. Or he’s just hinting very vaguely. “We don’t have much longer to run together”. Although Kotarou and Chinatsu attend different cram schools, they walk the same path home. Some girls confront Akane to ascertain if she is dating Hira because they saw them together one day. No. Phew. What a relief. Kotarou has Akane meet up at the bookstore. So this is their first outing together? I guess when you have no money and don’t want to frequent a place where there is lots of people (who goes to a bookstore these days?), this is your only option. The bookkeeper was kind enough to allow them a few hours or so. As they chat, he says he would like to come to her meets to cheer on her. The timing is right for them to hold hands. But it is interrupted when Akane gets a message from Chinatsu. It says she has a crush on Kotarou! Oh no… Lastly, Akane’s parents are walking home when a noisy car passes by. Then it turns out to be Ayane’s boyfriend who is sending her home! This punk seems quite polite. Mom likes him but dad will not acknowledge him. Until he gives him some plushie doll?!

Episode 6
Kotarou gets a call from the publisher to meet up about the work he submitted. Akane’s parents want to come cheer for her for the next track meet but she doesn’t want them to. Ayane then hints she has a boyfriend. Traitor! While mom looks excited, dad looks worried. It’s that age where he is going to lose his daughters… Great timing or not, Akane gets a message from Kotarou to meet up. It seems he can’t come to cheer on her on that day because it is the same day he is going to meet the publisher. They hope each other for the best. Kotarou lies to his mom he is going to the library when he goes to town to the publisher. Once he meets the guy, he is being instantly told that he has no talent! Albeit in a nice way. Plus, he suggests Kotarou shouldn’t be doing serious literature for his age since it doesn’t make money and should go into light novel. Meanwhile at Akane, she tries to tell Chinatsu she is dating Kotarou. But Chinatsu knows since it was so obvious. Thanks for letting her know? When it is Akane’s turn to race, she can’t focus and her time ended worse than before. So why does Hira have to come lecture her about what’s wrong? Oh, now she’s crying. Too late to change your tone to positive. She’s not saying anything. When Kotarou comes home, mom confronts him and is furious. She heard from dad and doesn’t like he is dabbling in writing. Akane is also depressed since she failed to make the cut. The parents leave it to Ayane to talk to her. So Akane reveals the thing that bothered her: Her best friend confessed she likes the same guy. Instantly Ayane baulks. Too much drama? Her advice is to immediately cut ties with her best friend but she won’t since friends are important to her. Kotarou and Akane later meet and learn how both failed to make the cut. But they won’t give up and will continue doing what they love. Later Akane meets up with Chinatsu to clear things up. Wow. Such nice happy ending because they understand and continue remaining as friends. Just one thing: Chinatsu seeks her permission to confess to Kotarou so she can have proper closure. Looks like they’re not out of the woods yet.

Episode 6.5
WTF?! Why do they need a recap and summary so far?! I see they couldn’t meet that week’s episode deadline. So we have to relive recycled clips of the important moments between Kotarou and Akane again? I know repeating love is important but progression is also more important… Just kidding. Just made that up…

Episode 7
Kotarou and Akane join their big group of friends to the amusement park. The more the merrier? Because of their odd number, Roman always volunteers to take the odd seat to fill up the rides and is often on his own. During the roller coaster, Chinatsu wants to sit next to Kotarou. She even has him try to call her by her first name. Akane doesn’t look impressed. When Kotarou gets a call from Roman as he is in the infirmary for mild heatstroke, Roman can tell he is dating Akane. So obvious. He wants to support them when he reads the group message that Akane is spotted together with Hira. Kotarou returns to the group with everyone supporting Akane and Hira to be a couple. He goes off to find them. He summons his courage to tell Hira that they are dating. Akane agrees. Hira is left in shock. Chinatsu is also there in shock. But with added tears effect. When Hira returns to the group and asks if Akane is in a relationship, everyone is aghast. Really?! For real?! Are you sure?! Because Roman knows, they bug him for answers. Kotarou and Akane do lots of stuff together and are pretty looking like a real couple. When Chinatsu returns to the group, the girls can tell she has been crying and that love triangle. They try to console her. During the fireworks, the mood is great for Kotarou and Akane to kiss. Only to be interrupted by a cheeky little girl pointing out the obvious. Well, they were going to kiss in public! Chinatsu apologizes to Hira for inviting him here. However he isn’t bothered by it. On the train home, Akane receives a ‘teary’ message from Chinatsu that she couldn’t confess. Why you have to go make her feel bad?!

Episode 8
Now the rumour of Kotarou and Akane spreads throughout school. They’re going to be so ‘famous’. Akane’s friends pull her aside to find out more. It’s funny they ask what she likes about him and yet nothing. They promise no more secrets between each other. This means she has to tell them when they first kiss! Though, they can’t envision Kotarou as a guy who would do that. After Akane finishes her practice and meets up with Kotarou at the library, she invites him to come watch his practice his dance for the festival. Now here is another place who knows he has a girlfriend. Akane dresses in her lovely yukata to join Kotarou for the festival. She learns his birthday is already way past. She would want to buy something for his birthday but Kotarou hardly celebrates his birthday with his friends as it usually falls during summer break. Akane’s feet has a little sore from the sandal straps so Kotarou helps put band aid over it. Then she gives him a ‘pressure relief’ doll which is identical to hers as his belated birthday present. I think he might get addicted in pressing it. This time the mood is right and there are no interruptions so the duo share a kiss. Both wrote the same wish at the festival: To be together forever.

Episode 9
Kotarou is still thinking which high school to go to. It is the same for Akane. But Akane’s dad drops news that he might soon be transferring to another place for his work, probably to Chiba. Akane is worried but no cause to press the panic button yet. Kotarou’s mom continues to bug him to stay focus and choose his high school. You can see on Kotarou’s face that he is just not interested and like a blatant protest when he doesn’t answer or just ignore her. Later Kotarou and Akane text each other. Since it will be Akane’s last track meet, he wants to come watch her. She is taken aback and doesn’t want him to come since it will be embarrassing. Little does she know, he secretly came to watch her. When it is her turn, the moment the gun is fired, she runs the fastest and leaves the rest trailing in her dust! OMG! Just reminds me how Usain Bolt did it to his opponents! In fact, not only she reaches the finish line first, she broke her personal best time. Kotarou leaves satisfied and Chinatsu spots him. Now seeing him is like automatic heartbreak, huh? During the break, Akane and Chinatsu start crying that things are soon going to be over. Hira tries not to interrupt while he gets his stuffs but Akane spots him. Awkward. Then he couldn’t help smile since her nose is as red as some reindeer. Later when Hira talks to Akane, he learns that she might be moving away. Thus he invites her and her friends to go to the festival together since it will be their last time doing club activities together. Chinatsu wonders if Hira has not given up yet. He replies he hasn’t even begun. She doesn’t blame him. You can’t change how you feel. Kotarou gets a little encouragement when father talks to him about the school he is supposed to choose. It doesn’t need to be good. As long as he can do whatever he loves. Take it easy. Later Kotarou messages Akane and to her surprise when he says he was there watching her. Now it’s her turn to surprise you. She’s moving to Chiba. This one’s more devastating?

Episode 10
Kotarou was so surprised that he immediately calls her to confirm. Your ears aren’t deceiving you. Akane will be applying for a well known high school in Chiba, Koumei and she can get in via recommendation based on her grades. Kotarou thinks of applying there too via general admission. He is happy to hear she wants to go to the same cram school as him. During the festival, Akane and her friends watch Kotarou do his dance. Although he is in a mask and costume from head to toe and on a float, they could still recognize him. During his break, he wants to meet up with Akane but since she is with her club friends, she wants to it to be a little later. Hira and Akane got ‘punishment’ to throw away the trash. He takes this opportunity to confess he likes her. Want to bet Kotarou is there watching? Of course Akane rejects him since she is already in a relationship. What Hira wants to know is why Kotarou. He knows her better than anyone else. She just considers him as her important friend. He understands and just wanted her to let her know how he felt. When Akane meets up with Kotarou, that guy is obviously acting different. She knows he is mad despite he denies. She thinks it is about her moving away but he hints about a certain guy. It was just really odd for them spending time together like that with that kind of tension before Kotarou returns to continue his shift. Poor Akane, she cried alone on her way home. Later back home, Kotarou must have realized too late how much of a dick he was and regrets it. But even in school they aren’t talking to each other. When Akane spots an application for Koumei, she immediately goes to confront Kotarou. He admits he applied for it. He hasn’t told his parents yet and is sure they will be against it but will try to convince them. He wanted to tell her after he talked to his parents. Akane feels happy as she falls and cries in his arms. They apologize to each other for before. Kotarou didn’t see this coming as Akane kisses him on his lips.

Episode 11
When Kotarou and his mom are talking to his teacher for his high school recommendation, he shocks them by saying he is going to Koumei. Of course back home he gets an earful from mom. How can he claim he thought hard about it when he said he just decided to go there? She believes it is because of a girl since she heard the teacher mentioning a classmate is applying there. The most shocking moment in this series when Kotarou tells his nagging mom to shut up! OMFG!!! So he goes to his room and just lies there… He tells Akane he got into a fight with his parents. She on the other hand is knitting him a scarf. Ayane tries to be practical about their long distance relationship and that they might break up but Akane remains positive they won’t. Rumours of Kotarou applying for Koumei spread all over school again. Akane’s friends tease her they should just get married right now. Kotarou continues to be a study zombie. He goes home every day and study. So much so it is making mom feel bad. He has a little reprieve when Akane asks him out on Christmas. She gives him her hand knitted scarf. It made his day. But I guess the best part is at the end of it when they kiss. Then it’s back to the daily grind. One night, Kotarou’s dad talks to him. He can apply for Koumei but if he fails, he will have to apply for a nearby municipal school. He then tells him how mom went to talk to his teacher again. With his grades, getting into Koumei is impossible but mom fought back and wanted her son to be given a chance since he is trying so hard. I guess it makes him awkward. He goes to talk to mom but sees her making onigiri for him. Only can be filled with mom’s love. Yeah, tastes so good with a mother’s love. The day to take the entrance exam is here as Kotarou leaves early and his parents giving him their blessing. He takes his first step to fulfil his destiny.

Episode 12
The results are in. He is NOT accepted. Well, that was fast. Destiny failed. No laughing matter… Not sure why Ayane seems to bug her sister to give up on him. I hope she isn’t just testing her. Kotarou applies for a municipal school and gets in. Chinatsu is also here and got in. On the way back, she finally confesses to him. As Akane’s friend she didn’t want to hurt her. After she hugs him, she leaves. Chinatsu then messages Akane about her confession. She hopes they can still be friends. After graduation, Kotarou and Akane hang out. All is going well when suddenly Akane’s mood changes. She becomes gloomy. What gives? She tells him about Chinatsu’s confession. Oh. He admits. But the problem that is bugging her is why he did not tell her. Oh sh*t. She was so worried. She starts crying. But then apologizes for causing him trouble, then kisses him, then runs away. Man, this is very confusing! After that she cries so hard like as though she got dumped! No wonder Kotarou is so blank back at his room. The day Akane’s family moves out is here. She leaves her ‘pressure relief’ doll behind. Akane has a teary goodbye with her friends but dad gives her permission to catch the later train. Chinatsu then shows a story that Kotarou posted online. It is a real love story between them. She reads some of the lines at the end and is overcome with emotion. You know, the lines that say how much he loves her and his feelings will never change no matter how far they are apart. Kotarou’s story is popular enough that there are many comments posted. He reads one of them from Akane as she asks what happens next. Not sure if this reminded him or gave him motivation to move his ass to go see off Akane. Too late. Chinatsu already said she is boarding the train. So he starts rushing there? Since when did he become a sprinter?! Actually it is some point where the train passes him. When it does, he screams out how much loves her. Well, let’s hope that is the correct train. In the ending montage, we see them maintaining their long distance relationship until they finally get married and have a beautiful child.

Love, So Beautiful
And there you have it. One of the world’s most normal love stories and the happiest and normal ending too. At first I thought they were going to leave us ‘hanging’ with the finale showing how our main lovers will not be together (at least the distance will be the greatest obstacle in having them spend more time together) but they fast forward and do some time skip to prevent us from speculating our own twisted stories that they may have broken up or be dead (yikes!) and hence coming up with the ultimate ending of them finally becoming a happy family. It might look so normal but if you are living in today’s era, this is like a fairytale dream come true! The best possible ending that all of us would have wanted. It might be boring but hey, they are happy. That is what counts. Making how this whole thing sound like a ‘fairytale’ is that both of them are their first loves. If they grow old and are still together, it would have been a commendable feat and an achievement that not many can achieve in today’s world. So congratulations to Kotarou and Akane. You made it in life! Why do I have to make it sound like a game?

There is nothing much happening as you can see in the overall plot. It is just your basic average love romance drama in young teens. The obstacles they face as seen here aren’t very overall dramatic or that would make your heart sink so low that it would drop out of your body. That’s why I considered Kotarou talking back to his mom to be the most shocking moment ever in this series. Yup, not the love triangle or when Akane had to move. Those help add some drama and effect but they are quickly done over with and without much fanfare. With Chinatsu and Hira holding unrequited love in their hearts, you’d think they won’t give up on them easily but being the very normal anime this has to be, hence nobody holds a grudge and the love triangle ended before it could even start! So if you’re looking for some delicious scandalous drama, you’re not going to find any here. Therefore even if the pacing of this series is reasonable, to some it may be a drag and just boringly normal. It doesn’t hover over a scene too long and moves over.

Despite many side characters in this series especially Kotarou and Akane’s friends and classmates, a big bulk is focused on them. More about them later. But for Kotarou and Akane, their relationship may not be perfect but in today’s standards, it is considered a miracle and a fairytale. They are just very normal kids who happen to be in love with each other. They hesitate and aren’t sure simply because this is their first time in love. So it is given there has to be some anxiety and some worries. But other than that, it is a love relationship perfect and beautiful enough that the paparazzi would fall asleep and go somewhere else.

Apart from their practically normal relationship, so normal that even when it spreads throughout school, it’s like nobody gives a damn (probably they are not hot shots or popular enough to have fan clubs of their own in the eyes of others). So I somewhat observed a bit some of their quirks. Like how when they often message each other, they tend to use very big and elaborate emoji in their text. Not your standard yellow face emoji or those typical and simple ones. But really cute and elaborate ones. Sometimes when Kotarou gets happy, I kept wondering why he likes to do shadow boxing with his light string in the middle of his room. Then I saw that Ali picture on his wall (the only picture he’s got in his room?). He never mentioned anything about his aspirations to be a boxer but I am digressing that if he wasn’t going to be a writer, novelist or anything to do with literature, he’s be a boxer. I know. Unimaginable, right? From time to time, he loves to quote from Dazai on love. I guess that’s part of his source of motivation. And then there’s Akane who keeps pressing that doll each time she is nervous (a habit Kotarou picks up after she introduced him to it). I can’t help but snicker each time looking at her do so because it’s like as though she is doing some voodoo thingy on that doll by pressing it with her fingers. Also, reminds me of that video game logic whereby if you’re losing and you can somewhat hit harder in-game when you press your buttons harder. Funny…

I always find it strange that Chinatsu has this very sunshiny and happy personality. Sometimes it feels unreal because behind that laughter feels like as though she is hiding something. While it is not explicitly mentioned, I think the way she bursts into such laughter is to hide her crush on Kotarou. Well, we know how things turned out. So is it better for her to be in fake smiles (assuming it is) or be true to her feelings and show her depression? I also thought Hira was a bit strange. From the looks of it, his body language gives mixed signals he might or might not be interested in Akane. You see him wanting to be there for her but then he goes off. It’s like he isn’t interested in her or doesn’t know how to approach or deal with the finer parts of soothing a girl’s heart. But to think about it if it was the latter, if I was in his shoes I would probably act and do the same.

Now let’s talk about the other side supporting characters especially their friends. Many of them are not given a lot of prominence in the main story and sometimes it makes them feel like nameless unimportant extras just to show that our main duo have got some friends. Hence at the end in some episodes, we have a few short skits that shows their funny side. It is really interesting and the funniest bits of the series. For example, there is this Sakura girl who thinks she is hell of a beautiful and charming whereas in real life she is just a plain normal loner girl in glasses and braids. She has one heck of an imagination that’s for sure. She’s the kind of girl who thinks everybody wants a piece of her or how she is such a good and heroic person when in reality nobody gives a damn about her and it’s all in her mind. Can you believe that this girl is actually in the same literature club as Kotarou and he didn’t even know she exists until they take a club photo?!

Aside Kotarou and Akane being in a relationship, it seems that a couple of Akane’s friends are already ‘established’ in this dating game with them having their own boyfriends. It is very amusing to see how they interact with each other here. Like Setsuko and Nagahara, the latter always talk and act big like with an air of confidence but at the end of the day he is just broke and Setsuko always have to end up covering for him. No wonder they broke up. For Miu and Inaba, Miu looks like the very sweet girl but can be also very demanding. You must have lots of patience with her as Inaba learns the hard way. When he presses the right buttons, she is all cute and happy. Just the slightest mistake, she’ll click her tongue. Yeah, it makes her look like a selfish b*tch sometimes. Never judge a book by its cover because that is what Ayane’s boyfriend is. But I suppose I can understand why all fathers worry to have their daughters date this kind of guy. Not to worry. At least from this point of view he looks very much like a good guy. Not a couple, but it feels weird for having a few skits on Roman and Ryouko since the latter feels like she is being dragged into his pace.

Sometimes Kotarou and Akane’s friends have the best one liner quips especially when teasing about their relationship. Like for example when Kotarou was adamant to take the test into Koumei, there is a high chance it may not be possible for him to get in based on his grades. So how does Roman respond to that? He’ll make it up with the power of love! Oh, Roman. If only real life was this easy. Roman and Daichi feel like your typical average friends to always tease normal Kotarou. Because like Daichi who is a big chubby guy, he loves to wrestle and lock Kotarou in his arms as part of his teasing. The unsung heroes of the series goes to Kotarou and Akane’s parents for their unwavering support of their child. Like Kotarou’s father who looks easy going but he gives the freedom to his son to do what he wants at his own pace. Don’t force him. Every guy would like to have him as his father. His mom might sound like a nag but she is just like every other mother who is worried about her child’s future. In the end, all they want is the best in them and continue to support them through thick and thin.

In fact, there is an entire special episode dedicated into showing these short skits on these minor characters. Like as though they can’t fit everything into the season so they just compiled the rest into a 15 minute special to be sold with the BDs. Sure, getting us to part with our cash but that’s not the point. Some of the skits include boys and girls can have an entire conversation of one word only and unless you’re part of the group, you won’t understand its context; When Inaba is being popular and chatty among girls, Miu surprisingly takes him away to walk home together. That never happened before. Because she doesn’t want him to be taken away by other girls rather than being truly in love with him; Sakura tries her hands at tarot cards. All bad readings… Better give up; Daichi notices different people cheering differently for other clubs and notes how unpopular his judo club is; Whenever fellow teacher Hidaka talks to Ryouko, she always blushes and goes away (because they’re inadvertently topics relating to marriage and being single). This has him to start deluding that she likes him; Even Sakura starts deluding Hidaka likes her after mishearing his words but eventually dismisses he is her type; Several boys hit on Miu so she agrees to go karaoke with them. Eventually she rips them off by having her treat lots of food and when it’s time to go, she leaves them with her fake social media contacts. Brutal…;

Nagahara sends a cringe video of him rapping his Christmas love to Setsuko. Because they got into an argument later, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned so she forwards that video to everyone! Guess who is the laughing stock now?; Akane’s dad still can’t accept Ayane’s boyfriend. But despite his exterior, he is a good guy and even has plans for their future! You can’t hate this guy!; Kotarou’s mom seems to be taken in with the Korean wave. Though dad dismisses it, late at night he tries to imitate it himself. The same thing when his wife starts fawning over kung fu guys and cute mascots. Yeah, Kotarou must feel weird out to see that like that; After lots of bugging, Setsuko finally gives Nagahara a leftover chocolate from her friend. Nevertheless he is very happy. But this has bigger implications because since he has no money, this feel good thingy has Setsuko forgiving him and will cover it for him; Inaba doesn’t get any chocolates from Miu as she doesn’t see him as a friend. Or a boyfriend. Sad…; Sakura is deluding again about how all the boys in her class will be fighting to give her chocolates. Probably they haven’t given her any yet is because they’re waiting quietly… Keep waiting.

One of the striking things of this series is the visuals. It strikes you as very simple and plain at first. For a normal anime, this kind of art feels fitting as you don’t need all the complicated details. Therefore the art style may sometimes look like simple sketches. This art style kinda reminds me of another anime series that looks similar to this: Hourou Musuko. One of my 2 complaints about the art style for this series is rather the shading or the toning hue of the characters’ side face. There is this one huge strip of whiteness on the side as though their faces didn’t get complete in the colouring. Or they may have put too much face powder and forgot to rub it off. It is very obvious and it feels weird once you noticed it. You can’t take your eyes off it. I know this is part of the simple art style of the series but this is too obvious that I can’t help feel weird overall about it.

The other complaint is the use of CGI. I don’t know if it is today’s trend that CGI must be employed no matter how miniscule it is into every anime. I don’t see a reason why this anime needs to use CGI even if it is for variety. Although not used very often, CGI can mostly be seen when there is a crowd of people. Usually this scene lasts 1 or 2 seconds long. But the animation is glaring. It feels so stiff like as though the characters are those NPCs you see in video games. Totally weird and unnecessary. This anime is animated by Feel who produced Locodol, Dagashi Kashi, Jinsei, Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigattieru series and the Da Capo series.

Something about the voice acting that makes it feel realistic that they sound like real middle school kids than grownups trying to act like them. I don’t know why I kept thinking that the voice behind Akane or even Ayane was Aoi Yuuki. At points they sounded close but definitely there was something off. Akane is voiced by Konomi Kohara (Akane in Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi No Kyoushitsu E) and Ayane by Ryouko Maekawa (Yumine in Mahou No Stella). The rest of the other casts are Shouya Chiba as Kotarou (Kenji Gion in All Out), Rie Murakawa as Chinatsu (Ageha in Kyoukai No Rinne), Atsushi Tamaru as Hira (Shouichi in Seiren). Eishin Fudemura as Roman (Hitoshi in Nanbaka), Makoto Kaneko as Daichi and Nao Touyama as Ryouko (Chitoge in Nisekoi).

Despite having a very minor and cameo role in this anime, Nao Touyama sings the big bulk of the songs in this series. Not only the opening and ending themes but the various insert songs peppered throughout the series as well. Like the ending theme (named exactly after the name of this series) and a lot of the insert songs are slow and lovely ballads. They fit into the romantic atmosphere very well. Even if this is just a normal romance show, the insert songs actually help give off a very powerful emotion in many important scenes of Kotarou and Akane together. So if their dialogue wasn’t enough to help make you feel connected, the insert songs will. The opening theme, Imakoko is hence by far the liveliest of them all. It’s not too shabby at all this anime pop.

Overall, this is a beautiful romance series with great character development and pacing but the normality of many things may put off some looking for something edgier and controversial (Kuzu No Honkai anyone?). However its normality is what made this series a novelty in its own right. Yes, so normal that it actually stands out on its own apart from your other typical fanservice, slapstick comedy and bloody gore animes for the season. Yes, this anime somewhat ‘detoxifies’ all the ‘corruption’ from other series I have watched. It stands as one of those ‘healing’ animes in my books like Aria The Animation, Tamayura and Non Non Biyori. Only difference is that we have the beauty of ‘normal’ romance and falling in love. So give love a chance (like how you should for this series) and everything becomes beautiful. Because, the power of love. It makes up for everything. Normally. Normal is the new beautiful.

Seiren

August 6, 2017

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

Hikari Tsuneki’s Arc

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tooru Miyamae’s Arc

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

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

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

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

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

Kyouko Touno’s Arc

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kuzu No Honkai

July 23, 2017

What do you do when the person whom you have always loved does not love you back? But you are in desperate need of that love too. You need that fantasy to keep moving forward or you’ll wither like flower before your time is up. Well, as sick as it might seem, Kuzu No Honkai ‘suggests’ you date another person as a substitute for that lonely empty heart! Not just any substitute. Example: The person X whom you love who is seeing person Y, and that person Z who has a one-sided crush on person Y also needs to be fulfilled. So what a better way for you and person Z, 2 lonely hearts to nurse each other’s broken heart and unfulfilled dreams and fantasies by making a pact to date and make out with each other until whoever achieves that goal first. Or maybe never. Warning: This series has NTR (netorare – look it up if you’re unfamiliar) and love making scenes…

Episode 1
Hanabi Yasuraoka is in love with her homeroom teacher, Narumi Kanai who is also her childhood friend whom she fondly calls her big brother. But reality has it that Narumi and his fellow teacher, Akane Minagawa very much like each other. Then it gets a little complicated because Hanabi is also in a relationship with fellow classmate, Mugi Awaya. But they’re not actually a real couple. A fake couple who view each other as replacements. Confused? Flashback when Hanabi first enrolled in high school, she is super glad Narumi became her homeroom teacher. She could be with him every day. But that soon changed quickly when she realizes Narumi had feelings for Akane. She hates that middle aged chick. More flashbacks of how close Hanabi and Narumi are during their younger days. Because Hanabi can’t cook, he knew Narumi wanted to quickly get a wife instead of relying on Hanabi’s mom. Hanabi couldn’t be angrier because of all people she had to bump in today, it had to be Akane. Nothing untoward happened as she notices Mugi have the same lifeless eyes as she does. Hanabi and Mugi soon find comfort in each other as they helplessly watch their crushes walk and talk together. Mugi reveals Akane was his tutor in junior high and how lucky he thought he was to learn she became a high school teacher. And then this happened. So back in his place as the hapless rejects bum around, Mugi starts kissing her. He suggests for her to pretend seeing him as Narumi like how he pretends to see her as Akane. Hanabi agrees since if they’re going to do this, might as well do it properly. And hence our first soft porn scene as Mugi slowly undresses her and caresses her female parts while Hanabi tries to focus not to look at Mugi’s face and concentrate he is actually Narumi. She felt good. Too bad an SMS from Narumi put the brakes on this unholy act. What a lousy feeling to read his thank you note. Mugi suggests to make a pact to depend on each other. He assures he won’t fall in love with her because she is not his type. And so is he. Hence the pact that neither would fall in love with the other began. The pact dissolves when one of them manages to make it with the person they really love. Stopping short of sex, they don’t see the problem of relying on the other if they feel lonely. So too bad to the other guys who confessed to Hanabi and got rejected. Oh heck, they’ll get rejected anyway.

Episode 2
As Mugi is about to kiss Hanabi in broad daylight, they are stopped by the screams of this petite girl, Noriko “Moca” Kamomebata. As explained, they are childhood friends from the same apartment. A teacher once saw them like prince and princess so this concept got stuck with Moca. She grew up trying to be a princess and all that is left for the prince to take the bait. And then this happened. By the way, Moca is short for “MOst Cutest Angel” I thought she wanted to be a princess? Anyway, it seems Hanabi also remembers Moca because they went to the same kindergarten. Both hate each other. Still do. Moca accuses her for just putting a nice façade before Mugi. Mugi doesn’t deny Hanabi as a horrible person so this gives her ‘permission’ for her to grab Moca by the collar to put some fear. Moca continues to disrupt their date as they try to ignore her like as though she’s a ghost. Eventually Hanabi has had enough of her being a brat and gets tough. Moca now accuses her of dating Mugi so she can brag to be cool. Despite running away, she vows not to give up. Hanabi realizes she is alone with Narumi in the teacher’s room. It’s her best chance. But then she knows it is Akane playing the piano next door. Look at how mesmerized his face is. Because of that, Hanabi takes out her frustrations singing in a karaoke joint. She sucks. She forces Mugi into a duet. He also sucks. Yeah, now they just feel lousier. So they go back to his place and continue romancing each other in this episode’s fix of soft porn. This time licking each other’s tongue… Damn it lasted so short. I guess Hanabi dating Mugi has some of her classmates thinking she is the master of dating and seeks her advice. It’s one of those complicated love problems. Girl loves childhood friend boy. They go to different schools. He finds new love. She can’t give up on him. But she too has an admirer and dates him. Now she can’t choose either. Yeah, it’s too heavy even for Hanabi’s standards. That is why Hanabi goes to talk to her best (and only) friend Sanae Ebato. She almost choked when Hanabi asks if she has a crush on someone. She gives her earnest opinion. It’s not like she would fall for a person for a particular talent so she would get something out of it. Hanabi feels relieved hearing this and before Sanae knows it, she is invited to stay over at Hanabi’s place. Sanae looks worried. I know this is her first time but what could go wrong between girls, right? Unless you’re talking about them suddenly getting into hot lesbian action!!! How the f*ck did this screw up like this?!

Episode 3
Sanae was troubled by a molester in a crowded train. Hanabi helped chased him away. Then she walked and hold her hand all the way to the exam hall. It was Sanae’s first love. Sanae can’t sleep a wink next to Hanabi on her small bed. She can’t take it anymore and that’s when she started kissing her. Sanae cries as she seeks answers if Hanabi does like Mugi at all. She has a feeling she doesn’t because she has always been watching her. Like a stalker? After Hanabi explains the circumstances, Sanae doesn’t understand why she couldn’t be her replacement then. Screw that. Please continue with lesbian make out. Next day, Hanabi and Moca pass each other. Already a ruined day for the latter. Hanabi tries hard to ignore her as the princess screams not to take her only Mugi from her. It makes Hanabi feel worse because she is just running away. We take a detour to see a bit of Mugi’s flashback. Back in junior high, there was this tomboyish but beautiful girl, Mei Hayakawa. Despite her skinny frame, she has big boobs. Mugi knows because they make out before! She was a lonely girl seeking comfort in him. Because she was dominating over him, he felt scared. Mugi wakes up and is surprised Hanabi has come over to lie next to him. So close that she felt his erected dick. He tells her to touch it. More flashbacks about Mei. When they graduated, she decided not to go to high school. Their relationship was never found out and it ended like that.

Mugi decides not to let Hanabi touch his dick since he might not stop. She doesn’t mind it. You can’t blame her. It’s her first time. She almost broke it! So he guides her how to do a handjob… Seeing how pleased he is, it makes Hanabi think she could touch him easily but not Sanae. Was it because she is a girl? Her conflicted feelings has her crying and then confessing she wants to try fall in love with him. While they eat out, they spot Akane with a man. Hanabi thinks he is her younger brother but his hands are all over her. Next day, Mugi tells her that he remembers that guy as one of the students she used to tutor, Takuya Terauchi. This makes Hanabi agitated because Mugi doesn’t see things the way she does. She was only imagining they had some connection. Mugi is his own person and loves Akane. She might just be looking for someone better, an excuse to get over Narumi and move on. Feeling angry, she confronts Akane about last night. She confirms Takuya is just a friend. This only makes Hanabi suspicious because if there is nothing between them, then why did she signalled her to keep this a secret? Both of them have the same guy whom they don’t want to find out about this. Could it be she has realized Hanabi’s feelings for Narumi? Then what about Mugi’s feelings for her? The bell rings, breaking their conversation. Akane leaves as Hanabi could smell the faint scent of cigarettes on the same dress that she wore from last night.

Episode 4
Akane narrates how she loves the feeling of being wanted. It all started when her best friend’s boyfriend liked her. She didn’t like him but was interested in the attention he was receiving since his girlfriend knew about this. It was then Akane love that feeling of exploiting others. So right now the guy she is seeing, she has lost interest and has set her sights on Narumi. Because she knows that look on Hanabi’s face. She blames her for not realizing she is on this side of the divide. Rather, she didn’t want to notice. That is why she is curious to see when she lets her guard down and has set up for Hanabi and Narumi to come talk to her at the same time at the music room so she could see Hanabi’s painful face when Narumi confesses to her. Narumi narrates he lost his mom a long time ago. As the years passed, he could only remember she had long hair. Just like Akane. Now the time has come for him to get this off his chest. He summons his courage to confess he loves her. Hanabi sees this and runs away. That satisfied look in Akane’s eyes. Just as planned. Hanabi falls into depression. Despite thinking how brave Narumi was, she now has to come to terms that the duo will be together and she would hate seeing that every day. She thought of telling Mugi this but she realizes she only wants to rely on him and not hurt him. He’ll find out himself eventually.

On her way back, Sanae calls out to her. Yeah, she has been following her alright. Hanabi is so hurt that she rushes to hug her. Then they just drop their bags and make out right in public. Luckily nobody around. Then they go home to continue more of their lesbian action. Sanae tries to be considerate. She can stop if she doesn’t want to do this. But Hanabi wants to continue. Because she loves her. Sanae takes this as her concept of love as a friend. She knows she is someone special and can’t say no in fear of losing her. That is why she is going to take whatever she can from her, even if it is her warmth. The lesbianism is getting hotter but Hanabi stops halfway as she tries to fantasize about Narumi but can’t help visualize Sanae’s face. Sanae continues to touch Hanabi in her sensitive places. She doesn’t want her to stop now because it feels good. And then the lesbian sex blows up until Hanabi has her void filled by her. She might feel good now because her conscious (in the form of her younger self) is now trying to make her feel guilty that she took advantage of someone else’s feelings and is no different from Akane. The painful truth is that she already knows it and even more so she is no match for Akane. Next day, Hanabi confronts Akane but it seems the latter knows about the feelings of Narumi and Mugi beforehand. Hanabi is shocked when Akane also knows that Mugi is relying on an accessible classmate to fill the void as replacement for the person he has no chance for. Even more shocking when she admits she loves the feeling of being desired by men even if she doesn’t love them back.

Episode 5
Hanabi narrates how mom cried when father left. Hanabi would have found comfort in being alone had not Narumi came to console her. Thus she can’t understand why for him who offered her a safe space is now abandoning her. Mugi knows about Akane’s ways. When he was still making out with Mei, she showed him Akane’s true colours as they spied on her dating an older man. He cried himself to sleep that night of the shock. But the next day, Akane came to tutor him like normal. It felt like a porn scene because she is doing things to make him conscious like ‘accidentally’ showing her cleavage. So what does Mugi have to do to ease this lousy feeling? He calls Mei and to go have sex at a love hotel! She agrees to it since she is partly responsible for his ‘adolescence’. A hot summer’s day and I wonder if the heat get to our fake lovers because it’s like they’re in heat to make out on the school’s rooftop. They can tell the other slept with somebody else but they don’t care and continue making out. They must be so confused about their loneliness because despite the pain it brings them, they also feel good. Can’t get enough? They return to Mugi’s place for more! Meanwhile Akane is bored. Damn bored! She knew Narumi would be boring but she didn’t expect this honest guy is THIS boring! So to take her anger out, she goes drinking with him and gets a little drunk. She slips as he catches her and accidentally says Hanabi’s name. The sparkle is back in this b*tch’s eyes. Boring no more. So now they’re in a hotel and she can’t believe he is asking permission for this. Then she plays the sympathy card as she mentions how close Narumi is with Hanabi. He probably wants to ease that guilt and quickly kisses her. Got him. Too easy. Back to Mugi and Hanabi, he notices a hickey on her neck and wants to give one too. She agrees but only on a condition he goes all the way. First real sex?! Unfortunately it hurts for her so they give up. Is it because they aren’t really in love with each other that they can’t do it? Hanabi leaves and doesn’t answer his question if they should start dating for real. Back home she feels lonely and hopes she has someone to sleep with. WTF?! Didn’t you just… Brace yourself because the next day is about to get worse. When Hanabi passes by Akane, the latter whispers in her ears that last night she had sex with Narumi. World collapsing in 3… 2… 1…

Episode 6
Hanabi wonders what it’s like to play with other people’s emotions. In that case, she wants to take everybody who loves Akane away and make them hers. She wants the feelings others have for Akane. She doesn’t care if it hurts others or if she’ll go empty inside. Thus Hanabi talks to Mugi and wants to date him for real. Then she tells Sanae about it because as her best friend she doesn’t want to use her anymore. However Sanae wants her to continue using her. She has already prepared herself as she starts kissing her. Hanabi pushes her away but Sanae notes she still won’t let her go. Even at the library, Sanae sits next to her and starts molesting her thigh! Be quiet… And another one in the infirmary. It’s alright if nobody finds out. Sanae says no matter how hurt or corrupted she becomes, she will still accept her. She advises to keep her feelings closed off or she’ll break. It makes Hanabi think if everyone including Akane is sad and lonely. Hanabi meets Takuya in the streets. He tries to hit on her and remembering Sanae’s words she could easily make men fall in love with her, she agrees to accompany him. So they go out together as she asks his relationship with Akane. He knows Akane has got others and he will never get her heart. This makes Hanabi feel disgusted because if that is how he views himself, then he is probably trying to do the same by recruiting her into his groupies. It’s sad and pathetic because all Hanabi wants is to beat Akane.

So Hanabi fakes she longs for love and has him make those eyes that he longs for her. Though she is still sceptical about going further as she is worried about feelings. Takuya doesn’t see any problem. If she feels good, the other emotions will follow. This has her think when she made out with Mugi and imagined Narumi, part of her must be longing for Mugi. The date ends with Hanabi managing to convince Takuya to take their relationship slowly. She learnt a few things from this. That Akane has enough self-respect and self-worth unlike herself who relies on opinions of others for her own self-worth. Thus a simple rejection is all is needed to end and making them feel that way is what love is. Hanabi remembers telling Narumi that relatives told her daddy left because she was born. He assured her this will never happen with them because they will never become romantic. Sanae warns Mugi not to let his guard down as Hanabi is popular with guys. It makes him wonder if she is cheating on him. Next time Mugi makes out with Hanabi, he notices she got better in kissing and wonders if she is now better in hiding it. He likes it that way. Now he has to hear another earful from Moca about the same thing. Hanabi doesn’t want you. It’s okay if he is totally in love with her but it’s not. So why can’t it be her? He then asks if she would like to go out on a date with him. She agrees since it is the first time he asks. She loves him enough to live with that.

Episode 7
Moca remembers she once dated somebody other than Mugi. Too bad she can’t remember his face or name so she doesn’t really consider that as a real date. It was just playing pretend. Hanabi hangs out with Takuya but since this guy is bugging for sex (and admitting sex is all that is on his mind), she gets annoyed. When he receives a call, he decides to leave. So who is this girl he is going out next? The girl who would give him sex! Hanabi becomes depressed thinking she failed to get him to be obsessed all over her. She has fallen so far she can’t tell the difference between love and lust. She is desperate for someone to think she is worth something and at the same time can’t help unrequited love feels empty. Moca goes out with Mugi. I don’t think she can really concentrate on the date since she keeps thinking about the love between them. After a movie and dinner, Mugi notices she hasn’t been looking at him for a while. That’s when they kiss. Next thing they know, they are in Mugi’s place. Lying on his bed, she remembers using her feminine charms to get her way with Mugi during kindergarten. Therefore she knows she isn’t the pure princess she ought to be. She couldn’t care what real love is about now because she isn’t going to throw this chance to make out with Mugi. She doesn’t need him to give her an answer if he loves her as long as she remains cute in his eyes. After saying another round of “I love you”, Mugi goes further to strip her and touch her body. She is scared but allows him. But then he stops. He can’t bring himself to sully her is because of himself. Moca knows he considers her special. All she wants is to live in the same world as him. If she can’t have that, what’s the point of being special. Then she realizes this isn’t helping her at all. Because she can’t throw it away, it’s holding her up. She doesn’t want it anymore. Moca leaves. Now Mugi and Hanabi find company in each other. They note they should have done this a long time.

Episode 8
Sanae meets up with her relative, Atsuya Kirishima. Despite losing contact with each other since young, a recent relative funeral reconnected them again. He had a crush on her and wanted to date her. However she slapped him after he hugged her. He knows she has someone she likes and is a girl. Despite Sanae always confirming she will never have feelings for him, he keeps thinking it is because she doesn’t label him as boy or girl. Just Atsuya. He still thinks he has a chance. Mugi and Hanabi are studying together. Mugi says he will go confess to Akane after this. She decides to jump on this bandwagon too. But right after they’re done studying, they make out with each other. To ease the nervousness? But it’s making them more nervous. So nervous that Mugi can’t finish her. Naturally. After he leaves, Hanabi remembers the previous memories of Narumi she has always treasured. No matter how warped or clumsy, she’ll love as hard as she can since there is nobody else better than him. Mugi successfully asks Akane to meet up. Since he knows he is going to get rejected, his nervousness has her take the lead. Once he calms down, he confesses he likes her. She knows it. He knows she knows it. For some reason, despite his inner heart against it, Mugi starts calling her a liar and such. Is it because he has always known he could never have her? He further calls her a slut and broken narcissist and yet he pushes her down onto the bed, undressing her and ready to make out? He wants to be her first and change her. See if he can say and keep all that after making out with her. Meanwhile Hanabi also meets up with Narumi. She sums up her courage to tell him she liked him. She still likes him and has been in love with him for a long time. She starts breaking down and the moment he hugs her, she cries her heart out. She knows this is the first and last time he will hug her like this. It makes her want to cry more. Even if it is not romantic love, she is happy to know she is important to him. And so her unrequited love has ended and she feels she is ready to move on.

Episode 9
Hanabi waited for Mugi last night but he never showed up. Only a text next morning to apologize. Could it be he really hit it off? She knows he is being tricked but sees visions of Akane telling her how men love to be tricked. Thus to soothe her rejected heart, Hanabi agrees to go on a trip with Sanae. When they arrive at Sanae’s family cabin, they are shocked to see Atsuya around. Lesbian programme ruined? So it gets really awkward between the trio. He is trying to make his advances but Sanae keeps her distance. As she blames him for ruining things, he knows what this trip is all about. Sanae knows Hanabi will never fall for her and thus this trip as their final memories together. She wants to end things cleanly but he doesn’t think she has what it takes. That night, the girls make out. Next morning, Hanabi wakes up early and sees Atsuya in the garden. He asks whom she likes. Since she doesn’t know, he makes it more specific. Be clear about her feelings for Sanae as she is not a replacement. She must decide on this trip. The girls hang out for the rest of the day and when they return, accidentally Hanabi talks how refreshing this trip is after being rejected by Narumi. Sanae hugs her and wants to tell her something. Hanabi knows what it is and won’t let her. Sanae goes ahead anyway to explain what this trip was about. In the end, she just has to let her go. They’ll sleep separately tonight and leave separately tomorrow. So no lesbian sex tonight? Hanabi won’t have it either. So she asks Sanae to be her friend, causing her to get mad and shoot back she doesn’t know how much she loves her. Hanabi will not leave her alone as she wished and wants to know more about her. Sanae realizes both of them have frightened eyes. A passionate lesbian kiss to forget it all. Can they? Next morning, Hanabi already left. Atsuya commends her for doing her best. Sanae realizes Atsuya is also going through like what she did. She decides to trust him a little. Hanabi returns to school. Annoying Moca mocks her she looks like she has been rejected. Hanabi fires back that Moca has ALWAYS been rejected! However Moca is not perturbed. For the umpteenth time proclaiming her love for Mugi is longer and much more, she now feels refreshed after what happened. Hanabi will only understand if she does something for herself. Hanabi thinks that she has thinks she has been standing all alone in this world when she didn’t have the courage to take walk on her own. Meanwhile Mugi continues to make out with Akane. Like a script straight out from porn. Teacher visits home. Parents not in. So? F*ck me, right?!

Episode 10
Mugi knows this is all role playing but he can’t help go with the flow. Don’t want to spoil it when a woman f*cks you, right? Akane narrates as she remembers the first time she lost her virginity to her senior. The more she did it, the more she felt loved. All while enjoying her own worth. She can take all their jealousy and pile them up to play with them on whim. She keeps doing this because that is all she knows about herself. This is all she knows. The only way to keep herself standing. Mugi wants to date her next week but too bad, it’s her date with Narumi. Not satisfied, somewhere privately in school, Mugi ‘assaults’ Akane just to tell her he is mad. She didn’t flinch and instead comments how handsome he is while being mad. Mugi realizes he is just scared and doesn’t want to be hated by the one he loves. He hopes she won’t go for the date but she won’t listen. This makes Mugi wonder if she is lonely because she has no attachment to the affection she gets. She doesn’t turn anyone away nor chase after those who leave. So Akane meets up with Narumi at the aquarium. It’s such a boring date. It makes Akane irritated because how can a guy who slept with her once doesn’t seem to want to do it again? How can they still continue to go on dates and act as if everything is normal? It makes it look as though Akane is pursuing him. She has decided. She is done with him.

At the end of the day when they leave, before Akane could say what she want, here comes Takuya calling her a slut and dating another man. While Takuya’s current girlfriend is scolding him for being no different, Akane feels like punching him and telling him off how he failed her test and thus dumped as her boyfriend. But that would be out of her character. Takuya leaves by warning Narumi to be careful of this slut. Before Narumi can asks, Akane admits that she is a slut who sleeps with anyone. She likes it when men showers he with attention and she can use this to stir jealousy in other women. Since she can’t stop, this is their last date. Goodbye. Akane thought it would be over and would go back romancing high school boys but surprisingly he grabs her hand and hugs her. He even tells her to not to stop. Is he more twisted than she thought? So while making out with Mugi, she keeps wondering it wasn’t that Narumi who couldn’t let go. It was her who couldn’t let go. So they talk about if they like the one they’re seeing to see other people. Of course not. This has Mugi ponder about the reason he made a pact with Hanabi and how he used Moca. It is because he is afraid of changing and clinging on to aspects of his parts he can’t let go. Despite all this, there is a person who still loves him so he has to change. It’s not too late. Apparently for his final attachment, Mugi tries to be assertive with Akane to go out on a date. He is done reading timings and signs. Despite screaming out his pathetic worthless self, he could feel the excitement in this. That’s why he still didn’t realize that she gets caught up easily. At least not yet.

Episode 11
Akane remembers one of the guys she had a fling with couldn’t accept what she was doing. He looked so sad and angry. She isn’t sure of her own feelings either because she feels so disconnected. So now here she is on a trip with Narumi. At the inn, she hints of doing it but he gets embarrassed and excuses himself. What? No wonder Akane’s appalled. She thinks back that she forced him to drink alcohol and thus they’re here now. After Narumi takes a bath, he accidentally steps on his glasses. Blind as a bat, he fumbles his way back to his room. He talks to Akane and trying to compare her beauty but she asks him if he doesn’t mind about her being a slut. What do you mean he is okay with it because she likes it? So being a slut is like a hobby? This throws Akane off as she chides him she wants to know his feelings about this. Since he has to think (seriously) she wants him to hate it! Say what?! And if he doesn’t get upset, she’ll hate him! WTF?! Must be drunk. Anyhow, he still loves her. This makes her confused why despite all that has happened he still loves her. After kissing her forehead, he says he just wants the person eh cares to have a happy life. One thing led to another as they start to make out. Perhaps for the first time, Akane felt genuinely good. But next morning they wake up with a great hangover. I believe it was the alcohol and not the sex… Akane gets another surprise when Narumi proposes to her to marry him. Although she agrees, she knows she is still calculative and needs to ascertain this. So the next date she goes out with Mugi. He knows it will be their first and last. He knows all he thinks he knows about her like how she doesn’t feel comfortable unless she attaches herself to something, the reason she clings to roles is to be freed from her boredom. In that case he hopes that be that. Before he can say what he wants, Akane drops the bombshell that she’s getting married. Stunned, he realizes she wasn’t a sad lonely woman trying to define herself to the world through a man. She has this beautiful look that is now taking a shape of her own. She has changed. There are probably many things he wanted to say but he only congratulated her. After they part, Mugi realizes he loved her as a weak and manipulative woman. He pours his heart out letting her know he will not forget how much he loved her before she changed. All she does is thank him and broken hearted Mugi is left crying in the rain.

Episode 12
By autumn, the school cultural festival is here. Hanabi seems to be living a normal life till Mugi passes before her. It made her remember how Narumi personally came to tell her about his engagement to Akane. She noticed he stopped wearing glasses. She would have preferred him with glasses as this look reminds her of his old self. She accepted his invitation to his wedding and wouldn’t miss it for the world. During the festival, Hanabi visits a class holding a fashion show. One of them is Moca in a wedding dress she designed herself. She looks damn beautiful. It made her think she was alone from the start. Her pact with Mugi was meaningless. So why did they make it in the first place? Why did they meet? During the new school term, a boy classmate seems to be interested in Hanabi. He wanted to confess to her which makes her uneasy and panicky. Before anything could happen, Sanae took her away and tells him hands off her ‘property’. But Hanabi didn’t leave him hanging. She apologizes and thanks him. Sanae has cut her hair short. She feels refreshed with her new start. The class celebrates and congratulates Narumi and Akane’s wedding. Akane gives Hanabi a ‘loser bouquet’ and manages to rile her up one last time by warning her not to let Narumi get stolen. Hanabi and Mugi talk. She wonders if they should make a new contract now that they have both lost their love. However he didn’t want to. Hanabi loves Narumi enough to accept his love so she’s okay now. She is glad to have met Mugi. Hanabi narrates they are looking for real love even if it hurts them. Even so, they will continue to seek it. Although they don’t want to let go and let it end, they have to say goodbye. They don’t need to be saved yet. As they’re looking for real love, they’ll continue to live on. Hanabi and Mugi part ways.

Nisekoi: Love Hurts
Despite the boring melodrama of the final episode, OMG why do I feel so sad???!!! Why do I feel my heart sinking?! Is it because I am sad that Hanabi and Mugi didn’t end up with each other as consolation because deep down inside perhaps that was what I really wanted. It was just sad and depressing that they decided to be together in the end but that would be for the best. For if they had chosen to remain together whether be a real couple or a fake one, it would only remind them of the pain why they resorted to this pact in the first place. Yeah so, although I’m really sad they couldn’t be together, on the bright side they have taken a big step to free themselves from this past love that is chaining them down.

Basically the entire premise of this series revolves around everybody (or at least the characters that are involved) wants to be loved. They want that special attention that satisfies them of being loved. Despite how repulsive some might view it, it is only human nature that we seek such love and comfort and in this case as seen here, they have gone the extra length to fulfil that gap. It doesn’t matter if it is the same gender, blood related or professional status/relationship. Sex ‘transcends’ all that. We do so because we can. For others who aren’t as ‘lucky’ as them (most probably otaku like us watching this), we fall back on porn. Haha! Oops…

Therefore this entire series sometimes feels like an excuse for soft porn. Just that no actual genitals were shown and no real penetration was seen. Whether it is to enhance the dramatic effect or a distraction from the mundane melodrama, this would probably be what this series would be most infamously and controversially be remembered for. It is the reason why we chose to watch it. Unless you ‘accidentally’ stumble onto this anime without checking out the plot first. Yeah, right. Not really sure if the BDs will include more detailed footage… The scenes are suggestive enough to make your horny imagination go wild. Or at least stimulate your libido in a cheesy fashion. This is assuming those watching the series aren’t innocent toddlers anymore. I’m not saying that watching these scenes would want to make you go f*ck immediately but there is a tendency that you may because unlike porn that has unrealistic sex and porn logic, how should I put it, you would find this more ‘relatable’ and ‘down to earth’. Really. I know, many of the sex scenes here feel empty and lack the passionate drive of actual couples making out when there is real love involved. But sex is still sex. Can’t argue with that, can you?

In the name of love, the characters have become tragic characters suitable for Shakespeare’s tragic plays. For the whole dozen episodes they were suffering from one way or another. Hopeless romantics if you should call them. Even their short respite in substitute partners does not really ease their pain and loneliness in the long run. Until they break free from this cycle they can never truly be happy. Thus there is a sense that we can relate to when the characters put up their fake façade and act that everything is seemingly okay. Because for most of us, life is like that too.

Depending on your moral stance, the characters can be the immoral scums to walk the face of the planet or you can sympathize with their cause. For Hanabi and Mugi, they are just seeking solace in each other’s company while yearning to have what they could not. For most of the part, they’re like dead walking zombies and you can see it in their lifeless eyes. Perhaps this unrequited and unattainable that they seek through this substitution was perhaps a blessing in disguise because it made them think and reflect their desires and in the end they somewhat manage to make peace and break free from this cycle of suffering. For Sanae and Moca, it felt like a final passionate one night stand was all it took for them to say their goodbye. Not sure if Sanae would be giving Atsuya a chance now that she has made her closure with Hanabi. But that’s a different story entirely.

I was somewhat predicting Hanabi and Mugi would eventually fall for each other because typical romance drama pattern. After all, they already said goodbye and let go their crushes and seeing that they hit off decently well with each other, why not? There were times when they were together and it looked like it were genuine moments that maybe this could be the spark of their new romance if everything else fails. Alas it was not meant to be and in a way it broke my heart too. It is a good thing that everybody was strong enough to realize the unreachable reality they are facing and move on.

The story seems to shift slowly towards Akane and less of Hanabi in the closing stages. She is perhaps a character who stood out the most. She is a perfect example of what it means for a still water runs deep. Beautiful on the outside, slutty on the inside. It wasn’t surprising to me when she was revealed as to more than meets the eye. Because I anticipated nobody in this anime is squeaky clean. Really. Her actions of sleeping with many men for attention and the thrill of dominance over others make her a character you’ll love to hate. Till you realize that she is most probably in the same boat as Hanabi. She’s in this ‘business’ for so long that she herself doesn’t know why she does what she does. A hobby? A life’s work? So when she broke out of those shackles, it’s like she found a new enlightenment and reborn again. It was like as though she was trying to find the right guy to break her out of this cycle. So who says old sluts can’t change? It was never a competition between her and Hanabi over Narumi. Rather, a realization of what true love had meant to them all the while.

Narumi is an odd person. Among all the characters, he is like an angel compared to them. Again, depending on your moral compass, his acceptance of Akane in sleeping around is very much up to debate. Put yourself in his shoes. Would you want to woman you love that you will spend the rest of your life with to openly sleep around with men? This is assuming if Akane continues her usual ways. On the other hand, Narumi accepting Akane as she is would seem like he is an open minded fellow and in a way it is good because when you love a person, you don’t really see those flaws as flaws. You accept them as a whole for the person they are. Because of those flaws, it makes you, you. Imagine him coming home one day to catch his wife in bed with another man. Just awkward…

In another way, it makes Narumi naïve and don’t really love her. Or he is saying all that because he doesn’t understand the impact or what it means to be a slut. Because in our society, the norm is sex is sacred to the one true love in your life. Your married partner, that is. Screw that. Lots of people are having pre-marital sex at a younger age. Hey, can’t say you have pre-marital sex if you won’t ever get married in the first place, right?! So hopefully Narumi who fell in love with Akane because she has this faint reminiscent about his late mom would continue to grow his genuine love for her.

I read many praise the art of this series because of how it preserves very closely to the art style of the manga. Basically there are quite a few scenes whereby the art style gets sketchy and simple. Like as though it is incomplete. Then there are those ‘special effects’ in which serves more as dramatic visualizations when the characters go into their monologue. Despite all that, the scenes are mostly in bright and vivid colours. Except those sex in the dark scenes of course. So the artwork may not be very obvious at first and looks very conventional Japanese anime but if you observe closer, you might see that little difference. Animated by Lerche who brought to us Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, the Danganronpa series, Unbreakable Machine Doll and Carnival Phantasm.

The voice acting that stands out the most is Aki Toyosaki as Akane. Although still very much recognizable, it is a very different departure from her usual airhead roles like K-ON!’s Yui, Seikon No Qwaser’s Tomo and Noragami’s Kofuku. It is a different of her that you rarely get to hear. There is an air of scheming devilishness behind her voice which makes her character a whole lot creepier as well as the sadness you can feel just by the way she narrates why she loves sleeping around with other men. Also recognizable is Haruka Tomatsu as Sanae. Like Aki Toyosaki, the joker feel in her voice has been casted away for a more serious and dramatic feel. Unlike her other less serious roles like WWW.Working!!’s Miyakoshi or Punch Line’s Rabura, there is more serious emotional impact on this one. Not Magi’s Morgiana since this character doesn’t talk much and has little emotions. Something like ReLIFE’s Kariu if you want to compare.

For the rest of the casts, it is understandably why most of them sound so gloomy for a big part of the series especially the main duo. Even if they do sound lively at times, it feels hollow. Chika Anzai’s Hanabi might as well add to her other list of nearly similar emotionless characters like Hibike! Euphonium’s Reina, Hai To Gensou No Grimgar’s Mary and Qualidea Code’s Asuha. The other casts are Nobunaga Shimazaki as Mugi (titular character in Handa-kun), Kenji Nojima as Narumi (Yuuto in High School DxD), Shiori Izawa as Moca (Pina in Sword Art Online) and Shintarou Asanuma as Atsuya (Tsuda in Seitokai Yakuindomo). The opening theme is rock based, Uso No Hibana by 96Neko. It is the ending theme that somewhat stands out. Heikousen by Sayuri despite a lively rock outfit, I can’t help feel that there is a tinge of sadness to it. It’s possibly because of the lyrics. But it is the singer’s voice that is, well, a bit flat. Especially the opening lines when there is not much music, she’s like singing it aloud in almost one flat one. And then when the music gets heavier, it somewhat shields that part as her singing remains the same.

There is a live action version of this series currently running in Japan. As if we need more soft porn to corrupt our minds. Why not head straight for real porn? Oops! Although I have not seen any episodes of it (don’t intend to. Because. 3D), I believe it wouldn’t be as obviously raunchy as I think it would be otherwise it wouldn’t air over the airwaves in the first place. I guess animes with uncanny sexual content have a higher chance of getting a live adaptation because I remember that chastise belt anime, Saikin Imouto No Yousu Ga Chotto Okashiin Da Ga got a live action film adaptation after the anime. Because sex sells. Sort of.

Overall, this thought provoking (and libido provoking) series is not for everyone as it is controversial. It is one of those series where you need to have an open mind if you to fully appreciate the plot and characters. The soft porn scenes might be a turn off to some but I don’t blame you if you are uncomfortable watching sex scenes even though many of today’s TV shows have ridiculous make out acts. Despite the tragic nature of the series, I still find that the overall story enjoyable. Not because of primarily the sex scenes, mind you. They’re like the okazu ;p… The Beatles might have said and sung All You Need Is Love Better but easier said than done because love is just freaking weird and complicated as seen here. But then again, is it love or lust? This show can be summed up with this saying: It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Well, back to more porn for us lonely singly otaku guys ;p… :-/… :’-(.

Tired of all the high school love drama and romance? So I guess it is time to go back further where love is seemingly more innocent and almost straightforward without all that complicating drama. Well, almost. 12-sai Chicchana Mune No Tokimeki S2 continues from where we left off from the first season about 12 year olds facing the dilemmas and problems about love. I suppose adults and teens don’t give a damn or take it seriously when such young kids fall in love together when they haven’t even yet and some just starting hit puberty. That is, if your 12 year old sister is the one with a boyfriend. See if your father or big brother will be up in arms against it.

Episode 1
The girls are at an age where some are developing breasts. Thus a clear division of those who wear bra and those wearing undershirts. The girls are asking about Yui’s bra size when they heard a commotion outside. Hiyama is trying to get rough with some of the boys trying to eavesdrop on the girls changing. Later Yui thought Hiyama noticed her new hairclip. But when it is just to pick up some dirt on it, she gets disheartened. She didn’t like it. WTF. Because of this, fellow cram school classmate, Inaba Mikami seems to be moving in and hitting on her. His charming and assuring words make her easier to talk to him. Shortly, Yui spots a pimple on her chin and freaks out. Time for Marin sensei to tell how to properly take care of it (thanks to what her sister tells her of course). One of them including not stressing up like giving a big hug. This spreads to other girls so instead of a blatant hug, they want to borrow Hiyama’s jacket to squeeze! WTF. Lucky that guy tells them all to bug off. Yui is embarrassed by her zit that she can’t face Hiyama. He thinks she is down because of other girls asking to borrow his jacket but is relieved it was just her zit. Apparently this doesn’t sit well with her. Because when she got a new hairclip he didn’t notice. Now she got a pimple and he noticed. WTF right? She continues to hide her face but he wants her to talk facing him. As they struggle, she trips and their lips almost touch. Want to bet somebody snapped that juicy bit?

Later Yui talks to her friends that she might have kissed Hiyama. All in good timing, Hiyama calls to invite her to his home. Master Marin thinks he is trying to set up a good mood for a real kiss. And here she is at his home all nervous. She disagrees watching movie or listening to music since Marin said those are the right atmosphere for a kiss. So they play video games instead (Yui won). When she notices his photo album and wants to look at it, he is against it. Oh no. Don’t ruin the mood. So why did he call her to his house then? To give a book on how to take care of pimples that she seemed so concerned about. Disappointed? As she leaves, she is still distraught with everything that has happened that she bumps into Inaba. Naturally that guy tries to take advantage by soothing her heart. Luckily Hiyama was following her and stops him. He proclaims himself as her boyfriend (no, not her little brother), takes her by the hand and they walk away. Hiyama reveals he was against letting her go through the photo album because one of an old school trip photo has her sleeping in a funny face. He bought that photo and wanted to give it to her but forgot all about it. Yui realizes he has been worried about her for a long time. Even if that kiss wasn’t a real one, she still loves him. When they return to school, Eikou and co have put up an article with picture proof that Yui and Hiyama kissed. Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Yeah, they’re so free that they want to spread the news! Eventually this reaches Inaba’s ears and he definitely can’t leave Yui in his hands.

Episode 2
Eikou has spread the news so far as to cram school. Now Inaba makes his move by inviting her out to the mall. When Mikami (there’s another female student in cram school of this name) and her friends call out Yui, Inaba fears they are going to mess her up. Actually they are impressed with her and want to know more. They look up to her for this sort of romance stuff? As they walk home, Yui notices Inaba talking to another girl and wonders if they’re going out. Mikami and co want to know what Yui and Hiyama talk about often so Yui has to call Hiyama? Halfway through, he hangs up! Huh?! And then he is seen rushing from the horizon! He mistakenly thought Yui was ‘surrounded’ by bullies. This is the thing if you don’t let people finish their sentences. Mikami and co decide to give the lovebirds time of their own and let them walk home together. Of course the next day, they’re begging for the juicy details. Nothing much happened. Hope you’re not disappointed. When Inaba asks Yui about the invitation, she reminds him he can’t invite her so easily because he is going out with someone. However he tells her that girl is just a friend. Then he confesses he likes her! Wait. What?! But the other girls also want his opinion and he too says he likes them. Wait. WTF?! Yeah, Yui is just as confused and embarrassed. So Yui talks about this playboy Inaba to Marin but there’s nothing much you can do about it because such jerks think all they need to say is those 3 magical words.

Inaba spots Yui doing walking back after an errand and helps her carry her stuffs. As usual, he speaks in a charismatic and charming way. But halfway through, he sees a girl waiting for him and goes to hear out her confession! Of course he said no and Yui still doesn’t think it is right. But Inaba tells her he says those words to all the girls who like him because isn’t a happy thing to like him? Narcissist? Yui tells him off he needs to respond properly and if he treats everyone the same, no one would want to be with him in the end. In cram school, Yui hears Mikami is called by the teacher for entering a classroom suspiciously alone with a boy. Yui feels it is her fault because she encouraged Mikami to confess. When she enters the room, she hears Inaba voicing his opinion. He tells the teacher off that he can only lecture them if their grades go down after this flirting. Otherwise do a better job teaching! OMG! He has no words in return. Later Yui is amazed at Inaba for talking back to the teacher and he cheekily mentions he was cool enough that she might fall for him. She finds the part of him where kissing comes easily to him to be remarkable. This makes him fluster and note that one should kiss someone they only really like. Yui finds out he was helping out his friend and notes she likes this part of him than his ‘normal’ self. This makes Inaba fluster further. Then his eyes get serious. He won’t hold back now.

Episode 3
Time to take a detour to Hanabi and Takao. What’s this? Their relationship has progressed to a point where they are going to kiss with a romantic sunset scenery? Too good to be true. It’s just a dream and she kissed her stuffed doll. Hanabi also has an older brother and thanks to the series’ art and his laidback forgetful attitude, I thought he was like the most 3 years her senior but this guy is already in college! When Hanabi hears Takao might be in trouble, she runs into class only to find Eikou and co setting up a ‘trap’ to see who will come to Takao’s aid. Takao is pretty cool about it and is glad she would come to his aid. With the class swooning over this, we are then reminded that Kokoa b*tch is still around to try and get her hands on Takao. She hasn’t given up yet because she thinks Takao is dating Hanabi just to make her jealous! Oh dear… For the Parent’s Day, Hanabi plans to introduce Takao to her big brother. But when she consults her other friends, they’re like in shock. Is it taboo or something? But when she says Takao is looking forward to seeing him, they heave a sigh of relief. However they warn her about the embarrassment if a family member knows she has a boyfriend. Yeah, it’s really that big deal. So as she ponders if she should let big brother meet, she then casts aside her doubts and just wants him to look forward to the day. When she tells him about watching a romantic movie that involves kissing him, his comments that she is just child prompts her to think the meeting might not be a good idea. Because you know, they’ve already kissed.

Hanabi’s brother arrives in class and everyone they can tell they are from the same feather with them acting so similarly. He spots the boyfriend-girlfriend quotes from Eikou on the wall. Hanabi is afraid to reveal who those quotes originate from. Sharp Kokoa realizes what is happening and takes advantage of the situation. She sits next to Takao and threatens to tell big brother about their relationship if she doesn’t give in. When Hanabi reads her essay in class about her dearest mother, stupid Eikou had to interrupt and point out isn’t Takao the one she likes. This makes her not only very embarrassed but fearful her brother will find out. Although Takao is the one who tells him to stop, it is Eikou’s mother wrestling for being noisy! I can’t believe all that happened. Shouldn’t the teacher have disciplined Eikou or something? Anyway, at the end, Hanabi can’t bring herself to introduce the guys so Takao goes home first. This prompts big brother to wonder if he really likes her. Hanabi realizes what she needs to do and rushes out to catch him. Takao understands her fears and didn’t want to force her. Despite he can’t meet his brother today, they’ll do so another day. He won’t hate her for it and is really happy she came after him. They make a pinky promise they’ll love each other forever. And to think Hanabi once used to wax lyrical about her big brother and wanting to marry him?!

Episode 4
Time to go back to Yui. She still receives chat messages from Inaba. Even more confusing her, he says he is serious but he is talking casually to other girls. She doesn’t know if she can reject him the next time and because of her gloomy face, Hiyama has to go talk what’s bugging her. But a worse possible time because Inaba is at the school gates. So he is here to tell her he will have her fall in love with him and then he’ll confess again? He knows she is going out with someone now but will still wait till she falls in love with him. As expected, here comes Hiyama. Time for the guys to showdown. Inaba fires first and boldly says he is more suited for Yui. He is more mature than him and can protect her better. That newspaper rumour about them makes Hiyama the worse because his girlfriend might be hurting. Therefore Inaba is different and won’t make her cry. Last warning shot: If he isn’t serious, step aside. All true points and Hiyama can’t fire anything back. Hiyama is out for a few days because of a cold. Yui gets a call from him and she remembers their promise to make him some chicken rolls. But she might have unintentionally hit his nerve because she says she didn’t expect him to call. He fires back. If it wasn’t him, who the f*ck was she expecting then? Right after he hangs up, Inaba messages her. In no time Yui naturally chats with him. In class, Yui and the girls make wish bracelets. After they’re done, Yui and Hiyama tie one for each other. While Hiyama’s wish is to have his allowance increase, Yui wants to be with Hiyama forever. As Yui attends cram school, she suddenly realizes she lost her bracelet. Panic mode. Inaba becomes serious to help her find it and assures this has nothing to do with the confession. It seems Yui dropped it in school and Hiyama spots it and picks it up to deliver it to her. When Hiyama finds her searching at the park, because she will not say what she is doing (in fear he will get mad that she lost the bracelet), Hiyama isn’t too pleased that she isn’t telling him things. It gets worse when Inaba is around. Hiyama loses his cool and quickly gives her missing bracelet. Yui earnestly didn’t want him to worry, that’s why she didn’t say but Hiyama might have crossed the line telling her to stop playing the good girl and to stop deciding how he feels for himself. Worst case scenario: Yui starts crying. The face all guys dread to see their girl. Inaba takes her away and tells off Hiyama: He’ll be taking her. You lost your chance.

Episode 5
Hiyama has always known he loved Yui. Like last year during the class’ kimodameshi, Yui switched with Hanabi to pair with Eikou but that dumb kid left her alone in the dark so Hiyama had to go find her and found her paralyzed by the darkness. Before Yui realizes it, Inaba has taken her to the amusement park to cheer her up. They sit the Ferris Wheel but he didn’t know she is afraid of heights so he tells her he would prefer her to refuse rather than hold it in. This has Yui wonder if this is how Hiyama felt. Because Yui still cannot get her mind off Hiyama, Inaba takes her bracelet and ties it to a balloon to let it fly it away! Forget about him! Apparently Yui still loves Hiyama and goes out of her way to get back that balloon. Man, that lucky kid who got the free balloon can go places. Yui is forced to enter the haunted house. By that time Hiyama has arrived (because Marin sensei told him where such fighting couples would end up – lucky guess?). A bit of a showdown between the guys before Hiyama steels his determination and illegally enters the haunted house to find her. He hugs her when he does so. When they exit, Inaba clearly understands his position. But he reminds them if this is what Yui wants. She’ll get hurt even more. Hiyama admits they might fight and cry more often but he doesn’t want let Yui to worry this all by herself. If that happens, he’ll be the first to be by her side. Yui cries but this time they are tears of joy. When Yui returns to school, she has to bear teasing from her friends they might have kissed in the dark. Worse, other girls heard rumours the duo had break up and they think of trying to hit on Hiyama! Time to take action and strike first. So Yui heads to Hiyama’s home where they can talk but ends up helping him clean the public bath. Hiyama tells her he is working hard so he could save enough to buy a handphone. Then they can talk with each other all they want and when she needs him, a call is enough for him to come to her side. Aww, how romantic. They could have got their first kiss with this right atmosphere had not Hiyama’s grandma interrupt. Almost got caught there. Yui is glad after their fight, they are more like a couple now.

Episode 6
The class will be doing a Cinderella play. Eikou and co wants Takao and Hanabi to play the main characters so they can have a real kiss. However Kokoa disagrees because Hanabi is too short for the role and thus lacks balance. Tsutsumi is made the director because everybody thinks he knows everything. All the girls unanimously agree with a resounding yes to have Takao as the prince. As for Cinderella, Kokoa self-proclaims she is perfect for the role but Tsutsumi disagrees. Instead he wants Yui to helm that role. What about Kokoa? The evil stepmother! Hanabi will be one of the mice. Remember, he is the director so he gets to decide. And I guess the friends are okay with each other taking on those roles. As long as it’s not evil Kokoa, right? As practice begins, Takao is natural while Yui is a little stiff. Oh, Kokoa excels very well in her part… She’s so naturally evil… Hiyama helps Yui rehearse her lines but he is getting most embarrassed doing it. One day when Takao and Yui are practising alone, Hanabi spots them and from afar they look like so close together. She becomes self-conscious because their height makes it compatible for each other. Not to worry because Yui is thoughtful enough to know this is bugging Hanabi so she goes talk to her. This helps alleviates her worries and gives Hanabi the much needed motivation. Yui practised too hard till her voice is a bit sore. Kokoa thought she can swoop this chance to take her role as she too has remembered all the lines. However Hanabi and Hiyama want to continue supporting Yui as Cinderella. And once again Kokoa’s evil plans are foiled… Practice carries on and thankfully Yui heals on the day of the play. We don’t get to see any single shot from it but we know it went well. In the end, Hanabi gets to play a bit of Cinderella as she tests out the glass slippers in the backstage. It gets better with Takao praising her for doing a lot to support Yui and despite she didn’t become a princess in the play, she will always be his precious princess, his Cinderella. He pledges his love to her forever. Aww! How sweet!

