Oh dear. Not another magical girl anime again. But wait. This is not going to be all sparkly cute and magical girl girly. No siree. It is one of those dark magical girl series like Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. So if our magical girls aren’t fighting cute monsters, what are they fighting against? Well, in Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka, magical girls no doubt have served and saved the world and rid it from monsters. But they are now fighting on another front against a more familiar monster: Men. That’s right. Magical girls being used to fight terrorism and wars! This goes to show that even with magic, you can never eliminate the great evil residing inside us humans.

Episode 1
When monsters called Disas appeared to destroy humanity in 2016, a year later, humanity formed an alliance with the Spirit Realm to fight them. This allowed girls to combine with spirits and become magical girls. In a bloody fight that took many lives of the military and magical girls, the last 5 led by Asuka Ootorii finally destroyed its king. 3 years later, Asuka is now leading a peaceful high school life but suffers from PTSD. Nozomi Makino and Sayako Hata are disgusted when a man accidentally throws his cigarette butt on them. When he refuses to apologize and gets rough, Asuka pins him down. Soon the trio become close friends and Asuka amazingly finding some sort of peace being with them. But one day, Yoshiaki Iizuka from the JGSDF pops up and wants Asuka to come back and join a small special division he is leading, M Squad that specializes in magic combat. However Asuka has put her magical girl fighting days behind her. She believes if she comes back, more around her will get killed. She remembers the time Disas kidnapped her parents and returned them. In parts. Asuka lies to her friends that Iizuka is her dad (technically he is more of her ‘adopted’ father figure) so Nozomi is relieved she isn’t whoring herself. Asuka continues to live her happy school life. Until one day a security escort escorting a dangerous terrorist, Kim Kanth, his underlings break free. To cover their escape, they create chaos by shooting at civilians! Sayako could have been one of them had not Asuka been in the vicinity. She quickly transforms and kills all of them except for Kim (just amputating his feet). Asuka narrates how the battle for magical girls never ended. There was no real peace for them. After defeating Disas, their battlefield changed to fighting international terrorism, civil wars and other conflicts.

Episode 2
Asuka returns home only to see Iizuka sitting in her room. He still isn’t giving up on her joining his team. Although Asuka’s magic distorts her perception and keeps her identity safe, he wished she didn’t make that slaughtering mess in the streets. Yeah, the cleaning up is tough. No sh*t. At school, Asuka wonders if Sayako is immune to her magic because she is acting like as though she remembers her during the chaos. As Sayako is still pretty shaken up (she was also questioned by the police), Nozomi changes the topic and mentions her dad works in the police department. Unknown to her, Akinori Makino is actually in a very secretive and special unit that doesn’t even officially exist. As his department has captured Kim, he is torturing him to extract any info they can get. Kim is officially declared to the public as dead. Some of his terrorist members think of getting revenge but a rogue magical girl, Abigail has a better idea. It is sad that Sayoko looks like she is going to be suffering from PTSD as police sirens give her the jitters. Asuka may sound harsh calling her weak but it is better than trying to pretend to be strong. Asuka gets a call from Iizuka. She thought he is bugging her again but he mentions a terrorist attack nearby using Disas magic weapon. Looks like his unit is still undergoing training and won’t be ready in time. Speaking of which, only Kurumi Mugen is available. She is Asuka’s old magical partner and currently working in the research division. She fights the Disas but fails. Thank heavens Asuka is here in time to save the day. With the help of Sacchu their familiar, Asuka analyses the weakness before cutting it down. The duo rekindle old times and Kurumi thought it was unfair for Asuka who begged her to join her to fight Disas, now only to run away, leaving her alone. Kurumi couldn’t contact Asuka since Iizuka kept all her info confidential. She hopes Asuka could keep her promise of protecting her since she isn’t strong like her. Looks like now that Kurumi knows Asuka’s whereabouts, she becomes a transfer student in her class.

Episode 3
Magical girl, Mia Cyrus barges into a drug cartel base in Mexico and kills them all. There is a tortured guy in a room who only spouts numbers and something about Babel Brigade. Some magic barrier then crushes him into a cube. It looks like Kurumi is jealous that Asuka has other friends. She doesn’t like it that Nozomi and Sayako are now their usual company. She tries to keep a civilized manner, though. Kurumi remembers she was terribly bullied and she was young. She didn’t like how weak she was and changed. That is a reason why she could still fight optimistically after that awful final battle with Disas. As for Asuka, even though she doesn’t fight anymore, she still works out in fear of becoming weak. When Iizuka brings Asuka to a maid café that serves as his unit’s secret base, he also introduces to his trainees, Shima and Kaede. Asuka reminds him for the umpteenth time that she will not join but he mentions even though the war is over, there is increase in illegal magic trade. They cannot be consider remnants of the war because somebody big is backing them that allows them to modify things. Also, illegal magical girls are increasing of lately. As the world needs a new order, Asuka is vital for that to happen. Makino finally gets some info from Kim. Something about Babel Brigade targeting magical girls to remake the world. Hence some new terrible war is about to begin. Nozomi invites her friends to swim. They are shocked that Sayako dives from the highest platform despite being scared. But somebody save her before she drowns after fainting from her success. With Sayako trying to move forward, it gives some food for thought for Asuka. Though, Kurumi finds it wrong that Asuka is not fighting as she has now things she loves. It should be the opposite. After the friends part, Nozomi on her way home is kidnapped by Abigail.

Episode 4
Asuka still has nightmares when Chevalier Francine (ex-magical girl leader) died in battle and handed the leadership to her. Makino has received word that his daughter has been kidnapped. However no ransom is made and only a note saying this is for revenge. He has his subordinates interrogate Kim about the whereabouts while he goes to see his superior, Miura for a rescue operation. However top brass refuses to send reinforcements because of possible Disas magic that will only cause casualties. They can’t ask for military help unless there is a magical battle. So the plan is to sacrifice and let Nozomi die and they can use this as an excuse to calm down hard on the terrorists. Of course there is one other option where the magical girl acts on her own… Asuka learns Nozomi’s fate from Iizuka. There is no need for second thoughts. She is going to rescue her and Kurumi is coming along. The most Iizuka can do is request the police to cordon off the area. Meanwhile Abigail is recording Nozomi being viciously tortured by her Russian subordinates, Povar and Storozh. Her aim is to use Nozomi as bait to lure in the magical girls. Because as her queen commanded, they are vital to develop a Girl of Mass Destruction! Asuka and Kurumi sneak in and disable the low level terrorists. They are shock to see Nozomi’s state once they enter the room. Abigail warns them to throw their weapons down or they’ll hurt her but Asuka will not negotiate with terrorists. In that case, Abigail cuts off Nozomi’s arm! Asuka pretends to drop her weapon, enough for Kurumi to pin Abigail down before they take Nozomi to safety. Asuka will buy Kurumi time to escape with Nozomi. However Abigail leaves the Russian twins to face Asuka while she goes after Kurumi.

Episode 5
The M Squad moves in after the area is evacuated. Makino reveals the interrogation from Kim that the terrorists have magical mercenaries as well as an illegally created magical girl backing them. After Nozomi is rescued by medics, Kurumi faces Abigail. She gets pinned down and cornered by her Disas. Asuka uses up a lot of magical power to kill off the Russian twins. Meanwhile Gobu the enemy fairy reports to the queen on the situation but is intercepted by Sacchu. Kurumi is about to lose when M Squad moves in. Their specially created bullets take down the Disas and although no match for Abigail’s barrier, their intention is to hold her here until Asuka arrives. And when she does, she’s going to get a taste of her own medicine of what cutting limbs feel like. But before that could happen, the queen protects Abigail with her magic barrier before retreating. Asuka has a feeling she has seen her somewhere before. Later Asuka and Kurumi visit Nozomi in coma. Makino is sad that she could be suffering PTSD for the rest of her life. The moment she wakes up, she starts screaming in fear. She hates magical girls so much until she passes out. Asuka feels sad but Kurumi says there is hope. She can remove her memories for the past week with no side effects but she must do the operation now before it sticks into nervous system permanently. Is there any reason to hesitate? With some medical sci-fi mumbo jumbo, Kurumi successfully removes those memories. As Asuka laments she cannot protect anybody, Kurumi disagrees because if not for her, a lot would have died. Kurumi looks up to Asuka and wants to be like her. With the recent events, Asuka decides to join M Squad. When Iizuka reports to his higher up to move Nozomi and give her a new identity as the enemies know her, instead they have another idea to make Nozomi stay put. She will be bait for a trap. After all, 2 magical girls go to her school, right? Nozomi is as chirpy as before but has no memories of the week before, including their pool visit. A small price to pay, right?

Episode 6
Mia and her team talk about Asuka and Kurumi returning to active duty. Maybe she’ll get a chance to see them. Because the next mission conveniently brings them to Japan. Asuka and friends are studying together when Nozomi suggests visiting the Tanabata festival tonight. Kurumi sounds like a desperate girl trying to make special memories with her. I mean, really desperate. Especially when she gets that jealous feeling seeing Asuka getting friendly with Sayoko. The more the merrier as M Squad too is here to celebrate with them. Don’t worry. No shock Disas attack. Asuka meets a foreigner there who claims she is looking for a child she was separated a long time ago. But Asuka’s friends meet up and the foreigner just vanished? Leonid Greenburg was that guy who died as a cube in Mexico. This mathematician has a brother Jerome living in Japan and he is a retired well off IT owner. However a few months ago he has also gone silent and they’re here to check it out since not even the Japanese authorities knows what is happening. As they barge into his penthouse, they see his body crushed like his brother in a cube. Mia finds it strange because it’s like as though they want them to find the body. There’s also strange writings on the mirror, “He who laughs last, laughs best”. The place is then filled with drug mist. They are attacked by the foreigner who is a magical mercenary, Sandino. She gets her powers from the drug. She claims she is doing this out of revenge for the US bombing raid on Disas that killed her family in Columbia. Revenge via terrorism? But why target magical girls? Her daughter died and humans were the ones who killed her in that war. Well placed bombs caught Sandino off guard. Mia will not fall for her deathbed redemption and kills her since she is too wounded for interrogation. They’re all just terrorists after all. Like the ones who killed her parents. As Mia’s teammates theorizes Babel Brigade hiring Sandino, Mia dismisses it because the motto is only known to the magical girls. Meanwhile Asuka prays and hopes she can continue a happy life by protecting and supporting the dreams of others.

Episode 7
Flashback 3 years ago shows Asuka in despair just before the final battle. After Francine passed the baton to her, more magical girls died and she started to feel she can’t do this. Until Tamara Volkov tells her to continue fighting and at least hold out for an hour more. Then they’ll think of something else. M Squad holds a welcoming party for Asuka. They don’t have budget so all the food are military rations! Expired! But still tastes good… Asuka is formally introduced to other M Squad members, Yoshino and Ise. Meanwhile Tamara receives a mission by her boss for an undercover mission in Japan. She must not fail for the sake of her older sister. Iizuka briefs his squad about Topology Bridge. Portals that link to other worlds. However only 2 of them are stable and they’re in Copenhagen and the other in Okinawa (Japan, of course). There are other Random Bridges popping up randomly elsewhere but they are unstable. One was reported to have appeared in Hokkaido and intelligence revealed an illegal trade is about to take place by a Russian mafia. After all, 10 police at the scene were already murdered by a magical girl mercenary on their side. As they arrive, the mafia already finished their deal with some Disas trading a few Japanese hostages for lots of magical items. What a bargain. M Squad begin their operation by taking out the mafia. I suppose with everyone dead, Nazani only acts to fight back and escape. When Shima is injured, Asuka freezes and her trauma of a comrade is going to die flashes through her mind. Kurumi holds out from her onslaught long enough for Asuka to regain herself back before cutting Nazani’s arm and making her squirm and cry like a baby. M Squad leaves after the mission. How convenient that a Random Bridge never appears in the same place again. You mean not even a metre away from it? The mafia leader is the only one who managed to escape thanks to swallowing a Disas pill that allows quick teleportation but at the risk of liquefying his organs. But he is cornered by Tamara and in his desperation, stabs himself a Disas weapon to turn into a monster. However Tamara burns him with her flame thrower. She asks about the items in the bag but he could only mention about some new world order and Babel Brigade before the item explodes, killing him.

Episode 8
Chisato’s father tries to turn her into a whore and make money but the establishment doesn’t want to risk dealing with minors. Plus, she is an amputee. Hence the drunk father takes it all out on his ‘useless’ daughter and possibly going to kill her until Giess barges in and kills this bastard. Giess asks if she wants to be a magical girl. While Asuka and friends are having a nice field trip at Okinawa, Kurumi is torturing Nazani. Is this mild BDSM? Nazani pleads she knows nothing about Babel Brigade but Kurumi isn’t going to make it easy for her by enhancing her senses. Kurumi remembers how her classmates played a cruel prank on her and even made it look like she is dead. Even the teacher pretended not to see. She was so enraged she wanted to kill them until Asuka told her not to waste her time with these fools and join her to be a magical girl. Iizuka briefs his M Squad that a secret conference between the worlds will soon take place at this Topology Bridge at Okinawa. A major figure from the Spirit Realm will attend and they will do all it takes to protect this conference. American and Japanese forces will cooperate to provide security. With Iizuka representing the Japanese side, Captain Larry Ironside and Mia are from the American side. Tamara is here as a UN observer. They have lots to do since they receive word that a terrorist group that uses magic items will be up to something. Hence, hate to break your nice field trip, Asuka and Kurumi. It’s mission time. Giess relates his sad story as a child soldier in Somalia. Left for dead, his rescuers gave him this new robotic body as a new lease of life. Now he presents Chisato with a new mechanical leg. Literally she kicks ass with it as she fights a Disas as test. Chisato feels comfortable enough to explain her past. She had a nice mother but was killed in a car accident. However the culprits were drunk minors and the most they get is juvenile detention. They’ll be out in a couple of years. Giess then shows her those delinquents she kidnapped from the facility. If she is to be a magical girl, she must kill them slowly via her own hands without transforming. Giess further narrates his past that as a farmer, his village was attacked by guerrillas. He pleaded for his life but they only let him live if he killed his parents and raped his sister. He did that and joined them. When he was left for dead in an operation, his rescuer gave him a new breath of life and the first think he did was to slaughter the guerrillas. Without hesitation, Chisato takes her time to kill them. It must have been worth it since she killed them until she is exhausted. As Chisato has passed the test, their plan to attack the conference will proceed as planned.

Episode 9
Asuka is in tears when she reunites with Mia and Tamara. It’s been a while. The next day while final preparations are being made for the conference, Iizuka takes the magical girls somewhere first. It seems this is a personal request from General Tabira who is representing the Spirit Realm for this conference. The magical girls aren’t fond of her because they know she is obsessed with them. Like how she almost ‘killed’ Asuka with her boobs smothering hug. She gives them a present, a newly developed item that will enhance their magical powers. They wouldn’t have been so suspicious had she not trolled them at first with skimpy swimsuits! Giess and Chisato begin their magical artillery attack on the base. With the damage and casualties rising, report comes in that they are only targeting the Japanese army. They’re not even touching any of the US bases. Because technically this means the Americans can’t mobilize their marines. Damn stupid loopholes… Of course with the Japanese Minister of Defence authorizing the use of magical girls, it looks like they have their hands full as Disas are reported attacking civilians in a nearby town too. They know too well this is a distraction and Asuka is worried about her friends there. She offers to go there but Iizuka rejects her as she specializes in close quarter combat and will be their last defence at this base. Instead, Mia offers to go there. Tabira wants to fight too but is also rejected and ordered to return to her world. If anything happens to her, it is a loss for both worlds. However they realize the Topology Bridge has been forcefully sealed off from some dimensional explosion (magic bomb?). It will take 48 hours to be restored. They realize their target isn’t the conference but Tabira. You mean they didn’t think about this possibility?

Episode 10
Large civilian casualties in town. Damn goblin type Disas raping women???!!! Does this look familiar???!!! Amazingly Nozomi and Sayoko manage to stay alive and escape. Even when Nozomi injures her feet, Sayoko won’t abandon her. Although on the military base’s side, they look like they are able to handle the first wave of Disas. However it is the enemy’s plan to give them false hope and send them straight to despair. Because the next wave of Disas is larger and they can all use magical guns!!! Sh*t hits the fan!!! Hence Mia is caught off-guard and wounded in the crossfire. It could have been a lot worse for her had not Nozomi and Sayoko scream and warn her from the back. As they trek on, the girls wonder how Mia can continue to do this despite in pain. Mia explains she isn’t chosen because she was the strongest. It is because she was chosen that she became strong. Everyone is born for a role. Some are lucky and others not so lucky to find it. Asuka is starting to get traumatized by the piling deaths. It could be a repeat of the disaster again. Before she can think that the existence of magical girls make no difference, Kurumi hugs her. Please don’t disrespect the dead. She can forever as long as she is by her side. They get ready as Giess and Chisato burst in. Giess uses some sorcerer type Disas to keep Asuka at bay since old data showed she is weak against this type. Kurumi is kept busy with Chisato. Giess then heads deep into the shelter and kills all of Tabira’s guards that stand in her way to confront her. He wants her to hand over her newly developed item. I don’t know what took Sacchu so long as it finally blasts those sorcerers with some magical fire grenade, allowing Asuka to be freed from those magical wires. When they rush to Tabira’s side, Asuka is seething with anger seeing Tabira down.

Episode 11
Giess’ penguin familiar takes the item and flees, leaving Giess to fight Asuka. Kurumi gets owned by Chisato. However she hears the taboo word of punching bag and this brings back traumatic memories of her bullied past. This makes her go into rage mode until she manages to overcome Chisato and knock her out with her needles. Asuka cannot penetrate through Giess’ heavy armour and in order to free herself from the rubble, she cuts off her left arm! She has Sacchu analyse some special magic tank inside Giess so that she can destroy it. Giess is happy to meet Asuka. He was happy when he watched on TV how magical girls fight and won against Disas. However all that come crashing down because the true monsters are humans. That is why he thought it is better that the world is destroyed. Asuka may agree to some of it but there are still beautiful things in this world she wants to protect. Although she manages to rip off his magical tank, her weapon is embedded inside him and is armless. Literally only 1 arm. Luckily Iizuka drops her a new weapon that allows her to cut Giess like a butter through hot knife and ripping out his true spinal form. He reveals their goal wasn’t Tabira but the item. Meanwhile, Mia and the girls are saved with Tamara backing them up. I guess her site is secured to go rescue them. As Kurumi repairs Asuka’s arms, Giess apologizes to Chisato that her mom’s death was their doing. Because Killgee sensed her powerful magical ability, they wanted to test her under severe stress. At least she got to be a magical girl. When it’s over, forget about them and a new world will open for her. Giess dies and Chisato goes crazy from sadness. She is restrained and taken away. Asuka immediately gives Mia and Tamara a big hug after seeing they are alright. Tabira is now in a form of a cute animal to reserve her power. The magical girls part ways and hope to see each other again. I guess the battlefield is the most likely of places.

Episode 12
Looks like our magical girls too have to complete their paper work. Mentally draining in addition to physically draining. Mia reports to her comrade and in return is told that Greenburg dude, he was forced to calculate something by Babel Brigade. Because magic is like physics in the other world, it might be to calculate summoning of magic for terror attacks. Tamara returns home and sees her sister. But it could all be an illusion since her actual form is a Disas? Now we see a hot chick killing the Chinese mafia in Shanghai. She turns out to be Lau Peipei, the last of the legendary 5 magical girls. She is now working as a freelance mercenary. Since when did she transformed from a plain Chinese girl into a hot sexy ganguro gal?! Iizuka sees Miura and suggests their units team up unofficially. Chisato is being tortured by Kurumi. Is this her style to strip them to their undies and do inject some serum that enhances their pain? She even introduces Nazani has her pet dog! Kurumi talks about the 30 official magical girls designated as weapons by the UN but with so many rogue magical girls, there could be over 300 of them. Nazani tries to assure that turning a new leaf in life and doing good is best but Chisato feels life is no different. And with all the fake hope, she wants to die. Only, Kurumi won’t allow that. Magical girls don’t die easily. Despite giving her some hope that she will find something to live for, Chisato is given a choker. Although she is set free, if she runs away far enough, it will paralyze her and alert the authorities. So much about freedom. When Nozomi receives an invitation to the maid café, it sees Nazani and Chisato are new maids working there. Didn’t Asuka warn them about the food here being horrible? But it’s dirt cheap! Elsewhere, they get our attention with this short suggestive sex clip of Abigail and her queen. Then it’s back to business. It seems they have everything ready for the next war. All they need is a vessel. The queen points out a war needs enemies. And they need the magical girls to get a little stronger. Asuka is once again having this forlorn thinking about their current peaceful life that won’t last as well as reminiscing her dead comrades. Leave it to Kurumi to assure her (again) she’ll always be by her side. Oh look, Iizuka calling. Time to move. Flashback shows the magical girls gather before their big Disas boss fight and they talk on what they want to do after it all ends. Some wanting to join the army and for Kurumi, she wants to fall in love. Asuka? She wasn’t sure as she only knows how to fight. Francine told her to try different things because people can change. Big wefie for posterity!

Call Of Duty: Magical Warfare
This needs another season. With the rise of Babel Brigade, it looks like this season feels like just introducing them and since they have already begun to move forward their plans, it is not yet over by a long shot. Especially the queen whom is hinted to be someone Asuka knows. God, let it not be her twin sister! Or perhaps one of those dead magical girls. With so much potential (and terrorism) waiting to explode from Babel Brigade, the next world war is about to get heated up. After all, Asuka herself did narrate that it is a never ending battle for magical girls. International crime, terrorism, civil war… All manmade conflicts with the poor magical girls being viewed, treated and used as weapons. No wonder you can’t blame some for wanting to rid mankind, the source of all the problems.

This season’s storyline is just suffice. Mainly about Asuka re-evaluating the path in life she should walk. After all, what was the name of this series again? It is sad that young girls were made to fight against horrifying creatures and some losing their life so it is understandable that Asuka was and still is suffering from PTSD. It is reasonable she wants to lead a quiet life away from all that terrorism nonsense. Until fate decides to call her back and play a cruel joke on her friends. That was the clincher for her to readjust her goal in life. Because if she isn’t going to fight, who else is going to fight in her place? Who is going to fight for her? Is she going to let other young girls become magical girls and develop PTSD along the way? So by accepting her fate to continue fighting for the ones she loves, it’s like making peace with herself and being able to move forward.

The other characters provide great support for Asuka. Like Kurumi who is Asuka’s greatest aide in battle but outside the battlefield, she’s like one of those very overly possessive friends. The kind of girl who thinks nobody can own Asuka except her since she could monopolize her if ever the opportunity of some yuri hentai materializes. Is Asuka some sort of commodity? I know friends can be bought (figuratively speaking) but I don’t think it works here in her case. I’m sure she would have taken care of Nozomi and Sayako had she not considered that it will make Asuka sad if they’re gone. So basically Asuka’s wellbeing is her primary goal in life. Nozomi and Sayoko must be the most fortunate and unfortunate friends ever. They have been into many situations where their life could have just ended. From Kim’s random terrorist attack to the Disas attack on their field trip, damn these girls are really unluckily lucky to have survived this long. Just make sure Asuka is your friend.

I thought the legendary 5 magical girls would get back together again and fight terrorism as a unit since they teased it a lot in the opening and ending credits animation. I suppose the mini reunion wasn’t that bad. Still, they really leave it late for the final magical girl to pop up. I was even thinking if she was going to show up at all and perhaps started making up about a conspiracy theory that she was secretly dead all the while. Yeah, Peipei having a total makeover might fuel this conspiracy theory. I’m not sure if it’s the Spirit Realm’s taste that they could only give young girls magical powers, hence their aptly named magical girls. Because you don’t see young boys or men doing all that magic thingy, no? Yeah, so awkward to see men in revealing outfits in battle. Big nope! Better leave it to magical girls. Visually appeasing and assuring (after decades of magical girl genres too). Men only get drafted into the military and die like ants! For some reason, the magical girls here are so UN diversified. It’s like they’ve got a magical girl from a major nationality. Japan has 2 of course because you know, Japan. America, Russia and China make up the balance of the superpowers and France was killed off. Was there a British or German magical girl? Spanish or Italian perhaps?

The series tries to tackle some dark issues like PTSD but it isn’t really that deep. We can see that all of the magical girls suffer from some sort of distress or a past issue that is bugging them. It is both a strength and weakness and made them where they are today. Asuka wants peace. Kurumi as a bullied victim fears being alone or abandoned. Mia has grudge issues to avenge her parents while Tamara is hinted to have some concerns regarding her sister. Mia and Tamara seem to be holding it well but we aren’t sure if they are suppressing their emotions and in time will blow up. Let’s hope they don’t turn into rogue magical girls no matter what. The world already has enough social problems and it doesn’t help if they cross over and become part of the problem.

Sacchu is so weird. Supposedly the series’ mascot but its presence feels so lacking. I suppose with other strange furry fairies (albeit playing lesser roles), it’s hard for this one to stand out. Furthermore, I think Sacchu is like the comic relief at times especially when they go into action mode. Because you can see how this critter makes a crazy I-wanna-go-kill-me-some-Disas face and sounds the part. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be serious but it comes off more as funny and cute if you ask me. And wait, Sacchu is actually a mouse?! I thought it was some black cat???!!! Or a funny bunny.

The action sequences are entertaining to watch. They might not be the best with jaw dropping choreography, but with the fast and furious action pace, at least it provides some adrenaline rush. Because Asuka and the magical girls aren’t just formidable, rogue magical girls and other sorcerers are just as deadly so it is a battle of not only skill but wits, reflexes and sometimes even luck for a fight to turn in your favour. Some fight scenes are pretty gory and gruesome. Lots of blood, casualties and even some losing their limbs. Not for the faint hearted. Many characters have some sort of amputation or experienced one. Iizuka, Nozomi, Giess, Nazani, Chisato, Kim and even Asuka herself. But don’t worry. With Kurumi’s magical medical advances, we can use that sci-fi crap to attach it back like as though it never came off. Limited time period offer only so hurry! ;p.

While the art and animation are pretty standard and nothing that mind blowing, I just want to personally note the strangest visual aspect of this series: The characters’ eyes. Do you not agree with me that they look a bit strange? How should I put it? They’re slightly bigger than your already big sparkly anime eyes. If you have seen Koi To Uso, you would understand what I mean. Not to say those bigger than usual eyes makes them creepy but it sure makes them look a bit strange, especially Asuka. The designs of the magical girl outfits, I don’t know, it made some of them looking like cosplay sluts. Like Chisato who is just practically looking like as though she is just wearing ribbons all over. Then there was one of those dead magical girls looking like an Amazon woman due to her very revealing-like Amazon outfit. And was one of them looking like a gypsy woman too? And Mia’s outfit, is she like going to the beach or something? You’d think magical girls fighting against magical creatures would wear very protective suit like how the M Squad does from head to toe but I am guessing that the magic comes from the outfit. Otherwise why the logic of wearing such exposing costumes into battle? Oh yeah. Must be Tabira’s twisted taste in magical girls.

The Disas’ designs are primarily nightmare fuel. They might look like cute oversized stuffed dolls but I assure you when you are up close with them and moments before your horrifying death, they’re the kind that would give you sleepless nights. Even more so when we consider stuffed dolls to be cute, adorable and all, contributing to our dilemma that these creatures are out there to wreak havoc and take our lives. Yeah, no wonder we’re so confused. Too late to realize once they bare their fangs right in our faces. There are some Disas that have cute animal faces but a body of a macho man! This somewhat reminds me of those antagonistic squirrel henchmen in Mahou Shoujo Ore. Only, these ones are much deadlier and you can’t bludgeon them to a bloody death with a magical wand. This anime is done by Lidenfilms who did Koi To Uso, Kishuku Gakkou No Juliet, Hanebado and Killing Bites.

Voice acting is decent. But beware some screaming moments that could be slightly ear piercing, if not heart breaking (like Nozomi’s traumatic moment). The only seiyuus I recognized are Sayaka Ohara as Tabira, Ayana Taketatsu as Chisato and Shizuka Itou as Sandino. Due to limited dialogue and screen time, I wasn’t aware Youko Hikasa was behind Peipei’s voice. Had Sacchu been voiced by Ikue Ohtani, it would have fuelled my speculation that this character was indeed taken after a certain electric yellow mouse. At points I thought it was so but too bad it is Kokoro Kikuchi (Akito/Agito in Air Gear) behind that black fairy mouse. The other casts include Aya Suzaki as Asuka (Mako in Kill La Kill), Akira Sekine as Kurumi (Princess in Princess Principal), Eriko Matsui as Mia (Amou in Busou Shoujo Machiavellism), Mao Ichimichi as Tamara (Bada in ClassicaLoid), Kenji Nomura as Iizuka (Shishigou in Fate/Apocrypha), Rie Takahashi as Makino (Emilia in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu), Chinami Hashimoto as Sayoko (Chiyo in Prison School), Ayahi Takagaki as Abigail (Chris in Senki Zesshou Symphogear), Yuka Terasaki as Giess (Basil in Katekyoushi Hitman Reborn) and Shizuka Ishigami as Nazani (Renge in Kyoukai No Rinne).

The opening theme is Kodo by Nonoc. It is hard rock music infused with some techno music. I guess it fits the fast and furious action pace of the series. Basically there are many BGMs across the series that is very techno-laden. Very much suitable for the action scenes. So techno that I think it can also serve as dubstep. Turn on those volumes and let it blast aloud! If you’re high on drugs maybe you’ll go into some trance. Heh. Just joking. But just saying. The ending theme is Rebel Flag by Garnidelia, just normal hard rock music.

Overall, not really one of the best animes this season but I still particularly enjoyed it because of the action sequences and the intriguing dark nature and theme of the magical girls. Though, it could have been better if it the storyline was improved. It is a refreshing and unusual notion to use magical girls as the main trump card by the military to combat terrorism. It is one of those magical girls themed series that doesn’t clearly make our heroes victorious in the end. Heck, even Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica had a good happy ending. Uhm, sort of. Even Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku had a good happy ending. Okay, sort of. And even Mahou Shoujo Site had some sort of hope in its ‘good happy ending’. Well, kinda. But for our special operative magical girls here, it is still a long road ahead and even triumph is not guaranteed. With so much blood on their hands, it is either they live with the trauma from all the bloodshed or the ‘highest honour’ they could get is to die in the battlefield. Just sad…

Chrome Shelled Regios

February 2, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Violet Evergarden

July 22, 2018

Wait a minute. Saber with mechanical hands? And she goes by the moniker of Violet Evergarden now? Of course I know it’s not. But another funny thing because in the same season that Fate/Extra: Last Encore ran its course, there were 2 other anime series in that season in which the main character looked like Saber. One of them being in Grancrest Senki (yes, Siluca looks very much like Saber in my books but in skimpier outfit) and the other one being this series. So I heard the setting is that the war has ended and hence this Saber-like titular main character who was once part of the military, finds a new job and rebuild her life while trying to find the meaning of love. ‘Mysterious words’ left behind by her late beloved killed in the war. I also read that some tissues are needed if you want to sit through this. Oh…

Episode 1
After the war, Violet Evergarden finds herself in a hospital. She writes to Major Gilbert Bougainvillea the need to return to active duty but if she is having a hard time grasping a pencil, I’m not so sure. Claudia Hodgins who is Gilbert’s colleague, comes to retrieve her but Violet keeps insisting about Gilbert. Each time, he tries to change the subject or ‘assure’ her he is alright. I think at this point we already know his fate. As she is discharged, she checks through her belongings and finds the emerald brooch from Gilbert is missing. She becomes frantic and wants to search for the gift Gilbert gave her but Hodgins assure he will find it for her. Arriving at the port city of Leiden, the capital of Leidenschaftlich, he leaves her in the care of the Evergarden family. Since she is still clumsy with her hands, taking off her bandages reveal a mechanical one. She is not used to it but assures in time she will. She is given a pair of gloves. As Hodgins leave, Violet is not satisfied and demands an answer why Gilbert put her here. She insists she can still fight after some retraining. He says the war is over. In that case, she wants to be disposed of if she is no longer needed. She considers herself as Gilbert’s tool. Hodgins changes his mind and has her follow him. He explains he is no longer with the army and has set up his own business. A postal and ghostwriting service. He will give her commands in Gilbert’s stead. He puts her in the postal division and has Benedict Blue show her around. Being the kind who executes her orders perfectly, she literally takes his words and even does night time deliveries! Hey, need to deliver all the letters, right? Hodgins has to stop her and talk to her about things. Asking her last orders from Gilbert, she says it is to run away and live free. And there is also that I love you she is eking out to say. Violet is still confused over his words so Hodgins says taking her in is his way to make amends for Gilbert. One day she’ll understand what he is saying. Violet hears a client using the Auto Memoir Doll (ghostwriting) service. This brings back memories of her with Gilbert during the war. Because she wants to know what I love you means, she wants to work in this division. Flashback shows Violet frantically trying to save Gilbert’s life. But he knew his time was up and ordered her to stop. He uttered those final words before breathing his last breath.

Episode 2
Short flashback shows Gilbert was introduced to Violet by his older brother. She was found on the north eastern front. Violet is introduced to Cattleya Baudelaire who is the best Doll in the company. Other Dolls include Iris Cannary and Erica Brown. Violet is tested for her aptitude using the typewriter. She is hitting it so hard that she is forced to stop. Painful to watch. But Violet isn’t the only Doll facing personal issues. Iris and Brown feel bored since joining the company. They have done nothing but type addresses as Cattleya takes all the best customers. They want to write exciting stuffs. Cattleya tries to flirt with Hodgins to purposely piss off Benedict. Violet sits next to Erica during her ghostwriting job. Since Violet is honest and straight, she actually comments on the direct implication of the client’s words instead of rewording it nicely. Especially when a client becomes angry that the letter is written in a way that makes it sound it is his fault. When he gets violent, Violet reciprocates. With customers complaining, Hodgins has to talk to them. One afternoon when Cattleya is out, a fancy lady is looking to use their service. Erica lights up upon knowing she wants to write a secret love letter to a man she loves. However her recent experience has her hesitating if she should take the job. Too bad Violet usurps her and will take on the job. But soon that lady comes back fuming because the letter she wrote made her sound obnoxious and arrogant instead of being subtle and hinting she wants him to pursue her! No wonder the man was pissed. Cattleya talks to Violet who has realized she has failed to understand. Cattleya says about the 2 sides of words and what is spoken isn’t necessarily all there is to it. It is human’s weakness to test others to reaffirm our worth. Violet and Erica do some soul searching why they want to be a Doll. As for Violet, she wants to know what I love you means. Thus Erica goes to plead to Hodgins not to fire her as her typing skills are exceptional. Despite earlier on she didn’t think Violet would be a good ghostwriter, she views herself as the one who isn’t suitable, that’s why she spoke on her behalf. Erica narrates the history of the typewriter, invented when his wife became blind. Now it becomes a symbol of ghostwriting. As this story touched her heart, she hopes one day she could write letters that touch the hearts of others. Violet is surprised when Hodgins has found the emerald brooch. He claims somebody stole it and was lucky to find it on the black market. In actual fact, he used up the company’s funds to buy it. Cattleya has her suspicions of it and has Hodgins spill the beans.

Episode 3
Violet attends the school that trains Dolls. She is like a robot when the teacher asks to type and hence she needs to be specified how fast and how many words per minute. She awes everyone with her mechanic hands and her insanely precise typing skills. Violet befriends fellow Doll trainee, Luculia Marlborough. It is no surprise Violet always tops in her grades. A little detour as we see Cattleya and Benedict being loggerheads with each other. Violet and Luculia become partners in a ghostwriting practice. While Violet’s letter sounds more like a military report, Luculia decides to address hers to her parents. However Violet makes it sound like a soulless report and hence the teacher admonishes her for not writing a letter. Luculia takes Violet to a rooftop to show her the beautiful scene of Leiden. This reminds Violet that Gilbert told her he hoped she would see the beautiful city of Leiden. Luculia finds her drunk and injured brother, Spencer getting into a bar fight. She brings him home. He doesn’t care. Luculia can only cry in silence. The teacher gives pins for those who graduate as a fine Doll. Luculia is one of them. Violet is not. This has her question why she went to that school for. It makes her realize she can’t understand her client’s expression and hence is not fit to be a Doll. Luculia decides to help Violet in ghostwriting again. She wants her to address it to Gilbert whom she is always talking about. Learning she wants to know the meaning of I love you, Luculia reveals the truth about her parents. They’re dead. Spencer is the only family she has got. During the war, he was posted at a front where it rarely sees action. As the war nears its end, that front got penetrated. Their parents were visiting there then. He was filled with regret he was unable to save them. Despite he became a handicap, she was always happy he at least came back alive. All she wants is to thank him for coming home, which never got to tell him. This might have hit Violet’s heart as she begins to write. Spencer got himself into another fight. His military instincts has him almost beat up Violet but she is here to deliver Luculia’s letter. I guess we know Violet has levelled up if he is crying. When Benedict and Cattleya seems to be on good terms, Violet thought they were fighting. Yeah, they end up fighting. Damn. She just instigated a fight? Next day, Luculia brings Violet to the teacher. She has shown her the letter she wrote. The teacher views her as fit and gives her the pin. Wait. Just 1 letter like that? What if it was a fluke? Luculia is very grateful for Violet’s help. Hodgins is impressed of her progress.

Episode 4
Iris is ecstatic as she gets her first ghostwriting request from her hometown of Kazaly but from an unknown woman, Sara Florent. In her happiness, she trips down the stairs. Although she injures her arm, her fall is broken by Violet. Now she has to accompany her to ghostwrite. When she meets her family, it is obvious Iris tries to exaggerate that she is a successful ghostwriter while trying to hush Violet for correcting. It seems Sara is the name of Iris’ great grandma and the request was actually made by her mom. She wants to write invitations for Iris’ birthday party. Iris is not pleased learning most of the invitations are guys. You know what kind of party this is when mom starts hinting she is already of that age. Iris demands Violet do not send an invitation to one of the guys on the list, Emonn Snow. But during her party, Emonn shows up. Violet checked with her mom and she said to send it. Party ruined with Iris showing that angry face and locking herself in her room. Violet learns from Iris that Emonn was the guy who rejected her. Yeah Violet, care to elaborate out loud what it all means? Now she’s crying. When mom tries to talk to her, more screaming and blaming. After Violet apologizes for not reading her feelings thoroughly, I guess Iris cools down and tells the whole story. She always loved Emonn and confessed to him on the day they graduated from school. But he rejected her as he could only see her as a childhood friend. It broke her heart so much that she couldn’t stay around here and left for Leiden. This has Violet noting that confessing requires a lot of courage. Violet suggests writing apology letters to all the guests. This includes Iris’ parents and you can tell it is a heartfelt apology and sincere gratitude in a way. So Violet’s ghostwriting isn’t a fluke. You can tell when her parents are moved to tears. Too bad Violet will charge Iris for that and won’t give a discount. As they leave, Iris receives flowers from her parents. I guess now we know why she is named so. She was born when those flowers were in full bloom. This has Violet remember how Gilbert named her. He spotted a lovely plant and decided to name her so in hopes she would grow up to be a lovely person worthy of that name instead of a tool.

Episode 5
Hodgins sees his former commander and is told another war might break out as some countries in the north do not accept the peace proposal. Drossel and Flugel are 2 enemy countries and they will be entering a marriage of convenience. Hodgins sends Violet to be the ghoswriter for Princess Charlotte Abelfreyja Drossel as she will exchange public love letters with Prince Damian Baldur Flugel. Violet is introduced to Charlotte by the court maid, Alberta but Charlotte is not happy with all of this one bit. She questions Violet about her age because it seems there is a 10 year gap with Damian. As Violet is unsure with the concept of love, this only upsets Charlotte. She even demands her to show some emotions! Hope she doesn’t regret it… Violet ghostwrites her first letter. Wow. It’s really beautiful. Damian also equally replies. Charlotte is not happy things didn’t go her way and kicks up a fuss. Alberta has to remind her of her position and how she won’t be around once she is married. Charlotte insists she should be since she has been by her side ever since birth. Their public love letter exchange captivates the people and this goes on for a while until Charlotte is fed up of it all as she believes Damian has a Doll writing those letters. She explains to Violet how royalties have their marriage arrangement as soon as they turn 10. So her birthday party looked like a big meeting for a prospective husband. Nobody cared about her feelings. She was crying outside till Damian showed up and consoled her. As he spoke from his heart, he captivated her. Soon the war broke out and talks of marriage was put on hold. She studied on the benefits of the marriage between their countries and is happy to receive his official proposal. But her problem is that she doesn’t know his feelings. She is worried they might not get along. Violet suggests writing the letters herself and she has gone out of her way to talk to Damian’s ghostwriter and they agree to this. Charlotte and Damian write from their heart. The letters sound less flowery but remain true to their hearts. Their weaknesses, fears and all while assuring they still love each other. It captivates the people too and it feels like as though they are watching a real live drama! In the end, Damian proposes they meet and he officially proposes to her. She accepts. Hooray! Charlotte has matured and looks stunning in her wedding dress. Her only regret is that Violet isn’t around to see her wedding. Violet meets up Cattleya on her way home. She was the ghostwriter for Damian. She owes her for convincing Damian. When Violet steps back on Leiden, she is confronted with Dietfried (Gilbert’s brother) and he is not happy she has become a Doll. He is not amused that someone who has taken many lives is now writing letters to bring lives together.

Episode 6
Many Dolls from all over the continent gather at Shaher Astronomy HQ. This means Violet meets up with her old classmates like Luculia. As the men’s usual job in the manuscript department is to preserve old, rare and poorly maintained books, last month they received a huge number of those. Hence the Dolls’ services are required. A man is paired with a Doll for the job. He will read and she will type. Leon Stephanotis is paired with Violet. What are the chances of a guy who doesn’t like Dolls… Yeah, you’ll slowly see him being taken in by Violet’s beauty as well as her skill. Violet is so efficient that they’ve completed 3 days’ worth of work in a day! Man, that guy is sure going to have a sore throat. One day, Leon hears his colleagues trying to tell Violet that he is wasted on her due to his circumstances. Thanks to her honest nature, it doesn’t get through her. Seeing his ‘natural face’ after hearing that, it’s funny how Violet replies she too has this kind of ‘natural face’. Leon summons the courage to ask her to go stargazing with him since Alley’s Comet (Haley’s Comet?) only comes around once in 200 years. What a major coincidence. Too bad the bread was squished to parts unknown for this invitation. While waiting for the comet, Leon explains what his colleagues said was true. His mom was a travelling performer and married a local. He had a happy life and dad’s job was travelling around the world to collect rare books. One day he vanished and the search was called off after 2 years. Mom decided to go look for him and was never seen again, much to Leon’s dismay. That’s why mom is very important to him. It’s Violet’s turn to tell him she has no blood relations but a certain man who cared for her for a long time. Hearing her talk about him, he asks if she would rush to his aid if she finds out he is in danger despite putting herself at risk. Her hesitant to answer is not because of how to answer him but how to apologize to him. That man means the world to her and she would rather die than lose him. I take it he is rejected. Before he could say the obvious she loves that guy, here comes the coincidental comet. The Dolls leave after the enormous work is complete. Leon sees off Violet. He admits he always wanted to follow his dad’s path but thought by being in this manuscript department, he could wait as long as needed for his mom to return. Thanks to her, he has changed his mind and wants to travel the world no matter how dangerous. He hopes they could meet as travellers one day. When that happens, he hopes she would still go stargazing with him. The odds of that might be even more astronomical than Alley’s Comet but he is glad he won’t hesitate anymore for she gave him the courage to take the first step out from the room he locked himself in.

Episode 7
Violet’s ghostwriting skills now take her to the nation of Genetrix where she will ghostwrite for Oscar Webster, a considerably famous playwright. However arriving at his home, his place is unkempt and he is not in good health. He prefers drinking than starting on his work. Plus, he treats her like a maid to do errands! Violet does so much but eventually puts her foot down and gets their work started. She types as he speaks the story but there are still many plot holes. When Violet finds a beautiful parasol, he suddenly wants to be left alone. Then when he sees her use it, she reminded him of someone dear. He snaps and hits it off her hand. He tells her to leave but she apologizes as she lacks the ability to understand whatever he is hiding in his heart. Oscar says he is trying to complete a story told by Olivia, his daughter. After his wife died of an illness, they moved here. However her days were numbered too and they lived as much as they could until she died. He lost all hope. Oh dear, Violet is so sad that she cried! She understands how it feels to lose someone and never getting to see them again. Once they both regain their composure, they continue finishing the story. It seems one of Olivia’s wish was to show she could walk on water across the lake to dad. Oscar didn’t think Violet would actually try and do it! OMG! Is she really walking on water???!!! This scene sparks lots of emotions inside him. Trying so hard to hold back the tears… :’(. Oh, Violet manages to skip 3 times before sinking. Damn I thought 1 was even impossible. Once her service is over, Oscar gives her the parasol. On her way back, she starts thinking words said from Dietfried, Gilbert and Hodgins and it makes her feel conflicted. Landing on Leiden, her former Evergarden family greets her. At this point this is where Violet finds out Gilbert has died as the mistress mentioned about his soul resting in peace. Violet storms back to confront Hodgins about his lie. He didn’t have the heart to tell her. He explains she was found alone alive outside the church. Perhaps moment before the bomb took Gilbert out. Although his body was not found, his dog tag was there. Violet takes this as a sign that Gilbert is still alive and refuses to believe otherwise. She runs away in tears.

Episode 8
Violet forces her way into the military to see Dietfried. Is Gilbert dead? He says yes. She says no! So what do you want to hear? But Dietfried feels mad. How can a heartless tool feel sorrow he thinks. As Violet makes her way home, we have more flashbacks. When Violet was found, Gilbert treated her kindly unlike Dietfried. Hence he took custody of her. Bringing her home, Violet was sceptical at first but gets used to his kindness. Gilbert was ordered to bring Violet to the frontlines to fight. He cannot disobey and in worse case, just abandon that tool. Well, well. They should just send in Violet as a one (wo)man army as she swiftly and efficiently kills the enemies in the most lethal way. Violet has reached Gilbert’s home. Is Gilbert around? Uhm, well, here’s his grave. Oh, it must be a coincidence the tombstone has the same name as Gilbert. The flashback continues. After Gilbert names her Violet, she showed some reaction and understanding. He trained and thought her how to read and write. To show his gratitude, we wanted to get her an accessory. She pointed out that emerald brooch because it has the same eye colour at his and looking at it moved her heart. Honestly she thought his eyes were beautiful when she first saw them. Moments before the final battle, Hodgins was posted to their same unit. He felt uneasy with his promotion because his family was the main funder for the war. Knowing this could be the last battle, Hodgins planned on quitting the army and open a store. He hopes Gilbert to come work for him but he wouldn’t want to. He teased he should hire Violet instead. Violet mistook this as Gilbert may not want her anymore and put her under Hodgins custody. They never got to finish this talk as the final battle soon begun. Gilbert’s troops were at the frontlines storming the enemy’s fort. Lots of casualty and even one whereby they were surrounded and ambush. Even if Violet was superhuman, there was no way she and Gilbert would have gotten unscathed and return to kill of all them. Anyway after a hard fought battle, Gilbert signals the victory to the reinforcements to storm the fort. But shortly after that, the enemy shoots his face.

Episode 9
Violet will not abandon him and carries him away despite under enemy fire. Heck, even if she lost both hands she still insists! And then that final heart wrenching scene we all knew. He tells her to live and be free and the confession of I love you. Confused Violet wants to know what is love (Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me-… Oops, sorry) but the place soon collapses. Now Violet is at the remnants of the site looking for Gilbert’s body. Hodgins is here too as he reveals the enemy tried to bomb the place in their final attempt. Gilbert must have pushed her out of the explosion. Everyone in hospital lied to her Gilbert was alright because she seemed more concerned about him than herself. Before that final battle, Gilbert strangely asked him to take care of Violet should anything happen to him. He didn’t see her as a tool but was worried over her future as an ordinary girl. Violet follows him back although they have to take a detour as there is a little unrest from the anti-peace faction in the town ahead. Violet is back but she holes up herself in her room. So sad that she is seeing visions of Gilbert interacting with her. Of course it all comes crashing down. Frustration sets in. She breaks stuffs. Tries to strangle herself. Can’t. Interrupted by the old postman guy. He has a letter for her. Because Benedict injured his feet, Violet is asked to cover his delivery. Violet does so and notices the people receiving the letters very happy to receive them. Once done, she returns to read her letter. It is from Iris and Erica. They wrote as they are worried over her wellbeing. Spencer requests Violet to be his ghostwriter to write to Luculia that he is doing fine and found a job. Thanks to her, he got back on her feet. Violet also notes the letter she received was her first one. It made her happy. Violet sees Hodgins and asks if it is alright for her to be a Doll and live on. Why is Hodgins crying? Oh wait, me too. He says all the horrendous things she did cannot be undone. This goes the same when she is a Doll.