Episode 7
Oh, if you think Tsutsumi is going to try his love for Hanabi again, you’d be disappointed. Especially Marin. So freaking disappointed that she thought he wanted tips for his lingering feelings but instead he wants advice for a friend from his old school of his whom he rejected and she still continues to bug him to go out with her! Let’s just say none of the tips Marin gave (courtesy from her sister anyways) is desirable and it makes you think what kind of things her sister does… And it seems this girl Ami still hasn’t given up because she is waiting outside the school gates and trying to get Tsutsumi to go out with her. She tries to draw motivation from Hanabi and Takao that they’re dating so they must also date. WTF?! Then stupid Eikou and co had to spill the beans about Tsutsumi’s love triangle with Hanabi (from last season). He explains and assures he is no longer interested in her. However thanks to Ami having women’s logic, to prove that he doesn’t have feelings for Hanabi anymore, date her! WTF?! Even more so, a double date! So the date goes on well as Ami notices Tsutsumi interacting well with Hanabi. Yes, this is just normal friends in our eyes but you know Ami’s women logic… The ultimate ‘proof’ came when Tsutsumi accidentally drinks from Hanabi’s straw. Because he flusters about it, this makes Ami sad. Then as the ladies are in the toilet, Ami lies that Tsutsumi is gone so that she can take her to a secluded place to give her a piece of her mind! WTF?! She blames Hanabi that Tsutsumi is still in love with her. And if she is gone, he can totally look at her. Girl, WTF?! Of course the guys realize something is wrong when the girls are taking too long and go find them. They see them in a stand offish position. Surprisingly Hanabi lies to cover for Ami saying that she tried to go off on her own and almost got lost, that’s why Ami is crying. Doesn’t make sense… Next day, Ami apologizes to Hanabi for making her do that. Hanabi is okay with it since she understands how she feels. This in turn makes Ami realize why Tsutsumi fell in love with her. Marin finds it odd that Ami has never confessed to Tsutsumi the entire time. She was too shy about it?! But not shy to bug him to go out with her?! Apparently there was a promise Tsutsumi made to her too. A promise not to fall in love with anyone else when he transferred school because the old pals said they looked like the perfect couple. She can’t give up on him. This has Hanabi reflect on her own circumstances. Remember the first time she said about not liking boys? It’s back to haunt her.

Episode 8
Because of that, Hanabi is down thinking that if promises could be broken, could this mean their forever promise won’t be forever if Takao changes his feelings? WTF?! Not another women logic! As suggested by Marin to ascertain Takao’s feelings, Hanabi tries to act and look mature. Like being taller. It won’t last since her ‘shoes’ are made out of toilet paper rolls. WTF. Trying to give him advice make her sound like a grandma. Trying to write a romantic memo only to have Eikou and co trying to read and the best way to destroy the evidence is to eat it. WTF. Finally she sums up her courage to ask him out on a date in which he coolly agrees. The outing is fun, nothing much happens. I wonder if Hanabi is trying for a Princess Leia hairstyle. Anyway they make an appointment for the next date at the park. However as Hanabi waits, he never turns up. Kokoa who heard about the date purposely pops up to rub salt into her wounds that Takao has stood her up and broke his promise. Oh no. Hanabi feeling sad. WHY YOU LISTEN TO HER, DUMMY!!! When she returns home, her brother informs Takao called and his grandma suddenly collapsed and he sent her to the hospital. Hanabi is relieved but since she feels embarrassed to call Takao in front of him, she drops the idea. Next day in school, Eikou and co has spread news that the duo have broken up, courtesy from an exclusive from a certain b*tch. Takao quickly rushes in to dismiss all that. Since they made up, Eikou now changes his story of their miracle reconciliation. Guess which b*tch is the only unhappy one? However Tsutsumi can still see Hanabi troubled. He talks to her if she is fine the way she is. She tries to be tough saying promises aren’t absolute. Is she sure about that? Try saying that by looking in his eyes. Then she reveals what is bugging her especially about the promise that won’t last forever. Then he goes talk to Takao for not doing anything when Hanabi is suffering. Though Takao’s method is to wait patiently till she wants to talk about it, Tsutsumi disagrees with it because as her boyfriend he should worry and think things through together. Otherwise he will take her away. No way, Jose! Takao finds Hanabi. A little talk of assurance that his feelings won’t change and before you know it, they’re back to like they’ve always been. See, nothing complicated.

Episode 9
The class takes a field trip to Tokyo. At first Hiyama is being a bully trying to pull Yui near the edge of Tokyo Skytree. This prompts a granny to note him to not bully his sister! This disappoints Yui but Hiyama quickly replies that she is his girlfriend. Feeling better? They visit the aquarium and somehow Yui got lost! Luckily she is found but not without getting a little scolding from Hiyama. Then the couples enter a jellyfish veil event in which the girls will sit in a veil that looks like a jellyfish (I thought it was penis heads!!!) and the guys have to try to find them in one go. Because Inaba’s school is also on a trip here, this means the old rivalry for Yui is back? Takao goes first and finds easily Hanabi because she is probably the only one with twintails and her nervous trademark has them twitching like hell. Inaba goes next and he too could easily identify which is Yui because of the wish bracelet on her ankle. But being the considerate guy he is, he picks one of his admirers. Phew. Finally it is Hiyama’s turn and he picks Yui. The pairs then take a commemorative photo but why is Yui looking so sad? She observes Hanabi and Takao acting like a real happy couple but they themselves aren’t. Could the kiss be the key? Why you complicate things lah?! That night when everybody has a pillow fight, they suddenly have to go pretend to sleep since the teacher is coming. Yui is hiding under the blanket next to Hiyama and the close proximity means her heart is beating fast as she prepares to kiss him. However he rejects her by getting out of the cover. Oh dear. This breaks her heart as she runs away! How did this get complicated? He chases after a sobbing Yui but they are discovered by a teacher who makes them clean the toilet for breaking the curfew. So they talk things out, Hiyama believes they should take things at their own pace. He doesn’t want Yui to try and kiss him because he is the one who will be doing that. What do you know? Hiyama kisses Yui! Finally! Surprised? Happy?

Episode 10
The class will be doing a singing event. When the teacher calls to select a composer, Kokoa immediately nominates Takao. And since all those girls want to see him in a suit, no objections! Next, the one who will play the piano… Kokoa immediately volunteers herself. So that’s why… However Yui can play the piano. Time for Kokoa to work her devilish magic because she tells her if she really wants to stand out so bad after the Cinderella stint. Hiyama hates girls who stands out… Gulp. WHY YOU LISTEN TO HER?! Apparently there are also alto and soprano groups. Hanabi is distraught she is not in Marin and Yui’s group. Same case for Yuuna as she isn’t with Anzu and Kanon. Because so, Hanabi can’t ask Marin for some love advice as she is worried if big brother would accept Takao as her boyfriend (students are encouraged to bring their guardians to the singing event). Thus Kanon and Anzu helps her out. Yuuna starts to feel the strain in their friendship when her friends prefer talking to Hanabi. This is where evil Kokoa comes in. She warns her about Hanabi’s habit of stealing other people’s things. They should do something to teach her a lesson. In class, Hanabi is stumped why many of the girls aren’t talking to her. Tsutsumi notices this and warns Kokoa of doing such pointless things. Of course Kokoa and her groupies are further planning how to alienate Hanabi but Yuuna wants out. When she returns to her friends, she sees them so close talking with Hanabi like they have been best friends forever, that is when Yuuna screams she hates them. Obviously Hanabi seeks Takao’s advice. Obviously the best way to find out why she hates her is to talk to her directly. Obviously. When Yuuna is missing, Hanabi wants to go look for them but Anzu and Kanon hesitate. They’re fighting, right? Even so, they’re still friends! They find her resting in the infirmary and her hand injured. Apparently Eikou bumped into her that made her drop her friendship memento. As she tried to retrieve it, she slipped and fell. The friends talk it out and reconcile. There, solved. Easy. Hanabi is further motivated when Takao reminds her about their promise of their second kiss. Though, it still makes her embarrassed just thinking about it. New problems crop up with the teacher ‘pressuring’ Yui to take the entrance exam to a better middle school and Hiyama just found out about it. Why the long face? Hanabi’s brother finds a photo of little sister and her boyfriend together with words “Always Forever”. Does this mean…

Episode 11
Hanabi realizes her brother has seen the photo. He tells her straight he is against it. Wait. What?! No chance to explain? So when Hanabi complains to her friends, you bet master Marin is back to give more advice to continue her love. You bet Kokoa is going to screw things up because she confronts Hanabi that their love is not real and they will definitely break up. Nothing lasts forever. That’s only in fairytales. In any case if that happens, Kokoa will give up on Takao. Let’s hope so… Meanwhile Hiyama is also having his own worries. He believes Yui who is now going to take the exam is going further away from him. He is afraid she will leave him. Takao advises him to treasure every second they have even if their love seems like for kiddies in which they are right now. So Hanabi gets her advice from Tsutsumi and Yui from Inaba to get back on track. On the day of the contest, Kokoa talks to Hanabi that she plans to tell her big brother all the bad things about Takao and make him worry so they’ll have to break up. Evil! When Hanabi disagrees, Kokoa pretends she pushed her and her hand injured. Her evil genius acting means everyone is blaming Hanabi for ruining their hard work. Suddenly a voice tells them to stop this crap. It is the class president! First time speaking out! He tells them this is their last performance together and not to ruin it. But what about the pianist? Takao believes they have trained hard enough to sing without any accompaniment! Oh Kokoa, you’re no longer needed!

After the performance, Hanabi looks for her brother but to her dismay Kokoa has already spread lies to him about Takao. She blames her for that unrealistic forever promise that traps him. Hanabi tells her off she isn’t and even if their feelings change, liking someone is a feeling that can’t be stopped no matter how hard you try. She will do her very best to have Takao like her forever! Wow. Drama in the middle of the hall. Kokoa won’t give up and reveals about the kiss. However big brother tells her to shut it or risk revealing her injured hand was fake. Time to back down. But now big brother wants to have a little family talk with Hanabi. He wants her to wait till she is a little older because no matter what kind of person Takao is, he will still worry. I have a feeling this won’t change even when they’re adults… But anyway despite Hanabi wouldn’t want to worry him, even if she gets hurt she will still be glad she fell in love with Takao. Big brother is glad she has matured a lot and gives his permission. Not sure what a little means but Hanabi also has to tell their parents and whenever she goes out on a date. I hope it’s not for stalking purpose. With Eikou bugging this scoop, big brother and Takao now come face to face for the first time. Big brother gets emotional blaming Takao for making Hanabi do all the work to make him accept her boyfriend? Wouldn’t it be more awkward if Takao intervened? With big brother (somewhat) accepting him, he invites him to come over to his place next time. It dawned to me big brother is much shorter that Takao… However the one thing big brother still can’t believe is that the kiss wasn’t a lie. I hope this doesn’t change everything.

Episode 12
More embarrassment for Hanabi because Eikou and co have put up an article about Takao and Hanabi getting married! Well, it isn’t technically a lie since big brother approved of them. So what does that lead to? Marin suggests for the lovebirds to go out on a special Christmas date. Hanabi needs to muster her courage that won’t be necessary since Takao invites her out. It’s less obvious for Hiyama and Yui because he gives her tickets to the amusement park. We see the stark contrast in their Christmas date because Takao and Hanabi are like the happiest couple, shopping together and exchanging gifts. Hiyama and Yui on the other hand are more reserved. It might look like he is a dick wanting her to go to haunted house and riding high rides with him but he promises he will always be there for her. When Hiyama tells Yui to take the exams, this has her wondering if he really cares for her. Doesn’t he want to be by her side? Eikou and co are put a stop in their snooping by Tsutsumi. He tells them about their pathetic state. No girlfriend and bothering real couples. Don’t be a dick. So what they do? They have a manly party together. Technically, not forever alone, right? Meanwhile Inaba is on an outing with his harem. Surprisingly Kokoa joins them since one of the girls is her piano classmate. I suppose she is not nursing a broken heart? A bit of anxiety in Takao and Hanabi’s date too when the atmosphere is almost right to kiss but he backs off. She wonders he has forgotten the promise. Later he explains he didn’t forget about it. He wants their second kiss to be the ideal because the first one wasn’t really it. Hiyama invites Yui to his home for dinner. As they wait in his room, Hiyama mentions he will be lonely without her in middle school. Even if they are separated, he will be by her side and loves her. Yui jumps to give him a big hug and also says she loves him. Mood only to be ruined when mom calls for dinner is ready. Takao and Hanabi are at the brightly lit up Christmas tree. She thanks him for becoming her boyfriend and in turn she loves herself even more. The moment is ideal enough for them to have their second kiss. Nice Christmas tree and nice fireworks. Nothing tops this. Hanabi thought he called her first name but he was referring to the fireworks. If you saw the first season, you’ll get the joke. Hey, at least that didn’t spoil the mood.

Little Kids, Big Love Drama
Well, well. Just like a fairytale, a pretty good ending to the series. Only this kind of 12 year old love might be more realistic and plausible to happen in real life because kids are simpler, more sincere, more innocent and purer than all you grownups. Whether their love changes in time is yet to be seen and another different story. But I am not sure if this would be the end of this series because technically when the next time comes around, they will be a year older! This means they can’t do a series under this 12 year old name anymore, right? Ah, technicalities.

This season feels more like it has a fair share and split between the 2 couples. Instead of Hanabi and Takao taking a big bulk of the limelight, Yui and Hiyama also have their drama and relationship under scrutiny and developed as well. Despite both couples love each other very much, we can see the very contrasting and stark methods and style their behaviour tells us when it comes to handling their relationships. The more cool and outgoing type will be the Hanabi and Takao pair. So cheerful and happy with each other all the time that those forever alone and without any significant other would definitely be sick with their happy-happy sparkling display. On the other hand if you are the shy and reserved type, Yui and Hiyama show us that love can also be demonstrated in a subtle way. My guess is that Hiyama isn’t all that cool as Takao as he is trying to be a real man. I mean, real macho guys don’t display their love outright, right? They might not show it but it is there. It’s real. You just need to read the atmosphere and understand each other a lot more. Both sides have their insecurities. This is after all their first experience in love.

Because of all that, Tsutsumi is now relegated to an observer and a shadow supporter of Hanabi. Like as though he is waiting for that one moment whereby Takao screws up and he will be taking Hanabi for his. I mean, it is not like that guy has totally given up on Hanabi, right? Because feelings can still change in the future, right? So he is like brooding and watching over Hanabi and gives advice whenever the time calls for him to do so. It’s nice to see him have an episode of an ex-classmate who still has a crush on him but that just feels like a side distraction. The same thing I feel for Inaba too. He is like Hanabi’s Tsutsumi but for Yui. Just that this guy is still a playboy and friendlier. Hey, am I seeing some sort of pattern? Takao and Hanabi are a lively couple and Tsutsumi is the brooding one. Hiyama and Yui are the not so cheery one but Inaba is the lively one. Kinda inversed? So now Takao and Hanabi already had their second ideal kiss. What’s next? Oh, no impure thoughts please. They might be starting love at a younger age but when you compare them with today’s kids, I think they are much better off because I can say they have better quality of love. Don’t you agree?

So I thought Marin would surprise us by getting a boyfriend this season but I guess I was thinking too much because that girl’s role is just to be the sensei in giving relationship advice based on what her sister tells her. Speaking of which, her sister must have gone through lots of different experiences of relationships since Marin has an answer to almost every issue. Hanabi’s big brother looks like a nice guy and at first it confused me when he was against Hanabi having a boyfriend. Because I thought didn’t she tell him that he wanted to let them meet although they couldn’t? Was it big brother had an impression that Takao was just her friend and classmate and nothing more? Or maybe Hanabi just told Takao about her intentions about it but not really her big brother then. Well, I’m glad it worked out in the end because we definitely do not need another ‘evil’ character who has malicious intentions to break them up. Yeah, you know who I’m referring to.

So I thought Kokoa was cast aside when she didn’t make much of an appearance or impact in the beginning and middle of the season. But it seems towards the end she comes back with a huge vengeance to remind us all why we should hate this b*tch by playing the most vile and most evil of all characters for a 12 year old. Imagine what kind of girl she would turn out if she faces the same problem once she hits her teens and adult life. It is a good thing that Kokoa’s plans always backfires and in a way it only serves to deepen the relationship between Hanabi and Takao. You can say that despite her role as an evil harbinger of breakups, she might as well be a blessing in disguise for them in this case. Or perhaps you can say Kokoa’s failure is just a simple way of karma getting back at her.

Just like my views on her from last season, I believe that Kokoa is still out to pick on Hanabi and using Takao as an excuse to do some of the awful stuffs onto her. Because she doesn’t seem to be that heartbroken that Takao continues to date Hanabi. It’s like as though the hate is strong in her… And I always can’t believe that Hanabi has to actually believe in what she says. For the umpteenth time. I know it is for drama effect but after knowing her character so well, you would think Hanabi would be wise enough to at least take it with a pinch of salt and trust Takao instead of starting to worry like the end of the world is looming if they break up. Yeah, no wonder she is still a kid in this sense. Which actually makes sense.

Last and not least, do I have a feeling that Eikou and his goons are having more idiotic moments this season? Sure, they are naughty and pain in the ass but it feels like here they have gone up a notch since they constantly do not stop bugging and teasing the lovebirds. The slightest thing, they scream the biggest scoop. That or they still take quotes and words of wisdom from whatever Takao says into their collection. Yeah, life is so boring that they resort to watching the development of their classmates’ love and making fun while they’re at it. Future paparazzo… If Eikou’s mom realizes what he has done all this while, would she have given him his much deserved punishment? The biggest surprise this season was the class president opening his mouth and we hearing his voice the first time. I thought it would be some falsetto because you know, for funny effect and that he has never talked so long. But he sounds rather decent and okay.

AOP who sang the ending theme in the first season now sings the opening theme, Ano Ne Kimi Dake Ni, a lively anime pop piece. The ending theme is Yuuki No Tsubasa by Machico which sounds like a moderate paced anime pop ballad. Just like in last season, they reuse all the variety of weird BGMs that would raise an eyebrow or two like that male chorus and Christmas-like waltz. Just weird. Still weird. Can’t really get over them each time I hear them. Art and drawing style remains pretty much consistent and the same like last season. Cute kids with big bright sparkly eyes. Even with Kokoa in full evil b*tch mode looks more like a cute evil b*tch. Oops… Only Eikou and his groupie still look like they came out from Chibi Maruko Chan…

Overall, this second season and the series as a whole may not appeal to hardcore anime fans and those series that are in the mainstream. It feels like it is targeted for tweens and this series provides some sort of soft cushion and transition if they ever get into the grittier and darker elements of the anime genre. Some decent character development as well as love insecurities and issues to deal with but it will all sort out because the power of love. I mean, where is the fun and ‘controversy’ of seeing pure 12 year olds dating each other? Maybe 20 years ago it could cause some sort of controversy but these days of modern day society it is considered acceptable. Because nowadays kids are more inclined to stuff their face in their Smartphones (noticed how these kids here have none! Hooray!), stalking others on Facebook, trolling everyone on Twitter, posting unsavoury pictures on Instagram, watching and wasting time watching YouTube videos, getting addicted to online mobile games, reading and getting mad at fake news articles and a whole load of other first world problems. Yeah, so busy and no time for true blue love alright.

Apparently there have been ongoing OVA episodes for this series ever since its first OVA back in 2012. In fact, that was the only episode I watched. Because nobody subbed the rest of the episodes (it even had a second season of OVAs) and since I wasn’t really such a fan of elementary level boys and girls falling in love, it fell off my radar as quick as I finished that only episode. Hence it was a big surprise when I found out that it was going to be adapted into a TV series, 12-Sai Chicchana Mune No Tokimeki. I know I said I wasn’t a fan of such demographic for romance but there is this small hidden part in me who wants to go back and see to where such love was pure and innocent. Before hentai and online porn corrupted me forever… Seriously…

Episode 1
This is exactly like the first episode of the OVAs. Only extended with additional scenes. Boys will always be boys. Under Hiyama’s ‘guidance’ the other guys flip up girls’ skirt. Yui Aoi tells him off so he claims he doesn’t want to see hers since she is wearing pants. When the other guys decide to do so the next time she does, Kazuma Hiyama snares at them. A signal like saying, “Stay away from my girl!”? In class, the boys continue their naughty ways by saying out loud the girls’ popularity. Kokoa Hamana is tops. When they are going to read the least popular, Hanabi Ayase tries to stop them. Cool Yuuto Takao takes the paper away. The teacher cannot understand why her class is the only one where boys and girls don’t get along. In her bid to have them so, she will have a recorder test next week. As the sitting is paired with a boy and a girl, this means they are forced to practice with their partner. Kokoa wants to be paired with Takao (he is paired with Hanabi) but the teacher tells her not to be picky. Kokoa then threatens Hanabi not to make a move on Takao. Hanabi promises she won’t since she has no interest in guys. Yui is starting to experience her first period. Hanabi helps her to but tampons at the drugstore. While Hanabi and Takao are practising at the rooftop, they see their teacher kissing another fellow teacher! This shocking scene has Takao follow suit and kiss Hanabi too! This makes her wonder if this kiss is a big deal because to Takao it doesn’t look so.

Yui’s period hurts during PE. The boys start taunting her. Hanabi shoves Eikou for being the biggest jerk, telling him off for being a dick. Okay, she didn’t say that but I’m pretty sure it is along that line. As Yui rests in the infirmary, the boys come in to apologize for being insensitive. Later, Takao tells Hanabi that it was his first kiss too and apologizes it might not be her ideal one. Hanabi realizes he was as nervous as her. Kokoa then ropes in Hanabi and the other girls. They are going to sabotage and mess up the recorder test. It should be easy for her since Hanabi did say she was uninterested in him. The teacher is appalled that the test sounded horrible. Like as though no one practised. Hanabi is in a dilemma to sabotage or not. If she doesn’t, she will be ostracized. But seeing Takao’s cool face, screw Kokoa! Theirs is the best by far and in harmony. It is no surprise that Kokoa confronts her about it. The boys find out about the sabotage and that is when Kokoa throws the blame back to Hanabi saying that she is the mastermind behind it. With crocodile tears, it is easy to see why the boys are almost convinced. But Takao dismisses it all. He knows Hanabi will not do such a thing. With Hanabi hiding behind his back, the boys egg on them to kiss. Here is another shocker for all of you. Takao claims they have already done it! Outside, they know they’ll be teased but Hanabi continues to hug him and confesses she loves him. His feelings are mutual too.

Episode 2
Yui’s bath is broken so when she visits the public bath, she finds out Hiyama’s family runs it. While changing, Hiyama tries to stop his naughty little brother from running about and accidentally stumbles upon her naked body. Hanabi notices that many of the girls are starting to wear bra. Kokoa teases her that Takao will dump her for her childish undershirt. So Hanabi and her friends later go out to buy fitting ones. Yui is surprised that a boy from next class, Mori confesses to her. But he gives her time to think. Her friends couldn’t help eavesdrop on it. Since Hanabi has some ‘experience’, they ask her what it feels like to fall in love. The boys are at it again as they touch the girls’ arm. Yui tells off Hiyama thinking he is behind this again. That guy admits nothing except he asserts he doesn’t like her. This makes Yui reveal that someone confessed to her. Curious now? Whenever Yui visits the public bath, she avoids talking to him at the register. Then she realizes her key is missing and becomes distraught. Hiyama goes out his way to help her find it. She is so relieved when he finally finds it stuck in the drain. Hiyama is radiating with coolness and it makes Yui believe she has fallen in love with him.

Yui goes to see Mori and rejects his confession and adds she has someone else she likes. Strangely, he touches her arm and then leaves quickly. Is that some sort of defeated gesture? Too bad her friends are eavesdropping again as they bug her to reveal her love. The pressure has her spill the beans it is Hiyama. Yui feels awkward passing Mori. But how can Hiyama shield her if he is smaller than her? Better than nothing. The girls are making crepes and supposedly give it to the person they like. Hiyama will not accept from Yui. Wow. They aren’t official and they are already quarrelling like the real deal. Then Hiyama gets into a fight with Mori. After the teacher reprimands them, rumours have it that Hiyama was taking out his frustrating after getting scolded by Yui. Yui believes he isn’t the kind to pick and fight and tries to find out what happened by asking the girls in Mori’s class. They reveal the recent trend of touching girls’ arms is believed to be because the softness is the same as a girl’s breast. Mori has been bragging about Yui’s ‘breast’ ever since and when Hiyama heard about it, he quickly gave him one in the face. Hiyama might not want to tell the truth either to prevent this incident of Yui’s ‘breast’ spreading around. Later Yui sees Hiyama at the bath house to thank him. She hands him a crepe she made for him. Then she confesses she likes him. Before she runs straight home, it is his turn to confess he too likes her. Am I seeing a pattern here?

Episode 3
With Yui and Hiyama acting weird, her friends could guess they must be dating. The awkwardness has them spill the beans and it soon spreads like wildfire that the class has another official couple. Yui would soon learn how popular Hiyama is as there are a few other girls wondering who his girlfriend is. Better not cross paths with those b*tches. It is suggested that they go on a double date since the nervousness would be lesson if they had a friend around. The girls are the ones initiating to ask the guys to go on a date and they agree. So before the duo can jump right in to start dating, Marin Ogura teaches them the finer points. She’s such a pro thanks to her sister. Both sides meet up and have a swell time at the mall. They follow Marin’s to-do list but eventually the only thing they can’t do is kiss. Still too early for that. Hanabi easily holds Takao’s hand. As Yui summons her courage, they realize Eikou and his pals have snapped pictures of them. Knowing they’ll be in for a teasing, they split up and easily lose them because Eikou and co are such dumb asses that they took each other out by bumping into each other. After they reunite, Hanabi realizes she has lost her Panda Rabbit toy that Takao won for her at the crane game. Wow. She’s acting like it’s the end of the world. Don’t panic. Retrace your steps and find it. Eventually they did and Hanabi is such a happy girl again. At the end of the day, why does Hiyama looks like he isn’t happy with the whole thing? Then he quickly ends this double date and takes Yui’s hand to go somewhere. Ah, I suppose he wants to spend time alone with her. And Yui finally gets to hold his hands. Albeit for a short while because you know how embarrassing it feels for young kids to be seen doing so. But it’s better than nothing.

Episode 4
Ayumu Tsutsumi is the new transfer student from Tokyo. Hanabi knows him since kindergarten and has a penchant of acting like an emperor! It is no surprise he bosses her around but with Takao to the rescue, he even warns him of not laying his hands on his girlfriend. Don’t worry. He won’t steal his short flat chest girlfriend. Despite Tsutsumi being popular, he doesn’t intend to be friends with everyone and acts like a lone wolf. Yui feels sorry for him and thinking the need to get to know him better, she gives him a profile to fill out but he ignores it as usual. Because Hanabi doesn’t a profile of Takao, Kokoa takes this chance to become a b*tch and brag she has got his since the first day of class. She shows off photos of him and would exchange it for something she has. Since Hanabi won’t give in to her demands, Kokoa shoves her. Takao catches her. He explains Kokoa’s misconception that he only gave his profile to her because she was special. In fact, he never gave Hanabi one because his likes and dislikes change. He would prefer to tell it to Hanabi in person by his side. Just ask and thou shall know. So cool! A dance test is coming up. Tsutsumi mocks Eikou’s lame moves. They almost fight when Hanabi tries to stop them but accidentally sprains her ankle. Then she goes to talk to Tsutsumi how she just wanted him to make friends since he looked so lonely. When the teacher realizes the CD is missing, Eikou accuses Hanabi of stealing it. Of course it’s not her. When it was the previous teacher who had forgotten the CD, Eikou brushes this incident off but Tsutsumi forces him to apologize to Hanabi. Tsutsumi’s dance moves are so cool! Everyone loves him but oddly he can only think of Hanabi. And that strange feeling in his heart? We know what it is. When Hanabi accidentally trips, Tsutsumi thought he could catch her. I don’t know where Takao came from but he was fast enough to catch her. Am I seeing some sort of pattern? But Tsutsumi does not seem happy at this sight.

Episode 5
When Hanabi enters class, everyone starts interrogating her for answers for being a two-timer. Eikou picked up Tsutsumi’s profile in which it states Hanabi is the person he loves. Takao pretends to be mad so Hanabi had to assure he is the only guy in the world she loves. With Tsutsumi claiming somebody else wrote it on his profile as prank, the commotion quickly dies down. Hanabi seeks Tsutsumi’s advice to get a present for Takao. Thing is, Takao’s birthday has passed! That’s why she thought of making it up with a date this Sunday and giving him a belated present. I’m sure Marin the pro has lots of tips but Tsutsumi brushes them off because they’re expensive. He offers to accompany her to pick a present. I suppose it is part of Tsutsumi’s plan to sabotage the present. Despite Hanabi reminding him to remind her of the time so she could meet Takao (she doesn’t have a watch), Tsutsumi doesn’t tell her when the time comes and instead hangs out with her at the fast food joint. This is why Takao is stumped when Hanabi didn’t show up. And then he spots Hanabi with Tsutsumi. Panic time. At least for Takao’s level. Frantic search. Seeing Hanabi smile so happily makes Tsutsumi regret and ponder if he had only been nicer and held her hand earlier, she would have been his. When Hanabi wants to leave, he grabs her arm. When they see Takao spotting them, Tsutsumi takes her hand and run! He tries to confess but Takao has caught up. Confused Hanabi still believes in Tsutsumi that he didn’t do anything wrong despite he claims he knew she was late and wanted to make her miss her appointment. Takao takes her away and she thinks he is mad at her. Well, he is for secretly being with Tsutsumi. But he forgives her knowing that she has been thinking about him the entire time and forgot her own birthday. So it’s today? He gives her a necklace present and a magic hug that whooshes away all the fears and doubts. It’s nice to be young and in love.

Episode 6
Eikou and co must be having a field day teasing Hanabi. She laments she didn’t get to buy Takao a present. Tsutsumi is still sulking and tells everyone just to shut up. One of the female classmates plan on confessing to her crush. Here comes Marin the pro. When she suggests creating an event to confess and that the upcoming marathon would be perfect (she can use the excuse of serving him drinks after the race), I don’t know how the responsibility ends up having Hanabi to set it up. She confides in Takao about it and Tsutsumi looks even more agitated. Then Takao confronts him and just warns him if he likes her, don’t hurt her. During the race, Tsutsumi didn’t come back and it can be assumed he got lost (since he was newly transferred). So Hanabi goes out her way to find him. Seeing her radiant smile again, that’s when he confesses he likes her. He wants her to dump Takao and give him a chance. It is natural when Hanabi returns, she is acting strange and her friends can tell. It is no surprise when Yui talks to her privately, she can tell Tsutsumi has confessed his feelings to her. Well, everyone seems to know Tsutsumi has a crush on Hanabi. Except Hanabi. Realizing it took him a lot of courage to confess, Hanabi needs to reply him. But what should she say? Before she could think up an answer, things are heating up between Takao and Tsutsumi. They are challenging each other in the next marathon for Hanabi. Takao explains he accepts Tsutsumi’s challenge otherwise he will not give up. Don’t worry. We trust that he will win, right? So I guess the other girls are also rooting for Hanabi since their confession failed (because the guy friend zoned her). This has Marin to suggest giving Takao a kiss as reward if he wins.

You can bet Kokoa is taking advantage of this as she goes to conspire with sulking Tsutsumi to help him out. Otherwise would he like to see Hanabi giving his rival a kiss? During the race, Takao leads and is predicted to win. Halfway, he stumbles upon Kokoa who claims she cannot move because her stomach is really painful. He stops to help her while Tsutsumi thinks he is not taking this match seriously and continues running. Hence it is a shock when the girls see Tsutsumi reaching first. Seeing Hanabi is worried about Takao and wants to go look for him, Tsutsumi takes her to where he is. Hanabi misinterprets Kokoa’s pain as her period so this made b*tch girl refute all that and she was just faking it. She then accuses Tsutsumi of wasting this chance to steal Hanabi when he reveals he hasn’t crossed the line yet. That is when Hanabi slaps her! It’s a big deal for this show! As Tsutsumi has already told his feelings, she won’t allow her to insult her friend. Kokoa thought Takao’s help meant he dumped Hanabi but he replies that this was what Hanabi would have wanted. He will definitely help those in need no matter who that person is. Since the rest isn’t over, the guys resume and Takao crosses the finish line first. Then Hanabi thanks Tsutsumi for confessing. Although she likes him but it is on a completely different context to Takao. She hopes he understands. From what I understand, he isn’t giving up on a long shot yet. When Takao teases Hanabi about his reward, she flusters but is ready to give him a kiss. He starts laughing at how cute she was doing that. Though a kiss isn’t the reward he is seeking for, he’ll have it another time.

Episode 7
Yui is surprised but happy that Hiyama asks her to walk home with him from school. So Marin thought Yui was going to give Hiyama a kiss after that but of course that’s still a step far away. This has Hanabi wondering if she should ask Takao the same but Kokoa is here to pour cold water on her hopes. After mocking her childish taste, Kokoa even wonders what is it that Takao likes in Hanabi. This causes Hanabi to scratch her head on what Takao likes about her. Hiyama remembers it has been a year ago when he caught Yui crying after seeing a picture of her own drawing of her mom. Eikou and co as usual were doing a class poll about the most popular girl (Kokoa of course) and mentioned Sakura as he least popular one. This really made her cry! Seeing this, Hiyama talked to Marin for advice. She revealed that Yui’s mom passed away. Hiyama continued to observe his classmates. Takao accidentally read Hanabi’s notebook that she liked macho men (though she clarifies it was from some spy movie). Eikou plays baseball in class during cleaning and accidentally hits Yui. She didn’t cry and after reprimanding them, she laughed happily with her friends. So why is Hiyama unhappy? He screwed things up by telling her he doesn’t want her to smile like that. Huh?! At the playground he apologizes to her but still somehow ends up arguing with her. Not until he almost tripped on his shoelace and they laughed it off. Though he told her to laugh at happy things, subsequently they continued to argue a lot. Hanabi manages to ask Takao what he likes about her. He says she looks like a puppy! Does this mean her status is just a pet? But which boyfriend would give his pet a necklace as present? Ah yes, the answer that dispels all doubts. After reassuring their love, they spot Hiyama coming by and hide. Seems Yui had been waiting for him and fell asleep. He waits by her side till she wakes up in which she thinks he has drawn some funny stuffs on her face. He wouldn’t do such a thing. Because her face is already funny enough! Was that an insult? But Yui is happy to know Hiyama is trying his best. Despite running his mouth at times, he is actually a kind person.

Episode 8
Yui ponders over Hiyama’s mom calling him by his first name. Well, duh! She would love to call each other by their first names. So we’re going to have Marin sensei guide our clueless girls in love and give them tips how to call their loved ones so. Like Hanabi she thought of calling herself via third person but Takao continues to call her by her surname. Yui’s is simpler. She doesn’t have the courage. When all the girls bug Hiyama for his handphone number, he tells them off he will never give it out. Yui thought she was included in the pack but later on Hiyama personally gives it to her and only her. Because she is special. Aww… So the first time she texts him it felt nervous but it was great. Hanabi ponders over using an imaginary boy to make Takao jealous but he overheard it and she fears this might lead to some weird love triangle. But even after all is clarified, he still calls her by her surname. So she challenges him to a duel who can read and write more book comments, the winner will have the loser do something. Of course Hanabi lost but could have won had she read lighter books. His wish is to grant her what she wants. She realizes making him call her first name is impossible and settles for just walking home with her. She gets happy when he whispers her name in her ear. Turns out to be the fireworks (hanabi) festival he is talking about. Darn. Too good to be true. Yui sends a personal text to Hiyama but she never got a reply the entire night. Yeah, she was literally sleepless… Next day when she confronts Hiyama about it, he tells her his parents came back and need to give the handphone back. You know what? She blows her top saying he should have told her that sooner! Like a true fine woman she’ll grow up to be, she hates him and ignores talking to him! Fine woman indeed… Then she comes to her senses this can’t go on and apologizes to him. At this time he has gotten the handphone back and she is embarrassed he has just read her feelings. She thought he was looking down on her feelings but he says he isn’t used to using mails to express his love. It will be better if they just call and talk to each other. He manages to call her first name. But one time offer only? He can’t say it again despite her pestering. But it made her love her name even more.

Episode 9
Yui excels in maths and piano that it sometimes makes Hanabi feeling a little jealous… But it is a good thing her honest nature has her point this out to Takao and it is already a good step forward knowing such feelings. Unfortunately she accidentally slips and surprisingly Takao who was so damn close to her didn’t catch her this time! Ultimately she sprains her ankles. But Eikou thinks she is covering up her period. The incessant taunting has Yui put her foot down that is not true. Because Hanabi hasn’t had her first period yet! Whoops! Everybody heard that… So of course Yui tries to apologize but Hanabi still feels hurt since she said it in front of Takao too. A little argument and then the inevitable. Their relationship strains. The duo avoid each other so obvious that their boyfriends even notice. But they are wise not to get involved between a fight with their girlfriends. Let them settle it themselves. However, remember what Takao said about the need to help others? Yeah, so I guess he can’t leave this saga alone. With Hiyama talking to Yui, Takao also talks to Hanabi about how close the duo are. They were always together, smiling and doing things together. This gives Hanabi the resolve to reconcile as she remembers how Yui became her first friend in school when nobody did. Yui even protected her from dumb boys who teased and even dared to hit a girl! Hanabi sees Yui being confronted by bullies at the riverbed. They are from the same piano class as her. They claim she stopped piano classes because she fell out with them contrary to what she told others that she wanted to concentrate on her studies. Yui then reveals she quit not because of that but more of because she ran away. The bullies continue to mock her. It is Hanabi’s turn to stand up and tell them off. When Takao comes by, his handsomeness has those bullies retreating! What the heck is the deal of such girls backing off after seeing hot guys?! The duo reconcile, own up their shortcomings and continue being best friends forever. Please, no yuri thoughts when they start hugging and say I love you to each other.

Episode 10
Today is Tanabata. In a bid to make the boys and girls get along, the teacher has Takao and Hiyama in charge of tonight’s star observation since Takao is a hit with ladies and all the boys trust Hiyama. Hanabi and Yui feel embarrassed if they are to write their love wish and hang it up. So Marin tells the girls of a useful Tanabata ‘spell’. They need to take a picture of themselves with the guy they like. If the guy finds out, the spell is worthless. This means the guy will be relegated as a background thingy. Kokoa hears this and hatches her plan. After using her charm to borrow Eikou’s camera, she proclaims herself as in charge of this plan. Due to the limited number of films, she selects girls to be taken photos with. Of course this is part of her plan to single out Hanabi as she cries crocodile tears Hanabi has already had enough and just this once she would like to be happy. Gullible Yui agrees although we can tell she doesn’t like this one bit. The plan goes smoothly for the other girls. When it is Kokoa’s turn, Hanabi on pretence lures Takao to talk to him. As she leaves, Kokoa comes out to hug his hand and hurries for her photo to be taken. That is when Hanabi won’t take this sh*t anymore and blocks the shot! Wow. She really covered the entire of Kokoa’s portion. So Takao seeks an explanation. But he didn’t get mad although he hints that they’ll be together for the rest of the day and night so isn’t that more than enough? Kokoa confronts Hanabi later. With 1 more film left, it becomes a tussle between Kokoa, Yui (didn’t have her shot yet) and Eikou (wants his camera back). But they trip and the last shot is taken under Yui’s skirt! Hiyama is so fast to snatch the photo and gives it to Yui. And nobody saw the picture! At night at the rooftop, we see various wishes from decent ones (Hiyama wishing for his grandma’s health, Yui wishing to become a better pianist), simple ones (Hanabi wants fried chicken), ‘amazing’ ones (world conquest!) and desperate ones (a certain somebody wants a certain guy to wake up and be her wife!). Well, we all know Kokoa is being disappointed since things didn’t go her way. While watching the stars, Hanabi thought she spotted a UFO but it’s actually a satellite. I thought it was a shooting star?! Hiyama steals previous secret pictures that contain Yui and Hanabi and gives it to them. I guess the ‘spell’ is still valid then? While Hanabi forgot her dream, Yui had an embarrassing dream of Hiyama and can’t tell others.

Episode 11
Earth to Hanabi. You can stop dreaming about your beach romance with Takao. An unromantic scene for Yui too when she is staring at Hiyama’s awesome football skills only to have the ball hit right on her head. So to make things up, he invites her to the pool in which his cheeky mom gave so he could enjoy with his girlfriend. Since there are 4 tickets, I guess they have to invite Hanabi and Takao too. So the first order of the day is to get appropriate swimsuits and this is where Marin sensei comes in. She’ll have the perfect swimsuits to suit your insecure needs. It isn’t anything risqué but Hiyama isn’t as cool as Takao commenting on Yui’s swimsuit. So much so he wraps his towel around her like a mummy! The double pool date could have been wonderful had not Eikou and pals are here to ruin the fun. Because of Yui and co being conscious, this sets up accidental close proximity for the naughty trio to watch and tease. At this rate they won’t enjoy the outing. Thus when Eikou suggests Hiyama a volleyball challenge, he accepts with a condition that if he wins, they will have to leave. It seems hardly fair with Hiyama against 2 of them. Even more puzzling is how the rest wonder why Hiyama is playing with them in the first place. Eventually Hiyama wins and the shocked trio must keep their word. Takao then confronts Hiyama about his doing and lectures him about leaving his girl alone on a date. This should be perfect lesson because a couple of creeps are trying to hit on Yui! Can’t they tell she is underage?! Then here comes Hiyama protecting her and proclaiming to be her boyfriend (at first the creeps thought he was her brother) and that was enough for them to go away. Once Hiyama’s intention is made clear, they restart their pool date and have fun for the rest of the day. Hiyama apologizes for leaving Yui alone but she is happy he protected her. Back in school, Hanabi is distraught that she forgot to put sunscreen and now she is tanned. Don’t fret. Takao invites her to the fireworks festival.

Episode 12
Although Takao and Hanabi are set for the fireworks festival, it won’t be a double date this time. On that day itself, Hiyama will be helping his family clean the bath house. Eikou and co are trying to rile up Hanabi so they can know when and where the couple will be dating. This means each time Hanabi wants to get close to Takao, the 3 Stooges will always be there waiting to hear the juicy details. Hanabi gets an idea after watching her friends. Using a recorder, she relays a private message to Takao so they can make meeting arrangements at the festivals. While the duo meet up, Yui goes to the bath house to help out Hiyama. She meets his mom first and the latter is so ecstatic to meet her that she hugs her. It’s like she is already her daughter-in-law, eh? Takao and Hanabi’s outing stumbles into an obstacle. Kokoa is there and she is trying to get close with Takao. When she wants to watch the fireworks with them, Takao declines. B*tch girl tries to force Hanabi to let them but since she won’t, Kokoa resorts to calling the rest of her classmates (including the 3 Stooges) to gather. Now they can all watch the fireworks together! B*tch. We can see Kokoa bragging her yukata while Hanabi’s is almost in shambles. Buy you think Takao cares? When it is time for the fireworks, Takao makes a smart move that he is going to go get something he forgot. Because he hints that Kokoa has been following him ever since, she is forced to stay put with the rest in order to avoid having the rest get a wrong idea about them. Wait. I thought it was what she wanted? With Hanabi following him, they leave the rest of their classmates and head to a secluded spot to watch the fireworks all by themselves. Takao returns the recorder and she accidentally plays it in which Takao records he wants to watch the fireworks again with her next year. She is so happy to hear it that she keeps replaying it. Meanwhile Hiyama and Yui also watch the fireworks from the bath house. It’s small but being together makes it all meaningful. When she leaves, we notice another boy staring at her.

Never Too Young For Love
A seemingly ‘cliff-hanger’ at the end?! Don’t fret. There is more to come when the next season arrives (which is in the midst of airing right now). Uh huh. It feels like the love escapades of these 12 year olds are in abundance so much so that they need another season for it. If Hanabi and Takao can have their own love triangle, why the heck not for Yui and Hiyama? That would be fair, right? Something tells me that this is to satiate Hiyama x Yui fans. But I suppose we have to wait for the next season to find out more.

Plot wise, it is pretty much what you would expect to see when 12 year olds date. Though, I am not sure in Japan if that age is legally safe for young kids to be out by themselves dating. It seems pretty normal seeing them building their relationship. Normal date in the mall, normal date at the pool and normal date at the fireworks festival. Nothing scandalous. And it felt like the biggest ‘threat’ was the love triangle that ended as fast as it came. What proceeds in the remaining episodes felt like normal generic relationship building scenes as mentioned. Oh yeah, not forgetting Hanabi’s slap on Kokoa’s face. I know people don’t pay much attention to kids’ fighting but it feels like a big deal to have a b*tch slap in this series itself.

I’m sure the series also tries to tackle the subtle issues like bullying and girls during this tender age facing their first period and the discrimination and stigma that comes along with it but nothing that is too serious because eventually despite all the taunting and mocking, even the naughtiest boys will be made to apologize and repent on their actions. Somewhat a bit unrealistic because in real life we all know how things don’t usually go over so smoothly. Especially when bullying can last very long and a very painful scarring effect on the rest of the victim’s life. It’s like those factors were completely taken out as the kids here go about living their normal everyday life without such long lasting percussions. I’m not saying I know these stuffs or am an expert but I can tell that real life is not as straightforward and rosy as painted here.

The characters aren’t as unique as one would hope for. After all, they are all only 12 year olds so how bad do you really want them to be? I mean, wouldn’t it sound terrible if the kids here were given tragic backgrounds? Wouldn’t you like to see brooding 12 year old boys with a dark past? In that case, wrong anime. Therefore if you are looking for unique characters that would really stand out, look elsewhere. They feel as generic as they are in real life. I mean, in every class for kids their age, you would find one or more of such generic tropes (or all of them). Be it the popular kid, the b*tch, the naughty ones, the cheeky ones, the big bully, the loner and perhaps the nerd and least popular kid. But sometimes I can’t help feel that all this feels a little unrealistic. Like an elementary version of teen romance. Despite an adult writing this romance story and I am very sure all adults have gone through their phase as a kid, hence the ‘experience’ of falling in love in that age (assuming the writer did so), one would wonder if this is correctly portrayed as human interaction and relationships are difficult and not as stereotypical as mostly portrayed in here even for 12 year olds. Again, I’m not saying I am a pro in human relationships nor do I have a degree in psychology but it isn’t as simple as seen throughout the series.

So we have our main protagonist boys, Takao and Hiyama. Both cool and popular among the girls. But that is it for them. Nothing else extraordinary. While Takao is a cool cat in handling his relationship with Hanabi, Hiyama is a little nervous and shy as his love counterpart. That is pretty normal even in real life standards, right? I’m sure we have even forgotten how Hanabi told us outright that she was not the slight interested in boys. That was even in the first episode. One ‘special’ incident to turn it upside down. The power of love? Plot convenience maybe. So while our quartet may still be struggling to find their footing in love, hey at least they have got a head start from the rest so by the time they reach their teens, they would have become ‘experts’. We hope their love would last a lifetime. Till death do them part. But let’s not get too far and too grim with this series. Besides, this series kinda feels similar to Kimi Ni Todoke, Sukitte Iinayo, Bokura Ga Ita and Kaichou Wa Maid-sama whereby popular boys fall for unpopular or normal girls. Only difference is that this series doesn’t seem to have another girl who is more popular than Hanabi and Yui. Not just yet. Kokoa, you say? As far as I can see her subjective popularity is only limited to her class and based on Eikou’s personal list.

Finally there is Tsutsumi. He is the closest guy in this series to look like he has some sort of ‘real life problem’ thanks to his moody and lone wolf outlook. His role as far as this season is concerned is to provide some sort of love rivalry and triangle to the main pair but as mentioned, that was quickly resolved. Then he becomes somewhat irrelevant for the rest of the season. That’s the thing about love triangles. Somebody has to lose. And it is Tsutsumi in this case. Can I blame Hanabi for being naïve enough not to notice his developing feelings? Or was she too deep in love to Takao that the thought of other guys would never like her ever crossed her mind? I suppose after all the bossing around from Tsutsumi (hence her projected mentality of his state of behaviour) as well as the numerous teasing from Eikou and co about her stature and chest, she wouldn’t think herself as Miss Universe material in the eyes of other guys. Tsutsumi looked like he isn’t doing anything now. Maybe wounded lions need time to recuperate before striking back. Laying low for now…

Kokoa as expected the typical b*tch for the series. It feels like when she grows up she can become part of the Mean Girls sorority. Annoying as hell she is, it feels like she is portrayed so, so that we could hate her and make Hanabi and Yui more likeable. Does it? Although it seems that Kokoa does like Takao, I have come to believe that this isn’t the case. It feels like the main reason she is trying to snatch Takao away from Hanabi is because she doesn’t like Hanabi. It is just to spite her. I have come to noticed that if Kokoa does really like Takao, she would have taken more ‘extreme’ action but what I see here feels half-hearted. Because when she loses out like when her plan backfires, she doesn’t seem to be really in dire regret. It’s like, “Okay, plan failed. No big deal. Try again next time”. That kind of vibe. Even though Hanabi and Takao are officially a couple, that still didn’t stop Kokoa from trying to snatch Takao. If she was desperate in wanting Takao to look her way, she would have continuously exhaust all options like what Wile E. Coyote would have done in his bid to get the Road Runner. But her attempts are sparse and little.

In fact, I don’t even think Kokoa wants to be Takao’s girlfriend. During her cohorts with Tsutsumi throughout the marathon, she didn’t really say their collaboration was for her to take away Takao. You know, I scratch your back and you scratch mine. It was just for Tsutsumi to steal Hanabi. Maybe her part was implied and she didn’t want to make it sound obvious like a dorobo neko. For the Tanabata festival where she borrowed the camera from Eikou, she doesn’t necessarily need to go through all the trouble of taking photos with other girls. She could have just borrowed the camera and used it all for herself and Takao. And there were a few other times where Takao coolly dismisses her but she doesn’t take it too personally to heart. If she was really in love with him, she would have been quite devastated (even for her age). But we see her brush it off easily like it didn’t matter. So do you not agree with me that Kokoa’s intention isn’t actually to become Takao’s girlfriend but rather to pick on Hanabi?

And the rest of the other characters… Well, I don’t think there are much of them because we have Marin who seemingly plays the pro in dating advices. It is like as though she is a dating expert-cum-consultant-cum-counsellor-cum-guru-cum-mentor-cum-advisor and knows what needs to be done courtesy of what she learnt from her elder sister. I take it that she prefers seeing her friends date. Because if she knows so much of such stuffs (whether they are workable or not), why hasn’t she got a boyfriend of her own? I mean she is pretty cute herself, no? Maybe it’s her obvious hair bun that sits perfectly right at the top of her head. Sticking out like some sort of permanent oversized bump or anthill antenna. Yeah… Sometimes it might seem a little weird like as though there might be some little alien inhabiting it and controlling her body. No kidding!

As for Eikou and his pals, they are like the baka trio of the series. I know boys like them are the naughty kind for their age but it is their role in this anime to be the comic relief as well as remind our lovebirds of their place because you can bet they will never stop taunting whenever they get close together. Their idiocy goes a step further as they always feel compelled to write down ‘awesome cool quotes’ they believe flow out from Takao’s mouth. Yeah like, WTF? I believe one of them has no dialogue at all (that specky kid who is supposedly the real class rep but nobody cares or remembers about) and he ‘communicates’ via writing on boards or notepads like Gintama’s Elizabeth and Special A’s Megumi. Besides, I feel like as though the trio look like they came out from the Chibi Maruko Chan series. You know, their weird hairstyle and simplistic silly mug.

On a trivial note, in some episodes I noticed there seemed to be this odd looking lady who is a salesperson in just about any shop that our protagonists patron. Not to say that there are doubles of her but as long as they are visiting a certain shop, you can bet this lady is sometimes there to serve them. What makes her creepy is the fact that her face looks like a pale classic Japanese horror ghost mask! Sometimes it just gives you the creeps even though she is perpetually smiling and no other facial expressions. No, seriously. Is that really her face or is she stuck looking like that? Oh, and she sounds creepy too.

The art and drawing remain the same as it was. At least for the first OVA that I have watched. It feels like it is pretty much targeted for younger audiences since the characters are looking extremely cute with wide doe-like eyes. Eyes so big that it might take up almost a quarter of their face. Yeah… And we find such Japanese anime art to be extremely cute, right? Interestingly, this series is animated by OLM, the same studio that brought to you the world famous Pokemon (and all its other spin-offs, movies specials and OVAs – yeah, a whole bunch of them). And you thought Pokemon was just for kids, huh? Remember the Pokemon GO game phenomenon a few months ago? Not so for kiddies, right? OLM too produced other animes ‘for kids’ like Inazuma Eleven, Youkai Watch, Wedding Peach, Doubutsu No Mori and that Agatha Christie adaption as well as not so suitable animes ‘for kids’ such as Steel Angel Kurumi, To Heart, Gift: Eternal Rainbow and Gunsmith Cats. But we’re not interested in all that, right? Maybe except for Youkai Watch. But that series itself isn’t as big as Pokemon for now. Just saying…

The opening theme is the same as from the OVA, Sweet Sensation by Rie Murakawa. Cotona Mode by AOP is the ending theme feels like another generic anime pop. One thing I noticed is that this series has a wide variety of the strangest and weirdest BGMs. What do I mean? For a genre that revolves around the romance of 12 year olds it is just odd to hear BGMs ranging from one that sounds like it was meant for Christmas to a bizarre men voice choir to slow classic rock and to one that has this uncanny resemblance to Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal! WTF Smooth Criminal?! Well, not exactly a spoof or anywhere near but just when I heard the low notes plucking of the electric guitar, it instantly reminded me of that song. I don’t know. Somehow hearing these BGMs just makes it feel out of place but yet so amusing.

Overall, this isn’t the kind of series that you should be referring to if you own child is going through his/her phase of relationship problems at a tender young age. This series can come off as cute, funny and innocent but sometimes silly and unrealistic. Well, aren’t all movies and TV series are? You can’t have best of both worlds and being flawlessly perfect at the same time. So I guess these lovebirds had it better than us otakus for experiencing the good nature of romance and love at their age. The only thing similar is that we are both still virgins by the end of the season. Holy sh*t!!! Sooner or later we will all learn the ‘finer and advanced aspects’ of love one way or another. Better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all.

Kimi No Iru Machi OVA

August 8, 2014

First thing, this Kimi No Iru Machi OVA is not to be confused with the OVA series that came out prior to the TV series as both have the same number of episodes too. This OVA in fact comes out after the TV series ended and continues from there instead of those first OVAs. But to say it as a continuation isn’t accurate because as those who have seen the TV series, there are certain gaps in the storyline and it feels like for those who want to full understand and appreciate this story, should go read the manga (these OVAs were released and bundled along with the limited edition of the manga). Unfortunately like yours truly who didn’t so at certain points I was left puzzled over what happened. The double OVA episodes are no different either since the first one focuses on Akari and the second one being on Rin. And you thought it would be something straight between Haruto and Yuzuki. Well, love between them is already complicated enough, how bad can it get with a couple of more episodes that don’t really focus on them?

Episode 1
When Akari first moved into this sleepy boring town, her classmates were abuzz over her blonde hair and blue eyes (her dad’s a Russian). Because Haruto and Takashi continue to be ‘amazed’, this irritates her and their first meeting got off to a bumpy start. That’s when their rivalry began and because the guys didn’t like her arrogant attitude, they challenge her to a match in which the loser must do a thing the winner says. Of course Akari aces in everything they suggest. They thought she wouldn’t be so good in fishing but surprisingly she beats them at their own game. Soon all the other students start ignoring her but Haruto and Takashi are the only ones who ‘interact’ with her. Their challenge continues way into the autumn festival and this time it is some local sumo match in which a winner will also receive a plaque if he/she wins 5 times in a row. Something that seems to interest Akari. And so the boys’ losing streak continues with Akari winning the sumo contest and even the plaque. As for what she will have them do, she will think about it. After the match, several boys confront her. One of them was the contestant she defeated. He got a little hurt from her sumo slap and they want her to apologize. Since she won’t, you can guess what happens when 3 boys gang up against a foreigner girl, right? But what breaks her heart most is the broken plaque. When Haruto and Takashi see this, they are furious and ran over to beat those boys up. Of course they lost. They even scold Akari for not coming to help them. They assumed she would when they started fighting. Why would she? Because she is their friend. She is so touched that she started crying.

Back in present time, Akari isn’t quite pleased with Haruto’s decision to head to Tokyo just to go after Yuzuki. In fact, she is against it. But you know, that guy’s mind is already set. She tells him off to face reality, that he has already been dumped and going to Tokyo like a hero would make him end up dying like a dog instead. Akari is through with him since he still refuses to listen. Later as the guys fish and talk things out, Takashi mentions he too is quite irritated about him leaving. At least he should have come to talk to them and leaving for Tokyo seems like he is cutting ties with them and making their friendship look so cheap. Of course Haruto never intended that so Takashi suggests he go talk to her and maybe she’ll even support him despite her objections. So she’s not in talking mood either at her home. He wants to go to Tokyo, right? Who is she to stop him? Haruto requests to stay at her place for tonight because there are lots of things he has forgotten. Like the river where he almost drowned, did he jump in or did they push him in? Or what about the time she moved here and when was it they started becoming friends? He wants to bring these memories to Tokyo and that way even everything is in vain, he’ll get by somehow. Better start now. Who knows how long it is going to take. Where to start?

After Takashi falls asleep, the duo continue to talk more. Despite Akari winning those matches, she didn’t impose anything on the guys to do for her. They considered her their friends so why should they be punished for that? Akari continues to keep that plaque and treasure it because she was really happy when they called her their friend. They remember beating up those boys the next day and how Takashi confessed to a girl and got rejected. His rejection spree continued that he earned some notorious status, so much so Akari pitied him and made him a Valentine’s chocolate. Obligation of course. It was his first chocolate from a girl. Creepily, he still keeps it and will only throw it away once he gets a girlfriend. If that ever happens. When he does, Akari will inform Haruto about it. Before they tug into bed, Akari kisses Haruto. Consider that her farewell gift. Hey, he’ll remember that, right? If he has any difficulties, just remember this.

Episode 2
Yuzuki is now a teacher reading to her students some sad love poem. I’m sure she can relate a lot to it. Nanashiki, a student of hers talks to her about a love she has for her sickly friend’s boyfriend. She feels bad coming in between them. Yuzuki listens to her and gives her some advice. Meanwhile Rin is in some plushie giveaway job, wearing some hideous crocodile mascot. She doesn’t take her job too seriously and her senior, Kitajima had to constantly remind her about her pay’s worth. Something hints that Rin likes this guy. She doesn’t want to be seen by those she knows but who knows, here comes Yuzuki with Akari and Nanami. Big sister could immediately identify her. Rin introduces Kitajima to the girls. She gets motivation to do her job when Kitajima will treat her to dinner. Yuzuki and friends continue along themselves. They are surprised to hear that Nanami’s boyfriend had proposed to her. This has them wondering about Yuzuki’s relationship with Haruto. Well, you could say it is strained as they haven’t been talking lately. As Kitajima treats Rin to dinner, she teases him that he likes her sister. But she gets a little nasty hinting that her sister is getting older and will wither away. At this point, she might have drank too much so she’s starting to say things like how Yuzuki in order to avoid getting hurt, she turned down the feelings of the person she loves. She gets drunk enough that Kitajima had to take her back to her place. However she intends on staying at Yuzuki’s place. Once Rin is sober the next morning, she irks Kitajima that he may be hitting on Yuzuki while she was out. He however notes Yuzuki as a more diligent person than her. After he leaves, she just feels bad for doing something horrible again.

Yuzuki listens to Akari’s monologue about the parting kiss gift she gave to Haruto before he came to Tokyo. She reveals she wasn’t angry about him keeping this plan to himself but rather she was in love with him. Maybe that is what that kiss symbolized too. One day as Yuzuki goes out to meet Rin to treat her, there is Kitajima too. He wants to treat them as thanks for the tea but Rin isn’t amused and wants him to go away. The sisters talk about love and their life is heading in no direction. Rin is afraid she will end up hurting people and not being honest with herself. One night after Kitajima treats Rin, they end up in an alley with lots of lovers making out. This makes Rin want to take something off her chest but she feels nervous. From that roundabout saying that she is trying to hint to him, we get a feeling she is trying to confess she likes him. When he gets close to her, she pushes him away. He accuses her of leading him on and also wants to confess something but she wouldn’t hear it. He leaves by himself as Rin notes it is hard being honest with herself. Shortly she could hear Kitajima getting into trouble with a couple of punks. She dives in like a hero but the punk slaps her! Not cowed that she will call the police! Kitajima steps forth and takes over being slapped and do nothing to fight back. Since there is no fun in this case, the punks leave. In the end, Kitajima tells Rin to stay away from him. Hearing this hurts her a lot inside.

Rin talks to Yuzuki about how hard it is to convey her feelings. Yuzuki asks how strong their feelings are for each other and by now they should understand each other well. This makes Rin feel a little better. Yuzuki hears out Nanashiki that she admits her defeat in love to her friend since he has always been in love with her friend. Her feelings were much stronger than hers. Finally, Yuzuki is seen rushing to Haruto’s side. They hug and kiss. And the final scene that ends it all: A picture of Haruto and Yuzuki married and surrounded by their friends. They both run a restaurant under the name Kirishima Restaurant.

Absence Makes The Heart Grow… Forgetful?
Well, I couldn’t say that I am impressed with the OVA. There were a lot of gaps in the story that as I have said at the beginning of my blog, only those who have read the manga would fully understand what is happening. At least that is my assumption of why this couple of OVAs doesn’t seem to do any better than the TV series. Not to say that this entire series did badly, just that the discontinuity and the gap makes it somewhat a turn off. For the first OVA, we have a blast from the past having telling the tale from Akari’s point of view. Although it is good to hear a story from the perspective from a supporting character and knowing a little about her past. Come the second OVA, suddenly there was this tremendous time skip whereby Yuzuki is now working as a teacher. Although this OVA features about Rin, it just feels odd that the main guy Haruto didn’t even show his face until the final scene.

Even so, that final scene feels like so rushed. Here, we were led to believe that their relationship is strained and that a couple of OVAs or even another season won’t be able to fix it. And then suddenly, woah! Hugs and kisses from the main protagonists themselves! Am I dreaming? Also feels like they are adding insult when they end the series with their marriage. Another huge time skip in between? I don’t know. It renders all the problems that they went through were for nought when they came up with this ending so fast. It’s like they wanted to end this series for good. Of course there is a reason why the ending was kinda ‘abrupt’. The long running manga series just recently ended early this year in February 2014 so in a way it is time to close the chapter.

I always long thought and suspected that Akari had feelings for Haruto so when she did finally reveal the truth, it wasn’t really shocking. What was more shocking was the change in Rin’s behaviour. I remember her as a spiteful little sister who hated Yuzuki so much. Although her spiteful character is still there (at least traces of it), she has changed quite a lot that she can talk to Yuzuki about sisterly problems. It’s like that hatred never existed to begin with. And what a big change this girl is because she too is having her own love problems with the senior she is working with. Not easy, huh? Well, you don’t know how something feels like till you experience it first-hand. Now she knows what it is like to be in love and hurts when it is not requited. So is it the end of her and Kitajima or will she continue to persevere? I’m sure it would be interesting to see other stories from the other characters like Nanami and Asuka (or even Nagoshi) but my guts tell me that it would turn out to something like this and being unimpressive.

One thing I would like to note is that very obvious art and drawing in these OVAs. While the characters still look okay and consistent, I tend to notice that the backgrounds have become very water colour-like. It wouldn’t be so bad if they had at least make it look nicer but this one feels like as though they didn’t put much effort t in it and did a lazy job just to complete it. This is very evident in the second OVA and I thought the characters were living inside a painting instead. The ending credits animation feels like a big summary over what happened in the TV series since it is just a big montage of several scenes crammed into 3-4 minutes of ending song. So if you have forgotten what the TV series was all about, here is your big chance to refresh those memories. If you still remember them anyway. Koko Ni Iru Yo by Nana Kouno (voice of Akari) is the rock outfit ending theme for the first OVA while the more anime pop-like Nijiiro Calendar by Megumi Nakajima (voice of Yuzuki) is the ending song for the second OVA.

Overall, if you like this kind of complicated love drama romance genre, this should be for you but it is advisable to read the entire manga first and then watch all the episodes from start to finish (although I read many comments that stated the anime wasn’t as good as the manga – you know the reason). Since I didn’t go into the reading, you can feel that my blog on this series is somewhat half-baked. There is some realism in which ordinary people facing such love issues can relate to in life so it is not all that bad. One simple almost ‘fool proof’ solution on how to avoid the pangs of love: Don’t fall in love in the first place! Easier said than done, right?

It’s that age where you are neither a kid nor an adult. Ah, those teen years. But this anime I’m going to blog isn’t about teens with their raging hormones going through a rebellious phase. Instead, 12-sai ~Kiss, Kirai, Suki~ as the title suggests is about a 12 year old elementary school girl with the issues of kissing and first love. Not to mention bully victim too. So young and already facing so many of such issues in school. It’s like preparing them for the real world. It’s like starting them young. Who are we to blame?

Kiss, Hate, Love
Hanabi Ayase and her friends are discussing what kind of perfect kiss they would like. For Hanabi, she likes the wild kind. Bad boys. Really? This cute girl loves those types? She certainly doesn’t look like it. Yuuto Takao teases her for acting like an adult but she asserts she is one. She spins so much that she almost throws up. She lets us know she really wants a boyfriend but is too embarrassed to ask them out since those in her class lack delicacy, rough and violent. Hey, isn’t that her type? A naughty boy reads aloud a poll that all the boys voted for the most popular girl in class: Kokoa Hamada. She loves hearing it and wonders if it is because Takao also voted for her. Sorry girl. He didn’t vote for anybody. When the boy is about to read the last place finisher, Takao takes it away from him because this is making their teacher cry. Seriously? She is sad they can’t get along and will pair them up boys and girls for a recorder test. Kokoa wants to work with Takao but is shot down. Since Hanabi sits next to Takao… Later in the toilet, Kokoa warns Hanabi not to make a move on her future boyfriend/husband. Takao is out of her league. Hanabi assures her she won’t because she is not interested in boys. Boy, that’s a relief for Kokoa as she snuggles him like a best friend. Hanabi and Takao practice on the rooftop but the former sucks. In time, she improves. They see their teacher kissing another teacher in a room! I guess the kiss is infectious because they too get caught up in the mood and kiss! That for your information is Hanabi’s first kiss. Next day in class, she is flustering about it but Takao seems pretty normal. This makes her think that kiss meant nothing and he is some sort of a gigolo. Later as they practice together, Takao apologizes for ruining her expectations for a first kiss. He feels guilty for making her depressed all day today. She clears it up that she thought the kiss meant nothing to him but is relieved he felt the same way she did.

When they are cleaning, the boys are messing around especially the naughty ones who think they’ve caught some disease by touching Hanabi’s table. Only Takao helps around. It’s like Takao and Hanabi could exchange telepathic messages of thank you and you’re welcome. Hanabi feels guilty of her lie to Kokoa and needs to tell her. Don’t need for that. Looks like from their reaction she already could guess. So Kokoa and the other girls approach Hanabi and tell them of their plan to mess up the recorder test just to show the teacher they can’t get along. Hanabi must play along or else she will make her regret it. During the test, the girls purposely play out of tune but when it is Takao and Hanabi’s turn, they are in sync. This doesn’t please Kokoa as she stands up to make her voice heard. Does she know what she has done? Hanabi says although boys tease and make fun of her, she doesn’t want to be like them. The boys realize the girls mess it up on purpose and want to know who the mastermind is. Kokoa quickly puts the blame on Hanabi, lying that this was her idea and she threatened the rest to do it. With crocodile tears, the boys force Hanabi to apologize to her on her knees. However Takao stops them and says Hanabi would never do something cowardly like this. All the other girls agree and point out Kokoa as the culprit. As Hanabi cries and hides behind his back, the class starts teasing them the lovebirds they are and to kiss. Takao shuts them up and reveals they already done that! Biggest shocking news they’ve ever heard! He takes her out as she is still clinging on his back. She can’t show her face again knowing they will be bullied and teased from now on. Even so, she still loves him. He too.

And They Call It Puppy Love?
I suppose if you love shoujo type romances but with the protagonists a little younger, then this might be your cup of tea. Love knows no bounds, right? So why not at such young tender age too? It’s not like they’re going to do anything extreme, right? Assuming that their love relationship is maintained as pure and innocent as it is. Initially I thought this anime was an old since the art and drawing although is your typical sparkly wide-eyes cute pretty little girls and good looking little boys, but to my surprise it is a recent production. As recent as April 2014. Because I thought the art of such shoujo romance genres look like from that era like Kodomo No Omocha, Full Moon Wo Sagashite or even Suki Desu Suzuki-kun. Maybe all shoujo romance types have this kind of art and you can’t run far from it.

Besides the romance, this show also discusses about the issues of peer pressure and bullying. Yeah, it’s sad that it even exists at such young stage. Girls like Kokoa can grow up to be real b*tches in real life if they’re not brought back to the right path early. We need more people like Takao to just stand up and do and say the right thing even if it is against the popular majority thinking. Though, I can’t say if the kiss would be a right thing. Oh, what the heck, I’m all for love and peace and not war so it’s okay. I mean, they see adults doing it, right? There you have it, the bad influence. So why not as long as they love each other? And perhaps Hanabi can be more honest with her feelings instead of lying about the kind of boys she like or is not interested in love. Which girl wouldn’t dream of having such prince charming, no? Unless…

Although the ending doesn’t say much and it just confirms our lovebirds as an item, my guess that this single OVA was released just to promote the manga that is currently ongoing. Test market? Besides, at the end of the episode it did remind us that the manga is on sale and to check it out. Like any other of such genres, there is potential to turn it into a weekly anime series if there is good response. The ending theme, Koi No 12-sai by Utataneko Kageki Dan although sounds like your typical lively anime pop, the amusing part is that some parts of the singing uses the synthesizers to make the voice sound like a robot. Cute. In the end, this isn’t the kind of anime that sticks in my mind for too long since well, I never really did experience such things in my early school days. Never a bully victim, never had a first girlfriend and definitely never had a first kiss (still waiting for that!). Such a boring childhood…

Golden Time

July 13, 2014

Memories are important, right? So when a main character has amnesia, it usually sets up a convenient drama tale in which something shocking can be revealed about his/her past. Cliche? Well, everybody has got their own past or two. So it is in the case of Golden Time. Our main protagonist suffered losing his memories after getting involved in an accident. Good thing he didn’t die. Unfortunately, it was his memories that ‘died’. Or kept somewhere locked in the deep dark recesses of his mind. But life has to go on, right? Taking a step at a time as he makes new memories, new friends and a new love, there is a growing possibility that his old memories might return. Perhaps return isn’t the right word. Reset is more like it. What happens if those old memories threaten to reset and replace the new ones like as though they have never happened? Quite alarming isn’t it? And so this is the story of his life, love and drama, everything threatened by the fact that his old memories may just pop up and change everything he has now.

Episode 1
Banri Tada arrives late for the opening ceremony of his law college because he is not used to Tokyo having arrived from Shizuoka. By the time he gets there, it’s over. As he doesn’t know the way to college, he thinks of following a couple of girls. But imitate their actions too? Buying ice cream? Anyway he loses them and meets fellow classmate, Mitsuo Yanagisawa who is also lost too and did the same thing. They strike up a friendship and as they make their way to college, Banri learns Mitsuo is having some sort of girlfriend problem. Actually, he terms it as calamity. Suddenly a beautiful lady, Kouko Kaga gets out of the taxi, congratulates Mitsuo and smacks him with a bouquet of flowers! It’s like she’s telling him off that he can never run away from her despite enrolling in a different school. He’ll always be hers! Muahahaha! During orientation class, Mitsuo explains Kouko is his childhood friend and been to the same school since young. Their parents know each other well and her dad is a director of a big hospital. The reason she is attached to him is because she wants to go through life according to her perfect plan. And Banri saw what happened when he tried to deviate from it. Yup, he enrolled in a different school to run away from her. Because of that, he is also having a fight with his parents and they aren’t sending him any money so he’s in a pinch. Mitsuo paints her a naggy bossy woman although Banri paints her in a more positive manner.