Episode 10
Anne Magnolia sees a beautiful large doll (Violet) walking into the house. She is amazed she can talk, drink, etc. Seems her dying mom hired her to type letters for a week. Anne spends some time with Violet during the break and one night as she is tuning her mechanical hands, Anne tries to ask who the letters are addressed to since it couldn’t be her dad as he died in the war. However Violet is unable to disclose that information. Client confidentiality. Does a little girl know what that means? Over the next few spaces, we see Anne bugging Violet for things. She reveals to her that she actually wanted her mom to do those things but Violet keeps spending time writing those letters with her. Thus she wants Violet to stop taking away the time mom spends with her. Of course she can’t do that and this only frustrates Anne. One day, mom shows signs of weakening that she almost collapsed. Distraught Anne wants her to stop writing those letters in which mom insists they are very important to her. Anne is unable to understand and snaps that she knows she is dying and will be left all alone once she is gone. She is upset she is willing to spend her limited time writing letters than with her. Anne runs away as Violet catches up and talks to her. More heartbreak to see Anne cry and blame herself for being a bad girl, the reason why her mom isn’t getting any better. On the last day as Violet leaves, Anne realizes Violet is human and has soft skin (aside her hands). She is warm, gentle and kind. The seasons come and go as Anne spends more time with her mom. As expected, she passed away. Unsurprisingly for me, it is revealed the letters mom wrote are addressed to Anne. Each one delivered on her birthday. Anne reads them as it brings much tears to her and us. Fast forward we see Anne grown up into a lovely woman, married to a lovely husband and has a child of her own. The main point is that no matter how far apart or long it has been, mom will always be watching over her. I don’t want to sound like a jerk but it is revealed that mom wrote 50 years’ worth of letters. But man, she must really be confident her daughter will live that long. I mean, in this age and era… Hopefully she would. When Violet returns to HQ, she starts crying to think how lonely Anne would be when her mom is gone. She was holding back her tears all the while. Yeah, that poker face of hers worked for once. Oops, sorry. Bring me some tissues too, please :’(. Cattleya comforts her that it will be the letters she wrote that Anne will read.

Episode 11
Violet overheard Hodgins and Cattleya talk about a request for a Doll at Ctrigall’s Menace base. It seems that country has just plunged into a civil war as some wants the war to continue. Of course Hodgins will not send his Doll to the battlefield but what do you know? Violet secretly takes up that offer and heads over there. There, the people aren’t willing to send her right into the battlefield. Furthermore, Menace base is completely surrounded. Violet notes a steep hill that is less protected and the only way is to fly a plane and parachute down. The idea is so crazy that the pilot decides to do that just for her. The enemy is preparing to ambush but they got ambushed instead. All were killed except Aiden Field. He desperately flees but is shot by a sniper. Though, he still lives. Not too sure if allies or the enemy finds him and is about to kill him but here comes Violet dropping in. She dodges bullets to bring them down! One of the soldiers recognizes Violet as a killing machine so he tells his men to leave. Must be really fate and coincidence for Violet to meet Aiden. In the cabin, Aiden insists she writes the letters instead of treating his wounds. Okay. So, uhm… Air typewriter? She can memorize them in her hands. First, he has the letters addressed to his parents and hopes he would be reborn as their child again. Close to death, he now has another letter addressed to his childhood friend and crush, Maria. He really loves her and wants to return home to her. He doesn’t want to die but he is weakening by the second. Violet plays as his beloved Maria before he dies. Next morning after she buries him, she makes a detour to deliver the letters. The parents and Maria break down. When they thank Violet for bringing him back, this dismantles all the tears Violet was holding back. Now she is crying along with them :’(. She apologizes she failed to protect him :’(.

Episode 12
Remnants of the anti-peace faction are planning to disrupt a peace treaty signing ceremony. Hence the army assigns Dietfried to ensure this ceremony proceeds. Dietfried sarcastically replies he is now sent to clean up the mess after the original troubleshooter who was his brother is dead. Cattleya and Benedict are to accompany the ambassador for the ceremony. Dietfried is also there and although he is relieved Violet is not on this mission, he still doesn’t miss a chance to badmouth her. Benedict stands up for her and believes her letters she wrote has given a lot of hope to many. Violet is taking a plane back when she spots several explosions along the rail. Up ahead is a train station where the ambassador is on. Violet must have a damn good eyesight to spot Cattleya and wants to drop down here right now! She tells Cattleya what she saw and with Dietfried hearing this, he wants to know the details. He realizes the rebels plan to disrupt several spots along the line before finally attacking the train directly. They will pass a point where they will pass a long tunnel which took a long time to construct. There will be no repairs along this stretch and if the tunnel is bombed, it will take an awful long time to be repaired again. When Violet wants orders, Dietfried is not happy she still wants to be ordered like a tool. I guess there is no other way or transport so the train still continues its run.

I know some rebels infiltrated the train but how did the other rebels climb on board later? Without the other guards knowing? Furthermore, they even detached the train and all the guards are in the last carriage. That’s why mom said never to put all the eggs in one basket… Dietfried will go stop this train and wants her to protect the passengers. She insists she will not kill. I know it’s cool to see Violet fight the baddies on the train top but it’s unbelievable she takes her not killing motto to the extreme that she saves knocked out rebels from falling off the train! Don’t mind getting a few injuries from that. Yeah, some talk about the war and how the rebels felt betrayed and it never ended for them, blah, blah, blah. Then her brooch falls off during the fight. Right into the hands of the rebel leader. It’s her Kryptonite because now all the rebels gang up and beat her up. Why don’t they just throw her off instead of wanting to cut her head? Because of that, Dietfried is able to show up and shoot and throw them all off! Now he is pissed, chastising her that she even failed to protect herself. Is this the woman Gilbert died to protect? He tells her to die but she wants to follow Gilbert’s orders to live. He calls her a deadweight and the reason Gilbert died. She killed him. Violet responds that she too wanted to protect Gilbert. Amazingly rebel leader is still clinging on the edge. Anther rebel fires a mini bazooka. Violet protects him. For once her metal hands come in handy to deflect it.

Episode 13
Wow. A few more shots and her whole arm comes off! Must be worn from all that use. Rebel leader tries to jump off but Violet kicks him back! She almost loses her brooch but Dietfried catches it for her and returns it. Rebel leader thinks he has the last laugh because the train will be passing through a bridge in which a couple of bombs are placed. Dietfried tries to stop the train. Normal brakes don’t work. Violet operates the emergency brakes. With one hand. Then she jumps down to try and pry the bomb out. Oddly, Benedict handles the other bomb as he jumps down and flying kicks it off into the river!!! OMFG! Is he a super soldier too?! Meanwhile Violet can’t even pry it and her arm is tearing apart! Must be one strong glue. Eventually it comes off with her arm. Don’t worry, Benedict saves her from falling. Damn this guy must really be a super soldier. With the ceremony a success, true peace reigns. With Violet back with new arms and ghostwriting, she is advised by Cattleya to write a letter to herself. She doesn’t know what to write so we have this flashback of her with Gilbert before the final battle. She thought he wanted to transfer her away and had no use for her. Because she insisted his orders are everything, he scolds her that if he had seen her as a tool, he wouldn’t have taken her in. He tried to explain the sad and frightened emotions she has right now but she doesn’t understand. He blames himself turning her like this. As Violet is still unsure what to write, Hodgins just tell her perhaps a sentence would do.

Violet is surprised when Dietfried wants to see her (sorry it’s not Gilbert). He takes her to his home to meet his senile mom who thinks Gilbert is still alive. Violet assures he is still alive and shows the brooch. Mother tells Violet it isn’t her fault and is not her burden to bear. Dietfried had many times told to give up on him but as his mother how could she? He is definitely alive. In her heart. Even if it is painful to remember him, she will think about him the rest of her life so as not to forget him. Okay Violet. Try not to hold back your tears so I can cry too :’(. As she leaves, Dietfried gives his final orders for her to live and then die. Best Violet reply ever: She doesn’t need orders anymore. The Air Show Day must be popular since people write letters and a plane randomly drops them all over town and you pick up whatever you read. Interesting ones to note are Erica hinting she has someone she likes, Benedict wanting to take over Hodgins’ position and Cattleya reading aloud Hodgins’ embarrassing letter that he consider his staffs as his children and himself as their papa. Of course we hear Violet’s letter addressed to Gilbert. It might sound she is still in deny that she believes he is still alive somewhere out there. That is because she will continue to live and if she so happens to chance upon him one day (hopefully not in heaven), she will let him know she now understands a little what I love you means. Damn Violet, you crying some more makes me wanna cry some more!!! Oh what the heck, a little more tears wouldn’t hurt.

Episode 14 (OVA)
Taking place when Violet is a ghostwriting noob, Violet attends an opera concert. The conductor, Ardu Morini notices her in the crowd. That kind of beauty definitely stands out. At the backstage, Ardu introduces Violet to Irma Fellicha, the opera singer who hired her ghostwriting skills. However Irma wants to use the alias Marieta to write a letter addressed to a man named Modest. Here’s another catch: She wants Violet to type it out herself. Of course Irma had to reject her many times as it sounds like a military report, outdated and repetitive. Each time Violet tries to do more research but ends up getting rejected. So much so Violet stands at a corner unsure what to do! Like a dunce? She tells Iris and Erica about it but they themselves can’t help out with this complicated task. When Violet meets Ardu, she is told Irma isn’t writing a letter but the lyrics of a song that she wants to sing at the climax of the next opera. Violet tells this to her colleagues and indeed it looks more like a screenplay. Benedict suggests all of them pitch in to write a large letter for the song. I know many hands make light work but too many cooks spoil the broth… Keep trying. Meanwhile Ardu sees Irma and tells her he has already given up but she insists she hasn’t. When Violet shows the ‘masterpiece’ to Ardu, he believes this might be what Irma is looking for. He brings her to watch Irma rehearsing. Violet finds it strange that the opera’s setting is in current times instead of traditional. It is supposed to signal to the people that they live in an era that war is over but the people’s hearts are frozen and cannot move on. The climax is for the protagonist to read the letter but Ardu couldn’t write something of that calibre to convince her. It was when Ardu’s friend, a teacher of a school who trains Dolls recommended Violet. Yes, she is that teacher who coached Violet.

In order to know more about Irma, Violet follows her? Stalker? When Irma learns that Violet has someone dear from the military, she starts to reveal her own. There was a man she was in love with, Fugo. He is Ardu’s son. He promised that he will come back but you know, war doesn’t discriminate against its victims. He is currently listed as missing and Irma hopes he would return despite knowing the overwhelming odds he would not. She just can’t give up. Oh, they’re at the train station as they watch relieved couples reunite. Cue to pull heartstrings. As Violet ponders about all this, the old postman guy, Roland talks to her. He mentions about letters are meant to be delivered otherwise they are returned to the sender. This doesn’t mean it is because they work in a postal company. Roland shows her a warehouse filled with lots of returned letters. Violet is shocked to read some of them. All of them containing “I love you”. Letters that will never reach its intended reader. Now that Violet has an idea, she starts typing. She shows it to Irma and this is what she wants, so much so she cries. Nobody would have thought of the day Violet could actually write this. Not even Violet herself. We hear Irma singing this lovely song on stage, incorporating the words of the letter. Violet and her colleagues attend the opera that ends with a standing ovation.

Evergreen Feelings Via Letters
Sob, sob. Sniff, sniff… Maybe I’m getting old. How long has it been since I have watched an anime that has very long periods of sadness or one that continues to force the tears out of my eyes right till the end. A real tearjerker right till the end. That mixed feelings of sadness as well as happiness when we finally reach the end of the series. It isn’t even a very tragic or sad show to begin with but it really touches your heart. When a journey ends, a new one begins. This is very much true for the titular character herself. But I guess for us, that is as far as we can accompany her on this journey. Any more we might need another load of tissues. I don’t think my heart and eyes can take it any more of the crying.

The overall story might sound ordinary. A fighting machine trying to find the meaning of love and trying to live as a normal human being while coming to terms with reality. Thanks to its pacing as well as how the story is being told, I was never bored and more intrigued to know more about it. Okay, not to say that I was 100% glued to the screen and watching with baited breath anxious and eager to know what is going to happen next. But it was done well and interestingly enough for me to stay put and hoping to find the answers along with Violet. Not the answer to whether Gilbert is dead (that question is still up in the air considering the excuse of his body was never found), but to whether Violet could actually overcome this obstacle that is hindering her progress in life and move forward. Thankfully she did. It would have been a real tragedy had she not and I believe it would not have sit well with viewers. We watched Violet from the start and hoped to see her grow as a character and to see her forever dwell in her past and self-destruct would be an insult.

Therefore some of the episodes might feel like standalone or fillers. Especially when Violet is sent to somewhere to ghostwrite. It may look disconnected at first but if you watch closely and connect the less than obvious dots together, you can see it all forms one big story for Violet. Thus every ghostwriting job is not just to fill in the extra screen time but it helps advances the plot and the direction in life for Violet. I might be getting old because the later episodes where Violet is despatched to ghostwrite like Oscar and Anne’s episode, it gets even more emotional for me to watch and it really hit close to home and pulled the heartstrings.

I’m sure the series is subtly hinting about the use of letters to convey feelings. With electronic technology so advanced in our world, old fashion letters are dying out. Who sends love letters these days? Let alone postcards or greeting cards. Do we even send them? So the theme of letters and typing them using the typewriter (I bet a lot of youngsters of the new generation don’t even know what this is. They’ll probably think it is some fashionable and bulky keyboard) makes this series stands out on its own. That is why I am thinking that the producers of this series whom I read went as far as to create their own alphabet system (actually, just change the Roman letters into some other pattern), if we were to live in this world, we would definitely be illiterate and need a ghostwriter! Quite impressive. Also, having such alphabets mean we can’t clearly proofread what is on the letter and criticise any inconsistencies in its contents. Damn…

As you know, Violet as the main character who is even the name of this anime is given a lot of the limelight. She is the main focus and is given a lot of development and screen time to flesh out her character. Before I get to her, what I want to say is that many of the other characters in that sense feels a bit neglected. Of course we have Iris and Erica being given an episode to focus on their own issues but that is only if it involves Violet somehow. Hence the other minor supporting characters feel like they are not significant especially those at Hodgins’ company. I was wondering about the feud between Cattleya and Benedict and if there was any chemistry between them or even Cattleya with Hodgins but those might look more like distraction than anything. After all, if we get too deep into those characters, Violet will not be fleshed out properly so I’m going with the reason that these characters don’t get too much focus for the benefit of Violet. Yeah, you can’t have everything.

Violet as the main character is an intriguing watch. We see her transform from an emotionless killing tool into one that could think for herself. It is both interesting and heart wrenching to see her go through life and the circumstances stacked against her. She might not be in the most unfortunate of circumstances but we could ‘blame’ Gilbert being the main obstacle in her life. Her life basically revolves around him. Gilbert knows how dangerous that would be and tried to set her free. It is sad to see her not being able to get over the death of Gilbert at first but as you know, she can’t keep crying over his dead body. Oh wait. They never found it. Only with the acceptance of Gilbert’s death could Violet move on as the thought of any chance of him returning to her is the biggest reason why she is being held back. Thank goodness for all those ghostwriting experiences, right?

Talking about Violet’s ghostwriting skills, at first it was amusing to see Violet as a very blunt and straight in your face character. Making it even more amusing is how she can say it with that poker face. Violet looks so much more beautiful if she smiled often and just eking that out feels like hitting the jackpot. Because it is most of the time that poker face or her crying face. It was unbelievable at first that she could pass her ghostwriting school with that fluke letter. It remains to me as the only unbelievable part of the series (there are many more like that skydiving down to the train to warn her colleagues but this is by far the most farfetched one) only because to advance the plot. Imagine if we have to wait a few years for Violet to turn pro, we aren’t that patient, are we? Sure, she learns fast but just like how there are things that can only be conveyed in letters (and vice versa), there are some things you can’t master overnight.

Therefore Violet becoming a ghostwriter is no surprise a blessing in disguise to the lives that she touched. She might still have her problems but she helps bring the emotions of loved ones together and bring them hope. Sometimes it feels like before she could solve her own problem, she has to help others and learn from it. Only then she has earned enough experience to move on. And hence we see Violet being freed from the chains known as Gilbert and living her life not because he told her to but rather because she wants to. I figure that Dietfried being the ‘antagonist’ and the only one who hates Violet (even enemies who fought her don’t want to mess with her) doesn’t really hates her. He might seem like putting the blame on her for killing his brother but I feel that it is more along the lines of him blaming himself for being unable to prevent his death. Violet was the convenient tool to channel that sadness and anger. Every time she says Gilbert’s name and to the point of seeing her face, the pain of remembering his dead brother is too much to bear. Because Gilbert and Violet became somewhat inseparable until his death.

One last thing about Violet, although she did made some improvements, her past is ultimately shrouded in mystery. Conveniently she is given that amnesiac treatment so that we are not tied down to that cliché when a main character starts remembering her past and then she goes berserk or something changes. Hence her past does not bog her down in this sense as fat as this series is concerned. While in a way that is good, this also gives a problem for those who really want to know how Violet came about. How did she became a killing machine that is so adept in fighting and killing, she could have been the one (wo)man army to take down nations whoever her superior is. So, who trained Violet to be that indispensable fighting machine? If it is the military, wouldn’t they want to claim her? Remember, it is claimed that she is found. So did some alien drop her on this continent and left? I think it would be an insult if they ever make a back story of her with something like that. A princess from an alien world being exiled. Yeah, that would really be unsettling.

Oh, a question I pondered for a while: How come the medical technology here is just advanced enough to give Violet her mechanical hands and move it like as though it is her own. I don’t know the medical state and technology now in the series but it still looks ancient enough because there are still people dying of some disease that could have been prevented or at least treated with our real world technology. I’m not a medical expert but this is what I feel. Because of that, sometimes I think that Violet having mechanical hands is just a minor novelty. Just to get people who see her for the first time to be in awe and fascination. Because imagine if she has normal flesh and blood hands, the story and plot will still proceed as normal without any fuss but it would be less stellar because no robotic hands. It’s not like her mechanical hands hide some machine gun or buzzsaw, right? Besides, before she had mechanical hands, she was already moving faster and punching and kicking harder than any ordinary soldier and only got the pair after the war ended. Besides, I don’t see other amputee soldiers. Did Violet only get special medical technology because she’s beautiful? Because if there were other soldiers fitted with mechanical arms, you’d be seeing them around and the military would try to reuse them again as long as you’re not dead.

On a trivial note, flowers seem to be the theme of this series as many of the characters are named after flowers or have relations to them. Obviously as we see how Violet was named so, but do you know in the language of flowers, violet means innocence and the thought of love? Yeah, that seems to fit Violet’s image very well. As for Cattleya’s surname, French author Charles Baudelaire wrote a book called Les Fleurs Du Mal (The Flowers Of Evil). Speaking of names, I find it odd that Hodgins’ first name is of a female. Cattleya teased him once about it but I was really curious to know the history behind his name. Maybe his mom wanted a girl but a boy came out instead. Some mysteries we will never know…

Aside the story, the other biggest draw of the series is the art and animation. Everything is really gorgeous and breath-taking. The sceneries, backgrounds, the lighting effects, the weather and even the characters too look quite good. It is a nice eye candy if you like your setting to be post-war European style. Of course with this anime being produced by Kyoto Animation, there seems to be many character designs that seemed taken from their other works. Most notably, Hibike! Euphonium. So aside the very Saber-like design of the titular character, for most of the other characters I can’t help think how all of them looked like from that said anime. As though the brass band has been disbanded and now they find themselves with jobs in this world. For example, the young Anne looks like Hazuki and Charlotte has that uncanny resemblance to Yuuko. Doesn’t Cattleya look like Asuka without the glasses while Benedict and Shuuichi might be long lost relatives separated by a different anime? This might be a long shot but I do see Kumiko in Maria. But aside all this, the artwork is quite beautiful and to behold.

Voice acting helps in bringing out the drama and emotional side of the series. They’ve done quite a good job in portraying their characters. Like Yui Ishikawa who does a fine job as Violet, you might wonder why her poker face and voice is familiar. That’s because she was also the voice behind Shingeki No Kyojin’s Mikasa. Damn, I can see the resemblance between both characters. Casts that I recognize are Takehito Koyasu as Hodgins, Minori Chihara as Erica, Kenjiro Tsuda as Damian and Youko Hikasa as Irma but I couldn’t for Haruka Tomatsu’s Iris. On a side note, Ayako Kawasumi who was the voice of Saber, made a cameo as Anne’s mom.

The rest of the casts are Aya Endou as Cattleya (Miyuki in Lucky Star), Hidenobu Kiuchi as Dietfried (Ryouhei in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn), Daisuke Namikawa as Gilbert (Rock in Black Lagoon), Kouki Uchiyama as Benedict (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Azusa Tadokoro as Luculia (Kotori in Gokukoku No Brynhildr), Sumire Morohoshi as Anne (Seira in GJ-Bu), Megumi Nakajima as Charlotte (Ruri in Sacred Seven), Mami Koyama as Alberta (Balalaika in Black Lagoon), Subaru Kimura as Spencer (Gian in Doraemon), Shintarou Asanuma as Aiden (Tsuda in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Yuuto Uemura as Leon (Juugo in Nanbaka), Satoshi Taki as Oscar and Takuya Inagaki as Emonn.

The opening theme is Sincerely by True. Rather and okay song. Fits the pace of the series well. But the one that takes the case is the ending song, Michishirube by Minori Chihara. This is very slow and lovely ballad and if you’re not ‘strong’ enough, you might end up crying listening to this. Thankfully, I didn’t. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, but since this is Minori Chihara we’re talking about singing this song, personally I have always found her voice to be one kind when she is singing. It’s not as bad like, say, Nano Ripe but it is something more on that lines. Also another beautiful song is the special ending theme in episode 9, Believe in by Aira Yuki. Even more powerful and emotional as it is played befittingly as the turning point for Violet. Violet Snow by Aira Yuki as the final episode’s ending theme stirs up even more emotions with its emotional ballad. Damn, everything so perfect to make the tears flow so easily!

Overall, this is a very beautiful and emotional story. Great story that would move your heart and almost to tears as well as instilling hope even in times where we could see there is nothing but losses and hopelessness. Despite I’m calling this series beautiful, it still isn’t perfect nor it is a masterpiece since it looks and sounds so beautiful that it fits more like a fairytale. So beautiful that it seems so fake? But inspiring nevertheless. Violet may not have truly grasped the meaning or love but she has naturally given to many others the warmth and love she sought to understand. In that sense, she is already loved. The love she was looking for has always been around her. You don’t see love. You feel it. Some things you just can’t really explain it in words or letters.

Youjo Senki

September 8, 2017

Initially I was sceptical to watch Youjo Senki because of its promotional poster that poses its main character looking like an evil doll. It looks creepy. I thought it was going to be some sort of military horror even when reading the synopsis that in this child-like doll, it is actually a grown man being planted into this body. Yikes! Creepy! But curiosity and my past experiences with military themed animes had me rethink again and so I decided to man up and check it out. So what do you know? The main character in the anime looks nothing like that in the poster. No I can relax and watch this alternate timeline whereby a certain Third Reich became the most powerful nation in the world. Oh, there’s magic too.

Episode 1
The Empire seems to be on the losing end till flying mages with magic spells led by Second Lieutenant Tanya Degurechaff come in to support. As explained, the Empire is a strong military powerhouse but is currently surrounded from all sides by strong potential enemies. Plan 315 was initiated to buy time for a highly mobile concentrated main force to travel to each area and defeat the enemy from within its borders. But the plan looks like it is falling apart. The higher ups (Deputy of Strategy and Operations Brigadier General Kurt Von Rudersdorf, Vice Director of Strategy and Operations Lieutenant Colonel Erich Von Rerugen and Brigadier General Hans Von Zettour) at the Empire’s capital, Berun are ruing the failure of this plan especially the major offensive against the Entente Alliance. Back to Rhine theatre where Tanya’s platoons are, a couple of her men disobeyed orders to fall back and instead went ahead to take out the enemy artillery. In the aftermath, she reprimands them by sending them home for disobedience. They protest since they want to fight for victory or die. She would have killed them for disobeying again but sends them to the rear of the platoon where it is ‘safe’. An emergency meeting is held about their observers encountering enemy mages. They are to go on a rescue mission and Tanya wants to exclude her comrade, Corporal Viktoriya Ivanovna Serebryakova (had a hard time pronouncing and spelling her name) since she is at her limit. She protests and claims she can still fight on. Her insistence has the commander allowing her.

The observers are barely hiding in the trenches but the Republicans use all their power to take them out. Though Tanya’s platoon arrive too late, she views this as a chance to take them out since they used up a lot of their magic. She wants her other comrades to stay out of it. The Republicans made a mistake by underestimating this little girl. She is fast, dodges all their bullets and all of her shots count. Tanya even tries to hold negotiations but apparently the enemy leader isn’t in talking mood. So she unleashes her greatest explosive magic and kills them all. Back in the Republican capital of Parisee, General Pierre-Michel de Lugo, the Ministry of Defence learns about Tanya who singlehandedly eliminated their entire platoon. They don’t know much about her and all they know is that she is known as the Devil of Rhine. Viktoriya learns her reprimanded comrades are dead when the enemy’s artillery struck it. She tries to tell this to Tanya but apparently she knows all about it. In fact, she purposely sent them there knowing that place is an easy target for enemies. So evil! So while the higher ups back in Berun are relieved their redeployment at Rhine has been completed, Rerugen is shocked to learn Tanya was sent there. He has met her once and from his personal experience, he describes her as a monster in the form of a little girl.

Episode 2
Salaryman (as I shall refer to him) is a ruthless employee. He hates those who are useless and shows no mercy. Like a fellow employee whom he just fired. Can’t blame him. Salaryman was just following the rules (which he loves because it is the easiest thing to do) and did no wrong. Because of that, the disgruntled colleague pushes him off and into the path of a train. Suddenly time stops. It may seem that everyone is talking to him but it is hinted that it could be God. He is lamenting the lack of faith in today’s people but Salaryman is an atheist. Plus, he doesn’t believe He is God and refers Him as Being X. Because God wouldn’t allow this to happen. And besides, why is Being X complaining about the explosion in population? Can’t handle it? Poor management on your part. When Salaryman insults how the weak cling to someone when they are in dire straits, this has Being X wonder if he would regain his faith if he was in dire straits. Salaryman realizes the consequence of what he said and tries to take it back. But Being X normally would have sent him for reincarnation and will make him a special case. The next thing he knows, he realizes he is in a body of a baby girl named Tanya. In a world similar to Europe, Tanya lives in a rundown nunnery. Being poor is miserable and war seems to be all the rage. However magic exists this world and those with high aptitude will be scouted by the military. Knowing this would be her ticket for a better life, Tanya quickly drafts in, hoping to survive long enough to get her revenge on Being X. Thanks to the military’s meritocracy, she rises through the ranks within a year and is now qualified to train others. Of course the new recruits are in shock of a young girl teaching them. But Tanya maintains her ruthlessness for those who shows disobedience and would have killed had not the superiors stopped her.

All that is left for her graduation is her training deployment in the north. Her job is to patrol and scout the enemy. It seems relatively easy because it’s like the Entente Alliance was dumb enough to enter enemy territory without being prepared. Tanya gets confident after her side shells and wipes out the infantry. She advances but realizes too late that enemy mages have appeared. She retreats and reports to control who will send reinforcements. However it will take a long time for them to arrive. She requests to leave the battlefield but control denies and wants her to hold the enemy till reinforcements arrive. Tanya is sore since she can’t hold that long. But what pisses her was control’s mention how God is on their side. It boils her blood just to think of that non-existent being. She turns around and goes crazy to fight the enemy. Might as well go out in style. If she runs out of ammo, use close quarter combat. Then she did a sneaky move of self-destruct to take out the group although it wasn’t enough to kill her but enough to make her look she fought tooth and nail. When she is hospitalized, she didn’t realize how good her ‘performance’ was because the higher ups are now treating her like an ace. They award her the Silver Wings Assault Badge in recognition of her heroics. Sure, it’s nice to get rewarded but Tanya hopes this won’t make them send her to the front lines again. Too late to think about child protection agency…

Episode 3
Tanya is happy she gets her wish. She will be transferred to an instruction unit back home. This means this is at the rear and not at the front lines. She plays a little cautious that there is nothing to do but she is told if they send an ace to the front lines, it would look back on them. Yes! For now she is made to do testing. A prototype jewel. Unfortunately it is hell testing this junk as she often bears the brunt of its defectiveness. Worse, she always butt heads with the development chief engineer, Adelheid Von Schugel who always proclaims his theory is always perfect. Well, you can’t argue with a madman, can you? Feeling this is worse than the front lines, she requests to be transferred. Thankfully they approve. Plus, they even scrap the experiment. Tanya is more than happy when she is visited by Being X. He seems frustrated that nothing has changed since 10 years. She sniggers back she isn’t desperate. Being X thinks she needs to witness a miracle but Tanya won’t be convinced over some insufficient observations that are no more than glorious misunderstandings. When she wakes up from this ‘dream’, she sees a card on her table that reads ‘Deus lo vult’ meaning ‘God wills it’.

With the experiment cancelled, Schugel is now able to do experiments he had been putting off. He wants Tanya to take part before she leaves. Reluctantly she does and as expected, the jewel is unstable and going out of control. It could explode anytime. Schugel is confident it will not because last night he had a divine dream telling him it wouldn’t. He was an atheist but now a devout believer. If you pray to God, He will grant your wishes! Either they pray to God or die as martyrs! Before it explodes, Being X appears before Tanya, he says he has blessed her computation jewel. With this miracle, he hopes faith will fill her heart and to spread it. She calls it cheating but each time she needs to use it, she must pray. Reality returns and the jewel is now stable and performing better than ever. All the scientists rejoice. Thus whenever Tania goes into battle like in Rhine, she has to pray to God to activate her magic. So when Rerugen explains how a monster she is, it is because she is the only one capable of using that computation jewel. However Zettour already has other plans for her. Viktoriya is surprised that Tanya has recommended her to be promoted to an officer. She won’t be in the front lines. But you can’t blame her for being a little sceptical. The new place she’ll be sent to won’t blow up, right? Tanya takes a train back to her new posting. She relaxes and thinks good times are upon her. Too bad for Being X, right? Oh, you don’t know what’s waiting for you…

Episode 4
Tanya is enjoying her campus life at the military academy. Because of her medal, she gets respected everywhere she goes. It might look like she is a cautious person who cleans her rifle she always carries along with her every day. But her intention is to shoot Being X whenever he pops up. Can such a being be killed by gunshot? Tanya has the honour to bump into Zettour. As he wants to talk to her, Tanya thinks she has hit it big for the easy life in the upper echelons if she establishes a connection with him. In his room, he asks her to speak freely about her personal opinions of the direction of the war. She believes it will lead to a world war. She is confident in giving suggestions on what to do till she realizes she said a mistake. Something about losing in the short run so as to win in the long run. Worried she might be branded a coward and sent back to the front lines, she tries to sound aggressive by pushing forth aggressive suggestions. He is impressed and she is surprised by herself she could actually come up with that. Zettour wants her to file an official proposal on this. Once done, he sends it to some of his comrades to read. Rerugen is sceptical of this madness but feels that there is some possibility to it. Something about this proposal written by somebody familiar…

While Tanya is having tea, Captain Maximilian Johann Von Ugar comes to talk to her why she drafted into the military at a young age. Her father was a soldier and her mom abandoned her. He is worried because now he has a daughter and wonders if he will have to send her to war, which is insane. She tells him to get to the rear before the madness begins. He must live to fight so that his daughter can’t. It might seem Tanya is being nice but deep inside, she is exploiting his mental weakness. Ugar is and now was her rival for promotion since he dropped out. Now that he is no longer a threat, he is also her valuable ally. Zettour presents the proposal of establishing a rapid response mage battalion. Soon Tanya is called to have a sumptuous dinner with him. After all that fancy stuffs of her redeployment (she is glad all the places on the list are safe zones), the real bomb hits her when Zettour wants her to be in charge of the battalion she proposed. Tanya knows she is in deep sh*t now. That idea she gave is now coming back to bite her. Despite she will have no superior to report to and can freely choose 48 members of her choice, she argues she is not that high of a rank to lead such battalion. Don’t worry. Zettour has everything well prepared. By the time she graduates, she’ll be promoted. Tanya has no choice but to accept it but makes it look like she is looking forward to it. All is not lost since her plan now is to delay the recruitment as long as possible. However after a week, there are tons of recruitment notices piling up in her room! And she thought she made it sound like hell, why do these sick people still want to join?! She believes she can worm her way out of this with an excuse she has no personnel to vet through it all. But hey look. The first person to arrive and report for duty… Viktoriya! Long time no see?

Episode 5
Looks like she is promoted to Tanya’s assistant. And guess what? Viktoriya has also taken the liberty to hire more staffs to sort out the recruitment! Oh boy. Tanya regrets sparing her life. She should have left her at Rhine. Several candidates are being called in to be designated to this new battalion. However the officer in charge interviewing them is just a hologram. Tanya and the other higher ups are being a barrier observing. Those who cannot see through this trickery immediately fail. Only a handful of them passed. Zettour thought her standards are too high. Tanya suggests re-education to devise a new acceptable standard. She shocks everyone by needing only a month when the standard time to train a soldier is 2 years. The new trainees get a real shock on their first day when Tanya starts bombing them with magic shells. Viktoriya is a smart girl knowing how evil Tanya is, has already starting to dig a hole when Tanya was explaining. Everyone manages to survive the bombing for 36 hours. But it’s not over. They have to trek through the snowy rocky mountains to a point in 48 hours without using magic. They make steady progress till an unexpected avalanche floods down. A few have died but Tanya beats them back to live!!! Everyone who sees this realize she is a demon. A fate worse than death would await them if they quit! Therefore when Tanya gives them a chance to quit, everyone vows to soldier one! A month later, everyone graduates. This of course is yet another backfire from Tanya’s plan. A training so harsh that would break any man’s spirit and look how it turned out. Tanya and Rerugen meet to discuss about the battalion’s deployment to the south eastern garrison. Although Tanya wanted more time to train them, the higher ups think they have reached a level where they could be deployed immediately. He advises her to learn Dakian.

To Tanya’s surprise, the Dakian’s troops are somewhat ‘ancient’. Their communications are not encrypted and they have no aerial force. Thus Tanya happily takes her battalion for a live fire exercise and to gun down anybody they see. Despite the large numbers of ground infantry, the mage battalion easily overpowers and destroys the Dakian forces. Too easy that Tanya is bored. Seeing how some of her men decide to play it safe, she decides to show it how it is done by joining the fight. Even when they go on ground, their bullets cannot penetrate their barrier. She orders everyone killed except the commander. Tanya feels odd that they are killing tourists rather than invaders. Then they ransack the place as evidence proof. With the Empire’s reinforcements arriving, Tanya wants to move forward and see how far they can go. They head towards the capital. Such a peaceful and backwater place. Viktoriya suggests attacking now since they have the element of surprise. However Tanya reminds her they are not barbarians and adhere to international laws and ethics of war. They have to give warning and only destroy the weapons factory. So first Tanya puts on her cutesy little girl voice to warn everyone in which nobody seems to believe her as they think it is a child’s prank. Then they fire away and destroy all the weapons factory. Tanya is satisfied. Mission accomplished. Time to head back.

Episode 6
While HQ is pleased with the overwhelming victory in Dakia, they have to be wary of an impending world war. Therefore it is only right they take out the weakest. Next on their plate should be the Entente Alliance who are more fragile than the Republic. However supply is their main problem. As Zettour puts it, their rails in the north are being taxed to its limits. There won’t be enough to launch a major offensive. Rudersdorf has an idea. He wants him to use his ace. And so Tanya’s mage battalion will be heading north to Norden. She feels something is off because they would have taken out Entente Alliance without central forces and that war would be over. It means a foreign entity is intervening. Looks like the Entente Alliance’s council are beginning talks of their next move. They fear they will end up like Dakia. The Empire’s side at Norden is having a tough time fighting foreign mages and bomber planes at high attitude. They are force to defend at all cost because if their supplies get bombed, they won’t last the winter. They can thank God because Tanya’s mage battalion is here to save the day. For the first time they have formidable foes to fight and Tanya is so sadistic in wanting them to enjoy it that she has cancelled reinforcements. Feel free to destroy any enemies as you like. Oh, the team with the least kills will have to pay for the victory party. Tanya then goes to face off with the bomber squad herself. Of course they couldn’t believe a single mage can fly as high as them. She easily takes out the commanding plane. The rest turn tail and abandon mission. But Tanya prays to God as her shell hits some of the planes like homing missiles. As she goes down to the ground to look for survivors, Being X pops in to bug her. He tells her that everyone in the world is out for her blood. How does it feel to fight against the entire world? Tanya is not pleased to hear that but resumes her mission. She then goes to destroy an observation cabin of the Allied Kingdom before they send their data back to HQ. Tanya returns to base but more work is expected of her as Rudersdorf and Rerugen expect. It seems she will be advancing the front lines despite the limited supplies since major powers are starting to intervene in this war. At this point, she’ll take on anybody who messes with them. Colonel Anson Sioux of Entente Alliance isn’t pleased with his promotion. It means his superior is killed and more fighting awaits.

Episode 7
Sioux sees off his daughter, Mary before he gets posted. She gives him a rifle as an early Christmas present. Tanya tells her strategy for the battle. She intends to prolong it past winter to save supplies. However a superior opposes as he doesn’t want to drag out the war. Though this puts a strain on supplies, he argues that Tanya’s plan means she doesn’t care about the lives of the soldiers. As you wish. Later Tanya speaks privately with Rudersdorf and Rerugen. As she states her honest opinion and strategy, she realizes the operation could be just a decoy for a rear assault. They are impressed with her deduction as only a few officers know of this plan. They decide to use her battalion for this surprise attack at Orse Fjord. Tanya’s battalion jumps into battle during the dark hours. They have only 30 minutes to complete this surprise attack. If Tanya or other first lieutenants fail, the mission is deemed failed and Viktoriya must call for a retreat since the other members don’t have equipment to best the defence. The surprise attack works as it takes a while for the Entente Alliance to respond. But their mage battalion is quick to counter. Tanya’s team engages with them as she wants her other teams to continue taking out cannon emplacements. When Sioux sees Tanya, he is shocked and mad to see the return of the devil (he once fought her at Rhine and survived). He becomes enraged trying to get his revenge. At this point, all the cannon emplacements have been taken out. This allows ships from the Empire to bombard the coast. Sioux sees his dead comrades and destroyed forts. He won’t give up and charges straight at Tanya. She prays to God to take out this fanatic. He too prays to God to take out this devil. Too bad Tanya is the devil who made a contract with God so obviously she wins. Sioux is stabbed and thrown down into the icy waters. Tanya takes his rifle as early Christmas present. Tanya calls off her battalion as the Empire’s troops land and seize the coast and rails for their much needed supply. The success of this mission means they have dealt a decisive blow on this war. Sioux’s wife and daughter are in America. They hear the news of the fall of Orse Fjord. With casualties rising and the advancement of the Empire, it is only a matter of time Entente Alliance falls.

Episode 8
Tanya leads her battalion to another victory. But soon she gets word from HQ that there has been a rebellion in Arene City. It was once under the Republicans’ control. The Republicans has also sent their mages to join the rebels and take out the Imperial soldiers in the area. Naturally, Tanya is ordered to go fight there again. She realizes her battalion will be caught in between the hell fire because after they wipe out the enemies, their artillery will begin a barrage to level the place. Since they will be fighting in a city, property damage is allowed. However the problem is distinguishing between fighters and non-fighters. They are not allowed to kill the latter but have to eliminate every single one of the enemy. This doesn’t sit well with some of her comrades especially Second Lieutenant Grantz. As Tanya’s battalion enter Arene, snipers hiding in decimated buildings start firing at them. It is a bit hard to locate and smoke them out with all the buildings and structures. Tanya’s vice commander, Matheus Johan Weiss got shot in the shoulder and is deemed unfit to fight. She has him retreat and will hand him his punishment later for hesitating. When the Republican mages retreat to hide inside some building, Tanya then announces as per war treaty articles for them to surrender and release hostages or else. Of course they wouldn’t. One of the captured Imperial soldiers try to run but the rebels shot him down. This footage is recorded by Viktoriya as instructed by Tanya. After that the Imperial starts the artillery shelling. The devastating damage forces the Republican mages to stop fighting and evacuate the citizens. Grantz cannot take any more of this brutality so he confronts Tanya about it since shelling is to begin again shortly. Orders are to take out the enemies. By sparing them even innocent civilians would mean creating future enemies for the Empire. Because some kids will grow up to hate the Empire and be future soldiers for the Republicans. She will pretend not to hear what he said and after beating him up and ordering him to pick up his gun, Grantz goes crazy and aims and shoots. Rerugen shows Zettour a paper on interpreting war treaties and legalizing wars in cities written by Tanya a year ago. Did Zettour use this plan in this operation? He will use any talented soldier at his disposal. For he is going to give her a very important job to end the war with the Republicans. Sioux is found alive floating in the fjord and recuperating in a hospital somewhere in Allied Kingdom. He claims seeing a light that belonged to God. He told him to destroy that devil.

Episode 9
Tanya is surprised to see Ugar who is now working in the rear guard of the railway division. He lets her in on a secret that there is a plan for emergency transport. It seems the next strategy is to pull out from Rhine. It might sound it makes no sense since they have made quite a progress but the strategy is to make a false retreat, encircle the enemy and take them out. He believes her unit will be asked to serve as the rear guard so the enemy won’t learn of this plan. Back in HQ, the higher ups are discussing this plan. Because the battle at Arene has dampened their supply lines, Zettour’s strategy isn’t to win but to avoid defeat. That is the only way to end the war. Tanya’s battalion is engaging the Republicans at Rhine. Her teams have suffered several casualties. Although given the permission to retreat, she will not do so at this time because it will make the enemy suspicious and catch on to their plan. They fight on until the ground troops make their false retreat. Later Tanya sees Rerugen who praises her efforts that their first stage was successful. Tanya asks as she heard their military is distributing false propaganda via third countries. Even if they make it look like they’re planning a reckless large scale assault to make the enemy believe in it and concentrate their forces, they still need to disrupt and put them in disarray if they are to wipe them out completely just like in Norden. Rerugen gives her the plans for their next strategy, which is to directly take out the enemy’s HQ and leave them in disarray and capture enemy units. However if it was this easy in the first place, the battle at Rhine wouldn’t have been at a stalemate. Their discussion is interrupted when Schugel barges in. He shows her some super rockets that will be used in their next mission. Whatever mumbo-jumbo they’re saying, Tanya doesn’t look impressed. She has some questions and they’re all honestly answered by the mad scientist. Basically you can’t control the rocket’s direction or speed because Schugel believes you just need to just go forward and hit the enemy! That’s all to it! No wonder Tanya has got a bad feeling about this. It’s a one way ticket to hell. So naturally, she hand picks a few of her comrades to ride the rocket. They must succeed this mission as failure means the rest of their other plans will fail. They are basically the head of the entire army at this point. Even the higher ups are nervous and praying for the success of this mission. And so the rockets are launched. Tanya and co drop down once they have reached enemy lines.

Episode 10
Tanya’s battalion split into teams to take out the enemy HQ. Meanwhile Zettour is reporting to a few cabinet ministers about the progress of the battle. Despite their concerns on the toll it would take on their funds, Zettour cannot disclose anything more except that this operation is crucial to the destruction of the Republicans. But they start to get furious when he stays silent regarding the retreat at Rhine so much so it puts their industrial zone in that area in jeopardy. It seems the military is waiting for the right moment for Tanya to report her success. Thankfully her team has destroyed the HQ and ammo depot in time. So when the officer reports their success, Zettour can now has the last laugh as he begins his explanation of the next phase and follow up of this operation. A peaceful flank at the Rhine suddenly explodes over a wide area! It seems the Imperial has been digging underground tunnels to the enemy’s side and placed explosives. Once they have captured this side, they will encircle the main force and totally wipe out the enemy. When the Republicans realize their chain of command is in disarray, they are forced to retreat however the Imperial has tanks and mechanized infantry to block off their escape. Oh, did I mention they sent in the flamethrowers too? Tanya is delighted to receive this news and happily reports to her men about their imminent victory. Now they have the easy task of wiping out any enemy that retreats. After this they’ll return to the capital, celebrate and set for life. Just a little more before she can resume her peaceful life. Suddenly she receives report that an unidentified mage battalion is closing in on her area. Before they know it, a shot is fired and Grantz becomes the first victim. Sioux is leading the Allied Kingdom’s mage battalion for this attack.

Episode 11
The vicious dogfight begins. Allied Kingdom definitely has the superior numbers while Tanya’s side is trying to use altitude to their advantage. Weiss falls into enemy’s trap when he becomes enraged that his comrades got taken down by Sioux. Tanya is forced to pray to God to give her the speed to push Weiss out of harm’s way. Then she turns into her usual speed demon mode and gunning down her enemies. As she engages in the inevitable showdown with Sioux, she realizes he is using a trench gun (like a shotgun?) which is a violation of the international treaty. I thought all is fair in war? When they finally come face to face, it becomes close quarter combat. Sioux allows her to stab him because now he can hold her and take her out as he self-destructs. Tanya remembers him now as she struggles to break free. The fear of death in her eyes and voice. Luckily Viktoriya pumps a few lead into him. Tanya breaks free and shoots him back with his rifle. Sioux explodes but he only took himself out. The Imperial announces a clean-up operation, signalling their victory of this war. Good news for Tanya is that all her comrades are still alive albeit wounded. No casualties. 15 days later, the Empire marches into undefended Parisee. Yeah, they literally withdrew and let the Empire took over. They don’t want their aesthetics destroyed? The diplomats are discussing and sorting things out. Tanya is bored in her HQ and only has Viktoriya as accompany since the rest of the guys are having a BBQ party at some beach. One fanservice I wouldn’t want to be watching. When Tanya hears about Viktoriya reporting about the Republican navy ceasing combat and moving and that it is stated as armistice and not end of war, Tanya then realizes a grave mistake. She wants her men to get ready for assault. Vacation is cancelled. She then pleads to her superior to sortie. She argues the war isn’t over as the Republicans plan to abandon their country and attack from overseas. They must strike in this brief window or lose everything. But she is turned down at every argument. Tanya still has her privileges and invokes some ‘testing’ mission. However she is soon forced to stop when Viktoriya reports orders from HQ to stop whatever she is doing. As a soldier, she must obey or face the firing squad. Tanya lets out her frustration on the furniture…

Episode 12
Tanya goes to HQ to see any higher ups but they are all ‘busy’ celebrating. Luckily there is Rerugen to hear her out. She complains about the military not taking full use of this victory. Rerugen views her unfiltered opinion as arrogant. He shows her a filed complaint that she was trying to disobey order. He warns her despite the special authorities given to her, it is not meant to cause friction in the front lines. As Rerugen tells the reasons why there is no more need for war, Tanya counters that humans make a move on more than just rationalism. They are like beasts. Her proof is mankind’s history and her own experience. She has seen with her own eyes men acting on the pure feelings of hatred that overrides all reasoning. In short, the Empire shouldn’t become intoxicated by a temporary victory. Rerugen feels scared hearing her. It could be an I-told-you moment because an unverified report comes in about the remnants of the Republicans being active in the southern continent. De Lugo is rallying the Republicans how they will fight the Empire to the death. The common people in the Empire are now worried because they thought the war is over but now the Republicans have declared war and their own military is doing nothing. Rudersdorf and Zettour are visibly mad at the turn of events. Although it seems their only way is to go to the south and finish off the enemy, Zettour feels there might be something amiss. Their army is not equipped to cross the ocean to fight. What if another nation intervenes in this war during this operation? Looks like for now it is best to send a small team to fight there and you’ve guessed it, Tanya’s battalion gets the honours. Tanya narrates how the Empire defeated its enemies and failed to realize how the world around has become afraid of them. The irony is that despite the world wanting peace, they are willing to go fight and that prolongs the war. Mary is volunteering to be drafted in the American army so she could be sent across the ocean to fight. She is well aware of the risks and is prepared for it. She makes her tearful pledge of loyalty and swears in the name to bring God’s justice. Look who just powered up. Tanya gives her speech to her troops. First she talks about how God throws them into such cruel fates. And then she vows to kill God. They’ll take over His work and His place. Let’s put God out of a job! While the Empire’s top guns are worried if this plan could work, Rerugen assures and reminds them about Tanya’s reputation, a monster in the form of a little girl.