To Mitsuo’s shock, Kouko is sitting right behind him! What the hell is she doing here? She knows about this place as her father has generously donated to many colleges. Seems she decided to enrol here too. What about her perfect plan to study in France and be a fashion designer? She just modified it a little. After all, she can’t enjoy life without him. See? He must be happy for he has a loyal woman. No, Mitsuo is not happy. He runs away with Kouko chasing after him. But Banri may just be smitten by Kouko’s grace and politeness. Because Mitsuo left a mess, Banri picks it up for him and a girl, Chinami Oka helps him pick them up. She hopes they can be friends. Outside, there are various clubs trying to recruit new members so you can say it’s a traumatic experience for a newbie like Banri trying to get away from it all. It’s like a warzone. So the one that catches his attention is the one that is not so desperate. Linda Hayashida of the festival club helps him up and tends to his little wound after he fell down thanks to all that pushing. He compliments her pretty lipstick so she blows him an air kiss. Banri feels confident he can fit in this new place and wants to fall in love. Don’t tell me he just did for her too? Going home, he sees Kouko waiting at the intersection as she believes Mitsuo will come here. Banri gets a call from Mitsuo saying he is still in college. Stalker girl snatches his handphone to tell lover boy to stay put because she’s coming to get him! She returns his handphone and hopes they can be friends. As she leaves, Banri sees an incoming call from the hospital. It made him remember about an accident he got into.

Episode 2
Kouko shows Banri all the pictures she has in her handphone containing Mitsuo. Scary… Speaking of that guy, he is right behind and trying to escape. Banri better not tell… Just when she turns around and spots him, she becomes the fastest runner. But he’s faster… Kouko even thought of enlisting Banri’s help to find out everything about Mitsuo’s likes and dislikes but ditches the idea and even pay him. Better to do it herself. When Mitsuo is hanging out at Banri’s place, Banri feels sympathy for Kouko because she sits alone in class and nobody talks to her. Mitsuo didn’t like that but Banri argues that it’s his right to feel pity for her like how it’s his business if he continues to ignore Kouko. Mitsuo takes Banri to a party by the film club. Chinami is a member and Mitsuo decides to join. Banri would like to check out a few more clubs before making his decision. Chinami expresses she wishes both Banri and Kouko could join. The next door part starts getting rowdy. When it turns out to be the tea club, the film club members cower in fear at the corner. Sao-chan and Shi-chan recognize Banri during the recruitment warzone and drags him into their hell. Sorry kid, you’re on your own. All the girls in the tea club are wild, partying like tomorrow and the guys are like ‘slaves’. Banri is made to do sumo wrestling with Takaya Sato AKA 2D-kun. Hell indeed. Yeah, 5 more parties after that…

Next day, Banri sees Kouko diligently waiting for Mitsuo at the front gates but Mitsuo wants to take the rear gate and doesn’t want Banri to tell her anything. Not even the club he joined. Banri must be hot property since he is not attached to a club so he is hounded by desperate recruiters. Linda (looking very plain without her lipstick) brushes them away, lying that he is already part of the festival club. But they had to part when she notices him caught a glimpse of Kouko sitting alone ahead. Banri hears some guys making comments about Kouko. So pretty. So like a model. Must be rich. An heiress of a famous hospital. Definitely out of their league. They sound like they’re mocking her. Banri sympathizes with her and goes talk to her. Sao-chan and Shi-chan come by to try and force him to come to another party but when they realize he’s talking to Kouko, they take their leave. Kouko asks him about what he thinks about the club recruiting. She’s not asking about the tea club. Because he lost count of how many clubs tried to recruit him, Kouko says none has recruited her. Why hasn’t anyone tried talking to her? Although she’s not interested in clubs but if Mitsuo is not there, it defeats the purpose. Ever since coming here, she feels like an invisible person. She thinks she is strange, the reason Mitsuo is avoiding her. Banri tries to cheer her up because she gets emotional when a club member sees the club poster in Kouko’s hands and thinks they’re interested in joining. So she treats them to coffee at the cafe as she explains all the things that they do in the club. That’s like everything, right? And it took her all day to explain everything!!!! Is she done yet?! It’s already night fall! Their bowl of coffee is finished (yes, coffee in a bowl) and she’s not out of energy yet? The duo are ready to drop dead any time… So, feel like joining?

Episode 3
Banri and Kouko decide to try out this club. They meet with other potential joiners (including 2D-kun) and are wheeled into the van for a 3-days-2nights trip. Banri notices something wrong. They passed the supposed university seminar house they were supposed stop, the club members all wear the same white outfit and had a snowflake pendant, newbies were made to write their details on a piece of paper and all their luggage are locked in a room. Yes, it’s clear. This is some sort of religious cult. Banri feels guilty because he was responsible in bringing Kouko here. They are made to watch a marathon of movies about the soul and universe and during dinner, 2D-kun blows his top about this deception and can sue them for unlawful detention. Soon the rest follows but Banri surprisingly tells him to shut up. He tells off those who complain are just bringing them down and that he is here to have fun. He adds he lost his memories as he suffered a serious injury in an accident. He woke up only to find strangers around. He doesn’t know who his parents or friends. He feels lonely and insecure. The believers take up his suggestion to make those not interested to leave. Just when Banri thought he is the only one remaining, Kouko returns. Back in the hall, Kouko knows he put up an act to let everyone escape. Although Kouko blew hers, she felt she couldn’t leave him alone here. Of course they’re not going to stay here. On pretence of putting Kouko’s luggage in the room, he asks for the key. One of the believers wants to follow them just in case. That’s when they make a run. They lock themselves inside the room and climb out through the window. Then they run like hell while the believers go searching in full force.

Once they’ve managed to get a safe distance, they take a break and talk. Banri feels guilty of bringing her to join this club as he thought it would be nice for her to make friends. Kouko admits it is her fault too. It is true nobody talked to her in college and was just trying to earn his sympathy to get more information on Mitsuo. Banri is the only one who talks to her so she is quite happy in that sense. They put up a little silly act and plan to get Mitsuo realize his true love is Kouko. She further admits her life is centred on him. All she does is think about him and can’t do anything without him. She explains about the rose bouquet smacking incident. It wasn’t supposed to be like that but when she saw him happily with Banri, she got enraged. She regrets it now and probably she does things to Mitsuo to give him reasons to hate her. Banri also confesses his amnesia is real. After he fell off a neighbourhood bridge, he woke up and didn’t know everybody. He also didn’t know what were his likes and dislikes. A year in rehabilitation didn’t help. He was afraid to see his friends as he thought they wanted to see the Banri they know and not who he is now. He thinks if he had a girlfriend, it would be different. But sometimes he feels that those vague memories are still lingering deep within and when he tries to pursue them, they disappear. Kouko wonders if he wants to return to his old self. He is not sure. But if his present self would disappear and be replaced by his past self, he doesn’t want it. He notes the person here right now is the new Banri. The duo have to make haste and continue running because the believers are catching up. But they see their flashlights going around in strange patterns like there is some sort of ritual. They thought they have been caught but it seems Barbara has found them. Oops. Linda, what Banri means. And you thought Kouko was the only one bad with names.

Episode 4
Seems Banri and Kouko ended up near the seminar house where her festival club is having an overnight trip and the ones doing some weird dances with flashlights. 2D-kun is very much relieved that Banri is back in one piece. So are Mitsuo and Chinami. He was worried when he texted them (including Kouko) but got no reply. Kouko must be one happy girl to receive that mail. When Mitsuo wants Chinami to hang out longer, here comes Kouko putting on a dominant b*tch attitude. She doesn’t want any girls speaking to Mitsuo and starts scaring her off by berating the way she talks and even her name. After constants reminders to stay away from Mitsuo, eventually that guy puts his foot down and his mean face puts a stop to Kouko’s dominating spree. Mitsuo leaves with Chinami as Kouko starts to shudder in fear as she realized the stupid thing she just did. She knew it but couldn’t help it. Banri invites Kouko to go thank the festival club members. Linda tells them she has reported to the college about the cult who has also infiltrated other schools. She also hopes they could join them and Banri would like to try it out first. Linda’s expression made Banri feel nostalgic. During classes, Banri sees Mitsuo discussing with 2D-kun that he wants to make Chinami his girlfriend. One day, Kouko and Mitsuo had a showdown at the cafe to settle everything once and for all. But why is Banri here? As witness. Oh brother. She has many stacks of files to prove her case. What’s this? A divorce case? From their family homes to childhood photographs, she states her case why they are destined to be together. Mitsuo is sick of her assumptions and just tells her straight there is a girl he likes. No, it’s not you Kouko. It’s Chinami. Kouko gets upset thinking after all she has done for him, is she not special? No, she’s not. She’s an idiot because she never tried to understand him. She doesn’t get it. That’s why he can’t date her for the sake of it. Even if he did out of pity, she won’t be happy. She might be special, he cannot be her boyfriend. Kouko grows desperate if that is the case, she doesn’t need him anymore. So forget everything like it never happened! I think he might really want that because he just pack up and leave! She might be regretting that too but she profusely apologizes to Banri. He thinks of what he said about the old him who disappeared from this world.

Banri tries to cheer her up and stays with her until late in the evening. Then Kouko has decided: She wants to die!!! But before she can really do that, Nana (is she THAT Nana???!!!) wants her to come to her concert where she can ‘die’ by her music. So as part of her process to completely fall apart, Kouko lets her hair down and attends this punk rock concert. She even goes up on stage to yell her heart out the idiot Mitsuo is. But she had to be brought down. She’s not authorized to ‘sing’ along with Nana. Banri brings her back to his place so he tries to explain he is in a similar position like her. He feels difficult to accept the new him when everyone else rejects it. As if they’re waiting for the old Banri to return. If he stays the way he is, everyone will be disappointed. Kouko for one won’t. Who else will she share this disgraceful night with? She hopes he won’t disappear and won’t forget about her. He won’t. Because he likes her. It might come as a surprise to her and wrong timing for him to say this but Kouko notes how everything always turns out fine no matter what she leaves behind. She gets enough strength to return to her place herself. Banri receives a mail from Kouko saying that worrying about rejection may be the same as rejecting himself. That weekend he goes back to his hometown unannounced. It’s his home, right? Going through all his old stuffs during high school in hopes of remembering something, suddenly pictures of him and Linda drop out. What on earth? Starting to remember something?

Episode 5
Banri rushes to the bridge where he had the accident but is sad he can’t remember a thing. Then it’s like we see his spirit watching over him. The one with memories somewhat became a ghost to watch over the soulless body entering college. They can never communicate. What the heck? Since when there is supernatural stuffs in RomCom? Kouko gives Banri a mirror set and now they have a matching pair. When they escaped from the cult, she had this in her pocket. She thought it would be a good symbol to commemorate their friendship. So she only views him as a best friend? When One day Kouko sees Banri coming in with Mitsuo, she acts a dramatic act of a lovely friend Banri is to her. As though they were destined to meet like in their past lives. Just creepy… Mitsuo? Just ignore her. Kouko is with Linda as she is being helped for class registration. Banri introduces Mitsuo to Linda, the person who saved them from the cult. Mitsuo starts to panic when Linda comments on the professor he has chosen is very strict. This gives Kouko the chance to snigger and put up that sarcastic “you-in-trouble-brother?” kind of expression. Mitsuo reverts to being childish, hoping she fails all her subjects and that she is dumb. But Banri’s thoughts are about Linda. If she knew something about him, why didn’t she say anything? Banri and Kouko decide to join the festival club as Kouko thinks of having a more positive outlook in life. They meet the club’s president, Koshino and he is glad they have a couple of new recruits. They start off practising the Awa dance for the summer festival. But Kouko… She’s doing the robot! Because Banri was good enough, she calls him a traitor and then dramatically breaks down despite knowing she’s just using his kindness to lash out at him, blah, blah, blah. So it seems Kouko is confused. Despite being just 2 days after Mitsuo rejected her, she thought she could put it behind her but it seems tougher than she thought. She wanted to deal with her feelings for Mitsuo but panicked and got emotionally paralyzed. Then she talks about Linda. She admires her good qualities and wants to be like her. She thinks Linda has a boyfriend.

This made Banri think about the time he was in hospital. Although hospitalized for 2 months after the accident and diagnosed with amnesia, he felt he was being confined for observation. He noticed late in the night there is a strange flashlight outside his window so one night he snuck out to just head there. He felt the meaning of true freedom and eventually bumped into the girl with the flashlight. Unknown to him, she is Linda. He explains that he was attracted to the flashlight because he felt it was as though somebody was signalling to him to escape. He felt suffocating and boring in the hospital and couldn’t take it anymore. He asks about her part she does every night. She says she came to visit a hospitalized friend but somehow can’t see him so she thought she could at least drop by. He is from Tokyo and she also goes to a college in Tokyo. Banri got an idea that if he could go to Tokyo, he could say goodbye to this ‘prison’. Linda tells him to come to Tokyo where it’s fun. And so Banri got the resolve to head down there. Looking back, Banri is certain that girl is Linda. But why didn’t she say anything about him or the time he was hospitalized? Banri’s spirit continues to watch over him as he comments himself has memories but no body but his other self has no memories but a body. He really wants to tell him what Linda meant to him.

Episode 6
When Banri’s class graduated, they got their own customized shirt that has everyone’s name. However Banri’s name wasn’t on it so he started crying like a baby thinking it was intentional. Of course it wasn’t and so Linda and the rest had it remade. Linda is worried for him because after they graduate, they won’t be together anymore (she’s going to a prep school in Tokyo). That night, he wanted Linda’s answer because he wants to be with her forever. She needed to think overnight and will give him a reply the next day. He will wait at the usual bridge. Banri narrates he was in love with Linda in high school but everybody else saw them as just either ‘siblings’ or best friends. Linda probably thinks the same too as Kouko does for him now. Banri seems to fit well into a pair of sneakers. The festival club guys are amazed since Linda wanted to sell them. To their surprise, she gives it to him for free since Banri is their junior. The club’s seniors visit them and have some souvenirs. Fans with ‘yes’ and ‘no’ printed on them? For the Awa dance festival? Disappointed? Do you like them? NO! Kouko notices Banri acting a little strange with Linda. He acts as if there is nothing but she hopes he can tell if there is anything. They’re friends, right? Chinami comes to invite them to a party but Kouko greatly refuses. Banri wonders why she would invite Kouko considering what happened the other day. Chinami holds no grudge against Kouko and finds something irresistible about her. Thanks to Banri’s convincing, Kouko is at the party. But Mitsuo is also there. Not on talking terms. Bad. Before you know it, they start arguing with Kouko accusing him he likes Chinami just to spite her. She dares him to confess to her. And so Mitsuo calls Chinami and really did confess he likes her and wants to date her! Ultimate shock for Kouko! But Chinami brushes it off as a joke! Ultimate shock for Mitsuo! To control the situation, Banri throws both of them into the next room where the tea club is having their wild party. New tributes…

Banri walks Kouko home and she’s quite drunk and naughty. She wants to party more. If Banri is out of money, they can stay at his place and talk things that include badmouthing Mitsuo. That’s when Banri has had it. He doesn’t want to be friends with her anymore. All she talks about is Mitsuo and has she ever thought how he feels. He gives back the mirror. Although he understands her situation, when she rejected him, she lost the right to want those things. He shouldn’t have become her friend. He can’t associate with her anymore. Goodbye. Even in the clubroom, Linda can guess something is wrong with them. Having a fight with you girlfriend? Not his girlfriend… Banri is upset that she can act like she doesn’t know anything. Banri lashes back at her. Does she have a boyfriend? Someone from high school? He is sure she will say there is no one. It’s like she feels bad for the old him. Banri knows he is doing the same thing, acting like he doesn’t know them. He locks himself in the toilet as Linda tries to reason with him. He was like a bomb. She doesn’t know what to do. One wrong move and she might lose him again. She thought it was her fault. Was it her fault for not making it on time to the bridge to tell him her answer? If it’s so, it can’t end like this. Now Linda feels lousy. Banri later leaves. Kouko was waiting for him but now he won’t even talk to her. Something must have happened. Banri runs away as far as his feet could take him. He is confused. Not knowing where to go or which path is the right one. He can’t turn back or find his lost past. At the bridge, he thinks if he jumps, he can start all over again. But Kouko crashes into him. She grabs onto him tightly and doesn’t want him to run anymore. Don’t run to places where she can’t reach him. Because she loves him.

Episode 7
Before things can get more romantic, the policeman arrests her. Because she stole a bicycle to catch up with Banri and the owner reported her. She gets off lightly with a warning. She explains her reaction at the party wasn’t that she didn’t get over Mitsuo. She felt sad. Because Chinami easily had everything she wanted, she was afraid she would get Banri too. She thought she was attracted to his kindness because of the pain of being rejected. She thought saying no was the right thing and would change the world. Guess things didn’t go accordingly as planned. Her father is here to pick her up. He apologizes on her behalf and hopes he can continue to be her friend. But Kouko disagrees. He is not her friend but he boyfriend! And so they become a lovey-dovey couple with flower frames and romantic talk everywhere they go. Just creepy? Or jealous? F*ck! This better not be a dream. Kouko even waited for him at the train station just to walk with him to school. Banri wanted to walk her from her home but it seems that isn’t possible. Not because her parents object to their date and it’s more like to keep the harm away from Banri! Her father thinks a weird girl like her can ruin his life. Oh well… 2D-kun is surprised that the duo are dating. Even creepier that Kouko romantically spells it out for him. Then here comes Mitsuo. He dyed his hair blonde. Repentance? Mitsuo isn’t surprised the duo ended up dating because he observed Banri had always been able to handle her. Now he’s so relieved an evil load is off his shoulder. But Kouko plays dirty. She had to mention about his stinging rejection by Chinami. Mitsuo hasn’t seen her since then but if he does, he intends to interact normally with her. Oh, here she is. Here’s your chance. He can’t and flees. Chinami explains she didn’t count Mitsuo’s confession as a proper since they were at a party. But it’s Banri’s turn to flee when Linda sees him and tries to talk to him. Many days passed with Banri and Kouko dating like a couple. He received several messages from Linda wanting to talk but he ignores them.

Kouko visits his room to ask about what happened with Linda. He explains she noticed about their awkwardness but he lashed out at her and now they’re awkward. She accidentally opens the box containing his porn magazines he put away. Why the heck is there a condom in there?! They panic. Though, they brush it off as normal, Kouko feels it should happen naturally. She’d prefer it to be in Paris. Ah yes, Paris. Where else is there such a romantic place in this world? Linda attempts to contact Banri fail. Her friend Nana notices this. One day Banri gets a call that his neighbour’s room is leaking and to check whether his room is flooded. He rushes back only to meet with Nana. That punk rocker is his neighbour? It is revealed it was all a setup to make Banri and Linda talk. Nana made that fake call and hopes they can settle and get it over with. It just irritates her to see them so indecisive. Banri invites Linda into his room. She explains Nana (not her real name) was once in the festival club but quit when she became too busy with her band. She talked to her about the issue with him and that’s when she was told Banri was her neighbour. Linda breaks down and apologizes for confusing him and doing things half-heartedly. But this made Banri break down too. He’s sorry for not knowing what she was thinking. She’s glad he is alive and got to meet him. That’s all she wanted. She explains how close they were in high school. He confessed to her on graduation night and she wanted time to think. She was late to arrive on the bridge because she was scared. If she was early, would he have not fallen off? As his senior, she wants to support him and as someone who knows about his accident. Even if he doesn’t remember, she considers him important and enjoys spending time with him. Banri gets a call from Kouko. Mitsuo is in trouble.

Episode 8
Another flashback. While waiting for Linda, Banri heard her talking to her friends. They insist she likes Banri but she kept coming up with reasons it’s not what they think. Linda made the killing statement that she never liked him. And when she realized Banri had heard, she felt devastated. She tried to talk to him but he completely ignored her. Till one day she waited in the rain and broke down. If Banri can’t accept her apology, he’s a total jerk. Their friendship was mended and they continue being friends but he kept wondering if Linda actually didn’t like him. Back to present time, Kouko wants Banri to go check on Mitsuo in his room because he left early. She can’t because that would amount to cheating, right? He makes his way only to see a girl trying real hard to seduce Mitsuo. He’s having a hard time trying to keep her away. Banri walks up to them and acts like his gay lover. Mitsuo gets the hint and plays along while borrowing that past life lines from Kouko. The girl feels disgusted and leaves. I guess this is how you chase away pesky seducers. Banri learns that Mitsuo and Chinami’s meeting didn’t end well. Because everybody in college knew about his rejection, he doesn’t want her to talk to him. Forever. He knows he should act normal but can’t help freak out each time. It’s embarrassing and sad. Banri gives him the encouragement to have more confidence in himself. Then he calls 2D-kun to throw a cheer up party for him. But why is Kouko here too? Because she wants to be with Banri. It has nothing to do with him. Besides, it’s her suggestion to go to the amusement park for this cheer up party. They could have ‘killed’ each other with their shoes… 2D-kun gets a call from Chinami and is hesitant if he should pick up. Kouko snatches it and in her dominating tone, invites her anyway even though she despises the idea.

So Chinami can’t refuse the idea and came. She brought dried noodles for the party? But Kouko continues to act like the snobbish b*tch and that she’s doing this for Mitsuo’s sake. Chinami finally tells her off whatever they do is none of her business. Her boyfriend is Banri, right? So why doesn’t she pay more attention to what she has? She wants her noodles returned but her bag breaks and her camera drops. Is it still working? She tests it out and records Kouko. She is about the cry but Kouko won’t allow Banri to see her cute crying face and slams her with the dried noodles!!! She’s suffocating! Once she has composed herself, she passes the camera to Banri to film her. The noodles are still stuck on her face! Funny! They have a good laugh and return to the amusement park to begin the party. Everyone hangs out at Banri’s place and they make a pact that if anybody needs some sort of hanging out like this, all of them should be invited. Dead in the night, Banri can’t sleep and he has this feeling Linda is still awake and texts her. She’s hanging out in Nana’s room and outside their balcony they casually talk. Banri thinks he used to like her and Linda feels the best way for them now is to come clean as there’s nothing between them that they can’t say anymore. Banri asks out of curiosity her answer on that graduation night. It would be no. She just couldn’t think of him romantically and was going to tell him to stay as friends. He then asks if she wants to go back to how things used to be. He yells out he wants to go back but isn’t sure if he really said that. Linda thinks he just fell asleep and should go back to bed. Banri’s spirit notes he still loves Linda and would love to be with her forever but the current him is dating Kouko. He can’t leave his current self or he’ll disappear.

Episode 9
Kouko comes down with a cold so she couldn’t come to class. However her cold lasted quite long and even into the weekend. When she did recover, she seems to be acting strange. Banri thought she is still sick and needed some rest but from what I hear, she’s sounding insecure. She wonders if he loves her. Of course. So what’s wrong? She feels anxious in whatever she does. Banri consoles and comforts her like a true guy would. A kiss to cast away that insecurity. Banri’s spirit notes that is how she comforted Linda in the same way. Another time for flashback. Back in high school, Linda had a brother whom they call Brother and he was a great passionate guy as a football coach. He had a fiancée whom he can’t wait to show Banri. But Linda doesn’t seem impressed. She later tells him that she caught his fiancée cheating on him. She saw her having a fling with a guy because they kissed. Not only she wants to get photographic evidence to break this marriage, she’ll do everything she can to make her pay so much that she will regret it and won’t be able to make a living! I’m sure Banri won’t go to such great lengths but he’ll help her nab them in the act because he doesn’t want a cool guy to be married to such a woman. So the duo wait behind the bushes and snap shots of the fiancée (Kouko clone?) and her lover entering the room. But after that, Linda had a change of mind. She wants to delete those photos instead of taking more damning evidence. She wants to take this as an adult.

As the fiancée leaves, Linda confronts her and wants to talk. She had no choice and during the entire talk in the car, she was crying. Linda hopes she will stop this if she still wants to get married. Banri keeps a watch on the car because the lover was watching them the entire time. Scary. Once the talk is over, Banri quickly takes Linda away and not to look back because that guy is still staring… I don’t know. Maybe he was just a mannequin… Outside a convenience store, they talk as Linda expresses she doesn’t want to hurt her brother so this is the best route to take as she isn’t destroying anything. But she is in a dilemma too. If they ever get married, they’ll forever live a life of lie. Can they endure this forever? Banri assures he will always be by her side if she wants to cry or scream. He doesn’t know how but he’ll be there. He’ll always be her listening voice. Blah, blah, blah. Getting pretty poetic there. Linda seemed hopeful. Can she trust him? Unfortunately he didn’t have the courage to answer her then. But his feelings for her grew until the need for that confession day. Back in present, Kouko seems to have fallen ill again and is absent. Linda talks to Banri. He doesn’t remember she has an older brother. She tells him to take care of Kouko since she is his girlfriend (reiterating that same poetic line Banri said to her). Banri’s Spirit wonders if he had answered her then and said he loved her, would things have turned out differently? Would they have been together and not become a ghost? Too late for regrets. Deep in the night, Banri’s spirit suddenly feels he has a body! He’s back? Is he? No more a ghost definitely! The first thing that comes to mind is… Linda!

Episode 10
Banri couldn’t understand that weird feeling. His memories didn’t come back but yet his desire to see Linda is strong. Next morning, he tries to look for hat picture of Linda in his cabinet but it’s missing. He thinks Kouko must have taken it. Maybe that explains her weird act. Banri is sick and injured himself last night when he fell off the bed. He could have ‘died’ if Nana hadn’t picked him up to hospital and back. She gets annoyed when he thinks she is actually a nice person. Even worse, somebody who cosplays and trying to act tsundere. Once Linda is in the picture, she gladly passes the baton to her. Good grief. Linda heard from Nana and the reason she came. She nurses him in bed as his thoughts are only to be with her. But being with her feels like meeting with Kouko was a dream. But it’s not… Because here she is now! She calls him a cheater and thankfully she didn’t smack him with the bouquet of roses. Linda was scared for a while with her scary expression but Kouko loosens up and gets all love-dovey with Banri. That was just a joke? I’m sure Mitsuo and 2D-kun acting like lovers fighting over the roses was one. Kouko from the heart thanks Linda for taking care of Banri. Mitsuo isn’t really convinced because she was really panicking all over before and thus the reason she called them to come (yeah, they skipped class for it). It could have descended into another childish fight f not for Linda telling them to stop. It’s not nice in front of a sick person. Kouko truly believes Banri wasn’t cheating on her but she still feels sad that another girl came to take care of him instead of her. They then discuss their plans for the summer vacation and it is suggested to rent a big car for all of them to go to the beach. That night, Banri wakes up much better. Kouko has been waiting by his side. Kouko feels she isn’t a good girlfriend and someone like Linda would be much suited. Banri assures her with a big hug. Kouko assures she’ll do anything she can for him. She’s got lots of love, that’s for sure. She also expresses of wanting to go to the beach with him. Just the 2 of them. It doesn’t have to be Paris. He promises to take her there once summer vacation starts.

Episode 11
Banri is pretty much fine now with Kouko coming to visit quite often. However he still can’t ask her about the missing photo. The duo head for their club activities to practice for the Awa dance. Kouko has been nicknamed Robo Girl thanks to her robot dance… She’s still like that? Some of the guys give lip service to Banri that taking a train to the beach with such a high maintenance girl may not be a good idea. Since he has no money, they suggest he do some part time job and earn his keep. Of course Kouko disagrees. She doesn’t want him to work because it would mean less time spent with him. She can offer to pay for his part since she’s rich. Banri isn’t sure so she had to tell him that he’s missing the point she really wants to be with him as much as she wants. Chinami sees them and joins in much to Kouko’s dismay. She wanted to leave but Chinami is also about to leave for a part time job. Speaking on this, Banri uses this argument that it is normal for students to work. Chinami invites them to the posh cafe she is working. Kouko’s verdict? He DEFINITELY CANNOT work here! Banri knocks on Nana’s door to thank her for the help and even pay back for the taxi fare and some cookies. Learning he is short on cash, she knows this weekend there is a party that he can earn big money as a waiter. With her recommendation, he doesn’t need to go for an interview. A condition is that he must bring Mitsuo. Banri tells Mitsuo about this and he has a feeling that it’s something shady. But when Sao-chan and Shi-chan butt in to ‘persuade’ them to join their club and get a job (wholesome healthy manual labour?), it’s no thanks for the guys. Better get out while you have the chance! Banri hopes Mitsuo won’t tell Kouko about this job. You know her response, right? Yeah, she’s even calling him every minute so he has to lie about writing a report, the reason he can’t respond immediately. Mitsuo is amazed that Banri can stand this stalker and even gush about loving her. However inside Banri, he feels guilty that he still has feelings over Linda. Seems that the guys are to be waiters at a masquerade party. Banri is made to dress up as a maid (which he doesn’t mind at all. Even if he shows this to others) but Mitsuo is only wearing an underwear!!! On top of that, he has to give ‘special service’ to those elderly ladies. Check out those abs! Although Nana is also working there, Banri didn’t expect to see Linda working here too. He can’t take his eyes off her sexy devil outfit… Meanwhile Kouko tries to call Banri but there’s no answer. Worried? And that missing photo… It’s with her!

Episode 12
Mitsuo is such a coveted guy. All the ladies want him. The boss is even willing to pay more if he goes up on stage with the rest of the macho men and strut his stuff. Oh hell! For the money! Even those old hags are horny with Banri. They want a one-night stand! Thanks to Linda’s swift action, he is saved from being ‘tainted’. Meanwhile Kouko starts acting like a stalker. Many calls go unanswered. She even heads to his place but nobody is in. She searches around town… Banri seems to be enjoying this and could get used to it. He and Linda are made to pose in ambiguous and sexy positions together because the crowd wants to take photos of the cuties. And then it happened… Kouko walks right in and sees this atrocity! She takes a drink and splashes it at him before concluding with a slap! Kouko looks upset. Banri looks stunned. The guests think it’s a good show. Nana takes Linda away as they can’t make a fuss in front of the guests. Banri does the same but at the backstage, he says he needs to finish his drop and then he’ll explain everything. Since she can’t hang around here, he gives her his keys to his place to wait. Once the job is over, Banri makes haste home. He decides to call her when he realizes the SMS and call spam. She was really frantic asking where he is and why he isn’t around or not answering. She even texted him of the locations she is looking for him. When he reaches home, Kouko is sitting dejectedly in the dark corner of his room. First she apologizes for splashing and slapping him. She really wanted to be his good girlfriend but lost control of herself. Banri instantly gets down on his knees and profusely apologizes he kept this a secret because he wanted to be a cool boyfriend in front of her and fund their trip. Then she throws that photo to him. What about this? He comes clean telling her Linda was his classmate and that he was in love with her before he lost his memories. He didn’t tell her because he didn’t want her to know. Not because she’ll become an annoying woman but because he will feel guilty. Those feelings of wanting to be with Linda would return to him sometimes and his soul would be screaming to go back to her.

But Kouko is upset he is telling her this. When she found the photo, she thought of waiting and giving him time to tell her instead of interrogating him. She was trying hard but now if it comes to this, everything’s ruined. Banri wanted to be honest with her but Kouko didn’t want to know. She hugs him and doesn’t want him to remember his past. That’s the only thing she wants from him. He promises her that and they start calling each other by their first names. It ends peacefully when they say “I love you” to each other. Kouko still feels uneasy because they don’t have anything together. No experience, no memories, no photos. Okay. Let’s just start with one from here. Next day, Banri meets Linda who is very sorry for what happened. Banri assures her everything with Kouko is alright. The reason he is meeting her alone is because he wants to ask about the past. Although he likes her, she didn’t like him. Linda admits she does like him but not romantically. Just a friend but wasn’t in love. Banri is going to shred the photo, resolving to himself he can’t go back that one-way street and to forget about Linda. But his inner voice yells hell no. He has been searching for Linda and wants to go back to her. Banri thanks Linda for everything and wants their relationship to just be club senior-junior. She is no longer his former classmate. Worried about Kouko, he thinks of putting some distance between them. Linda agrees and rips the photo apart. Later Banri takes a photo of Kouko.

Episode 13
When Banri ‘escaped’ from hospital and bumped into Linda, there was more to it. Not only had he vowed to go to Tokyo but to be a completely new guy. I guess now we know why this turned out like that. As thanks, he wants to convey the message to Linda’s ‘friend’. However she feels it is too late to reach him because she was late (and the accident happened). But anyway her message was for him to try his best. The festival club is holding its activities with the same club and societies from other universities. Kouko is in ‘trouble’. Because she’s nervous. Very. For the umpteenth time she feels like heading to the toilet. Her bladder must be empty by now. So nervous this girl that when she tries to put on her lipstick, she shoves it up her nose! The rest had no choice but to show them that dance. I don’t know, it looks odd. Very odd. Because it was easily imitable and they made Banri do it with them, soon nervous Kouko also joined in and became nervous no more. Effective. The activities went smoothly and the day ends well. Banri’s Spirit notes that although his feelings still remain in his heart, he thought this new Banri as his younger twin would respect the feelings he nurtured. But he abandoned him and rejected those feelings. He vows to be a vengeful spirit and curse him. Wait a minute. He’s going to make himself unhappy?! I suppose the curse starts because all the activities that Banri is supposed to attend somehow got cancelled. It’s going to be a boring summer. He sees Kouko arriving at the apartment. He thought of surprising her and waited by the lift. To his surprise, it wasn’t her and he got punched by Nana in the face for trying to be funny! Yeah, Kouko took the stairs to surprise him. That is the spice of love? Banri is extremely excited when Kouko puts on her apron and is going to cook him her yakisoba. But she warns she does not want him to help at help and even uses a blindfold. Sit there till it’s then. As she is making it, the blindfold slips down so Banri sees this through the mirror… She’s air cooking? Ready-made yakisoba? And when she realizes that, she explains that it was supposed to be a joke. An air yakisoba. So laugh! As they talk at the park, Kouko explains she really wanted to make it herself but since she was weak under pressure, the maid took over. She thought of cancelling her family’s long vacation to Barcelona just to be with him but he wants her to go along with her family. It will be boring if she hangs out with him. Kouko seems to be hinting for a kiss but Banri is reluctant to give her one. Banri worries that at this rate Kouko might abandon him for a better man. He thought he heard the voice of ghost cursing him to be unhappy.

Episode 14
2D-kun calls Banri and talk. It includes about Mitsuo who is busy these days to hang out with them. But he thinks he has a girlfriend. This piques Kouko’s interest and as a pro stalker, today is going to be a busy day for them to stalk on Mitsuo and Chinami. They wait outside Chinami’s house. Kouko is all into it but the guys… They’re bored. Chinami comes back home surprised to see what they’re doing. So she’s not with Mitsuo? She hasn’t seen him since the start of the vacation. So whose fault was it to jump to conclusion that Mitsuo is dating Chinami? She invites them in they find it empty. Her family is in the process of moving out due to her dad’s job changing. She will be the last to move out and needs to find a place of her own to stay and save money. Thanks to that, it killed her plans for whatever she trip she wanted to go for filming. 2D-kun suggests they can go to the beach and everyone agrees to it. When they go get something to eat, they see Mitsuo and Linda together! I thought his love for Chinami was unwavering? Although everyone is surprised, Chinami wants to leave them alone for the time being. She is sure they have their reasons. On another day, Kouko goes to Chinami’s house so that they can choose a swimsuit together. She shows the one she is wearing underneath. Will this be enough to charm Banri? Another goal for them to change swimsuits together is so that in the event if they end up wearing the same one, Chinami must change! Kouko wears a very sexy bikini which alerts all the signals in Chinami that this is no-go. But the casual look Chinami opted for her swimsuit had Kouko comment she is wearing ‘pipes’. It doubles as a home wear too? I guess it’s no-go too. Chinami says that Kouko doesn’t need to worry about Banri but Kouko is worried. Sure, she’s not putting any pressure on him? She lets her know the other day she went for a kiss but Banri didn’t give it to her. Chinami seems to get the gist of what she is saying and how Banri is feeling. She says Banri is hesitating because he wants to show he really cares for her. But Kouko wonders if Banri really loves her. She is worried he will disappear and if he is still searching for himself. Will he leave her if he does? Back to the swimsuit battle, Kouko finally picks school swimsuit for the both of them. This calls for a camera moment so the girls put up some introduction, nonsense talk (Kouko spamming “I love you Banri) and funny faces in front of it. Meanwhile Mitsuo shows the pair of trunks Banri must choose to wear: An innocent pair or that Speedo pair from that party. Mitsuo talks about Linda and wonders where she is from. He wanted to invite her to the beach too but she’s back home.

Episode 15
While on their way to meet 2D-kun, Kouko wonders if Mitsuo told him anything. But Banri reminded her that they made a pact not to pry. She explains it’s not because she still has feelings for Mitsuo but is worried how Chinami would feel. Oh, she brushes off she likes that midget and hates her. Being tsundere? Banri knows one thing for sure. She is the one he loves. The duo waited at the wrong place before fuming 2D-kun picked them up. There is a crawl to pick up Chinami and the air-cond broke down. When they get there, Chinami’s handphone is out of service so Kouko goes to look for her. Seems the cafe she was had no signal. It’s been a bad day and 2D-kun thinks somebody is cursed. You don’t say… But his spirit is lifted to know that Chinami is wearing her swimsuit underneath her skirt. But the bad luck continues… A traffic jam to Mitsuo’s place. 2 hours behind time. Mitsuo could feel the standoffish feeling when he tries to talk to Chinami. The journey to the beach continues but… A huge traffic jam. Raining. Should they turn back? They’ve gotten this far. It’s still raining at the beach. Nobody around. What to do but sit and wait. Kouko needs to go to the toilet for real. Since she is wearing her swimsuit underneath, this gives Banri an idea. He tells her to strip and he puts pressure by taking off his own clothes. He wore that Speedo trunks?! Kouko gets caught in his pace as they both dance silly in the rain. Then they have the rest join them in their mad pace. Soon the sun shines and they have fun for real in the water and sand before playing sparklers at night and have their own mini fireworks. When it’s time to go home, 2D-kun is really tired and it would be dangerous for him to drive. Kouko volunteers to take over. She has a valid driving licence. Thankfully, no false start. She makes a smooth ride home as the backseat people fall comfortably asleep. Banri talks to her that it was fun for everyone to come on this trip. As for her family trip next week, he still wants her to go but just bring back a souvenir for him. Though, Kouko would have preferred much to stay back with him. When Banri dozes off, Kouko too shortly! Gasp! Nobody is watching the road!!! Banri’s spirit is furiously trying to wake himself up. So his curse went too far? This wasn’t what he wanted? The car picks up speed as we see montage of Banri’s memories. Banri suddenly wakes up and slams on the brakes on Kouko’s behalf.

Episode 16
Thanks to the railing, the car didn’t fly through the slope. But it was a bumpy ride and it woke everyone up. Yeah. Now everyone is wide awake. Kouko is in shock. Even more shock to see Chinami is bleeding on her lips due to the bump. Banri calls the police to the scene to do their investigation. Because Kouko as a minor was the driver, they have to call her parents. When they drive back to Tokyo, Kouko’s father was there to pick her up. He immediately slaps her. She cries like there is no tomorrow. Banri calls Mitsuo and he wants to meet up. On his way out, Nana beats him up because of his gloominess. It’s pissing her off so get over it. So the friends minus Kouko talk about Kouko’s family trip was cancelled. Her father met with Chinami and 2D-kun’s parents for the injury and car repairs respectively. Everyone feels responsible and guilty for what happened. Of course the reason Banri calls them here is to plan their next step. He doesn’t want to break up with her and wants to know how she is doing. Kouko hasn’t been replying their mails ever since. It is suggested to go visit Kouko at her home but Mitsuo thinks Banri should go alone because it will probably be easier for her to talk to him. Kouko’s father lets Banri in and let him into her room. Kouko is hiding under the covers of her blanket. She has become a shut-in. She is surprised to see Banri. She feels so guilty over what happened that she thinks she doesn’t have the right to see anybody. She explains for the first time she thought about what she had done and it made her realize she was stupid. She thought she was an adult who could do anything but apparently just a child. Falling asleep at the wheel was inexcusable and even more letting her parents handle the fallout. This is how immature she is.

When she says she can’t face him anymore, Banri takes it as she won’t see him anymore. He akin this to running away and not taking responsibility. So if this happens again, will she start over at her convenience and leave everyone behind? Kouko fights back. She didn’t want to hear this from him. Because he did the same too. He abandoned his past and hasn’t accepted it at all. So when he said his former self was in love with Linda, what was she supposed to do? It’s like he never had any intention to accept his past self because he left his family, friends and Linda behind. She fears she will be cut next. Because she saw it in a dream. She was driving on the highway with Banri by her side. There’s a sign to say to get off and when she does, Banri drives off and leaves her behind. She is afraid to go to sleep because each time she will dream of this. If he really loses his memories again, she really won’t know what to do if he leaves her behind. So don’t leave her. If he goes somewhere, please take her with him. Banri hugs her, admitting that he abandoned parts of himself he couldn’t accept. He promises not to run away anymore. In that moment, Banri realizes her father is watching! He can’t stop Kouko because she’s already on an apologizing and “I love you” streak. And when she realizes father is behind her, daddy became a joker to say he thought he wanted to have lunch together! Kouko throws a tantrum while father has Banri make the instant noodles for him. How can he act like this in such a time? How else should they act? They should act normal, right? This is normal? Once Banri is done, father seems to have put Kouko to bed. He lets Banri take over the watch. He sees her dreaming. It must be that dream again. He whispers not to get off this time.

Episode 17
The festival club has reserved a spot for the fireworks festival. When Banri comes in, everyone starts to act oddly nice. Banri didn’t get what’s happening after they throw a few hints to him. It seems they think he has broken up with Kouko (because they don’t answer their mails and avoid this issue when talked about). So they’re throwing this party to help him cheer up and also in hopes they won’t quit the club. When Kouko comes in, they too treat her very nicely. Then Banri tells them it was a big misunderstanding. Everyone felt so disappointed… You mean they were really hoping for it? They divert their attention to a senior who just arrived. They think he has found a job, thus attending this festival. Turns out he didn’t and just wanted a change in pace. Linda has heard about their accident from Mitsuo. They talk about the past of them lighting fireworks before he lost his memories. He has a scar on his left leg. Linda didn’t want to bring this up but mentions anyway that there is a class reunion. She thought he won’t be coming and thus didn’t want to say. But if he turns up, it will show to everyone that he’s alright since they have been worried about him. Kouko wants Banri to attend. And so he will. Later Banri and Kouko talk. He feels nervous if his friends are expecting the old Banri. When she told him the other day that he too was abandoning his family and friends, it made him resolved to face his past. Kouko thinks she has got to see the whole Banri. She thought she couldn’t accept him before and only saw the Banri she wanted to see. When he said not to get off the car, it made her realize she was really in love with him. She doesn’t care the sides she doesn’t know or like and will be fine for who he is. So go see who he was in the past and then tell her about it. She gives him a little kiss on the lips. While Banri leaves for Shizuoka, Kouko helps Chinami unpack her stuffs in the new apartment she has found. It took the whole day so she slept over. Mitsuo and Linda are working at the same place. He notes she needs to go home again and realizes she comes from the same place as Banri. She doesn’t seem too pleased when he teases her. Kouko treats Mitsuo and 2D-kun. But Mitsuo asks 2D-kun about the place Banri came from. He is unsure but Mitsuo is surprised to learn about Banri’s first accident that got him hospitalized. 2D-kun doesn’t have the details since he vaguely heard about them during their stint at the cult. When Mitsuo asks Kouko about this, she shrugs it off that she knows anything about it but he doesn’t look convinced.

Episode 18
Now that Banri is gone for a while, Kouko lingers around his room. She’s throwing a tantrum and trying to hold back herself from doing anything perverted. It made her do some weird body contorting move… Exorcist! And then… Nana saw her in that pose! Oh sh*t!!! I guess she heard some ‘weird’ noises and came to check out. Because she was so impressed by her Exorcist move, she wants her to come work for her concert using that pose as her theme will be fear. Kouko quickly denies everything and that she can barely move in that. She’ll do anything but that and almost strangles Nana to death because she doesn’t want her to tell Banri about this. So Nana has her stay put while she goes out shopping. Soon, a yakuza dude comes banging on the door asking for money. Frightened Kouko hides in the closet but yakuza guy breaks down the door and searches the place. When he opens the closet, he gets the biggest scare of his life because Kouko is doing that Exorcist move!!! Then she whacks him out with her handbag. As revealed, it was all a plan by Nana. She became her guinea pig and it worked. They’ll feature yakuza crashing into her next concert. This yakuza dude is her bassist. Oh, she moved quite well in her Exorcist, didn’t she? Kouko screams for Banri’s return… He can’t hear you… Once Linda arrives at Banri’s home, Brother drives them to school. This gorilla is the most emotional dude to see this guy. Because Banri is still afraid of his classmates expecting the old him, Linda has him close his eyes and lead him by his hand. And then he realized he has been short-changed because somehow Linda swapped out with another guy. Embarrassed?

Everyone is glad Banri is back and they begin by playing dodgeball. Something about an unsettled grudge between Banri and Linda back then. The highlights of the match are Banri tricking Linda and slamming the ball in her face and Linda paying back the favour dearly. Everybody chats with Banri and talk about his old strange habits which seem more fiction than fact. However they’re all true. Fact is stranger than fiction, they say. The teacher is also glad to see Banri and they all take pictures together. That night Banri walks back with Linda and he talks about living and moving forward. He doesn’t want to be controlled by what happened to him. Linda is glad he felt that way as she was worried what would become of him. Although his past self is still part of him, he has chosen to be what he wanted to be. He is who he is. He explains that during the near-death experience with Kouko and friends, he heard a voice that made him wake up and slam the brakes. It was her message from back then that reached him. Banri wants to take a picture of the bridge where he got into an accident to show Kouko. When he gets there, it seems the past re-enacts itself. He saw himself been bumped off when a scooter zooms past him. Banri tries to save himself but his old self lets himself go. In the process, his mirror broke and he wonders if his memories are returning.

Episode 19
Banri explains what he experienced to the doctor. Of course he couldn’t find anything wrong. Banri has a feeling he is fighting with his past self. Because he tried to disappear back into the darkness, he deduces he won’t try to take over his body again. Kouko is going to relish her reunion with Banri but the rest of the friends beat her to it. So everyone has a welcome back party for him. Chinami has cut her hair. Mitsuo requests a favour from Banri and Kouko. He is doing an independent filming for his club and would like to film his festival club. He admits there is a girl there he wants to get closer with although he knows it’s completely one-sided. Later Banri tells Mitsuo that they know about him and Linda as they saw them once. Mitsuo also says that he felt something suspicious between Banri and Linda. She was very worried when he told her about the accident and that they’re from Shizuoka. He wants to know if he is hiding something important. Banri is in a dilemma to tell him. But when he made up his mind to, Mitsuo drops the case and apologizes for pressuring him. Kouko doesn’t go berserk since Banri’s mirror broke. Since he is alright, she is okay. When Banri left for Tokyo, his mom gave him her ring to give to Kouko. But he is hesitating to give it to her as it would seem like a proposal. He thinks too far into the future all the ‘troubles’ he might get into in marriage. Like her dad… Kouko gives him a present. She artistically made something while he is away. What the heck is that? Banri couldn’t guess it, how can we? So have you figured out what is this ‘club’ thingy? It’s the Eiffel Tower! Holy cow!

Then it’s like Kouko’s horny switch flipped on so she hints she wants to do something that will take them into adulthood. She starts off aggressive. Banri, if you skip this chance you’re a jerk! He didn’t. Now it’s his turn to get aggressive. However it is interrupted with Kouko trying to swallow back her vomit (because she at too much) and it ends with the ‘Eiffel Tower’ dropping on her head. That really killed off the mood. Literally, ‘Paris’ got her… She laments she couldn’t make things more romantic and feels she belongs to this place more than her own home. Banri wants to take things at their own pace. Mitsuo is given permission to film the festival club in their practice for upcoming activities. Some girls want to hit on him. But Linda isn’t too pleased and gives him the cold shoulder. In the end, he couldn’t get a chance to talk to her. After practice, Banri goes to talk to Linda to find out why she is so upset. She tells him to figure it out himself. So Linda’s anger made Banri pissed off which makes Linda even more pissed off. Huh? So when they calm down, she explains it’s not that she wants to ignore him. Mitsuo had treated her several times before and it dawned to her why is he so happy being with her. Thinking he sees her as valuable, she got scared as she couldn’t tell why he is interested in her. She doesn’t think she has what it takes to be that attractive and wants to keep a distance. They talk about the ring Banri’s mom gave him and if Mitsuo knows that they were quite close in the past. They are interrupted when Chinami wants to speak to Banri. Now it’s her turn to be upset. She chides him for being close to Linda as she is the girl Mitsuo likes. He shouldn’t be this close to her. She thinks Kouko will feel bad if she sees them like this. Wouldn’t you feel bad for her? She calls him the worst. What’s her problem?

Episode 20
Banri tells what happened to Kouko. She believes in him so he is fine. He thinks the mood now is perfect to give the ring but realizes he forgot to bring it. Back home, he wonders who else he could get advice from for the ring. Chinami is definitely out. Next morning, coincidentally he and Nana take the same train to college. She needs her attendance points. But seeing she’s so grumpy and moody, there is no way he can ask. She mentions about Kouko being funny… The Exorcist… When all the friends meet, Chinami instantly takes Kouko away to buy some rare Belgian chocolates on sale. Banri notices Chinami ignored him. Mitsuo is still lamenting he hasn’t had a decent conversation with Linda because it seems all the club members are trying to ‘protect’ her. Each time he approaches, she is somehow taken away. Later when Banri and Kouko hang out, he mentions about that Exorcist thingy. Oh no! Her face turns blue. She quickly changes subject that they should attend Nana’s concert some time. She hopes their days could stay like this forever and Banri feels the need to quickly hand her the ring. With cheeky Sao-chan and Shi-chan back in the picture, I suppose Banri can get the much needed ‘advice’. Those ‘experts’ explain the meaning of giving a ring to a girl. I don’t know if they’re encouraging him or putting him off. They dramatically over-react when they learn the ring was worn by his mom. It means mommy wants him to bring his girlfriend home and show off the ring on her finger. Mitsuo is in another filming of the festival club. Again, he fails to talk to Linda. Banri and Kouko feel for him. Kouko tells Banri that whenever she talks to Chinami about him, she would change subject and leave. They think they should leave her alone for a while. The festival club is holding another dance with other colleges in public. Kouko is not nervous anymore. During the dance, Banri suddenly loses all his memories. It resets to the time he was on the bridge waiting for Linda. He gets scared what the heck he is doing here. In his panic, he screams and run away. Everyone couldn’t understand what is happening but they have to continue dancing. Linda and Kouko run after him. Linda finds him cowering in some dark corner. When she mentions Kouko is waiting for him, his memories gradually come back. Clearly Banri is still shaken and trembling. He thinks his past self is trying to take back his body and his existence again.

Episode 21
Banri takes some medication but he is still worried his current self will disappear. Thanks to that little ruckus, many other colleges don’t want to deal with the festival club as what happened dampened the festival spirit. Besides, some of the seniors didn’t practised their dance well enough and made mistakes. Though, Banri blames himself for all that has happened. Kouko knows something is wrong with him despite Banri assuring everything is alright. Don’t give her that crap. It’s like he wants to run away again. He tells her about his fear that he will disappear without anyone knowing. Kouko thinks he is worried that he hasn’t told anyone about this because it might change the way they think about him. She assures she will be there for him no matter what. That kiss seals it. Banri and Kouko plan to gather their friends for a party at his place. Kouko’s bringing Kobe beef, so it’s your lost if you don’t come. After convincing 2D-kun, Banri goes to find Mitsuo as he is collecting dried leaves for his movie club. Chinami is also helping but she isn’t happy to see Banri. She continues to be upset with him although she insists she isn’t and was just upset that it was a mistake to cut her hair. I guess the Kobe beef got her attention but that doesn’t change how she treats him. Chinami seems to be the first to arrive. Because there is something she wants to tell him. Earlier she saw Linda at Nana’s door. She went to chide her for wanting to do something with Banri. But when Nana wonders what she is doing with her guest, Chinami felt embarrassed she jumped to conclusions and tried to pick a fight with her. That night when Banri was talking to Linda, she felt happy in the sense that if Linda doesn’t like Mitsuo, it’s all clear for her. Yes, she likes Mitsuo. She regrets it the moment she realized he was in love with someone else. So she pretended she didn’t care and cut her hair. But she still felt hurt. She wants him to record her stupid self now. That’s when Banri also wants to tell her something. But he wanted to wait for everyone so he could tell the whole story.

And then it happened again. The old Banri returns. He becomes frantic in this unfamiliar place and yells to Linda for help. Chinami rushes next door to get her. Mentioning Kouko’s name seems to bring back his memories. Then he panics. He doesn’t want Kouko to know about this and begs Linda. Nana slaps him for losing his senses. But he continues to panic. Realizing others are watching, he runs away. Out in the streets, he bumps into Mitsuo but continues running. He goes after him and calls 2D-kun to cut him off. Once he has calmed down, the guys sit down and talk. Banri mentions the gathering was to tell them all something. He has been thinking for a while about this but the right moment just didn’t come up. He is afraid of disappearing without anyone noticing, something which is worse than death. They might not really understand what is going on so they promise to do something about it when that happens. Besides, Kouko will always find him, right? Yeah, stalker girl… When Banri goes home, he finds a note from Kouko that the girls had Kobe beef next door and since Chinami said not to say a word, she didn’t pursue the matter. Next day Banri finds out more from Chinami herself. She told Kouko he ran away and it seemed she didn’t panic like she would. Banri wants Chinami to film what he wants to say. He is going to leave a message for his future self that he once existed so that he won’t lose his old self again when he looks back. He doesn’t know how much longer he can stay this way but he views Kouko as his light. If he loses his way, he is sure he can return to her and come back to life again and again. That’s why he wants her to trust and wait for him. When Banri finally gives her the ring, Kouko refuses she cannot accept it. She cannot promise a future with him. She hadn’t said anything until now but it’s high time he knows it. Remember her plan to attend this college just for Mitsuo? Yeah. That was her plan from the start. Goodbye. Poor Banri. Shell shocked! That’s what you call a blonde bombshell… Actually Kouko is more of a brunette.

Episode 22
Banri thought Kouko was joking so he waited and didn’t move. She never returned. Her father picks him up, though. But he thinks this is part of his ploy to keep them away. He tells Banri that he himself isn’t chasing after Kouko and not even telling him to let him see her. Instead of facing her, it’s like she’s waiting for her to change her mind and return. He also mentions Kouko asked him the meaning when one takes anti-anxiety medication and that might the reason Kouko reconsidered their relationship. Nana finds Banri alone outside. She knows about his case because Linda told her about it a long time ago. She never asked because she was in no place to get involved. When Banri feels like he wants to die, Nana warns him if he does that, she’ll kill him. Isn’t that the same? Don’t take life lightly. Nana talks about the harsh facts of life but after learning Kouko broke up with him, she starts feeling sorry and started to hate herself for ignoring and making light of him. She wants him to go home and rest. Tomorrow, try talking to Kouko again. She’ll help out whenever she can. Next morning, Banri bumps into Kouko and she seems to be pretty normal talking and apologizing to him. So everything is alright now? But when all the friends gather as usual, Kouko drops the bombshell that she has broken up with Banri. Wait. That was real? Banri cannot accept this. Since when did they break up? Oh, you mean he doesn’t remember? He lost his memory? Kouko claims they did talk about it yesterday and has already lost interest in him. She talked to him this morning because it was a form of apology. Now they have returned to being just friends. Mitsuo tells Banri not to accept this but Kouko warns that if they won’t let this go, she’ll avoid all of them. In fact, she doesn’t care about classes or college anymore. Now she’s mad at everything and everybody. Shocking?

Chinami thinks she knows what triggers this. When Banri had that fit in his room the other evening, it was all captured on her camera. Though the girls were having Kobe beef next door, Kouko returned to his room to get something and saw the camera. She must have seen the part whereby Banri screamed aloud of not wanting Kouko to see this. Banri knows it is all over. Nothing he does will help as Kouko knows everything even before they were dating. As for the recording he recorded for his future self, he lets Chinami do anything with it. He even cheekily mentions that they are now members of the broken hearts club. Banri tells this to Linda and she doesn’t take this well. They end up arguing. Collar grabbing. Sumo pushing. Hair pulling. Linda cannot accept this but to Banri, Kouko gave up on him and there is nothing more he can do. Banri fears his disappearance is coming closer and closer but Linda asserts she is always here to believe in him. Banri accuses her of not accepting who he was initially. Although she was late that day, he should have waited for her and not get into the accident (was this possible?). If she could, she wants to go back and redo that day. Unlike her, he still has time. When Mitsuo comes in, Banri lets everything out of the bag. About his relationship with Linda that goes back to high school and the accident that caused him to lose his memories of everything. Linda also views it is her fault. Kouko comes in to hand her resignation from the club. Banri snatches it from her but she doesn’t care and leaves.

Episode 23
Banri catches up to Kouko for an explanation. She says it’s an important place to him that’s why she’s letting him have it. Banri realizes it was his own fault for being pathetic. Realizing she has saw what happened in the camera, he reveals his memories have been returning lately at the expense of those after the accident. He might return to his old self and probably she wanted to break up with him because she knew about that. She couldn’t handle it. He asserts he loves her and can never hate her so please don’t distance herself from their friends. Although they officially break up, they still remain friends. Kouko hopes that as long as he doesn’t forget her, she’ll stay with him for the rest of his life. They bump into Linda who is looking for Mitsuo. He too took off. Linda also doesn’t want Kouko to underestimate her because Kouko told her to look after Banri when she disappears. She won’t do that. Kouko revoked her resignation to the club and Banri went to Mitsuo’s place and left a note. But he never called back. He even skipped classes and this made the chance of patching things up bleak. As the cultural festival approaches, one day when Kouko greets Banri, he just sat there spaced out. She felt so sad and ran away. 2D-kun didn’t understand what the heck was happening because he was just spacing out like it wasn’t his problem. He didn’t even realize Kouko was there! 2D-kun tries to get more information from Chinami but she cannot say much as she doesn’t know the exact details. Since he continues to feel excluded, 2D-kun summons everyone (minus Mitsuo) and wants to hang out tonight despite tomorrow is the festival. He throws a tantrum about that hang out code their gang had and wants it done because the group is falling apart. Banri agrees to come and will explain everything then. Kouko will bring Mitsuo and knows how to trick him into coming.

That night as Banri waits, Kouko and Mitsuo (he fell for the ‘emergency’ trick) meet up with him but Banri lost his memories. Reverting back to his old self, he is screaming like a baby of this unfamiliar place and shouting Linda’s name. Not even Kouko’s name could bring him back to his senses. Seems like there is some Banri-in-old-mode antenna in Linda as she quickly goes over to soothe him. Well, she was watching him for a while and feared something like this might happen. Linda brings him back in the taxi and that’s when his memories return. They pass by the store they were supposed to gather and Banri sees Kouko’s excruciating crying face. Back home, he calls his mom about seeing a doctor and can’t live here anymore. But he hopes she can come for the festival tomorrow. Next morning, he wakes up to find Nana sleeping next to him! Did he do her in?! Nana punches him in the head. Did he forget? Linda told him not to lock the door in case something happened. She was staying at Nana’s place and in the dead of the night, Nana went to check on him but seeing his peaceful sleeping face, she couldn’t resist sleeping next to him. Banri had not told his friends that he is moving out soon. He has also written a bunch of important notes that contain detail of his current memories. As the festival club prepares itself, the president of the private school committee comes in to talk to them. He has seen the footage Mitsuo put together from filming the club. Noting that they were working hard, he felt wrong to have not helped them. To make it up to them, he is lending them the costumes and instruments they need. This gives the much needed boost to the club. Banri and Mitsuo talk and made up. Mitsuo was really worried of losing sight of him but found him. He will continue to watch him so he won’t disappear (that context itself sounds creepy) and will always be waiting for him. As the festival proceeds smoothly, seems Banri has accepted his fate of losing his current self. What matters to him now is that he is alive in the present. After the festival, he reverted to his old self and lost all memories since the accident.

Episode 24
Banri has gone home for good. Mitsuo gives Kouko the broken mirror from Banri that probably fell out while he packed. It made her weep uncontrollably. Now that the old Banri is back, he doesn’t have a single memory of the time he spent in Tokyo. Not even the notes helped. Nothing. The ring accidentally dropped from his pocket and off the bridge. He checks his email to find lots of spam. But mostly they are from Kouko to ask if he remembers. Those ‘romantic’ words did creep him out. He doesn’t want to think too much about her since she dumped him, right? Al least that’s what the notes said. Oddly, there are replies from him which he never made so he thought somebody was using his name to make the replies so he replies back not to do so. Strangely enough, a reply comes back saying he won’t stop! Creepy! I hope it’s not his ghost mailing him from the other side! Banri and Linda’s relationship continues to be the same. He still loves her but Linda has not given him an answer probably to maintain this balance. One day, Kouko pops up at Banri’s home to return his DVDs. Banri thinks she is Chinami. Kouko doesn’t mind playing along with this since she is glad to see he is okay. He hands her back the mirror, thinking it is hers. She asks for directions to that ‘famous’ bridge and leaves. Banri felt something odd about the mirror and goes back to check his stuff. There is another set lying in the box but it is not broken. He realizes this is not his. Then memories of Kouko flashes through his mind. Then he rushes out to find Kouko. Did his memories return? Well, he was running so fast and clumsily that Linda had to throw him proper sneakers to wear.

When he reaches the bridge, it’s like he entered some alternate dimension of his mind. He confronts his other self. I don’t know who is who anymore. Which Banri is which. Is this the old Banri or the new version? I’m so confused? Anyway, one of the Banri is lashing to the other about being impatient and not noticing, the reason he gave up on everything and decided to stay hidden. Suddenly Linda comes running to hug this complaining Banri. Her answer to him is yes. Yes, she loves him. It is a yes to everything about him. Even his relationship with Kouko is a yes. It’s like as though peace has been made. Waiting after all this time has been worthwhile. He gives the other Banri the dropped ring and says goodbye. So when Banri returns to reality, he calls out to Kouko’s name and hugs her. Kouko is happy he didn’t forget her and they make a new promise to be together for the rest of their lives. Kouko asserts she won’t leave him and most importantly loves him. What is Banri’s reaction after her kiss? He laughs! Oh yeah. Everything that has happened seemed like a big joke now, no? And so they made up, blah, blah, blah and since there are lots of things that happened during his absence, she can tell him all about it back at his home. She accepts the ring he gives her. As later revealed, 2D-kun was the one who sent those emails acting as Banri. While he was helping him move out, he caught glimpse of the important notes that contained the user name and password of his email. Kouko learnt about this and didn’t like it so they got into an argument. But 2D-kun’s rational is that he once abandoned Banri during that cult night and won’t give up on him this time. Kouko too must have felt the same way so why isn’t she going crazy like her usual self? That got her going. All the friends continue to be together. Linda doesn’t spite Mitsuo so much and more importantly, Banri and Kouko together. Ah, golden time indeed.

Remember The Time
From the looks of the good happy ending, it seems Banri’s old self won’t be returning or bothering his current self again. Happily gone over to the other side? Made peace with himself? So all he needed was just an answer from Linda? Seems simple enough to make us go if she had gave her answer from the beginning, everything would have been somewhat solved. So theoretically if Linda never gave that yes answer, he’ll forever be going back and forth with this hell. Maybe this wouldn’t have happened if he had not taken those anti-anxiety medications. Because logically, the side effects may have caused him to hallucinate and lose his memories. You know, adding more chemicals into your system is like putting in more toxins.

For an anime that is supposed to be romantic comedy in nature, it was a little surprised that they added his spirit and made it a little supernatural. At first I thought this was just a joke or a figment of his imagination but when it gets apparent that the ghost of himself was real, it just feels weird. At one point it got me thinking about it and I almost scared myself. What is worse than having a ghost watching over you? Having a ghost of yourself watching over you! Yikes! I hope there’s none for me as I type this. I hope. I didn’t lose any memories, didn’t I? Although I have a bad memory and can’t remember many things so this doesn’t count, right? Right?! I suppose this aspect of the supernatural element makes it a little different from other romantic comedy animes that some would resort to fanservice of panties flashing and the likes. Thankfully this show doesn’t have any of those or else it would have felt cheap.

Banri comes across as a normal ordinary guy, the kind of protagonist that majority of everybody would draw up for any kind of romantic comedy genre. He doesn’t have anything outstanding or notable except for the fact that he has this memory relapse thingy. And so it gives rise to some sort of twisted love triangle because his old self still loves the old girl while his new self has already fallen for the fashionable high class lady. Sometimes seeing Banri losing his memories is just awfully painful (of the sympathetic kind). When this problem crops up too often in the later episodes, it’s like as though his past self has taken a trip to the future as he suddenly finds himself with unfamiliar surroundings. Then it takes some time or some sort of trigger for his ‘new’ memories to come back. It’s like somebody up there is screwing with his mind and having fun seeing him make such reactions. Yeah, his grimacing in anguish was really heart-breaking. Thankfully with his good friends around and their perseverance, Banri has gotten all the support he needs to be where he is now. I understand that initially he didn’t want to tell this problem to his friends out of fear that he would be ridiculed. But looks like it got worse off since eventually he himself can’t remember. So… Silence is not always golden.

On a trivial note, I guess with Banri’s memories problems, I suppose he can get away with not remembering birthdays and anniversary dates! Haha! But would he even be forgiven if he forgot the woman he married? I don’t even want to think about it. But having such memory loss seems like a great idea and excuse if your wife comes nagging with a long face if you have forgotten some sort of important date that you should always remember. And no, it is not the date of the next important football match. Somehow after watching this show, Banri’s failed memories made me want to sing Michael Jackson’s Remember The Time… Do you remember the time/ When we fell in love/ Do you remember the time/ When we first met girl…

Kouko is the best girl of the series. At first she gives off this stalker feeling when she is constantly bugging to be with Mitsuo. She is so good in stalking him that she can even tell apart his things by just a glance. She isn’t easily broken down and is always doing things her way until much later when she falls in love with Banri and that near fatal car accident that made her wake up a little. There are times where she shows her weak and feminine side, indicating that she isn’t always the perfect girl. Perhaps Kouko’s approach in being persistent was wrong. Being persistent is good but too much of it makes her like a stalker. Was it the reason Mitsuo wanted to get away from her? I can imagine if she became his nagging wife if he never breaks free from it. Her perfect life. His nightmare. If this wasn’t a RomCom and Kouko persistently continued pursuing Mitsuo, she might have become yandere potential! But one man’s poison is another man’s meat. Mitsuo’s reject becomes the desire for Banri. It was with mixed feelings that for someone who always had Mitsuo on her mind to suddenly shift her attention to Banri. Of course, this is what the direction of this show is. Heck, Banri gives her proper attention better than Mitsuo so I guess there’s a time to give up. And so Kouko learns in this painful lesson of life and love that nothing really goes according to what you plan. Sometimes it’s good to make some modifications or take an entirely new path. Who knows what you’ll find? And look what good it did to her? I believe that Kouko is happier now with Banri as opposed if she was stuck onto Mitsuo.

Kouko is a funny girl. Many of the funny moments in this series are stem from her especially when her emotions start to fluctuate. She’s funny in her dominating haughty personality, she is funny when she throws a tantrum and she sure is funny when she is freaking out. Her most unforgettable and funniest moment? EXORCIST! That was a classic! It’s amazing how a human’s body can contort in ways you thought it was impossible. But not funny when she is crying or being sad. Watching her in that was just painful and heart-breaking.

Other supporting characters do well but lack the attention and focus that the series mainly gives to Banri and Kouko. Most of the character development and progression is on them although overall the development of the characters is satisfactory and adequate. A little side budding romance between Mitsuo, Linda and Chinami but nothing too deep or anything concrete. It is after all, a Banri-Kouko series and ending. Although I find it strange that Mitsuo who has always been charmed by Chinami to suddenly shift his focus to Linda. Maybe that rejection hit him hard so he didn’t want to pursue it anymore and quickly found a new one. Banri and Kouko’s friends do a fine job in supporting each other and especially the duo. Good friends and good pals always stay together, right? Linda probably has played the most important support role for Banri. She’s always there for him whenever he is lost or loses himself. Even 2D-kun in the end did something for Banri to bring him back so he isn’t that all just a useless member of the group. Nana is the coolest character of the series because she doesn’t give a damn and is always in her own pace. She won’t be dominated and if she doesn’t like it (even though she doesn’t understand it), she gives you a whack and tells you to solve it or get over with it. Nobody goes against her because if you do, she’ll give you that ‘what-the-hell-did-you-say’ vicious look and you’d be turning your tail and decision in a split second. I later found out that she isn’t really a character from that Nana anime series but a person who just dresses up like that anime character. Like paying homage or something.

The art and drawing are quite good too seeing this anime was produced by J.C. Staff, an anime production company that has been around for a long time and responsible for producing many good animes in this romance genre like Ano Natsu De Matteru, Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo and Kaichou Wa Maid-sama. So here is another feather they can add to their cap. On a trivial note, most of the mid-intermissions feature Kouko in a different outfit and supposedly the dress of the episode. Perhaps this is what Kouko would be if she pursued to be a fashion designer instead of being a lawyer. The way she dresses to college makes her look like a fashionable girl instead of an advocate or barrister wannabe. Heck, I don’t feel that the lessons they attend in this college amounted to study anything law (aside lectures in college, what we mostly see is the festival club) so it never crossed my mind that they are actually law students and just ordinary college students until I think about it. Other mid-intermissions would feature other girls and sometimes the mirror. Eh? What?

So one of the important lessons is that when you are hesitating about loving someone or replying to someone’s love, as seen here it is best to go for it or you will forever lose that chance. See how Linda liked Banri but couldn’t say it. Then she almost lost him physically and lost out to Kouko. No matter how much it pains her that she wants to redo it, she has to bite the bullet and move on. It is pretty much similar for Chinami’s case too. She didn’t take Mitsuo’s confession seriously at first. And then when it is revealed that she really likes him, she started to have regrets. Now that he has his eyes on Linda, can’t do anything about it, can’t she? That’s why whenever such opportunity arises, be sure to take the plunge. The risk and pain of rejection is always there but it is better than regretting it later on for not doing so and no use pondering that what ifs.

Yui Horie as Kouko suits her character very much. I guess when you have over a decade of voice acting under your belt, you tend to be a professional in what you do. So voicing a sweet and lovely girl in my opinion is what suits her voice best. Sometimes I have a feeling that this show pays some sort of tribute to her because there are a handful of scenes that her Miss Monochrome character (a character that she personally created and designed) appears as cameo in some scenes. It is not obvious but you do have to keep your eyes peeled. The most surprising voice acting casting goes to Satomi Satou as Nana. I could never imagine her playing such a badass role after hearing her voice usually for sweet innocent/soft-spoken girls like Chitanda in Hyouka and Wendy in Fairy Tail. The most I ever heard her was cheeky ones like Ritsu in K-ON! So hearing her as Nana was something that blew my mind away. Other voice acting casts include Makoto Furukawa as Banri (Smoking Thunder in Log Horizon), Ai Kayano as Linda (Inori in Guilty Crown), Kaito Ishikawa as Mitsuo (Ledo in Suisei No Gargantia), Ibuki Kido as Chinami (Natsuki in Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku) and Takahiro Hikami as 2D-kun (Makoto Sakurai in Nichijou). I have a feeling that Sao-chan and Shi-chan are named after their seiyuus, Saori Goto (Bara Suishou in Rozen Maiden Traumend) and Shizuka Itou (Suzuna in Inu To Hasami Wo Tsukaiyou) respectively.

It would be such a waste to have a talented singer like Yui Horie voicing the main role but not let her sing any of the anime’s themes. In fact, she sings all the opening and ending themes! That’s good, right? She is just as much a good and experienced singer as well as a voice actress. But after hearing them, it gives off that one-kind feeling because you know, too much Yui Horie and her typical singing voice that is more of less sounding the same. The first opening theme (which is the same name of this series) is most probably my favourite and personally the best one of this series. Yui Horie in her trademark sweet and natural voice sings this anime pop in quite a lovely fashion. The first ending theme, Sweet and Sweet Cherry isn’t all too bad either but it’s a slightly slower pace than Golden Time. It is the same fluffy feeling of Yui Horie goodness in the second ending theme, Haneikyuu-teki Ni Aishite Yo. The second opening theme, The World’s End is probably (it is) the oddest one. Starting off like a solo tune from an orgel, it slowly descends into some heavy loud orchestra strings. Actually calling it music is somewhat inaccurate. Noise sounds more appropriate. The background music was loud and cacophony enough that it drowned out the singer’s voice. Even if you could hear her voice, it sounds like a big mismatch. Something feels like she’s rushing the notes and not in tune with the music. I guess when you have an apocalyptic song title, the harmony needs to match it as well. In fact, all of the themes’ lyrics are about Kouko’s feelings and insecurities about love.

Overall, this anime has an excellent has amazing romance, and drama to keep you in for the 2 dozen episodes. It has his fair share of giving us a roller coaster ride of emotions from funny comedic moments and heart-breaking break-ups to bitter rejection and jealousy. The plot overall may look like a simple love story and the little supernatural element may have cause some to feel awkward. A ghost of your past coming back to haunt you which is no other person but yourself? Might as well make the other self the another you from a different parallel dimension. But the human mind and feelings can be very complicated so let’s not go there. As seen here, love can ultimately change everyone and everything. For better or worse that depends. So give this anime a try and have a golden time watching-cum-experiencing it.

Love Lab

June 15, 2014

Imagine if love was only that easy. You won’t need to be embarrassed with screw ups or feel the pain in your heart if you ever get rejected or dumped. Love is a natural process part of life but that doesn’t mean we all know what to do about it in such nail biting and do-or-die moments. That’s why we need some sort of class to learn and experiment with love and hook up with the opposite sex. Folks, welcome to Love Lab. A special class where you get to learn different approaches and tactics on how to nail that guy of your dreams.  At least, this is what a group of girls in this anime are trying to do. Doesn’t it show that they are desperate to get a guy? Doesn’t it show that they are just losers because they are already in high school and they have yet to get one? Oh, did I mention that they are in an all-girls’ high school? Probably that answers why they’re feeling deprived. Well, at least they are being straight normal girls rather than turning yuri. Yeah. I prefer it that way. However as you know, things in love don’t really go according to plan so there’ll be ups and downs, hilarious and embarrassing moments just to get a boyfriend. And they have to do this interesting lesson in secret without letting the school know. You don’t want your reputation to be downgraded to a slut, right?

Episode 1
At the prestigious Fujisaki Girls’ Academy, the girls are particularly swooning over Riko Kurahashi since her tomboyish nature makes her the slick badass of the school. There is also the student council president, Natsuo Maki who is pretty and gets top grades. Enough to skip a heart beat or two. Or perhaps even more. Riko has studied so hard for a year and yet she feels bored. She wants to see some exciting stuff. She gets her wish when she was told to take documents to the student council room. She sees Maki kissing a hug pillow of a boy (let’s call him Dutchy). How do you explain that? Practising kissing? Maki becomes embarrassed that her life is over. Is she brave enough to kill herself? There’s always the other option… Bribe her with tea? Riko promises not to tell anyone and that she too has done something similar. Maki gets the wrong idea that she is experienced (because she was boasting about it) and wants her help in love lessons. The bread in the mouth cliché didn’t work because Riko almost get killed by Maki’s speed. Maki really thinks she is a love expert from the way she gives her ‘advice’. In truth, either the boy confesses to her he likes her best friend or they see her as a friend whom they can easily talk to. Maki thought her troublesome role is done for the day but the next day she is surprised to see that Riko will serve as an advisor to the student council president. Here’s the exciting life she wished for. Since resigning won’t be an option, I guess Riko has to reluctantly play on. More love lessons. Even the simple hand holding practice, Maki somehow pisses Riko off with her twisted interpretation.

Riko notices Maki doing all the work. What happened to the rest? Well, Maki was previously the vice but since she was always doing the work, the ex-president threw a tantrum and gave her the post. The treasurer was good at handling money but since she had very suspicious motives, she was banned from the room. The clerk is a very shy person. So much so Maki has never seen her before. And no, she’s not a fairy. She really exists. Well, the student council is indeed a place for weirdoes. Next day, Maki screws up and sends the love lessons report to the staff room. Before the teachers could read it, she and Riko recollect them back. This reinforces the need for Riko to be her advisor. Later they practice dropping the handkerchief event. But as usual, Maki is such an airhead that it makes you wonder if she was really the top girl that everybody sees her to be. Another day, Riko is just fresh getting reprimanded by the teacher about her hair band and was told to be more like Maki. It’s like putting salt on injury when she sees Maki trying to reveal her nape in an alluring way. If only the teacher knew… Riko helps Maki tie her hair. She dances happily and twirls around till she almost pukes. Riko tells her to act more graceful because her fan girls will cry if they see her like this. Then they heard a thud. Suzune Tanahashi stumbled upon her way out. On no. Busted. Eyewitness. She’s the clerk, right? Not according to Maki. She’s a fairy…

Episode 2
It has been 2 days since the incident. Maki thinks Suzune hates her because she would have preferred if she laughed at her instead. On the other hand, Suzune thinks they’re mad at her for peeking at their secret activity. Riko looks for her but she runs away to the toilet. Riko seeks an explanation. She wasn’t spying on them. She went in when nobody was around to do some work but to her surprise, Maki came in so she hid. The rest was history. Riko says it would be better if she goes to apologize. Suzune opens the closet and Dutchy falls over her. Maki is more concern that Dutchy is cheating on her! They realize Suzune is a klutz when she starts looking for her glasses. It’s right on top of her head. Maki wants her to teach the way for the klutz. She could be popular that way. Does she care about her perfect image? Suzune finds the duo arguing to be cute and finds the gap in Maki’s personality to be adorable. Suzune becomes interested to be part of the love lessons and since they have very high hopes, Riko can’t let them down and continues with her exaggeration. Next day, Riko and Suzune almost get a heart attack when Maki is collapsed on the floor. It’s just a ploy to get somebody to carry her like a princess. Since the noobs have no experience in what a princess carry is all about, Riko tells them about it from her experience and it only enhances their perception the love master she is. And so Riko teaches them to be cuter by making their body lighter. Tighten your stomach muscles, look down… She just made that up, did she?

Riko and Suzune receive a few harassment letters but why is Maki smiling? They’re actually from Yuiko “Eno” Enomoto, the ex-student council president and she’s spying from across their building like a stalker. She is in cohorts with Sayori Mizushima who happens to be the treasurer. Sayori has spied on their latest activity and reports back to Eno. Eno is going to show everyone who is the real student council president. First, she tries to reprimand a couple of students but she sounds so scary like a villain. Would it have been easier if she just announces her intention to go back? I mean, legally she is still the president, right? Eno starts throwing a tantrum with lots of excuses. She tried to talk to the teacher but she was told Maki was doing a fine job. She was so pissed that she started spying and blackmail them. She ropes in Sayori to help get back their posts. With money as motivation of course. Now they look like villains and ruining their own reputation instead of their enemies’. Maki and Riko talk about Sayori as an elusive person and what do you know? She pops up holding Dutchy in her hands! Who is this? Suzune cooks up the greatest lie ever. Baron Dabadaba. Their guardian god. Right now, Riko wished that she would stop talking and Maki to stop adding fuel to the fire. When Maki mentions Dutchy is an expensive pillow her parents bought, Sayori wants to sell it. Money eyes. Riko tussles with her for Dutchy and accidentally the pillow flies away. Desperate Maki jumps to save it. Sayori leaves and returns to Eno. To the latter’s dismay, she has declared war on them.

Episode 3
Maki acts defensively but she looks so silly sneaking around. Later Maki ambiguously tells Riko she wants to do it with her because it feels so lonely doing it by herself every day. I wonder how many students who heard that nearly got a heart attack. Actually what she wants is to practice a marathon. The running kind. While the trio are doing that, Eno sees this opportunity to harass Maki and make some “Your dad’s in lingerie” comment. Because she is from the top and the sun blocking out her face, they couldn’t well see who it is. Eno takes this as an insult that they think nothing of her. The lingerie insult goes on for a while… Since this isn’t working, Eno and Sayori try to look for any weaknesses in the student council room. Inside the cabinet, there is a file without any label. Love lessons summary. Eno has a plan to print copies of this and show it during the committee meeting. Next day, Maki collapses for real. As said by the infirmary nurse, she did overwork herself. Maki feels guilty that she knew about it and yet she didn’t do anything about it. She then confronts Sayori and begs her to return as the treasurer. She will but with a condition that Eno be reinstated as the president. The duo are childhood friends. But Riko cannot accept Eno as the president as she views Maki doing a better job. Both sides argue why their candidate is better. Although Sayori is pointing out more bad points of Eno than her good points. Meanwhile Eno is in a dilemma of wanting to go ahead with this nasty photocopying plan. She got frightened by the teacher who wants her to make some copies too. After she is done with both sets, she returns to Sayori only to see her arguing on her behalf. It was good until she ruined it with those bad points. Riko points out Eno is not fit to be president because she abandoned her responsibilities because of her pride but Maki has never. The argument becomes a childish one with Eno calling for Riko’s resignation as advisor. I guess negotiations failed.

Riko and Suzune vow to work hard themselves. On the other hand, Sayori notes Eno has become selfish. She loves it when she was silly and funny but now she was just being silly. I guess that’s why she loves playing pranks just to see her reaction. Eno will openly announce her intention to become president again at tomorrow’s meeting. Riko wonders why Maki never told her about Eno and Sayori. It was because she didn’t want to think Eno was harassing her because when Eno handed over the post to her, she was told nobody will follow her if she did things her way. Thinking so would mean she still didn’t acknowledge her. A teacher accidentally messes up the copies but puts them back together. Maki goes to collect them thinking nobody has seen it as she wants to drop this dirty tactic. During the committee’s meeting when Eno barges in and announces her intention, the others point out about the love lessons in the documents. Maki panics when everyone starts talking bad that she has been doing this kind of stuffs. Because the documents do not bear any name but the positions, Riko was quick to point out it was Eno’s doing and that Maki was just helping her. Still, that doesn’t dispel the fact that they were practising love lessons. Seeing both Maki and Eno are speechless, Riko takes up the microphone and tells everyone off. Doesn’t everyone here dream to have a cool boyfriend once? Riko admits she does. It doesn’t matter who you are because it’s something they all share and that’s why it was researched. Sayori comes up with a brilliant excuse that they were doing this because of a request and were researching it for that girl. The suspicions die down and everybody believes in their student council again. Maki is very grateful for Riko and hopes she will continue to be her friend. Aren’t they? Eno also apologizes and to make it up, she’ll return as the vice president and Sayori as the treasurer. And yes, they can all study love lessons together. It’s going to get livelier.

Episode 4
With Eno and Sayori joining the love lessons, Sayori wants to know why Riko is the one giving lessons. Suzune and Maki paint Riko a master of love. Since when she was the love sniper? Riko wants to tell the truth to end it but since Sayori thinks it’s just a lie, her stubborn and show-off side means she just dug herself a deeper hole. Then they talk about mixers where they can meet potential boyfriends. Of course Riko’s only mixing around with boys was in the football club or the cram school. Riko has them practice good introductions which is a key to winning hearts of strangers. Sayori makes Riko dig a deeper hole herself by wanting her to do the introduction herself but she gives excuse that it’s too advanced for beginners like them. Maki and Eno get into a childish argument about their hair length to snag a boyfriend. Are they arguing or in agreement? Riko remembers why she grew her hair long. It was short and when she received a letter, it wasn’t a love letter but a letter of admiration to say it makes her looked so manly. The girls get a real request about a girl who is in dilemma about what to get for her boyfriend. Sounds very vague, doesn’t it? Seeing Riko is the love master, I guess everyone depends on her. So as not to let everyone down, she’ll go talk to some boys. Riko thought of just getting her information from magazines but Sayori wants some pictures… Riko also thought the rest should do their part by asking their male members. This has Maki and Eno in a war of words. Eno still calls Maki’s dad a lingerie. Riko and Suzune are curious to know what’s the deal behind this. So it is explained that her dad runs a lingerie company called True Tree. Eno’s uncle runs TV station and recorded an advertisement by Maki’s dad. His opening lines were already cringing. “My body is made of lingerie”. Then he starts playing the piano and sings a lingerie song! His brain is lingerie?! His heart strings are panties?! If hearing that doesn’t make you cringe, you’re a real pervert. As for why Maki is a lingerie, it was some training bra that was developed around when she started wearing bras.

Riko knows how to counter Sayori’s request for pictures. Since she is going to a cram class, she’ll just take pictures of the guys. But… Sayori shifts the goal posts. She wants to meet them too. Suzune then wonders if Sayori doesn’t trust Riko. Actually, hasn’t this been the case all along? Along the dumb ones realize this now? Because of Suzune’s puppy dog eyes, Sayori is feels guilty and apologizes. She will not doubt her. But this only ‘worsens’ Riko’s image. Now she is the undisputed master of love, right? When Riko returns with the survey answers and pictures, Sayori wonders if those guys are her ex-boyfriends or those she turned down. Because they all seem so happy… The rest also asked their male family members. And Sayori asked her boyfriend. SHE HAS A BOYFRIEND?! Already dating 6 months. The last she saw him was 6 months ago. They’re doing long distance relationship. Going through the survey, it seems guys don’t want handmade items. This disappoints Maki since she is good at it. Eno teases her and would rather use her money and buy something expensive. Speaking of which, expensive item is also on the unwanted list. Feel the despair. Suzune thought of compromising and do handmade money. Isn’t that illegal? Now the only thing left is to tell the girl their results. How can they when the request was written anonymously. They can’t announce it out loud as this school prohibits dating and don’t want the teachers to find out. Announcing it during the committee meeting is fine but the next meeting is in 2 months. Maki for once becomes a love expert analyzer. Judging from the way she writes and asks a third party for help, it is probably for an event nearby like a birthday. Riko gets an idea when she sees this weird antic. Eno and Maki in an argument, musical version. Suzune trips her tea and Sayori throws Dutchy to save them (too bad he got all wet). They’ll do their announcement via broadcasting it during recess. Huh? I don’t see the connection.

Episode 5
Maki uses her charm to hijack the broadcasting room. With Eno as fellow DJ, they bring their research results on air under the guise as a special English broadcast lesson. But why does it seem that the duo are fighting each other on air with their ideas? The students find it weird but for the girl who requested it, she knows what’s going on. To distract the teachers, Sayori and Suzune head to the teacher’s room but only Suzune is to talk. She becomes so nervous that she blunders everything. She is so natural that she doesn’t need to act the part. When it is over, Riko who is waiting outside the broadcasting room is confronted with teachers Sakagami and Yoshida (the advisor to the broadcasting club). Sayori saw Riko being whisked away to the detention room but didn’t say anything. The student council members wait for Riko and she shows up late. When she does show up, she gives excuses that she has taken care of apologizing to Yoshida for not submitting an application to use the broadcasting room. Sayori tries to give her away but Riko won’t allow it. Riko tries to commend Maki’s great English and wants to learn from her so she can improve her marks by 20%. Next day as Maki is at the library, Sakagami sees her and notes how Riko should be like her as she was causing trouble yesterday. When Riko enters the student council room, she feels all the members angry at her. It’s like they want to kill her. Maki is being scary so it’s not good to fool around. Riko comes clean. When Sakagami confronted her, she gave an excuse she forgot to submit an application. Sakagami wanted to stop it right away but Riko stopped her on grounds that the abrupt end would damage Maki’s reputation. Sakagami pulled her away to the detention room to reprimand her about her fancy hair band so Riko pleaded to Yoshida not to let anyone to interrupt the broadcasting. She will. Provided she gets 20% increase in her next English test. Maki is not happy she took the blame and doesn’t want her to do it again.

Sakagami reflects on what Maki told her and wonders if she did a mistake. Maki did tell her that she forgot to hand in the application since it had some mistakes (although it’s a lie) and that Riko was trying to cheer her up. As ‘punishment’, Riko is forced to undergo hellish English tutorials courtesy of Spartan Maki. I think she’s enjoying this. She even has Dutchy wear a real uniform to motivate her. Yeah. Motivate her will to kill Dutchy. When Maki reveals she used the extra funds to buy a boy’s uniform for Dutchy, Sayori takes Maki away to reprimand her for embezzling funds. When Maki returns, she is cross-dressed as a boy. Call her Makio! She might be cool and suave in her lines but she’s creeping the girls out. Riko scores 75% on her test which is much lower than what the others score. Hey, at least she did achieve 20% increase. So now the girls are back to talking about getting a boyfriend and their conversation this time is about leggings. Of course they want to hear it from master Riko but she had to lie again. All the boys that she ‘dated’ will just end up breaking their heart. Although it is her heart that is hurting the most. The girl who requested the love research has written a follow up letter. Although she thanks them, she had to give up on their advice. She bumped into this crush of hers she barely gets to see while choosing a gift for him. She tried to talk to him directly and despite having a long talk and walking home together, she learnt he likes another girl. She felt sad but felt better after she cried her heart out. However since he is not in an actual relationship, she thinks she has a chance and won’t give up yet. Thanks to them, she will continue trying and will come up with a strategy. The girls are happy for her and this makes Maki want to get a boyfriend real bad. Meanwhile outside the room, Momoka Minami and Nana Ichikawa from the Newspaper Club smell a big scandal going on and are going to get this scoop.

Episode 6
Riko’s brother, Rentarou doesn’t like the way his tomboyish sister uses violence on him and shoots his mouth this is why guys reject her. Adding salt to it, he is her opposite because he’s got girls confessing to him all the time! Depressing, isn’t it? So while Riko rushes to school lamenting that she is luckless with guys, little did she know that all the girls she zoomed past are swooning over her. Riko begins her usual love counselling with Maki who is getting desperate to get a boyfriend. The duo go out shopping and Riko had to bump into the person she loathes the most: Sayori. As usual, Sayori gets nasty trying to make Riko show she is the love master while eager beaver Maki is just so, uhm, eager. Riko is in a bind what to do but it seems God answered her prayer that a boy suddenly showed up to her. Yeah, this guy seems to know who she is. Unfortunately Riko doesn’t remember who he is but plays along she knows him. When Sayori guesses he is one of those boys Riko rejects, he runs away. Hit the spot? Although Riko is curious to know who this guy is, she is actually feeling good. She loves this feeling. So much so her politeness is creeping out her family! Riko’s friend, Mika Kiriyama wants to know what is going on between Riko and Masaomi “Yan” Ikezawa. Ikezawa who? Must be that guy. She learns they go to the same cram school so Riko thought of using this chance to find out and will go to today’s cram school. But she is dressed up for the occasion. Then turns out this Yan guy is a bespectacled moody guy. Then Satoshi Nagino pops up. He’s that guy! Instantly he flees and Riko goes after him. Since he won’t stop, she had to yell out to him as the guy who got rejected. The old ladies must be laughing in their hearts… Riko admits she doesn’t know him and hopes to get a hint. But he is not pleased and doesn’t tell her. It doesn’t make a difference since she doesn’t recall him. For that second, she thought she recognized him.

Somehow, Riko’s mom managed to get a picture of Satoshi. Heck, there is an album of Riko and Satoshi together. Childhood friends and football teammate. Yeah. He looked so different when he was young. Like a wimp. When Maki learns about this, she also wants to tag along to her cram school. Satoshi can’t admit that running away to Yan. So he lies he gets stomach ache whenever he sees that face. He’s going to get it again so don’t sh*t in your pants. Here is Riko waiting for him. He runs again. Riko leaves Maki in Yan’s care. When she catches up to him, she explains now she remembers him and praises his manly looks, etc. Then she had to comment about his cute smile that never changed. He got upset again. Back to square one. Meanwhile Maki is unsure what to say to Yan. But whatever she says seems to just upset him. However Maki flusters when he calls her cute (he meant it as sarcasm). Then her heart breaks when he calls her an idiot for being so. She couldn’t take it and runs to Riko’s side and explains what happened. Riko gets the wrong idea he is toying with her heart. And so Maki tries to read up on all the types of guy there is in the world. Maybe she should start with something easier. The student council have a set of problem on their hands. They have collected from several suggestion boxes and find there are a few girls asking for love advice. They can’t use the broadcast trick again if they want to keep this a secret from the teachers. Riko and Maki ponder about it so much so they unwittingly slip their tongue to Momoka. But she has to stop her ‘interview when excited Nana almost gave them away. Maki remembers who they are and realizes they’re in sh*t. Momoka and Nana need to get this scoop so they can bring down their mortal enemy: Sayori. That girl makes lots of enemies, doesn’t she?

Episode 7
Problems abound but Maki is still acting carefree? Want to continue with love studies still? Meanwhile Nana is trapped on a wall like a cat up a tree and Sayori is just starring at her. Seems she saw something happening in the room between Riko and Maki and wanted to pick up whatever they threw outside. Trying to take a shortcut, that’s how she got stuck. Momoka saves the day and brings her down. Riko suggests putting love lessons on hold since the newspaper girls are going to be a pain to deal with. But Maki thinks that since all they can do now is wait for them to move, they can still have their love lessons under tight security. I don’t know what tight security she is talking about since she starts today’s suggestion by wanting to study how to make a guy’s heart skip a beat. Riko the master is of course made to tell how to do it. I think she’s making this up and oddly Maki becomes a freaking monster when trying out the ‘lightly touch’ part. However the harsh reality and experience with Yan causes her to shrink in fear and she prefers to make her Dutchy become real. Now she’s turning to fantasy? Riko suggests they come over to her house and practice talking with her brother. How hard can it be? Well, for one, Rentarou doesn’t have any positive views of Riko’s friends. Girls are always stubborn, full of jealousy, gossiping b*tches and like her sister, violent. So on that day as Rentarou opens the door, he is taken in by Maki’s beauty and gracefulness! He is love struck. Yeah. Standing there like an idiot. But the rest that show up are just disappointment. Giant girl (Sayori), petite girl (Suzune) and thick eyebrows girl (Eno). Sayori is a pro in telling people off but Suzune is so meek and shy you wonder if what she says can constitute to a tell off.

Inside Riko’s room, Sayori finds a book for unpopular girls. Riko forgot to put it away. So why does she have something like this? They are distracted by a photo album. But they notice there are no pictures of any boys. They conclude they must be spies or VIPs that don’t want to have their photos taken. Yeah, Riko will go with that. Rentarou is forced by mommy to buy drinks and snacks for the girls. His mind is only clouded with pretty Maki that he looks like an idiot. When he comes home, he thought Maki is in the kitchen with mommy but to his disappointment, it’s just Suzune. She tries to scold him but it ends up like some oddly prophetic curse. In a cute way. Telling him to go bald? Rentarou didn’t like it when his mom makes him serve the girls. He flusters when Maki takes over. Oh yeah. He’s in love. He excitedly tells dad the prettiness and elegance of Maki. She overshadows Riko that he feels sorry for her. Yeah, he’s going to be sorry for saying that because she heard it… Rentarou catches Riko trying to act like a princess in the toilet. Just to keep him quiet, he wants her allowance and ice cream in which she is willing to give. But when he wants her to ask Maki about her opinion on young boys, Riko knows what’s going on and threatens back. Rentarou is willing to give his ice cream so Riko could tell Maki he is a good little brother. After Riko’s friends leave, Rentarou wants to know what Maki said about him. Elementary school boys are mischievous and cute. She feels like their mother. Ouch. Too bad kid. The next day, Riko’s mom is furious about her low grades in a test and forces her to cram school next week. You can thank Rentarou for ratting her out. At cram school, Riko admonishes Yan for hurting Maki’s feelings. He tries to explain what really happened but Satoshi cuts in, thinking if he complimented her, she must be cute. However Riko notes Satoshi did see her. She was by her side then. But he says all he could see was Riko. They get embarrassed with this ambiguous statement before it descends into a silly argument.

Episode 8
Nana is caught spying on Maki and Riko again. So she explains why they call Sayori their enemy. When she went to request to increase their budget, Sayori told her off she knew sh*t about money. But didn’t Nana request too many things to buy? Since then, the club has been demoted to a society and they lost their clubroom. Nana is disappointed for supporting a person like her and calls them by their nickname. Princess of Fuji and Wild One respectively. Riko is traumatized she is called so. Wasn’t opening her ears, eh? To rid of that nickname, she dresses and acts so girly! Freaking funny! Freaking disgusting! Even Sayori got sick! The more girly she talks the more pissed off the rest feels. She even tries to imitate whatever Maki does! A Broadcasting Club member hands them a few more requests from the box. Among them are anonymous girls after hearing their broadcasting, asking questions like if boys like tanned girls or plump ones. They can instantly tell these are written by the Newspaper Club girls. They know if they ignore theirs and reply the rest, they will call it favouritism. Ignoring all, they will be pressured with more and more questions. Since Riko is still in her annoying girly mode, Maki dresses up as a boy and acts like one. Will she imitate this one? Yeah. Riko is through being girly and is back to her normal self. Effective. Next day, Riko sees the gang tanned. Trying to imagine what it’s like being dark skinned? Anyway they continue discussing about the Newspaper Club’s intention. It’s like as though they are purposely letting them know what they’re doing. If they wanted to ruin them, they could have told the teachers. If they were after a scoop, they would be secretive. They split up to look for answers. Maki finds out that some members quit to join other clubs when Newspaper Club got demoted. They are surprised with Momoka creeping up. She finds it odd that Sayori is making friends. Sayori won’t say anything to avoid falling into her trap. Then Momoka shows them a scoop she plans to publish: A picture of girly Riko. Sayori got sick and ran away but Riko seems to like it!

Eno finds out from the previous advisor of the Newspaper Club that there is supposed to be a newspaper contest that Momoka always gets some kind of award every year. This year there is a rule change. Societies are banned from joining. Eno tries to tell this to her friends but they are busy with their antics. Furthermore, they are distracted and delighted to hear Sayori is supposed to meet up with her boyfriend after school (I suppose he wanted to after she skipped their 6 months dating anniversary and his birthday). The rest want her to go see him but she is more interested on how to turn their relationship back to just friends. She is irritated when they start imagining the lovely things they would do. After they send her off, they come up with a plan to counter Newspaper Club. Maki and Riko see Momoka in the little room and have written a lazy answer regarding her plump question. She replies she didn’t write this. In that case, it shows that they aren’t good in love advice and might resort to asking teachers. Momoka suggests she can get their answer published via backstreet newspaper distributed only to students. Maki tries to maintain the upper hand that they need 10 days (the deadline of the contest) to decide but Momoka surprises them that she isn’t interested in the contest. They are left baffled if they are doing this for revenge to get back their club status. Nana is on her way home and sees Sayori with her boyfriend. Shutter chance. Next day, she thinks of asking Sayori for an increase in budget, thinking she must be in good mood. On the contrary, the most foul mood. Nana threatens back and shows the picture. Sayori didn’t like it and tries to snatch it. Sakagami sees the commotion and sends them to the detention room. She reprimands Sayori upon learning she is with a guy (Sayori lied he is her friend). She warns if she is in an illicit relationship. Sayori thought she had been keeping this a secret so as not to get into trouble. If she knew this would happen, she would have told them. Sayori admits that guy is her boyfriend and is quitting the student council. Meanwhile her friends are awaiting Sayori’s entrance to celebrate her 6 months relationship. She’s really running late…

Episode 9
When Sayori returns, she straight away tells them about what happened including her resignation. So who is more surprised in this surprise party? Riko knows she is trying to take the fall alone but she’s not the one to say since she did it once herself. Sayori doesn’t want to deny now that the truth is out and when asked if she really wants to quit to student council for good, she says yes because she has enough. This doesn’t sit well with Eno and she goes after her while remembering their awkward friendship that goes back when they’re elementary kids. Eno tries all sorts of psychological tactics to change Sayori’s mind but she can’t be bothered. Till Eno mentions she will start a movement that supports romantic relationships. She’ll hijack the broadcasting room and tell the entire school everything over and over again. She’ll go onto the internet and tell the whole world! Because if Sayori won’t stand up for herself, she will. Then she gets all emotional and runs away crying. Momoka sees her ex-club advisor, Miyabi Sugihara and overhears about Sayori’s case. There will be an emergency meeting to decide her fate tomorrow. Suzune finds Nana (who is overwhelmed with guilt) to confront her about her actions. They both start getting emotional and start crying. They’re crying, Eno’s crying but Momoka is not crying? Riko and Maki get everyone’s ass into the room because they plan to get Sayori back. Discussing about the boy in the picture, as it was dark, Nana couldn’t see his face. However Sayori was. They cannot say she’s with a girl as he was clearly wearing a school uniform. Destroying the evidence will only reaffirm her guilt. Because Maki seems like she is fooling around, Riko reprimands her. This causes Nana’s perception of the Princess of Fuji to shatter. This is her true nature? Eno and Suzune looking embarrassed… But Momoka understands why Sayori finds it fun here.

During the meeting, since Sayori affirms the boy in her picture is her boyfriend, Sakagami has no choice but to have her quit from the student council. Suddenly Maki dressed as a boy barges into the room. Everyone is shocked to see this, including Sayori. Nana plays along and confirms this is the face she saw. Looking at the picture evidence, they see the similar mole on both their face. Sakagami still doesn’t believe and wonders why she did this to protect Sayori. Maki says it’s the other way around. It was to protect her. Mixing in some truths and lies, they explain that during the broadcast, some misinterpreted their programme and handed in love advice requests (they show the one Nana put in). Maki is someone who will do what it takes of what is asked of her but since this school forbids dating, they know nothing about boys. Thus Maki cross-dressed to find out what it’s like to be one and Sayori helped her out. The girls try to make the teachers feel guilty about their narrow mindedness and jumped to conclusions without any proper investigations. Sakagami remembers wrongly assuming Riko at fault then. The girls finally announce that if Sayori is to quit, so will they. Sayori is very pissed off with this cheap act but for the best of everyone, she is forced to stay quiet. The teachers let this case go but everyone must write an apology letter. In the aftermath, Sayori notes that Maki’s value took a dip after that act. Was it worth it? To her, losing a friend would be worse. Also because of that, Sayori’s value increased and perhaps Riko’s too since she had none to begin with. Sayori is so ‘appalled’ by their stupidity that she gives out a hearty laughter. They never see her laugh likes this. Momoka talks to Sugihara and it seems they both have a hand in this. Sugihara, who felt bad if the duo got punished over something this trivial, borrowed the camera evidence from Sakagami and handed it to Momoka to do some detailed analysis. That’s where she spotted the similarity of their moles. Momoka notes that at first she wanted to get back at them to get back their club’s promotion but now as long as Nana has her confidence back and they’re happily printing papers together, she doesn’t care if they’re a club or society. Nana has taken a big scoop they can publish without hurting anyone: A picture of Sayori laughing. Now if she can only get down from the tree…

Episode 10
It’s payback time? The girls are going to make Sayori disguise herself for her date with her boyfriend. I think they’re going to enjoy this. Wait, no. They are enjoying this. Taking off her glasses makes her blind as a bat. They suggest ways to make her skirt shorter or take off her pants. Because the school uniform is the only dress she has, Maki shows a closet containing dresses and skirts she can try out. Just the question of which era. Say what? From caveman to ninja to medieval, take your pick. Did Maki waste the student council funds on this? Then Nana snaps a picture of her in a dress… Oh dear… The next scene is narrated by Yuu Yamazaki, Sayori’s boyfriend. This was how they met. She just transferred into his class during elementary days. He observed her weird and stoic behaviour. She was famous at first but soon the girls started picking on her because it is true that her family ran away. She didn’t give a damn about them and they leave her alone. Then the boys started to bully her. However her acid tongue made them repent! Amazing! Then Sayori became all alone, nobody mixed with her and Yuu was only left to watch her from afar. One day when the boys are racing using cloth rags to rub the floor, Yuu was in the lead and in his excitement didn’t see Sayori ahead. His head dives into her skirt!!! Ever since, the other girls looked at him with disdain and Yuu becomes her lackey to treat her to sweets every day till they change class. That’s going to be a long time, right? It’s like a life sentence. When he heard his friends saying Sayori put up the usual stony face, Yuu wonders if he was seeing things because he saw the most embarrassed looks on her face. He starts liking her though he wished they spend more time together these days. Meanwhile Sayori visits Eno’s house and her brother is scared of her! Especially of her words that brings this lazy bum down to reality! But each time he starts whining and becomes an uncontrollable pervy at the end, Sayori lets loose her abuse, fist or the harisen. Heartbreak of brother complex Eno?

The girls find a picture of Suzune and her siblings in dog ears. She was once a fan of that dog-bus anime called Tororo. Thanks to her brother’s influence, each time there is a ring on the door, she will eagerly think it is Tororo and rush there. Then she’ll put on the most disappointing look. From her sister coming back to the mailman to the milk delivery guy. No doggy. Sister blames brother for this and so as not to crush her dream, they give all sorts of excuses and eventually brother pretends to become Tororo and gives her a ride. Suzune loves it. Sister felt jealous and also wants to do the same but end up arguing about ‘business rivalry’. Suzune starts crying when they fight so they put aside that and form a ‘business partnership’. Then they find lots of Eno’s pictures too. How come all of them have her being bullied by her brother… They feel sorry for her. So she confronts him about that but he explains his ‘complicated’ reasons which turn out to be nothing more about being a perverted masochist. She’s so disappointed… Sayori cannot believe that Suzune can trip when there is nothing. So as prevention, she must pay a penalty if she ever becomes clumsy. Since Suzune doesn’t have money, she will allow her to flick her forehead. Then she bumps her head on a branch. Merciless Sayori flicks her forehead! Hope she learns her lesson. Suzune notices all the girls admiring the graceful Maki. Suzune herself too gets her kind treatment. She notes that everyone doesn’t know her other weird side. This secret is what makes her feel superior to them all. As for Eno, nobody takes what she says seriously… Suzune is running laps around the school during PE. It’s something she hates. So slow… Tiring out… She notices Riko trying to encourage her from her classroom but always gets reprimanded by the teacher for not paying attention. Later when they talk about this, Riko admires Suzune for not giving up despite hating running. Or maybe she finds her panting cute. A candy as reward? Suzune feels good about it and as she rushes to the student council room, she trips and bangs her head on the table! Here comes Sayori’s forehead flick! No mercy!

Episode 11
Thinking back at the progress of their love lessons, they haven’t made any progress in getting a boyfriend. Riko is studying because her mom made her go to cram school due to her bad grades. This leads the rest to discuss about Satoshi and possibly he might have lingering feelings for her. One of the questions in the suggestion box has a student interesting what kind of hairstyles boys like because she is particularly interested in a guy who goes to South Middle School. At her cram school, she discovers Satoshi goes to that school. Reluctantly she asks that question and he replies those with long black hair. Riko thinks he is describing Maki since the way he puts it, all the guys at South Middle School adore this idol. Satoshi is still reeling from the pain that she doesn’t remember their age old confession. If that’s the case, he will also forget that embarrassing past. This riles her up and so she asks him one of the questions in the suggestion box how to tell a guy who asked her out that she wants to go back to being just friends. He is sure that guy will be disillusioned and leave her so just let it be. Now they hate each other. Riko tells the answer and Maki seems to revel in her victory over Eno? Now that she knows her hair type is popular, she creates a plan to attract guys with her hair. Her sister, Natsuho accidentally peeked into her notebook (thinking she was studying) and to her dismay, sees all the ridiculous plan of using wind to fan and prop up her hair. Using typhoon? Getting all wet? Maki even made several revisions (because Riko rejects them) but it just gets ridiculous. Dancing at school? Fishing at school? WTF. Natsuho is so concerned that because Maki lacks interactions with guys and her yearn for love is going in a wrong direction, she wants father to take responsibility for over protecting her and fears there will be smooth talking evil guys who will trick her. Father is puzzled because she too went to an all-girls school but is being very perceptive of the world.

Father has her go to a cram school and Maki is more than happy to accept it. However her first time there ends up being a panicky. She had to be left alone with Yan and since he mistakes her first name as her surname, she panics when he calls her that without honorific. Twice. So she comes running to Riko for salvation. All the guys start falling in love at the sight of her. And then they see her hug Riko. Maybe she’s lesbian. Even worse, she says how Yan took away her first time! Everybody now hates Yan! Maki feels embarrassed that she lost her composure. Satoshi feels something amiss when Maki mentions about Riko being a popular girl. He thinks she has been pretending and lying to her friend. Riko didn’t like the sound of it and punches his gut. That ruined her day. So is his. And so is Maki’s day. But the worst ruined day of all… Yan. It seems like Riko heard the good news that the school is going to lift the ban on dating and recommend it. However Satoshi had to pop up and ruin it about her lying. Turns out she was sleeping in class and was sent to the teacher’s room to be reprimanded. Later Riko learns that Maki’s first time was the fact Yan called her by her first name. She wanted such event to be special (cue for her delusions with Dutchy). Riko thinks it isn’t a big deal. It is to Maki, reminding her that she is the one who is a relationship specialist. Suddenly Satoshi’s words continue to haunt her. Next day, Maki uses the fan to fan herself for the hair effect. Because of her evil aura, it scares off her friends. Feeling cold, now? Suzune suggests she fans herself with the harisen. Looking odd for an idiot to fan herself with that. They discuss how they used to fan themselves with a paper so Maki combines all their ideas how she will use it to fan herself to attract guys. Seriously, don’t. Sayori notices the Newspaper Club duo eavesdropping outside. They are shown the special double print issue of Sayori smiling and in that dress. Except for horrified Sayori, everyone loves it. But what they want to show them is the main article below called Love Lab Report.

Episode 12
The report contains answers to the questions in the suggestion box but in the form of a novel with fictional characters. That way, they won’t be easily found out. But Eno is suspicious that they are doing this after being harassed. They want to be acknowledged for their talent and achievement. Besides, this is to thank Maki for talking things out with the teachers because now societies are allowed to take part in the competition. Also to upgrade their club and get a bigger budget. There’s always the hidden agenda… Maki instantly agrees to go with this plan and so happy that she starts doing laps around school. Huh? She even thanks her love master. This sends Riko close to panic and a reminder she needs to get out of this lie. At cram school, she smacks Yan for what he has done to Maki. He then finds out Maki is her surname and feels embarrassed he should have find out about it first. Riko teases him that he must have fallen in love with her. He vehemently objects. Riko may need to speed up that confession because Maki is going to her cram school starting next week. There are many chances for her to confess but she’s a super coward. At the cram school as Maki goes to the teacher’s office, she is surprised to see Satoshi. She starts getting uneasy that she is alone with a boy and acts real weird. Satoshi guesses that she hasn’t figured out about Riko’s lie and wants to ask her but she acts panicky. Then when he asks about Riko, she mentions all the good things about her and that’s why she wants to be her friend. Later Riko enters the room and is devastated to learn Satoshi has told her everything and the truth. She’s really shaking in fear now. Till Satoshi says he lied and didn’t say a thing. Deserved that punch? Look who is calling who a liar?

Maki is now in her class and is devastated to see Yan. His sarcasm is aimed at putting her down but she has the last laugh when the teacher looks through Maki’s work and that she has gone far in the syllabus. The teacher teases Yan of being good friends with Riko since he helped her out to study (though Yan claims he forced her to) so Maki’s delusion is that he is in love with Riko! Because of her popularity, he got rejected and thus his foul mood. Yan dismisses Riko as a popular girl but a dumb and insensitive. Maki chides him for badmouthing her friend so he replies that she must be pushing people around with her biased assumptions and hopes she’s not convincing herself she is her friend. That comment devastated her but Maki plays cool. She notes he uses the words that would hurt her and thus is a person who is not worth believing. She advises to put his intelligence to better use. When Maki leaves, she comes crying into Riko’s arms to seek comfort. She relates the horrifying experience of Yan badmouthing her as unpopular and all. You don’t know how true everything that was. Riko assures her everything but at the end of the day when they leave, she remembers she forgot to confess.

Next day at school will be it. For sure. However Maki interrupts with an announcement to have the Newspaper Club use their storage room. Because they are collaborating with them, they need a secret place. It may raise suspicion but Maki will have them make special paper announcements from the student council so it will seem like helping them out with publicity. Also, they can study love lessons without holding back. The only thing now is to make sure the readers are aware of the risk and it is suggested they write their names and class down. Of course that list won’t be released but it will somewhat make them their accomplices. Riko is starting to sweat because once this is in full swing, she’ll be lying to a bigger group. Without thinking, she goes and run with Maki. Eno and Suzune note how Riko is a humble person, never brags about her love achievements and always talk at their level. Sayori says maybe it was all a lie… Because Maki continues to thank Riko and hopes she would stay her friend for her, that was the last straw. She needs to come clean over now. Stammering a lot, Riko confesses the whole truth. Then turns it into a hypothetical what-if question. Then Sakagami pulls her away for a hair band violation. After that, Mika sees Riko and knows about her student council giving love advice since she was once a Newspaper Club member. She taunts her how she is going to do that if she has no experience herself. Riko’s fear comes true when she thinks Maki has heard what they said. However that doesn’t seem to be the case as she blushes at their compliments of her. Riko heaves a sigh of relief as they walk back to class. Not knowing the disappointed face Maki is putting up. So she has heard…

Episode 13
Maki has been clumsy, tripping with funny noises. Riko knows something is wrong because Maki says she is flooded with work and will postpone love lessons. She’ll never do that, right? Even Suzune and Eno feel something is wrong. Ever since, no love lessons were being carried out. Riko felt guilty and wanted to call her but mommy says it’s rude to call someone so late and should go talk to her in person tomorrow if it’s that important. Riko is so overcome with guilt that she wants mommy to get angrier and even whack her! Next day, Riko sees Maki in the clubroom. Actually it is Sayori in Maki’s wig sorting out all the weird stuffs she thinks Maki has brought with the funds. Was she misusing the funds? Then here comes the real Maki but she runs away. Riko gets this idea to practice with Sayori in that wig. However she keeps making stupid clam jokes which just pisses off her. But she did actually sound like Maki! So real! And then those stupid clam jokes… Maki runs into Suzune and Eno. She trips. They think it’s one of her silly love training thingy and start praising Riko. This causes her to cry and run away. Or drool if that what her tears look like. Sayori finally tells off Riko that she’s over thinking. It is preventing her from acting. During the broadcast hijack and the time Sayori quit the student council, what was it on her mind? Suzune and Eno rush back to inform Maki is acting weird. They think it’s because Riko and Maki have been acting too normal! No retorts! Riko laughs and knows what to do.

Maki is outside the cram school. Lots of guys are staring at her beauty. Satoshi sees her and wonders if something is wrong. Then Satoshi’s old friend comes by and thinks he is hitting on his chick. Accidentally he reveals the tomboyish nature of Riko. Though Maki stands up for her, the guy mentions she has been lied to. Riko arrives and is devastated the truth is out. The guy tells Riko not to lie to this girl but gets beaten up. Riko says she is the one who did wrong and not Maki. Everything is her fault. Satoshi then reveals he did like Riko but got rejected so his friend apologizes and leave. Then they realize their drama has attracted a large crowd. Embarrassed Maki runs away. After tsundere Satoshi whacks Riko that he’s doing this for Maki and not her, he wants her to go after Maki. Riko thanks him and praises him a cool guy after all. He is left further embarrassed when the crowd thinks he got rejected again. And Yan heard it all… Does he need to have more salt rubbed into his wounds?

Riko ends up in Maki’s house and starts apologizing everything was a lie and regrets hurting her. She admits she is not a love expert and only had her heart broken many times. She is just like her, a beginner at love. Is that all she has to hide, says Maki. Thinking she is really mad, Riko is prepared to stay away from her forever and quit from the student council but soon takes back that last request as she wants to continue goofing around with the rest. Maki presses her cheeks and then laughs. She is relieved and thought she had been forcing herself to spend time with her. She adds she didn’t want to be friends with her forever because she thought she was a love expert. She wants to be her friend because she helps people out. Although she is sad and disappointed, she couldn’t be happier that they get to experience lots of things together. She hopes Riko can continue spending time with her. They both get emotional once they made up. Next day, Riko apologizes to Suzune and tells her the truth. Suzune never had the knack to get angry so this somewhat annoys Riko. Get angrier! But nothing fixes it like a big hug. Then Riko does the same to Eno and Sayori. Eno wasn’t so forgiving and chides her. That’s more like it. Of course Sayori wasn’t worried because this room is filled with idiots. Riko needs to atone for her sins so Sayori has predicted this and had Suzune made very large harisens. Start practising those swings! Momoka shows them the first issue of their love lab report. Since they can’t waste any moment and need materials for the next issue, I guess it is back to more love lessons. Let it resume immediately!

Love Lessons Not From Classes But From The Heart!
It has been quite a funny series seeing this girls come up with weird to disgusting ideas just to attract guys. But all in the name of comedy. Come to think of it, even if they did manage to pull them off, don’t you think it will just make them look like clowns? Would it even be guaranteed they will steal the guy’s heart? Well, Riko wasn’t a love expert to begin with so I’m sure that’s where all the kooky ideas came from. She just pulls them out from thin air. So my guess is that it isn’t the love lessons that are so much important. I’m thinking that they enjoy each other’s company so much that this love lessons thingy feels like an excuse for being together. Yup. That’s got to be it. Otherwise, why spend so many hours inside the room learning love lessons and they do not even have a single field outing in putting what they learn to good use? I know the chances of success will be low with what Riko taught them but if they were placing getting a boyfriend as their priority, don’t you think they would have already attempted to do so after the first or second lesson? Instead they hang out and goof around and having a blast. That is not entirely a bad thing. Unless you tell me because of the school rules thingy, they’re just learning and accumulating all the love lessons now and postponing getting a boyfriend so when they enter college, they can start hitting on a guy. At least this shows that they are straight, boy crazy and aren’t yuri lovers (unless you’re those girls from Fujisaki). It also got me thinking if they seriously want to be in love or maybe it is just lust and infatuation instead. Just in love with the idea of being in love.

Still waters run deep. Never judge a book by its cover. Those are the idioms that perfectly describe the student council quintet especially Maki. At first sight and to many of the unsuspecting students, teachers as well as guys from the outside, she is the (seemingly) perfect, elegant, graceful, pretty, intelligent and polite dream girl whom every guy would like to have as his girlfriend/wife and role model for every girl aspiring to be. Once you get to know her, that perfect vision of her quickly crumbles. So you either accept or reject this side of Maki. But thankfully for those around her, they understand and accept Maki for who she is. I mean, nobody is perfect, right? Despite her desperation to land a boyfriend, I think what she really wants is somebody to call a friend. As you observed, her head might be filled with thoughts on how to get one but when she is faced in a real situation, she quickly panics. Probably she met the wrong guy like Yan. Yeah, first impressions always count. It’s like wanting to get a boyfriend always occupies her thoughts and nothing more. Get a boyfriend, get a boyfriend, get a boyfriend… But she doesn’t think much about its aftermath or follow-up like what to do on a date, how to maintain the relationship, etc. It’s just like that perverted Yamada from B Gata H Kei whose mind is always and preoccupied with sex and nothing else but when faced with the real thing, she freezes and flops. A mountain out of a molehill. This pretty summarizes up Riko’s situation. The more you lie, the harder you will find yourself getting out to the point it is impossible. Procrastination is the thief of time as Riko delays and delays her confession till it reaches boiling point. Understandably what Riko did was not to lose her image and ultimately her friendship. How many of us are guilty of doing the same thing? Many of us would have done the same thing if we were in her shoes. So people, there are lots of good lessons to be learnt here, albeit they are not about love. And please do not imitate their ideas seen here unless you want your egos and reputation sore.

The characters may seem generic but with their own quirks, they make this series quite funny and they themselves are memorable. As explained in the paragraph above about Maki. Beautiful and smart but desperately lacking in love. She has 2 sides to a coin. Everybody does, right? Riko very tomboyish in nature and one that easily resorts to brute when annoyed becomes the straight guy of the series especially when Maki starts acting like an idiot. In the end, she too realized that all she wanted was a real friend whom she can goof around. Otherwise, why has she been staying in the student council for so long? She could have just left a long time ago and washed her hands off everything. Riko doesn’t seem to be desperate to get a boyfriend too. If she was, Satoshi would probably be a good start since he still has feelings for her. Maybe it’s the part of being childhood friends that prevents her from doing so. Probably the best character in the series is Sayori because she is scheming and manipulative. Above all, she is quite sharp and observant, a must if you’re handling money, right? Everything she does should have a benefit to her or to her amusement. I guess that is why she sticks around the gang because it’s so much fun watching these idiots goofing around. Although she might seem cold and emotionless, she still cares for her fellow friends and will do the necessary to protect them. Some things are just worth more than dollars and cents. Eno is quite childish in nature while Suzune is the cute and moe blob of the gang. Even more moe with her clumsy ways. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t really want the girls to stray too much from their known behaviour because we love them best the way they are. Imagine if Maki turned more tomboyish and into Makio or Riko becoming more feminine. That would be plain disgusting, right?

Other characters are pretty decent too but not so much focus is put on them. Like Eno’s brother who is a NEET and a pervert (masochist, to be more exact). This guy is hilarious as a useless bum. I think it will be even funnier if he had more screen time but at the same time you would cringe in disgust the kind of fetish he has. Then again, I think it’s just sufficient for him to make limited appearance. Eno must be so disappointed to know the kind of brother he has become. Also making only an episode appearance (even so, very limited) is Sayori’s mysterious boyfriend, Yuu. It’s nice to see how she among the quintet is the only one with a boyfriend and in a way it doesn’t feel like she’s making things up. Even if Sayori is scheming, why would she lie? She’s not like Riko, right? She can tell you the truth straight in your face with no remorse. Satoshi feels like a character whose role is to be embarrassed. This might sum up his feelings for his entire life. Embarrassed for being confessing to Riko, embarrassed for being rejected by her, embarrassed that he still remembers about it but she doesn’t (which actually feels like an insult) and more recently embarrassed for giving the misconception that he got dumped again when all he did was put up a brave front to protect Riko. As for Yan, he’s like the master of sarcasm and pissing off. Continue this way and I don’t think any girls would end up with him. Unless she’s the ‘M’ kind. Rentarou is the total opposite of Riko when it comes to popularity. But ironically even if all the other girls like him, he can’t get the one he truly wants: Maki. I wonder if he has given up on her seeing that Maki will only see him as a kid.

The art and drawing style seems to lean towards pretty and cute. Even Riko the tomboyish one and Sayori the nerdy looking one do look pretty. Some say that this anime is another of those ubiquitous cute girl doing cute things. Hmm… Doesn’t it look like it? The student council quintet seems to have covered almost every dream girl feature that a guy would love. Maki the pretty and intelligent one or Maki the dorky side, Riko the tomboy, shy Suzune the petite and clumsy, Sayori the bespectacled and childish Eno who is also, uhm, tsundere? Sometimes. I wonder if thick eyebrows are considered a moe point. Then there is also another clumsy girl Nana and ironically she is afraid of heights but doesn’t think twice to climb a tree and take shots for her scoop. And if you like chubby girls, there is Momoka to go about. On a trivial note, I notice that Maki’s ideal guy has to be one that looks like Dutchy. Thanks to her first unpleasant encounter with Yan. This has got me thinking that her ideal handsome guy looks so ugly! Such low standards! Don’t you think? Maybe she should go watch more romance movie and see more of those teen magazines to get an idea of what a handsome guy is. If that is her standards of what constitutes an ideal guy, maybe a guy like me has got a chance… Dream on… And all those girls at Fujisaki, somehow I feel they’re, how should I put it, low level. They are easily ‘paralyzed’ at the sight of our beauties. You can see love hearts in their eyes and around their heads while they walk pass, oblivious to those fan girls fawning over them like as though they are some hot K-pop star. Unhealthy and twisted development? I wonder how they will handle things in the real world where there are men. Perhaps it is Maki’s aura that really attracts people but imagine if there were hotter guys and prettier girls than her, I think they would have died with a heart attack in an instant. So Maki and Riko the big main distraction of Fujisaki? Thankfully nothing yuri going on. Even if there was, it was so subtle that I didn’t notice.

The casts include Manami Numakura as Riko (Yurika in Aikatsu), Chinatsu Akasaki as Maki (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby), Inori Minase as Suzune (Gre-chan in Robot Girls Z), Ayane Sakura as Eno (Miyabi in Koko Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru), You Taichi as Sayori (Kanae in Witch Craft Works), Chuna as Momoka (Sorata in Binbougami Ga), Rina Hidaka as Nana (Hideyoshi in Sengoku Otome – Momoiro Paradox), Takahiro Mizushima as Satoshi (Nagasumi in Seto No Hanayome), Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Yan (Kirito in Sword Art Online), Yuka Terasaki as Rentarou (Basil in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn), Ayumu Murase as Yuu (Shun in Shin Sekai Yori), Kyoko Hikagami as Sakagami (titular character of Hello Kitty), Satomi Arai as Sugihara (Shirai in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun) and Yuu Asakawa as Yoshida (Motoko in Love Hina). The opening theme is Love Shitai by the main quintet. Although it sounds like your generic anime girl group pop (think of the opening for Minami-ke series), something about the certain parts of the song being sung in a too girly fashion way that it made my hair stood on ends. Really. The same group sings the equally generic anime pop ending theme, Best Friends, which is much bearable and I prefer this slower paced one. Of course that insert song about lingerie by Maki’s father, Nete Mo Samete Mo Lingerie is hilarious. Not so much about the tune but the lyrics and the person who sang it. Although I was laughing my ass off hearing that song, I won’t be caught dead singing it.

Overall, this anime proves that it can be still be funny, entertaining and enjoyable using a group of girls and the theme of love without resorting to such shameless tactics of heavy fanservice, sexual innuendoes, panty shots and bouncy boobs. As long as you have likeable characters and a theme that everyone could relate to in real life, you’ll definitely garner a few fans and followers. Hey, everyone wants to experience love, right? Everyone wants to be loved, right? Yeah well, everybody also fails rejection that’s why we want to make it right and successful at first go. Because the first defeat can really be disheartening and discouraging. So maybe if they come up with another season and with more silly ideas to love, I might just be tempted to give it a try no matter how silly and ineffective it might be. Like they say, it’s better to have love and lost than never loved at all. That’s why love is such a complicated subject not taught in schools. But these girls may prove and show otherwise…

Hana Yori Dango

February 23, 2014

I guess this love story back then was popular enough. So well-liked that it spawned several live action sequels as well as live action series in other language. Yes, Hana Yori Dango may have debuted in its manga form 2 decades ago (1992 feels like a very long time) and after its anime adaptation in 1996, it spawned a Taiwanese version (Meteor Garden – oh, how I remembered my relatives watching this) and a Korean version (Boys Over Flowers). And very much recently, there is an American adaptation as well! Boys Before Friends? Well, I won’t have the luxury (or the right) to compare these series altogether since I didn’t (and probably won’t) watch them. Seeing that this old school love drama has caught my attention, that is why I decided to check out the anime version.

For any love dramas to be successful, I suppose there is going to be lots of obstacles in the way of our budding protagonists. They have to be different like day and night. They can’t click at first. They hate each other’s guts. After all that squabbling, misunderstanding, close encounters and love polygons, it’s time they finally realize that they should just stop beating around the bush and come clean. Yeah. That’s what sums up this show. Another reason why I think it’s popular is because the lack of reverse harem in that age. Hana Yori Dango has a single female protagonist surrounded by 4 hot handsome hunks. You read that right. Not one or two but four. Of course she is not going to fall for all of them.

The plot: Her life is made a living hell when she a nobody crosses path with the spoilt rich quartet kids of a prestigious school. They are like kings and do as they please just because their daddies hold power, money and influence. Other students are afraid of them and the teachers dare not take any action because their parents fund the school. Don’t want to be the case of the biting the hand that feeds you, eh? But our heroine is no pushover. Maybe that’s the first mistake she made. Instead of yielding to them, she goes against them just to stand up for what she believes in. And soon the war against love slowly turns into somewhat a war on love. As usual, with 51 episodes in its belt, it’s hard for me to remember everything. Therefore, an excuse to take the short cut by relying on somebody’s episode summaries. If you are still an obsessed fan of the series even till today, this Emily’s Hana Yori Dango Page site has some pretty decent episode summaries for you to refresh your memories (and mine). I usually only blog the so called ‘important’ points that I remember. Feeling lazy…

Tsukushi Makino – The main heroine of the series. Despite coming from a very poor family, she manages to enrol herself into the very prestigious Eitoku High School. I know it goes to show that with perseverance and hard work, you can still get into such school but there is an ulterior motive for this. Her parents hope she would snag a rich man, marry him and set for life. Such parents… But can you blame them since they’re always short of money?

F4 – That stands for Flower Four and refers to out spoilt rich brats of Eitoku. They rule over this school. Nobody dares crosses path with them. Till Tsukushi came along. F4 consists of Tsukasa Doumyouji (the not so very bright leader because he sometimes uses the wrong words – shows you why studying is important than goofing around), Rui Hanazawa (the more quiet and distant member of the group who is a great violinist), Soujirou Nishikado (biggest player in the group) and Akira Mimasaka (most mature in the group).

Yuuki Matsuoka – Tsukushi’s childhood friend and one of the very few friends she can trust. Despite trying to support Tsukushi, there is only so much you can do when F4 is involved.

Red slip on your locker – It is a sign that F4 has declared war on you. Once this happens, you’re finished. Everybody will be ganging up against you to a point you will quit school forever. Tsukushi earns this when she defends Makiko Endou after the latter accidentally bumps into Tsukasa. But instead of succumbing to pressure despite the constant bullying, she is adamant to complete her schooling years and prove that F4 can’t do as they please.

B*tch trio – That even itself is an understatement. Yuriko Asai, Minako Yamano and Erika Ayuhara at first seem like genuine girls wanting to make friends with Tsukushi. They trick her into attending a jeans party so when Tsukushi arrives casually, she is stunned to see everyone in beautiful gowns and dress. Despite the trio trying to humiliate and make fun of Tsukushi as a stern reminder she does not belong to their class, she turns the table on them by humiliating them back in their own game. Who would ever want to date these b*tches because their goal is to snag rich men for their money (especially F4). They love bullying Tsukushi due to their over jealousy of her closeness with F4. Usually their plan backfire and are made to eat humble pie.

It’s all in the kick – Probably the reason why Tsukasa started to develop feelings for Tsukushi because of her kick to his pretty face! I guess she’s different than the rest of the other girls who either fear him or try to put on their fake friendly face just to get close to him.

Extreme makeover – Suddenly Tsukushi is whisked away to Tsukasa’s mansion (where he lives alone because his parents are always busy working overseas and his sister is married to some famous American hotel heir) where she is given an extreme makeover from a plain Jane into Miss Universe potential. Can Tsukushi get used to this? Probably not. Oh, trying to give an excuse that he can hang out with him in his mansion instead of school is not going to cut it.

Who’s that guy? – Tsukasa looks very much different (if not, much better) when his hair is down. This only happens when his hair is wet. Otherwise, it’s back to that natural curl.

Emergency exit door – Rui’s favourite place to hang out and bum around staring into space. Is it just more than coincidence that Tsukushi always finds herself drawn to this place? Or him?

Kazuya Aoike – Another childhood friend of Tsukushi. One word for this guy: Wimp. A bit of a retard too if you ask me because the way he acts, it’s like his role is to be the comic relief of the series. Secretly likes Tsukushi but what are the chances of that being reciprocated? He enrols in Eitoku because his family recently became rich. However after Tsukasa sees Tsukushi hanging out with this wimp, he earns a red slip. Just for that? He didn’t even know what hit him. Tsukushi vows to protect Kazuya from the torment of others.

Is this first love? – Tsukushi has always noticed Rui acting different from the rest of F4 because there is a little kindness in the way he acts. When Kazuya gets a red slip and the duo on the run from the very persistent Eitoku bullies, suddenly Rui stands up to tell them to stop this childishness. Not up to going against an F4 member, eh? Because Rui continues to help Tsukushi, Tsukasa sever ties with him and they are not on talking terms.

Shizuka Todou – The beautiful model currently based in France is Rui’s first love. Guess what? She makes a surprise return to Eitoku. What does this equate to? Possible love triangle.

House visit – Have you ever imagined the president of USA suddenly visiting your little home? This isn’t what Tsukushi have in mind when Tsukasa suddenly drops by. Worse, her parents try to kiss up to him like mad because they know he is the son to the great Doumyouji Empire and if Tsukushi marries him… Tsukushi is surprised that Tsukasa displays his politeness and mannerism. Maybe this guy isn’t such a brat after all.

Atami over Hawaii? – Poor people like Tsukushi and Kazuya go to the local Atami beach for the holidays. Rich kids like F4 go to Hawaii. But when Tsukasa hears the duo going there, he too decides to change his plans and bring his luxury cruise ship (sticking out like a sore thumb in the eyes of the commoners) and his friends to this new holiday destination. Hawaii is getting bored, huh? Or is it someone interesting there?

Kiss in the dark – Tsukushi is forced to join a party on board Tsukasa’s cruiser. There is an event where the lights go out and anybody can do anything. Tsukushi fumbles and accidentally her lips meet with someone’s. When the lights come back on, oh dear, did she just kiss Tsukasa???!!!

Fishing is a man’s game? – When Kazuya learns of this kiss, he wants to fight one on one with Tsukasa. Via fishing. Eh? What? Well, at least Kazuya can fish out squids compared to zero Tsukasa. And this odd scene somewhat turns them into friends. Okay, maybe not. Tsukasa’s arrogance continues to mock Kazuya when he learns that wimp likes Tsukushi. In the end, Tsukasa gathers everybody to get a taste of grilled squid. Rich people don’t know what they’re missing… But this eases the tension between Tsukasa and Rui.

The b*tches are back – The b*tch trio still want to cause trouble. First, they try to stir things up by telling Tsukasa that Rui and Tsukushi are in love. They even have a video to prove it. However Tsukasa is having a bad day. He just witnessed Rui and Tsukushi talking casually at the former’s frequent hangout and is certainly feeling the green eye. After watching the video, Tsukasa gets angrier and breaks it. The b*tches add more fuel to the fire by making patronizing comments. Then he slaps one of them and sends them flying! (I revel in this!).

Killer eyes – Akira and Soujirou express shock because they know that Tsukasa with these eyes, he has become a killing machine. When he is in this mode, he once beat up a guy till his stomach ruptured and was hospitalized!!! So when Tsukasa meets Tsukushi, she can’t get away from him or his grasp. He punches the wall till his fist bleeds. Then he gets rough with her by forcing his way to unbutton her shirt. Then he suddenly calms down seeing the tears in her eyes (she thought she was a goner). Surprise comes when he kisses her and promises not to hurt her anymore. Wait a minute. He was trying to kill her a second ago and now, he becomes an angel that soothes her heart and a vow to protect her?

You’re invited – Tsukushi and her friends are invited to Shizuka’s birthday party. While Tsukushi is unsure of how to face Tsukasa, there is a bigger issue looming. Shizuka makes a surprise announcement that she wants to quit being a model and become a lawyer in France. Though her father disapproves of it, Shizuka shows her resolve by cutting her beautiful long hair and sever her ties with her family.

It’s none of your business – Rui is acting like nothing after Shizuka’s announcement. But does Tsukushi have to butt in to tell Shizuka to stay here for Rui’s sake? I’m guessing that with Shizuka around, she doesn’t have to sort out her feelings to fight over Rui. Because she knows she can’t match up to her. So if Shizuka leaves, it’s fair game for everyone for him. So Rui blows his top at her for interfering.

Last chance for goodbye – F4 minus Rui along with Tsukushi and Kazuya see off Shizuka at the airport. After she leaves the gate, only did Rui pop out. Why so late? Actually he was here earlier watching from behind a pillar. Tsukushi once more becomes emotional to tell Rui to go after Shizuka if he loves her. I think he already planned this because he shows them his air ticket to France. Go get her!

Can’t hear you – The airplane noise drowns out Tsukasa’s invitation to Tsukushi that he wants to go out on a date with her.

Dating for dummies – Yeah. That’s what Tsukasa was reading before his supposed date with Tsukushi. But he doesn’t need that crap because Akira and Soujirou are going to teach him all that they know. Leave it to the experts.

Out in the cold – Tsukasa actually waited for 3 hours for Tsukushi to show up. I guess it must be her gut feeling that made her show up. Otherwise she would have continued shopping with her mom. This causes him to have a little cold.

What’s going on in the elevator – Tsukushi doesn’t want Tsukasa to take her to a posh place and instead knows some snack shop. However they get stuck in the elevator for hours. Feeling guilty she made him sick, she tries to warm him up while learning about his past that his parents has only been home to see him once a year. That busy, huh? Just before we can see them kiss, the construction workers force open the door and it seems Tsukushi got her facts wrong because this building is supposed to be demolished.

Did pigs fly? – Why are the b*tch trio treating Tsukushi so nice? Giving her their stuffs and all? Why is everybody respecting her? Because someone posted up a picture of her and Tsukasa on that ‘date’. Wow. She just gained a lot of respect.

Sakurako Sanjou – She is the girl that Tsukushi saved during Shizuka’s party. She has just transferred to Eitoku and is grateful for what she has done.

Thomas – A foreigner whom Tsukushi meets at a nightclub. The reason why Tsukushi is ‘attracted’ to him is because he looks very much like Rui…

I don’t remember what I did last night – Things start going downhill when Tsukushi passes out at the nightclub only to find herself in a hotel bed and almost close to naked.

Never judge a book by its cover – Where do I even begin? Thomas lives with Sakurako. Thomas despite his handsome looks has bad table etiquette (slurping, burping, farting?!). Sakurako despite her innocent angelic looks, turns into some acid tongue devil woman when she dances at the nightclub. She even reduced some veteran fierce nightclub ladies into tears!

Scandal – Everything starts going downhill when a picture of semi-naked Tsukushi is pinned up the bulletin board sleeping next to Thomas. Suddenly everybody starts treating her bad thinking she has betrayed F4 by sleeping around.

I didn’t recognize you – Tsukushi confronts Thomas to demand why the f*ck he did this to her but he seems confused. That’s when Sakurako shows her true form. It was her that put Thomas up to it by drugging her drink and taking a photo of her in bed (although nothing more than that happened). Because she can’t forgive Tsukushi for being with F4. So what’s her problem? Another one of those girls who don’t believe low class weeds should hang around F4? Sakurako wants revenge against F4 and used Tsukushi for it. Sakurako met F4 when she was young and let’s just say she didn’t have that cutie face. Because Tsukasa commented she was ugly, it really got to her. So she underwent plastic surgery to make herself look more beautiful. That’s why Sakurako was very reluctant to show her photo album because she looked very different.

Bullying is bad – I don’t know what Eitoku teaches but it looks like everybody is teaming up and hunting down Tsukushi like some witch hunt. Even the boys have no honour because they really want to hurt her. WTF. Tsukushi can still put them to shame with her make-by martial arts but how long can she last? Meanwhile Sakurako tries to confess her love to Tsukasa but he continues to believe in Tsukushi despite still in confusion. Trying to force kiss him didn’t work either. Because he has already decided. The final straw came when Tsukushi is tied to a car and the students drive and drag her. That’s when Tsukasa show up and gives everyone the shock by punching those who bruised her. Everyone runs like as though they saw Jesus. Tsukasa hugs and apologizes to her. He has decided to totally believe in her. Next day, those bullies get what they deserve because Tsukasa hangs them upside down on the rooftop!

Rui is back! – Just when Tsukushi thought it is going to be something straight with Tsukasa, Rui comes back from France. But he has changed. Rui flirting around with other girls? He even asks if Tsukushi likes Tsukasa. Well, you don’t think she could answer that straight, right? Rui is happy she isn’t and wants to date her. What?! This coming from Rui’s mouth?

New bully victim – Sakurako becomes the next target bully but the b*tch trio after her photo album has been circulated around Eitoku (how did this even happen?). Even if Tsukushi can’t forgive her, she still stands up for her. Despite the uneasy truce between them, Sakurako still won’t give up on Tsukasa.

Private island – You know Tsukasa is so rich. Now you’ll know how much richer he is when F4 including Tsukushi flies in his personal jet to his vacation villa on a private island he owns. Kazuya and Sakurako also arrive (much later) because they took a much slower tugboat.

Tryst in the night – Tsukushi can’t sleep and while strolling on the beach, she sees Rui sitting alone. They talk and one thing led to another. Okay, so they just hug but Tsukushi must be startled since Rui is the one that is starting to cry. She learns when he went to France, Shizuka welcomed him and they spent lots of time together. However Shizuka was working hard to be a lawyer so was out to school while he just bummed around. And then Shizuka received a marriage proposal by a French politician rumoured to be next presidential candidate. His world came crashing down despite knowing about his (it was the talk of the town in Paris). He felt hurt and returned to Japan. I mean, even if he comes from a rich famous family in Japan, who is he in France? A kid against some big shot. Might as well return. She has to cut short this embrace when her pager rings because Tsukasa is looking for her. She lies to him about her whereabouts. The next night, the same tryst with Rui happens. The duo are just feeling sad in their own ways and try to console each other. That’s when Rui kisses her. I’m sure this will be the shock of her life. No, not the kiss. Because Tsukasa is watching them. He can’t contain his anger and punches Rui! He also doesn’t want to speak to Tsukushi too and goes off angrily.

Left behind – That’s what Tsukasa did when he flew off from the island himself leaving the rest stranded. If not for Kazuya’s tugboat, they’d be stranded here for who knows how long. When Akira and Soujirou learn what Rui has done, they obviously get mad because they all know better that Tsukasa is in love with Tsukushi and he knows better than to do this. It’s like he can’t have Shizuka and is gunning for Tsukushi instead, which is true.

Date with Rui – It’s odd. Now that Tsukushi has finally dated the guy whom she admired first, she feels he is different than Tsukasa. She compared their kisses and Rui’s wasn’t as warm as Tsukasa’s! Even when Tsukasa was in his killer mode then, his kiss was warmer. Rui doesn’t seem like very considerate of Tsukushi too since he walks at his own pace and he walks in while she is using the toilet at a fast food joint (though his excuse was he was tired of waiting for her. WTF)! And then when they’re back at his house, Rui just falls asleep. Nothing much happens after that. Well, don’t want another scandal, don’t we?

Tsubaki – Tsukasa’s sister has returned home and she is not afraid in slapping her brother when he isn’t putting on his right behaviour. Even so, he doesn’t give a damn. Tsukushi’s fate in meeting this woman is when some guy persistently tries to hit on her but was told off by Tsubaki. She takes an interest in Tsukushi and brings her back to her home, something that Tsukushi wouldn’t want to now since she just saw Tsukasa doing well getting along with Sakurako.

F3 –Tsukasa kicks out Rui from the group. Oh dear. How can this be? This is going to cause a big shock at Eitoku. And I don’t know if this is a joke or not but somehow Kazuya was considered to be Rui’s replacement! How the heck did this come about? I don’t really think it will work out…

Expulsion – Tsukasa is dead serious in wanting Rui and Tsukushi to be expelled from Eitoku that he threatens the principal to do it or he will cut the school’s funding. No amount of arguing can change this guy’s mind. Sure, they’ve got people to quit Eitoku and that’s what makes them cool (which I think not) but expelling them? This is going too far. When Tsubaki learns about this, she storms in and the siblings become loggerheads.

Slam dunk! – There is only one way to solve this and it is going to be 3-on-3 basketball. Rui, Tsukushi and Kazuya versus Tsukasa, Akira and Soujirou. F4 does have experience in playing basketball but what about Tsukushi and Kazuya? Looks like training is going to be tough. During the game in which Tsubaki is the referee, Rui seems like doing all the work, Tsukushi trying her best and Kazuya is just being a doofus. Tsukasa’s team is doing great and leading by a mile. Till Rui has Tsukushi conspire with him to get very close. This riles up Tsukasa as he loses his focus. But this isn’t enough for them to win. The students are calling for their expulsion. Tsukasa suddenly doesn’t feel like playing and abandons everything. So their expulsion doesn’t matter anymore?

New York, New York! – Tsukasa decides to leave Eitoku and live his life in New York instead for the next 2 years. Before that happens, Tsukasa and Rui made up and become friends. That means, F4 is back, right? The former doesn’t blame the latter for what is happening and has planned this even before the basketball game. Rui also will give up on Tsukushi seeing he realized he is still in love with Shizuka.