Despicable Me
And so God also did a cruel twist of fate to me by just ending it like that instead of giving me another season since I’m hooked on the series by the time it ended. Okay, so it’s the producers rather than God. And once again, yet another interesting military themed anime that left me wanting more. I believe it is going to get messier the next time with more nations joining in the fray since we have those cocky English on the west and those crazy ice cold Russians on the east just waiting for the right time. I guess Tanya will have to wait a little more longer to have her revenge on Being X. Could she just pray to God to just beat the hell out of Him? Oh, right. If she is going to beat the sh*t out of that higher being, might as well do it with her own powers instead of using some other power. She is after all the devil and she certainly has the crazy looks of it if she wills it. Imagine the devil as a little young girl. We’re either screwed or totally become her devoted slaves. Either way, end of humanity.

Not sure if I should be feeling conflicted here (I think I shouldn’t) because as the Empire is the focus of the series, they are like the ‘good guys’ while all those enemy nations surrounding them are like the ‘bad guys’. For whatever reasons the war started, watching this anime makes me feel like I want to root for the Imperial. Maybe is it because Tanya is at the helm and how the Empire is going to win? Yeah, everybody loves winners, don’t they? So does this mean I am a Nazi supporter? Pity the fools who can’t even tell the difference between reality and fiction. The Empire may resemble closely to a certain hated group of the past (at least currently in the politically correct culture) and I’m sure you might also see a lot of resemblance in the other nations. Remember, Nazis aren’t even mentioned in this anime. So don’t go screaming your head off because of your own ignorance.

Tanya doesn’t seem like the ultimate evil person herself. Some of her earlier deeds may make her look like a devil and the fact she scorches through the battlefield like on is mainly because we don’t know more about her yet at that point. We are shown that Tanya is a new form taken on by a bitter man from our world and thus will do whatever it takes to secure her future and return. But after getting and leading her own mage battalion, we start to see her in a different light. A competent and effective leader who cares about her comrades and is capable of bringing victories to her country. I know she ‘cheats’ a little at times when she prays to ‘God’ but sometimes you have got to do what you have got to do. Even previously if she was an arrogant and cocky person, sometimes you need to bend a little your strict ways for the better of your future. This is in reference to some moments when she needs to pray to Being X for the much needed power to determine a desirable outcome. Had she been stubborn and not done so, she wouldn’t have lived long enough to reach her ultimate goal to get back at Being X. In the long run, it is ultimately winning against Being X by playing at his own game. Yeah, it is still for her own benefit anyway.

As the series mainly focuses on Tanya, I feel that many of the other characters aren’t given that much of importance. Sure, we do see Rerugen going around to inspect the theatres and Zettour involving in high level strategy meetings or Rudersdorf always smoking his puffy cigar behind his big bushy moustache but that is so much about them. What else more do we need to know about them, old men in uniform? Even Viktoriya doesn’t feel like she is much. Like as though because the entire army are all males, they need another female so as not to make Tanya look out of place. Oh, having a young blonde girl leading one of the most effective squads is already out of place itself. And Viktoriya looking like a girl perhaps slightly older than Tanya, does the Empire only draft young girls into its ranks? And you wonder how a girl like Viktoriya can be drafted seeing she has this sunshiny personality and sometimes a bit retarded. It’s like her destiny to be Tanya’s lapdog or something. The only other ‘lively’ character is Schugel but this mad scientist just has very limited appearance and it sure is amusing seeing him ‘argue’ with Tanya. Both characters at different ends of their poles in their thinking and approach.

There are also a handful of other characters from other nations but their cameo is short that I don’t really remember them. Especially those from higher ranks. Since the series focuses on the Empire, players from these other nations aren’t given much prominence. In a way, characters like Sioux feel a bit like a let-down since I thought he would be the final boss but I have only myself to blame for having too high expectations. Well, indeed Sioux feels like the final boss for Tanya and his character shoehorned in for just this plot. Too bad for Sioux, it feels like his prayers to God isn’t as strong as Tanya’s. Maybe it will live through his daughter and then in the near future another showdown between the young lasses this time?

Sometimes I wonder if God or Being X is just a narcissistic and sadistic being. Call humans dumb or weak to throw themselves into war fighting each other forever. But if he is the Almighty, shouldn’t he put a stop to it all somehow? I know some might argue God shouldn’t intervene but sometimes whoever says their prayers to him will receive some sort of power up. Of course it boils down to individual skill and luck because if everybody starts praying, everything will still remain the same. But as seen here by those who chant in his name, they get some sort of a power boost to their abilities. All you need to do is say his name. You want things to go your way? Pray to God. When word spreads how it actually work and people start doing it, don’t you see this is some sort of blatant and shameless form of advertising? Being X claims he wants to make Tanya believe in the unseen higher power but could it be he just wants to screw her over because he is just bored? With the sudden turn of events at the end, I’m sure it is one of Being X’s sign to tell Tanya she just can’t rest on her laurels yet. Each time she has got her victory, it is short-lived. Something props up soon after.  I am pretty sure Tanya will survive wars after wars because she is a survivor. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Watch out Being X. She is coming for your head. Sorry, but my money is on Tanya! Hmm… Maybe I’m just like God. Wanting another season means prolonging the war and plot for this series just to see Tanya in action and what more she could achieve…

Some of the action scenes are quite entertaining and satisfying. Especially those of the air dogfights between the mages. Not to say that they are so exhilarating that I would be losing my breath each time they start shooting their magic and guns but at least it is well done. The only thing that bothers me about the mages is the magic box that they used to keep them afloat. Different nations have different designs but they all look as weird as f*ck. Like for the Imperial, the box is located in front of their stomach and it is big enough to look like as though they have a big square tummy. The northern side looks like they’re going on a ski trip with one leg. If you think that looks funny, you haven’t seen anything yet. Because Allied Kingdom rides brooms and the Republicans ride metal horses! Truly WTF moments.

Art and animation are pretty decent. While many of the characters look bland because simply every military guy in uniform looks the same, right? The weirdest looking characters are Tanya and Viktoriya. As said, Tanya may be cute as a blonde loli but she still looks a bit weird. But not as weird as Viktoriya. I thought she looks like a creepy doll. Look at her very broad face and very big eyes. Like a doll, right? Creepy, right? It is the sceneries that shine in the visuals. Or rather, devastating. The devastating effects of war can be seen throughout the battlefield like the very dead land in Rhine after a long time fighting, the decimated buildings at Arene as well as the very posh and ‘clean’ Berun. The magic effects are also cool to look at. Some of the scenes can be dark and gory but hey, this isn’t your happy magical girl anime. This anime is animated by NUT, which is their first production.

Aoi Yuuki is absolutely delightful playing Tanya as she sounds both cute and evil at the same time. Sometimes she seamlessly moves in between or from one or another and has that commanding voice whenever she gives orders. She really fits in her role and I can’t think of anyone else better who could pull it off. Other recognizable casts are Saori Hayami as Viktoriya, Shinichiro Miki as Rerugen and Haruka Tomatsu as Mary. The rests are Hochu Ootsuka as Zettour (Jiraiya in Naruto), Tesshou Genda as Rudersdorf (Kaido in One Piece), Daiki Hamano as Weiss (Dante Mogro in Mobile Suite Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans), Nobuo Tobita as Schugel (Souun in Uchouten Kazoku) and Kenyuu Horiuchi as Sioux (Kinemon in One Piece).

There is something catchy about the opening theme, Jingo Jungle by MYTH&ROID. The very effects heavy and techno beat dense music makes it very suitable for any sort of magic action video game. The singer’s powerful voice might be purposely muffled by the effects to sound like as though there are interferences but I think it is the heavy beat that catches my attention. If you want to do some hardcore techno dancing, this music is very much suitable. The ending theme, Los! Los! Los! by Aoi Yuuki feels a bit like military rock music. Also quite befitting the series. But don’t be fooled by her cute singing voice as the lyrics is mainly about going forth to fight for victory and trampling down her enemies, beating them down to the bone and blood. Yikes. Away from all that fast paced rock music is a special ending theme, Sensen No Realism by Mako Niina. Despite it is a slower piece, it still sounds lovely in its own right.

Overall, this anime doesn’t disappoint and it goes to really show that you cannot judge a book by its cover, an anime by its promotional poster and a capable officer by her physical appearance. Interesting alternate world war setting and strategies as well as satisfactory action scenes and a ‘likeable’ main character are its formula of success. The people behind this series must have really prayed to God to make it successful and good. At least to me. Looks like the streak of military themed animes has not failed me in recent years and this anime only increases my confidence in the genre so I will be looking forward to more of such in the future. I pray to God to watch more awesome and entertaining animes in the future. Imagine anime becoming the new religion of the world… Deus lo vult!

Starship Operators

August 18, 2017

When your nation surrenders to another larger kingdom without a fight but a small group of you do not want to accept that. You want to fight back and take back your independence. However you have no money for war. No war funds to buy weapons and supplies to fight back. So how do you find funding in such situation? You sell broadcasting rights to a broadcasting network for a reality TV! No kidding. This is the premise of Starship Operators. And this was way back in 2005. At that time I guess reality TV really means what it means. Because as far as this series is concerned, the real price to pay is that death is real. Yup. People are going to die in this war game that is seen across the galaxy as reality TV. A matter of life and death to a few, entertainment and showbiz to the rest.

Episode 1
Shinon Kouzuki is a space cadet on the Starfleet Amaterasu. She is part of the space combat cadets from Defence University on a training voyage to Planet Kibi. Suddenly they hear on the news that the kingdom of Henrietta has attacked Kibi. All the cadets are placed in one room as they try to discuss what is happening but information to them is pretty scarce. They believe Kibi’s government surrendered immediately and cadets who dream of enlisting will have to look for jobs elsewhere. But Cisca Kanzaki has an idea. They can steal this ship and fight against the kingdom. Shinon is against this but she is surprised when everyone else agrees to this. However they are short on supplies and ammo. As Henrietta is repealing all trade treaties with governments that have lost their armed forces, Amaterasu is considered up for sale. That means anybody with money can buy this ship. They assume Cisca will sponsor but unfortunately he didn’t bring that much cash. However he knows who to get for sponsor. There are some nations who are against Henrietta but will they risk it to form an alliance with them? Cisca is going to do negotiations with the Galaxy Network first. The deal is done and Amaterasu is now owned by the cadets. They even sell their broadcasting rights to Hollywood! Reality TV? Thus we have reporter Dita Mirkov on board broadcasting everything live on Amaterasu back to Galaxy Network.

On their first episode, they are already to engage the enemy. Cisca takes command when the enemy already starts firing from afar, outside Amaterasu’s firing range. Can’t blame the newbie for panicking so with suggestions from the crew, it is assumed the enemy is firing a rail gun. But Shinon disagrees since it is strange for the enemy to waste ammo firing at such a long range (its effectiveness will decrease the longer the distance). Intelligence officer, Yuuki Shimei adds that the enemy has no intention to evade attacks and plans to end the fight before they enter Amaterasu’s firing range. The enemy is discovered to be a gun battery attached to a factory and can replenish ammo by itself. Shinon realizes the reason why the enemy chose this as their battlefield is because up ahead are asteroids. She has a plan to take cover behind an asteroid shadow. They will use it as shield to get up close. Then they will move out of their safe zone to observe the enemy so they can formulate an attack plan. Although Amaterasu takes a direct hit, its heat resistance armour which is the selling point of this ship, regenerates. Amaterasu is able to get within firing range and destroy the gun battery. A successful mission but Galaxy Network’s producer, Peter Spikes isn’t quite impressed yet. Later Shinon talks to her best friend, Miyuri Akisato that the producers want and has made Cisca as captain, Takai Kiryuu and Shinto Mikami as commanders while all the operators will be girls. Also, former Prime Minister Mamiya who is also the uncle of Rio Mamiya will also be boarding Amaterasu. All Miyuri can say is to do their best in battle for this ship is the world’s biggest interplanetary observatory. It will be too much of a waste to let it get destroyed.

Episode 2
As soon as Mamiya gets on board, 2 ships from Henrietta appear. Since Amaterasu doesn’t have the resource to take on both ships, it is suggested that they run to the nearest neutral planet, Phoenicia. Their advantage is that they have no planet or citizens to defend. With Mamiya on board, they are like a government in exile. Dita continues to take footage of the crew during their break. Cisca and Rio talk about Sei Ogino being a workaholic and has negotiated well for Amaterasu. Because press conference requires fees and they have received many participation requests. Press conferences will also be their best bet to relay what is happening. Furthermore, Rio is the best debater in university. Although everyone thinks the duo are the ones who came up with this plan, it is actually the show producers. They wonder if Shinon also knows about this plan since she was mostly against it all but ironically didn’t disembark when she had the chance to. A ship from Henrietta, Trafalgar appears. Its commander hails them and lets them know his intention to engage them. The alert is sounded as all crew rush to their battle stations. I suppose fighting one on one is okay. As Trafalgar is accelerating, it is believed it has a short firing range. Yeah, but it has a very powerful plasma cannon.

When Trafalgar fires its plasma cannon, Amaterasu also fires theirs. However both beams negate each other. It is then they realize maybe this is what the plasma cannon is for and that Trafalgar intends to attack them via laser cannons. As they plan their next move, they get a call from Peter. He wonders why they are not doing anything after the first blast. He doesn’t care as long as they fire missiles or lasers or whatever. Just shoot back. Well, he is the sponsor. Got to go with it. Amaterasu employs 2 anti-laser weapons, Kasumi. As it takes time to set up, the enemy starts firing its laser cannons. Their radar did not pick up any flashes since it is shot at the speed of light. Although it scrapes Amaterasu, damage is minimal. Once they have finished preparing Revolver and getting into firing range, Amaterasu shoots but using auto-aim instead of manual adjustments that would have had higher percentage of hitting. Yuuki has analysed Trafalgar’s evasive manoeuvre programme and it is much simpler than thought to be. Trafalgar takes a direct hit and blows up. Amaterasu is forced to hear the eerie amplified sounds of the ship disintegrating in space. Amaterasu might have won this battle but soon Sei reports casualties. When Amaterasu got hit by the laser cannon, 3 of the maintenance crew outside were in its path. A space burial is held for the fallen. It is too late to realize this isn’t TV drama or training exercise. This is real reality TV.

Episode 3
Shinon falls depressed believing the deaths of those men are her fault. Arei Hisaka and Takai are doing maintenance of the panels outside Amaterasu. Arei’s adopted father was a commander on board a ship that was destroyed by Henrietta. Thus she is here to seek revenge. Takai has a different stance. He views all those who died as part of the war. If they start thinking who is killed or have killed, wars would never end. It’s not like he hates Henrietta but he does think they are wrong and is here to live up to his beliefs. An abnormal sun flare is detected. It will reach Amaterasu in about 8 minutes so all crew outside are to hurry back in. Takai takes this opportunity to hug Arei while he brings her to safety. Don’t want regrets? However he doesn’t bring her to the usual hangar but to some hatch. After he throws her in, he runs out of fuel and is left floating in space. Luckily Shinto in his mini ship picks him up shortly. Apparently this is a stunt for the ratings but Peter views it too nice to be aired. Cisca is facing some problems because some of the crew wants to call it quits. Then a civilian ship from Kibi hails them. Gendou Wakana who is the father of Sanri hopes his daughter would stop this and come home. Sanri explains the contract they have with Galaxy Network and the amount needed to be bought out. Father is willing to sell his company for it because what good would it do if Sanri is dead. Nothing else would bring her back. Plus, if Amaterasu surrenders now, all crew will be pardoned except the 5 whom Henrietta considers as leaders: Cisca, Rio, Takai, Shinto and Shinon. The communication is instantly cut off so as to make them think carefully what is needed to be done. When the 5 leaders converge, Shinon is convinced this is just a psychological attack Henrietta orchestrated. It is the perfect time to shake them since they have experienced casualties. Takai believes whoever wants to leave, let them leave because Amaterasu doesn’t need so many people to operate. In fact, Yuuki can actually operate the entire ship by himself.

Yuuki detects some malfunction somewhere in the ship. To avoid unrest from the crew, he sends Arei and Sanri to take a look. Arei talks to Sanri and knows she loves Takai. It is the reason she stayed on board. Sanri asks if Arei loves Takai too but it is more of because he saved her life during external maintenance. Arei suggests she confess to Takai. Although she might be afraid of the answer because she doesn’t know his feelings, it is only because he doesn’t know hers. Arei continues about her own experience. There was a man she loved but he has gone far away. She loved her adopted father not as a father but also as a man. Some of the crew are getting restless to leave as they don’t want to be dragged further into this. Sanri’s friends hope Takai could persuade Sanri to stay but he believes she has to make that decision for herself. Soon Sanri puts up a reply broadcast. The first thing she does is confess her love for Takai. To her this feeling is very important. Important enough to risk her life. That is why she is staying on Amaterasu and won’t forget the kindness and care her parents raised her. Father is devastated to hear this so the Henrietta guys putting him up to this break off whatever deals they had. Thanks to Sanri’s determination, the crew members now find new resolve to stay on. Can you say that love saved the day?

Episode 4
Admiral Dul Elroy receives word from Admiral Fares of Aboukir that he is going to make his move. As Henrietta’s greatest commander, he will end this charade and bring victory to the kingdom. Everyone is bugging Takai to respond to Sanri’s feelings. This guy promises to only do so if he lives through the war. Can’t think about love when he doesn’t know if he is going to die? Isn’t all the more reason to? Amaterasu picks up Aboukir’s presence. Fares wants the space pirates to surrender or die. Now, Aboukir is a stealth ship as Shinon lists down its accomplishments. Henrietta is so proud of its stealth ship that it even publicizes images of them. Shinon’s answer to take down a stealth ship is simple: Just find it. However with their detection systems down, all they need is to pool their efforts and find it first. Besides, they a person who is very keen on observation. So Miyuri who has a keen interest in observing the stars, takes on the job to find the stealth ship but it is hard to find it. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a stealth ship, right? I’ll leave the mumbo-jumbo out on why it’s hard to do so but they have around 5 to 10 days to find it if they are to be victorious. Shinon then suggests a very unusual method to find it via shock. Something about stealth capabilities that obstruct light from planets and other emissions thus there will be black stains appearing on the light curtain.

The operators begin their meticulous search area by area for Aboukir but it is still like a needle in a haystack. When Takai comes to check on them, Shinon gets another idea. She hopes he could do them a favour in firing all the missiles. This is not to fire at the enemy but the flashes of the explosion would provide shadows and thus make it easier to pinpoint. Cisca has his reservations if it fires too far behind or in front of Aboukir but with Miyuri’s keen eyes, she would be able to pick it up. And don’t worry about the costs of the torpedoes. Peter will deal with the budget. Just make it flashy. So once Yuuki has calculated the whereabouts of Aboukir, they fire their missiles before finishing it off. Elroy fears the worst when he knows the flashes of light and explosions do not originate from Amaterasu. With no communication coming from Aboukir, everyone is in shock that the stealth ship is defeated. Takai hopes Sanri can give more time to think about her confession. He wants to really think seriously about it. Okay. She’ll wait. Henrietta has released a statement confirming the destruction of Aboukir and the death of Fares and strongly condemns the pirate ship. Amaterasu is requested to leave Phoenicia in 24 hours so Cisca and Rio seek Mamiya’s advice on where to go next. He suggests a place where they are away from Henrietta’s surveillance. A red dwarf and planetary nation of Shuu who is fighting against the kingdom might be the nearest option.

Episode 5
Shuu agrees to welcome Amaterasu but there is a condition: Some of them need to attend a televised reception of their welcoming. Shinon doesn’t like this because they are treating them like celebrities. Aren’t they on some reality TV? Besides, does she not know of an advertisement blatantly using CGI of their faces? After all, this reality TV has the highest rating on Shuu so you can bet the public is really eager about. While the event is underway, Henrietta makes a sneaky move to declare war on Shuu and move in to attack. Takai as the acting captain knows this emergency move is to pin them down because they can’t run away and leave their captain who is still down on the planet. Plus, there are other crew members, Akiho Maya and Renna Satomi in town getting supplies. They notice one of the guards accompanying them acting suspicious. Like as though they know about the war declaration. This means there is a traitor in Shuu and a coup d’etat is going to occur. They have to get back to Amaterasu before that happens. Renna takes out the rogue guard and then explains to the other guards about the ongoing coup. She wants them to stay here as there is higher chance of fighting if they stay with them. They will find a way to return to Amaterasu on their own. To easily hide themselves, Renna suggests changing outfits. If Akiho thinks all this is happening like in a spy movie, be glad to know that Renna is trained as an actual spy! Dita gets a call from Peter that the people staging a protest against the war is actually staged. He wants her to cover this on their way back because it is ‘safer’ than covering a story in a war. Shinon also gets the idea to change clothes and hairstyle to make their escape to a suburban area. Meanwhile Renna and Akiho try to escape via spaceport and go a couple of guards to help them out.

Episode 6
Shinon’s group is taking a detour so that Dita can take footage for the war scenes. Mamiya talks to the president of Shuu and thinks he might sell them out to Henrietta so that he could avoid losing his president post. Whatever laws or illegality in the treaties, he wants him to make an alliance with them and declare war on the kingdom to save the civilians. Renna and Akiho are forced to fight some armed guards. Renna gets shot in the guts but needs to be strong enough to make it to space. Cisca and Rio talk about the possibility if Shuu hands them over to Henrietta, they might be executed. However Henrietta might want to proceed with caution because if they do so, Earth Federation will act and this will turn out badly for them. Rio starts crying on the thought she doesn’t mind dying for that because she will be politically undefeated. All Cisca can do is hug and kiss her. Is this a time to make out? Oh well. What else can they be doing? Shinon’s group are at the military base. This is where they are requesting Shinto to come pick them up despite the landing are is small and there are forces fighting nearby. So the plan is to cut off the main power and during the few minutes before the auxiliary power takes over, they will use this short moment to depart. Everything feels so convenient and perfect that it makes the military look so dumb and useless. Because they can actually snipe and destroy the power generator from outside, create a line of fire for Shinto to land, avoid enemy fire and blast off into space. Meanwhile Renna and Akiho manage to float back into Amaterasu. However Renna is wheeled into ICU. Attempts to revive her end in vain. She’s dead. Takai is mad that Peter wants to make a televised funeral of it. Sure, it’s taking advantage of her death but remember what you sign up for. Shinon hears about Renna’s death and once more the guilt starts flowing through. She quickly reads Renna’s last message sent to her admitting she is a spy from the intelligence department. She apologizes for keeping everyone in the dark and wanted to fight alongside everyone.