It’s a sin to be poor – Tsukushi’s family is having their own problems. Daddy lost his job. They’re surviving on what mommy earns in her part time job. Food on the table is so pitiful and the pressure is even greater on Tsukushi to marry a rich guy. Yeah, who says being poor but as long as you’re a family is happy? Things take a turn for the worse when daddy gambled away he borrowed. They lost everything. The family is in the midst of breaking down when Tsukushi gets a call from a saviour… Not. Why on Earth is that dude calling her at her most frantic hour?

Welcome to Canada – Shocking as it may be but I don’t know how he screwed it up because Tsukasa ended up in Vancouver, Canada! Oh, he agrees to give Tsukushi his ‘pocket money’ to clear off her family’s debts if she comes to get him in Vancouver. So is she going or not? She might still dislike this jerk but if that’s the only way to get the much needed funds to save her family… And so, Tsukushi along with the other F4 guys, Yuuki, Sakurako and I don’t even know how the b*tch trio too end up arriving at Vancouver’s airport and at Tsukasa’s Canadian mansion. This guy even has a house here…

Out in the cold part 2 – The b*tch trio are up to no good again. They trick Tsukushi that Yuuki might still be outside in the blizzard and she takes off just to go find her. And before she knows it, she collapses in the bitter and dark winter snow. The F4 are not happy when they learn of this. Tsukasa does another reckless move to search for her.

Body warmth – It must be a miracle for Tsukasa to find Tsukushi (after he crashed his snow mobile, that is). I wonder how he could see that little blinking red thing from her toy when she’s covered with snow. Anyway he carries her to a nearby cabin whereby the strip to semi-naked (leaving their pants on for obvious reasons) and as reluctant or stubborn Tsukushi may be (she’s got to be a dirty person if she can even worry about him doing ecchi stuffs to her), she has no choice but to let this guy warm her up with his body warmth. Next morning, they get a rude awakening by a couple of skiers who probably came in to use to cabin.

You get what you deserve – When Tsukasa returns to his mansion, he reprimands the b*tch trio (something that I revel in). They are made to work hard breakfast for them with Sakurako supervising them. Tsukushi and Tsukasa are embarrass about the cabin embracing incident though Akira and Soujirou get a little naughty in teasing them what might have happened. Later, Tsukasa once again tries to say his feelings to Tsukushi. But something loud always drowns out what he says or something else distracts Tsukushi. Maybe it’s just not to right time…

Junpei Oribe – This nerd in glasses wants to be Tsukushi’s friend. And he doesn’t fear F4 too. You know what this means when Tsukasa sees her hanging out too much with him. One day Junpei brings Tsukushi along to his workplace. Somehow he gets her to help him out and little did she realize that he is actually some hot magazine model. That picture of Junpei and Tsukushi ends up as the magazine’s front cover. Of course this leads to a showdown between Tsukasa and Junpei. Junpei asks if she likes Tsukasa but she is confused. She starts crying after Tsukasa beats Junpei to a pulp. Junpei goes to console her and vows to protect her. And all of a sudden, everybody in Eitoku recognizes him. What the? Just because he puts on some glasses, they couldn’t see his handsome face?

Bad luck? – Junpei saves Tsukushi several times from being hurt like a flowerpot almost dropped onto her. Tsukushi and Junpei’s locker receives a red slip. Maybe Tsukasa is really out to get them. And then… Tsukushi gets kidnapped!

It’s right under your nose – Tsukushi wakes up in an abandoned warehouse surrounded by her kidnappers. The ringleader turns out to be… Junpei! Did you see this coming? He admits he is the one who set up all the mishaps and the red slip. Apparently Junpei is using her to as bait to lure Tsukasa here and get back at him. Remember the guy that Tsukasa beat up so bad and hospitalized? Yup. That’s his brother. Someone Junpei looked up to and was affected by that humiliation. Junpei tries to force kiss her but was bitten. Tsukushi is sure Tsukasa won’t come after all that has happened but surprise! Here he is and alone too. With Tsukushi as hostage, the other ruffians beat up Tsukasa. He takes all the beating and doesn’t fight back! Tsukushi is reduced to watching and screaming in horror but Junpei and co won’t listen and beat him up to their heart’s content. So are they done yet? Junpei is about to beat him with a chair when Tsukushi comes flying to be his body armour. I guess that’s enough for today. After they leave, Tsukushi wants to know why he didn’t fight back. He could have easily defeated all of them singlehandedly. It’s to protect her. If he fought back, it’s his loss. Then he collapses (what do you expect with broken ribs?). Now she doesn’t want him to die.

Tsukasa dies! – When Tsukushi visits Tsukasa at hospital, she is shocked to see a white cloth over his face and his F4 pals are crying over his body! Gasp! Say it’s not true! I guess when a person is dead, you tend to say things when you don’t when he is alive. Suddenly Tsukasa bursts back to live and his pals start laughing! Psych! She really had it…

Look who’s back and then gone – Surprisingly, Junpei comes visiting Tsukasa. But he’s not here to seek revenge but to apologize and rant about his brother, the reason why it led up to all this. After all that? Suddenly a change of heart? Yeah well, maybe to Tsukushi for using her. I suppose Tsukushi doesn’t trust this guy anymore and wants him to leave even though he has seemingly reflected over his actions. It’s just too bad that he lost a valuable friendship. Oh, his other ruffian friends got easily beaten up by F4 and their head shaved.

Brand new look – Tsukushi cuts her hair shorter. Note: I still prefer her with long hair. Period.

Mother-in-law – F4 knows Tsukasa’s mother, Kaede is one scary mother. Elegant. Perfectionist. Arrogant. Snob. She owns the famous Maple Hotel chains around the world. Tsukushi’s first meeting with her began when she is invited to Tsukasa’s birthday party. I’m not sure what their intentions here for inviting Tsukushi to the party knowing well that Kaede won’t allow such low class girl to even go near her son. So when she approaches Tsukasa seen mingling with Tsukushi, she wants to know who this woman is. His reply? The most important woman in his life. Akira and Soujirou try to cut in and give in excuses but were immediately shut told to up. No talking back. Kaede is unsure of her family status as she has never heard the Makino name before. Rui lies that Tsukushi’s dad is the president of the Makino Corporation. Kaede wants proof. If she is a daughter of an elite family, she should be able to play a music instrument. Can she? Well, she just simply pounds away! I guess that says everything. Mother’s verdict? Her son is never to see her ever again. Since he insists he likes her, he got slapped. Tsubaki can’t stand this torment anymore and with the rest of F4, they help Tsukasa and Tsukushi get away in a taxi while they hold of Kaede’s bodyguards. They both end up and spend the night on his cruiser. But Kaede isn’t going to give up yet. She has her men gather information about Tsukushi’s family and she has a plan…

Calm before the storm – While on Tsukasa’s cruiser, Tsukushi manages to give him her handmade cookies to him which she never got the chance to (because she was being tsundere). Anyway the cookies look like his face! He starts mocking it and she tries to take it back. While doing that, he kisses her. What a looooooooong kiss… Is it any wonder why this kid has a big happy smile on his face? Next morning when he sends her home with a message that says “I love you”, that dense girl doesn’t understand what it means. Duh? What else could it mean? And Tsukasa is so happy that he had to go bug Rui in his sleep. It’s 6.30 in the morning! Come on!

Money talks – Tsukushi and her family are stunned when Kaede and her bodyguard enter the house. She wants Tsukushi to break up with Tsukasa and never see him again. Of course, she is willing to offer an incentive. A suitcase containing 50 million Yen! OMG! This would solve their financial woes. Guess what? The next shocking move sees Tsukushi’s mom pouring up a cup of sugar over Kaede’s head and tells her to take her money and leave! OMG!!!!!! She, doing that?! Never seen it coming! And you’d thought those money hungry parents would straight away do it for the money. Kaede maintains her composure and leaves. Just when Tsukushi is going to have a new respect for her mom for standing up to her, her true colours are revealed. She rejected the 50 million because if she marries Tsukasa, they could get more!!! GREEDY!!!!!!! WTF???!!!

Meet the fiancée – Apparently Kaede isn’t going down with a fight yet. First, she has one of her men invite Tsukushi to come to one of her hotel chains. She is surprised to see Tsukasa in a traditional wedding outfit although he is struggling that he is against all this. And then another party pops in. She is Shigeru Ookawahara and is Tsukasa’s fiancée! Arranged marriage, I take. So this is Kaede’s plan to shoo off Tsukushi?

Elope – Tsukasa takes Tsukushi by the hand and escapes out into the freezing night. Thing is, he took the wrong hand and dragged Shigeru’s instead! How the hell did he screw this up? He ignores her but the monkey girl keep pestering her to take responsibility and even jumps on his back and bites his ear! He shakes her off and leaves her but she finds him an interesting guy. Seriously? After that kind of treatment-cum-abuse and she takes a liking for him? And thanks to this little mistake, Tsukushi just can’t get that scene out of her mind. So… If she doesn’t care about that jerk, why get so bothered thinking about it? Yeah… We all know why…

Best friends, best rivals? – Somehow Shigeru ends up becoming Tsukushi’s best friend and is interested to know her so she can know Tsukasa better. Well, she even asks if they already had sex before. Since Tsukushi continues to assert she isn’t in love with Tsukasa, I guess this is good news for Shigeru because she wants her to collaborate so that she can get Tsukasa. So much so, Shigeru even joins Tsukushi and her family with dinner at home. Of course, you can tell the kind of reaction mommy puts on when she realizes this is Tsukasa’s fiancée. Should have taken the money, no? Really, this mother has no pride…

Another quiet moment with Rui – While Tsukushi is spending her usual time with Rui at his favourite place, somehow she trips and falls but he catches her and in this kind of position, you know that it will lead to that. If you stare at each other too long… Oh wait. Rui snaps out of it and lets go of her, making her head hit the stone. Ouch. Jerk.

Tears of joy – Tsukushi is surprised to see Shigeru crying. Did something happen between her and Tsukasa? Apparently he asked to her to go out with him. Wait a minute. Did I hear that correctly? I guess I did. So no wonder that girl is crying. Though, I won’t count on it since you know, Tsukasa is just ‘willing’ to go out with Shigeru just to get back at Tsukushi who has been a pain in the ass for not noticing his love.

Lover’s quarrel? – Even if Shigeru and Tsukasa are going out, the latter still acts nonchalant and doesn’t care about her. It’s just like he’s tagging along. She even has to fake some tears just to get his attention to care for her. Then as Tsukushi and Rui are hanging out their usual spot in school, they hear Shigeru yelling to Tsukasa. Shigeru wants him to kiss her as proof that he loves her. He does that. So why is Tsukushi feeling all so uncomfortable in her heart just at the sight of this kissing scene if she doesn’t care about that jerk. Yeah… We all know why… Oh, did I repeat myself with this line before?

Forced vacation – Tsukushi was out with Rui in a café. Somehow the next customer who came in turn out to be Shigeru and Tsukasa. Oh boy. Suddenly Shigeru gets this idea of a double date and what’s more invites them all to go to her villa. Before you know it, Tsukushi is whisked away in her limo and to her home complete with hotspring.

Things that go bump in the night – These only things ‘memorable’ on this trip. Tsukushi stayed in the hot bath too long and passes out. Shigeru panics and runs out close to naked to seek help. Tsukasa upon hearing Tsukushi in danger immediately goes to her rescue. What does he see? Rui carrying unconscious Tsukushi and brings her to his room. When Tsukushi comes to, she realizes she is sleeping naked in Rui’s room. She becomes an irritated annoying girl throwing a tantrum that a guy has seen her body. It can’t be help, right? As for Shigeru, she is concerned that Tsukasa harbours feelings for Tsukushi. She got desperate enough to disrobe herself, throw herself around him. She wants to talk about their marriage but she is not ready to hear this answer. In fact she doesn’t want to hear it and knows what it is. Yup. Tsukasa tells her right in her face that she is not the one. I think there’s a fit of rage somewhere, Tsukasa throwing a chair through the window (possibly thinking about Tsukushi and the possibility what she might be doing with Rui). So Tsukushi was worried enough to go see what the loud crash was about and when she enters Tsukasa’s room, only to see Shigeru on top of him, barely clothed. I guess the broken window didn’t matter anymore. Sorry for intruding. Well, it certainly was one hell of a trip. And for the next few episodes, Tsukushi has a hard time about the Shigeru-on-top-Tsukasa scene. She can’t stop thinking about it. It’s really bugging her. Really. Was it the sex scene or was it Tsukasa she’s worried about?

Home alone – When Tsukushi returns home, she is shocked to see her family packing up! Running away from loan sharks? Well, since daddy failed to land any job since he got fired, the family is going to move back to the countryside where one of their relatives resides. Papa can try his luck being a fisherman. However Tsukushi will only be staying back because mama thinks she must not give up on completing her studies in Eitoku. So hard to enter that school and you can’t just walk out due to circumstances, right? After all that she’s been through, quitting now is not an option, don’t you think? But look on the bright side, she has got some privacy and a chance to learn to be independent. And just like that, her family moves away. Start missing them? Or feeling the taste of freedom?

New kid on the block – There is a little commotion at Eitoku. Several bulldozers are tearing down old parts of the building because new ones are set to be there. Tsukushi is shocked to learn the sponsor of this new block. Does the name Ookawahara ring a bell? Yeah. In addition, Shigeru has transferred to Eitoku and she is already wearing their school uniform. And you thought things won’t get any worse, right? Well, it did. And Shigeru is doing this not to give some rivalry to Tsukushi. Rather to e close to Tsukasa 24/7. I guess she’s not going to give up on him easily.

Triple threat – After a long absence (rather, she became a minor side character), Sakurako somewhat returns and with a bold declaration to Shigeru to stay away from Tsukasa! I guess she accepted when she ‘lost’ to Tsukushi but when this new player comes in and to be Tsukasa’s number one, I suppose that’s when Sakurako had to draw the line. And guess what Shigeru’s reaction is? She’s happy instead because Eitoku is filled with interesting people! So she’s saying her old school was a boring place? Yeah. She should have heard the time everyone turned into a murderous bully against Tsukushi. In addition to her smiling face, Shigeru hugs and comments on Sakurako’s cuteness. Just WTF.

The return of the lady – Rui is hanging out in his usual favourite spot when suddenly there is this beautiful elegant lady before him. Looks familiar? Of course. It’s Shizuka! She’s back from France to get him! I think I have never seen Rui pulled off this very shocking look on his face. But that guy is still unsure. What can he do for her? Is he good enough for her? Say, what happened to the guy she was supposed to be engaged too? Anyway, Shizuka mentions he can play his violin for her. Is that the only good thing he has? Well, it’s enough to convince him for them to start anew.

Bonjour! – Yes. Rui is going to leave for France to be with Shizuka. But there is this test for students who are interested to be in a study exchange programme in America. All expenses will be paid for. Tsukushi is of course interested because as a poor girl, money is a big motivation. But you know that is just an excuse to run away from her feelings for Tsukasa (after all, Rui’s comment on how something she love is right in front of her and couldn’t even reach out to grab it really hit her hard). Because that cocky guy mocks her and doesn’t believe she can make it, Tsukushi is going to make him eat his words and show it to him. I have a feeling that the rest of them want to sabotage her exam because on the night before the exam as Tsukushi is trying to cram in last minute everything, Shigeru and the rest come to her house to party as an early celebration for passing the test. Counting the chickens? Obviously Tsukushi is in no mood and has to put up with the antics. She didn’t get much sleep. Can she make it for the test? When the results are posted, Tsukushi has passed!

Last goodbyes? – Those who believed in Tsukushi congratulate her. Those who don’t (like certain b*tches) claim she cheated. Shigeru doesn’t want her to go now that she has transferred here but Tsukushi has made up her mind. Tsukasa even congratulates her, teases her and hugs her. He doesn’t want her to go too (of course). But you know… She’s made up her mind.

It’s all a scam! – Tsukasa learns that having Tsukushi go overseas was part of mommy’s plan. I mean, how could a girl like her ace such a tough exam and she was even sleep deprived on that day. And so Tsukasa lashes out at Kaede without mercy. She thought she had given him the freedom, live, etc and this is the thanks she gets? On the contrary, she was never there to raise him and when she came back, she screwed up his life. He never considered her his mother. Then he throws the towel in her face. Unfaithful son? But there’s lots of truth in what he said, you know.

Please don’t go – So Tsukasa comes knocking on Tsukushi’s door, telling her not to go because this is all part of mother’s plan. She still wants to go because she thinks it will change her and that he has Shigeru. But after Tsukasa explains that night he confessed Shigeru wasn’t the one and hurt her feelings, he admits that he loves Tsukushi and all those other sweet words (he’ll chase after her till the end of the world and if she doesn’t come, he’ll come into hers). To shut her up, he kisses her. I guess after all that resisting, she must have realized it is futile and gives in. So she’s ready to stay and start a new relationship with him? That easy for a weed who has been defying for a long time.

Brand new girl – Wow. It’s like Tsukushi turned into another person. She feels so happy and can’t wait to see Tsukasa. All this time she’s been pushing him away and now when she really wants to see him, he isn’t around. Tsukushi has also been so cheery that she plays hopscotch herself and leap frog with her friends. WTF. She also doesn’t scorn the b*tches when they tease her. She smiles back and it gave them the creeps.

Prison in your own home – When Tsukasa is thought to be playing truant from school, Shigeru comes to tell Tsukushi and F4 that there are bodyguards all over his residence and she wasn’t given a clear answer. Of course, this is mommy’s doing to make him realize his own place and what he is doing will ruin the family’s name and what she has built up. It’s all about her, isn’t it?

The confrontation and confession – Tsukushi, Shigeru and F4 make their way to Tsukasa’s mansion. It’s the only thing to do. Surprisingly, they are easily let in to see Kaede who tells them there is nothing to worry. Really? That’s when Tsukushi goes up to Kaede to tell her about the different world they’re both in. Tsukasa has always jumped to her aid in times of her need and she kept pushing him away. Blah, blah, blah. There are things money can’t buy. Yada, yada, yada. Mommy is afraid that there will come a day Tsukasa won’t need her anymore. Kaede thinks her son’s love is just temporal but Tsukushi replies even if he does come to know she isn’t worth it, it will be on his own realization and won’t be forced upon.

Slap this b*tch! – When Tsukushi mentions if she loses her family name, she loses everything, Kaede slaps her. Tsukushi slaps her back!

CRASH! – Well, Tsukasa must have finally got tired of his cage so he throws the furniture through his window to break out. Then he comes crashing through the glass window just to see Tsukushi. Yeah. He’s like a bull.

Game over –So the duo have a nice talk together. Tsukushi tells him the wonderful feelings she had and the thought of starting things anew. However if things go on the way they are now, it will never end. Neither of them will last. That’s why she wants to call it quits. She walks away, thanks him, wishing him goodbye. Tsukasa didn’t go after her because he finally realizes how she feels.

The simple life – The normal life that Tsukushi always wanted. Without drama. No excitement. Nothing. Happy?

Life goes on – Rui joins Shizuka in France. Tsukasa and Shigeru stopped coming to school and so F4 becomes F2 with only Soujirou and Akira left. But really. Do these 2 really matter? The b*tch trio found somebody new to bully and it might be bad hearted of Tsukushi not to go stop them but I guess she has had enough hell with them and wants to stay out of it. Kazuya and Sakurako are hanging out more often together. Just short of being publicly called a couple. Tsukushi’s family are adapting well to the countryside. They may just become a great family of fisherman. Also, Tsukushi gets a 50 Yen raise in her part time job, which is a bloody miracle considering her poor status. And what’s this? Tsukushi is interested in a guy and ponders if she should go out with him?! Well, at least he’s a nobody. We don’t even know his name. Do we care?

Getting married – Haven’t you heard? Tsukasa and Shigeru are getting married! But they’re still in high school! And they’ve got Eitoku to have a grand send off on their luxurious liner for their honeymoon. But why Tsukushi isn’t looking happy? Why isn’t Tsukasa looking happy? Lingering feelings?

The letter – Before the ship departs, Tsukushi is delivered a letter supposedly from Tsukasa. Its contents read that Tsukasa plans to disappear to another country after the ship departs. He’s getting out of this marriage and will return once everything cools down. Tsukushi is so enraged that she runs from where she is and jumps onto to the ship, grabbing the rope like Tarzan! Woah! People, don’t ever pull off this dangerous stunt.

That familiar kick in the face again – That’s what Tsukushi did for Tsukasa. She wants answers about his actions and to think what will happen to Shigeru if he does that. Tsukasa isn’t sure what the hell she is talking about.

You’ve been had – Shigeru reveals all this was an elaborated setup to outsmart Kaede. After Tsukasa rejected Shigeru, she felt the need to get him with Tsukushi together. Tsukasa fell into shock after being rejected by Tsukushi so Shigeru hired some actors and friends for this plan. Thus the wedding is not real. The letter was Rui’s idea and he wrote it imitating Tsukasa’s handwriting. I guess his handwriting is that terrible. Oh yeah. All their other friends had a hand in this. Then Shigeru does another stunt that should not be imitated by others because she jumps off the liner into the ocean! Though she is picked up in Kazuya and friends’ tugboat.

If you can’t beat them, join them – You think Kaede is going to be a real b*tch and stop the ship. Because when she calls the ship’s captain, she hopes to leave her son and daughter-in-law in his care. Wohoo! Is this the sign of approval?

The long stare – That’s it?! That’s what Tsukasa and Tsukushi did as reward for us fans in the end? No kiss? Maybe they had a couple along the way but really… No happy ending kiss?

Love Is Simple. Human Complicates…
I have to admit that I’m not really a fan of this series (hey, I never said I was one) so please forgive me if my end review sounds a bit bias to the negative side. After many episodes, I feel that the series has turned boring and draggy. Even the ending shocker wasn’t enough to move me but at least it made me go “Huh? What? She really did that?” since I didn’t see it coming. Heck, I was yawning for many of the episodes so it is no surprise that I wasn’t really going to see anything for the last one. Was it a good ending? Well, I’m sure Tsukasa x Tsukushi fans would get really riled up had the guy end up with Shigeru. So yeah. It took a good damn 51 episodes just for their next romance chapter to begin. That’s a long time considering in anime context. I suppose you need to read the manga if you want to fully appreciate the entire story but you know in my case, that’s not going to happen.

At first it was amusing to see how Tsukushi went up against F4 because unlike all the other rich kids, she had nothing to fear. It was when she got closer to F4 (or rather F4 takes an interest in her) that I felt where the mundane and boring level sets it. Because for most of the time (if not every time), it is just plain Tsukushi denying her feelings. It was understandable and okay but to do it for the rest of the series? I mean, doesn’t she get tired? Don’t tell me her denial is that strong. In that case she must have been running away from reality for a very long time. So it gets somewhat annoying that she continues to deny her feelings for Rui and Tsukasa and using some sort of excuse (like it is Tsukasa is the one who is chasing after her) to not confront her own feelings. That’s why it led to so many problems. Had she been straight, they wouldn’t have been going through as seen. Other than this love problem, I think Tsukushi is a strong and sticks to her beliefs. Well, some may call her stubborn. I would only in regards to the love department. She is a tough girl and won’t give up without a fight. That’s why she is different than the rest of the girls who only know how to suck up to rich boys. Isn’t it any wonder why F4 takes an interest in her? Because she is poor, she is realistic in her approach. Sometimes it’s a sin to be poor but it’s also a blessing because you don’t waste and appreciate the minimal stuffs you have. There are things that money can’t buy. Can’t buy me love. Yeah, if it was only easily understood.

F4 may appear to be that snobbish bunch of rich boys doing as they please. Well, aside some of their behaviour that isn’t role model material, they are good guys. Mainly I see it’s mostly about Tsukasa and Rui. Soujirou and Akira feel like, how should I put it, just extras. It’s like they really don’t matter to the main thing. I don’t really feel Soujirou and Akira having an impact in the overall series as much as Tsukasa and Rui. Maybe it’s because they aren’t as romantically involved with Tsukushi as those two. I don’t know if I should say this but because of Tsukushi, F4 undergoes a few bad patches especially between Tsukasa and Rui. Yup. Because of a girl, F4 wasn’t really a whole at one time with Rui being expelled by the supremo leader Tsukasa. Because of a girl, this led to some tension between them. So was it all Tsukushi’s fault? But without her, F4 wouldn’t have been as pleasant as we see them. They might have continued their high and mighty attitude without a care. So it takes somebody of a different class to make things interesting. She’s like a blessing and a curse. Of course Tsukasa got the biggest blessing in the end. Shigeru is a fine girl too. She tries hard to understand Tsukasa, make him look her way and perhaps like Tsukushi she was in denial when she knows he is not in love with her. It’s quite noble of her to do everything after that for Tsukushi’s sake. She is not obligated to bring them back together but she did. Even if she has lost, she doesn’t want others to lose so in the end, even though her best friend got her ex-fiancee, it’s still a win-win situation for her. Shizuka exudes that beauty and grace but too bad she doesn’t appear often.

Other characters aren’t so prominent since the big focus is on Tsukushi-Tsukasa-Rui relationship. Some even I feel don’t feel significant anymore. Like Sakurako, she was causing a hell lot of chaos with that fake scandal. After she has been busted, her role has been significantly reduced to the level of Kazuya. Just short being a retard for comic relief. Yeah. That’s what that guy is all about. In the end, I notice he even didn’t go calling “Tsukushi, Tsukushi-chan” as often as he did. So really? Kazuya x Sakurako? That’ll be another story. Tsubaki too I feel, when she first appeared, she was like the only fierce thing aside Tsukushi that could stand up to Tsukasa’s bad attitude. Then when Kaede came into the picture, she became docile, a lost lamb. What happened to that fiery woman? Kaede and the b*tch trio are characters you would love to hate because one is very imposing and controlling and the other bunch are just a bunch of bullies-cum-vampires (they want leech of the rich, right?). It is hard to say wrong or right of Kaede to want to protect the family’s name thought I can’t say that her methods are right. After all, she is still his mother despite never being around.

Of course, the biggest disturbing thing in this series is the bullying. The b*tch trio are already a handful themselves, what more the rest of Eitoku students ganging up on Tsukushi on that episode. Is this what kids learn in school these days? I mean, even if F4 declares you the enemy with the red slip, does it give them the right to attack like savages? Maybe it has become like Pavlov’s bell. Fear of being bullied, might as well be you than me. So somebody gets red slip, we get the hell out of you. Remember people, bullying is bad. Say a big NO to bullying! Tsukushi’s parents are amusing because mommy is always bugging her daughter to marry a rich guy (in a sense she is looking out for her future) and daddy is always unemployed. Will their financial woes be solved if Tsukushi snags a rich boyfriend? Well, maybe that chance seems possible now but as poor people, they should know better than to take the easy way out. It’s always hard work that pays. Greed doesn’t. Mommy learnt that the hard way, didn’t she? Only crazy people would reject 50 million Yen… That chance is so never going to happen again.

Some other characters made me think whatever in the world happened to them. For instance, Junpei. For that short arc, he became the ‘antagonist’. Then after everything has settled, you don’t see him anymore. Same case with Thomas. He looks like a cool guy but when the cat is out of the bag, he’s just a big wimp. Good riddance he is never mentioned after that. It’s like he never existed. Which brings me to some of the plots that really didn’t make sense. Maybe it’s because I think too much. For Junpei’s case, how can a hot and famous young model that every girl would swoon over in a second be so unrecognizable at school? Don’t tell me he is pulling off that Superman-Clark Kent spectacles disguise. And after his arc is done, where did he go? Didn’t hear of him transferring out whatsoever. Nobody spoke of him again so it’s like he never existed. In Shizuka’s case, her return to get Rui feels fishy. I mean, wasn’t she engaged to some high profile politician? Unless they broke off somewhere but usually that kind of high profile news, everybody would have get hold of such news. Oh wait. I remember the internet wasn’t that advanced yet back then. And after all this time, why now? Why come back to take Rui back? If she loves Rui, shouldn’t she have come to get Rui when he left? Shouldn’t she have read the signs that Rui as a guy felt useless to do anything for the girl he loves? Unless she was so engrossed studying law that she didn’t realize he had gone back.

I guess in contemporary animes, romance has evolved to become more complicated and sophisticated than this. You can say that this one is just a simple love story with lots of denial and at some points a love triangle or polygon. I suppose back in those times with not much great romance stories around, that is why the series became quite popular with many fans. Personally, the draggy romance is the main thing that had me classified this series as so. Tsukushi and Tsukasa are so hot headed and always arguing just about anything and you know, with Tsukushi always in denial, it makes it even harder for everything. Tsukasa isn’t as bright as he thinks he is but he doesn’t give up but still have that obnoxious attitude. Rui is so in a world of his own that it’s hard for us to tell what he is thinking. His gentle demeanour is so different than Tsukasa. Rui might be gentle and soft but the way he treats a girl is so cold (aside Shizuka). Tsukasa might be a little brute and crude but he knows how to handle and give that warmth feeling.

The drawing and art is of course old school so after seeing so many contemporary Japanese anime style drawings, this one really feels old and brings about ‘that era’ feel. The main characters of course look good in that era’s standard but at other times I thought it was hard to tell the difference between some of the characters because they almost look the same. For example, Sakurako before her change in hairstyle, I thought she looked like one of the bullies from the b*tch trio. Because Tsukushi and Shigeru have short hair, at certain angles I thought they both look alike. On a trivial note, I still prefer Tsukushi with her long hair. As for the background and scenery, some of them look like water colour paint job not done well. It’s like the scene is just a piece of art and the characters is on one big stage. I know it’s that style from that era but seriously, I thought they could do better if they can make guys look handsome and girls looking beautiful. I don’t know if the mid-intermission serves as some sort of fanservice because we see Tsukushi enjoying herself soaking in the bathtub. Then we have the F4 guys with that ‘bewildered’ look, ‘spying’ on her bathing before she gives them the tongue. Just huh?

The opening theme, Futsuu No Nichiyoubi Ni by Tomohiko Kikuta sounds pretty fine and pleasant. Though it won’t end up in my top 100 of favourite anime songs but this is worth listening again and one of the more interesting parts of the series when it started to get draggy. It’s just odd to see the characters of the series dancing together. If only everybody was this happy and friendly with each other. The first ending theme is a slow pop ballad, Kenka No Ato De also by Tomohiko Kikuta. I guess this one is not bad too and gives that romantic feeling. I wished that they remained this song till the end of the series but they had to change to another ending theme after 3/5 of the series. Todoku Ka Na by Cayoko is a rock pop kinda piece and I didn’t really like the sound of it. It somewhat ruins (or should I say ‘disrupts’) the overall romance feel of the series. Especially the singer’s voice during the chorus, I thought it just sounded a little unrefined. Besides, they put in some sound effects (for the anime ending credits) and I thought the cry of the seagull was a girl giving a blood curling scream! It made me go “What the hell was that” at first. Of course I got used to this second ending but if you ask me, I still prefer the first one a lot. As for the background music, although there are a variety of them, the most ‘noticeable’ ones are the dramatic orchestra type. Maybe dramatic is understating it. Hearing some of them, I thought Jaws was coming! Or Dracula is here! And it gets loud enough to make me think that the computer ramp up the volume by itself. I know it’s for the dramatic effect but I can’t help raise an eyebrow or two each time I hear such pieces.

There isn’t anything much I can say on this series. Though I said it is boring, it isn’t that bad either. You can learn a thing or two. Like bullying is bad and that you should be humble and remember your roots. So what your daddy’s a rich person, owns properties around the world, sits in the highest position in the company and has lots of money five times over than the GNP of the poorest African nations combined. It’s not yours, right? Still, you’re a human being. You still fall in love with an ordinary plain girl. It just proves that opposite attracts. Rich guy loves poor girl. Poor people want to fall in love with rich ones. The grass is always greener on the other side. The rich can use money, power and influence to bring you down if they don’t like you. See, we can learn a lot about life and love from this old classic anime. Ah love. So simple yet made so complicated. Will I ever find mine? At this rate, I’ll turn out to be anime over girls.

Kimi No Iru Machi

February 22, 2014

It’s a good thing that Kimi No Iru Machi received a TV adaptation in 2013, over a year after the twin OVA episodes were released. Now they can expand the long distance relationship between the main characters as well as add other love triangles into the mix. Yeah. That’s what I really was hoping to see in this romance drama. Although I don’t remember much of the OVA, as I was watching the TV series, I was left wondering if this is a spin-off or some other later or earlier chapters. Because I don’t read the manga, so I wouldn’t know. As far as my memories remember, the OVA was about the boy who came to the big city via school trip. This time round, he transferred here on his own. And at both instances, the boy and girl are really hard to meet up. Like as there is some hidden wheel trying to block their fate in having a good ending in their romance. Just to make it clear to myself, the OVA takes place before the TV series. So this is somewhat a sequel in this sense.

Episode 1
Haruto Kirishima just arrives in Tokyo and is picked up by his sister, Aoi. First thing she dumps to him is to clean up the messy apartment! Thanks sis. After finishing up, he is suddenly attacked by a burglar. The ‘burglar’ is Asuka Mishima who thinks Haruto is the burglar because she believes Aoi lives alone in her apartment just like her. After Aoi clears up the misunderstanding and explains Asuka is her neighbour and often dine together for company, it is obvious that Haruto and Asuka hate each other’s guts especially Asuka mocking Haruto’s Hiroshima accent. Aoi hopes they can get along because they are going to be classmates tomorrow. Just great. Their friend Kyousuke Kazama comes by for a visit. Unlike Asuka, he instantly becomes friends with Haruto. Aoi thinks her brother should make friends with them and sends him out with them to buy stuffs to cook. On the way back from the errand, Haruto and Asuka continue to trade barb wires. Like little kids fighting, no? When Haruto doesn’t believe Asuka was once popular in school, she becomes desperate for him to believe so she squeaks out her Iwaki accent. Now Haruto has something to say about that. Kyousuke explains that Asuka lived in Iwai till she was in middle school and that accent slips out when she gets excited. When she came here, she didn’t talk much during her first year because she didn’t want to say anything till she changed her dialect. With the duo continue to mock each other’s dialect, Kyousuke thinks they get along pretty well. Haruto introduces himself in class and he seems to be getting along fine. Just that he seems to be putting on that pensive look from time to time.

One day, Haruto turns down his classmates’ invitation to have a welcoming party. He returns home to cook dinner for his sister instead. Asuka after bumming around in her room decides to pay him a visit. Aoi is still not back. Hmm… After a while and having dinner with him, she asks him what he is up to seeing his friends went to great lengths to organize a party and yet he turns them down. That isn’t a way to make friends. Somehow there is this guilt in her tone. She is saying that she understands his situation. From her experience, she thinks he might be afraid to speak up, fearing that others would mock him for his accent. Haruto doesn’t mind all that and thinks Asuka should speak in her Iwaki accent because it is interesting and it makes her cute. Sure he’s not making a fool out of her? Asuka hopes he will have more confidence in himself since he came all the way here. Next day, Haruto stumbles into Rin who is quite surprised to see him transferred here. She thinks he is desperate to be with his sister but the truth is he wants to confirm the truth from Yuzuki Eba herself. That’s the reason he came here. Rin finds it creepy and probably the reason why she is avoiding him.

Episode 2
Rin tries to turn him away that her sister has already forgotten about him, have a new boyfriend and he could stalk her instead. Even so, he wants to hear it from her. He is ready to give her up if it’s true. Otherwise he wants to help her with whatever trouble she has. Rin continues her ‘barrage’ on him, wondering if he plans to cling onto Yuzuki or he is just out for revenge. All he wants is to confirm her feelings since she suddenly ‘vanished’ on him. If that’s the case, Rin goes to call her sister. Haruto sees Yuzuki from the window. Now we go into flashback mode of how they met. When Yuzuki first arrived in the countryside to live with his family and attend the same school (there was only one in this rural area by the way), Haruto wasn’t really thrilled. Their fathers were good friends it seems. Haruto is forced to take her around on his bicycle. When he sees Nanami Kanzaki, he instantly stops and pretends to check for a flat tyre. Yuzuki goes to get acquainted with her, much to his dismay. Later, Yuzuki could guess that Haruto likes Nanami. He learns Yuzuki once came to this town before and came to like it. That’s why she came back. Yuzuki accidentally falls into the pond so she has to take a quick shower. Because her clothes haven’t arrived yet, she has to wear the same one. She desperately wants Haruto to take her to the convenience store. Why should he? To buy some underwear. Wow. See him peddle at full speed. Along the way, they meet Haruto’s friend, Takashi Yura but Haruto isn’t really interested in wanting her to meet his buddies in fear that they might get the wrong idea of seeing them together. That’s his concern? On the way back, the wind blows up Yuzuki’s skirt. Haruto takes a loooooooong glance but to his surprise (or disappointment), she wasn’t going commando. There is no way she was going to do that, right? She was wearing the same one which was dripping wet. After smacking him, Yuzuki still thanks him for trying to protect her.

On the day she is supposed to start school with him, he sort of turned into some grumpy guy telling her to wait at the convenience store and walking to and fro from school. Don’t want to risk being seen together, eh? What’s the use of the bicycle then? But Yuzuki is a natural in making friends as she gets acquainted with another of Haruto’s pals, Akari Kaga. After school, Haruto rushes to the convenience store. Yuzuki isn’t there but Nanami. For the first time, they had a normal conversation as Nanami points out despite going to the same school for 3 years, whenever they meet, his eyes always avert to another direction like as though he hated her. But she’s glad he doesn’t. They hear Yuzuki scream. She was hiding behind trees and got attacked by some bugs. She was doing so because when she came, she only saw Nanami and with Haruto coming, she thought it would be bad if Nanami saw them together. She’s just taking his advice, right? Since Yuzuki wants to go to the public bath, the next thing Haruto knows, he is also there with them. Gender separate baths of course. Nanami goes to talk to Haruto as Yuzuki continues to soak longer. To Nanami’s horror, she finds Yuzuki fainted in the bath for soaking too long. Luckily she is alright and on the way back as Haruto reprimands her for that, he finds out she was forcing herself to stay longer so he could talk longer with Nanami. That’s when he realizes Yuzuki has always been thoughtful of others to the point she suppresses her own feelings.

Episode 3
The flashback continues. One day Haruto was just grumpy in everything he does. It’s like as though he’s doing a favour. He didn’t even respond to Nanami’s gesture. And then in class, he collapses. Well, anybody could have told that he wasn’t well. He is recuperating back home as Yuzuki and Nanami come to visit. When Nanami goes to answer a call, Yuzuki gets mad at him for saying nothing. He couldn’t understand her anger when she suddenly kisses him. She tells him it’s her way of saying thank you (which is a trend in Tokyo) and going out his way for her. But Haruto is not amused. He thinks she is making fun of him as though he is a country bumpkin (which I think he is). Any guy would be happy to get a kiss from this cutie but him? Nooooo… He had to scold her. Who the heck is she? Who the heck is he? It ends with them in argument that they will leave each other alone. But still, why can’t Haruto stop thinking about her? One evening Yuzuki hasn’t return from school and the call from Takashi said that Yuzuki told him Haruto was supposed to pick her up. He peddles all the way and finally sees her walking from the other direction. He scolds her for making him worry and all. But she breaks down saying she can’t do anything without him. She needs him. Now he’s all sorry for whatever. He gives her a ride home. Back in present time, Haruto might have seen Yuzuki from the window, but isn’t sure if she’s crying like that time. Rin pops out of the door to say her sister is not home yet. Lying? In any case, he hopes she could inform her he will be staying in Tokyo. Rin hopes he could send her a message first if he’s coming next time. She’ll let him know if her sister is around.

In class, a classmate, Mina Nagoshi wants to ask Asuka out to KyouOu cultural festival. Asuka wasn’t interested but Haruto is so he pleads her to take him there. Kyousuke knows that Haruto wants to meet somebody there because he would have spoken to him for it as he has the tickets too. At KyouOu, Nagoshi seems to be reprimanding Haruto as her ‘boyfriend’. He might not consider this a date but she seems to hint that he has potential. He’s earning negative points in her books. Being late, not leading, looking at his Smartphone instead of her, etc. The list could have been longer. The haunted house is his last chance. She’s clinging on to him like a leech. She even notes he should be happy about this. A ghost pops up to give her a real scare but Haruto somehow trips on a wire and I don’t know how on earth he pulled up her skirt right to the top. She slaps him hard and ‘disqualifies’ him. Unknown to them, underneath the ghost facade is Yuzuki. When Haruto learns that Yuzuki is supposed to be in the haunted house, he rushes back but is told she is no longer around. The school must be big because he keeps searching and searching but to no avail. At the end of the day when he is about to give up and resigning to the fact he will never see her again, there she is. She wants to know why he came here because she thought if she stopped any form of contact, he would eventually forget her. She apologizes that she is going out with someone else and hopes he would forget about her.

Episode 4
You thought Haruto would give up on her after that, right? Well, let’s say he isn’t going to accept it. So he looks pretty depressed in class, causing Asuka to wonder if something happened. Since he sincerely apologizes to Nagoshi and she is willing to give him a second chance, Asuka smells something fishy. Kyousuke can tell from his sullen face that he must have met his ex and got rejected. Oops. He’s in no mood for it. Haruto wants Kyousuke to hang out with him and go karaoke but he has a better suggestion and do a threesome with this babe he knows. Turns out they’re going bike riding. What was Haruto thinking? At the river bank, the guys stop and talk as Kyousuke gives him some words of encouragement about life. Is that what Haruto needs? Enough for him to open up and tell him his long distance relationship failed and his ex ditched him for another guy. Despite promising himself he would give up on her and wishing she’d get a better boyfriend, when she rejected him, he felt so disappointed. In the end he realizes he’s just a horrible guy who’d wish for her to be unhappy. So it’s no surprise she wants to ditch him. Kyousuke remains positive that he can move on to find a new girl. If not, try his best to snatch his ex back. Because it’s better than sulking and thinking what to do when he should be doing what he wants to. Either way, Kyousuke will support him. It made Haruto feel better. If all else fails, Kyousuke even mentions of throwing in a mixer for him. Seriously? Yes, he is serious. As they prepare to return, Kyousuke tells Haruto of his dream to become a pro racer. He wants Haruto to become a cook as he needs a sponsor. He’ll paste the name of his eatery on the most obvious places. When Kyousuke reaches his bike, he suddenly falls over and collapses! This is no joke!

We see Kyousuke up and doing well in hospital. He just had anaemia and nothing serious. Yeah. He’s acting like it was nothing. Even got the cheek to say luckily it didn’t happen while they were riding or it could’ve been double suicide! Haruto was so worried to death. Kyousuke’s mom couldn’t be sorrier for her son’s actions. Asuka even rushed over and all her worries were for nothing. Kyousuke then blabs all about Haruto’s confession, the reason he transferred here and how he got dumped. Thanks for all the juicy info. Asuka somewhat understands why he was desperate then. She thinks his ex is heartless and is taking Haruto for a fool. Kyousuke adds that Haruto has said it himself. He didn’t want her to be happy. He didn’t just transfer here so as to verify she had a boyfriend. What he really wants is to make up with her. And suddenly Yuzuki comes rushing in worried about Kyousuke. Oh gosh! Imagine the moment Haruto and Yuzuki see each other. So Yuzuki is Kyousuke’s girlfriend! What a small world. Yuzuki pretends she doesn’t know Haruto and introduces herself. Kyousuke is about to tell Haruto’s love story but he takes his leave. Haruto realizes Kyousuke is clueless about everything and so as not to say anything unnecessary, he too introduces himself to Yuzuki. Kyousuke hopes the next time they meet, they can talk strategy to snatch back his ex. That doesn’t sound too good… On the way back, Kyousuke thinks of giving up on Yuzuki for good because he’d trouble her at this rate. After the guy friendship they’ve been through, there is no way he can snatch his ex from him. If he really cares about her, she should leave her alone. Haruto looks through his messages sent from Yuzuki about the breakup. He was about to delete it when he remembers something. Yuzuki told him she wanted to try going out with a guy he rejected and given up during middle school, the reason she can’t go out with him anymore. On the other hand, Kyousuke mentioned that he didn’t stand a chance with his current girlfriend at first but after lots of desperate persuading, she gave in. Haruto realizes something amiss and runs out of his apartment.

Episode 5
Another flashback episode back in the countryside of Hiroshima. Yuzuki seems to be in a hurry that she forgot to bring the homemade lunches despite Haruto’s reminder. Nanami thinks she interrupted something between them and starts acting weird. Later Takashi tells Haruto how it is obvious that he and Yuzuki are looking a lot like a couple. The lunches, the bike rides, it’s too obvious. Probably Nanami thinks that way too. Haruto tries to clear up the misunderstanding with Nanami but didn’t get any reaction. Takashi thinks that Nanami isn’t interested in him to begin with. Heartbreaking, isn’t it? Yuzuki seems to be happy planting rice because it’s her first time. Tell me about it if you’re doing it day in day out for the next 10 years. Haruto sees Yuzuki practising riding on his bicycle. She wants him to help her and she can’t slow down or else she will fall. Well, there’s her logic. Did anybody teach her how to use the brakes? So it was a happy feeling when she manages to balance on her own. For 2 seconds. Haruto thinks she is doing all this to clear up the misunderstanding but she disagrees. She is doing this so that he would think better of her. Still don’t get where she is going? It’s because she likes him. Someday she will make him love her and hopes he will be prepared for it. Still don’t believe it? Too bad, it’s his loss then. Back home, Haruto, Yuzuki, Takashi and Akari are looking through their old albums. I’m sure the friends have lots of embarrassing stories on Haruto that would make that guy embarrass. They notice one of the group photos has girl looking like Yuzuki (want to bet it is her?) but Haruto doesn’t think so because he only met Yuzuki in high school.

While cleaning up the barn, Haruto discovers his old picture diary. He wrote on that day of the festival about a girl named Yuzuki he met. So he did meet her then. Another flashback in time. Young Haruto saw little Yuzuki lost and crying. She didn’t like this place and wants to go back. Thinking she is belittling the countryside, he takes her to a secluded spot to show her a rare flower to cheer her up. It made her feel better as they return to the festival and had their group photo taken. Haruto notices she is smiling now and thought she hated this town as she wasn’t before. She says there are many things she didn’t like but somehow thought everything would be alright. Before she leaves, Haruto says if anything happens, she should come back here again. Yuzuki sees Haruto reading the picture book and it dawned to him that she remembers every part of it. She didn’t mention about it because Haruto seemed to have forgotten and it would be embarrassing for her to say it. However Haruto feels something amiss. Did she come back to Hiroshima because something happened? Is there something she can’t tell him yet? Back in present time, Haruto chances upon Yuzuki on the streets. He reminds her about their first meeting and for her to return if anything happened. When she suddenly disappeared from Hiroshima, he followed her to Tokyo. It’s not like her to do this. He wants to hear the truth. Likewise, she too wants to tell him something. It’s about Kyousuke.

Episode 6
Another flashback when Yuzuki returned to Tokyo. She was a loner and rarely smiled till Kyousuke came over to be friends with her. Although it made her happy, she still pushed him away. I guess he was too annoying each time he pestered her to join him. So one day when she told him off to leave him alone, he coolly said he just wanted to be friends and go out with her because he likes her. He said that right in the middle of everyone? She instantly rejected him. But that guy kept being positive saying that was only practice or whatever. One day Yuzuki was having lunch alone and once more there is a cruel message from Rin wanting her to just die. Yuzuki couldn’t take the torture anymore and breaks down. Kyousuke was there to give her a shoulder to cry on. She instantly hugged him and felt his warmth. It was what kept Yuzuki sane and able to move forward. She wanted to do the same for him when she subsequently found out he is dying of a terminal illness. Of course he didn’t say anything to anyone as he doesn’t want them to worry. That’s why Yuzuki wants to support him the best she can and hopes Haruto won’t say a thing. Haruto understands. He remembers when he first met Yuzuki at the festival. She was crying because her mom just died and her second visit was because her dad found a new wife. She had 2 kids, a big brother and a little sister. The little sister hated Yuzuki. When Haruto returns to his apartment, Asuka is seen waiting outside. He asks her a hypothetical question about his situation but she quickly catches on. She can guess Yuzuki is his ex. He doesn’t know what to do because he doesn’t want to betray his best friend. Her reply is that they can’t be true friends anymore since he’s thinking like that as his heart is not open. It makes them only like good friends on the surface. She can’t do that and can’t stand to see others like that because they’re precious to her.

And so Haruto waltzes into hospital just to tell Kyousuke in the face that he is declaring war on him to take back Yuzuki. She is surprised at the turn of events and although Kyousuke is shocked to learn Yuzuki is his ex, he accepts his challenge since it was his idea to have Haruto snatch his ex. Yuzuki has no intention of going back to him but Haruto is just here to tell Kyousuke this. He won’t hold back whatever disease he has. Kyousuke too hopes he would act fast because it is Haruto who doesn’t have much time left. Does Yuzuki have a say in this silly contest? Apparently not. And then Asuka learns about Kyousuke’s terminal illness. She’s sad. She’s about to beat up Haruto. I mean, wasn’t he just taking action based on what she said? That’s how he felt, right? Since they couldn’t be friends, it’s better to go all out. If he talks to him, things might work out. Because if he doesn’t do anything, he might lose both. Haruto and Asuka return to visit Kyousuke. Haruto made fried eggs for Yuzuki (he considers it his weapon) but Kyousuke hogs it and takes a bite and shares it with Asuka. Mmm… Delicious. Haruto doesn’t want to leave yet because he fears Kyousuke would do something funny to Yuzuki but he assures him he won’t do anything to the girl he loves. After they leave, Kyousuke lets Yuzuki try the last fried egg piece. What he wanted to see was her smile. It makes him happy. When she leaves, she sees Haruto outside. He has something to say to her. She shouldn’t look so depressed in front of him and put on some better than a bitter smile. Is Kyousuke that boring? As he is happy to see her smile, she should do so for Kyousuke so he can be happy too. With that, she puts on her usual smile and thanks him for the fried eggs.

Episode 7
Haruto thinks Kyousuke had him make some beef dish just to keep him away from visiting. It took him 2 days for that. But why did he oblige then? Suddenly some girl, Kiyomi Asakura barges in. She is mad that Kyousuke isn’t undergoing surgery that could save his life. Sure it could but the possibility is very low. The chances of surviving diminish at each passing time. Yuzuki thinks the decision is for him to make but Kiyomi slaps her! She calls Yuzuki that it is people like her that messes with Kyousuke and calls her a murderer. Haruto ticks Kiyomi off that even so, this doesn’t make her decision right. Kiyomi cries at the thought of Kyousuke’s death and runs away. Haruto goes after her to talk. She mentions Kyousuke never listens to her as his childhood friend but Yuzuki seems to be the only one he ever listens to. He guesses she likes him because it’s the same for him. I don’t think it’s in a gay context. They talk about each other’s crushes and they feel like idiots for still liking people who are already in love with others. When Haruto returns, he hears Yuzuki talking and laughing with Kyousuke. Yeah. Telling embarrassing stories of Haruto, eh? That happy look on her face. He didn’t have the heart to interrupt and leaves. When Kyousuke is discharged and returns to school, the best friends have another round of talk. Haruto mentions how happy she was with him and it’s been a while he has seen her smile. He blames himself that she never smiles. On the contrary, Kyousuke says she smiles a lot when she talks about him. He always wondered if Yuzuki went out with him out of pity. It makes him feel bad and wants to clear this up. That’s why he is going for the surgery. It will be clear that he is the one that Yuzuki chooses. Haruto also agrees to this as he has a chance of stealing her back once everything is over. He supports him to undergo the surgery and promises won’t lay a hand on her till then.

On a rainy day. Gloomy. Haruto and Asuka are seen making their way as they ‘don’t want to keep Kyousuke waiting’. Asuka seems to be spacing out on her journey. Then it hit us. They are heading to Kyousuke’s funeral!!! OMG! He didn’t make it :’(. Haruto talks to Kiyomi and the latter says Kyousuke was happy as he got to eat food from someone who would grow up to be a good chef. She says Kyousuke left something behind for him at the altar. Turns out to be his helmet and in the front spot, a reserved space for the name of his eatery. Doesn’t that just make you shed a tear or two? Haruto wonders why Asuka can be so calm because she was the one who cried the most at the hospital. She feels Kyousuke would get mad if she looked sad and thought he would be happier if she laughed. Okay, that’s the cue for her to break down and cry. Soon, Yuzuki calls Haruto to meet. She gives him Kyousuke’s helmet. She feels guilty for not being assertive enough to oppose the surgery. Haruto doesn’t want her to feel depressed because it is not her fault. Kyousuke managed to date her and he didn’t want it to be over just after a year and took the path that had the best hope. He wants her to smile for him. Then she wonders if they’ll ever see each other again. Haruto’s heart just stopped for a moment there.

Episode 8
We go time skipping a year and a half later. Haruto is now a university student and Asuka his girlfriend! I guess they’re close enough for her to kiss him and he doesn’t freak out. As Haruto promised to bring Asuka somewhere for a vacation, he works part time at a convenience store. He didn’t end up as some chef or in that line of work because he doesn’t see himself doing that kind of job no doubt cooking is his passion. While working, Rin stumbles upon him. Though it’s been some time they’ve seen each other, she gets really close to him. Of course they have to talk about Yuzuki and how she’s doing. She seems not too happy when Haruto isn’t really that concerned over her sister anymore. It’s like when his rival died, he pulled out of the game too. Rin wonders if he still loves Yuzuki but he doesn’t have that sort of feelings anymore as he has his own girlfriend. Haruto remembers Rin telling him how she hated his sister and wanted to drive her out of the house. When Haruto finishes his shift, Rin happily thought he was going to see her but instead it was Asuka who was waiting for him. Rin bitterly sees them walk away hand in hand like a true blue couple. I don’t think Haruto even saw Rin. Back home, Haruto and Asuka could have had an intimate moment. He accidentally saw her naked. She tries to beat him up with a bat. She slips. He slips. Floor all messed up with his spilled pot. Asuka on top of him. Could have gotten further if not for that damn phone ringing. Seems it is Haruto’s senior and he needs his help to come to a group date as they lack numbers. Haruto is about to decline but surprisingly Asuka gives her permission as long as he comes back early. Can he? Can she?

How funny fate can be because one of the group date girls turns out to be Yuzuki! She looks mature right now. But both exes didn’t freak out. They play it cool and even had no trouble the rest about their past relationship without breaking into any sweat. Haruto and Yuzuki leave the group date early. They catch up on things and it seems Yuzuki is getting along fine with Rin. At least they’re on talking terms. Thanks to Rin, Yuzuki also knows Asuka is his girlfriend. She gets nostalgic about Hiroshima and the likes and it makes Haruto wonder if she is hiding something bitter again. They exchange email addresses before they part. Just in time, Haruto gets a warning message from Asuka to come back o else. See, what did I tell you? Haruto is working at the store when Asuka pays him a visit. Shortly, Rin comes in. Asuka meets Rin for the first time but the latter knows about her thanks to Haruto. It’s like Rin wants to pour fire on oil so she mentions about Yuzuki at the group date. Suddenly the atmosphere changes. You can see Asuka uneasy though she is trying to hold it in. She leaves. Haruto goes after her to clear the misunderstanding. Why didn’t he tell her? What do you mean you forgot? Okay, so he didn’t want make her feel uneasy. She forgives him because she was the one who told him to go on the group date and her jealousy proves that she loves him a lot. When Haruto finishes his shifts, Rin is seen waiting for him (she pins it as an excuse that she’s passing by). He has to play the good guy to escort her home so she uses the chance to get clingy with him since it’ll be ‘safer’ if they look like a couple. Yeah. Haruto is in danger. Asuka seems to badmouth Asuka and wonders if Haruto really loves her since he once loved Yuzuki so much. Haruto says he was rejected and didn’t want to push it further but Rin believes Asuka is not the right one for him and he might just be a girl nearby and just compromising. Haruto stands firm that Asuka is his girlfriend and they’re happy together but Rin believes he is scared. Because there is a chance she could make him happier than Asuka and his feelings would sway, thus scared of trying. I don’t what this guy is trying to prove because he dares her. He agrees to take her out somewhere tomorrow since it’s a holiday.

Episode 9
This time Haruto tells Asuka about his ‘date’ with Rin at Fantasy Land before he leaves. Sure she is shocked but I guess since he promised, she allows him. In exchange he must buy a rare handphone strap for her. Haruto waits and Rin is running late. Oh look. There is Yuzuki waiting there too! Smell something fishy? They are surprised to see each other and say they are waiting for somebody. Then they simultaneously receive a mail from Rin that something has come up and that she can’t come. So as not to waste the tickets, she hopes they can go together instead. Yup. A setup. They both were about the leave and go home when Haruto remembers he has to buy that strap and with that lame excuse, the both of them head into Fantasy Land, not knowing Rin is watching them from afar. At the end of it, Rin calls Haruto to ask if he had so much fun that he forgot about Asuka. He is somewhat ‘disappointed’ because he thought it would be more fun if it was Rin. That’s sarcasm back at Rin. But she isn’t going to give up yet so she goes bug him at his workplace. Thanks to Yuzuki, she also knows the flimsy excuse of getting Asuka the strap just so he could date her sister. Rin continues to annoy him so he says that he could have gone with anyone. This prompts her to call him unfaithful. She then teases him by showing a little of her breasts (because she isn’t wearing any bra) and then accuse him of being a pervert. After he kicks her out, she asks if it’s a wise idea to give the strap to Asuka after he bought it with his ex like as though nothing happened.

Haruto returns home to give the strap to Asuka. She is very happy. But he lies that he was out and about with Rin and it made him tired. They’re supposed to discuss details of their next trip but he falls asleep on her. That tired, huh? The phone rings and Asuka picks it up. Next morning when he is fresh and ready to discuss for real, it’s Asuka’s turn to look grim. She asks if he really wants to go on a trip with her. Of course. That’s why he is working, right? Later he thinks what made Asuka say that and he thinks Rin must have told her what happened despite promising she won’t. This time Yuzuki enters the store. She mentions that with the upcoming summer vacation, they plan to visit Haruto’s parents back at Hiroshima. Is this one of Rin’s crazy ideas? Not quite. It’s been a long time Yuzuki has returned and at least wants to show the sisters are on good terms. She wonders if he can come too but no can do because he will be on a trip with Asuka to Okinawa. Even if Yuzuki accepts it with a cheery face, something tells me that she really didn’t. Back home, Asuka makes a big apology to Haruto. Because her grandma is hospitalized, she can’t go for the trip. That is why she was worried this morning. Haruto understands since family is important. But the trip will be wasted, right? Summer vacation may be over then but they don’t necessarily have to go to Okinawa. As long as he gets to be with her, he is happy. They have enough time to frolic around. With a little case of déjà vu. This time Haruto lands over Asuka after they trip. Hope no damn phone interrupts. His horny side is awakening because he is about to take off her bra. And she allows him. Then Aoi had to come back. Sorry for the intrusion. See her smirk when she leaves? Later Haruto thinks of using his earned money to buy something for Asuka. This makes him remember he bought a present for Yuzuki but never gave it to her since she suddenly left for Tokyo. He wants to throw it away but couldn’t. Seriously, he’s been keeping it all this time but can’t have the heart to throw it away. So why now if he does?

Episode 10
Asuka leaves for her family. Aoi is cheeky enough to suggest Haruto to go with her and get to know her family since he ‘planted his seeds inside her’. Asuka feels lonely for parting with him but whispers when she comes back, they’ll continue with ‘that’. So what does Haruto do on his own? He calls Yuzuki to meet just to give her the pendant. He explains it’s supposed to be her birthday present which he never got to give her. Thanks. Two years late. Haruto believes he has finally settled his feelings for her by passing it to her. Or so he thinks. Haruto makes his way to Hiroshima since his old friends ‘forced’ him to. It’s been a long time he has seen Akari, Takashi and Nanami and it feels like a little class reunion. So we’ve got Haruto reminiscing of the good times with Yuzuki as he cycles around town. Especially a river which he showed Yuzuki some ice flower before she left for Tokyo. He told her not to leave and wanted to date her. He was willing to even go to Tokyo with her. But we know it didn’t turn out that way. Haruto sees Yuzuki at that spot and notices her wearing the pendant. It feels nostalgic being at this place. Yuzuki wants to move forward with him. As friends. But of course. They pass their old school, another place filled with old memories. Especially after the festival, desperate Haruto ‘cornered’ Yuzuki and wanted to go out with her even if it’s only half a year. But she couldn’t because if they do, she can’t return to Tokyo. Then Rin had to break up those nice memories, teasing him that he is thinking of his first kiss, etc. She gets very clingy to him. Trying to make big sister jealous? She’s glad they’re getting along well. Seems like it. Rin meets the rest of Haruto’s friend and from first look, she can tell Nanami is Haruto’s type. What is she? Some kind of evil fortune teller? Takashi obviously wants to hit on Rin but she makes it known to him that she doesn’t like the kind that immediately tries hitting on her. There goes his chance. Yuzuki helps Haruto cook but a slight moment where their hands meet cause a little spill. It’s like fate is giving them an excuse to go out together and buy stuffs. More reminiscing of that past. As her ex-boyfriend, Haruto is worried that she hasn’t got a boyfriend yet. It’s not that he’s looking down on her but I guess Yuzuki would love to have a guy. As long as he is better than Kyousuke. Ah. Who could ever top that guy? When they return, Rin continues to tease the suspicious duo. They are distracted with Takashi’s fireworks blooper. Yuzuki tugs Haruto’s shirt and mentions there is something she’s been meaning to tell him all this time. That look in her eyes…

Episode 11
On second thought, she changed her mind. WTF. Tell or don’t tell? That night Haruto and Yuzuki visit the festival stalls. Haruto spends a lot on the balloon fishing but I guess he sucks. So much so the stall owner pities him and gives him an apple candy as consolation. He gives it to Yuzuki and this makes her happy. If you’re wondering where Takashi and co are, they’re heading to the festival too but are stuck in a massive jam. There’s a jam in this small town? As the duo watch the fireworks, this makes Haruto ponder about Yuzuki’s erratic behaviour. She was such in high spirits when he first met her and then when he fell in love with her, she pushed him away. When Kyousuke died, they agreed to part and never meet again. Now that she’s back again, what is she up to? Suddenly Yuzuki cries. She dismisses anything but trips. He catches her. Cue for hug scene. He wants her to stop blaming herself about the time he and Kyousuke fought over her. Yuzuki blurts she wanted to be with Haruto all this time. He thinks this is what she wanted to say then and shouldn’t let it bother her anymore. They should move on and be friends. But what she wanted to say then was that she loves him. Oh dear. Those 3 magic words were enough to reignite the flames? Yuzuki can’t stop thinking about him so she thought of coming her one last time and etch those memories in her heart. Once she returns to Tokyo, she won’t see him again and won’t intrude on his happiness. She throws away the pendant into the river but he dives in to retrieve it. He doesn’t want her to say such things and wants her to hold on to this pendant no matter what. While we have flashback clips of their younger days together, they could have gotten closer and even more had not for the damn phone ringing. I’ve been meaning to ask this, is there reception out here in the wilderness? Hey, it’s from Asuka! She’s calling to say hi. What? Can’t say hi so late? When she asks where he is, he lies that he is at home and a bit busy. Oh no. Something tells me it’s a bad move. Look at Asuka’s surroundings. Seem familiar? No wonder she doesn’t sound too good after that. Haruto and Yuzuki walk back. Remembering more of the old times? Haruto is in a dilemma. He never knew he still had feelings for Yuzuki and because he feels guilty of what he is doing to Asuka, he tells Yuzuki that he wants to give a proper answer and to wait. Okay. When they return home, they are surprised to see Asuka sitting at his doorstep! I knew it! See that disappointed look in her eyes? She’s right to call him a liar. Sh*t is going to hit the fan.

Episode 12
Haruto didn’t stop Asuka as she leaves. That night when he is thinking by himself, Rin pays him a visit and makes him tell what happened. Seems that Haruto has realized he loves Yuzuki and doesn’t want to part with her again. That’s good, right? Nothing to worry about. All he needs to do now is break up with Asuka. So why still worried about Asuka? He continues to tell all the good points about her so Rin had to lift her skirt to show him ‘other options’. He scolds her for fooling around but she tells him off that from the looks of it, he is the one fooling around. He doesn’t want to hurt both but it’s too late. She loves his expression of feeling like a trash. This is what happens when you keep trying to play the good guy. Back at Tokyo, Asuka and Haruto talk. Well, not really much of a conversation because Asuka is talking while he says nothing. She wants him to give an excuse so she could hit and forgive him. And when he finally opens his mouth, he wants to break up. Unacceptable. But there is no other choice. He has already decided. Asuka is left crying. Later he meets Yuzuki. She tells him Akari told her how Haruto’s breakup with Asuka went. It was horrible. She was told if she would be happy this way of stealing somebody’s love. Of course she couldn’t. She could never be happy for the rest of her life. But she doesn’t care what others say as long as she has him. This is what she longed for. He corrects her that this is what they longed for. They will take on everything together. Sometime later, Haruto bumps into Rin again. She can tell he argued a lot and deserved it but couldn’t understand why he isn’t happy since he already made up his mind. She asks who is most important to him because if he doesn’t treasure the love he shares with someone, it’s as good as not being in love at all. He thanks her for the advice because she always makes things seem clear. Haruto thinks of moving out to live on his own as he is tired of living with his sister. Do you know how expensive the rental in Tokyo is? Another chance meeting with Asuka, she too ponders if she should move away to forget everything. However she couldn’t and cannot bring herself to hate him. She feels in a quandary that since the duo are moving ahead, she feels left behind. If she had knew all this would happen, she would not have fallen in love with him in the first place. Of course Haruto denies all that, mentioning she did a lot of great things for him. So they still love each other but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Asuka kisses him one last time and says if things don’t work out with Yuzuki, he can always come back to her. Because she’ll turn him down then.

Always A Place In Your Heart…
As I read from the comments online, many fans of the manga didn’t like how the anime was adapted. Firstly, it started in the middle (assuming at the current time of the anime’s airing, the anime is the ‘middle part’ of the overall released chapters) with the Tokyo arc. Many didn’t like how the previous arcs were told in flashbacks. Well, somehow I agree too. Although they didn’t spam us with lots of flashbacks but I thought it was somewhat confusing. It’s like those who only read the manga would understand what had happened and for others who don’t (like yours truly) who only watched the OVA and jumped straight into the TV series, there are parts that don’t seem connected and you’d be wondering why this and why that. Secondly, how the anime ended wasn’t that satisfying. Of course the manga is still on-going but as far as the anime itself is concerned, it still leaves a bittersweet taste in your mouth. Because it’s like the ultimate goal of this TV series was to reunite Haruto and Yuzuki together. Whatever happened to the others don’t really matter. And after spending a dozen episodes away from each other, they finally be true to their feelings and be a couple. End of game. Doesn’t it feel like that? In short, it just feels mediocre.

So incomplete that it makes you feel what actually happened between Haruto and Nanami. Didn’t that guy had feelings for her before Yuzuki? Feels like something missing when you think back, what happened to his feelings for her? Where did it go? It feels like there is some sort of link missing here. And what about Nagoshi? That girl seemed to have potential in liking Haruto. But after the cultural festival, you’ll never hear of her again. Kiyomi? I have a feeling that she isn’t just going to be a character that dies along with Kyousuke. During my ‘research’, I stumbled that she too like other characters like Takashi and Asuka do play a part in the romance between the characters (in future manga chapters, that is). But as far as this anime is concerned, after Kyousuke’s death, Kiyomi is never heard off again. It’s like we are allowed to forget all about her. Because these characters don’t really have any major impact in this TV series. Because as said, a big part of the show is about Haruto and Yuzuki. A little bit of Rin here and there and the second half pulling in Asuka.

The big mystery and probably annoying thing in the overall series has got to be the complicated love relationship between Haruto and Yuzuki. Okay, saying their love being complicated isn’t quite accurate because it is the pair who made it complicated. For almost the entire series, it’s like when the guy likes the girl, the girl pushes him away. Vice versa. They come up with some sort of vague excuse why they can’t be with the other. See, at first Yuzuki really liked Haruto and wanted him but he was such a jerk to notice her love and ignored her. Then when he realizes he loves her, she has got to go back to Tokyo and his love is unwanted. At that point he seems like desperate. Then he goes to Tokyo just to confirm if it’s true. And so it seems true, which really isn’t, that Yuzuki has somebody else important but he doesn’t give up. And after some dude died, they remain distant while the feelings of their heart never really disappeared. It took just a spark of the moment to reignite it. Somebody got hurt in the end and they end up together. Happily ever after. For now. Complicated, no?

It’s hard to feel anything for Haruto and Yuzuki when they are both apart and finally together in the end. Most probably the way they played out the drama and the romance part, it was somewhat a little draggy. No exciting twist in the plot whatsoever because it is already embedded deep in the back of your mind it is going to be Haruto x Yuzuki eventually. And you know, Haruto isn’t exactly your gentleman or perfect guy. He has his own faults and thinks he can do it by taking in some responsibility but he ended up hurting everyone including himself. Because in reality you can’t make everyone happy. Harem series avoid this problem but fell into the same pitfall when they don’t choose anybody. That is assuming the girls consider themselves as friendly rivals. Friendly rivals? At least not the case in here. At least they try to put some realism into the romance but still it wasn’t enough to do justice. Yuzuki too tried to play heroine. She thinks others can be happy if she suppresses her own feelings but in the end it took a toll on her and suffered silently. So when these two eventually get together, there have been a few battle scars made. Did their love come to realization at the expense of others? Was it worth it? That depends on where you stand. If they can remain faithful to each other for the rest of their lives, then I would consider it worthy. Otherwise, it would just suck big time. A big waste of time.

There is something about Rin that makes her a mystery. She comes to us as some sort of a little devil. It is unclear what her actions of stoking up fire especially with Haruto. It’s like as though she likes to see others suffer and my guess is that since she had her fill with Yuzuki (driving her out of the house was probably the clincher and thus ‘ended’ the hate game for her step-sister), now she turns her attention to Haruto. Sometimes it is hard to pin her as the villain although what she says may be provocative but there are some truths in what she says. Because Haruto himself is indecisive and an a$$hole. That’s why he’s so much fun to ‘hang out’ and flirt with. She gets to tell him off and see his guilty sh*t expression. Still, I feel Rin isn’t the kind of girl I would want to end up with. Never!

Kyousuke is the coolest character and the best friend that every guy would love to have for his best buddy. He is always there to cheer you up and while his words may not be sugar coated, at least he makes you realize something. He’s sporting and cheery and definitely a good mood maker in any sort of group. So when he died halfway through the series, I thought it was really a big blow and big tragedy for such a cool character to go. His demise didn’t bring so much shock to me because I somewhat already knew beforehand. Yeah. When I was searching for information on to whether the TV series or OVA came first, I accidentally stumbled upon this little piece of information and I was in ultimate shock then. Of course there was this little hope in me that the producers might just change the character’s fate but I guess they wanted to be true to the manga. Thus when Kyousuke really did die, the impact of the shock didn’t get to me while I was watching. Otherwise, if I know myself well, I would be ‘paralyzed’ for the next few episodes. Therefore in order to ‘forever’ remember him, the second half of the series’ ending theme features his voice singing. Really.

Something about the art and drawing of the background of the series. I don’t know if this is a trend these days because I seem to notice more and more anime adopting this. Sceneries in the background tend to have this water colour feel or some oil painting. Like as though the artist didn’t really put so much effort in it and thought he could pass it as the background as the focus will be on the characters in the foreground instead. It’s really odd if you try to reconcile the combination of such art with bishonen and bishoujo characters. Also, when I learnt that the author of this series is the same as Suzuka, suddenly it dawned to me why some of the characters in here look like those in Suzuka. Especially why Nanami looks like that titular character. See the striking resemblance? As for the fanservice, there are a few obvious and deliberate fanservice scenes too like Rin lifting her skirt or Haruto accidentally pulling up all the way Nagoshi’s dress and even some on Yuzuki and Asuka. Mmm… Don’t you just love those scenes?

The opening and ending themes are ballads, which are somewhat fitting for this romance drama genre. The opening is Sentimental love by MimimemeMIMI though it is more of anime pop. Somehow I feel that the guys singing the ending themes didn’t quite fit in. Yoshimasaya Hosoya (voice of Haruto) sings the first opening theme which is the same title as this anime. The song is okay but personally I feel that his voice isn’t really suited to singing so it sounds like there is a mismatch between his voice and the song. This goes the same for the second ending theme sung by Daisuke Ono (voice of Kyousuke), Dear Friend. Sure, this guy has got a nice gentleman voice but I would rather prefer him in voice acting rather than singing. In this case it also sounds like his voice isn’t suited for singing. There are a variety of insert songs in the series ranging from slow ballads to anime pop but I don’t really find them that attractive.

Old feelings of the heart seem hard to die. Especially if it is your first love. We see how stubborn the characters here are in denying those feelings and also how stubborn those feelings are remaining deep inside their hearts for a long time and never went away. Yeah well, easier said than done. Sometimes it is hard to tell whether you are really in love or just in love with the idea of being in love. So what is love? Is feeling happy being in love? Is feeling sad and pain being in love? Is feeling jealous and distrustful part of being in love? Well one thing I know, it’s hard for me to love this anime no matter how much I try and want to… I just couldn’t…

Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun OVA

January 18, 2014

Like most OVAs these days, they aren’t really related to the story of the TV series and serve as fillers and motivation to buy the final DVD of the series. Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun OVA is no different but yet makes it slightly different from other OVAs. As we know the TV series was a high school romance comedy. For the OVA, they turned it into a period drama! Imagine the characters from the show being reduced to those people under those feudal times. Usually series stay in the same period setting but for this one, it doesn’t. So in that sense it is ‘different’. A little weird but unique in its own way.

Tonari No Gokudou-kun
In a land and time where sweets are forbidden (at least where this anime is concerned), Shizuku is a teacher of a temple and at the same time the leader of the Mizutani Group. Their rival is of course the Yoshida Group led by Haru and owner of this land and loves picking fights. Shizuku wants to meet the Yoshida Group’s leader but since he is always capricious, she has never met him during all her formal visits. The rest of the characters include Natsume as some advertisement flyer distributor who makes lots of grammar mistakes in her flyer, Ooshima the princess with Yuu as her airhead retainer, Sasayan the secret ninja to the princess and Yamaken as Shizuku’s retainer who has a secret crush on her. While Shizuku is at the river, her slipper’s string breaks and she falls in. Haru happened to be passing by and sees her drowning. He throws Nagoya the chicken as a buoy! I don’t know. Can chickens swim? Miraculously, Shizuku is saved. Once everything calms down, they introduce each other but short of mentioning the clan they belong. Haru puts some red berries over her lips as lipstick but it starts to get itchy. He uses some herbal remedy to cure her. Now her lips are green… Haru decides to teach Shizuku more things so the temple children can respect her greatly. That nigh Shizuku can’t concentrate on her studies and her mind is filled with thoughts on Haru. Next day, Yuu leads Ooshima to an illegal printing factory that Sasayan has discovered. Because Yuu carelessly calls her name (I think she didn’t really care), the guys swarm over the princess but was saved by Haru. Here’s another woman falling for him. Haru continues to teach Shizuku and she is impressed with his knowledge. He too would like to be by her side. He agrees in her words that despite everyone has their own unique ideals in this town, why can’t they find a way to accept each other.

Natsume spreads her flyers that love will come true if you manage to skip the stone on the river 10 times. Of course this is just a ploy because Natsume’s real identity as a thief is to steal the people’s wallet. She stumbles upon Sasayan and learns about him as a secret government agent. She inadvertently tells him about her informant where she got this information. Ooshima is one of those many love hopefuls but does she really need to pick up a huge rock for it? They say the power of love can make you do miraculous things. But why throw it right into space? She’s so in love with Haru that she even shouts it out loud. As Natsume is going to snatch Mitsuyoshi’s wallet, he catches her in the act. She is smitten by him when Ooshima’s rock crushes him. Haru thought Natsume was at fault but she dismisses it and points to Yamaken. He happened to be lost on his way here and came in the wrong place and wrong time. The blaming game begins. Yuu thinks Ooshima has done a good job. Ooshima feels so good that she feels like telling the Lord to lift the ban on sweets. Sweets loving Yuzan wonders if she is really going to do that.

Next morning, Shizuku is horrified to see her temple destroyed and since this is the work of the Yoshida Group, she is really going to take action. As she prepares herself, Yamaken accidentally trips and falls over her. He wanted to confess but she had more important things to do. This is what happens when you hesitate. When Shizuku meets Haru over the bridge, they realize their respective positions in the clan. Shizuku accuses him of tricking her. Before they can fight, Sasayan stops them and shows the true culprit: Yuzan. He is nonchalantly chatting with his friend, eating snacks and even has Ooshima and Yuu tied up. Haru is shocked that his own men was the culprit. Yuzan didn’t bat an eyelid to admit everything was his doing since Sasayan shows DNA proof that his sweets were present at the temple wreckage. Why is he doing this? Because sweets are forbidden, they fetch a high price in the black market. So by lifting the ban, they will become cheap and freely available. While Yuzan is busy making dumb sweet puns and revelling in it, Haru has decided he wants to live alongside Shizuku and build a town where everyone can be happy. This of course sends Ooshima into depression because it feels like some sort of indirect rejection. Haru and Shizuku are about to teach Yuzan a lesson when Nagoya suddenly flies down and possesses one of the guys. Are you ready for this shocker? Nagoya is an alien from Chicken Planet and Haru is the first prince, Prince Chicken sent to this planet 16 years ago to control his emotions. Now that he has learnt what he lacks, he is to return to their planet. And so Haru is carried away into space and the lovers are separated… In the final scenes, we see the gang rebuilding the temple. Natsume is trying to write better letters so she can put her feelings into it and give it to Mitsuyoshi. Suddenly Haru comes back crashing down into the rubble. Happy Shizuku goes to hug him. I don’t know why he returned but we can’t have a sad ending. In fact, for a sweeter ending, they kissed!

Almost Romeo x Juliet…
It was rather fun on its own. Seemed like it was heading for another romance developing nicely between the main duo when suddenly they had to put in that ridiculous sci-fi element. I know, I know. Anything goes. It felt so out of place with the characters in historical setting and then when Sasayan showed something futuristic like the DNA proof, I had a feeling something weirder was going to happen. True enough, they added that last bit alien crap just to throw us off. Who cares about all that because in the end Haru returned to Shizuku’s side and this time their kiss was perfect instant of the sudden one that we saw in the TV series. So why the hell Prince Chicken returned, I had no idea. Probably just to throw us off once again and of course to make everything a happy ending. Since it already didn’t make sense, heck, why not go all the way. Hmm… Instead of next door’s monster, maybe it was next door’s alien for in this case. Hah… Too bad for all the other characters with their unrequited love. It felt like that too in the anime. Maybe the next time if they try another setting, a futuristic space sci-fi one, I’ll have another look at it and try to lower my expectations of it. But then, it’ll be more or less the same thing.

Sukitte Iinayo OVA

November 22, 2013

For those hoping to see any sort of love developments between Yamato and Mei in Sukitte Iinayo OVA, be very sorely disappointed. I’m not even sure why they made this OVA in the first place. Perhaps it is the trend these days to boost DVD sales or to bundle with another volume of the manga. I would have understood and accepted even if the OVA had nothing to do with the original storyline and maybe something nonsensical (don’t put too much hope on it either) but this one was just mind boggling. There is nothing much that happens in this OVA unless you want to count time wasting as one of its intention.

Someone
Nagi, Asami and Aiko are at Mei’s place to bake some cookies. Because it is going to take some time, Yamato is told to kill some time elsewhere. So happens he gets a mail from Kai to hang out at the playground they once frequented when they were kids. They think back about the old times and Kai had this thought always bugging him. Since he himself isn’t popular, he always can’t wait to leave school for this place. But he noticed that Yamato despite being popular, always come to this rundown playground too. Yamato himself doesn’t know why. Maybe he likes the place (obviously, duh). Yamato thinks he was like a chameleon. He was anxious he had no personality of his own outside of adjusting to others. So he started coming here to lie down and look at the sky. It made him feel relaxed. Kai says he once hated this town. Not anymore. Maybe it’s because having people around him somehow readjusted all that. Yamato remembers when Mei said she didn’t need any friends, he felt sad himself. It felt like Mei had some emptiness within him when that happened. Kai calls him a simple guy and is glad he told his feelings.

Later Kai meets Megumi waiting at the bus stop. He tries to strike up a conversation with her but she isn’t too enthusiastic about it. It’s like as though she can’t wait for her friend Momoko to turn up so that she could whisk her away from this annoying guy. They talk about Yamato and about the modelling job that she is having and I don’t know how they ended up having an argument with Kai leaving. So when Momoko finally arrives, Megumi heaves the biggest sigh ever and complains she had to put up with Kai and all. Momoko thinks she’s trying to put up a brave front to seem cooler and that they make a cute couple. Megumi regrets saying some harsh things to him so Momoko has an idea and gets pushy in convincing her to go apologize to him although Megumi gave several excuses why she can’t (like she doesn’t have his handphone number, etc). Kai is walking around and he wondered why he had to alight the bus when he saw Megumi waiting at the bus stop just to go talk to her. Regretting it? Now he probably has to walk all the way home.

Yamato has returned, just in time to taste Mei’s cookies. Looks very fragile. Very. Despite so, he gives the thumbs up. It goes to show never judge a book by its cover. Later Mei’s mom sends her daughter out with Yamato to do some errand. I guess this is necessary seeing that we just spend almost the entire OVA with Yamato and Mei apart so it’s fair they get some fair share of the screen time no matter how small it is. Yamato hugs Mei and tells her how lonely he felt without her. He is happy to have met her. What’s the occasion for saying this? Nothing, really. He just felt like he wanted to. Is there something he wants to tell her? Well, he told her all that he wanted. Yamato notices the beautiful sunset glow over the town. He thinks the scenery is beautiful because Mei is here. They continue to make their way holding each other’s hands.

Say I “Yawn” You…
Eh? What? It’s over? Really? Phew. What a relief. That last bit of romance didn’t do much justice to Yamato and Mei. But it’s better than never showing it either. Somehow it should have been more because we know how close they are and are hoping they would get even closer, not just a few minutes like that. We wanted something more intimate for God’s sake. Even if it won’t cross the explicit line, at least something to convince us and make it memorable in the long run that there is some improvement going on. I’m sure we are confident that their love will grow but seeing that this OVA is made, we expected to see something tangible too. And what do we have here? The first part some male buddy talk, the middle part it’s like Kai and Megumi trying to reconcile but didn’t go so smoothly and that last bit just to remind us what this show was really about. No progress, no development, no excitement whatsoever. I guess not every kind of love you encounter will be exciting. There are boring days and there will be mundane days where nothing much happens. Maybe sometimes love can’t be expressed in words or even in shows. This OVA wasn’t it.

Sukitte Iinayo

July 27, 2013

Have I seen this somewhere before? Let’s see. Unpopular girl and very popular boy fall in love and become a couple. Doesn’t this sound familiar? If you thought that this sounds very much like Kimi Ni Todoke, then you are right. On the surface. Sukitte Iinayo is another one of those shoujo genres in which the hot looking guy whom every other girl would dream and die for to be his girlfriend, takes an uncanny interest with a girl whom almost everybody shuns. I know. You’re going to tell me either opposite attracts or the power of love or something like that. I mean, it would be so boring to see two popular and pretty people become couples and fall in love, right? But out unpopular girl here doesn’t look like she came out from a popular Japanese horror movie. She looks like any normal girl. Due to her bad experience with friends, she vows never to have one as she believes they will only betray her. All that is about to change when this guy takes an interest in her. From there, we see their relationship changing and love blossoming as she gives life and love another chance.

Episode 1
Mei Tachibana never believed in having friends. Not after her traumatic experience how she was blamed for the class’ pet rabbit’s death during her elementary school days. She ignores all the b*tchy remarks by other girls that she is on a streak of being boyfriendless. At Tomei High, Yamato Kurosawa is probably the most popular guy around. Kenji Nakanishi is his close friend but is a pervert. Asami Oikawa, those humungous boobs define her. That’s what everybody does. Asami prefers to run into arms of Yamato instead of Nakanishi. She invites him to go on a karaoke outing. Yamato accidentally bumps into Mei but she gives him the cold shoulder and walks off. Later while the other girls are busy gathering around Yamato about a mixer, Nakanishi feels naughty and starts flipping short skirts. Little did he know, he flipped Mei’s. She gives him a roundhouse kick but kicked Yamato instead. He blocks it with his palm. She gives her piece of mind before leaving. Yamato despite shocked at first, bursts into laughter. After school, Mei discovers lots of pins in her shoes and an angry note wanting her to apologize to Yamato. Yamato apologizes for Nakanishi’s behaviour but she’s not interested. However admits he is interested in her. She doesn’t care. He wants to trade handphones. Numbers, that is. Think she would just give it to him like that? He gives her a piece of paper containing his and is expecting her to call. She passes him a band aid for his palm. After Mei finishes her part time job at the bakery, she goes home and starts pondering about Yamato’s gesture. She believes he will betray her. Next day in school, Yamato pesters Mei about last night. He was really waiting for her call. She shows him her handphone has only 2 numbers: Her home and bakery store. She reveals her distrust in others and how they would find a scapegoat and look things the other way for their convenience. Mei leaves the bakery late that night and she realizes somebody stalking her. She panics and runs into a convenience store to hide. She calls home but her widowed mom isn’t home. Which number is left? Reluctantly, she calls Yamato. And thankfully he picks up because it was just about his turn to sing in the karaoke. He rushes to her side and learns that stalker is still out there waiting! 35 minutes… The stalker is a regular customer of the bakery. Yamato buys an ice cream and leaves with her like as though they’re a couple. When the stalker confronts them and asks Mei who this guy is, Yamato confesses he loves her and kisses her! Enough for the stalker to lose interest and walk away. Mei just stood there stunned. Her first kiss…

Episode 2
Mei joins Yamato and his friends in the karaoke. She doesn’t want to sing and causes a scene. She leaves. Yamato goes after her. Mei remembers she was surprised he came to her rescue because she never expected him to come but he was happy to be of her assistance. Mei thinks it is okay to trust him a little and that kiss was just a reason to get her out of the sticky situation. In class, Asami quickly becomes Mei’s friend and gives her a matching furball handphone strap as token of friendship. In the toilet, Asami can tell that Yamato kissed Mei. She’s cute so it’s no wonder. What does that mean? Asami has kissed Yamato before too. A couple of bullies walk in and tease Asami of her huge melons. She just ignores them and leaves. Mei admires Asami that she could shrug something like that off. Of course she doesn’t particularly enjoy it. Guys used to tease her a lot about her boobs to a point she wanted to stop going to school. However Yamato told them off how disgusting they were staring at every girl’s breast despite there’s nothing wrong in liking big boobs. That’s her first meeting with Yamato. He always worries about others before himself. She likes him but they’re over. She asked for a kiss and he did it. Probably he was nervous. There’s also this rumour he kissed every girl in school except for one: Miki Arai, Yamato’s first love. Back home, Mei’s thought is heavily clouded with this Arai girl. Yamato calls to ask her to come with his friends to the karaoke. She asks about Arai and the rumour. They’re just that: Rumours. Since Arai is coming, Mei doesn’t want to go. At school, Mei looks a bit like a stalker, stealing glances whenever she can when she sees Arai. At the toilet, she hears the bullies badmouthing Asami and tells them off.

Yamato wants to know how Mei got that hideous bruise on her cheek and who did this to her but she says she fell down from the stairs. Asami accompanies Mei to the infirmary and so happens the bullies decide to play hooky here. They start badmouthing Asami about her boobs. Nakanishi happened to walk by jump to Asami’s defence. He goes on ranting about his love for big boobs and got stimulated. Unintentionally he hurt Asami’s feelings despite he didn’t actually mean what he said. Mei says that even though he thinks big boobs are great, it’s still his opinion. Doing whatever he wants will eventually end up hurting someone. Thinking he has a special place in Asami’s heart since he is more open about his feelings, she advises him to be honest with her. Nakanishi meets Asami and apologizes. He cares for her. He loves her. He loves everything about her and the things she does. It makes him happy for the rest of the day and wants to be the first person to see it than anyone else. With that, the duo become a couple. Yamato is at the karaoke with his friends. Arai heard that rumour of his and tries to convince him to give her one because it’s not fair everybody got one except her. Yamato takes a breather outside and what a pleasant surprise, Mei is there. Like a stalker. What’s with the getup? So she’s concern he would leave with Arai? I guess he’s more interested in her. Yamato didn’t like Mei talking about Arai the whole time and kisses her. This only upsets Mei. What reason does he have this time? Does he go around kissing everyone? A kiss can hurt a girl. A kiss without feeling doesn’t make anyone happy. Then here comes a barrage of kisses. This one is for greeting. This one is for a cute girl. This one is for wanting to go further with her. And lastly, this one is for the girl he has feelings for. He asks if she loves him and will give her a serious kiss if she doesn’t answer. Mei is confused. Her heart races each time she thinks of him. That means she loves him, right? Yamato gives her a serious kiss. Mmm… Tastes like chicken… Karaoke food…

Episode 3
Yamato wants to accompany Mei to go cut her hair. He calls it a date. She doesn’t. But why did she spend a long time to pick a dress to wear? Is she really going to a haircut? Even her mom thinks it’s a date and wishes her good luck. Along the way, Mei notices lots of girls fawning at Yamato’s handsomeness. Even some scouting agency approached him but he declined. Mei feels inferior and thinks it’s an embarrassment for him to hang around someone as cool as him. She doesn’t know him well enough so he holds her hand and suggests they start acting like a couple. Didn’t know how warm his hands are, eh? Yamato comes across his old friend, Masashi Tachikawa and Aiko Mutou. They are going bowling and Aiko seeing her ex-crush is with a plain girl, insists they come along. Think Mei is going to suck in bowling? She scores a strike on her first try! Apparently she tried it before when she was young. She’s a natural talent. Of course Aiko has been putting up a sulking mood ever since so on the pretence of buying drinks, she goes talk to Mei. Because Mei isn’t sure if she’s in love with Yamato, Aiko tells her off that so many girls are after him and yet she is so half hearted. She can’t even fathom why Yamato chose Mei over her when they had sex. She tells him to stay away from Yamato if she doesn’t love him. That statement dealt a heavy blow to Mei. Her next bowl ended in the gutter and she calls it quits. Aiko tries to stop Yamato from following her but I guess he’s with Mei today. Aiko continues to ponder what is so good about Mei because she would have done anything for the man she loves. Flashback reveals she bought lots of make-ups and accessories to beautify herself for her ex-boyfriend even if it ruined her skin. Till the first time she met Yamato and he pointed out she looked cute even without all those make-up. That was the first time anybody said that to her. When she found out her ex was cheating of her, she broke down and sought Yamato for comfort. She took advantage of his kindness and ended up having sex. She even went on a diet for Yamato’s sake and would do anything to be beautiful.

Yamato finds Mei sitting in the rain and knows Aiko has said something to her. He brings her to show her a wooden wall being patched up. He once punched and made a hole here. Back in those wild days, his school had lots of bullies and fights. Yamato blended into his surroundings so as not to be targeted. One day his best friend became a bully victim and soon everyone shunned him including Yamato. When nobody was around, Yamato finally talked to him but it was too late because he transferred the next day even though he was happy that he did. He felt stupid and got so upset he couldn’t do anything and punched that wall. He hated himself. Mei claims she wasn’t good enough for him but in actual fact, Yamato feels he is not good enough for her. Mei is the one to say because she talks about friendship above looks and should trust people more. Did she look in the mirror recently? Well, she claims Yamato made her that way and she wants to try trusting others. Yamato admits he fell in love with her kick. Seriously? What? Noting that this is terrible timing, he asks her permission to kiss. Okay. They walk back hand in hand. Too late for a haircut now. Yamato thinks long hair suits her. Mei realizes that when she’s with people, there are some things that aren’t the same when she was alone. Just like herself, Yamato too had his own scars. It’s time she stands up and faces them.

Episode 4
Yamato gives Mei a bracelet as symbol of their love. Mei’s popularity seems to have skyrocketed in school as rumours of her dating Yamato are going around. Yamato’s friend, Kakeru Hayakawa wants to treat them for lunch simply because he wants to see his girlfriend. Mei treasures her bracelet so much that when the teacher tried to confiscate it, she hit his head with the world map and run away! But she’s glad he didn’t take it. Yamato kisses her hand but it makes Mei feel bothersome to do such things easily. Yamato tells Mei about his friend who wants to meet her and thinks it’s nice if she has more friends. Hayakawa and Aiko chat. Aiko remembers when she was dumped by her ex, Yamato told her not to waste the effort she put in to attract him. If that’s the case, she wants him to sleep with her and since she insists on it as it will make her feel better, one thing led to another. Of course she didn’t intend to make it a one night stand. She tried to confess her feelings to him but this Mei problem cropped up. Yamato tells Hayakawa that Mei is only free on Saturdays. Hayakawa agrees to meet on that day as he deletes a date he got set on that day. Irresponsible jerk… So Hayakawa treats them to quite a meal. Mei wants to pay her share and Yamato wants to help chip in but Hayakawa insists guys should always be the ones who pay. Yamato explains Mei is nervous around new people but has gotten better in making friends. Hayakawa offers to exchange numbers and that he could have Mei make more friends via his connection of his. When Yamato leaves to answer a call, Hayakawa tries to flirt with her and suggests getting closer with him. Though he says he doesn’t intend to destroy her relationship, he thinks some guy friends for her will be good. That’s when Mei deletes his number from her handphone, pays her share of the food and leaves for home. She doesn’t need friends like him and feels disgusted being alone with him. Yamato returns and finds Mei gone. Attempts to call her turn futile. When he learns what Hayakawa said, he punches him. He won’t let his comment that Mei is just another girl slip. Mei is his! He tells him off she isn’t the kind of girl that would fall for a scumbag like him.

In school, Hayakawa talks to Aiko on what happened. He thinks the weird ones attract each other and that Yamato must have gotten weirder ever since meeting Mei. Aiko tells him off that he doesn’t understand. He gets upset everyone only cares about Yamato so Aiko says Yamato doesn’t make shallow friends like him. Hayakawa brings up the topic that Aiko was once fat and disgusting. She hurt herself just to lose weight and Yamato won’t even look at her hideous body. Mei overheard it all and reveals about Hayakawa’s bad eating habits. She adds he is much more pitiful than her. Hayakawa pushes her and leaves. Mei reveals she doesn’t like people badmouthing others. She understands the problem Aiko went through losing weight but she isn’t going to get friendly yet. It’s not like she knows exactly the pain she went through. Mei is thankful that Yamato gave her a chance. She feels human now rather than her lonely pitiful life before. Now that she has deeper feelings for him, she doesn’t want to lose those feelings to her. Aiko brushes this so called declaration of war because Yamato dumped her a long time ago and she is free to do whatever she wants. Later Mei talks to Yamato who regrets letting her meet Hayakawa. Mei asks if he really had sex with Aiko. He affirms it because he can’t leave her alone then. She would’ve gone crazy then. Also, he wants to be honest with Mei. He promises he won’t do it with anyone anymore. Except her. Nothing his bandaged hand, she kisses it to make it feel better. That’s because even though everyone has their own scars, his was the scar that protected her. This scar was for her. She won’t forget these emotions and will not be afraid to get hurt. They both huddle close to each other.

Episode 5
Mei sees an abandoned cat but she can’t take it home since she already has one, Marshmallow. Yamato is confident somebody will pick it up but Mei tells him not to take this lightly because it is life and death situation for the kitten. Seems Yamato adopts the cat and that night he is having trouble with it so he calls Mei for help in his panic. Mei was a big help and Yamato is very much relieved. Now that his family has accepted Kuro (the cat’s new name), Yamato is really going to take care of it and not giving it back to its original owner if he/she has a change of mind. He suggests Mei to come to his house with Marshmallow so that their cats can play house. Mei meet Yamato’s little sister, Nagi. But she doesn’t like Mei and doesn’t think she is worthy to be his girlfriend. Does she have brother complex? Inside his room, Yamato hugs Mei from behind and wants to stay like this for a while. He hopes she can address him by his first name but she can’t. Not just yet. That will do for now but one day he’d like to hear her say “I love you”. Nagi comes in and sees them. She misinterprets Mei is assaulting Yamato and freaks out! Yamato explains to her but she still isn’t convinced. She throws her stuffed bunny at him and locks herself in her room. Yamato apologizes for Nagi’s behaviour and mentions she used to be nicer. She started acting weird about half a year ago and even stopped inviting her friends. Flashback reveals Nagi happily used to have her friends over. She enjoyed their company. One day she can’t let them come over because relatives were visiting. Then she heard them say that if they can’t come over to eat free snacks and play all the games they want, there’s no use in becoming her friend anymore. She started making excuses to skip school and Yamato really wanted to help her out. He gave to her a stuffed bunny and told her she can talk to him if anything was bothering her. The bunny she named Yamato #2 became her best friend.

Mei notices the delicious cake Nagi made. Yamato explains this isn’t the only thing she is good at. In fact she is good in making lots of things. Just then Yamato gets an urgent call from Nakanishi to pick up something. Since he can’t say no, he promises to be back in a jiffy. Mei waits in his room, noticing Marshmallow and Kuro are in some standoff. Mei goes to give Yamato #2 back to Nagi. She praises her baking so Nagi lets her into her room and shows her all the stuffs animals she made. Mei is impressed but also gives her account of the first cookies she baked that turned into a ‘weapon’. Weapon? It broke her father’s teeth… Learning Yamato #2 is her best friend, Mei says that she too is trying to make more friends. She used to be alone and hated others. But after meeting Yamato, she realizes that the most important thing is not to reject people because one day you can share your troubles with them. Mei realizes she left the cats alone and rushes back. To her relief, they are sleeping comfortably by each other. Nagi gives her a stuffed bear. Mei is confident she can make friends again. When Yamato rushes back he sees not only the cats sleeping together but the girls snuggled closely to each other. Wow. What happened? Whatever it was, he has Mei to be thankful for.

Episode 6
Nagi teaches Mei how to bake cookies. She won’t forgive her if she fails to impress Yamato. Even Mei’s mother can tell she is doing it for her boyfriend although Mei tries to cover it up. Megumi Kitawa, the famous model from Dessert Magazine makes a surprise debut at Tomei High. Can she waltz in just like that? Well, everybody is too stunned to say anything but stare at her. Isn’t that what models are for? To look at. Seems she will be transferring to this school. Nakanishi takes Yamato to have a look at her. Yeah, she’s like some big deal. But guess what? When Megumi and Yamato meet, seems they know each other. After school, Megumi waits for Yamato outside the gates. She is straight to tell him she fell in love with him at first sight and wants to be by his side. She doesn’t care if he has a girlfriend or not. Huh? She thinks they’ll be super hot. Well, this is what Yamato thinks. He too gets straight with her that he has no interest in shallow girls and leaves with Mei. Next day, Megumi profusely apologizes to Yamato for stepping over her line. Yamato also apologizes that he said too much. She wants to be his friend and he sees no harm in treating her like his other normal classmates. Yamato and Mei walk home and though Mei didn’t ask about his past with her, Yamato thinks she should be more sceptical. Of course by looking at Mei’s body reaction, we can tell that she’s not that happy to see Yamato and Megumi interact with each other. Mei bakes her cookies and the first thing she did was to strike it with her hammer! It crumbles! At least it proves it isn’t hard as rock. But what about the taste? Nothing?! Back to the drawing board. One day, Megumi tells Yamato that her agency is looking for a male model and since they are short of one, she hopes Yamato could help fill out temporarily. At first he wasn’t interested but after so much pleading, he can’t say no to a friend in need, can’t he? So just this once. Megumi invites his friends to come over and watch them. Well, we know Mei doesn’t really like it but can she say otherwise? On the day of the photo shoot, Megumi and Yamato dress up and had their makeup on. Mei, Nakanishi and Asami are amazed at how pretty Megumi is. Now here comes the true star Yamato! He’s so dazzling so do you need sunglasses? The shooting begins and the theme is for them to act like couples. The staffs are pretty excited they look good together and the shots are wonderful. They are just natural. Like as though a real couple. But Mei is feeling otherwise. Despite the happy atmosphere around him, she feels lonely, inferior, that Yamato is moving away from her as tears stat welling in her eyes.

Episode 7
Yamato is getting popular ever since he debuted as a model. But that’s going to be just one off, right? Apparently it doesn’t seem like it. Megumi begs to Yamato that her chief really liked him and wants him to consider continuing working for the agency and will be paid like other models. Though reluctant, he asks Mei’s opinion. Despite her encouraging words to give it a shot for the exposure, her tone of her voice doesn’t seem convincing. Before Yamato goes off with Megumi for work, he cheers Mei up that he will text her. Mei becomes anxious girl awaiting his text. Any call or mail that comes in, she jumps in hoping it is Yamato. And disappointed when it is not. Yamato had wanted to text her but Megumi kept distracting him. She even invited him home to her house for dinner. He agrees to come for dinner each time they finish work. Is it to keep her company since she says her mom works late and nobody is around? So when Mei gets Yamato’s first text of the day, she became so happy. This trend continues and Mei accepts it since it is part of his job. But slowly it is starting to get to her as Yamato and Megumi are suspiciously too close together. It’s like he isn’t defensive of her anymore. Then Mei heard rumours that Yamato is seen coming out from Megumi’s house. It causes her on the verge of tears. Asami knows something is wrong but Mei won’t say. Till Aiko tells her off Asami was just trying to help her and if she wanted to just cry it was nothing, she’d be better crying alone. Asami apologizes for being pushy because she too sensed that Mei had something wrong when Yamato first modelled with Megumi. She wants to return the favour and help her back. Mei relents and tells about the rumour. Asami gives her advice while Aiko speaks from her own experience. In short, it is ultimately Mei who has to take action because she is the one who is in love with Yamato. Mei realizes she really loves him and soon walks up to Yamato and kisses him! She didn’t say anything! Don’t need to state her reason? Did she catch this from him?

Episode 8
With tears in her eyes, even the densest guy should know something is wrong. So he walks home with her today and they stop by the park. Mei really wanted to know what is going on with Yamato at Megumi’s place but she couldn’t ask. Yamato says Megumi wanted him to continue modelling and since he looked good in it, he asks her opinion. I suppose it was her chance to tell him to stop. But she couldn’t. An ambiguous answer that it’s his choice. Yeah. Maybe he thought if he continues, he would get a surprise kiss from her like that. She asserts she is not that kind of person. Of course it’s not what he is expecting. Mei notices that Yamato for the first time lets go of her hand when he got up to leave. She sinks into further depression that it is so obvious. Asami gives Mei a limited edition key chain from Nyako Sama Land and says Yamato has one too (was given by Nakanishi). Just when Mei is settling down to believe in Yamato, then those rumours surface again. This time the magazine prints the interview with Megumi and she states that she is in love with a guy. The one who is modelling with her. Guess who? Back to depression zone. Asami wants to help but Aiko says Mei will come to them when she needs help. Otherwise, it’s better to leave her alone. Later Aiko talks to Yamato to show him Megumi’s interview. The rumours has spread in school and reached Mei. Though Yamato asserts they had nothing going on, Aiko tells him to put himself in Mei’s shoes. What if she goes to another guy’s house without telling him? How would he feel? Mei has been worried about him since he started modelling. She’s been keeping it to herself all this time. Yamato rushes off to clarify this to Mei in person. But she’s not picking up her phone so he goes to her home. However her mom says she has not returned from school yet. He calls Megumi that he can’t attend today’s photo shoot due to an emergency. Oh dear. See that unhappy face she puts on.

Seems Mei went to her bakery part time job instead. A young punk walks in. After making his selection and is about to pay at the counter, he catches sight of Mei’s key chain. Instantly he grabs her hand and squeals in delight the limited edition key chain she has. He goes on ranting on how he loves Nyako, blah, blah, blah. He hopes she could give it to him. However she can’t because it is important to her. He apologizes for his rudeness. As he leaves, he introduces himself as Kai Takemura and will be transferring to Tomei next week. Oh. Why do I have a feeling how this will turn out? When Mei leaves, she can’t help think about Yamato. She is so in love with him and breaks down she doesn’t know what to do. It gets worse when the bracelet breaks. Did she rub her tears away too hard? That’s when Yamato finds her. He sees her sad face. Her dead face. Instantly he hugs her and apologizes. Mei tells him she loves him and is always on her mind. He is the only thing she cares about. She blames herself for making her friends worry and becoming worse by the minute. He blames himself for making her feel this way. Then he tells her everything. From his pit stop at Megumi’s place and to how Aiko opened his eyes. He asserts there is nothing going on between them. He sees the broken bracelet and picks them up. Mei helps him as she realizes they are both amateurs in love when he hugs her in tears.

Episode 9
Yamato tells Megumi he is quitting this modelling job because he doesn’t want to make Mei feel isolated anymore. Megumi feels devastated but nothing can change his mind on his number one priority. Asami and Aiko can see Mei is feeling much better than before. When Asami turns down Megumi’s offer to follow her to the shoot today, Aiko can tell she is still baiting people and completely ignoring Mei. Mei realizes Megumi still has feelings for Yamato. Yamato goes to buy a gift while Mei goes to work at the bakery. Kai makes his visit again. Care to give that Nyako Sama Land key chain again? You better be kidding. He tells her about a rumour that if she writes a wish on a yellow ribbon and tie it to that key chain, if her lover has a matching one, their love will come true. From Mei’s reaction, he can tell she has a boyfriend. Even the bakery manager is surprised to hear this. Yamato picks Mei up after work. She notices his consideration when his shoulder gets wet while he holds the umbrella for her. She offers him to dry back at her place. After he gives her a gift, a matching set of rings, things could have gotten steamier if not for Mei’s mom returning home. So they both get to know each other and mommy is quite delighted. So happy that Mei met such wonderful person that she starts crying. No kidding. Asami and Aiko continue to tease Mei of this ‘engagement ring’ and feel happy for her. The only one not happy is of course Megumi. As Yamato and Mei talk, they are surprised when Kai walks up to them. It seems Kai and Yamato know each other. Upon seeing their Nyako Sama Land key chain, he realizes Mei’s girlfriend is Yamato. Later Yamato explains who Kai is. They were once in middle school together but transferred away. He can’t believe he has returned. Remember Yamato’s friend who got bullied real bad back then? Yup. That’s him. Kai visits Mei at the bakery once more. Noting that Yamato has told him about his bully case, he reveals his goal of returning: To get revenge on the bullies. He has toughen up and even held back a year at school. Mei feels revenge won’t settle anything. Relating herself as a bully victim, she recently made friends. Even if it takes a long time, she wants to make the bully see who she is. Kai is adamant he will change things his way. Kai nervously waits for the bully and manages to identify him. When he bumps into him, the bully seems panicky and rushes away. Kai is left in shock wondering if he had forgotten all about him. Was he an insignificant victim? Then he starts thinking about Mei’s words and it opened his eyes. When Kai bumps into Yamato along the way, despite knowing he is going out with Mei, Kai says he likes her. He can say that with a smile to his (ex) best friend? Well, Yamato pulled out a shocker face indeed.

Episode 10
Asami is surprised that Mei hasn’t told anybody that Yamato is her boyfriend. When Kai comes into the picture, Asami asks if he would tell the world if he has a girlfriend. He asks back a question that if she would rather go to Nyako Sama Land with friends or her lover. Kai sees Megumi receiving Nyako Sama Land gifts from her admirers. Apparently they know each other. Does he want those gifts? Well, Megumi is willing to give it to him but he won’t accept since they’re given by her fans. She iterates she doesn’t like that place although she lied in her interview she loved it. She then gives him tickets to Nyako Sama Land. She got it from her agency. She thought she’d be able to get close to Yamato if she gets close to him but she changes her mind and will do it on her own. Later Megumi tells Yamato she overheard Kai inviting Mei to Nyako Land Sama. Yamato thinks she has misheard but how come he looks worried? Megumi continues to get praised by her friends, fans and fellow models. Clearly we can see she’s putting up a façade to be happy. She remembers hurtful comments on how her friends said she had to stand at the back of the group in a photo shoot not because she is tall but rather she is the ugliest. When Mei walks back with Yamato, suddenly that guy seems angry. He asks if she has confessed or hang out with any other guys. And if she talks such things to anybody else other than him. Woah. What did she do? Mei is left bewildered. It’s like role reversal. When Mei sees her friends talking to Megumi, she decides not to join them despite they invited her. Plus, I think Megumi is giving her that “Get the f*ck off, b*tch” stare. She becomes disheartened to think that she is back to where she was. She feels lonely again and this time she is scared if everybody starts going away.

Kai passes by her and is shocked to see her crying. Initially she brushes it off as nothing but he isn’t going to let her go if she doesn’t speak up. She tells him about trying to distance herself from everyone so he advises her to take a step forward if she is determined not to lose somebody. Mei manages to speak to Yamato although he is reluctant to walk back with her, he eventually agrees. Another day, Kai walks together with Mei after her work. She thanks him for the advice as it gave her confidence. Kai hints there is a girl he likes. She changed him. Does the personality he described about her sound like Mei? Finally he lets her know that girl he likes is Mei. Yamato heard rumours in school about Kai giving Mei tickets to Nyako Sama Land. As Kai apologizes to Mei for doing that, Yamato confronts them and is upset that Mei is going to Nyako Sama Land with him. Kai explains Mei was feeling sad and wanted to cheer her up. How could Yamato not realize she is feeling sad? He thinks he has never changed at all. Though he is thankful for what he did but his hypocrisy drove him away. He was jealous of him. Like as though he fitted perfectly with the bullies and it pisses him off. Yamato wanted to punch him but Kai got a clean hit on his face instead. Kai says he is much stronger than before and although he is happy in a way Yamato didn’t change, he can now stand up to him. He understands what Mei went through and won’t expect him to know how it feels since he had never gone through any trouble. Yamato counters that if this is his goal to get better than him and getting close to Mei so that he could beat him, it is all the reason why he won’t hand Mei over to anybody. He might not know what Mei went through but he wants to show her the wonderful things she missed and share those experiences with her. Kai relents that if he loves her than he should just say so and not make her worry like that. He explains he likes Mei as a person and apologizes for punching him. If it had not been Yamato, he wouldn’t have returned. After Kai leaves, Yamato apologizes for making Mei feel lonely. She too does the same for hurting his feelings without realizing. Yamato invites her to go to Nyako Sama Land together as he pulls her hand to hug her. She can’t wait for that day.

Episode 11
Mei and Yamato are planning to spend a night at a hotel at Nyako Sama Land. Meanwhile Kai confronts Megumi and chides her for bullying Mei. She tells him off he is the one to say especially confessing to his friend’s girl. He would rather be honest than lie because if their friendship falls apart because of that, it wasn’t worth anything to begin with. He wonders if she really likes Yamato as she is doing things roundabout instead of straightforward. Maybe she doesn’t like him. Maybe she doesn’t like anyone. All she cares about is being popular. He doesn’t like people who use excuses to put others down and should put in this much effort into her job. Asami and Aiko are trying to decide what gift to give to Mei and Yamato for their trip. I guess Aiko was being practically. Just get them a condom! Megumi butts in to invite them to an after-fashion event party. Since Aiko turns her down, Asami follows. In Megumi’s mind, she’s narrating how she puts up a different mask all the time even if she doesn’t want to. Megumi is still persistent in asking them to come so Aiko tells her off they are not her pets. So when Megumi is in a karaoke party with some of her other friends, she spoils the mood when an uninvited girl turns up. Apparently one of the guys invited her. Everyone then leaves because she invited them and wanted to treat them. Yeah. They’re not even friends. While Megumi is in her backstage room, she reads spiteful comments from Dessert Magazine fans about her. She leaves without notice and goes to the convenience store to buy all the snacks. She wonders what it will take to be happy.

Megumi remembers a boy telling her how pretty she is even without makeup but she didn’t believe him. She thought it’s his ‘job’ to say how cute she is in this situation and bets he never thought so. So why is she working so hard to put on this act to make everyone happy and protect her image when everybody isn’t? Mei meets Yamato at the train station before they set off to Nyako Sama Land. Yamato seems to be enjoying the rides but Mei is terrified but holds it in. I wonder how many has she gone through. She wants to do things he enjoys with him. Halfway through, they come into Nagi. She is so happy to see Mei that she ditches her other older brother and tells him to go home! She’s got Mei and she’s happy with that. I’m sure she doesn’t want Yamato to hog Mei. Look who is talking? Mei is happy that someone looks forward to see her. The trio continue their outing. Megumi’s friend, Momoko Sasano is outside her home and tries to talk to her. But Megumi has shut herself in and tells her to go away. She’s in a mess. Yamato and Mei retire to their hotel room. Nagi is dead tired and a heavy sleeper so rest assured they can get a little naughty. To most they’ll go is hugging each other closely on the couch. I guess Mei was so tired that she knocked out soon after. Next morning she finds herself in bed and Yamato cheekily said he did something naughty to her. What was it? Hugging her tummy. Suddenly Yamato gets a call from the editorial department of Dessert Magazine. They can’t seem to contact Megumi who is missing.

Episode 12
After leaving Nagi in Mei’s care, Yamato rushes down to Megumi’s place. Not even he can change Megumi’s mind. Megumi lashes out that everyone wants to take advantage of her and not care about her. So stop acting like her friend if you’re going to betray her in the end. Doesn’t she sound like a certain person before? Yamato hints that certain person he knew was once like that and believes there are others who really want to help her. Nothing will change if she locks up herself. Finally Momoko’s words got through her. It doesn’t matter if nobody looks at her after putting so much effort, to her she is always the best and always looked up to her. Megumi remembers Momoko has always been by her side. She finally gets herself out and hugs her friend. All’s well, ends well. However it isn’t happy ending yet because Megumi becomes the target of indirect bullying. A price to pay for what she has done to others. Megumi makes up with Asami and apologizes for lying to her for her own benefit. Asami knew it all along and does not hate her because her invitations and all made her happy. Megumi promises to stop pretending to be someone else as she has learnt lying only hurts herself and others. She won’t try to make others happy and be herself. She cuts her hair to make a fresh start and stops reading comments on her fan’s website. She’ll ignore anyone who wants to stab her in the back and move forward. Mei and Yamato meet up with their friends early for the festival. Mei wonders if she should have worn her yukata but Yamato views her as cute enough as she is. Because Asami overate and has stomach discomfort, the friends disband and call it early for tonight. When Mei returns home, her mom is frantic because she had tried to contact her. Seems she has taken leave early so she can help Mei put on her yukata. But didn’t she come back from the festival? Then go again. I suppose putting on a yukata is tough because the fireworks are already starting. By the time the yukata is done, Mei texts Yamato to meet again and rushes to the festival grounds. Can she make it? Too bad everything is already over. But the good news is that Yamato is there waiting for her. Surprise to see her in that lovely yukata? I guess this was all worth it, eh? Better than the fireworks. They both hug and share a kiss.

Episode 13
Yamato is absent from school as he catches a cold. Mei starts feeling guilty that it is her fault for making him wait too long during the festival night. Nagi is giving Yamato lots of heavy stuffs to eat. It’s her way of letting him recover back his nutrition. Plus, after hogging Mei the other night, it’s now her turn to hog him. I guess she isn’t going to let go of big brother yet. Mei’s friends can see how gloomy she is and encourages her to go visit Yamato. Even her mom does the same. Nervous Mei texts to Yamato but Nagi confiscates his handphone and calls her. She tells Mei that Yamato doesn’t want to see her. Mei truly believes that and her guilt meter increases further thinking she is the cause of it. Whenever Yamato wanted to get closer to her, she shoved him away. Is it any wonder he is upset? Or so she thinks. She prepares to return home. Asami knows Mei has cold feet and calls her to check up on her. So when the friends learn what happen, each have their turn to say why she should go back and visit him. The stinging one is from Kai. Even though he doesn’t know what is going on, he tells her she should know well by now Yamato won’t really say that. Mei makes a u-turn. As Yamato laments what Nagi said to Mei, suddenly his handphone rings. He quickly snatches it from her hands but to his disappointment it is Hayakawa. He is calling him because he wants to tell Yamato something important. He is seriously in love and is done hopping from one girl to another. Wow. He really changed. And that girl he loves works at the bakery. Oh wait. Doesn’t Mei work at the bakery too? Yamato starts to panic that it makes this scene freaking hilarious! The suspense music only serves to enhance the funniness! Yamato is freaking out all the what ifs. Well, he even thought the girl Hayakawa liked is the bakery manager! Not possible, right? So it has to be Mei! He thinks she is done with him for being a pervert on several occasions. Calm down dude!

Mei is outside Yamato’s home and is still contemplating whether to push the button. She hides behind the pillar and sees a boy with flowers in his hand. Seems he is here to see Nagi and worried about her for skipping class. Just like Mei, he too is nervous and wonders if Nagi would consider him a bother. Mei tells him only he knows Nagi’s feelings. He gets the confidence to ring the bell and Nagi happily greets him. In that instance, Yamato takes this chance to sneak out to go see Mei. And they missed each other! She was hiding behind the pillar and he just rushed straight without looking anywhere else! So close… At the bakery, he is relieved to see Hayakawa with his girlfriend who works at the bakery and Mei’s colleague. I saw this coming. The bakery manager is fascinated to see Yamato since she recognizes him from the magazine. She wants to give him freebies and is told to wait. Then Kai comes into the picture and will help cover for him. Yamato is surprised he knows what is happening and thinks he is stalking Mei! Haha, very funny. The cold must be getting to his head. He heard everything from Asami lah. After Mei witnesses the beauty of love between Nagi and that kid, she calls Yamato. Unfortunately, his handphone ran out of batteries. Oh God. So precise timing. This causes Mei to think he really hates her. Feeling down, she goes away and happens to wander into town, the place where Yamato first met her on their first outing. And finally! The duo meet! They both emotionally hug each other and apologize. We see snippets of everyone’s successful love life and it ends with Yamato and Mei kissing at the bridge.

A Reason To Live, A Reason To Love
Seems like there is a happy ending for everyone in this show. Almost everybody we see ended up being a couple except for Kai and Megumi. Maybe these two should pair up too, eh? They even throw in a surprise for Nagi’s case too. I know. I won’t like it if it suddenly ends hanging or the couple splitting up. So the safest route is a happy ending despite being boring and plain. Overall I guess everything is pretty fine for a shoujo genre. The powerful and universal theme of love conquers it all. As seen how it changes everyone involved for the better. Mei who started out as anti-social quickly changes into someone who seeks the warmth and company of others especially in Yamato. Although she is still nervous about making new friends and new people, at least it is better off than before. She doesn’t seem to have much trauma about her past anymore. Just that she fears of slipping back into it. Otherwise, I could say that Mei is on the right track of fitting back into society. Although there will be lots of room for improvements. We can attribute Yamato in helping Mei come out of her shell but that is only half of the credit. The other credit goes to herself. For had she not summon her own courage and will to do it, she wouldn’t have experienced such new things as she did right now.

Yamato is an amazing guy. Despite his popularity, he doesn’t seem to drown in it and maintains a cool head. Falling for Mei not only changed her but it changed him as well. Even so, he wasn’t that all perfect. When Mei started to improve and open up, Yamato started getting a little insecure when Kai turned up in their lives. He too has his own scar of the past. He too makes mistakes. But he learns from them and grows stronger. You can say that Yamato and Mei perfectly fit each other and with each other’s support, they’ll grow stronger and love each other more and more as the days pass. Sometimes I find the pair of Yamato and Mei a little funny. Maybe it is because they are amateurs in love so it is amusing to see them interact. Especially Mei who is still shy and blushes whenever cool Yamato tries to get closer to her. But that’s good experience, right? And then the last episode shows us that Yamato too can be a joker when he somewhat goes crazy thinking that Mei doesn’t like him anymore. Real funny pair. But being amateurs in love there’s no need for them to rush into love. Take their time, one step at a time. That way, they’ll enjoy every bit of their romance.

I just thought that the flow of the story towards the end, especially the appearance of Kai and Megumi felt like little side distractions. Their arrival puts Mei and Yamato’s relationship to the test but somehow I just don’t feel the pressure and tension on it. Maybe for a while but after that it was like nothing. Kai’s confession to Mei was just admiring her as a person and nothing more. No love triangle ever formed in the first place. Problem solved. Yamato and Mei’s relationship back on track. Megumi has been using indirect tactics to break up Yamato and Mei so it doesn’t feel like she is obviously directly involved in plotting their breakup although she is the responsible one behind it. She realizes her wiles aren’t going to make her happy. She punishes herself. Friend comes to talk her out of it. She opens her eyes. Decides to live her own way. Indirect love triangle ends. Problem solved. Yamato and Mei’s relationship back on track. Asami and Aiko seem to be getting along with their respective boyfriends as well so nothing alarming happening from their side. In short, the side characters seem not to have a major impact on Yamato and Mei. Once their issue is over, they become friends and hang out. Besides, you can pretty much guess the typical shoujo pattern and outcome. Girl or boy enters into the main protagonists’ lives. Tries to win over his/her affections. They fail. The end. Seems stereotypical, eh?

Everyone has their own tragic past and problems of their own. I suppose this series is trying to highlight the fact that bullying still exists even as young as kids. That’s why when you get traumatized, discriminated or ostracized at such an early age, you tend to grow up with some sort of disturbing mentality. Good case as seen was in Mei. However even if everyone had their own issues, it felt like they were somewhat easily solved. Though I have said Mei doesn’t seem to be that traumatic of her past, it is yet to be certain whether she has overcome it totally. Besides, how can a guy she just met at school and interact a little more than others suddenly change her mentality about not wanting friends in her life? Yeah. Thank the power of love. Asami also had her own issues being teased by bullies but after Nakanishi steps up for her and everything, you won’t really hear her experiencing such problems again. It was like she wasn’t really that bothered with the teasing. Or maybe it’s a good thing she shouldn’t be at all and let the past get to her head. Aiko too did what it takes to get the guy she loves to love her back. After she realized Yamato won’t love her back the same way he does for Mei, it’s time to move on. After years of trying to make Yamato hers and she easily gives up after Mei’s arrival? Well, she already knows it is futile, right? There is also the issue of trying to impress others. In the case of Megumi, she had been lying to herself and acting what others would love to see in search for ultimate happiness. Did that work? She realized too late and somewhat exploded into meltdown mode. She suffered this long and it took a few minutes of her friends’ words to convince her to change? Too easy, don’t you think? Well, Megumi is a smart girl and she knows sulking won’t do anything but give her enemies more salvos to put her down. Why bother to listen to her haters in the first place?

Kai was bullied so bad that he had to transfer out and Yamato felt guilty he couldn’t do anything about it. Then Kai came back after so long just to get one stinking revenge on this big bully. In the end, the bully doesn’t even recognize him or at least acknowledge him. Heck, you don’t even see that bully anymore after that. Like he never mattered at all. Well, he never really did anyway. Whatever happened along the way to that bully to make him change doesn’t really matter but at least we know he wasn’t that big bully he was before. At least this shows he has a conscious. Back to Kai, when they bully ignored him, so where has all that preparations ended up as? Can he so easily forget the grudge by just remembering what Mei’s words? Too easy, no? Despite Kai playing it cool, the revenge has been building up inside his heart so when he’s got that chance, it doesn’t seem realistic that he would throw it away just like that. But it proves that Kai is a good guy and deep down, he perhaps doesn’t wish for revenge and just some sort of trial to overcome himself. Even Nagi had her own problems regarding friends and ended up not going to school. She relied so much on Yamato that if this was a love comedy, you can picture how extreme her brother complex will turn out. Even at the end despite accepting Mei, she still wants a piece of her onii-chan. So does that tell us she still has brother complex? You thought you had seen the last of Hayakawa and then suddenly that guy pops up in the final episode just to tell us he has changed over a new leaf. Wow. Truly the power of love working its magic. A guy who had been flirting around his entire life suddenly finds the true love of his life. So you see, whether it is bully victim or trying to put up a facade for others, it can lead to lots of problems. But do not fear because love will save the day. At least for this anime. Say, what happened to Arai? You know, Yamato’s supposed first love? I don’t remember seeing them break up. Wasn’t she trying so hard to get him to kiss her? After that karaoke outing, she’s never heard of again. Like she really does not matter anymore, huh? I thought girls like her wouldn’t give up so easily especially when you’ve got the most popular and good looking guy as your boyfriend. Boyfriend? Well, maybe those were just rumours. First love doesn’t necessarily translate into being lovers.

Just like in any other shoujo genres (or most of them), the drawing and art of the characters make them look really gorgeous. Beautiful people. Heck, almost everyone including the extra minor characters can be good enough to be models. However I just thought that the round doe-like eyes of some of the girls are slightly a little bigger. I know animes’ trademark have their characters with wide sparkling eyes but this one I feel is slightly larger than the average. Just short of that sparkling effect. This show isn’t for kiddies so you won’t see the chibi and cute drawing, thus the art of the characters are a little more realistic. I won’t say it really bothers me but it so happens that this is what I felt when I first glimpsed at the art and drawing. Zexcs is the studio production behind this anime and they also made several animes with good looking people in it such as Fortune Arterial, Da Capo, Chrome Shelled Regios, Legend Of The Legendary Heroes, Sister Princess Repure and Umi Monogatari.

Ai Kayano as Mei seems perfectly casted for her character. There is this shakiness in her voice which indicates to us that she is still vulnerable despite slowly getting her confidence back in society. Her soft spoken nature sounds a bit like her role as Kikaijima in Medaka Box and Inori in Guilty Crown. When she flusters or panics, she sounded like Mayaka from Hyouka. Other casts include Takahiro Sakurai as Yamato (Suzaku in Code Geass), Minako Kotobuki as Megumi (Tsumugi in K-ON!), Risa Taneda as Asami (Kaoru in OreShura), Yumi Uchiyama as Aiko (Momiji in Binbougami Ga), Tomoaki Maeno as Kai (Fujimoto in Kobato), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Nakanishi (Taichi in Tari Tari) and Mariya Ise as Nagi (Levy in Fairy Tail). For a shoujo genre filled with drama, I noticed that there are a lot more other casts playing various minor roles or extra background characters throughout the series. Normally people won’t really notice if you used the same seiyuus for such multiple roles and though some of them do that, the rest I saw were just one off unimportant characters that probably had no significant impact on the show or the kind that are memorable. I mean, would you believe me that there are around 40 seiyuus just for this part?

At first I thought Mei’s seiyuu was the one who is singing the opening theme song, Friendship ~for Sukitte Iinayo. You know that soft spoken voice just like the protagonist. It turns out to be Ritsuko Okazaki instead. That was the same voice who sang the opening for the anime series Fruits Basket. Now I remember. Then by accident I stumbled upon something on her. Ritsuko Okazaki had already passed on a long time ago back in 2004! That’s almost a decade ago! How did they record this song then? As I found out, Friendship was one of the songs released under the anime Love Hina original soundtrack. Why do I suddenly feel so sad? Sure, the slow and calming ballad and her sweet voice may bring tears to anyone’s eyes upon hearing this piece but just knowing that the singer is no longer around perhaps enhanced that sadness effect despite I won’t consider the lyrics to be that sad. Similarly I thought the ending theme, Slow Dance was sung by Yamato’s seiyuu. Once again I am proven wrong as this pop rock outfit is sung by Suneohair. Their trademark drowsy voice somewhat reminds me of their ending theme they sung in Honey And Clover.

On a trivial note, the next episode preview isn’t exactly a next episode preview. Well, you can see a big red ‘X’ crossing out those words on the top. It feels like Mei’s personal space to rant about her feelings, worries and the issues she is facing currently. I guess it is that age where teenagers go through such teen troubling moments. This segment also serves as Marshmallow’s come back lines on Mei. Sometimes it sounds protective over Mei (not wanting to hand her over to Yamato), sometimes it sounds selfish (it wants its food! Now!) and sometimes it is just bumming around, lying here and there, walking across with nothing much ado. I suppose Mei can’t really hear the thoughts of her cat so you can consider Marshmallow’s wishes ignored. Mei and Marshmallow’s movements in this segment feels like computer generated so it is a little odd to see the way they move. A little stiff and unrealistic. Who cares about that as long as their feelings are real.

Watching this had me thinking if I would find someone like that who could change me from an otaku into a more responsible person. I’m still waiting… If only I had the guts to get out of my room and start living the real life. Looks like that isn’t going to happen any time soon. It would take a miracle for me to do that. Still prefer 2D girls over 3D ones. Haha! In the event if I do ever get my first girlfriend, I would definitely want to bring her to a candy store or chocolate station during one of the dates. Because if I am going to get my very first kiss, it will taste as sweet as honey or with that chocolaty flavour. Because I don’t want it to taste like chicken…

Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun

June 9, 2013

We’ve had countless animes whereby both protagonists with totally different personalities fall in love with each other. Even if it is not instantly, at least the trials, tribulations and misadventures that they go through together usually gives us a feeling that they’ll eventually end up together. Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun doesn’t feel any different. Shizuku Mizutani is your typical studious bookworm girl. Her only goal in life is the land a lucrative job and dedicates her time studying. Sorry guys. She’s got no time for high school romance and all that sort. On the other hand, there is Haru Yoshida. I’m not sure if calling him eccentric describes him accurately. Would weird do any justice either? He is the kind of guy that leaps into action before he thinks. And because of his zero social skills, he quickly gets into fights.  To him, violence solves the problem. So what happens when you put a diligent girl and a troublemaker boy together? Yeah, clash of personalities. Clash of ideals. Fireworks are going to start. That’s the odd thing about love. Opposite attracts. Then there are other characters into the fray which makes it the mandatory love triangle equation. Love was never an easy topic in the first place. But you can be certain that their lives will forever be changed with each other’s company.

Episode 1
Shizuku narrates she sits next to Haru who hasn’t come to class ever since getting into a bloody fight on the first day of school. He has earned a scary reputation among the students when he put several seniors into hospital in that fight. Yes, the ‘bloody evidence’ is still on that wall. Did anybody bother to clean it off? Ironically, all these events don’t interest Shizuku because her goal is to become the smartest girl and earn 10 million Yen annual income. Yup. She’s a study-holic. However she is tasked to deliver notes to him by her teacher, Saeko Ninomiya. At the batting centre run by Mitsuyoshi Misawa, Shizuku sees firsthand Haru’s craziness when he loses his temper over a game and then jumps right out of the window! After Shizuku leaves, Haru pulls her away and accuses her of being ordered by the teacher to be a spy on him and to tell him to go back to school. He is cool once he discovers the truth and becomes her friend. She’s not accepting the fact that he’s her friend yet. Saeko is impressed she manages to pull off this errand and thinks she could persuade Haru to return to school. Although his suspension is lifted and the seniors are the ones at fault, if Haru quits school, it will be bad on her conscience and she won’t sleep well at night. Not a chance. That’s your problem. Shizuku makes her way out of school and is ‘kidnapped’ by Haru. He brings her to the riverbed to show her a stray dog he found. Only thing is, it’s not a stray dog and it belongs to some owner! Shizuku remembers she isn’t fond of animals. When her class pet rabbit died, she didn’t show any emotion, causing her classmates to label her as Dry Ice. Then at the fast food joint, this blonde guy Kenji Yamauchi AKA Yamaken and his friend want Haru to lend some money. Using the friendship thingy, Haru happily gives them. Then Haru asks if today’s school was fun so Shizuku just tells him if he wants to go to school, just go. He can’t. He’s scared because everyone is afraid of him. But Shizuku is the first person who hangs out with him being scared so he doesn’t need to go to one right now. Shizuku says real friends shouldn’t use him for money and though she is no expert, she would rather have no friends at all than to have friends like that. Haru pours the drink over Shizuku’s head and calls her a bad person. In retaliation, she throws her drink at him and runs away.

Saeko wants Shizuku to tell Haru that at this rate he’ll be expelled. She goes to the batting centre to leave this message to Mitsuyoshi. He tells her to chill and have a game. While taking out her frustrations, she overheard Haru’s ‘friends’ lamenting he has stopped lending them money. To her surprise, Haru is sitting behind her. She leaves and tells those ‘friends’ if they really consider Haru their friend, they should be honest with him. One of them wanted to get rough but Haru grabbed him by the collar and tells them to leave. Haru walks Shizuku home and along the way he starts crying. Tears of happiness I presume. She hugs him and assures he will have friends. He is confident that he might go to school if she’s around. Then he confesses he likes her. In a sexual way. She thinks he is misunderstanding the situation as he never had friends before. Whatever the case, he’ll always love her. So Haru turns up at school. And like the country bumpkin he is, knows no shame because he even stripped himself in class! A month passes and I don’t know how Shizuku puts up with his wacky behaviour after another. He’s becoming like an annoyance. Following her around and keep pestering her to try some monja at some store. Saeko thought she saw Haru being rough with Shizuku and though scared, she gives him a book on how to treat women gently. He immediately tests his gentle hug on Shizuku. Shizuku continues to study and has always been the top scorer till recently somebody beat her to it. That’s why she couldn’t represent the students to make her speech at the opening ceremony. Haru is bugging her so she tells him off that she’s studying. Instantly he points out to the solution to the problem. That’s when she remembers Haru was that speaker who got first place and made the speech.

Till the midterms are over, Shizuku considers him her enemy. Haru wonders what so special about studying because every problem has an answer. How hard can it be? Perhaps it’s the way he said it that pissed Shizuku off. Shizuku is brought to a class that had some boys Haru once beat up for trying to rob him. She just sat there and continued her studies. Haru went looking for her and once he finds her, he gets so upset that he wants to kill them! Shizuku tries to stop him but in his rage, he accidentally hits her face! That’s when Shizuku has had it with his friendship games. She tells him he’s just a waste of time to disappear. Since then, Haru leaves Shizuku alone and she is able to concentrate on her studies and achieve first place for the midterms. However she doesn’t feel happy about it. Then she goes to the batting centre where Haru is hanging out. He thought she wanted to rub it in to her. Instead, she wants to thank her for saving her that day and it made her happy. Now that he has calmed down, happy Haru continues hanging around her and doesn’t mind her studying since she likes it for some reason. If it’s something she cares, he cares about it too. Shizuku feels embarrassed because it’s like she’s being cared about right now. Shizuku accompanies Haru on the way home when he suddenly kisses her on the lips! Was he trying to imitate something from the book he’s reading?! Though he doesn’t feel his heart fluttering like before, he still loves her. Shizuku just stood there. Stunned. Embarrassed. Confused. WTF moment.

Episode 2
I suppose the only way Shizuku could deal with that shock is to eat her heart out at the monja store. I think she couldn’t care less about her weight gain right now. Shizuku reminds us how she cared about nothing else but studying. What is she implying? The recent test has her scoring top again. However Haru would’ve secured that place had he only wrote his name on his test paper. That’s the least of her problems now. Seems Haru has ‘kidnapped’ a stray rooster on his way to school! But all her mind is on now is that sudden kiss… She can’t concentrate. Suddenly classmate Asako Natsume begs Shizuku to help her study. If she fails the makeup exam, she’ll have to waste her summer holidays on remedial classes. Shizuku refuses. Because if she’s stupid, she should take remedial classes. Natsume vomits after eating too much monja. Her reason is that because she is cute, boys will fall for her if she’s a light eater and thus shunned by other girls. Her reason for not wanting to take remedial classes is that there is a gathering of her online community. Shizuku still refuses but Haru wants to come along and agrees to coach her. I wonder if she can handle this hell teacher. She has to. For the sake of her gathering. Later Shizuku asks does it really matter to Haru that people doesn’t like him. He notes she is special and wonders if she has ever felt empty inside. The kind of darkness that surrounds you all around. It scares him. While Shizuku studies alone at the library, classmate Souhei Sasahara AKA Sasayan suddenly talks to her. He’s interested in her because he likes her. Not another weirdo. Is this a joke? He has been observing her and Haru. It’s amazing she got him to come to school. He knows Haru. Sort of. Because they went to the same middle school and he basically never come to class for 3 years! Before Sasayan leaves with his baseball team, Shizuku has a favour to ask of him.

While Natsume is on the verge of death (she didn’t understand what she is being taught), Haru is running away from Saeko who is trying to tell him it is illegal to bring the rooster to school. Natsume feels despair and thinks smart people like Shizuku won’t understand her feeling of being lonely. She wants to get close to people. Shizuku helps her to study. Oh, here is news. The makeup exam is tomorrow. Despite not scoring very high, she was exempted from remedial class. 32 points is the highest she has scored in her life. Serious. The gathering came and went as Natsume blames Haru for ruining everything. She didn’t get a chance to talk to the girls and Haru got into a fight with a guy. She got shunned. She quits. Saeko barges in to give an earful about the rooster but Shizuku mentions that Sasayan volunteered to take care of the rooster. Haru is looking for Shizuku who is nowhere to be seen. I think she wants some peace and quiet away from this dude. She dozes off on the rooftop and when she wakes up, Haru is next to her. He won’t let her leave and makes her lie on his lap. The first time she’s ever skipped class. She starts to notice the blue sky and the other sounds in the background. She felt good. That’s when she is grateful to have met him and confesses she loves him. Thanks to Haru, her world and her values are changing.

Episode 3
Shizuku realizes the embarrassing she said. She tries to give excuse she was lying but Haru acts mature. He feels better about it. Sasayan can’t keep the rooster at his home so they think of getting permission to keep him at school. Saeko is reluctant because it’s tough to get anything from those old geezers. Surprisingly, they gave their approval! So the meeting on how to take care of Nagoya (the rooster’s name) and make a coop for him. Natsume and Sasayan wait outside the batting centre for Haru. They see Mitsuyoshi giving some handsome guy cash who tells him not to come back. At the store, Natsume and Haru start arguing about an expensive coop that Haru wants to get. They have no budget. He insists. Roosters don’t work, right? Shizuku bumps into Yamaken and his friends. Sasayan thought they were going to attack her and throws his basket at them to escape. But Shizuku is slower than a turtle. She could’ve been caught if Haru hadn’t thrown one of them back and cause a scene. Out at a safe place, Sasayan calls Natsume to finish the purchase since they can’t go back there as the guys may still be waiting for them. Haru wonders what has gotten into Shizuku. Normally she wouldn’t have cared to take care of Nagoya or spend her precious weekends with her friends. She says nothing happened and he believes her. With all the necessary materials to make the coop, suddenly it feels a lot harder than it seems. Then Yamaken and friends pop up. They just want to talk. They felt bad about what they did to Haru and wanted to apologize but he’s ignoring them.  Shizuku thinks they’re selfish to expect him to listen after hurting his feelings. Yamaken deduces she is in love with him. She denies. Then she gets an idea. If they want to make peace, they can help in finishing making the coop. Yeah, she build something without lifting a finger. The coop is finished and though not cute (as claimed by Natsume) at least it’s decent. I think Nagoya likes it.

When the friends leave, Haru walks Shizuku back. He talks about luck and misfortune cancelling out and balancing each other in the end. Because if meeting her was his luck, it balances out everything that has happened. Ever since he met her, only good things happened. That’s when Shizuku gives up and declares she loves him. But he was relieved when she took back her words about loving him before and now she has really fallen in love with him. Haru loves her but notes his love is probably different than hers. He thought she would leave him once she realized that. In that case, they should start all over again. Shizuku will wait for him to fall in love again before she confesses again. Haru can’t go home after getting a message from Mitsuyoshi. Where else is he going to spend the night? What do you think Shizuku’s dad is feeling when her daughter suddenly brings back a guy? And they’re both so casual about it. So casual that Haru treats this place like his home and walks around topless. Shizuku is in a dilemma whether to look or not and when she does, he’s already fallen sleep. Meanwhile the handsome guy, Yuzan comes looking for Haru at the batting centre. Mitsuyoshi tells him he is not around. But Yuzan notes he can’t run away forever.

Episode 4
Haru is really treating this place like his own. Yeah, he even coolly notes there is a spirit in this house because last night he felt something watching him. Shizuku points out that’s her brother, Takaya. When the final exam scores came out, Haru beats Shizuku to first place. Despair time. So she goes to see Saeko to reconsider some of the marks on her questions but from what I understand, Saeko is ranting about her failed relationship instead. It reminds Shizuku that she was rejected by Haru. How can she make him fall in love with him? How did she start to fall in love with him? Shizuku notices Haru staring at others and tells him to stop it. It scares them. Besides, she likes it when he smiles. He takes up her advice and guess what? He suddenly becomes popular with the girls! There’s a group following him around! Though, he is still the same crazy weirdo we know. Of course in a way this makes Shizuku jealous. During sports day, Shizuku wonders why Sasayan cared so much for Haru since he never talked to him before and only recently. That’s because he owes him. A couple of girls are bugging Haru when Chizuru Ooshima requests their help to set up for the next event. They leave it to her to do it. Haru wonders if it’s okay since they’re supposed to be friends. The girls mention they never talk to each other although they’re in the same class. Later Ooshima accidentally drops a sports equipment on one of the guy’s head. She becomes very scared. Though he won’t pursue this case any further, he calls her useless and pushes her away. Haru didn’t like that and wasn’t joking when he replied back to one of the girls that he would oblige in making her bleed. The guy punches him. Haru fights back and beats him up in a one-sided fight. This made Ooshima even more afraid. Only hearing Shizuku’s voice calms him down. She takes him away to run when the teacher arrives. While washing up, Haru wonders if he has done something wrong. This happened before and when he looks up, everyone was staring at him, stunned. Though Shizuku can’t say his way was right, she notes he is a kind person. They almost had a very private moment together till Sasayan had to pop up to remind Haru about their next match.

Haru hopes that Shizuku would come along with him if he wins the next match. She agrees. And without any sweat, Haru wins it so she has to tag along to the river with the other friends for their summer vacation. Mitsuyoshi reveals he is Haru’s cousin. He wanted to point out about Haru’s older brother but Haru doesn’t want him to be a blabbermouth. The vacation ends and they drive back to the batting centre. However upon seeing Yuzan, Haru immediately runs away. Like it was some sort of reflex action. The friends talk to Yuzan and learn he is Haru’s big brother. He seems like a pretty nice guy. Upon knowing Shizuku had a part in helping Haru go back to school, he hopes she won’t give up on him and to keep an eye on him. After Shizuku leaves, Haru snatches her away at the alley. She almost died of a heart attack. He was waiting here the entire time? Even weirder, his concern was if they smashed the watermelons together. They didn’t. Mitsuyoshi cut it for them. He asks about Yuzan. Haru hates him but doesn’t want her to pry further. She invites him to her home since she has watermelons for him to smash. She notes she thought she knew him but apparently realized she doesn’t. Haru wants to do something for her since she’s always there for him. She wants him to take her out on a date.

Episode 5
Haru causes Shizuku to blush when he says out loud he gets to see her every day. I think everybody else heard that. In class, Haru notices Shizuku doing maths year that they should only learn next year. Shizuku gets mad wondering how he knows the answer without studying. Remember the time he skipped middle school the entire year? He wasn’t bumming around. He was studying. All topics covered in high school. Ooohhh… Then he asks is there anywhere she wants to go for their date. Yes there is. The library. As they leave school, they see girls gathering around a hot guy waiting at the gates. It’s Yuzan! Instantly Haru disappears! Wow! It’s not even the case of blink and you’ll miss. But Yuzan is here to see her. Haru hiding in the bushes realizes he should‘ve grabbed Shizuku’s hand and run. He pops up, scaring Ooshima. First she’s scared of him but when he realizes she is a class rep, he is amazed by her and thinks it is her glasses that made her so! When Haru notes she is a nice person, her heart skipped a beat. I guess you can tell what this means. Haru suddenly gets a message. He becomes fiery and leaves.