Episode 7
A televised funeral of Renna is held. Meanwhile the chairman of the supreme council of Henrietta has appointed Hans George Hermann as commander to destroy Amaterasu. Elroy and the other elite commanders discuss their strategy to take it down. Elroy warns the rest not to underestimate them because they already took out 3 of the kingdom’s top ships. Unfortunately for them, they find it hard to think a bunch of cadet brats are better than them. Elroy believes that minimum of 3 ships are needed to engage Amaterasu. He suggests using their elite ships while his own, Conquistador will engage one on one with Shenron (Shuu’s ship). While this strategy is ‘sure win’, the rest wonder if too many ships from the kingdom would have Amaterasu to bail out and run. In that case they will be seen as cowards over the TV network. A victory for Henrietta nevertheless. But Louis Belmont disagrees in letting those pirates go scot free. He believes they have to stick to the kingdom’s traditional tactic of one ship engaging directly and the other supporting from behind. Thus this strategy will be used to engage both Amaterasu and Shenron. Meanwhile Cisca is helping Shinon run a simulation of Henrietta’s ships against them. They always lose. But after Shinon tweaks a few parameters, she sees hope for victory. Shinon briefs the Shuu counterparts led by Captain Wong. She describes the enemy ships like Conquistador and Hammerhead are the heavy cruisers while Dragonfly and Hedgehog are the light ones only equipped with pulse lasers. They wonder how the smaller ones can win since they will be destroyed before entering effective firing range. Something about short warp, these ships can separate their bow and act as a separate attack system. Thus the best way to take it out swiftly is with their laser cannon. Shenron has better manoeuvrability although its lasers cannot pierce the thick armour. Hence it is best not to tackle Conquistador which has seen successive victories in its battles. Shinon shows the projected simulation. This is the only way to win. Okay. They’ll go with it. Everyone gets busy to make the necessary preparations.

Episode 8
The battle begins but Amaterasu realizes Shenron is accelerating ahead. At this rate they will engage Conquistador and Dragonfly before their scheduled time. Shinon realizes why they are doing this. If Shuu loses, they are forced to surrender to Henrietta. This means Amaterasu can no longer stay in Shuu. So Shenron is going to sacrifice themselves to let Amaterasu get away. Amaterasu tries to hail Shenron but they aren’t answering. Cisca orders the operation to go ahead. Hedgehog realizes too late of Amaterasu’s plasma cannons and faster acceleration. They have wasted time destroying its mines that were just distractions. As Amaterasu has zoomed pass them, even if they made a u-turn to chase Amaterasu, they still won’t be able to catch up. They are forced to abandon their mission and pray that Hammerhead can take on Amaterasu itself. Hammerhead engages Amaterasu who fires first. First a few shotgun particles followed by a heavy main cannon. Hammerhead gets hit although they fire back, Amaterasu’s damage is minimal thanks to their shield. Hammerhead is destroyed once they get hit by their main laser again. Hammerhead’s defeat is shocking so Elroy commands Dragonfly to change its course to engage Amaterasu as well as Hedgehog to continue pursuing it. Conquistador then finishes off Shenron. Yeah, they’re like just sitting there to get vaporized. In the aftermath of Shenron’s defeat, the president of Shuu surrenders to Henrietta. Cisca orders a retreat but Peter disallows them. They’re not going to run away and leave Shenron unavenged. Besides, the enemy ships are now flanking them so is there a way out of this? Shinon instantly heads down to Yuuki to seek an answer about doing a forced warp. She heard from Rio that it was his idea to buy Amaterasu and start a war against Henrietta, a battle they have no chance of winning. Yuuki believes there is a chance. As long Earth Federation would deploy its fleets but looks like there is no movement from them. They have no choice but to force warp. They might not know where they would end up so Yuuki will try to be as accurate as possible. Amaterasu successfully warps but also somewhat took the enemy’s mini assault module with it.

Episode 9
Elroy receives an urgent message from Isabel Fellini to return to the kingdom. Amaterasu appears safely and after a few calculations, they realize they are in a neutral area and will take this chance to resupply. Everybody is taking turns to be on shift as they notice Shinon seemingly down. Later she tries to go talk to Cisca in his room to discuss their next course of action but catches him making out with Rio! Oops! Peter calls Dita for updates. Despite the calm period now, he doesn’t want Amaterasu to lose as it will be bad for business as well as losing the only reporter willing to go to the frontlines for her story. He tells her that the supreme chairman of Henrietta has just passed away. They predict there will be more chaos. Isabel sees Hermann and Elroy. Hermann is not happy that she is now the acting chairman. She claims it is only right as she is handling the chairman’s national funeral. Later she talks to Elroy about teaming up to destroy Amaterasu. This is to regain public confidence and maintain the power balance with Earth Federation. As proof of her trust, she will reassign his old crews back to him. Shinon complains to Mamiya about their battles up till now were just to mobilize Earth Federation. Shouldn’t they tell the crew about this from the beginning? Mamiya explains she misunderstood. That is one of the possibilities. Also, this mission wasn’t a legitimate one to begin with nor was it ordered by anyone. After the resupply, he wants to go down to Earth to let the federation know what Amaterasu has been doing and perhaps find a way to live if they get them to recognize them as a government in exile. Shinon leaves dissatisfied with his answer. So who else can she confide with? Kouki Sakakibara, the chief engineer. You could guess he has a crush on Shinon. I mean, which guy would really let a girl lie on his back. Okay, any guy would for any cute girl. So after she feels better, I guess it made him feel better too. Because he confesses he likes her. It gets a bit awkward because they’re teasing us if they’re going to kiss or if Shinon is just going to pull back. They kissed anyway.

Episode 10
Mamiya arrives at Narita Spaceport. He is greeted by a fellow politician who tells him about the upcoming UN assembly. Depending on their decision, it might affect Amaterasu’s fate. Looks like everyone knows about Shinon and Kouki’s relationship. Some of the crew are invited to AGI Corp’s party (the conglomerate that built Amaterasu and intermediary for military hardware sales) while the rest remain behind to do maintenance. Hermann is not pleased that Isabel has now assumed command of military operations and that she has Conquistador out on a mission. He is also displeased she removed him as candidate to be the next supreme chairman. She then has him arrested to question for his recent battle failures. A small group of soldiers sneakily attack Amaterasu’s perimeter. This shocks the crew as they scramble for safety. Those at the party are stuck since there is a power outage but they get to see live footage from Dita’s reporting. Although some Amaterasu crew fight back in this gunfire skirmish, they cannot tell if the soldiers are from Henrietta. Even more puzzling if their goal is to seize Amaterasu, this scale is too small to achieve it. After a while, the soldiers retreat. Kouki thought he could chase them down. He fires when they don’t stop. They respond by shooting an RPG at him! He is blown to pieces and everyone saw it live! Oh dear. Shinon is going to be so sad. Later Dita calls Peter and knows he knew about this. He doesn’t give her a direct answer but also lectures her about taking sides. He then wants her to get off Amaterasu because the next time it will be destroyed as Henrietta has sent 5 ships for the job. She won’t get off and wonders if this is the kind of story he wants. It was its fate to begin with. There’s nothing they can do. Once the crew are back on Amaterasu, they are further shocked to hear AGI’s spokesperson forced to sever ties and supplies with them. Henrietta has issued a statement they will attack anybody associated or helping Amaterasu. So whatever contract they have is nullified. He wants them to get off the ship and that AGI can buy it back. However Rio notes that it is too late. They are at a point of no return. Shinon continues to cry alone.

Episode 11
Cisca makes an announcement to his crew. They will soon be leaving their docking and engage against Henrietta’s fleets. Their resupply is incomplete and any crew members who wish to get off Amaterasu now should take this chance. He will not hold or blame anybody if they choose this. The only one who took this opportunity is Sei. But she has a reason for doing this. Now she will try to be the middle man to negotiate between AGI and Amaterasu for supplies. Shinon puts away her blues to join the rest in hatching a strategy that revolves around centrifugal and gravitational force on Amaterasu. Not that I understand the mumbo-jumbo anyway. Peter gives his blessings to Dita to conduct the live broadcast the way she wants it. This means everyone including the enemy can see live what is happening inside the cockpit of Amaterasu. As the battle begins, Elroy orders Dragonfly and Hedgehog to flank and attack Amaterasu at full speed. It seems Amaterasu has chosen to target Hedgehog. However everyone is in for a shock when Amaterasu is actually targeting Dragonfly. The live broadcast is a trap and Dita is reporting opposite of their strategy. Too late for Dragonfly for evasive or counterattacking manoeuvres as they get zapped. Amaterasu then use those forces they discussed earlier to turn at unimaginable speed to target Dragonfly and also zap it to pieces. They are on a roll (literally) since the enemy is still in shock trying to recover from this false reporting trap. Amaterasu zaps a third and fourth Henrietta ship! Conquistador is all that’s left but is out of its firing range. However they still fire their plasma cannon in a big gamble. Luckily Elroy has foresight and already took evasive measures so their damage is minimal. Once it is over, Elroy commands his men to search and find Amaterasu as they have no more capacity to fight. Indeed. Amaterasu is bogged down with heavy damage from that tactic. All they have left is to fight with all they’ve got.

Episode 12
Amaterasu is like sitting ducks as most of their systems are down. Elroy commands to fire the laser cannon at Amaterasu despite they cannot accurately pinpoint their position and will not destroy them outright. He does not want to make them rest. Conquistador fires several shots that grazed Amaterasu. But each shot is getting more accurate. Shinon deduces Conquistador has not located them and thus the lesser armament attack to do so. Miyuri will try to pinpoint Conquistador’s position from their attacks as Shinon suggests getting up close to them at maximum battle speed and fire their Revolver. While the fighting rages on, Mamiya makes his speech at UN to condemn Henrietta’s violent actions. It is Isabel’s turn to speak. She shows images of Amaterasu’s trail of destruction and thus their actions to subdue their insurgent activities under Henrietta’s areas. When Amaterasu gets into firing range, it fires 3 Revolver shots. Either missed or did minimal damage. Now they are out of ammo. Elroy gets ready his main cannon to vaporize them for good when he receives a call from Isabel who just finished her speech. He updates her on the situation but she wants him to capture them instead and hand them over to Earth Federation. Elroy is shocked by this decision so she explains how little they would gain from destroying them as the public sympathy is with Amaterasu. It is better to stabilize the situation and plan to restructure the internal workings of the kingdom. Elroy is forced to comply when he detects 10 Earth Federation vessels on the way.

Cisca is screaming for options but none. All they face now is imminent death. He then receives contact from Elroy who gives them an hour to surrender otherwise they will be destroyed. Mamiya explains this farce especially his speech was just for show. Before the conference began, Earth Federation already sent its fleet to Henrietta. No doubt Earth Federation won’t do something bold as to attack independent nations under Henrietta. If Amaterasu was a domestic problem, they won’t get involved. But if it is a government in exile, they can strike a blow to it in the name of saving it. They’re just responding to Amaterasu’s request and the public will be sympathetic to it. Now the planets don’t see any difference being ruled by Henrietta or Earth Federation. Those who have sided with Henrietta will now likely find themselves overthrown. Cisca discusses with his crew and the only option is to surrender. However Takai is very much against it otherwise all they have done and those who have died for the cause will be for naught. As the bridge is very much divided, when Shinto notices how odd it is for Conquistador to ask them to surrender now, this prompts Shinon to realize that their original plan was to sink them and not give them any chance to speak. Otherwise they would have done so when they were flanked. Something must have changed the situation.

Episode 13
As everyone waits what Earth Federation will do, suddenly Conquistador picks up signals of being targeted by them. Before they could prepare themselves, the Earth Federation fleet fires all they’ve got at them. Galaxy Network is suddenly taken off the air. The station is stormed by armed men as they beat up Peter and take him hostage. Isabel is shocked to be arrested under orders of Hermann. She realizes he has sold Henrietta out to Earth Federation and warns him that he is only being used. He doesn’t care. After Isabel gets executed, the Earth Federation guys shoot Hermann! Conquistador is on the verge of destruction. Elroy contacts Amaterasu to tell what is happening. It seems they have been backstabbed. He regrets they could settle this under circumstances. A final salute before Conquistador is blown to smithereens. Shortly, Amaterasu is contacted by Earth Federation fleet’s captain, Joseph Truman who gives them an hour to surrender. Peter manages to break free from his capture and contact Dita that the station is being taken over by Earth Federation. And then when broadcast resumes, it is a totally fake broadcast saying how Conquistador defied orders to surrender and was promptly destroyed and thus they are going to attack Henrietta. What does this mean? Shinon deduces Earth Federation has been using Amaterasu as pretext to wage war against Henrietta and rule the galaxy. There is a possibility Amaterasu’s crew will be executed for knowing too much, hence the station takeover to not show their execution.

Shinon has a plan. She wants Dita to get hold of Peter first. They need to show a real live broadcast of Earth Federation using violence against them. They will put Amaterasu on autopilot towards the fleet before exploding at the right moment. Once Cisca authorizes the self-destruct sequence, everyone escapes via shuttle. However they notice Yuuki is not around. Cisca and Rio try to go convince him but he is stubborn to remain and operate some of Amaterasu’s systems that can’t be done automatically. He takes this as his responsibility for dragging everyone into this mess and claims he has higher authority then Cisca as he relieves everyone from their duties. Cisca and Rio has no choice but to leave him. Peter manages to slip back into the broadcast room and hack the broadcast to Dita who reports live the fleet attacking Amaterasu (Truman thinks Amaterasu is trying to defy and attack them) although they are not being provoked. This truth is soon broadcasted all over other networks across the galaxy as they witness Earth Federation’s aggression. With Peter’s job done, the armed men finally break down the door and shoot him. Well, at least he did something good for one last time. No wonder Dita was telling Shinon how she once dated him. Amaterasu’s self-destruct goes off and its shockwave destroys the ships. The surviving Amaterasu crew are sad over the development of events but they have some good news as Sei picks them up in AGI’s cargo ship. Shinon narrates war is over for now as she would like to believe peace was created by their hands. For now, Amaterasu’s battle is over.

Outlaw Star: The Reality Of Politics
Well, that was sure a bittersweet and sad ending if I should say. With the interestingly shocking twists and sudden turn of events, it might felt a bit rushed in that sense but I guess it is a fitting ending for everything that has been dragged out for too long. At least in the context of this anime and not the series itself. Imagine if it ended with the war continuing and that Amaterasu would soldier on to continue fighting, I think it would leave an even more unsatisfying and bad aftertaste in our mouth. Thus, the ending of Amaterasu meeting its fitting end of being destroyed in the battlefield is somewhat suitable for the battleship it was made for. But what about the crew? Well, they survived. That’s good enough considering the political storm they had to go through.

For me, the interesting parts are the battle sequences. Although this series doesn’t bombard us with many flashy laser lights or epic space battles, many of the so called battles are seen taking place in the bridge and command centre whereby the commanders of both sides give their orders on their next course of action. There are a few of those laser firing and spaceship views but they are much lesser compared to this battle of the brains at the bridge. Ironically there are a few terminologies albeit I feel that they aren’t that heavy, I didn’t really understand them completely but yet I find it interesting to watch. Like for example when the crew reports the damage status and their power capacity, I might not comprehend the entire thing but somehow I had the gist of what was going on. Strange, right?

Hence this proves that even without the flashy physical action, watching both sides giving commands from their seat is still as interesting. At least for this series. Perhaps it was my spell with a couple of military themed anime in the past like Senjou No Valkyria, Gate, Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou No Alderamin and even Heavy Object. It is always nice to see the underdog team defeat a bunch of powerful favourites, right? Yeah, they make it look so unrealistic that Amaterasu, a bunch of amateurs that are just about to join the enlisting but their dreams dashed because of circumstances, to be able to effectively destroy not one, not two, not three but a handful of Henrietta’s finest ships! Man, did they use some cheat code here or is God really siding with them? Or maybe those old captain guys in Henrietta were really underestimating those kids. Doesn’t make sense since they should have war experience and shouldn’t be holding back to even kids who are part of the rebellion. Oh right. I forgot I’m watching anime.

Thus in view of this action part, the little ‘disappointing’ part is that there aren’t enough deaths on Amaterasu! Holy sh*t! Am I a bloodthirsty sadist?! I can only blame myself for having created such a high expectation and assumption after reading the synopsis. When I read that death was going to be real, I was expecting like at least a death of a crew per episode when the sh*t really starts to hit the fan. Okay, some ‘minor’ characters died. Can’t really complain, can I? Happy now? But come to think of it, if Amaterasu really does take a lot of casualties, it would render the ship less efficient to operate because with lesser crew members, either they have to take in replacements and recruits (which in their position isn’t possible) or they have to overwork and do double, triple jobs. Not practical. Oh wait, Yuuki did say he could handle many parts of the ship on his own… And ironically Amaterasu’s final death count culminated in his ‘sacrifice’. So while Amaterasu’s deaths are minimal, nobody talks about Henrietta’s ships who were destroyed by them and all the crew members that died along with them. Yeah, nobody cares about the ‘bad guys’, right? So I thought the final episode they decided to make me ‘happy’ when they kill off a few characters from Henrietta. Yeah well, at least it saves me the trouble to think what will happen to them. One bad deed deserves another, they say. Karma is a b*tch too. They got what they deserved after all that political backstabbing.

If I personally look into the characters of the series, I think they are the weakest link. Although Amaterasu has a lot of crew members, the handful that at least have decent screen time do not feel that deep. You don’t feel connected to the cause they are fighting for on a personal level. For example, Arei’s reason to fight Henrietta was to avenge her father. Her back story sounds decent but there is all there is to it. This means the other main characters like Shinon, Cisca, Takai, Rio, Shinto and even Yuuki, their backgrounds are shrouded in mystery. Sure, Rio is the granddaughter of a politician. But that’s about it. Blame the short duration of the series that didn’t do justice to flesh out at least these characters. Therefore we can’t personally connect to them why they as a small little government in exile are fighting against a huge kingdom with experienced military equipment and personnel. We only vouch for them because they are fighting as a group. But on an individual level, we know nothing much about them. Well, even if we do, how does it really affect the course of the plot?

Shinon showcases herself as a genius tactician with her coming up most of the brilliant tactics that ensured Amaterasu’s victory. Sometimes too perfect and at first go that it doesn’t feel a bit realistic. I’m sure she is one of the top students of the military academy but without experience and she is making and calling all those superb deductions like as though she is reading from a script. Sometimes I feel that Cisca barely makes it as a captain. He doesn’t screw up or show any obvious weakness but with him giving out orders as the captain, it feels like as though he is a robot shelling them out since as I said most of the strategies are from Shinon. Hey, at least this isn’t anywhere that Irresponsible Captain Tylor anime. Yeah, I wanted to draw some similarities but I think the differences are too vast. Because Takai is in charge of the cannons, sometimes I feel he is trigger happy (which he is not) because the crew often seeks his ‘permission’ whenever they want to fire. Something bugs me about Yuuki. He is never seen leaving his station like as though he is hooked up to the terminals there. Sometimes I question if he even exists at all and could be just some artificial intelligence. Well, some crew members have entered his room and talked to him before but that made me think he was made of hologram… Why the heck am I so paranoid?

Therefore I thought having a bit of romance element inside here feels a bit cheesy and a distraction. We start it off with Sanri and Takai, thus some sort of cheap reason why she would want to continue to stay on. Well, might as well die for the one she loves, right? Then we have the secretive tryst between Cisca and Rio. All that pressure on the bridge maybe made them had a fling? Yeah, it was unexpected but I should have seen it coming since the duo spend quite a lot of time together not only on the bridge but when they go on the ground too. Finally there’s the short-lived Shinon and Kouki which is of course the most tragic. Their romance came so fast and it ended as fast as well. I know it is a good thing Shinon put that tragedy behind her but I can’t help feel that as it never happened. As though the plot was to pull some heart strings because you know, the lover of the main girl is dead. Oh, a timely reminder to increase the casualty count on Amaterasu. And what the heck was Dita’s revelation with Peter for? To show why such a strong and independent stuck by some crazy TV producer all these years? Yeah, love makes you do crazy things.

I didn’t expect to find Mamiko Noto here. It wasn’t the reason why I picked to watch this show but I guess I would still watch it even if I knew. Although helming a lesser role as Sanri, at least hearing her voice is better than not hearing her voice at all. Fan boy speaking… There are other recognizable seiyuus too like Ayako Kawasumi as Rio, Shizuka Itou as Shinon and Sayaka Ohara as Isabel. Because there are quite a number of casts, I later discovered that there are other seiyuus such as Satomi Arai, Daisuke Ono and Yu Kobayashi that I know but didn’t manage to catch them due to their very limited appearances.

The rest of the selected casts are Yukimasa Obi as Cisca (Zero Enna in Pilot Candidate), Masayuki Katou as Takai (Kiyomasa in Deadman Wonderland), Tomohiro Tsuboi as Shinto (Shinpachi Nagakura in Hakuouki series), Miyu Irino as Yuuki (Syaoran in Tsubasa Chronicle), Hiroshi Matsumoto as Elroy (Henry Marker in Karin), Hitomi Nabatame as Dita (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Akeno Watanabe as Arei (Rito in To Love-Ru), Masumi Asano as Miyuri (Risa in Hayate No Gotoku), Kaori Shimizu as Sei (Hazuki in Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu), Yuu Asakawa as Renna (Jura in Vandread), Atsuko Enomoto as Akiho (Misaki in Angelic Layer), Shinji Kawada as Kouki (Shino in Naruto) and Tomoyuki Shimura as Peter (Nakai in Bakuman).

Hearing the opening theme, Radiance brings back those nostalgic memories of my anime stint in the mid-2000s. Sung by Mami Kawada who was a member of the I’ve Sound group, the style of this music is very much similar to all the other animes that I have watched during that period such as Onegai Teacher, Onegai Twins, the first season of Hayate No Gotoku and the first season of Shakugan No Shana. The ending theme is Chi Ni Kaeru ~On The Earth~ by Kotoko who was also a member of I’ve Sound. But this slow ballad didn’t make me feel nostalgic despite having a hand in singing in those aforementioned animes.

Animated by the veteran anime studio of J.C. Staff, I guess the art and drawing are pretty decent for that time period. CGI is also used but that is mostly reserved for the ships. They try their best to have different designs but I thought that despite they look very different from each other, they still look bland and plain. Is it because that the ships or not colourful? I mean, they’re all white or grey. Boring, right? Oh well, why the heck would a military ship be painted so colourful as if they’re signalling to enemies, “Hey, look! I’m over here! So colourful right over here!”. Yeah… But the weirdest CGI used is for the automated walkways inside the ship’s corridors. I don’t know. It just feels odd seeing them. As though they don’t really fit in especially when those 2D humans are animated together in it. Feels like something might glitch soon…

Overall, if you are interested in military themed shows with some political manoeuvring, the draw of the series would be the tactics devised in the bridge rather than the reality TV plot and the characters. And definitely not the cheesy abysmal romance. I believe reality TV would be more controversial as it would be exciting if real death like this series is part of the script. You have been warned, right? Then we will see how many people would love to become famous quick as reality TV stars. Me? I wouldn’t even want to sign up for a reality TV that risks having death just so that some people can have their entertainment for the day and to others like power hungry politicians as a tool to further their ambitions. Not even a trillion dollars. Where are you going to enjoy all that money when you’re dead? Maybe a gold plated and diamond encrusted coffin buried inside a huge air-conditioned mansion on a huge picturesque landscape with maids tending to its upkeep perhaps? I can imagine the political uproar and politicking that comes after that.

Blue Gender

July 15, 2017

Imagine yourself putting yourself to sleep in a cryogenic freezer in hopes to see a better world in the future. And when that supposed time came, all you see is destruction and overrun by aliens. Is this the future you sign up for? Oh hell. This is reality. Deal with it! This is the case for our main protagonist in Blue Gender. He has an incurable disease that current medical technology cannot cure so he undergoes a programme in hopes the future will hold a key to save his life. Should have wished he slept forever because now it has turned into a hell hole and a survival mode set on the most difficult level ever.

Episode 1: One Day
Yuji Kaido wakes up in a daze and confused. He has been sleeping in some chamber and several men are trying to transport him out. They are then attacked and devoured by a bug monster. Yuji is of course terrified as he climbs out of the chamber. He could have been its next meal had not a mecha ally save him. But since he doesn’t know if this is friend or foe, he runs away. His memories slowly come back as he looks around his dystopian surrounding. Wasn’t Japan a pretty normal place? Oh yeah. The doctor told him he had an incurable disease. He and a few other patients underwent some genome therapy. Something about the current medical technology isn’t available to cure them so they are put to sleep and to be waken up several years later. Well, looks like Yuji woke up to a nightmare. He might want to go back to sleep… Because monster bugs eat and spit out humans like giant cabbage balls! He further remembers his best friend Takashi promised to take him to a faraway trip the next time he wakes up. Wanna bet he is already in a ‘faraway place’ right now? Just kidding. Another bug attacks. Luckily mecha ally saves the day. This time Yuji sees the pilot’s face. Marlene Angel and she is human. Thank goodness, right? She has him follow her orders if he wants to live. More bugs invade. Luckily her comrades, Keith Bean and Joey Heald jump in to help kick bug ass. Once the rest of the team arrives, they bomb the entire facility as they make their escape. Yuji has some questions. Marlene answers them. This is the year 20131. Those monsters are called Blue, a mysterious lifeform that is a threat to mankind.