Shizuku seems to be accompanying Yuzan who is bragging about all the different types of sweets he had (I want to taste them!). This is a bait to draw Haru. He sent him a mail with a picture about their location but I guess Haru got lost. Yuzan and Shizuku talk and he learns that they aren’t really a couple. She loves him but he doesn’t feel the same. It’s a different kind of love. Down to business, Yuzan says he needs Haru to quit school and come back home. Haru was a big troublemaker before he entered middle school. Dad kicked him out but now he suddenly wants him back. That is why Yuzan is here. To bring him back. He knows it won’t be easy since Haru hates both of them and based from what Mitsuyoshi said, he has no intention to come home. Thinking Shizuku will be lonely if Haru leaves, he hopes she could help him out. However Yuzan shocks Shizuku that he wants her to help him keep Haru here. They gave up on Haru a long time ago and now he is coming to school. Something must have happened and it’s because of Shizuku. The conversation is interrupted when Haru almost smacks Yuzan with his bag. He takes Shizuku away but she wants him to hear Yuzan’s side of the story. Still don’t want to? Yuzan puts it this way. If he continues to be a coward running away, Shizuku will have to take his place like today. Their father never thought that Haru would go to school and now he wants him to quit so he can enrol him in a school he can influence. But if he learns how to function in society, there’s no reason for him to force him to come home. Yuzan can convince dad about this so Haru just have to play his part in going to school. It’s a win-win situation and a pretty good deal.

Later Haru chides Shizuku for talking to Yuzan. Now what? He’s her father? She just wanted to know more about him. Still, he doesn’t want her to hang around him. She refuses because he has no right to order her around. Till Haru brought up that love subject again and causes them both to go red. As Haru tells Shizuku more trivial stuff about himself, Shizuku gets this urge to touch him, giving anxiousness as an excuse. She touches his cheek and says she’ll be sad if he leaves but if there is a place he wants to be, he should just say it. Of course there is. He wants to be by her side. Shizuku remembers Haru’s words that he was afraid of losing her. Now she understands what he meant. In school, Ooshima seems anxious when she comes up to thank Haru for saving her the other day. His beautiful smile made her blush even further. And Shizuku had this prickly feeling in her heart seeing this scene.

Episode 6
As we know, Shizuku is probably jealous as she ponders how to get rid of this feeling. So irritated that she messed up tying her hair for the first time. Ooshima narrates how she got sick during the first week of school and missed making friends. She regrets coming here and is all lonely and should’ve gone to the same school with her other friend, Yuu-chan. On a side note, Haru is surprised Nagoya laid an egg! Roosters lay eggs? Obviously a prank! What more, the egg is boiled! So when Ooshima hears Haru is always with a certain girl, she gets dispirited. While the class is choosing a class rep, Shizuku notices Haru wearing glasses and trying to show off. Natsume bugs Shizuku about Haru’s encounter with Ooshima because she too knows she has the eyes of a girl in love. Probably Shizuku excused herself with her falling grades and excuses herself. For the first time she realized that other than studying, she wanted to look Haru in the eye but couldn’t. Later Haru talks to Ooshima. He is sad that he wore glasses and didn’t get chosen as class rep! That’s his intention?! Haru seems to be pretty blunt when he asks Ooshima if she has friends. He tells her he too never had any at first but now has some. He is also blunt to answer her question that Shizuku is the girl he loves. So when Natsume comes by and misinterprets this situation, Haru somehow aggravates the situation by saying she has no friends. Thus it suddenly becomes an operation to help find Ooshima a friend. WTF. How did this even happen. Why is even Shizuku part of the operation? Ooshima is so embarrassed. Shizuku seems upset and leaves. Another excuse that she can’t concentrate on her studies? Shizuku mouths off that this is Ooshima’s problem and that she should do something about it herself if she’s unhappy. Haru notes he spiteful attitude is what he hates about her. Likewise, she also hates his self righteous attitude. Oh no. Tension rising. And poor Ooshima doesn’t understand what’s going on and is caught in between. Is she the cause if this?

Later Ooshima sits alone and Haru comes by again. She asks what he meant about being in love with Shizuku. Is it the romantic kind? He couldn’t answer. Natsume comes by and invites them to join them. But it feels like another tension rising because Ooshima is sitting between Shizuku and Haru. He wants to know why she is ignoring her. She tells him straight her chest hurts when she is with him. She can’t focus on studying and doesn’t want to see his face. Haru didn’t get it and thinks she is sick. It upsets Ooshima so much that she had to tell him off that Shizuku cares about him and is worried. She even scolds him for having no balls! She said that out loud! She runs away but Haru catches up with her. He thinks she is trying to overachieve things and it’s tiring. Just work on achieving what she can. Ooshima feels better and is convinced she is in love. Shizuku notes how studying made her feel complete because she is rewarded for the effort put in. So she confronts Haru to apologize and wants to remain friends. Haru is shocked with her answer. Shizuku feels her mind should be focused on studying. Haru blushes when he thinks back about Ooshima’s words about being romantically in love with her. One morning Shizuku calls Haru out on a date. That’s fine but the library? Well, she’s been studying all by herself while he occupies himself with the Rubik’s Cube. Natsume and Sasayan visit the batting centre and learn about Shizuku and Haru’s ‘date’. Natsume feels down because Shizuku never confides in her or tells her anything. Mitsuyoshi advices her that it’s probably because Shizuku has never done it before and once she realizes she can’t do everything alone, she’ll open up to her. Love requires more than 1 person and she should be there when Shizuku needs her. But Yuzan isn’t optimistic. Noting honesty isn’t necessary a virtue and that Haru is a coward, he might run away when the time comes. I guess Haru is bored that he doesn’t have anything better to do but to stare at her. She tells him straight she is no longer attracted to him. She can’t control her emotions lately and can’t let her grades suffer as a result. She is not a genius like him and needs to work through a problem several times for an answer. Haru asks if he is a distraction now but she disagrees since the problem stems from her side.

Episode 7
Haru remembers his late aunt Kyoko who suddenly came into his life to take care of him. The school is preparing for the cultural festival. Ooshima bumps into Haru. She took up his advice and worked hard. Now she has loads of work to do. But she feels better overall. Haru brings up that topic of being shot down by Shizuku. It’s not that he got rejected by her. When Ooshima talked to him about that, it opened his eyes but realized was too late. Ooshima in a way feels in a tight spot. One hand, Haru still hasn’t given up on Shizuku and on the other, she still has a chance with him. She wishes him good luck anyhow. Haru learnt something from Kyoko (something about you can’t pick back up spilled water), that’s why he doesn’t want to make mistakes. Natsume has been eavesdropping and can’t help drop in. She thinks he should just go tell her how he feels if he has time to ponder about this. She adds Shizuku may not be responsive but that’s what makes her attractive. As Shizuku is not interested in her, she doesn’t insult her with names like the rest. Anyway, if he continues to get rejected, don’t give up trying. Haru remembers how hard he tried to push Kyoko away and caused trouble. She doesn’t want him to deny his strengths. Then on her deathbed, she told him humans will always wither away if they’re alone. The only cure is to seek other people. She hopes he would find that person one day. Could that person be Shizuku? Speaking of which, Haru goes to bug her (she’s dozing off at the library). He catches her off with his words that he was ‘thinking about a dead person’. Here comes another surprise. He confesses he loves her. It takes a few seconds for Shizuku to compose herself and control herself in not doing any embarrassing reaction. Good job. Then he tries to kiss her! Thankfully she pushes him away. Does love make him feel those urges? At least he is honest. Despite the confession, Shizuku won’t go out with him as requested so they started arguing. The following scenes that ensue, Shizuku felt a sharp pierce in Haru’s stare like as though she was in constant danger. Life isn’t fair when the midterm results are out and once again Shizuku loses top spot to Haru. Second fiddle again, I guess.

Later Shizuku gives Haru tickets to the cultural festival. He licks her hand! She warns him she’ll get mad if he does that again. Quarrel again. She wants him to give her some personal space (at least 2 metres) or else she won’t feel comfortable with him. I guess Haru didn’t like it so much so he made a very defensive barricade for Nagoya’s coop and names it after Shizuku! Shizuku stumbles upon Sasayan and his friend making plans to make money at the cultural festival. But first they need to get a good spot and that’s the tough part because the seniors will hog them. So during the festival committee meeting, the seniors flex their muscles by taking up all the good spots. The juniors have no chance. Shizuku stood up and defied them to claim the best spot. Haru is there too and repeats her claim. The senior didn’t like him and when he pushes Shizuku away, Haru punches him! In the end, they got the worst spot. As Haru pulls weed as punishment, Ooshima learns about the incident and advises him he shouldn’t solve things via violence if he cares about Shizuku. She was mad because she was worried about him. Haru felt relieved because he thought it was his madness that made her go crazy. Ooshima starts to have this feeling that she might regret falling in love with the wrong guy. She mentions about the not giving up statement he said the last time. She is willing to take the risk as she isn’t ready to throw in the towel yet. However Haru couldn’t remember he said that. What a mood killer. A few metres away, Shizuku heard their conversation. As Shizuku is going to stop by her cram school, she sees Yamaken and his cronies beating up a couple of guys in the alley. Yamaken also goes to the same cram school with her so they walk together to see their mock test results. Shizuku got first place while Yamaken took third. He takes a swipe at her wondering if she enjoys watching people less smarter than her. Shizuku admits it feels good to look down on others. Returning to the cronies, we see them pathetically trying to beg from Natsume to give them tickets to the cultural festival. See? It’s fun to see idiots like that, right? Shizuku gives hers to Yamaken. On her way home, Shizuku meets Haru. She tells him she won’t fall for him because it’ll be cruel to keep his hopes up. He’s fine with that. He just needs to change her mind. Then he tries to kiss her but manages to control himself. Embarrassed and flustering Shizuku leaves and feels she didn’t do anything wrong. But she can’t help wonder why this is happening to her again.

Episode 8
Shizuku is the zombie nurse (Binbougami’s Momiji?) of the haunted house. Somehow she doesn’t seem to be putting much effort into it. Not scary. Not cute. She still has lots on her mind especially about her decision on Haru. If she was still alone, would she doubt herself like this? She happens to see Yamaken. That guy has a very bad sense of direction but his pride won’t allow him to admit it. They return to Nagoya’s coop. Haru and Yamaken’s cronies happen to be there. Haru didn’t like Shizuku being so close to Yamaken but Yamaken provokes him further that she doesn’t mind his touch compared to his. Haru swings a punch but he evades and Shizuku got hit in the face! OMG! Shizuku enforces the 2 metre rule. Stay clear of her at all times! Natsume tries to console Shizuku. The latter knows Haru is such a selfish and childish guy but why can’t she break free of him? Thinking she is seeking her advice, Natsume says that his fixation on her is because he doesn’t want to be alone. She brushes it off since she is just someone accessible to him. A sign she doesn’t trust him? For the rest of it, Shizuku wants Natsume to stay out since it’s not her business. Now it’s Yamaken’s turn to console her. He doesn’t want to be blamed for letting her get punched when he is clearly the cause of it. He tells her his version why she can’t break free of him. Due to her expectations, his words and actions fulfil some of her own hope. She wants him to meet her expectations but she never met his. As they walk through the festival corridor, Yamaken wonders if she feels lonely after chasing everyone away. Shizuku doesn’t feel so because she’s never felt lonely. Yamaken brushes that off because she can’t feel lonely if nobody is around. That statement hit Shizuku and she starts to realize. Yamaken then sees Yuzan with Mitsuyoshi at the festival. He quickly grabs her and hides in the nearest empty classroom. Seems he had some traumatic experience with that dude. Shortly, I guess Haru also must have seen him and hides in the same room. But he has Ooshima with him. It looks like a scene he is forcing himself over her? The duo watch Haru and Ooshima’s ‘interesting’ conversation. Haru asks how she would feel if he tells her he likes her. Because each time he says this to Shizuku, things only get worse. Yeah, he may need to resort to force. Ooshima throws that question back at him. What if she says she likes him. He didn’t think she was serious at first until she puts it in a male-female attraction thingy. That’s like having sex, right? Then the worst possible combination: Yuzan enters into the room.

Meanwhile Mitsuyoshi stumbles upon heartbroken Natsume. He learns she wanted to help Shizuku but was given the cold shoulder. She views Shizuku as her friend as is worried that if girls get into a fight, their friendship is over. Mitsuyoshi assures her it won’t end as long as it comes down to how badly they want to be friends. By now, a crowd has gathered around the room. Why the hell is Haru taking Ooshima hostage?! I know he is panicking but this? Yuzan asks him if he is willing to hurt her. Haru frees her and escapes via window. Yuzan wanted to speak to Shizuku but Yamaken gets in the way. He remembers him and passes Haru’s boots to her to give it back to him (he fled without them). Shizuku returns the boots to Haru and they both admit they’re stupid. She does away with the 2 metre rule. Shizuku notes once the mistakes are identified, it is easier to correct them. Haru gets up and goes to apologize to Ooshima. Likewise, Shizuku goes to apologize to Natsume. She got so emotional that she cried. At the end of the festival, Shizuku is caught off guard by Haru. She thought he was sleeping and wanted to touch his hair. He pulls her close to him and asks if he has a chance with her or not. Haru learns about Shizuku’s insecurities as she is worried if her grades will be affected if she goes back to love him so much. That’s why she decided to go back to studying. She needs to study or else. Haru suddenly hugs her and she remembers this comforting warm feeling that made her heart beat like mad. It was the time she rested on his lap and looked up the blue sky. She didn’t understand what this feeling was then but now she does. She asks Haru to give her some time because she wants to think about their relationship.

Episode 9
Shizuku wakes up to find Haru reading in her room. Did he just break in? Well, he tried to enter the front door but her dad seemed surprise. He forgot today had no school and didn’t want Haru to tell anybody. Shizuku smells something suspicious and goes down to confront dad on why he is not at work. It’s odd to see the daughter reprimanding the father. This means he must have screwed up something big time. The truth is, his shop business folded about 2 weeks ago. He kept quiet so as not to shock her. Shizuku takes action by calling mom. Her response? Go and die! I guess Shizuku must have mastered the art of saying with that tone and expression exactly like her mom’s. Why not? This is the sixth time it has happened. Holy cow! Six times?! How useless can this guy get? Haru hears from Shizuku’s dad as he thinks Shizuku and Takaya must be lonely. His wife works that’s why they’re able to get by. Shizuku had little friends and preferred maths to dolls when she was young. Haru points out she has friends now. Later Haru meets up with Sasayan and Natsume at the batting centre (since Shizuku wants him to butt out of her own family affair). The guys talk about girlfriends. Sasayan hints he had one but got dumped. Haru hints something good happened between him and Shizuku. Which is practically nothing. No progress. Natsume is shocked when Haru told her that Shizuku said she wanted to think about their relationship. That was about a month ago. Now you know why no progress? Well, seems Shizuku stopped by and overheard them. Totally forgot about that, huh? As Shizuku and Haru walks home, she tells him she wanted to be like mom. She once wanted a goldfish but it’s not like she wanted a pet. After reading up and buying food for it, it never materialized and felt disappointed. That’s why she concluded it would be disappointing if she built up her expectations. It made her realize she must be lonely then. Haru then grabs her hand because he has something for her. Guess what? He is fishing down by the drain for crayfish? What a letdown. And here she had her hopes up for something…

Yamaken must be really bad at directions. It’s the fifth time he has asked the librarian for a certain book and his pride doesn’t allow him to let her show the way. So it’s a miracle when he finally finds the place. But Shizuku is also there. So they talk about studying and Haru. He gets irritated just talking about that guy. Meanwhile Sasayan and Natsume are eating at a café when a couple of girls whom Natsume knew walk in. She tries to hide herself but I don’t think that tiny book could do the trick. The girls recognize her and start gossiping about Natsume among themselves. Some love thingy that happened back in middle school. Natsume is on the verge of breaking down when Mitsuyoshi greets her. Then he has that look on his face which says “What are you b*tches staring at” and so those bullies scoots off. Wait a minute. Has she fallen for him? After Shizuku and Yamaken part, he goes crazy thinking back how he drew a diagram to analyze Shizuku’s state of mind for her! So he’s helping her out of courtesy? His body actions don’t seem like it. Shizuku remembers how her mom decides to work because dad was a failure. So he stays home to watch the kids and even Shizuku on one occasion asked him why he was such a failure. Regarding Yamaken’s question of why she wanted to know it will be all or nothing, because it’ll be a waste of time on anything uncertain. Shizuku goes pick up Haru. Still fishing! Caught nothing. Yamaken passes by in a taxi and happens to see Shizuku. His reason to go see her is to return her pen. But when he sees Haru with her, he hesitates. Not until Shizuku leaves, Yamaken throws the pen to Haru for him to give it back to her. Haru is suspicious he has Shizuku’s belongings. He asks straight if Yamaken likes Shizuku. He hints maybe. So you got a problem with that? Haru puts on a worrisome look on his face knowing he’s got a rival.

Episode 10
Shizuku has to come to with Natsume’s Christmas party. They stop by a fast food joint to get some food and run into Yamaken and his cronies. The idiots want to join Natsume’s party and initially Yamaken didn’t want to come even if Shizuku invited him. But when Haru tells him off he can’t come, he changes his mind. Haru doesn’t want him around because he said he loved Shizuku. Oh dear. Did everybody hear that? Yamaken shrugs it off and says he was only joking (which of course is a lie!). I guess Haru bought it. So the Christmas party turns out to be at the batting centre… Sasayan is about the make his way there and chances upon Ooshima. He invites her to come. Upon arrival, perhaps it isn’t what she had in mind because she’s getting creep out when the cronies start to take a liking for her. Annoying. Yamaken wonders what Shizuku will do now that her rival is here. Shizuku dismisses Ooshima as one and is just a girl in love with Haru. It’s not her problem. That’s all. Ooshima feels odd to be among the weirdoes. Because the cronies are fighting over her, Natsume and Haru are engaging in some riddle while Shizuku is cramming her face with whatever book she is reading. Haru gets too close to Shizuku (casually putting his arms on her shoulder) when the guys talk about elementary school. Haru can’t remember some pushing incident he did but doesn’t’ care about it since he has Shizuku now. Ooshima notices Shizuku is studying for the winter session cram school and Yamaken also announces he is also taking that same course. It’s when Haru feels jealous. I’m sure he confided in Mitsuyoshi about joining one but they don’t have that kind of money. Besides, I don’t think he needs it either. He’s a genius, remember? Shizuku thanks Yamaken for that talk the other day. She has decided to talk to Haru very soon.

Later Natsume confronts Yamaken to stay away from Shizuku and Haru. With Ooshima passing by, Yamaken points out what about her since she too confessed to Haru during the cultural festival. Natsume says Ooshima knows her place but it only brings depression to the latter since she got the wrong idea. At the end of the party, Haru confronts Yamaken to stay away from Shizuku. He declines his offer to be his friend in exchange for Shizuku. Because he has Shizuku, he doesn’t need him. Yamaken wonders what if Shizuku likes him more than Haru. He can’t answer but I suppose he was about to do something unholy. Something like pushing Yamaken off the stairs! But Shizuku pops up so he stops and walks home with her. On the way back, Haru wonders if Shizuku could just study fine without the cram school. Shizuku asks if he is jealous and he admits he is. Shizuku realizes this is what jealousy feels and since it’s no point telling him not to worry, she decides to make her feelings clear. She confesses she loves him and rest assured he can trust her on that. So does that mean she won’t attend the cram school? Dream on… So Haru is like an annoying mother-cum-stalker trying to persuade her not to go there. As well as to stay away from Yamaken. Till she tells him off she makes her own decisions and not to interfere with her studies. Left speechless… You know Haru is the persistent kind, right? After class, he continues to follow and ‘order’ her to go straight home after class and not go anywhere else. What is he? Her mother?

Episode 11
I think Yamaken is trying to ask Shizuku out for dinner. Too bad she brought her own. As Yamaken narrates the elitist he is, he can’t help wonder how the heck he ended up in cram school. I don’t know. Maybe he likes a certain girl? He also narrates how he has no trouble getting women because there are some who are just dying to date him. But you know what they say about things that are easily obtained.  He pulls Shizuku aside when she was too fixated on her place cards than watch she was going. This makes jealous Haru to punch him softly in the back. Shizuku and Haru ended up arguing about the latter continuing to follow her around. Yamaken makes a cheeky gesture so Haru throws his can. Yamaken dodges and the can hits Shizuku! Grrr… Don’t lose your top yet, girl… Be patient. In class, I guess Yamaken wasn’t watching his pride when he makes a comment that people are divided into smart and stupid. That’s the difference between him and them and she should have no problems understanding it if she dates him. Eh? Doesn’t it sound like he’s hitting on her? His heart skips a beat when Shizuku touches his head (where Haru punched). She wants him to stay away from Haru and her too. She’s not bragging but rather it shows her that is how much appeal he has. Yamaken can’t help smile on this ‘victory’. Think you’re appealing?

On the way back, he bumps into Haru. Yamaken can’t let his guard down because he feels Haru was really trying to push him over then. Flashback reveals Haru and Yamaken knew each other. Yamaken told him off he always get bullied for showing off and also never to watch himself. Other flashbacks include watching Haru violently beating up a guy at school like a monster and when Yamaken’s buddies were bashing up some guy in the alley, Haru accidentally got in the crossfire and thought Yamaken did it and beat the sh*t out of him. Yamaken thinks Haru has changed but the latter feels it is Shizuku who is the one who keeps changing. He is afraid she may leave him behind. That’s why he is always looking up. Haru tries to let him off with a little threat but Yamaken is not cowed. Is this jealousy he wonders. Haru sits in the rain remembering his past with Yuzan. They had nowhere to go and it was useless if they even ran away. He clearly remembers telling him he was the reason why they were brought to this house. He always wished Haru never existed. Haru is snapped out when Shizuku passes by. He calls her his hero because she always there whenever he wants to see her. He suddenly hugs her and whispers in her ears “I love you”. He wonders he has to suffer and show restraint. What restraint? He wants to barge into Shizuku’s class to mess up everything. Do that and everything is over! That’s why he’s restraining himself hard. He doesn’t want her to hate him or leave him behind. He wants peace of mind. He wants proof. He wants her! Not so fast, buddy. Shizuku is lost for words. She thought everything would work out if she told and showed him how she felt. She guesses they are out of sync now and doesn’t know how to fix it. In another one of the classes, Yamaken thought Shizuku wanted to eat spaghetti, thus it’s his chance to take her out for dinner. He never thought she could bring pasta in a container to class. Maybe next time.

Episode 12
Natsume enters the batting centre and is nervous with Mitsuyoshi around. She sees Sasayan and his friends. One of them, Shimoyanagi wanted to talk to her but is super nervous. His friends are laughing like mad behind. Natsume didn’t like this one bit and leaves. Did they upset her? Sasayan catches up with her and hopes she can forgive them. She explains that’s the reason she hates boys because all they care about is their own fun. He thinks it’s her fault for letting it get to that point. She tells him about female friendship thing but Sasayan points out Shimoyanagi didn’t do anything wrong in particular. She reveals she was just irritated. Shizuku is busy with her studies, Haru is in a bad mood and is having trouble talking to Mitsuyoshi. Sasayan thought she likes him. Natsume flusters and dismisses all he said. Haru drops in and is one happy guy. Apparently Shizuku made a promise to go on a picnic with him after New Year as long as he stays away from her studies. I guess he got ‘bribed’. So for the rest of the year, everyone did their own thing. Natsume chats with her online friends on New Year’s Eve and even lies about the fun things she had done. Suddenly she gets a call from Shizuku on how to record a TV programme and can’t find the instructions. Music to her hears. She must have been waiting for this moment. Then she couldn’t take it anymore. Because she is so lonely, Natsume heads down to Shizuku’s home just to help her programme it. She’s staying for the night. Oh, Haru is there too. He says she shouldn’t feel lonely because she can drop by anytime. She observes them and wonders if she can still spend time with them once they become a couple.

In the dead of the night, they get a phone call from Sasayan and realize they’ve overslept. It’s already 1am and they’re supposed to head for the shrine. Well, it’s packed with people. Yamaken and his cronies are about to pick a fight when Haru jumps in. The cronies manage to convince him their opponents are the baddies so they start the brawl. Yamaken realizes if Haru is here, then Shizuku too must be around. He finds her and tries to buy her dried squid but she pays him back. Natsume brings Shizuku away seeing that Haru is in a fight. She sticks out her tongue to Yamaken he’ll never get her and gets ‘crushed’ in the forehead. Shizuku is about to tell Haru to stop when she got elbowed by him in the face. Ouch. Luckily she manages to keep her cool. They bump into Ooshima along the way and she is with her friend, Yuu-chan. They take their fortunes and only Shizuku got good luck. Natsume is in a dilemma because she wants to root for Ooshima. She tries to persuade her to love somebody else than Haru but she’s cool with it. Ooshima wonders if Natsume has anyone she likes. She claims she doesn’t. Everyone converges at the rooftop of the batting centre to watch the sunrise. Natsume is surprised when Mitsuyoshi talks to her because he notices her gloominess. He adds boys that age are sensitive and could be a little nice to him. Natsume says she doesn’t know how to act after being mean the last time. Then she shouts out to the sky she hates boys. On the other hand Mitsuyoshi says he loves girls but he can’t fall in love now because he has got all this debt. But love is wonderful because it changes people for the better or worse. Natsume explains her delusion of building a kingdom for Shizuku but he points out she knows that isn’t true herself. Natsume hints of being together with him. Sasayan overheard that and goes apologize to Shimoyanagi that the plan backfired. Haru and Shizuku are super disappointed that they stayed up all night and couldn’t see the sunrise. Flashback at the shrine reveals Shimoyanagi still feels Natsume was mad at him. Then they bumped into Yamaken and his cronies before both groups go their own ways. Just before the countdown, Sasayan tried calling Shizuku but no one picked up. Natsume woke up and takes a snapshot of Shizuku and Haru sleeping close to each other.

Episode 13
Thanks to the building blocking, they can’t really see the sunrise. I guess they’ll just make do in seeing it rise from behind the building than the horizon. Haru says everything is fun when he’s with Shizuku and hopes they can do it again next year. Shizuku spends the next few peaceful days studying since her dad and brother are away visiting grandma. Just when she thought she hasn’t heard from Haru since, here comes that bugger through her window! He’s in a frantic. He’s looking for something but won’t say what it is. He expects her to know! Want to guess what he’s searching for? In a huff, he just leaves but left behind his handphone. Next he bugs Natsume but she too can’t understand what he’s looking for. This time Haru leaves behind his net. Next is Sasayan at school and by the time he leaves, he dropped his goggles. Sasayan calls Haru to find out but is surprised Shizuku picks it up. They can’t tell what Haru is searching for. Natsume goes to the batting centre but no one is there. Shizuku shortly arrives too. They’re both looking for Haru but he’s not around. Shizuku hands Haru’s handphone to her so she could give it back to him. Yamaken and his cronies are at hospital (one of them had appendicitis) when Haru suddenly runs pass by. He came across a wild boar… Anyway, besides the gloves he drops on purpose, this time he loses a set of keys. Why is this guy keep dropping things? I hope he won’t lose his clothes by the time this run around ends. By evening, Sasayan makes his way to the batting centre and finds Natsume waiting. Meanwhile Yuu-chan spots Nagoya along her way and snaps a shot and sends it to Ooshima. She calls her and tells her about the rooster. Shizuku remembers she has to buy rice and goes out to do her shopping. On the way back, she sees Yuu-chan holding Nagoya and is lost.

Yamaken and co now come into the batting centre to return Haru’s belongings. His cronies are absolutely happy Natsume is around. She apparently isn’t. Soon, Shizuku and Yuu-chan come in. They think Haru has been looking for Nagoya. They decided to find him but where to start? For all you know, he might have gone to where no man has gone before. Shizuku deduces from his getup and situation she saw him this morning, he may be down by the river. Why? Who knows? Yamaken and Shizuku don’t want to join the search and leave. Yamaken’s co initially didn’t want to find Haru too but with Natsume giving her piece of mind about caring for friends, I guess they suddenly know the meaning of compassion. Shizuku realizes Yamaken is lost and since he doesn’t admit it, she leads him back to the main road. The rest continue to search and Sasayan thinks Natsume should wait back at the centre in case Mitsuyoshi or Haru returns. I know what he’s up too. But Natsume declines. In actually fact, she really wants to see Mitsuyoshi but is too damn scared. Yamaken’s crony who underwent appendicitis surgery suddenly has his wounds open again and starts bleeding! Oh sh*t! Shizuku sees Haru as she walks back up to her home. She tells him they have found Nagoya but he isn’t aware that the rooster was missing. Eh? Wasn’t he looking for it? Apparently not. He was looking for a glowing bug. Something like a firefly. Do fireflies come out in winter? He spotted it this morning and wanted to watch it with her. It probably would have been prettier if she was with him. Then they see the firefly before it disappears. Shizuku did a research that indeed a species of firefly was active during winter. But to what they saw was a bug or not remains a mystery. Shizuku narrates Haru sometimes looks like having fun and other times he looks distant. She wonders if she can one day look into his eyes with honest and sincere affection. She notes the light she saw was pretty. Very much prettier because she wasn’t alone. Finally, Mitsuyoshi returns to the centre to see Yuu-chan waiting with Nagoya. Who’s she?

Next Door’s Weirdo
Nothing much happens… What the hell is this unfinished hanging? Feels like everything hasn’t been settled yet and then the series just ends. WTF? Nothing resolved too. Perhaps the reason why it wasn’t extended to another season was because it was getting boring. Yeah, I somehow gradually felt that as each episode passes. Sad to say, this kind of ending made it worse. Not to say that this drama romance anime had anything very unique that makes it stand out from the many other similar drama romance animes that I have seen. Therefore, uninteresting plot and direction + nothing much dramatic happens + not much progress and development between the characters and the love polygon + unsatisfying end = one hell of a big yawn fest and bore. It’s amazing that I didn’t fall asleep. I didn’t even take caffeinated drinks or coffee to stay awake.

Just as Shizuku narrated from the start and at the end of the series, she said she had lots to say about Natsume, Sasayan, Ooshima, Yamaken and even Nagoya. Yes, she even had something to say for the rooster. I guess 13 episodes weren’t enough. Or did it feel like she didn’t even say anything about them throughout the series? What was it that she wanted to say about them? Probably some love relationships and their friendship I’m guessing. Her monotonous expressions at first were amusing because it’s like she’s a bookworm zombie but it gets tired after a while. It’s funny when she shows a little more emotion especially when she is flabbergasted, surprised or blowing her top. You can thank Haru for that. Sure, that guy is eccentric and may not act like in the society would view appropriate. But he’s a nice guy once you get to know him. And if you can put up with his quirks too. His weird ways of doing things may amuse you but you too will learn to get use to it and that won’t be fun anymore. It’s somewhat predictable he is going to do something weird. The question is what he is going to do.

So that’s why it is also funny and a mystery how Shizuku and Haru can end up falling in love with each other despite them short of being acting like romantic couples. How long will that take? Maybe give them another season and they still won’t make any progress. Even if they speak their mind, it still didn’t get them anywhere. Is it just me or do I notice that sometimes when Shizuku wants to stop Haru from getting further into a fight, she gets accidentally owned by him. In a way, that’s like abusing your girlfriend, right? She’s already come this far, what are a few knocks to her head? Okay, maybe she should be worried about that. One thing is certain. Ever since they both crossed into each other’s lives, their lives have been changing in different directions. Shizuku may still be targeting to be Japan’s top student with high grades and landing that dream job. But she’s not as obsessed as before. She now has true human friends instead of her book as companion. She’s learning things that she can’t learn through textbooks but via life experience. Haru may always top her in grades but when she finally beats him, the satisfaction wasn’t there and not what she expected. With Shizuku around, Haru gets to control his feelings better and not rush into every fight to let his fist solve the problem. On a trivial note, the opening sequence and the promotional poster has Shizuku holding Haru being chained by the neck. What are they trying to imply? Haru is her dog? She will have full control over this ‘monster’? She needs a leash to keep this wild guy restrained? I suppose this subtly hints about their relationship. Shizuku trying to put some control in their relationship the way she wants. The 2 metre rule (which she later revoked) and telling him to stay away from her cram school classes are just some of the signs that she’s in control. I am confident Shizuku won’t easily lose control of him.

As for the other characters, because of the unresolved love triangle (as it is mainly focused on Haru and Shizuku), it is one of the reasons why I felt this series was a letdown. So what Ooshima had a crush on Haru. So? Is she still gunning for him or not? After that school festival incident, things on her have just about toned down. You just see her here and there so as not to forget about her. Besides, she would have been quite forgettable by then. It’s odd that for one incident it took to save her, it is understandable that she likes him and after so many moments with him hearing him out that his heart is with Shizuku, it is certainly enough to put a girl with high ambitions to give up. And even after witnessing Haru and his weird antics, does she still really like him? She can bail ship now since it’s the perfect chance. In the end, nothing really conclusive about Ooshima and Haru, right? Yamaken’s body action clearly points to that he has feelings for Shizuku. He won’t admit it but we know. He knows Haru is going to be a pain and a big obstacle but doesn’t seem to take any proactive action. Is he fine the way he is now? Does he love watching from the sidelines and just pray for some miracle that Shizuku would suddenly grow tired on Haru and turn to him? He sure doesn’t look like he is in a rush (or maybe he just looks like it) and perhaps could certainly wait. Yeah. Keep waiting. His cronies are a bunch of idiots but at least they seem fun and carefree and in a way honest with their feelings. I suppose they like Natsume being pretty and all not because they want to pursue any serious relationship to begin with. They just want a cool chick to hang out with. Say, what happened to that appendicitis member anyway? Did they rush him to the hospital or he just died from excessive loss of blood? See, this is what happens when you don’t wrap things up properly. Even if they’re just minor characters and the scene was probably for comic relief, at least you want to know what happen to them, right?

Natsume too is having her own problems with love and as hinted in the final episodes, she clearly does like Mitsuyoshi. And what is his reply? Man, that guy doesn’t even give an answer. So where does this leave Natsume? I guess it is not as bad as an outright rejection so she still thinks she must have a chance. Just that she is too chicken (sorry Nagoya, not referring to you for any pun whatsoever) to confront her feelings despite being a different person when she’s online. Her minor case with Shimoyanagi wasn’t resolved either. He wants to apologize but couldn’t get the chance. Then the story ended. Good luck waiting for next season. If there is another season being made. Sasayan feels like he is just some observer amidst everybody and everything. From the way he speaks and acts, I don’t think he has anybody in particular he likes. So in some cases maybe for Natsume’s, he tries to play matchmaking and as seen tries to give her a fighting chance for Mitsuyoshi. The biggest mystery of all is Yuzan. At first he was painted like some sort of antagonist wanting to bring back Haru. Then he may not be as bad as we think he is. Whatever happened to him after the school festival? It’s like he came and gone. I almost forgot about him when the series ended. So what was the deal with their dad anyway? There is a deeper and darker secret behind it and I’m guessing that Shizuku would find this out once she gets to know him better. That’s another story. Amusingly, it’s funny to see Haru bolt just the sight of Yuzan. It’s like a natural reaction and I think this super fast disappearing act could make him the best street magician or the fastest 100 metre sprinter. Yup, even breaking the world record at the way he ‘vanishes’. Too fast for the naked eye to see.

I’m not saying that this series should have more screen time on Nagoya seeing that I get the feeling the rooster is this series’ mascot. Perhaps the only segment that Nagoya hogs the screen time is during the next episode preview. I don’t know. You just see Nagoya bumming around. What do you expect to see a rooster do? This isn’t some cartoon or fantasy so you’d be sorely disappointed if you’re expecting Nagoya to suddenly get up and speak or wield a sword and slay duck demons. Hah. My imagination must have run wild after finding this series to be really boring. One funny bit that I clearly remember involving Nagoya is when Shizuku tried to boo and scare it when she thinks it is staring at her! I think the chicken got scared out of its life. Nearly died of a heart attack. Then maybe they all can have fried chicken for dinner. Mmm… Tastes like chicken. Of course lah!

Hearing Haruka Tomatsu as Shizuku, the first thing that she reminded when I first heard her was I thought she was the grown up version of Hitoha from Mitsudomoe (a character she voiced in this anime). They sound almost similar as both are in a way bookworms and they have that no-expression look on their face. Other casts include Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Haru (Yuuji in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu), Kana Hanazawa as Ooshima (Chiaki in Mouretsu Pirates), Ryota Ohsaka as Sasayan (Yuki in Tsuritama), Takuma Terashima as Yamaken (Umehara in Amagami SS), Tomoyuki Higuchi as Mitsuyoshi (Takaomi Sudou in Guilty Crown) and Yuuichi Nakamura as Yuzan (Tomoya in Clannad). Atsumi Tanezaki makes her debut as a supporting role as Natsume. Both the opening and ending theme have this shoujo-esque feel. Q&A Recital by Haruka Tomatsu is the lively opening theme while White Wishes by 9nine is the girl group pop ending theme.

I have to admit that there are some funny moments too but the long and draggy love romance drama that didn’t go anywhere somewhat spoils it. Maybe they are trying to tell us that love takes time to nurture and you can’t rush it. That’s why this season was probably not enough to cover it. Hey, I’m here to watch a satisfying love drama not to see a cliff-hanger, okay? You can hear the words Shizuku says about what she realizes and observes as she goes along in her relationship with Haru. I think they are notable but they aren’t going to be remembered or listed close to the most memorable quotes in the history of this genre. Besides, I did say that this series had nothing unique to offer besides Haru’s odd behaviour so there is nothing much that stands out. Thus if you ask me, I would have preferred other animes of this same genre like Kimi Ni Todoke, Sukitte Iinayo and even Bokura Ga Ita because the relationship actually went somewhere despite the slow pace of the typical romance drama. Also, did you notice there are no ecchi/fanservice elements? Therefore, this show is purely for fans of the romance genre.

Despite how I said that this series was boring and the likes, even if they made a second season, I would still love to watch it to find out more about how the love relationships between the characters will be resolved. No doubt it would be Haru x Shizuku as strongly believed by many viewers and fans. But you can’t dispel the other slim possibilities. Life surprises you when you least expected it so there is that slight chance that will upset the balance and herald a new revelation. Who knows? Hopefully it will be resolved by then and won’t leave it hanging like how they did it here. That’s how I would prefer my love situations to be solved. The longer it takes, the more complicated it becomes to get over with. Feelings of awkwardness set in, more love rival appears, unforeseen circumstances pop up, just to name a few. Simply because it’s love. You know, it’s complicated. You can’t solve that with any maths equation you learn in class, can’t you?

Acchi Kocchi OVA

March 1, 2013

Did they manage to become a couple? Are we still waiting for that official moment whereby they become one? I suppose that’s why we will have to watch Acchi Kocchi OVA (or sometimes dubbed as the 13th episode) to find out whether or not things between Io and Tsumiki have progressed further than before. As we know, dense boy and tsundere girl won’t get their relationship anywhere if it is left in their own hands. Not even in a hundred years. Not even in eternity. So that’s why you have their friends to poke around and see some spark fly. Who wouldn’t love to watch romance of others unfurling before their eyes? Provided it is not theirs.

Place=Princess
* Io knows he is dreaming. Otherwise, why the heck is there a cute kitty in Tsumiki’s image called Tsumikitty asking him to be picked up? There she goes sitting on his head. Oh, did I mention this dream is somewhat RPG too? There’s Hime the nose bleeding fairy who tells Io about his quest to defeat the dreadful Mayomancer (that’s Mayo and necromancer together) if he wants to return Tsumiki to normal.
* At the castle gates, Sakaki the evil gatekeeper appears to stop their tracks. But Tsumiki just land a single paw blow on the wall for them to make their entry! His role isn’t necessary. Inside, they see Mayo caught up in her own trap! Mayo frees her and at the same time ‘defeats’ her with her paw scratching. So to break the curse of being asleep forever, Io must perform a kiss-like action. Io kisses his thumb and puts it on Tsumiki’s lips. He wakes up. He sees Tsumiki and Hime collapsed from massive nose bleeding while Mayoi and Sakaki are writhing in pain. Did they all have a simultaneous dream? They relate the weird dream they have in the RPG-like dream but Tsumiki can’t say hers because the ‘kiss’ part was too embarrassing.
* On a cold day, the quintet visit the ice skating rink. Mayoi thinks they should’ve worn their cosy and warm animal pyjamas but realize they can’t fit their feet into the skates if they’re wearing those.
* Because it’s so cold and Io saying you can hammer a nail with a banana, the rest start imagining weird banana circumstances. Using a banana to cut through a nail? Moses opening the sea with a banana? Clubbing someone to death with a comb of bananas?! Just so wrong.
* Since Io seems to be skating easily and naturally, Mayoi quickly joins in but falls flat on her face. I think the ice cracked too… We have the gang narrate a few tips on how to skate before the rest praise Mayoi skating like a beautiful princess. Look how her nose bleed is propelling her away! They discuss about the origins of skating. North Pole? South Pole? Who would want to skate there? Polar Bears?
* Tsumiki slips but Io grabs her hand. She is in a dilemma. If she says she’s okay, he’ll let go of her hand. If she says no, she might have to sit out as she wants him to continue and teach her to skate. Tsumiki panics and ‘explodes’. What is ‘nokay’? Tsumiki purposely slips to fall into Io’s arm. When she sees Mayoi and Sakaki snickering, she gets mad and chases after them. Wow. Now she can skate so well.
* Io and Mayoi are skating at high speed when Io crashes into Sakaki! Accident! He nearly died. He received an overkill when Mayoi slips and elbows his stomach. Please skate with care.
* They discuss about skaters and spinning of their heads but their imagination ran wild as they imagine the skater’s hate launching into air after too much spinning.

* Tsumiki hears to horoscope this morning so she hopes she can take the initiative with her love as mentioned. When she meets Io, she hesitates but grabs his hand when he’s about to leave. Panicking further, she puts his hand on her head (not what she really intended) so he pats her. Oh, Mayoi and Hime see this… Mayoi suggests to carry on patting her head till it catches fire! On the way to school, Hime also mentions about watching this morning’s horoscope programme and is about to blurt out Tsumiki’s fortune but was stopped by her ‘scratching’. Is this part of her fortune?
* In class, they meet up with Saki and Kana and they too discuss about the lucky words from the horoscope. So ‘hand on head’ could mean iron claw strangling or face crusher smash?! Then they refer to the horoscope in a girl’s magazine and one of the lucky items turns out to be… Transcribing sutras?
* Kana borrows Io’s glasses thinking it is a lucky item so she’s going to try her luck landing a free drink at the vending machine. I know Sakaki is blind as a bat without his glasses. But can’t he recognize Sakaki from his voice?
* As the friends notice how different Io looks without his glasses (is he looking cooler than usual?), they suggest to put different ones on him. From retro to millennium glasses and even sponsor glasses. Is that even glasses? How can he see through that?
* So Io’s glasses prove to be lucky because Kana can’t stop winning and brought back loads of can drinks! Amazing. Mayoi starts transcribing her sutra since it’s her lucky word… I don’t know what she is chanting… As the rest tries another lucky word, Io thinks everything is just coincidence. They suggest ‘cats’ and somehow one appears beside Io!
* During the break, Sakaki wonders why girls are infatuated with horoscope. Io points out they may find them more interesting than men (true!). Also, this probably adds some excitement to an otherwise average life. Sakaki thinks that’s how they cope with the harshness of reality. The girls remember how they used to make charms with their everyday items. Voodoo dolls too?
* Further reading the magazine’s horoscope to find out one’s compatibility, they want to know Io and Tsumiki’s. We all know they are good compatibility, right? That’s so easy. Io says he doesn’t pay to such horoscope compatibilities because he believes what his own heart tells him more than the result of some random person’s horoscope. He always has fun with them and that is really what matters. Wow. That cool line is enough to just make all the girls fawn over his coolness. So Io pats Tsumiki’s head and she blushes. So perhaps her fortune did come true after all.

All Over The Place But Still Gone Nowhere
Ah well. Looks like they are still more than friends but less than lovers. And I suppose that even if you give them more OVA episodes or another go at another season, there is a big chance that their relationship is still the same. After all, we like it that way, don’t way? Because if it ended and they become a couple, where would the fun and excitement be? That’s why it’s best that everyone stay as they are right now. No fortune telling horoscope is going to change that for sure. I guess this OVA is okay too and just like the other episodes from the TV series, it just feels like an extension and nothing more. The usual skits between the characters, their behaviour, the cuteness and the trademark visuals and art you see then are still present. Just no Acchi Kocchi Kindergarten at the end since the series already ended.

Just like in the TV series, Hime and Tsumiki continue to contribute to the massive nose bleeding frenzy. It is odd for us to see girls give out that much blood via such stimulation. Like I said previously, the amount that they have been gushing out could have been put to good use and the blood bank would be fat, rich and healthy in stock for many years to come. Anybody in the world that needs blood transfusion can certainly get their needed amount. Provided if you don’t have a rare blood type, that is. Furthermore, you can get ‘fresh’ blood from them in every episode! All you need to do is just make Io look cool and lovely and their nose bleed will splash out like a fountain of life in no time. Easy.

So if you want something light hearted and innocent, clean good fun (can’t say about the nose bleeding part, though), you should give this series and this final OVA a chance. Though I feel that you can watch them in any order as they don’t seriously have any significant impact on the storyline. What plot? Oh, you know. A dense boy and tsundere girl in a subtle relationship and their friends love watching them interact. What is it with us who love watching love relations on others? Ah, maybe that’s why we continue to watch Taiwanese, Latin and Korean soap and romance dramas, don’t we?

Maison Ikkoku

January 5, 2013

Seeing that this is one of those times where I decided to go and pick up a retro anime, looking back at all my years spent watching animes I thought what better way for me to pick one that has relation to the anime that got me interested in the world of anime. That anime was Ranma 1/2 and its author Rumiko Takahashi. An affluent manga artist with several great works under her name (it’s a shame that till this day I haven’t read a proper manga of any kind), the only adapted animes that I have watched were Ranma 1/2 and Inu Yasha. Thinking I needed to watch more old school type romance genre, that’s how Maison Ikkoku finally came to my watch list. On a side, note, Maison Ikkoku is the second manga created under name after Urusei Yatsura (she has a total of 8 as of today).

The plot is relatively simple. It focuses on a poor and down-on-his-luck college student Yuusaku Godai and his relationship with the manager of the boarding house called Maison Ikkoku, Kyoko Otonashi who is also recently widowed. As we know, love is never straightforward. Be it the feelings from their heart or the other love triangles and other ‘annoyances’ surrounding them that make everything more complicated and just hellish. That’s why you have 96 episodes for them to try and get it right. Will they? The romantic comedy may be almost similar to Ranma 1/2 but for this one, there are no martial arts or magic involved. Instead of high school kids, we have grownup young adults as the main casts. It is more grounded to earth and the romance leans more towards bitter sweet.

As this was a long running anime (ran from 1986-1988) and the different pace of the animes that were in those eras, as usual I had to rely on several sites to jog my memory. I guess in those days when the internet is still at its infant stage and there weren’t a glut of animes around like today, fans were more, how should I say it, truer and more dedicated. They spend enough time analyzing and discussing topics on their favourite manga as though they are the manga author themselves even posing possible answers to questions that the original manga author never had answers. It’s like as though they lived inside that story itself. There was one site on Maison Ikkoku for this and I was amazed at the details but it seems I can’t find it now :(. The other sites I ‘relied’ on to refresh my memory include good ol’ trusty Wikipedia, TV.com, reocities and Furinkan. So the rest are the brief opinions I have about this series. On what I remembered, that is.

Maison Ikkoku – Or Ikkoku-kan as it is known. The boarding house in Tokyo that has 6 rooms plus a room for the manager. The previous old guy suddenly quit citing he became tired of the job and thus the young and beautiful Kyoko takes over the job.

Yuusaku Godai – The resident of room number 5. From the perspectives of many despite being the main character, I can’t help label him a loser. Sure, he is poor and his family runs a ramen shop in the outskirts of Niigata. He failed his university entrance once and has to wait another year for another chance. It doesn’t help that the other residents are giving him a hell of a time so when he decides to leave, he bumps into Kyoko on her arrival as the new manager. Love at first sight. Decides to stay. Tries to win her love. Not easy, eh?

Kyoko Otonashi – Despite being the new, beautiful and kind manager of Maison Ikkoku, Godai is going to find her to love him back at lot harder (not that he confessed). That’s because her husband Souichirou had suddenly died. They were the perfect couple, hopelessly in love till his sudden departure in a brief marriage that hardly lasts a year. So can you blame her if she never wants to get into another relationship again? Well, they say time heals all wounds. But can she find the strength and courage to let go of her past and move on?

Souichirou – What a way to remember your husband than to name your dog after him. Bowow~. Why does this dog have ‘butt eyes’? And for the late husband, you’ll never ever get to see his real face. Conveniently hidden, eh?

Hanae Ichinose – The chubby married wife residing in room number 1. She loves drinking, getting drunk and what’s more she is loud and loves putting Godai down. Typical housewife of those days. She has a son named Kentarou who is probably more ‘mature’ than her and a husband whom we rarely see in the anime. Even if we do, we’d probably think he is some stranger.

Akemi Roppongi – The red haired beauty of room number 6. Works at a local bar called Chachamaru and has no qualms in showing off her body or flirting around. Oh, loves picking on Godai too. Speaking of Chachamaru, I thought the bar master looked like Charlie Chaplin…

Yotsuya – The most mysterious of the residents and resides in room number 4. Sometimes talks in poem form and nobody knows what exactly he does and even his first name. Probably wears lots of hats and lied about how his first name can be pronounced in which all of them might not be true. Loves harassing Godai too especially when both their rooms are adjacent to each other. Yeah, there is big hole in the wall enough for Yotsuya to slip in anytime to harass Godai and annoy the hell out of him.

The terrible trio from hell – Ichinose, Akemi and Yotsuya are what many would call terrible neighbours from hell. At least for Godai. They love picking on him, harassing and annoying him for their own pleasure and entertainment. They have no qualms in admitting that or shifting the blame back to him! So with Kyoko coming into the picture and trying to spice things further up, the harassment just got increased to a new level. Especially Godai always giving in to Yotsuya’s threat of treating him to meals. Another ‘trait’ that these trio have is the ability to party. They are wild party animals. They can party anywhere and love doing it in Godai’s room, disrupting his studies and peace. And they can leave the mess there for him to clean up. If it’s not in his room, it’s in the hallway. Yeah, you can’t stop them from partying hard. They have every sort of excuse to party. Whether if it’s to celebrate Godai’s success and if not, his failure, they just have a reason to party. Ichinose loves doing her chaka poko dance (whatever this is) and the rest getting drunk or doing some silly performances.

Sakamoto – Godai’s so called best friend and college mate. Sometimes he helps out, sometimes he is selfish. They’re like brothers. Sticking with each other through good and bad times, though I feel it’s more of the latter. Though a fan of Kyoko, he doesn’t harbour any romantic love interests.

First proclamation of love – Godai finally did it! He finally confessed he loves Kyoko! As early as the eighth episode! Unfortunately that was because he was drunk while celebrating his acceptance into college (finally). He thought he dance naked in front of Kyoko and retracted his statement, causing Kyoko to fall into depression and vowing never to fall in love again. Ooh…

Shun Mitaka – To get help get Kyoko overcome her depression, Ichinose suggests joining a tennis club. Thus herald the first love triangle and Godai’s rival for Kyoko. If you size up the guys, Godai is definitely way out of league compared to Mitaka because he has the looks, a stable job, a comfortable apartment and a sports car. Yeah, don’t even mention he is the kind of guy all the ladies would swoon over for (at least for those in the tennis club). And oh, he’s got this shining smile that really annoys you when he flashes them. His only weakness? He is afraid of dogs! How can he be Kyoko’s boyfriend if he can’t befriend the friendly Souichirou? This is going to be tough.

Kozue Nanao – To sustain his university life, Godai takes up a part time job and his employer has a daughter, kind hearted Kozue takes a liking for him. Because Godai doesn’t say, Kozue assumes that they are a couple. If only Godai had the guts to tell it straight to her then he wouldn’t have had so many conflicting moments with Kyoko. I mean, when she asks him out to date her, he doesn’t really say no. He couldn’t or he doesn’t want to?

Jealous woman – Though Kyoko does not admit her feelings but you can tell from her body reaction that she is indeed jealous when Godai goes out on a ‘date’ with Kozue. Because of that, she gets back at him by dating Mitaka.

The puppet club members – If Kozue is already a handful for jealous Kyoko, what’s more the puppet club members of Godai’s university made up mostly of girls made prank calls to the house making her feel even more jealous and enraged. As the manager’s room is the only place to have a telephone, this prompts Kyoko to install a pink pay-phone in the hallways.

Hit and miss – Godai successfully asks Kyoko out for a date when he gets his first pay. But because she misheard the name of the place, they end up waiting for hours with the other not turning up. And the irritancy is building up. Till they realize they’ve got it wrong, they ran all over town just to look for each other. Yeah, they kept missing each other.

Ikuko – Kyoko’s niece and the girl Kentarou has a crush on. Till she finds out she likes another boy. More surprisingly, Godai becomes her tutor! Can this guy be a proper one? I mean this raises lots of questions about his ability rather than morality. Hope he doesn’t teach her the wrong things. But one of his intentions to do so was to find out more about Kyoko’s late husband. It wasn’t anything much but I bet he was a better person than Godai is. Otherwise, why would Kyoko be still clinging on to his memories, right?

Kyoko resigns – Actually this is a ploy by Kyoko’s parents, Mr and Mrs Chigusa to bring Kyoko back from that filthy boarding house (they leave in a pretty decent apartment). Though their plans foiled, mommy even went down to Maison Ikkoku to convince everyone else with a sob story to make Kyoko resign. Let’s say that didn’t work out too.

Jealous woman part 2 – Because Godai still continues to ‘date’ Kozue, Kyoko arranges a date with Mitaka. However on her way to meet him, she saw him hugging a woman when in actual fact Mitaka was scared by a dog and in his reflex hugged a nearby woman. So she leaves and lets him wait all day long by himself and as for Godai, she throws a can right into his head!

Kyoko gets married – No way! That was what Godai heard but it’s his fault for not clarifying things before jumping to such conclusion. It is not Mitaka that Kyoko is getting married to but Mitaka requests her assistance in helping his sister prepare for her wedding.

Godai has left the building – Because of that misunderstanding, Godai leaves Maison Ikkoku and finds a place of his own to stay. Let’s say it’s much worse. Not only it’s above a pachinko store, the previous tenant refuses to move out. Furthermore the tenant is a married woman and with her husband they have no qualms in using Godai’s stuff like their own. They even pawned his stuff for money to gamble! So when Godai attempts to come back to Maison Ikkoku (because there is no point to continue living with those jerks), jealous Kyoko lies to say all the rooms, his and those that have been unoccupied now, have suddenly been occupied. Thankfully after seeing suffering in the cold streets with no place to return, she lets him back in.

Substitute parents – Ashamed of his parents (especially his rowdy mom), Kentarou requests Godai and Kyoko to pretend to be his parents for a day for his school’s sports day. But in the end, Godai sprained his ankle so his real parents are the one who end up joining the three-legged race and they win it!

My husband had an affair – While flipping through postcards, Kyoko finds a postcard that her late husband has sent to. Who is this woman he had been seeing before her? In the end, it turns out that woman is Kyoko herself. Did she note remember the postcard he sent to her? I mean, if she was so madly in love with him, whatever firsts they did, he had she would surely remember them all, right?

Yukari – Godai’s gold tooth grandma who is shorter than your knee. Yeah, her shiny smile can rival Mitaka’s. Worried about her grandson’s future, from time to time this sporting grandma visits Maison Ikkoku not only to take care of him but also to pressure him in settling down in life. So on her first visit, she makes Godai introduce his ‘girlfriend’ Kozue and wants him to settle down with her since after observing Kyoko and Mitaka, realistically there is no chance in this world Godai could ever beat that tennis coach. Yes, she wants him to give up on Kyoko. Will that guy ever listen to his grandma? At least not this one. He won’t give up Kyoko yet.

Run Godai, run! – An episode that has Godai and Kyoko going out on a ‘date’ but were being chased around town by the other Maison Ikkoku neighbours when they spot the duo together. Yeah, they had fun running away…

Mitaka x Kozue? – Kozue thought something is missing in her love life. Her relationship with Godai isn’t as romantic as she hoped to be. So she seeks Mitaka’s advice and of course he would want to make Kozue’s dream come true for this would increase his chance with Kyoko. When Godai gets wind about this, he thinks it’s time to break up with Kozue for good. He sees them at the restaurant and misinterpreted Mitaka’s words to break up properly. Unfortunately he did it the wrong way and increases his chances of Kozue staying by his side because she thinks he became more romantic with her.

Break a leg – Godai ends up in hospital after breaking his leg while falling off the roof to save Kyoko in one of their usual petty arguments. Kyoko feels guilty and takes it upon herself to care for him. I’m sure Mitaka isn’t happy with this setting. I’m sure Godai would love this private moment with Kyoko but that won’t last because Mitaka also broke his leg from skiing and ends up in the same hospital room with Godai. Yeah, they’re even getting on each other’s nerves. Even in bandages they can try and compete for Kyoko’s attention. Till Mitaka’s fan girls show up as well as Kozue. Get well boys. You don’t need Kyoko’s help anymore, don’t you? Perhaps the pain of the heart will take a longer time to heal.

Do or die – Because of Godai’s hospitalization, he has been slacking in his studies and the finals are coming up. Kyoko puts her foot down on the party trio who wants more than nothing but to interrupt Godai’s concentration. They really love to see him fail and repeat another year, right? So if they can’t party in Godai’s room, they party in Kyoko’s room. Yeah, she can’t sleep either but it’s better than bothering Godai. But on the last paper, Kyoko is supposed to wake him up but due to the partying, she oversleeps. By the time she rushes Godai to the exam hall, everything was in vain. It is then she decides to tell him that she is willing to wait for him. Is this a declaration of something?! Till Sakamoto points out he handed him the wrong exam schedule and that his exam hasn’t started yet. Bummer. Didn’t Godai make sure of at least his schedule right? Now Kyoko is left red faced but Godai perhaps is too dense after all that studying to understand what she meant.

Will the real Yotsuya please stand up? – Kentarou finds an album containing pictures of Yotsuya. Man, he’s been there through all the ages! Are they clones?! Or are they the person himself in different eras?! Even if Yotsuya points out they are his uncles, etc, there is something more than meets the eye… Later on, they even tried tailing him but they see him going everywhere and doing about everything which is so odd, they aren’t even sure anymore. Till they realized he knew they were following him and led them on a wild goose chase.

It’s all on me – Godai and Sakamoto get a part time job at a bar. Unfortunately his neighbours decide to crash in and eat everything they can, making such rowdy and loud noises. Worse, they put it all on Godai’s bill! Unfortunately Godai is too weak to tell them off or even get rid of them. Kyoko felt bad and wanted to pay but ends up drunk and vomited. In the end, Godai pays for everything and this doesn’t sit well with Kyoko.

Who let the dogs out? – In an attempt to help Mitaka over his fear of dogs, what better way than to make him face his fears with a real one. Though we get a peek of his back story of how he became of dogs (he got stuck in a kennel while trying to retrieve a ball), in the end it cures nothing and perhaps it made him even more fearful of canines.

Zenzaburou Mitsukoshi – Maison Ikkoku gets a new resident with this middle aged guy who is staying at room number 3. This guy seems like a nice person and thankfully he won’t become part of the terrible trio. Then something terrible is about to befall on Maison Ikkoku. It is going to be demolished to make way for a new building. They learn that Mitsukoshi may have connections with the real estate agency and pretended to be a resident to scout things out. In the end, Mitsukoshi felt guilty on what he is about to do to the lovely people at Maison Ikkoku and resigned. He also leaves the house and never to return. In a way, it saved Maison Ikkoku from its doomed fate.

WTF episodes – Like it says. Not that it affects the storyline but it felt like fillers. For instance during Godai’s university cultural festival, Kyoko fell into an artificial well in a haunted house. Attempts to get her out failed big time because Godai and Mitaka are competing against each other and it ends with everyone else jumping in and crowding the already cramped well. Then there is this episode whereby Godai wakes up with a gift of a mysterious egg from Yotsuya. Knowing the kind of guy he is, they take precautions to decipher the meaning of it all while trying to protect the egg. What for?! Then in the end when Sakamoto eats it and gets stomach ache, it felt like he deserved it for putting funny things in his mouth before asking. It is nice having an episode focusing on other characters in Maison Ikkoku apart from the main ones. For the one that focuses on Akemi whereby her boyfriend suddenly dumps her for another girl, she becomes depressed. Drunk rather. Then when the boyfriend suddenly wants her back and to start anew, Akemi seemingly packed her bags to leave Maison Ikkoku. In the end, she feels this piece of sh*t isn’t worth her time and dumps him. Right back at ‘ya! But really, what was the point of it all? Then there is this one whereby Kyoko decides to put on her old high school uniform so the rest got into the flow and dress up too in other outfits. It ends with Kentarou turning into a psycho because Kyoko, the person whom he thought he could trust as a normal person is seen in such outfit (she was forced too) and felt so disappointed for her. Poor kid. Your mom is one kind, the residents are one kind and now the manager is also one kind. He can no longer trust anybody. Then there is this episode whereby Kyoko received a mysterious rock from Souichirou as her only gift. She seeks Godai’s help to find out what it was but he loses it at the train. Fortunately he found it back. And that baseball episode… Don’t get me started on that. WTF.

Let the competition begin – Some ‘filler’ episodes see the tussle between Godai and Mitaka over Kyoko as they try to outdo each other to get her attention while trying to play up the romance factor. There was one episode that has the gang skating at an ice rink, another one at the beach during the summer vacation and one at some local hotspring inn (I thought this inn felt cheap). Oh, that hospitalization episode mentioned earlier also counts.

All is not lost – While visiting Souichirou’s grave, Kyoko makes this shocking announcement that she might consider remarrying. I guess dead man can’t talk back, eh? But I think it’s good because if she really wants to achieve happiness, she shouldn’t wallow in her tragic past and move forward.

Godai the teacher! – Can you believe it?! Godai has become a trainee teacher! How in the world?! He hasn’t even completed his university yet and he already had the necessary qualifications to teach an all-girls’ high school?! The way Godai has been portrayed as an under-achiever has contributed to this bias perception. But really. Of all the jobs, he decides to be a teacher?

Ibuki Yagami – To spice things up in the love triangle, one of Godai’s students is in love with him. Compared to Kyoko, she is bolder and dares make her moves on Godai. There is one point she strips herself just to seduce him! How about barging in and staying at Maison Ikkoku to live with him? It feels like a test on how strong his love for Kyoko is, eh? Yagami is a stubborn girl and not one who will give in to defeat and declares war right in Kyoko’s face. Kyoko has been in her shoes before seeing that her late husband was once a teacher. Yeah, it’s like history repeating itself. This school Yagami goes is also where Kyoko once schooled. When Godai’s trainee term ends, will Yagami’s love for him also end?

Asuna Kujou – Mitaka’s uncle is tired of waiting for his nephew to settle down in life and goes ahead to plan a marriage meeting with the daughter of a noble family. Mitaka decides to take a look since Kyoko remains indecisive. Though Asuna is ready to make Mitaka the man of her life, Mitaka isn’t. His love for Kyoko is only half the factor. The other half is because Asuna is a dog lover! She has lots of dogs! Big and small! And they’re friendly enough to glomp all over Mitaka! I think this guy will die of a heart attack. Asuna on the other hand knows Mitaka likes Kyoko but is just too shy to tell her off despite having several chances to do so.

It’s not what you think it is – Kyoko visits Mitaka’s apartment after feeling sorry for the ‘hell’ he went through. Worried Godai and Asuna tail them. Because Asuna’s little doggie was in the room, Mitaka got scared and hugged Kyoko all over. You can pretty guess what happens when Godai and Asuna see this.

Jealous Guy – Now it’s Godai’s turn to feel jealous and he lives at Sakamoto’s place for the time being, not even wanting to talk to Kyoko. Till Sakamoto kicks him out. So when he eventually makes his way back to Maison Ikkoku, he doesn’t even want to listen to Kyoko’s explanation and lies that he has no feelings for her.

Take a trip – Since Godai did confirm that he is okay without her, Kyoko goes on a trip for a change of scenery and clear her mind. This is an attempt to make Godai chase after her. So after when that guy really finally decides to find the truth, he goes after her but kept missing her. Deja vu? So when they actually meet, it is at the hotspring. So after a lot of hesitating and beating round the bush, Godai learns the truth and feels like an idiot (he should be). Next morning, Kyoko leaves for home since she learns about plumbing problems at Maison Ikkoku while leaving Godai sleeping behind. She is happy to find out that Godai did actually come after her and their meeting wasn’t just coincidence.

Yagami’s back! – Whoever said she was done for after a few episodes absent? Now she’s back with more schemes than ever to make Godai all hers. She tricks him into tutoring her ‘brother’ (she ‘borrowed’ this kid from her friend) but when he finds out he is supposed to tutor her, he can’t refuse since he can’t pay back the tuition fees. Godai can’t concentrate on his tutoring because of the constant harassing of the others and Yagami preferring to do something else. For Godai’s final tutoring session, Yagami brings him to her home but apparently Godai falls yet into another of her trap since her parents are out to a wedding and they came home early. Plus, they don’t know about Yagami’s tutoring and when you have an over-protective father… Attempts to let Godai escape almost had them caught. If not for Yagami’s understanding mother helping them out, Godai could’ve been a goner even if everything wasn’t his fault. He only left his shoes behind in which Yagami will treasure them. But this gives her a reason to return to Maison Ikkoku. She wants to return Godai’s shoes. Seeing he is always not around, she bumps into Yotsuya who has this great idea. He becomes her tutor. Since having her tutoring in his room would be dangerous and that they don’t want to be accused of peeping, where else but to hold it in Godai’s own room? Of course Yagami is not happy Kyoko keeps coming into the room to ‘interrupt’ and blames her for her declining grades after she learns Kyoko has told her homeroom teacher about her frequent visits to Maison Ikkoku.

McEnroe – Mitaka must be desperate enough to get over his fear of dogs and he finally has done so by owning a little doggie named after a famous tennis player. Yeah, the dog has shiny tooth too.

A hunting we will go – Although Godai still has university classes, it isn’t too early to begin his job hunt. What are the chances of him landing one?

Lipstick on your collar, tell a tale on you – How in the world did Godai get a lipstick mark on his neck? Actually, Sakamoto got depressed when his girlfriend dumped him so Godai went over to console him. Who knows that bugger dreamt about his girlfriend and bit Godai in the neck which looks very much like a love bite. So you could imagine a person like Kyoko jumping to conclusions over it. Besides, Godai was trying to be evasive about it. More like, he didn’t want to know that his job hunt didn’t end well and end up working part time at a hotel’s pool side in which coincidentally the gang are all here. Kyoko’s jealousy has her leg getting cramp while swimming and Godai goes to save her. After that, all is forgiven. I guess words aren’t enough to just convince.

Your job is on the line – Yagami reveals her father is the HR chief of a big corporation and is willing to help Godai secure a job. She even has Godai take her home to meet her father to make good impressions to arrange for an interview. Unfortunately, daddy was to drunk at the end of the day to remember who Godai was. After all that pestering and reminding, daddy doesn’t have a very nice impression on Godai because he thinks he is using her daughter to get a job in the corporation. He will be waiting for him to grill his ass. However fate has other plans for Godai. On his way, a woman in labour seeks his help and the ambulance thought he was her husband and brings him along to the hospital. There goes his interview. There goes his job. There goes his future. But at least the delivery is successful and the baby’s mother is ever grateful to him. Godai never turned up and Yagami’s dad thought he chickened out or was just fooling around. Of course Godai himself becomes depressed and locks himself up in his room. Till Yagami’s dad arrives to accuse him of using his daughter. Till the grateful parents arrive to thank Godai once more. It is then Yagami’s dad discovered he had been wrong but because he didn’t turn up for the interview, all the positions have been filled.

Occupy Maison Ikkoku! – When news of Godai never turned up for the interview and how the turn of events were unfair to Godai, Yagami throws a tantrum and locks herself in Godai’s room and will not return till her father secures him a job. In the mean time, Godai has to stay at the unoccupied room number 3. Even mommy comes by to persuade her to return but she’s not budging. She even skips school just for this occupy movement.

Easy come, easy go – Yagami’s father cannot tolerate her daughter’s selfishness and will need to end it. That is, to give Godai a job. Since he can’t secure him in the main company, he gives him an offer letter to a subsidiary company which is good enough. He even meets Godai himself and finds out he is not in love with his daughter, much to his relief. Yagami isn’t happy with the small job but daddy threatens to pull back the recommendation. With that, the occupy movement ends as Yagami returns with her father. That night as everybody celebrates Godai’s big break, they heard the news that several companies are going bust and this includes the one Godai is going to work for. Bummer.

It’s not that I hate you – Mitaka thinks Godai’s string of bad luck means it’s time to move ahead with Kyoko and end things with Asuna as he pays her a visit. That girl has been love sick ever since. That was like how many episodes ago?! Mitaka’s uncle tries to use his nephew’s absence by trying to make Kyoko dump that guy but realizes the love is unrequited. Initially Mitaka realizes Asuna’s condition and feels it is bad timing to break it off with her but when he learns about his uncle’s scheme, he tells her straight he can’t marry her. I think she nearly died standing! So this has Mitaka take back his words that it isn’t that he hates her but he can’t marry her now. I wonder how long that breather will last.

Day care job – Yagami thinks of having another occupy movement but it seems Godai has accepted a job offer at a local day care centre. This may be surprising too but Godai seems to be handling the young kids well and he is becoming very popular with them.

Sometimes you have to be brave to say no – After another round of bugging by Yagami, her dad once more hands in another offer letter to Godai and guarantees this company won’t go bankrupt. However Godai rejects his offer because he wants to walk his own path in life and rely more on himself. He has second thoughts about working in a place he may not be happy with because right now, the day care seems to be the best place. Since Sakamoto thinks Godai is crazy to turn down such a good deal, he wants to take the offer instead. Oh well…

Wedding bells? – Kyoko pays her annual visit to Souichirou’s grave with her parents from both sides. Mitaka takes this chance to introduce himself to Kyoko’s parents and while mommy is okay with it (she is happy with any decent guy as long as her daughter gets married) but her father isn’t (as long as it’s any guy, it’s a no). Mommy is even happier when Kyoko did mention her intentions to remarry again. Mitaka ushers them for a drink so Godai hiding behind the grave hears Kyoko’s announcement that she will stay single till next spring.

Cabaret chronicles – Because Godai’s job at the day care is so successful, he went on a celebration drinking spree with Sakamoto till they have no money to pay their bill. To work off this debt, Godai is forced to work with Sakamoto outside a cabaret to bring in customers. However one of the regular customers is Sakamoto’s employer so he ditches everything to poor Godai and lets him take care of his part of the debt. Some friend he is. Furthermore, Godai doesn’t want to let Kyoko know about this improper job and hides it from while lying that he is in the midst of finding a proper one. This secret is getting harder and harder to keep when his neighbours start to patron the cabaret and put it all on his tab. Yeah, free drinks for the entire night. For consecutive nights! This way I think Godai will never finish paying off his debt! Even Yagami manages to get a job there till Godai’s colleague, Iioka finds out she is just a high school girl and because of their company’s policy not to hire underage girls, Yagami’s bunny suit adventure ends that very night. Godai wanted to tell Kyoko about the truth but unknown to him, Kyoko already saw him at the cabaret while she was out with Mitaka. Yagami even told her about it. Of course she gets mad for lying to her. Kyoko then goes to find out why Godai stopped working at the day care and it seems because Godai was hesitant in accepting the full time job offer, they have already got someone else to fill in that position. However at the same time Godai himself is doing babysitting job in the cabaret’s nursery since all those female staffs have kids but no time and experience to care for them. Who else does a better job than Godai? Yeah, he’s got experience. Plus, all the kids love him and call him Chief. So with Kyoko knowing the truth, it’s forgiving time again and tells him he should be more honest with her, good or bad news. She’s not one to say either…

It’s not over yet – To Mitaka’s dismay, Asuna becomes a student of his tennis class. He even learns his uncle still has intention to wed him off and in the midst of planning their engagement. Mitaka goes to Asuna’s house to settle this once and for all but his uncle has come prepared. He has brought Mitaka’s own parents so he is forced to wait to put things off once more. Yeah, he can’t imagine if Asuna suddenly slits her own throat. What fiery imagination he had there…

Runaway love – Is there another woman eyeing Godai? This girl working at the cabaret, Kasumi seems to be seducing Godai. But in actual fact, it’s a ploy to leave her kids with him so she could run away with some lover! I think I remember it was a journey to see whether this guy is suitable to be her husband or not. Godai is forced to take care of them till she returns. But as time passes, doubts are growing if she ever will till she pops up right in Maison Ikkoku. She had been waiting for them there the entire time and got knocked out due to last night’s excessive partying with you-know-who.

Set up – While Godai was out babysitting Kasumi’s kids, this was what Kyoko went through. Kyoko agrees to meet up with her parents thinking it’s to celebrate her father’s birthday despite not knowing this is a setup between Mitaka and Kyoko’s mother for both sides of the family to meet at a posh hotel. Godai’s suspicion has him tail them but his legs can’t beat Mitaka’s sports car because Mitaka whisks Kyoko away to another place. He has reserved for them to stay at this place and will not make her leave till she opens her heart to his. However Kyoko remains indecisive to a point where she starts crying. Since Mitaka isn’t heartless, he won’t push it further and calls a taxi for her to go home.

Final fight – Godai and Mitaka plan to settle things over Kyoko via fist fight. Well, I guess this is the only ways guys are willing to settle things if they can’t talk it out. Thankfully the policeman finds them suspicious and keeps tailing them to prevent the slugfest. So the duo eventually drink their problems away with each other till they’re drunk. Because Godai have an important exam that will make or break him from his university’s graduation. Worried Kyoko goes out to find Godai only to see him drunk and slaps him. So when Godai doesn’t return and stays at the cabaret to concentrate on his finals, the other residents start pressuring Kyoko to make her feel guilty that her slap made him leave. They just love seeing this drama, eh?

The night before – Mitaka returns home only to see Asuna at his place but passes out over her. She tries to put a heavier person back in bed but as she struggles, their lips accidentally met. Next morning Mitaka finds Asuna has left but made breakfast. Did something happen in between? Fearing he might have gone too far with Asuna, he goes to see her but she was quite ambiguous with her words. Asuna’s mother has learnt what happened via Asuna’s driver but was assured that nothing more than a kiss happened.

Knocked up – Asuna’s dog Salad is pregnant so she happily tells Mitaka about the pregnancy. This is the trouble when you don’t make it clear. Mitaka fears that he has done the unthinkable. Realizing he needs to take responsibility, he prepares himself to marry Asuna. Oh the words she longed to hear. Painful as it seems, Mitaka meets Kyoko for one last time to say goodbye. She wishes him for all the best. After the engagement party, Mitaka learns the real truth about the pregnancy. During the night Asuna helped drunk Mitaka to bed, Salad and McEnroe had a fling. Imagine how devastated Mitaka must be feeling right now. He is paying the price because his dog screwed with some other b*tch! Haha! Take responsibility! I guess this is really too late for everything to be called off. So Mitaka has to make do with what he has now. Since he is going to spend the rest of his life with Asuna, might as well begin a new love story with her. Thus he accepts her and this brings an end to a love triangle and shouldn’t it be easier for Godai to take on Kyoko now with his main rival out of the picture?

Surprise kiss – After a very long absence, Kozue returns (what was she doing all the while?) and she is shocked to hear a close friend of hers proposed to her. She needs time to think. In a dilemma because she still has feelings for Godai so she goes to talk to him. Because that guy didn’t make it clear they should break up, Kozue thought he proposed to her and will reject the other guy’s proposal! Now look at the mess he’s gotten deeper into. The messier part is yet to come. While taking a stroll, Kozue wants him to close his eyes. Like the obliging kid he is, he obliges and surprisingly Kozue kisses him! Guess who saw that too! So when Godai returns to Maison Ikkoku having finished his exams, Kyoko is in a pretty bad mood. She doesn’t say, he doesn’t get it. Till he learns about that kiss, he tries to explain to her he got tricked but how can you persuade a woman who already has closed her mind? Well, Kyoko did the same trick on him and he gullibly falls for it. Only difference is that she didn’t kiss him but pulls his cheeks.

Surprise proposal – Just when Godai thought everything has been settled, then comes Kozue barging into the gang’s party at Chachamaru in tears. Why? She couldn’t turn her friend’s proposal down and accepted it. So? That’s because Godai proposed to her and now she’s in a fix. Oh sh*t! More precisely, Godai is the one in a fix. Guess what? The hardest slap he’s ever got from Kyoko.

The incredible sulk – Once more, Kyoko closes her heart and mind, not willing to hear him out. She moves out from Maison Ikkoku seeing Godai won’t do that. She takes refuge at her parents’ place and despite Godai coming to see her, she refuses to see him.

Substitute manager – Kyoko’s father tells Ikuko’s grandpa that Kyoko has resigned so he thinks Kyoko has done enough and is happy of her services. He already has hired a substitute manager for Maison Ikkoku: Godai. Yeah, life is getting tough when you have those irresponsible trio piling up the garbage and partying 24/7. This place was a pig sty during Kyoko’s absence (it’s amazing the amount of beer cans and trash they can accumulate) and Godai is having a hard time cleaning up their mess after mess. Because he is so busy, he can’t go visit Kyoko’s parents and try convincing her to come home. Speaking of which, Kyoko now gets worried and wishes Godai to come. Women…

Akemi x Godai? – The next big shock is yet to come. Godai gets this sudden call from Akemi to come to some location. Like the good boy he always is, he cannot say no and arrives at… A love hotel! You don’t want to know what she’s doing there but she thought Godai was going to harass or do something on her! Wait. She doesn’t remember calling him for help? But it’ll be bad if anybody sees them coming together. Speaking of which, there is. Kozue! What the hell is she walking in this area with her friends for? So shocked of what she saw, she pretended she didn’t know him.

The incredible sulk part 2 – Just when Kyoko decides to leave for Maison Ikkoku, she happens to bump into Kozue on the way. The distraught girl seeks solace in Kyoko. Kozue never thought Godai had feelings for other girls because he was so kind to her, it never crossed her mind and took for granted that he likes her. Well, you’re not quite right about that too. So when Kyoko learns the other girl is Akemi and the love hotel incident, you can pretty guess how Kyoko will act. For the record, Godai went to the love hotel to help Akemi pay for her bill after her previous customer left her. Because Kozue misinterpreted what she saw and tired of Kyoko’s indecisiveness, Akemi did ‘threaten’ that she will seduce Godai. Of course Akemi wasn’t serious in having a relationship with that loser.

Confessions of love – With Kyoko still acting like a kid, Akemi tells her straight and the truth that they indeed came out of the love hotel together but that was much about it. Still, Kyoko tries to act tough and runs away. Godai chases after her and catches up to explain. This is when Godai confesses he has loved her ever since they first met.

Goodbye Kozue – When Kozue learns about the real truth and sees Godai at the cabaret, Godai thinks she wants to get back with him. Godai finally makes it clear he is in love with someone else and this made Kozue relieved. She shows him the engagement ring she got. During the madness, she accepted the other guy’s proposal. He’s not a bad person himself and loves her very much. She is here to say goodbye and hopes they won’t part with him hating her. So they wish each other the best and with all the love rivals gone, the only obstacle and toughest part will be the main duo themselves.

Things are looking up – Guess what? Godai graduates from university! Yeah, the other tenants were hoping he flopped! So Godai goes job hunting and during an interview to work in a kindergarten, the interviewer notices Godai’s amazing ability to handle kids well. Unfortunately he didn’t get the job because she is sure his personality could land him a job anywhere (that job went to a single father whose wife left the family so I guess out of pity she gave him the job instead). It won’t take long before Godai gets a permanent job at the day care he had always been working part time because the headmaster feels he is too old for the job and thinks it is time to retire. Oh, and about if Godai could match up to Souichirou because he has always been living in his shadows, although Kyoko can’t forget him, she still wants to make the best of what she has with Godai. After all, they are both different person. And the moment we’ve been waiting for: The kiss! Woot!

Father of the bride – While Kyoko’s mom is all for their marriage, her father isn’t. Flashback reveals when Kyoko was a kid and daddy giving her a piggyback ride, Kyoko said she won’t marry because daddy mentioned her husband will have to carry him if Kyoko couldn’t carry him when she grows older. It’s just a joke but you know… So eventually a few drinks with Godai and the cabaret, he gives his blessings.

Till death do us part? – There is one condition that Kyoko imposes on Godai if they are to marry. She wants him to outlive her because she can’t bear the pain of losing her husband again.

Meet the parents – Godai brings Kyoko back to his hometown to meet his family but Yukari doesn’t close the shop down and to Godai’s annoyance Kyoko has to help out but she doesn’t mind. This is so that everybody in this small town could come to their shop and meet Godai’s future bride instead of going from door to door. Yukari hands Kyoko an engagement ring her late husband gave to her. She also loans money to Godai for his wedding. But it’s not for free. She has been saving up for her funeral so be sure to pay back before she kicks the bucket, okay? Cheeky Yukari fakes her death right after she passes the ring the Kyoko. It almost scared the sh*t out of the young ones. She vows not to die till she sees her first great grandkids. And with Kyoko being accepted into the family, Godai thought they could have a celebration of their own when the Maison Ikkoku residents arrive! Oh God. Yukari called them over. Oh God. The more the merrier? Oh God. Isn’t this no different than back home? God no. Who is taking care of Souichirou anyway?

One year later – That is how long Kyoko and Godai’s wedding official ceremony will be. Everybody is so happy. Everybody is so friendly. I guess when the rivalry dies down, love remains, eh? If it was only so true in the real world. Oh, Kentarou and Ikuko have grown much taller too while Mitaka and Asuna are expecting twins. The one that has ‘grown’ the most is Godai because as shown during his visit to Souichirou’s grave, he is willing to accept him and Kyoko because when they first met, Souichirou already had a special place in Kyoko’s heart.

One big happy family – Because Godai and Kyoko aren’t really the kind that would indulge in luxury (that’s another way of saying Godai is still as poor as a church mouse), the newlyweds will continue to live at Maison Ikkoku. After all, this is the place where they first met, right?

It’s a wrap – Some important events in the aftermath surrounding the other main supporting casts include Kozue still happily married to her man, Mitaka and Asuna though already have twin girls are expecting a third child, the Chachamaru bar master proposes to Akemi in marriage and despite he was previously married he was living separately from his wife but now officially divorced, Yagami now attends a girl’s college but she is still unable to ‘graduate’ from Godai. Last and most important, Godai and Kyoko welcome their new baby girl Haruka. Life is good.

Give Love A Second Chance
If there is one word I would describe this series, it would be silly. Actually it’s not fair just to label it that way but after seeing too many current animes, suddenly by going back too far in retro (albeit it is just approximately 3 decades), it is like a different world, a different time and era. I mean, handphones were non-existent! Do you still remember how to use a phone booth that is coin operated and a land line telephone that uses the dial? Or are you not old enough like me to still remember that telephones were big and bulky and come with a receiver? Hehe… Such telephones are considered ‘extinct’ in today’s world. What will we do without our iPads, iPhones and Tablets? Well, animes at that time were like that so it is perhaps unjust to call it silly too but if you compare it with today’s standard of animes, you too would come with a somewhat similar condition. Unless you’re a hardcore fan of the series and the author herself.

For Godai, the point of seeing him as a loser can be sometimes annoying despite he is a nice guy and doesn’t want to hurt the feelings of others. Firstly it is the way he gets treated by the other hell residents. Of course it is their fault for trying to pick on Godai with their endless harassments but half of the blame must also be attributed to Godai because he allows it! You see, if he was firmer and put their foot down, he wouldn’t have given them any space to torment him. In other words, he is weak to stand up against them. That’s why I say it is partly his fault and he deservingly gets bullied by the rest. But even if he was totally serious, can he really stop the bullying? I mean, Kyoko was more assertive and though it worked for a while, in no time they will be back to their usual mischief like as though her advice and scolding went in one ear and came out the other. Heck, it never went in the first place! Earlier in the series when Godai is a little pervert because whenever he gets a little chance of trying to hug Kyoko or something, it backfires. That is one of the few aspects which led me to conclude this series is silly. No doubt that in the beginning, Godai’s love for Kyoko is somewhat immature and as he goes on, he understands and his love matures but the way he tries to get lucky with Kyoko, that just made him and the scene looking silly. Then despite in love with Kyoko, could you believe this guy had the guts to ‘date’ Kozue too? I know Godai did not make it clear but each time Kozue asks him out, he doesn’t say no and like as though it is compulsory to oblige. There was this silly moment early in the series whereby even though he knows he likes Kyoko, he is in a dilemma whether to use this chance to kiss Kozue and get it going with her. Fortunately it was just his imagination but he perhaps scared himself when he also imagined her dad coming in with the shotgun after ‘deflowering’ his daughter. Haha.

As for Kyoko, her reluctance to choose between Godai and Mitaka was because she feared that if she had done so, her love for Souichirou was never real to begin with. That’s why she was hesitating, unable to choose. Rather, she was unable to move forward from her past. There were many instances that hint to us that Kyoko had feelings for Godai but it is her hesitation that kept her in denial. And you know women, they can’t be straight with their feelings and hope men will notice them. Oops. Don’t hate me girls. The part whereby she closes her heart and mind just because of an unconfirmed rumour of Godai is also what makes it looks silly. Sorry for that ‘S’ word again but it’s true. I know it’s to play out some love drama but think about it. If she could easily believe something like Godai was seen coming out from a love hotel or his ‘date’ with Kozue, why can’t she at least hear him out? It is as though she really wants to believe that Godai has already done that. And once she really learns the truth, she feels guilty, sorry and in the wrong. All those misunderstandings and arguments wouldn’t have happened if she had listened in the first place. Same case applies to Godai. You shouldn’t jump to conclusion just because something unbelievable happens without confirming the facts first. I guess people back in those days were naive and gullible. Too many misunderstandings over time have become a nuisance because you thought they should’ve had experience from the previous one but each time it feels like back to square one again. They should know better each other that they aren’t the kind to do such stuffs.

Ichinose, Yotsuya and Akemi as the looney gang may be a fun watch to see them in their antics and shenanigans but it gets to a point whereby it is just annoying and you feel like wanting to strangle them for not being able to show restraint and going overboard with their indecent exploits. Sometimes the words they pick and say to him makes you want to shake your head too. They sure are ‘experienced’ in picking on him and know how to push the right or more accurately, his wrong buttons. They know how to play mind games on him and make him tick. Sure, like I said Godai is to blame for being weak and not fighting back but have they no conscious as human beings either? Maybe for Yotsuya he is so mysterious I can make him an exception (who knows, he may even be an alien!), but for Ichinose and Akemi? Is Ichinose’s life as a housewife so dull and boring that this is the only exciting drama she gets her kicks from? Yeah, maybe. Is Akemi’s life as a bar hostess that has her dealing with other different sorts of men so boring that she resorts to teasing Godai as her past time? Yeah, maybe. At least we know she doesn’t harbour any romantic feelings for him because she knows too well about his failures and won’t live up to expectations. Not for the next 100 years. One thing about Yotsuya, I think he is a stingy poker. Not only he blackmails Godai for food, when he really does have enough money for his own, he vehemently proclaims he will not treat anybody! Maybe after all those bullying it did some good for Godai too. Like a blessing in disguise, he finally ends up with Kyoko after all the putting down and discouragement. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? So love did persevere after all in the end. Yukari may be an old hag but she is sporting enough to join in the fun like going out for drinks and looks livelier than her age. You can’t help love her. I’m sure everyone would love to have her as their grandma. Except Godai.

For the love triangle and romance part, though it is not messy and complicating like others but I didn’t feel the impact of it all. Though the series may want to focus on the relationship between Godai and Kyoko but the other love triangles didn’t had that intensity that would stir emotions in the viewers. Maybe it’s because it’s a retro show. The only time when the tension was at its peak was Kozue’s announcement that made Godai looked like a two-timing bastard. The other thing that bugged me was the love triangle for Godai and Kyoko could only happen one at a time. You see, when Yagami first came into the picture, Kozue was nowhere to be seen. It makes you go, “Where the hell is this girl? Did I miss anything somewhere along the way?”. Then after the job offer refusal and that short stint at the cabaret, Yagami suddenly goes out of the picture and Kozue comes back. Yeah, where did she go all this while? So in this sense, the love tussle felt like it was Godai-Kyoko-Kozue or Godai-Kyoko-Yagami. It would’ve been better if Kozue and Yagami were together in the fray because that’s what guys like me would like to see. Oops. As far as I remember, it was only the baseball episode that Kozue and Yagami met but nothing much happened and that’s about it. When the story starts ‘killing off’ love rivals like Mitaka and Kozue, I was wondering how they ‘did it’ to Yagami. It’s not like she has really gotten over Godai as seen in the end so how was she keeping all that love for him? I hope she won’t come back to steal him once more now that he is married. Who knows? This girl is crazy enough to do that. Asuna was too shy and soft spoken to actually affect anything in the love triangle. She wouldn’t even cause a ripple in the pool. It took their dogs and a big misunderstanding on Mitaka’s part to make all the cards fall into her hands. If that never happened, she would’ve been waiting till kingdom come. Mitaka may have everything that would easily make a woman his girl and yet Kyoko couldn’t choose. Of course Souichirou’s memories play a big role but more importantly it is Godai. Maybe girls like boys who aren’t perfect anyway. But Souichirou was perfect, wasn’t he? Argh. Women. Can’t understand them. Good luck to Godai from now on.

I’ll say that even though in the end I would still prefer Ranma 1/2 to Maison Ikkoku from the overall aspect (the characters, comedy, silly moments, love triangles, certain story plots, music), the only reason why I would like Maison Ikkoku more than Ranma 1/2 is because Godai and Kyoko finally confess to each other and end up together married. In Ranma 1/2, despite having a longer run and more episodes (they have 161 episodes alone for the TV series), the main lovers in that series never got to really confess to each other so it is quite frustrating. I’m not sure if they manage to do so in the manga or other video formats (I’m sure they do because the manga has long ended – however there is a slight chance that I could be wrong) but give them another 100 episodes and I think they still won’t be able to do it. Maybe the love polygon is more complex but that isn’t the point. Maison Ikkoku manages to wrap things in under 100 episodes. But there is a good reason why Ranma and Akane never confessed in the TV series. While Ranma 1/2 was on air, the manga was still ongoing unlike Maison Ikkoku which already ended its run when its anime adaptation was halfway running. Besides, Maison Ikkoku’s manga has much lesser chapters compared to Ranma 1/2.

As I later found out, there are some differences between the anime and the manga. One big difference in the anime is the omission of the character named Nozomu Nikaidou. He is the resident of room number 2. His omission was due to the decision that the producers wanted to focus the series more on Godai and Kyoko (as I too learnt, the manga itself has an arc dedicated to tell his story). Therefore most of his lines are given to Yotsuya and Kentarou in the anime. It could’ve been real messy if this guy was put into the anime because unlike Godai, he retaliates Yotsuya’s pranks instead of quietly ‘accepting’ them and do nothing about it since he has some sort of grudge against the mystery man of room number 4. Ooohh… There are other movies, specials, OVAs and even a live-action drama TV series too but for me I have quite enough of the series. Thanks to the silliness I don’t think I have the appetite for more whether they are alternate retelling, prequel or spin-off story. Oops. Really. But I can speculate more or less the same kind of thing. But many fans who started off with the manga have expressed their preference for the manga over the anime. Well, duh. Since I don’t read the original works, I can’t say.

As the drawing and art is clearly old school and of that era like Marmalade Boy and Urusei Yatsura, since the author of this series is Rumiko Takahashi, I can’t help make comparisons of how similar some of the characters in this series resemble closely to those in Ranma 1/2. For instance, Godai looks like the male Ranma, Kyoko like Akane, Akemi like the sleepy version of the female Ranma, Mitaka resembles Ryouga, Asuna a little like Nabiki, Yagami like Shampoo, Yukari like Cologne, Kozue a short haired version of Kasumi, Yotsuya is a clean shaven version of Suon and the principal of the day care has that uncanny resemblance to Genma. Sometimes I thought that I was watching a martial art-less Ranma 1/2 and a grownup version of that series. But that is just the looks, the personalities of course differs by a mile. Though the art of background and scenery won’t be very appealing, but I would like to point out sometimes there will be a considerably long pause before the next scene change. Furthermore, the scenes are much ado about nothing. It’s like they’re waiting for that scene to end before the next one is shown. It makes me feel that it is to prolong the duration of the episode because if they shorten it, the episode would probably last less than 20 minutes.

The opening and ending themes also have that sound from that era. You know, pop music from those times. Maybe it’s because the recording equipment weren’t as high-tech as today so they don’t really have that sharp and clear sound to it. The first opening theme, Kanashimi Yo Konnichiwa by Yuki Saito and the pop feel makes it the theme of the series. Well, it can’t be help since this is the first song you’ll be hearing for the first 20 over episodes. The rest of the opening pieces are sung by male vocals and in my opinion they do not sound fitting. For example the second opening theme, Suki Sa by Anzen Chitai has that dramatic feel and the breathy chorus just doesn’t quite cut it. Sunny Shiny Morning, the third opening piece by Kiyonori Matsuo is at least livelier and has that carnival and playful atmosphere. Once again the fourth opening song, Hidamari by Kouzou Murashita feels too manly because of the male vocals and thus doesn’t quite suit the series. The first ending theme is Ashita Haeru Ka by Takao Kisugi. All the other endings are sung by Picasso. I don’t know. Most of them sound one-kind dramatic and have that melancholic feel (or slow romance type if you want to put it). The second ending theme is Ci-ne-ma, the third ending theme is Fantasy and the fourth ending song is Sayonara No Dessan. At least the fifth ending piece, Begin The Night sounds better despite being a slow serenading ballad, the easy crooning will at least put your mind and heart at ease like a good lullaby and perhaps a good song just before going to sleep. Not because it’s boring, okay. Although Takao Kisugi and Picasso are not related, I can’t help think how similar they sound. I thought they were the same singer singing but apparently not. Same case with all the other groups with male vocals. Maybe the recording quality wasn’t that good then so you can’t really differentiate unless you have very good hearing or know the songs very well.

Nobody likes neighbours from hell. If it was me who gets picked on like Godai, fighting back wouldn’t really teach them any lesson nor would they learn. I would have moved out and far away from this place promising never to return. I mean, if you’re going to spend the rest of your life with other people making fun and tormenting you (in addition to making your room the ‘strategic’ meeting place), this isn’t what I have in mind as company or even peace of mind. Heart got pissed instead. No amount of anger management will cure me. Not a single mental institution could keep them away because they’ll drive everything up the wall. Really. I’m going to pack my bags and get out. Nothing is going to stop me, not even if there is a new hot young sexy manager taking over the place. Single or widowed. I’m not sure which is worst. Having to deal with horrible neighbours or endure years of one-sided love through trial and error to get the girl you love to love you back. Perhaps it is both. That’s why I’m out of here!

Acchi Kocchi

December 8, 2012

Why is that we love to watch and sometimes get involved in helping other people succeed in their love affair? Because it is more fun compared to your own! Acchi Kocchi is somewhat like that. We have a boy and a girl who are somewhat in a subtle relationship. The boy is dense of the girl’s feelings while the girl is a typical tsundere. One doesn’t know, the other just won’t admit. More than friends, less than lovers. We’ve seen this in countless of romance genres. You can tell at this rate unless a miracle happens, a lot of poking and meddling is needed before they can become an official couple. That’s why they have friends who love watching the way they act and maybe do a little extra to help them realize and get them together. Sometimes it is amusing. Sometimes it is just frustrating. Sometimes it is fun. Sometimes it is just annoying. But love is no easy matter and should be treaded carefully. Don’t take this too seriously because this is a light hearted comedy series so expect some wacky (verbal) antics.

At first I thought when they made this series, they mashed together Lucky Star and A Channel to come up with cute characters and the antics among the group of friends as nothing more as the storyline. Especially the main heroine Tsumiki who reminds me of Lucky Star’s Konata and A Channel’s Tooru. So if you are not into such animes, you might want to look elsewhere because the gags between the friends are going to be the main staple diet of comedy and jokes. Though an episode is divided into 2 parts, most of the scenes in each part feel like a skit. Some even just lasting for a few seconds. Of course in the bigger picture they are related to each other or at least to the theme of that segment.

Episode 1
* Tsumiki Minawa tries practising to say “Good morning” to the guy she likes, Io Otonashi. Too late. He’s already here on his bicycle. Along the way, they meet their friends, Mayoi Katase and Hime Haruno who tease Tsumiki trying to get close to Io (they were ‘stalking’ on them). Mayoi got her head stuck in the wall after that, if you’re interested.
* At the school gates, they see their teacher, Kikue Sakuragawa slips and falls over a banana peel. Embarrassing. They think the only other person who can match her is Hime. She embarrassingly denies and goes to help Kikue but slips and falls over a frozen puddle. Wow. Two slips in a day. Their other friend, Sakaki Inui helps Kikue up and later tells Io that white undies Kikue was wearing. I guess this proves he’s a normal healthy guy but Io doesn’t want him to categorize him the same as him.
* In class, the heater is spoilt and they could guess when Kikue slipped, she kicked and damaged it. Mayoi offers to fix it and will get it working to 500 degrees Celsius! Like hell! Kikue has bought souvenirs for her students from her hotspring trip but Mayoi brings up the dreaded question if she went with her boyfriend. She went alone. Now she’s crying all over! They try to fix the situation but made it worst with words like ‘grave’ and ‘dirty pub’. Now she’s crying even louder! Mayoi is surprised at Io’s fast pen spinning and her commotion has Kikue throw her chalk at Io as she thinks he is the one causing the ruckus. But the chalk curves and hits Mayoi.
* When the friends are talking about animals and pets, Tsumiki murmurs how she wants to be Io’s pet! Then she acts like a cat harmlessly biting all over Io.
* Sakaki says the PA system is not working so Mayoi goes to fix it. While she is testing the microphone, she tells everyone to look to their right. What’s there? A wall. Not funny! The next time she tests it out again, she didn’t say anything and ends the testing, much to everyone‘s chagrin.
* During lunch, Io and Sakaki relate how they were caught and scolded by Kikue. It seems they were rushing to the cafeteria to buy bread and they needed to take a shortcut. Kikue warned them not to run in the hall but to her surprise, they jumped off the window of the second floor! Oh sh*t! She’s screaming her head off! Though they got reprimanded, they managed to buy the bread before it ran out.
* After school, the guys are surprised that the girls want to follow them to the video game arcade. Sakaki and Io play a fighting game (Fighting Idiot?) to settle an old score. Sakaki gets pulverized and has no chance to counter attack. Then he realizes Io wasn’t behind the controls. It was Tsumiki! Oh sh*t! Hime tries her hand at the crane machine but doesn’t know how to play. Io asks Tsumiki if she wants a plushie he can get for her but she doesn’t want. Eventually he gets one and this made her happy. Their friends realize how tsundere Tsumiki is.
* They play air hockey so it is Io-Tsumiki against Sakaki-Mayoi. Hime as the referee couldn’t keep up with the high pace of the game. So fast that she can’t even see where the disc is going! In the end, nobody scores and it’s a draw. Asking if Hime wants to try it out, she instantly gets traumatized because she can’t possibly play with them at such high speed.
* On the way back, Io suggests to Tsumiki they take a photo together. Because Tsumiki is short, Io carries her before the photo is snapped. Their friends saw everything and tease them how they’re being lovey-dovey with each other. Io is just cool but Tsumiki is over the top embarrassed.

Episode 2
* The friends head over to the cake store Hatch Potch run by Sakaki’s sister, Miiko for cake testing. Since they’re wet from the rain, Miiko has them change into waiter and maid outfits while their clothes dry. Of course Tsumiki looks super cute so the friends tease her about Tsumiki wanting to glomp and chomp Io. She tries to hold her rage in claiming she needs to act professional. Mayoi felt disappointed with that response so the rest think she’s a masochist… Mayochist…
* Sakaki demonstrates his welcome smile. Creepy and evil. Now it’s Miiko’s turn. So bright and wonderful! The friends discuss that this place charges for a smile but Io says that he’s already been ‘paid’ with their company. His politeness and waiter-like personality excites Mayoi. But for Tsumiki and Hime, I think they’ll stain the cloth with their nose bleed if he doesn’t stop.
* Noting Io looks like a bartender, they start asking for cocktail drinks which happen to be names of fighting moves.
* Everyone is satisfied with all the great cakes. Mayoi dreams she wants a house made of sweets and chocolates so when Sakaki says he prefers his to be meat, the rest imagine it to be raw or greasy. Doesn’t it look like a horror house? Miiko asks their opinion on today’s cakes and since the topic of which is the sweetest came out, Mayoi cheekily says Io was the sweetest! Nose bleed cue for Tsumiki and Mayoi! She meant the cake lah!
* Valentine’s Day is here soon so Mayoi rallies the girls to think of how they’re going to give their chocolates. Especially you-know-who. Tsumiki wrapped only in ribbons? She even suggests using a love potion! I bet that is fake.
* On their way to go buy chocolate ingredients, they learn from Tsumiki that Io prefers chocolate flavoured sweets and not plain chocolate. Mayoi suggests for the surprise element to put in frog meat! Won’t that be a nasty prank than a surprise?
* Tsumiki bakes her cake that night and waits the next morning to give it to Io. When he finally comes, she got so nervous that she slams the present into him! Body blow! The girls ask his opinion on receiving the chocolate from Tsumiki. “In one fell swoop, she took my body’s endurance to its limit”. I think they’re asking about the chocolate, not the body blow.
* In class, Sakaki shows them a whole chocolate cake from Miiko and they are impressed. He even teases Tsumiki and Io that Miiko is making a huge wedding cake for them. He’s joking, right? The next one isn’t. Mayoi gives the guys her chocolate and reveals she really put in frog’s meat! Oh sh*t! Sakaki becomes so pissed that he reveals on White Day he’ll be putting in pig’s feet in her marshmallow. Isn’t that revealing his plan? Hime also has chocolates for everybody so Mayoi teases her that she’d really fall in love with her despite being a girl. Don’t worry, Hime. She’s just joking. Hime tries to explain (long-winded) that her chocolate is in between obligation and meaningful/romantic but panics. I’m not sure if there is such a word called meaningality.
* Mayoi once again wants to help Tsumiki to get closer to Io. I guess she can’t say no. She’ll put chocolate lipstick over her lips to make it irresistible for Io. So the friends set them up as Io puts his fingers on Tsumiki’s lips and says how soft and sweet it looks. This sends Tsumiki into another flustering explosion and collapses into his arms.

Episode 3
* It’s a cold snowy day so how did Mayoi and Sakaki persuade Tsumiki to come play in the snow with them? Capture Io and threaten something funny will happen to him! That was easy. So as Mayoi and Sakaki rush out, they slip on the slippery snow. Tsumiki kicks a wooden board towards them and they land on their head. I think that’s even more painful. Hime suggests Tsumiki to warm up a bit so Io starts blowing on top of her head. Can she die this way?
* Mayoi is making an igloo but it collapses. She pleads Io to pull her out. But when he does, her shorts underneath becomes visible so he pushes her back into the snow.
* Tsumiki has created a giant snowball (I think Mayoi got rolled over. See the mark there?). How exactly is she going to put the other big ball on top of this one? Surprisingly, she has the strength to throw it but it lands imperfectly, and breaks all over Sakaki. Well, nobody’s perfect.
* Mayoi suggests a snowball fight and since Io and Tsumiki are in one team, Io puts Hime into his team because Sakaki and Mayoi’s team is Team Chaos! Mayoi and Sakaki have this snowball bazooka and high-tech snow refiller! Isn’t that cheating? Well, they didn’t break the rules of altering their snowball. The duo go on the offensive as the trio hide. Tsumiki isn’t going to hide forever so she gets out of her hiding and starts blocking Mayoi’s attack. Meanwhile Io faces off with Sakaki. With chopsticks in his fists, Io easily blocks away Sakaki’s snowball attack. Hime decides to help out and enter the fray. But she trips and the snowballs land on their head. What a way to go out. So all that is left is Tsumiki and Mayoi. Tsumiki takes refuge behind her giant snowball. Then she powers up her palm and blasts through the snowball! OMG! Does she have some super power?! Mayoi is covered with snow and Tsumiki ends the game by throwing a snowball at her. Everyone ‘abandons’ Mayoi in the snow to go get something warm.
* Io is grouped with Kyouya Saibara, Saki Sakimori and Kana Miyama in the cooking class while Tsumiki has Hime and Mayoi. So the girls discuss their cooking skills and for some obvious body language reason, you can tell Mayoi and Kana suck in cooking. We see Mayoi can’t even break an egg properly (she uses too much strength) while Tsumiki just easily breaks them without sweat and with a tap of her finger! Kana messes with onions and stings Mayoi’s eyes.
* Saki teases Kyouya about him being happy to receive cooking from a girl but she herself wouldn’t if she receives it from him. Io is going to do flambé whereby he uses wine to give more fragrance to offset the meaty smell over the fire. Saki hints Kyouya somewhat smells too. Set him on fire! Is this the kind of moe he wants?! The group is finishing their cooking so Hime’s stomach makes a cute growl as opposed to Mayoi’s explosive one. Sounds like a prehistoric dinosaur…
* Io puts the finishing touches on his beef stew omelette rice. The girls are so impressed so much so they ask him to marry them! Mayoi shows hers but it looks repulsive. Is that thing alive?!
* They sample each other’s dishes so of course Tsumiki gives hers to Io to try. She is nervously trying to ask if she would make a good bride with this cooking but Mayoi had to interrupt and cross the line with her stupid joke. I suppose she got what she deserved when her head got stuck in the wall again. Io’s reply to Tsumiki is that she’ll make the man she marries very happy with her cooking. Nose bleed cue. And Hime too. When the girls start feeding each other, Io also wants to feed Tsumiki. But he teases her by pulling away the spoon each time Tsumiki tries to eat. Annoyed, Tsumiki bites his head! I guess you could say Io is being eaten alive!

Episode 4
* Because the teachers have meeting, all afternoon activities have been cancelled. This means Mayoi wants to play kick-the-can game. I guess Tsumiki and Io can’t say no, can’t they? They’ll be divided into teams and the winning team gets food vouchers for the cafeteria while the losers must do what the winners say. With Sakaki and Mayoi giving off that evil looks, I think this is going to be scary.
* Team Oni will consist of Mayoi, Kyouya, Saki and Tsumiki while Team Escape will have Sakaki, Io, Hime and Kana. Team Oni must capture everyone within 30 minutes or protect the can till the end to win. If Team Escape as one person not captured or they manage to kick the can, victory is theirs. With the team evenly balanced up, perhaps the rivalry may heat up even more with Sakaki and Mayoi on opposing sides.
* So the chase is on and Hime thinks she won’t keep up with the game because, see how competitive everyone is so much so they’re running on the walls! Oh sh*t! Tsumiki plans to capture Io but in her imagination, it looks more like a hug. Jumping into his arms? But reality is so different. Io evades her and she crashes. She thinks he rejected her! Hime and Kana are running away from Kyouya and Saki when Hime suddenly crashes into a wall! OMG! That trap drawing of the hallway looked so real! She’s as good as captured.
* While Kana is made to distract the rest, Sakaki and Io come up with their final battle plan. They run up to Mayoi and confuse her with a sheet of curtain so she can’t tell where or who is coming at her. They pull the curtain over her. Sakaki is about the kick the can and end the game but Tsumiki as the backup appears. Sakaki is confident it is game over and though it is, too bad Io had to kick the can right into his head. Ouch. So with the gang reuniting and the guys explain their diversion tactic, Mayoi says it’s not over yet because it’s time for round two! Go play yourself!
* Io and Sakaki are guests on the school’s broadcast lunch show hosted by Ami Kirino (she claims her disgusting partner is out sick so they’re in to fill in). Ami has the guys give their advice on love problems. The first message is from one wondering how to make a guy fall for her. Sakaki starts off rather cliché. Ask him to go to the rooftop and as he gazes at the setting sun… Push him off the roof! OMG! That way, he’ll fall for you! Geddit?! Sick joke! He rearranges the way he says it but it sounded more like a threat.
* Next problem: A friend of hers has feelings for a boy but won’t admit it. Sakaki immediately identifies her as tsundere. Why is Tsumiki being stared? Sakaki acts out his tsundere mode which doesn’t make sense. Ami also plays along with some reverse psychology thingy and everything went off topic.
* Final problem: A girl tried to show off her charms but the guy completely ignored her. An oblivious guy? Why is Io being stared at? Io makes a surprising move by declaring “I love you” straight up. So much so Sakaki in his reflex has to retort it. Seriously, Io advises that she should be natural so her charms will be naturally noticed.
* With the end of the radio programme, the guys are frank that they don’t want to be back on this show again. Even Ami quips if she follows Sakaki’s advice, she’ll be hurtling down the bad end route. She gives Io the honour to wrap things up so he signs off with this message, “Tomorrow, you shall be even more beautiful than today”. I think it’s a record nose bleed because every girl in school who heard that just swooned to that.

Episode 5
* The girls talk about their measurements and it seems Mayoi is boasting that despite there is no growth in other areas, her boobs did grow bigger. Hime couldn’t say hers but the rest figured she had grown fatter. Tsumiki’s growth is also similar to Mayoi but the latter purposely won’t guess that part which grew.
* Mayoi tries to tell the guys about Tsumiki’s boobs but Tsumiki silences her. Sakaki could guess what she’s hinting at and asks Io if he fondled Tsumiki’s boobs! Io dismisses that misinterpretation and theorizes that some girls believe the feelings they hold close to their hearts will grow if they’re touched by the person they love. Sounds more logic but the girls are in awe over that statement. Nose bleed cue. Mayoi tries to rat on Hime’s weight but the latter panics and says it out herself. Feels worse, eh? Mayoi reflects on her actions that it’s bad to say bad about others. So instead, she brags about her own boobs! Has she no shame? While the guys note they have grown taller, Tsumiki hopes Io won’t grow any taller. Yeah, we know how hard it’ll be for a shorty to reach and kiss him, right? Mayoi teases Tsumiki for that bold kiss statement, Tsumi-kiss.
* The gang soon decide to play volleyball and the loser will have to buy the popular hard-to-get breads at the cafeteria. With Io firing up, I guess this is serious. Hime who has always brought her own lunch is given an explanation on how ferocious the battlefield could be. Spartan of 300 good enough example? Remembering the high level and traumatic kick-the-can game, Hime decides to sit out. Mayoi suggests Io invite her and when he does, the cuteness level is too much. I guess she really has to sit this one out.
* As they divide the teams, Tsumiki’s soft spoken nature has her being butt out by Mayoi to join Io’s team. So mad she is that her yelling blew Mayoi away. The match begins with the usual antics. Mayoi gets thrown into the net, everyone uses their feet to hit the ball, Saki and Io accidentally use and hit Sakaki with the ball and as Kana swings Mayoi, Io couldn’t help get along with the flow and did a submission move on her. Don’t worry. She’s still alive. But she wants Io to pat her head. And when he does, she became embarrassed. Never thought he would do it, eh?
* Tsumiki wants to hit the ball to Io but he missed and though her shot is in, she felt disappointed because she wanted him to receive it. In the tiebreaker, Mayoi’s growling stomach has her miss so Io’s team loses and has to go buy their ‘love’. Yeah, everybody is hungry for ‘love’. Hime hopes they’ll be careful since the Spartans are also looking for love. Haha…
* The friends are at the grassy field with their sports equipments. But since they forgot the baseball gloves, Sakaki thinks they should just use their soul to catch it. Io throws a hard one and I believe Sakaki’s soul (his hand rather) must be hurting like hell.
* As the guys throw Frisbee, Hime once more couldn’t keep up with the high level play. Can’t see a thing! Tsumiki throws a Frisbee at Mayoi and in the blink of an eye, the powerful throw knocks her away! I think it nearly decapitated her. Now it’s Hime’s turn and Mayoi shows no mercy in throwing full force. However it curves and hits Sakaki. Followed by another Frisbee thrown by Io. I don’t even know how that happened.
* While resting, a litter of cats gather around Io. Mayoi teases Tsumiki that she wants to be around Io like that too but she disagrees. True enough, Tsumiki can’t resist joining in. She acts like a cat before she realizes the embarrassing thing she’s doing. Mayoi pets one too hard that the cat got annoyed and gave her an uppercut! WTF?! Meow-ppercut?!
* Wondering if cats will catch Frisbee like dogs, Io tosses one and a black cat fetches it. Sakaki wants to try too but no cats are taking the bait. Mayoi quips they totally ignored the soul catcher and this Sakaki felt his soul hurting.

Episode 6
* The gang changes into their summer uniform. Tsumiki never thought Io would compliment her dress but to her surprise he did. Even in this hot summer, Mayoi is wearing a lab coat. She says it is different because this one is thinner. Like we can tell. Cheeky Mayoi opens Tsumiki’s top to give Io some summer fanservice. Guess whose head got stuck in the wall again? Surprisingly Io blushed. Not surprisingly, the girls nose bleed.
* The sunny day is perfect to clean the school pool. Kikue is happy her students are giving her items that keep her cool from the sun. Sunglasses, sunscreen, hat, parasol and cooling gel sheet. Maybe that last one wasn’t so appropriate.
* Mayoi ties the broom at both ends and gives it to Tsumiki. With her tremendous spinning, it’s like killing 2 birds with 1 stone because while the floor gets quickly cleaned, this also provides fan and cooling effect. But Tsumiki’s fingers slip and the broom knocks Mayoi away.
* Sakaki teases Kyouya he is trying to set his sights on Saki. So Kyouya asks Io what part of a girl he finds it appealing. He says her smile. Kyouya suddenly felt his was dirtier…
* The gang plays hockey with the brush and they decide to call it Sakaki due to some twisted logic and explanation using a football and considering it your best friend. So with Sakaki reduced to the brush, everybody wants to hit Sakaki with the broom. Why does it feel they’re picking on him? And they’re hitting Sakaki the brush with so much fun. Io stands up for Sakaki and he feels grateful. Till Io calls him the brush.
* Hime couldn’t handle the weight of the water in the pail and trips. Io tries to save her but the bucket got splashed over his head. At the same time, Tsumiki trips and knocks her head into his back. This is what Sakaki calls Hime and Tsumiki’s synchronized friendship attack? At the end of the cleaning session, Kikue rewards them with ice cream and watermelon.
* Mayoi suggests doing a group study session at Io’s place. She wants to head there fast so he doesn’t have time to clean up his room. Wasn’t it supposed to be a study session? Tsumiki arrives first and while Io went to get tea, she couldn’t resist the temptation to smell Io’s shirt. Till she realizes Mayoi and Hime are watching. Tsumiki isn’t panicking yet. She notes to erase memories, a heavy impact is required to the brain! Oh sh*t! Thankfully she didn’t get to that part so as Hime promises not to tell Io, Mayoi suddenly starts sniffing the shirt and bugs Hime to do the same. Till Io caught them in the act.
* As the study session begins, Mayoi quickly decides to play video games. After getting whacked by Io, she becomes a good girl but realizes she forgot her textbook. Wasn’t she the one who suggested studying together? Hime couldn’t understand Tsumiki’s explanation so Io does the coaching. Mayoi teases Tsumiki about being jealous but gets pinched in her thighs. Oh, the screaming… At the end, they suggest going on a vacation together so Io thinks the log home he rented the last time might be good.
* Soon the exams come and go. The girls feel confident of acing it because of the study session. However they can’t remember anything except for the shirt smelling.
* Clouds are building up and Hime actually forgot to bring her own umbrella. Mayoi shows her new invention. A big heart shape? You’re supposed to stick it on the tip of the umbrella and it’ll be transformed into a love umbrella. She wants Tsumiki to have it but she refuses. Io is willing to share is umbrella with Tsumiki but she declines. Mayoi translates that as she would love to but declined because it felt embarrassing.
* Just as Mayoi is about to open her spare umbrella, suddenly the umbrella shoots off! OMG! It nearly killed Sakaki! And this isn’t one of her pranks, you know.
* On the way home, Mayoi cheekily advises Io and Tsumiki about pure white shirt turning transparent by the sky’s drops. It’s a warning to be careful about the wolf. She’s directing this towards Io. So the wolf is Tsumiki?! You can never be too sure. On the way home, Tsumiki notices half of Io’s side is wet so she hugs closer to him. He thought he has been caught by the wolf.

Episode 7
* It’s summer vacation and Mayoi is going to properly live it out by having fun first and doing homework last. Upon hearing Io has already completed his, she wants to borrow and copy his work! In the train, deciding who should seat near the window, Mayoi teases it may not be better for Hime since she might get a surprise attack. What surprise attack? Mayoi lifts up Io’s shirt to reveal his back! I think we’ve got a couple of girls down.
* As the train makes a stop, Hime goes down to get some stuff. Since she is taking a while, Tsumiki decides to go look for her. Eventually Hime comes back alone and the train is about to depart. Well, it departs without Tsumiki. Instantly Io opens the window and jumps out just to join Tsumiki so that she won’t be alone waiting for the next train. Kids, don’t try this anyhow! As they wait, Tsumiki thought it was nice of him of not wanting to leave a girl behind. She felt a little embarrassed. As for the other girls, they are surprised Io pulled that stunt. They wonder what if Io was the one who got left behind. Sakaki says he’ll throw out Tsumiki for him. How considerate.
* So once the gang reunites, they head to the log house and play in the nearby stream. Mayoi balances on a log on a stone. She falls off before Io could finish his warning sentence. Then when they’re fishing, Tsumiki accidentally hooks Mayoi’s shirt and throws her into the river. She’s drowning again. Then she reels her in like a fish instead of pulling her out. That’s a big catch she’s got.
* Io is feeling sleepy and is like as though he is going to fall. Tsumiki ponders if he’ll drop into her lap. But I guess her shoulder is good enough. Then he plops down on the mat. While the rest continue to play, Tsumiki sneakily puts his head on her lap. To her embarrassment, the rest are taking pictures of this scene and Tsumiki can’t move for fear she may wake him up. Take lots of good memories, will you?
* During evening as Io cooks the BBQ meat, everyone calls him daddy so when Tsumiki plays along, Io calls her mommy and causes her to fluster greatly. Tsumiki feeds Io so much so Mayoi tells her she should feed herself too. Because Mayoi and Sakaki are hogging the meat, the rest advice they should eat some fish and vegetables too. Then they go on ranting about some food rhythm. But Mayoi teases Tsumiki’s rhythmic order to consist of kiss and Io. The girls are full so Mayoi feels Hime’s stomach and felt something moving! The guys thought somebody flew out of the house. That’s too much even if it was a joke.
* After the girls finish their bath, Mayoi wants Tsumiki to pull her obi so she could spin. But Tsumiki’s enormous strength means Mayoi is thrown and slammed into the wall. Ouch. Because Tsumiki’s hair is hard to dry, Mayoi suggests Io to help dry it but she refuses. If that’s the case, then maybe Io can help Hime do hers. Tsumiki takes back what she said and decides to let Io dry her hair. I’m sure the rest enjoy seeing Tsumiki’s happy face.
* Next, they play fireworks. Io launches a parachute firework. Mayoi and Sakaki race to get it but trip on a log. Eventually Hime gets it. Slow and steady wins the race. Next, Io launches several bottle fireworks but it all flew towards Sakaki! Having another take, yet again it all flew in his direction. This guy attracts bad stuffs? The girls light the big rocket to the sky but the base gave way and the rocket is heading towards them. Guess what? It swerved away and hit Sakaki. I think he can fly to the moon. Sakaki suggests playing sparklers and the one who holds out the longest gets bragging rights. Instantly when it starts, Sakaki’s sparkler went out. So disappointed…
* Tsumiki wants to play sparklers with Io but Mayoi plays psychology with her if her sparkler burns out first, the love is just mutual. Hell, it did. But the sky is soon lit with other bright fireworks. While they admire the magnificent display, Io quips that the short glimpse of their smiles is more dazzling than any fireworks display as it found a place deep in his heart. Well, let’s just say the nose bleeds add additional ‘sparkle’ to the blooming flowers.

Episode 8
* The girls are studying at Tsumiki’s place but her air-cond broke down. Hot like hell. Suggestions to put tubs of ice cube fell through because Tsumiki doesn’t have that many tubs. Thus Mayoi suggests heading over to Io’s place. Along the way, Mayoi continues to be the big complainer of the heat. So in order to cool her down, Tsumiki tells her to die. It sends shivers down her spine, right?
* Sakaki is doing his homework at Io’s place and I don’t know how Io can actually play his video game half asleep. When Mayoi rings the doorbell, Io thought a scammer is at the door and ignores her. Mayoi then calls his handphone and hearing the same voice, he thought she is the same scammer and hangs up. In the end, Io lets them in after realizing who they are.
* Mayoi dives onto Io’s freshly aired futon and throws his pillow at Tsumiki. Well, she’s really enjoying it. Because everyone wants to go to tonight’s festival, Sakaki and Mayoi must finish their dreaded homework first before joining everyone. So while the duo work on their homework, the rest play video games. It proves to be a distraction because it ends up enraging them. They can’t resist the temptation of playing.
* Once they’re done with their homework, now they get ready to play but Io has fallen asleep. Mayoi and Sakaki think up of a prank to draw something on his face. Perhaps a kiss mark around his lips. Mayoi tosses Tsumiki her lipstick to do the honours but she misinterpreted and put the lipstick on herself preparing to kiss him! When she learns she’s not supposed to do that, she becomes embarrassed and hides in Io’s futon.
* The friends meet up at the festival and Sakaki nearly made an early kill when he reveals Io’s bare chest as fanservice for the girls. Getting takoyaki, Tsumiki thought Io is fooling with her again when he pulls the treat when he’s about to feed her. Actually it’s piping hot.
* Trying out the katanuki (candy cut-outs), Hime chooses an easy pattern but everything breaks when she makes her first step. Io uses the force of his finger and in a single tap, his candy cut-out shape turns into a rocker girl! Isn’t that K-ON!’s Yui? Sakaki tries to imitate his actions but his candy breaks at first go.
* Sakaki challenges Io to save the goldfish. Sakaki uses his charming technique and style to save a couple. However all the other goldfish start jumping into Io’s cup! He didn’t even do anything! To add salt to injury, Sakaki’s goldfish jump into his cup!
* At the shooting gallery, noticing the different guns available to shoot down the prizes, Mayoi dreams of using the bazooka! I think the stall will be destroyed. Hime tries her hand but gets terrified but unwanted advice, believing the shot she made will tear a hole in the toy. Well, the first shot missed and hit Sakaki (I don’t even know how that happened). The next shot hit the toy and she is glad no hole is made. Aren’t you supposed to knock it down? Eventually the toy is wobbling and drops. Hime wins it but develops new fear that the toy ‘dropped’.
* While the guys are trying out, Tsumiki gets this idea of wanting to make Io hers and shoots him! He’s not the prize! They are targeting a big chick toy and taking turns shooting it down isn’t helping. Io and Sakaki cooperate and fire at the same time to bring the huge toy down. Io gives it to Tsumiki saying that he didn’t really want the toy but wanted the sight of her being happy. I guess those words shot right through and pierced her heart. Yup, nose bleed. She’s dead. And Hime got caught in the ‘cross-fire’ too.

Episode 9
* For the cultural festival, Io and his friends will be doing a crepe stall. Io has some experience making crepes thanks to Miiko. Because Tsumiki’s body language indicates she wants to have a taste of it, Io promises to let her have the first bite. Tsumiki is happy but fumbles her words and instead of saying swallowing a thousand needles (hari sen bon) she said needle samba (hari samba). They go off topic discussing what needle samba is. Scary and perverted?
* Mayoi has the guys try out outfits they’ll be wearing for the crepe stall. Don’t they look like host guys? And with Io without his glasses, I think the girls are going to pass out over his total coolness.
* While they’re constructing their store, Sakaki learns the high tech and energy saving technology that Io and Mayoi are putting in. Radar? Eco friendly electricity? Ion batteries? Mayoi later shows them a Mayoi Flag hat and demonstrates it. But the flag breaks and guess where it falls onto? Sakaki. While that poor guy is lying in his pool of blood, the rest discuss how to stop his bleeding? Stop his heart? Apply pressure to his neck? Are they sure they’re not killing him? Sakaki is so pissed off that he just tells them to send him to the infirmary. Hey. He’s fine, no?
* Io finishes sewing his costume for Tsumiki but she refuses to wear it. With a little exaggeration (okay, lots of it), Tsumiki gives in after hearing how much effort Io put in. He stayed up all night and has blisters all over his fingers (all lies!). Turns out to be a cat outfit but because it looks so awkward, it actually fits her. Tsumiki trips on a can and falls over Io. Hime thought a big cat attacked Io.
* Tsumiki watches Io’s sleeping face and you can tell what kind of thoughts are going through her mind. Of course their friends are spying. Tsumiki wakes him up to get ready and because he is still half asleep, he grabs her hair. She sprayed her nose bleed on him. What a way to wash his face.
* Mayoi and Hime are dressed as housewives in apron. This idea was thought up by Sakaki because their crepe theme is newlyweds. But Tsumiki is not happy since she is the only one left out and bites Io! Why him? I guess putting on an apron won’t cut it too. While everyone else thinks the outfit looks good on Hime and Tsumiki, they are surprised to see Mayoi without her lab coat and panic! Is it so bad that they need to call the class rep?! Later Io makes crepes for Tsumiki and Mayoi and you can tell by the look of their face they are greatly satisfied.
* With the festival opening, the crepe store is experiencing brisk business. Io’s neighbourhood friends pay his stall a visit and cheekily ask they want a smile too. He asks back do they want a bag to go with that. Take away also can? Nose bleeding frenzy!
* There is a long queue for the crepe stall and the strawberry is going to run out so Mayoi asks Hime to put the ‘sold out’ sticker. However she is taking too long and the guys didn’t see her come their way. Then they realize she went right to the back of the queue to wait her turn! Too conscientious!
* At the end of the day, Hime and Mayoi went around the festival and got too many balloons. So much so when they tie it to Tsumiki’s outfit, she starts floating away!

Episode 10
* One cold morning on his way to school, Io sees Mayoi in a bear outfit! WTF?! She wants to scare people? Well, it’s not working. Io wasn’t scared. Then they see Io (presumably waiting for Io) and Mayoi plans to scare her. ROAR! Tsumiki: Huh? WTF. Didn’t work. Mayoi guesses that Tsumiki may be purposely waiting at certainly places to go to school with Io instead of just coincidentally bumping into each other all the time. Of course Tsumiki denies.
* Mayoi thinks of scaring Hime to make up for her disappointing run. True enough, Hime gets freaked out while Mayoi chases her with her heart out. Doesn’t she find it weird a bear sprinting on 2 legs chasing after her? Man, Hime is worn out and Mayoi is very satisfied.
* Next, she wants to make Sakaki her next victim but has second thoughts about a direct approach. Tsumiki suggests a ridiculous speeding sled-riding tactic and Mayoi is interested enough to try it out. Mayoi speeds along but it hits a can and throws her off the sled and a super head butt into Sakaki. I don’t think he knew what hit him.
* Mayoi and Sakaki see Kikue and plan to scare her but if she sees Sakaki, she’ll probably know it’s them. So how? Don’t worry, Sakaki has brought a disguise. A paper bag with a hole over his head. That is his disguise? So the duo creep up on Kikue, put her on the sled and pull it all the way to school. Dash! You’re in for the horror ride of your life!
* Io tells Tsumiki that starting tomorrow they should meet and head to school together but Tsumiki tries to dispel that she wasn’t trying to bump into him. Really?
* Mayoi is disheartened to learn that Io and Hime are busy on Christmas Eve. This sends the wrong signal to Tsumiki. Of course they’ll be busy helping out Miiko on that day. Mayoi continues to sulk because she thought she wanted to have a Christmas party with them. So much so she took her sulking into the closet. If that’s not enough, she starts provoking that Io and Hime will be alone on that day. Yeah, Tsumiki also starts sulking with her in the closet! Io invites them to work together since Miiko did say she needed more helping hands. They’re in.
* Miiko wants Io, Tsumiki and Mayoi to sell Christmas cakes outside. In a Santa outfit. I guess Io can’t refuse when Miiko smiles like that. They try on the Santa outfit but it’s just too big for Tsumiki. That’s the smallest size they have. Io gives them pocket heater to help with the cold outside so they discuss about getting heatstroke and tease Tsumiki will get one if she gets kissed by Io.
* As they start selling the cakes, Tsumiki starts fantasizing about Io that she gets a nosebleed. The rest thought she overworked herself. Kana and Saki patron them and Mayoi exaggerates the cake they buy will give them nose bleed. What exactly did they put in? Io: Love. I think that is already nose bleed enough. Mayoi gives them extra service that if they buy a cake, Io will pat their head. Hey. Tsumiki is also buying one.
* The cakes are sold out at the end of the day and noticing that most customers are females, Sakaki makes an uncalled comment that the cakes are the girls’ boyfriend for Christmas. Don’t ever let girls hear him say that! To shield Hime from that, Mayoi tells a horror story of Santa. Santa Claws… Ouch! Kids, don’t ever claw Santa’s face. Miiko has some cake for them to enjoy for their hard work. Again Sakaki makes an uncalled comment to ignore the calories and enjoy. Sakaki, the enemy of women!
* When they leave, Mayoi whispers to Tsumiki that she doesn’t have to come to their Christmas party tomorrow so that she can have a lovey-dovey Christmas with Io. I guess Tsumiki kicked her into New Year’s Day, huh?
* Tsumiki walks back with Io and notes that she had fun working with everyone. Io lets her know about tomorrow’s Christmas party but to come early to start their own white Christmas.

Episode 11
* The friends are waiting for Io to show up at the shrine for New Year’s Day. Suddenly Sakaki remembers he was so addicted to New Year’s Eve gambling that he forgot to tell Io. Look at the rage on Tsumiki’s face! So they go pick him up at his doorstep but he’s still half asleep and slams the door despite Mayoi’s cheeky statement of getting a kiss on the cheek. So she leaves it to Hime to bring him out and did her words work? Apparently Io went back to get changed so all those embarrassing lines Hime said were useless. Along the way, Io is still in a dazed as Mayoi pushes Tsumiki to him. He uses her head as a pillow?
* At the crowded shrine, the friends make a chain prayer wishing for the wish of their friend to come true. When it reaches Io’s turn, he wishes Sakaki’s wish WON’T come true!
* They talk about love charms and when Sakaki returns from buying a charm arrow, he trips and the arrow got stuck in Mayoi’s hair accessory. The rest made puns out of it.
* They watch the sunrise and decide to take a photo as memento. But the camera is tilting and on the verge of falling off the slanted pole so Mayoi and Sakaki also try to shift with the camera till they fall down.
* Next morning everyone gathers at Sakaki’s house including Kikue. Miiko teases Kikue about wanting to get a boyfriend. Mayoi teases Tsumiki’s resolution about wanting to get Io in her palm so Tsumiki puts her palm into her face. Face palm! Sakaki rants about is love for bare necks. Huh?
* They play karuta and Tsumiki gets enrages when Io and Hime’s hand touched. Thinking of wanting to touch his hand, Tsumiki aims for Io’s hand instead of the card. Oops. She’s not letting it go…
* Tsumiki pounds the mochi so as Mayoi and Sasaki watch how she pounds them flat, they twisted their sentence to say Tsumiki is a flat chest girl! Now she’s going to pound them!
* The gang eat the great food they made and this prompts Sakaki to comment that love is nothing but food to them. So true. Io teases Tsumiki by feeding her mocha and stretching it. Miiko says not to play with food so he quickly eats it. Their friends get excited to see this ‘legendary mochi game’ which will lead to a mochi kiss.
* Half of their classmates are absent due to the influenza. Hime and Tsumiki thought it would get warmer if they just imagined it but looks like it’s not working. Saki wonders what Io will say if Tsumiki catches a cold. He replies he’ll go over to her house and steal her cold. Nose bleed cue. I think they’ll be out not because of the influenza.
* Noticing several mosquitoes buzzing around, suddenly the mosquito ‘explodes’ in mid-air! Almost taking out Mayoi’s head! Thanks to Io’s superb chopstick throwing skills, this is his revenge for making sleepless summer nights. Then another one bites the dust! Wow. But could you not do it so close to Mayoi’s head? Saki feels pitiful for these mosquitoes in a hostile environment and feels like wanting to root for them. However when one lands on her hand, she smacks it dead. So much for co-existing.
* Tsumiki hears Io rejecting Sakaki’s offer. Seems that Io’s parents will be busy and won’t be coming home for a while so Sakaki and Miiko offer him dinner. He felt bad to impose on their kindness and declined. Tsumiki says she understands their feelings and if she was in their shoes she would do the same. Io pats her head before joining Sakaki to buy bread. Tsumiki flusters and is confused with this feeling she has right now. Meanwhile Io too feels weird about what he is feeling now. His face is red and can’t explain it in words. We all know what it is, right?

Episode 12
* The girls bought chocolate to make you-know-what for Valentine’s Day. I’m sure you know whom Tsumiki will give hers to even if she doesn’t say. Mayoi teases her that she doesn’t even need to ask who and Hime panicked it may not be Io!
* Mayoi explains Valentine’s Day is like a battle royale. A fierce fight to receive chocolates. Your attitude determines the kind of chocolate you make. Weak or strong! Mayoi also talks about the different types of chocolate other than obligatory and romantic. Friend-eating chocolate? WTF. And Mayoi has this cheeky intent to add a suspicious ingredient into the mix!
* On Valentine’s Day in class, Tsumiki after beckoning Io realizes she forgot to bring her chocolates! The biggest blooper in her life! Though not understanding what is happening, Io tries to show concern but I guess he wasn’t that concern enough so much so Tsumiki had to tell him off to worry a bit more! Mayoi asks if he would like to receive chocolates from Tsumiki. No comment. What? Does this mean there’s a possibility he doesn’t want to? What he meant was if he said yes, it might look as though he is demanding them.
* Mayoi gives the guys her chocolate but they still remember the frog horror from last year. They are assured there aren’t any since the girls made it together. After all, Mayoi has made the kind of chocolates that melt you heart. Really melts your heart. Oh sh*t! Is she trying to kill them? Soon Saki and Kana also give the guys their handmade chocolate.
* After school, Tsumiki rushes home as fast as she could. It is raining and by the time she retrieves and runs halfway back, it is soaked. She meets Io at the intersection as he offers her his umbrella. Wiping her face and petting her head (maybe he got a little too carried away), Tsumiki doesn’t want to give this soaked chocolates to him. But on the contrary, he would like to have them. Then he softly pinches her face to send her into nose bleeding ecstasy. I don’t think that comes with the chocolate.
* The girls discuss about White Day and the rule how it must be returned three times fold. But they aren’t sure what is it that needs to be returned three fold. Price? Weight? Speed? Mayoi suggests Tsumiki did that chocolate lipstick like last year and turn it into a chocolate kiss. It’s her last chance to get Io’s heart. So what is a threefold chocolate kiss equivalent to? Marriage registration! Mayoi asks if Tsumiki expects anything in return. Her reply is that she doesn’t want anything. You don’t give something hoping for something in return. Mayoi felt bad about her intentions and meaning of chocolates all this while as the girls are enlightened by Tsumiki the angel. It must be true love.
* Meanwhile the guys are discussing about chocolates for White Day. Since Kyouya views chocolates as normal, this doesn’t sit well with Io and Sakaki so they explain about putting in the thought and returning the feelings of the sender. They use Saki as an example but Kyouya doesn’t want to hear it from Io since he is a pretty dense guy himself.
* Since the girls made homemade chocolates, the guys are going to do the same and they borrow Hatch Potch’s kitchen. They discuss the meaning associated to what one gives a girl. Io is pretty smooth in his reply. If it’s marshmallow, it’s returning the feelings back in their purest form. If it’s candy, they are the crystallized feelings in these sweet gemstones. Wow.
* Sakaki has made pig’s feet in marshmallow. This is for last year’s revenge. Remember Mayoi frog meat chocolate? Wow. Sakaki still remembers that? Now he needs someone to test it. No way!
* On White Day in class, the guys give the girls their chocolates. Sakaki made choco marshmallows, Kyouya made white choco cookies and Io made gummi candies. Kyouya thought Saki is going to tease his chocolate for being creepy but she smiles and says she could at least thank him for the gift. Kyouya is putting up a tsundere face that so much so Sakaki feels it’s somewhat creepy. A guy being tsundere? How rare is that? As they discuss about the surprise in receiving gifts, Sakaki shows them the pig’s feet marshmallows he made. Surprise!
* Io walks home with Tsumiki and he tells her he only puts a cute kitty in her candies. Though embarrassed, she thanks him.

Places To Places But Didn’t Go Anywhere…
I thought we were going to have a final episode drama. So do you feel a little cheated when the penultimate episode ended with indications that Io and Tsumiki may actually realize they have feelings for each other? Then when the last episode arrives, it is just like any other episode. Where’s the drama? Oh wait. Did this series have any serious drama to begin with? Io is still the dense guy and Tsumiki the tsundere girl. And their friends just love teasing and watching them. Maybe status quo is sometimes the best? There is a possibility that Io and Tsumiki will change as well as their relationship with their friends won’t stay as it is when they become an official couple. I mean, they would be spending more time with each other instead of together like they always do. Though I don’t think Io and Tsumiki will be that ‘bad hearted’ to ditch their friends once they get hooked and will most likely continue their usual ways, but you can’t dismiss such possibilities. So I’m not sure if Io and Tsumiki really made any progress with their relationship. Because we’ve always seen them like that, so the way they react towards each other is expected to be like that.  If we don’t see any progress in Io and Tsumiki’s romance, I’m sure we won’t get to see any with Kyouya and Saki too. Theirs feel like the opposite. Kyouya the tsundere and Saki the oblivious. But I have this feeling that Saki is just feigning it to pull Kyouya’s leg. About Kikue? Don’t even start it. At this rate of whining each time the ‘boyfriend’ topic gets picked up, she might end up being an old spinster. Oops.

With nothing much changed in the end, you could say the same for the characters too. Everybody is basically the same the way they are as they started. Tsumiki is a cute if not odd girl in her own ways. While her somewhat monotonous way of speaking makes her cute, there are other attributes that sometimes make me wonder if she is human. Take for instance, sometimes she got cat ears popping out from her head. Sometimes she acts like one too. She bites. Reminds me of Index… No doubt she loves cats and I thought this was just and indicator it is her reaction that something interests her or something. But at points others react to it as though they were real. Then there is this superhuman strength feature. I thought it was just the series’ way of putting in exaggeration to show us a joke but it seems that the other characters also possess this kind of ability. Whether it is super strong or super speed, it just feels odd to infuse such characteristics into the characters especially in this genre. I guess Hime is the only one who doesn’t have all this super power thingy. Yeah, she might not keep up with it all if it gets out of hand. Tsumiki may be looking lethargic at times but she too displays other emotions especially when it involves Io. She’ll get lively, panic, annoyed or detest depending on what you say about her and Io. For Io, he is a nice guy and the best thing about him is that sometimes he can naturally come up with cool romantic lines that would probably sweep a girl off her feet anytime. If only I had those suave lines… Sakaki his best friends, I don’t want to put him as the loser because he too has his good points despite being more lively and cheeky. Just that certain things got a way of making its way to him. In other words, he gets hit by stuffs. Complimenting his cheekiness and liveliness is Mayoi whose eyes we will never get to see. Double trouble when this pair is in sync. Despite wearing a lab coat, the way she acts doesn’t really make her smart but amusing especially with her mischievous quips. Hime on the other hand is an innocent but very gullible girl.

Speaking of blood, for a gag anime, there has been lots of nose bleeding reactions especially Hime and Tsumiki contributing most of it. It is somewhat bloody for this kind of genre, don’t you think? Not only the characters in this show, with Tsumiki as the ultimate embodiment of moe (cat ears, tsundere, ahoge), I think this will sent viewers who fetish such moe-ness into extreme nose bleed. So get all those cloth and solutions to clean the blood off your monitor, keyboard and PC unit. The way Hime and Tsumiki churn out their nose bleeding reaction makes me realize that they may be on par with that disgusting Kanako of Maria+Holic. Just that they aren’t yuri or yaoi fanatics but romance buffs. Too wild an imagination they have. It’s amazing they didn’t die from each ‘hot’ delusion or occurrence. Each episode never fails to perform this ‘trademark’ and the amount of blood they gush out I feel could be enough to be donated to a blood bank and save several lives that are in need of blood transfusion. Really. But remember, losing too much blood is not good for your health. If it is not for the nose bleeds, the heating up or ‘mini explosions’ over the head due to feeling embarrassment are some of the little ‘dangers’ in wearing your body down if you do it too often. But then again, Tsumiki and friends like I said may possess abnormal human qualities so they can overheat or explode many times without the danger of breaking their body.

For the drawing and art, the characters do look cute and they go even cuter when they are in their chibi mode. But there is something that I want to mention about Tsumiki’s appearance. There are these light spots over her hair and if you take a closer look, it looks like as though they are water colour-like smear marks. Like somebody spilled them and she forgot to clean them. Her long overflowing hair also reminded me how closely it resembles Himea from Itsuka Tenma No Kurousagi. As for her ahoge, sometimes it gives me a feeling that it’s an alien antenna. Sometimes I have this urge of wanting to pull it… Oops. Better not. She might bite me. As for Hime, I thought there was this uncanny resemblance with Hanamaru Kindergarten’s Koume. Then you have lots of cute things floating and popping up on the screen especially that trademark circling arrows.

Simultaneously with the next episode preview (by the way is just a single line scrolling across the bottom of the stream and seemingly like a monologue of a character), there is this Acchi Kocchi Kindergarten. In this amusing section, we see Io as the kindergarten teacher while Tsumiki, Hime and Mayoi the little children that seek to play and gain his attention. For example, Tsumiki is always hanging on Io’s head (even to a point sleeping on his head during nap time), playing with a yarn ball, playing cops and robbers, in a race trying to reach Io first (Tsumiki beats them all!). Hmmm… Hime really does resemble Hanamaru Kindergarten’s Koume. Except for one episode (the school cultural festival) whereby this segment is just a one-shot antic on how Tsumiki got carried away by the balloons so Io and Sasaki grab on to her as weight and still didn’t work. It finally stops and starting to float down when Mayoi hangs on. What does this tell you? Is Mayoi that heavy?! Absolutely hilarious!

For the voice acting, I guess Rumi Ookubo (Kaho in Freezing, Chinatsu in YuruYuri) did quite a nice job in making Tsumiki have this lethargic and dreamy voice. Sometimes it is as though it makes that girl have a sleepy feel, like not enough sleep. Even when she’s angry or in total embarrassment, she sounds cute. Nobuhiko Okamoto as Io is very gentleman-like something almost similar to his other role as Usui in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama and nothing close to Niizuma in Bakuman and To Aru Majutsu No Index’s Accelerator. Other casts include Hitome Nabatame as Mayoi (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Shintarou Asanuma as Sakaki (Takatoshi in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Kaori Fukuhara as Hime (Tsukasa in Lucky Star, Run in A Channel), Yuuko Minaguchi as Miiko (the titular character in Yawara), Junko Iwao as Kikue (Akane in Mai-HiME), Tsubasa Yonaga as Kyouya (Hanabusa in Yumeiro Patissiere), Natsumi Takamori as Saki (Mei in Another) and Hiromi Konno as Kana (Sae in Amagami SS).

Overall despite the ‘nothing much happens’, this anime had some good laughs and it was enjoyable (in the light hearted sense). So don’t worry if the guy or girl doesn’t realize your feelings yet. Maybe just one day that will happen. One day. Who knows when. In the mean time, feel free to enjoy the great company, the pats on the heads, feeding of great foods, receiving great presents and the some nice words you’d love to hear whether you’re in love or not. That’s not so bad, isn’t it? Fringe benefits? Maybe for me I’ll one day get my own girlfriend (if I ever can ditch this anime otaku life – No way!). But in the mean time, I’ll prefer to watch the romance and drama unfolding of others because it’s more fun and safer that way. If anything goes wrong, I could probably just walk away and change the channel…

Acchi Kocchi

Amagami SS Plus

October 27, 2012

Once you have gotten the girl, it isn’t really the end of it yet. Now this is where the hard part comes in. The next task is to of course maintain that love and relationship so it will last till the end of time. I don’t want to say ‘last as long as possible’ because it is a bad indicator that the relationship will end. And even if forever does seem impossible bu