Episode 2: Cry
While they rest and eat, Yuji learns that there were orders to retrieve Sleeper samples like him. Luckily Yuji as the only surviving Sleeper left because had there been no survivors, the team would have been abandoned. Yuji becomes mad because he didn’t want to wake up to this nightmare. I suppose a few more explanations to calm him down? It is unknown how long Blue existed but their existence was confirmed in 2017. At first they thought it is some biological weapon created by a rogue nation but they soon turn out different. They are attracted to human civilization to feed on them. Before you know it, Earth has become their nesting ground. Blue has also evolved in their own ways. When humans ran out of place to hide, the survivors are now living in space orbiting the planet, Second Earth. The team is to wait for pickup orders. Yuji is still not happy and would rather continue sleeping? Or would he rather die? Marlene tells him off he is free to die. But till she clears her orders to bring him back to the space station, he must live. As the team prepares to take off at the sea airport, Yuji sees many other Sleepers. Apparently there are quite a few around the country and other teams have orders to retrieve them. Guess what? Yuji wants to wake them all up! WTF?! He himself didn’t want to wake up to this nightmare and now he wants to let other Sleepers experience this nightmare?! Oh yeah, Blue now attacks. Such great timing. This surprise attack results in lots of casualties. And Yuji still wants to wake up those Sleepers? Marlene, please slap this guy to his senses. Thank you. Let’s go. Eventually they manage to take flight. Too bad other Sleepers perished. Good news? Perished in their sleep. Sorry, my bad. Yuji is still angry he would rather die than wake up to this nightmare. But then he changes his mind he doesn’t want to lose to these bugs.

Episode 3: Trial
With the rise in activity of Blue, they have to take a detour to meet up with the recovery team. They are still being attacked. Since Yuji is still chicken sh*t, in the aftermath he wants to learn how to fight to be of use. But Marlene is against it since she won’t jeopardize the mission. Joey wants to give Yuji a chance since they are short on men so Marlene will only allow 3 days. I hope that’s enough time. Luckily Yuji has some talent. Then there is this weird moment whereby Joey is humming a song Yuji’s mom once sang to him. It’s nostalgic. Strange to hear both guys hum a strange tune… Next day when they are to depart to sea, another Blue wave attacks. Yuji and Joey team up in their mecha to fight but Yuji still has some fear. Okay, make that lots of fear. Their mecha is knocked down and despite Yuji trying to draw his will to live, he is still pissing in his pants when the Blue is trying to rip open the mecha. Again he needs Marlene to save his ass while he conveniently faints. When he wakes up, the team is starting to depart. He goes to join Joey fixing the mecha. And they hum that weird tune together… Why do I find this creepier than Blue?

Episode 4: Agony
When they arrive in Korea, it seems the entire recovery team is wiped out. They need to find a way to contact Second Earth now. As they move along, Yuji spots a young girl, Yung and her dog being cornered by a Blue. The team ignores his plea to go rescue her so Yuji jumps out to go kill the Blue. Wow. His first kill! Proud, aren’t you? But Marlene slaps him because this would only attract more Blue. For the time being they have to camp here so they follow Yung to some secret hideout where there are other survivors. Yuji is so happy to see others but it seems they aren’t too happy to see them. Yuji disobeys orders as he follows Yung deeper. He sees more people suffering. Can his heart take it? A man tells Yung not to listen to Yuji because people from Second Earth cannot be trusted. When Yuji returns to camp, he demands answers about the people’s condition here. Marlene explains due to limited resources of Second Earth, only those who are picked get to live there. Those left behind are assumed dead. In short, they were abandoned. Don’t tell me Yuji is going to try and save them all? So that night as he sits alone in agony, Yung comes to offer him her food! He isn’t so bad to eat them. Just take one and give back the rest to her. Yung finds him different from the rest so he explains he is from another era. An era where he looked to the future with hope. Safe to say this isn’t the future he was looking for. He promises to save her. He has an idea to contact Second Earth and show them this place’s condition. Then they’ll send a rescue party. Did he lose heart when he returns to camp because he sees Joey and Marlene having sex! Next day, they move out and storm a telecommunications tower. It’s their only chance to contact with Second Earth. But will everything still be working because it is now a nesting for Blue. Oh, they get to witness one hatching right now. It has evolved too!

Episode 5: Priority
Knowing just hatched Blue won’t attack them, they head to the communication room. Surprisingly it is still working although the interference is great. It seems the Russian picks them up so this is their next destination. Apparently the evolved Blue attack them. Marlene is injured but not as bad as Joey. Oddly, this guy asks Yuji if he remembers their friendship song before he dies! WTF?! No wonder Yuji is so traumatized. And Marlene acts like she doesn’t give a damn about Joey’s death. Then they go blow up the bridge which is the only way to get to the secret hideout. Apparently Blue in this area can’t fly or swim but they sure can make their own bridge! Yuji is not happy Marlene plans to use the survivors as bait to lure Blue to a certain area and wipe them out. If he has a better way to save them, please say so. The assault begins and all seems going well till there are too many Blue overrunning the place. All the survivors get killed or eaten. Strangely, Yuji and Yung stare at each other before he sees her being killed before her eyes. WTF. The commander is going to sacrifice himself to blow up the place to take Blue along with him. He tells Marlene to complete her mission to return Yuji. After the big explosion, Yuji becomes sad that he couldn’t save Yung.

Episode 6: Relation
As they trek through the highlands, Yuji still can’t get over Yung’s death. Marlene tells him those people were doomed from the start and that there was nothing they could do. This makes him even mad as he thinks she thinks nothing of those lives. He wants her to spit out the truth she loves Joey because he saw them making out that night. Marlene brushes it off as anything scandalous. Because they don’t know when they will die, it is only right they want to do things that feel alive. They are living in a different time and Yuji’s old values don’t mean anything. They take shelter from the cold as Marlene huddles close to him for body warmth. This didn’t give sweet dreams to Yuji, though. Instead he has Blue nightmare and wakes up in cold sweat. At least he is glad he is still alive. Continuing their trek, Marlene seems tired and slips off the ledge. Luckily Yuji catches her. She feels like she owes him but after all she has done to save him, he calls it even. Suddenly it’s like Yuji has a change in character as he becomes positive! He tells about his promise with Takashi and has hope he might be on Second Earth. She dismisses it due to the selection process. She adds she wasn’t selected too but rather picked up by a rescue squad during another attack wave from Blue. Her hatred for Blue who killed her parents made her trained hard and became a top military student. She also had to learn about ‘survival’ because men forced themselves on her and called it some sort of charm to make it back alive. She likes it? Yuji maintains his optimism that he would go all the way to Second Earth. After all, they’ve already come this far. He wants them to get there alive. That’s the buzzword. It makes Marlene happy and kisses him.

Episode 7: Sympathy
They stumble into a mini paradise. An abandoned township to be exact. It’s no surprise they quickly refresh themselves in the pool. But a damn Blue just had to attack. Luckily Marlene wounds it enough so it escapes. A guy named Dice in a mecha came too late. He claims he is the only friend they’ll find around here. Dice seems to take a liking for Yuji as he has him help fix his mecha while he ignores Marlene. When Marlene threatens, he swiftly overpowers her. But since there is a sign that the Blue might be coming back, they quickly make haste. In his hideout, Dice asks if Yuji would stay here a little longer. But Yuji has come this far and he wants to get to the Russian station with her. Dice understands but can’t come along with them since there is something he still has to do. Next morning, it seems Marlene has left in his mecha. Dice deduces she has gone back to that township since it has a supply depot that houses a buggy. True enough she is there but that damn Blue returns to attack. Yuji tries to be a hero and become the decoy. When Dice struggles with it, he wants Yuji to shoot the core. He can’t do it because Dice is dangerously close to it. With Marlene firing away, Yuji just dumps his worries and follows suit. Finally that pesky Blue is dead. Dice pays tribute to a nearby grave and claims his work is done. He is now able to leave this place and join the duo on their journey.

Episode 8: Oasis
Sandstorm. Blue attack. Almost out of ammunition. But what could be worse than all these? Yuji falling off the buggy! Horror! Luckily he is picked up by a nomad tribe. He makes friends with the chief’s daughter, Elena. Wow. Yuji really getting used to the life in the countryside. Heck, there is even time for them to have romance? And when they are about to kiss, a large explosion ruined the moment. Oh. Looks like bad gangs are coming. If you’ve seen Mad Max, you’ll know what I mean. After rounding up the nomads, they claim to be some military unit hunting down Blue. They are short on supplies and want them to hand over whatever they have. When they refuse, they get violent and start ransacking the place. Elena tries to be a hero but gets kidnapped. This forces Yuji to become a hero as he easily hijacks the mecha and fights back till they escape. Despite the day is saved, the nomads now fear Yuji. They even ignore him. Only Elena won’t treat Yuji like sh*t. She goes to be by his side to talk to him. He found a map to the Russian station in the mecha but is now unsure if he would find any answers if he goes there. Elena says he won’t change wherever he goes. She wants him to stay here by her side. It’s easy to convince a man by inviting a kiss. No interruptions this time. And one thing led to another. No wonder Yuji is all smiles next morning. But then he hears motorized sounds coming from a distance. Looks like Marlene and Dice are closing in.

Episode 9: Confirm
Yuji is happy to see Dice and Marlene, vice versa. Marlene doesn’t look too happy to see Elena close to him. After refilling, Marlene wants to continue their journey but Yuji says he is staying. She fires a warning shot and warns him she will drag him by force. Elena dares her to kill them. Yuji protects her. Marlene puts her gun down. What now? Yuji packs up with the nomads and leave, thinking he will be fine with this happy life. A Blue then attacks Marlene and Dice. They are having a hard time fighting it. Yuji could hear the commotion in the back. Now he is in a dilemma if he should go back and help. So he’s not resolved to live to nomad life? Because here he is thinking which woman he should choose. Screw all that because blondes are better. Yuji turns back and this leaves Elena sad and disappointed. Bye. Yuji went back to get the mecha to help fight and destroy the Blue. Then Yuji continues his journey with them to the Russian station. Once arrived, they part ways with Dice.

Episode 10: Tactics
Several Blue try to attack the base but unmanned sentries easily destroy them. If so, why didn’t the entire Earth armed them you ask? Well, they require lots of energy and their range is limited. And now they have a programming bug problem as they cannot distinguish friend or foe and attack the duo. Luckily the guys from the base help them out. The commander explains their next mission to destroy a Blue nesting in the main computer area so they can get the sentries back on their side and blast off to Second Earth. Later Yuji finds another Sleeper. Seamus Han says he was the one who found her. This beautiful angel asleep in a world of her own instead of this filth they are stuck in. He is sad that they cannot be together much longer once he hands her over to Second Earth. He is dismayed those people think of her more than nothing but a lab specimen. This makes Yuji think a lot about his own predicament. Regretting you should have chosen Elena? Next day, the assault begins. Marlene is in a group fending off Blue and the sentries while Yuji is with Han’s team sneaking into the base to hack the terminal. Yuji is really anxious and trying to pressure Han to be faster because Marlene is really in danger with ammo running low. Why don’t you do it yourself? Finally Han overwrites the system. They prepare to blast off but something is wrong. Han has betrayed the team as he is going to blast off alone with his angel.

Episode 11: Go Mad
Suddenly there’s no power. You think Han is stupid for coming back but he knows they can’t kill him as he is the only one who knows how to hack. They go check out the power source and find an evolved Blue feeding on the energy. Now everybody is scared. Nobody knows what to do. They can’t simply fire or risk damage the sensitive controls. And those out there fighting the horde are fast running out of ammo. Han then just loses it. As he tries to pry the bug off, he screams about giving his angel a better life and fate than this hell hole. I guess the bug got fed up of his incessant stabbing on its hard shell so it turns around and sucks the hell out of his life force. And after only Han died, they shoot and kill it. WTF. The rest try to figure out how to restore the power. Yuji wants to go support Marlene despite the commander won’t let him. He punches him and doesn’t care about his operation. He is going to fight. All the fighters in the battlefield have been killed. Marlene is the only one left. She is about to blow up herself but here comes Yuji to the rescue as he commands supporter sentries to aid her. She tries to be a hero that she is prepared to risk her life. All that wavers when Yuji ‘threatens’ he isn’t going to space without her. And so she comes with him and they blast off in the shuttle. Yuji treats her wounds and realizes it is good to be alive. Then he kisses her. Good to be alive indeed. However it is ruined when a Blue parasite using Han’s body attacks. Yuji uses his body to protect Marlene before she finishes it off. True horror for Marlene when she sees his blood floating all over.

Episode 12: Progress
After Yuji rolls into ICU, Marlene is brought to the high council. Guess what? Despite her efforts, they blame her for falling behind schedule and accuse her for making the Sample fight. Despite telling about Yuji’s volunteerism, they think it is fabrication. Then they argue about the Sample condition and how to proceed to the next phase. Anyhow, Marlene is deemed not fit for active squad combat and will be sent for re-education. As she heads to the medical facility for check-up, she goes to find Yuji. She is glad he is still alive although being experimented on. Realizing that the council has deemed her unfit as a soldier, she now needs to prove to them in her on way otherwise because she believes she did nothing wrong. But she gets off on a bad start during the mecha simulation. Because she tries to save the humans, she hesitates. This earns her points deduction. And why does one of the humans have to look like Yung?! Now she spaces out and loses. The drill sergeant, Amick Hendar punches her! Then in the team simulation, against orders to leave the injured teammate behind and get along with the mission, Marlene defies orders to help him while killing Blue along the way. She has got to show everyone this way because this was how she survived with Yuji. Although impressive, they up the difficulty and Marlene loses. She is sent back to the medical facility but she is happy because she can go see Yuji. However he is already gone.

Episode 13: Heresy
Marlene is caught by Amick. She undergoes more training and fails. For some reason, the security around her is lax because Marlene manages to hack and find information on the guy who took Yuji away. He is Seno Miyagi, a director of the military’s science division. Amick picks up her defection and sends an army to intercept her. Marlene is not as dumb as you think, giving the soldiers the runabout. Then she disguise herself as a nurse personnel to get more information on Miyagi. Adding more insult, the soldiers must really not know how Marlene look like because she is extracting data right before them! Worse, Amick and another high profile director, Doug Vreiss are addressing this problem a few feet away! They’re blaming each other that they aren’t supervising Marlene enough but have to solve this problem before the high council discovers it or they’ll be severely punished. While they’re at that, Marlene is already done and is now on her way to experiment room where Miyagi is. It seems his team is experimenting on an evolving Blue which has completely fused with a human body. She takes him hostage back to his room to ask for Yuji’s whereabouts. Since he won’t say, she hacks his computer and access privileges. At this time, the hacking has made her whereabouts known. Amick leads the arrest but after Marlene is done, she short circuits the place and makes her escape. Apparently those dumbs soldiers can’t see in the dark. She runs all the way to the lab where Yuji is but the final hurdle stops her. They have revoke her access privileges. Cornered, I don’t think telling how Yuji is more than just a sample isn’t going to convince them. Before she could be arrested, somebody opens the door to let her in before closing it shut. Inside the lab, Marlene is horrified to see the experiment on Yuji. I don’t think screaming his name would make him wake- Oh wait. It did!

Episode 14: Set
With Yuji waking up, Marlene breaks into the experiment area just to get him. With the high council already noticing this, they bring both Yuji and Marlene in for hearing. They want Marlene to explain her actions and because she stays silent, they mock her for doing this to try and find a sex partner. And when Marlene does break her silence, she says she doesn’t know why she is doing this! All she knows is that she can’t let Yuji be. If that doesn’t sound like love, I don’t know what is. Interestingly, they agree to tell her the truth with a condition that she gives Yuji back unconditionally. Long story short, 2 years ago they discovered data from Sleepers containing some B cells that can activate and produce some antibodies that can wipe out Blue. Combining it with the mecha stimulates the cells further and even heals injuries quickly. Yuji realizes he was once begging for help but now he is going to help the world. Miyagi intercepts and suggests letting Marlene stay with Yuji as it would be interesting to see their interaction. The high council disagrees and as they argue about authority and rights, Yuji makes his offer. He agrees to let them use his body for whatever experiment to fight Blue. However he will accept nobody but Marlene as his partner. Marlene, you look so happy. The high council goes with Miyagi’s suggestion. Yuji and Marlene are taken to a training facility where there are other awakened Sleepers. One of them includes a young girl, Alicia Whistle who is flirting and bugging with Yuji the instant she sees him because she wants to know about life down on Earth. I don’t think it’s pretty. Marlene and Yuji show what they’ve got as they ride the mecha to battle another one. Although impressive, they lost. Noting how impressive their opponent is, they believe he too is a Sleeper. Marlene remembers seeing Tony Frost in the first lab with Yuji.

Episode 15: Calm
In another simulation, Alicia is totally slacking as she watches in awe Yuji and Marlene kick Blue ass. Later Alicia seems to love molesting Marlene’s soft skin. She hints she wants to take Yuji and thinks Marlene is acting dumb since she says she has no feelings whatsoever for him. Says the woman who caused pandemonium throughout the station over a Sample. Yuji talks to Tony. He wonders why he is maintaining his equipment since the mechanics here do a very good job. Tony doesn’t trust anyone. He believes everyone here is not right. His past life on Earth doesn’t mean anything and his goal is to survive. Alicia takes Yuji somewhere. Marlene, you looking worried for a woman who doesn’t care about Yuji… In some dark area, Alicia dropped her bag, asked Yuji to get it and then leaves him to almost fall to his death while she goes spy on something! What is it so interesting that she had to almost kill him? There’s a couple having sex! Apparently everywhere if you take a closer look, there are couples making out! However this isn’t Alicia’s goal as he takes him somewhere else. Somehow they got lost and end up in some restricted area where laser beams are constantly shooting at them. Run! Meanwhile Marlene too is in the midst of getting f*cked. Too bad Yuji is on her mind so she dumps the guy to go look for him. Worried, isn’t she? But she stumbles into Tony and finds out he is trying to hack data on Yuji and Alicia. Too bad he hacked wrongly and the security sounded. Marlene escapes and as she hides, this is where she bumps into Yuji. What are you doing here? Then they see the magnificent view of a sunrise over Earth. Yuji believes this is what Alicia wanted to show him. Speaking of her, she is separated and watching this sunrise elsewhere. And she’s blaming Yuji…

Episode 16: A Sign
Teams are instructed to take down Blue nesting in Africa. However the Blue wave are just too many and the fighters are panicking they have no core to destroy as in their data. Worst, they are ordered to maintain their position instead of retreating and got slaughtered. Now it is time for Yuji and his team to head into a battlefield with a new upgraded mecha. Tony kicks ass and uses his instinct to find and destroy the Blue’s core! Then he goes off by himself to finish a nestling on his own! One man army? Alicia is being a liability, being scared at everything and needs to be saved by Yuji. In the end, Yuji’s team has a new mission. Because the main nesting cannot be destroyed by missile, they are to sneak in and detonate it. Yuji is preoccupied with enhancing his mecha’s performance to stay on par with Tony that he ignores Alicia’s advances. Yo girl, ain’t nobody got time for that! As the mission gets underway, Tony again goes off by himself. Yuji suggests he and Marlene go set the explosives while the rest rendezvous with Tony. Alicia didn’t like that. Who is he to give orders? Yeah, she follows him. So after setting the explosives, they are confronted by the Blue hordes. Yuji tries to be a hero and take them down, thinking he can be Tony’s equal. Yeah, this guy is on fire. Could have been done in had not Marlene saved him. They manage to leave in time before the detonation takes down the nesting. In the aftermath, Tony is reprimanded by the superior. Despite the mission a success, there were so many disobedience. So he thinks he can win the war by himself? Tony just smiles and says back, isn’t that why they woke up Sleepers? Plus, feel free to win the war by themselves if they think they can. Marlene talks to Yuji about his ‘competition’ with Tony. He’s got this inferior complex to him and wants to be stronger to save Earth from Blue.

Episode 17: Eclosion
Yuji’s team are fighting another horde of Blue. This is part of Yuji’s plan of using himself as bait so the rest can destroy the nesting faster and they can all return to Second Earth together. Tony didn’t think he could do it and this pissed him off very much. So they settled it via coin toss and Yuji won. While fighting Blue, Marlene notices Yuji very agitated and trying to rush things. He feels he is responsible for this operation and cannot fail. They stumble into several African kids living in the jungle. Because of incoming Blue, Yuji fires away and doesn’t care about those kids. Marlene tries to make him stop but he won’t let her get in the way. She sees Yuji become a savage taking down a Blue. As they rest at the rendezvous point, Alicia as usual comes to b*tch and flatter how good Yuji is. Marlene isn’t moved because she believes this is not the real Yuji. Alicia thinks she is jealous of him since he is now a better soldier than her. Marlene goes to talk to Yuji but he is obsessed in tweaking his mecha to improve its performance and beat Tony. Yeah, this guy is keeping a score. When she asks about those kids they saw, she is shocked to hear he doesn’t care about them. If they are going to exterminate Blue, they cannot concern themselves with such trivial matters. He believes they will eventually be killed by Blue. As another sortie is alerted, Marlene is shocked and sad to see the gleeful killer look on his face as he suits up to go fight Blue.

Episode 18: Chaos
Marlene wakes up from a nightmare that Yuji ruthlessly kills Blue and even sacrificed her for it. Yuji receives high praises during testing. Because he thinks he has already come this far, instead of testing, he continues to train. Marlene notices Miyagi coming in to see the data of the Sleepers personally. She suspects something amiss because he once said to test out Yuji’s abilities with Marlene by his side but now the environment has totally changed. Fellow comrade Rick thought he could have sex with Marlene but she uses her feminine charms to let him be her donkey to deliver some data to Miyagi. Later Marlene is ‘arrested’ and brought to Miyagi’s secret hideout. He has received her data. Comparing with the earlier data, he realizes the Sleepers’ data has been tampered. The Sleepers’ B cells have a higher value than expected. It seems not only they have superhuman powers, they have this telepathic connection with Blue. This means they can read Blue’s minds and predict their movement. But there is a darker meaning to all this. When B cells first appeared decades ago, there were no treatment and thus those infected reluctantly became Sleepers. Experiments of B cells were conducted on various animals to find a cure but it all backfired. However the B cells evolved and you can say Blue is actually the product of those experiments! This also means Sleepers have a potential to become Blue themselves when their B cells are activated, usually when under stress or being pushed. Yuji is no longer an ordinary human with his B cells slowly taking over, he is becoming more and more like Blue every day. Guess who will occupy Earth when those Blue are eliminated? Marlene disagrees and believes Yuji is human like her. Miyagi is glad he has chosen her. She might get through Yuji via human emotions. That is why he wants her to join his secret organization, Arks to fight against the high council’s plan to progress on this. They will need to remove the high council from their position of influence. The alert is sounded for another mission on Earth. Too bad the soldiers leaves without Marlene. What is just but one solider? Too late to rendezvous with them, Marlene. You are left behind. Screaming Yuji’s name won’t help either because this guy is obsessed in settling his score with Tony for this mission.

Episode 19: Collapse
Marlene still insists on going to save Yuji. Miyagi suggests hijacking the shuttle dock first. So they start raiding and the entire place got locked down. By the time they hijacked the shuttle dock, the high council members have already fled in their comfy ship. Meanwhile Alicia is happy she gets to pair up with Yuji to replace Marlene. Too bad she still slacks. Then she watches in awe as Yuji and Tony are in fierce Blue massacre. Yeah, they’ll eradicate this North American nest in not time. Then it turns to shock as she watches him overkill a dead Blue. He then shoots at her direction without warning when a Blue creeps up on her. She is mad that he could have killed her but he is even madder. Get in the way of his Blue and he’ll shoot you! Oh dear. Is this really the guy you like? Looks like killing Blue only soothes him. Sorry, I take that back. It makes him crazier. So Alicia is wondering if she dump Yuji or not when Tony offers her to join him. Marlene has arrived and sees Yuji in a pinch. Don’t worry. He manages to get out of it and kills all the bugging Blue. Not too sure if she is happy or disappointed. It should be the latter because she could see his madman face. Yeah, killing Blue is like his meth.

Episode 20: Versus
I suppose words aren’t going through Yuji. Because trying to warn him how he’ll turn into something more ferocious than Blue makes him attack her. Not surprisingly he couldn’t finish her off because he knows she is his saviour but also the one who woke him up in this hell hole. Yet he can’t kill her. WTF. He defeats her and then goes off to happily kill more Blue. Thanks to Tony and Alicia going off on their own deep inside the Blue’s nest, the outside teams are having trouble fending off the Blue. Eventually all of them got annihilated. It shows you they’re useless without Sleepers, eh? Meanwhile Miyagi continues his shutdown of all other stations on Second Earth to cut off the lifeline to the high council. Marlene again confronts Yuji and fights him. She is going to do all it takes to stop him. He fires away and when he shoots off her helmet, it seems it makes him remember something. Yuji is defeated in his hesitation but that isn’t enough to stop him. He claims how he lost everything and is alone. Nothing will stand in his way. Blah, blah, blah. Marlene is just sad listening to his drama. Not sure if he is a bad shot or just purposely missing her because she walks closer to him and doesn’t fear being shot. She wants Yuji to return to his original self. There is still hope. So how do you make a man turn back to his old self? Why, you kiss him! A montage of Marlene flashes through his mind. Looks like he calmed down. Even if it is a victory for Marlene, looks like the remaining troops have evacuated and left them stranded.

Episode 21: Joker
Marlene is able to find a working shuttle. She goes to get Yuji but he is still in vegetable state. Meanwhile Miyagi contacts the high council for them to give up. However they tell him they did nothing wrong and something on Miyagi’s part that he did they deflect the blame to him. Also, they threaten the hundreds of sleeping Sleepers in the medical facility that they could dispose of. Because of Miyagi’s humanitarian side, they expect him to give a positive answer and return the military facility back to them. When Tony and Alicia’s shuttle hail Second Earth, Miyagi suddenly orders not to let them in and shuts them out. The high council on the other hand welcome the Sleepers with open arms as they believe their B cells are the only factor to take back Earth. Guess what? Tony and Alicia brought back Blue to invade! The party’s here! Tony then contacts Miyagi to tell about his plans to destroy Second Earth and to prove that all their worst fears are true. Because Blue were evolved by the same B cells like Sleepers, this means Sleepers are also meant to kill humans. Therefore the awakening of Blue was no accident but destiny. Mankind was doomed to be exterminated long before they destroy the planet. To stop Tony from ramming the station into theirs, some troops try to invade. What were they thinking? They became instant Blue fodder! It’s like waiting for their meal to arrive. Gochisousama. Marlene manages to contact Miyagi and been told the atrocity that Tony is trying to commit. This makes Yuji go crazier. Miyagi places his hopes on them to stop Tony. If they fail to stop his madness, they must kill him. That statement somehow calmed Yuji. The thought of killing him… Now he gets serious that he can do it. I don’t know who is crazier at this point.

Episode 22: Dogma
Yuji and Marlene enter the space station. They find Lu Li Chang, the only survivor among the high council cowering and hiding in fear. Even more so when she sees Yuji as she thinks he is like Tony. When they hear something breaking through from the other side of the door, it turns out to be Rick and his team including Lu’s twin sister, Su who has been working for the high council by manipulating data on Sleepers’ performance to deceive Miyagi. They just never thought it would turn out like this. Their priority is to stop Tony and Lu’s guess he would be at the main computer trying to activate the propulsion to move the space station. Yuji, Marlene and Rick make their way there and they are surprised to see Alicia in their way. I guess no use trying to talk to her since she has become something like Tony. But Yuji refuses to give up. I mean, if Marlene managed to get through him, why not the same for Alicia, right? So this guy tries to nicely tell her things but you can see Alicia descending into madness as she blames it all on her jealousy that he prefers Marlene to her. Flashback shows when she was with Tony in that nest, she was freaking scared being surrounded by Blue although they didn’t harm her. Tony then gives her hug a Blue’s egg while telling her how they are the messiah, blah, blah, blah. Alicia must be so grossed out in hugging the egg and that is when she got ‘brainwashed’ and ‘reborn’. Yeah, just an egg… But she has had it and order the Blue to attack and kill everybody. Marlene and Rick fend them off while Yuji is still adamant in trying to get through Alicia but she is throwing tantrums like a child. Rick gets injured after Yuji retrains Alicia. Rick tells Marlene to shoot Alicia. She hesitates since Rick says do it and Yuji says don’t. Yuji stands in between. I suppose he can’t see this coming because Alicia pulls out a knife and is about to stab him when she gets shot. By Rick.

Episode 23: Soliste
Lu and Su have everyone evacuate the space station. After patching up Rick and Alicia, Yuji and Marlene want them to evacuate since they would only be in the way in their fight against Tony. Sad but true. Yuji and Marlene make their way to the main computer and have to fend off automatons sent by Tony. Finally they are outside the room, Yuji must be feeling chivalrous because he signals to Tony that he is here to stop him! So much about any surprise attack. But then again, Tony would have anticipated people trying to stop him. Tony hooks himself up to a computer as Yuji tries to get through his head about him doing this. Tony explains about some grand will that needs to be done and thus Sleepers like him will be the one to carry it out. In short, he views himself as a messiah. Maybe he just wants to do it for himself. I suppose this revelation that B cells were born on Earth and that Earth knew mankind would give birth to Blue by its own hand sounds like crap. So why is Yuji and Marlene looking so shock? Yuji becomes mad when Tony plays footage how other humans continue to be slaughtered by the Blue onslaught. Meanwhile Rick gets killed off by a Blue. Alicia just wakes up and walks away like a boss. After a few struggles, Yuji shoots Tony in the face. Then they regroup with Lu to evacuate and flee the space station as fast as they can as it will soon self-detonate. At this point Yuji realizes Rick and Alicia aren’t on board and fears the worst. Tony isn’t dead. I guess he is really a messiah as he cannot die after taking a few bullets in the face. But before him is Alicia. She thinks they have had enough. Tony is wrong. Screw this grand will thingy. They just woke up too early and should go back to sleep. Tony is looking pretty scared now for a messiah. Alicia hugs him and wishes for Yuji to live. The space station explodes.

Episode 24: Compass
Miyagi is now the new leader as he addresses the crowd of their success and casualties. He explains how every living thing’s cells have this self-destruct order to purge impurities. Therefore those Sleepers with B cells are actually Earth’s way of self-destructing (what Tony called it as its grand will). You serious? Thus he suggests making Second Earth their permanent home because if they try to take back Earth, they’ll only be attacked by more Blue. So sever their ties with Earth and we can live peacefully till kingdom come. You serious? I guess everyone is so tired of thinking and fighting, they just give him a round of applause. However not Yuji. He is now overcome with guilt that he is the same like Tony and didn’t save anyone. Marlene, can you calm this dude down? Amick and Doug are thrown into prison. However Amick escapes by using the oldest trick in the book. Because the stupid guard didn’t see her inside from his peeping hole and unlocked the door to check. She’s hiding behind the door in the blind spot you dimwit! Oh, now he is dead. Amick wanted to kill Doug too but he pleads she needs his help to get out of here for his goal is only to get back at traitor Miyagi. Amick hijacks a ship to return to Earth. She rather die there than in this prison hole to stay true to her principle she has always lived by (to take back Earth, that is). Miyagi lets her go since she isn’t doing harm to others. Although Yuji opposes, here comes Doug to take Miyagi hostage. He tries to get Yuji on his side but when he won’t, he targets Yuji. This gives enough time for Miyagi to shoot him dead. Too bad. Yuji is even more frustrated when Miyagi doesn’t answer his questions. Because of that, he is now feeling guiltier about his existence as a Sleeper and the reason he woke up. Though Marlene is responsible for that, she is glad she did wake him up. From now on, no matter what happens, she wants to always be with him. Enough to calm that guy down. It’s so beautiful when they’re not talking because they have a really long kiss. And then it leads to sex! Are you glad you’re alive now? Nothing beats the blues like sex. But I don’t know if it is a happy thing for Marlene since she’s remembering her past amidst the intercourse.

Episode 25: Adagio
Yuji leads a mission down to South America. They come into contact a village of local tribes and make camp there. Although there is big Blue’s nest nearby, there have been no signs of Blue ever since. Flashback shows Miyagi noticing a migration pattern of Blue all heading towards Guyana. As he doesn’t have enough information to deduce if this is a threat, Yuji volunteers to check it out. From what I understand, it seems Yuji is prepared not to come back to Second Earth too since this place doesn’t have enough supplies. It seems so peaceful and a different form of living as Yuji and Marlene go about their usual activities. One morning she wakes up without Yuji next to her. While finding him, she sees a big trail of destruction. She goes to tell Yuji who is test bombing the nest about it. Accounts from the villagers confirm their reports that Blue were migrating on this trail about 3 months ago. Funny thing is that the trail leads away from the nest. As they follow the trail, it leads them to a deep chasm. Yuji leads half his unit inside while the rest standby outside. They are shocked to stumble corpses of Blue. Marlene thinks this is a Blue graveyard. Could it be that Blue received a suicide order from Earth? Once humans are purged, Blue becomes the main population and because they are the new ‘threat’, Earth gave the order to purge themselves. This sounds so f*cked up but it could be possible. However Yuji doesn’t feel good. He feels a strange force coming deep from this place. Then the ground caves in. They next thing they see is a mysterious energy before them. And a hideous ugly mother Blue emerges. This makes Yuji mad.

Episode 26: Let Me
The Blue is super fast and strong, killing lots of the team. Marlene tries to scan for its core but there is none! Are they screwed? Yuji suggests concentrating on the gaps in its armour and rip it apart from the inside out. Easier said than done since it is still a tough nut to crack. Finally Yuji manages to stick his gun into its mouth and fire away, splattering all its guts and insides. Too bad the casualty list is high. In fact only Yuji and Marlene are left. Better stop Yuji before he goes on a guilt trip blaming himself for the deaths of his men. All that is left is to find the answer in the energy. However he tells Marlene not to come with him. He will go this alone. His reason is because he has the B cells, it is most likely to treat him as a friendly compared to Marlene. Who knows what it will do to her if she steps in. We soon realize why Marlene is desperate to be with Yuji and continue living together. It’s because she’s pregnant! Oh yeah. Don’t want to be alone, right? Don’t want their unborn child to be fatherless, right? So Yuji tries his convincing skills again that he needs to ascertain what Earth wants, if this is going to happen again, etc. He is this doing this for their unborn child. That sealed it. As Marlene heads back out, Yuji climbs and interacts with some weird liquid trying to imitate his movements. Then he enters and once he reaches the core, he becomes one with Earth! Really. He can see everything from anywhere on Earth! Even peeking through the past when humans thrive to the emergence of Blue! Man, this guy is now the 3D Google Maps! Yuji realizes Earth has now been reborn. Meanwhile on Second Earth, all the dying inhabitants become crazy. They rebel against Miyagi and they shoot him to pieces! Violent death! That’s not all! They start killing each other till Second Earth destroys itself! Good riddance? No need to care about them anymore. Not sure death by Blue or this is worse. Marlene anxiously wait for Yuji’s return at the village. Then she is all smiles when he comes back. A big hug and a big kiss. Yuji is glad Marlene is right that they can live a happy life here together.

Blue Haven Is A Place On Earth
Uhm… I don’t know. Doesn’t the ending feel a bit lame? I mean, it is a good ending only because Yuji and Marlene survived all the odds against them to continue to be together in the end. But aside that, everything else feels somewhat rushed. Like how they tried to kill off the madness on Second Earth like as though they don’t want to give a f*ck about them anymore. What a dramatic way to end them. Then what was that understanding Yuji had when he was inside the core? Was it really Earth’s will? Left to viewers’ discretion? Is it puny humans with no B cells can never understand? I can’t believe it. After coming all this way and this is the kind of answer and ending we get? It’s like they ran out of ideas and stopped caring. Overall, this retro piece is still entertaining even though there were a handful of moments that were dumb and didn’t make sense. And yeah, there were quite a few of them like Marlene’s commotion through Second Earth just to get to Yuji. Oh well. All that matters is Yuji and Marlene end up together, right?

I believe that veteran anime viewers would watch this mature sci-fi series for its character development which is heavily focused on Yuji and Marlene. There is certain a lot going on between them and that they have gone through to make steady amounts of development and drive the story forward. We see how events from the start when Yuji was found changed them and the decisions they make that perhaps had an important outcome and bearing of the fate of humanity.

For instance, Yuji started off as a whiny brat whom you will love to slap because he can’t adjust himself and get over the fact that the utopia and hope he had been pining for is long gone and vanished. He also has this empathy to save other humans because he could relate with them. Marlene on the other hand is a typical by-the-book soldier bent on keeping him alive till she completes her mission, hence no unnecessary emotions all the way. The dynamics and interaction between the duo and their journey on Earth as they try to get to Second Earth affected their overall character because by halfway they switch personalities. Marlene is now the one with empathy and compassion while Yuji turned into a heartless competitive I-must-be-number-one jerk. The irony of their existence and relationship is based on one saving the other. Marlene saved Yuji and awakened him. After that it is Yuji’s turn to ‘save’ Marlene during their journey on Earth. Back on Second Earth it is her turn to save him from the unscrupulous high council and self-destruction. And now that they are together, he finally saves both of themselves (if I may so include their unborn child too) from it all in the end.

There are many other characters but they only fulfil their necessary role as given. Like Tony was predictably turning into a mini boss antagonist when he awakened as the destroyer-cum-saviour of mankind. There isn’t much to know about his past because the way they set him up to be the baddie towards the end. Alicia also feels a bit wasted. She was supposed to be Marlene’s love rival but I feel that itself never got off the ground. She does make her little moves but it doesn’t impact on anything in a great way. She is more like observing and wishing she was Yuji’s lover instead as she is more of a useless but lucky girl in the battlefield. It’s a good thing they kill her off with Tony to save the trouble of unnecessary drama should she survive. Because it would be awkwardly painful to see her coming in between Yuji and Marlene at the closing stages when their bond is already at a crucial stage.

For the rest of the other minor characters, you can’t help wonder what happened to them. Because like I’ve said, they somewhat just exist to fulfil their role that would ultimately drive the impact and plot on Yuji and Marlene. So what happened to Dice after he drove them to the Russian space station? Do we not care what happened to him or if he has become Blue fodder? What about Elena? Yuji had sex with her. That has got to be important, right? Oh. Maybe not. I guess her nomad tribe can live off the land. And whatever happened to Amick after she escaped down to Earth? Don’t care, right? She can be Blue food for all we care. Should have been shot with Doug and save us the trouble of thinking about her fate. Just like how they finally did it with the entire Second Earth in the end. Man, I still can’t get this ‘big joke’ out of my head.

If you think about it, the true antagonist of this entire series is planet Earth itself. You think that our planet is just some big rock filled with the right compounds to sustain life but we have all taken granted for it until this anime. Yup. Earth is such as a badass that it can’t take the overpopulation of humans and their wastefulness of resources that it had to go to this elaborated length to just wipe out humans. Yeah, and you thought God exists, eh? And when humans are gone and no longer a sizeable number causing threats, it had the Blue kill itself. Ah, mother Earth can now be filled with the abundance of only Mother Nature. Earth, why you sneaky little piece of rock. Perhaps Earth made Second Earth go berserk and kill themselves too. After all, we shouldn’t underestimate our little blue planet. A handful of natives, a few scattered and abandoned humans as well as main heroes Yuji and Marlene aren’t enough to destroy Earth, right? At least a few centuries later. That will be another story.

One thing I realized while watching the series is the hilarious but unintentional misspelling and bad grammar! I know this series was released right before the turn of the millennium and perhaps at that time Japanese weren’t still very proficient in basic English when it comes to show business. Therefore it is quite funny to see them misspell certain words and the bad grammar that are usually on screen instructions or signs. Making it even funnier and ironic is the fact that the characters in this show are assumed to be non-Japanese. Okay, so they may not be English but thinking about it if they made this simple mistake only makes it feel that such mistakes can only be made by a Japanese who didn’t do much spell checking to begin with and thought it was alright and even in the worst case scenario nobody would noticed. I sure did.

Commenting on the action sequences, they aren’t the most spectacular but they are pretty decent in that era. Be warned that there would be lots of blood, gore and sometimes human bodies being split in half whenever puny humans try to combat the hordes of Blue. Even if blood don’t look as real as today’s standards, at least better than some animes that cut out blood entirely and make it look like as though every kill is empty. Looking at you, Noir…

Art and drawing are of course in retro style. Even if I were to watch it during that era, I believe the animation is pretty decent and solid for its time. Because of the sci-fi genre that mixes several nationalities together, the characters mainly do not look like your typical conventional Japanese anime character with big wide eyes and kawaii looks. Sometimes you might think a western company collaborated with a Japanese studio to produce this anime. It was AIC who produced this anime. They did classic hits like Tenchi Muyou series, Aa! Megami-sama and Sakura Taisen just to name a few. As for the Blue creatures, sometimes I feel like their designs were rejects from Ultraman or Masked Rider series. Uh huh. I felt that such bug monsters could easily be passed off as monster-of-the-week in those sentai shows. Some look creepy, some look weird and some look nasty. Well, anything goes as long as they look threatening to mankind.

Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Houko Kuwashima who is also the voice of Marlene. While Tokihanate as the opener is your usual rock outfit to get you into the groove of this anime, it is the ending theme, Ai Ga Oshiete Kureta that stands out and I like the most. This is a very slow and beautiful piece despite at times it somehow reminds me of The Bangles’ Eternal Flame. I’m not saying this song is very similar but I have this feel that somewhere during the song it might just break out into that piece. Oh beware. The ending credits animation is entirely on naked Marlene. This means seeing her full blown tits for certain parts of the animation. Not sure if the version I am watching is some uncut version as I couldn’t find other versions of it. Well, this show isn’t meant for kids to begin with.

There was a movie released a few years after the TV series ended. However as I read it is a big summary of the TV series. This means lots of drama and scenes that made this show a decent one all went out of the window. Even the final arc was not even inside due to time constraints and thus a different ending. Not even new animated scenes could save it since they basically sever and dismember the efforts and dynamics of the TV series into this piece of crap. Oh, I didn’t watch it. Not planning to after reading a few reviews trashing it like how Blue carves up humans like a hit knife through butter.

Overall, this is quite a mature anime for its time and definitely not for younger audience as it deals with some dark themes as well as a handful of sex scenes. It might not be popular than some of the other more famous animes during that era like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Slayers, Cowboy Bebop and even Rurouni Kenshin but it is still something worth to check out if you like sci-fi drama and action. Sometimes there is a reason why we humans have incurable diseases. It is just Earth’s way of saying, “Please die. Just, just die…”. That is why for now there is no remake of this series like how Hollywood is currently doing as they have run out of ideas. Thank goodness Japan don’t really do remakes, right? Oh right, the Negima series… Sometimes it is best for an anime like this one to be just crystalized this way and sleep forever like the way it is. For better or worse. We don’t want to wake up in a future that has a remake or reboot worse off than the original and make us nostalgic how the good ol’ days were much better off.

Shuumatsu No Izetta

March 26, 2017

There have been countless reimagining of World War II stories, settings and outcomes. From alternate histories to those mixing with modern technological advances and even races from outer space, whatever ideas they had have all mostly been experimented on. Now let’s use witches and magic this time. Shuumatsu No Izetta is set in an alternate timeline during World War II where the names of countries are also closely resembling to the actual ones. When a powerful imperial nation sets forth in conquering all the countries of Europe and hence world domination, a small principality isn’t going to let those big guns roll over their beautiful picturesque country. But if they don’t have the number and strength of a decent military, how can they fight back? Can they even turn the tides in their favour? They can. Because they have a powerful witch by their side. Meh, you say? How about a witch riding a rifle instead of a broomstick!

Episode 1
On a train in a neutral country of Westria, Germanian soldiers are searching the passengers for a wanted person. Princess Ortfine “Fine” Fredericka Von Eylstadt and her men know she is the one they are looking for and flee. The soldiers give chase. The commotion causes Rickert and Arnold Berckmann of the special unit to take notice. Learning what is happening, Rickert wonders if the princess of Eylstadt is trying to seek refuge here. Berckmann informs that the royal family is stubborn and would rather fight to their last breath than seek asylum. So the only reason why she is here is to have political negotiations with the Allies, most probably Britannia. The chase takes place atop the train. Can they maintain their balance and shoot straight at that speed? When Fine and her men re-enter the back of the train, she sees a strange mechanical coffin. Berckmann stops them and will not divulge them anymore top secret information. After the train exits the tunnel, Fine and her men quickly jump off the bridge into the river. Although Fine is unhurt, it is sad that one of her men dies from a gunshot wound he got from Berckmann. A short narration tells us the dictatorship empire of Germania suddenly invaded its neighbouring country, Livonia. Britannia and Thermidor waged war against Germania but cannot best its might and Thermidor fell. With this, Germania now turns its attention to conquer a small Alps kingdom to the south, Eylstadt.

In a theatre, Fine sees Lord Redford of Britannia and starts negotiations. One of them being accepting her marriage to Prince Henry she once rejected. She is willing to give up her claim on the throne since her cousin Leonora is with a child and she will leave her kingdom’s future in their hands. Although Redford is touched by her sacrifice, he cannot help her. He just got message that Germania has invaded Eylstadt as they speak. Gorz and his men barges in to bring Fine back to Germania’s capital, Neue Berlin. Redford didn’t play her out. It is simply Germania’s superior intelligence. Gorz plans to use one of the many ways to get the stubborn people of Eylstadt to stop fighting: Using Fine as blackmail. Some sort of magical particles temporarily stall the plane’s engines. In zero gravity, Fine tries to fight back but is overpowered and shot in her arm. She dares them to kill her but Gorz mocks her if this is what a princess carrying the burdens of her people should do. Fine remains steadfast that she will fight with her people to the end. Upon reciting her full name, the coffin activates. Out comes a red haired witch, Izetta. It seems the ladies know each other with Fine calling Izetta her White Witch. Izetta sees Fine’s injured arm and her power bursts the plane into bits. As the plane dismantles into debris falling in mid-air, Izetta rides a rifle like a broom and swoops Fine to safety. Izetta is happy to see her princess again.

Episode 2
Germanian fighters receive a distress call of a plane crashing. As they fly to the site, they are surprised to see 2 ladies on a flying rifle. They start chasing them. Izetta has bad experience with the Germanian side too but following Fine’s orders not to recklessly use her power, she tries to flee them until they start firing. She uses her blood as magic source to bring down the planes. In the final dogfight with the captain, Fine wanted to use the rifle but I guess the girls are noobs in using such a gun. The captain escapes with his life and only has his engine stalled. Fine collapses from her gun wound. Eylstadt’s king must be having a rough time. Not only he is sick in bed but has to see his kingdom being invaded. He is worried about Fine as he has not received any word from her. A retreating and heavily injured Eylstadt troop led by Hans Obermayer stumble into Fine and Izetta in the bushes. They are taken to the nearby camp where a doctor removes a bullet from her arm. Fine’s life is in no danger but there is an old scar on her body that Izetta continues to blame herself as her fault. Something to do with Fine protecting her when the angry witch hunt mob wanted to kill Izetta and she got injured as a result for saving her. Flashback shows a young Fine caught Izetta red handed using her magic in the forest. Believing she is a good White Witch as per the legend, Weisse Hexe, they soon become friends and enjoy each other’s company. Izetta once travelled around with her grandma and never stayed in once place for very long. Grandma told her their kind has died off and she will probably be the last witch and never to use her powers recklessly. So when she met Fine who didn’t care about her status, Izetta was very happy. Fine wakes up much to everyone’s delight. Even with their side defeated, they have this little morale booster. After Fine discusses with Hans about the situation, she summons Izetta and wants her to escape. This is Eylstadt’s war and she will not get her involved anymore. She values her as the only friend who never cared about her rank. In that case, Izetta also has a request of her. She wants her to be her hope and will protect her country. Berckmann inspects the crash site. The princess and specimen are the only bodies not found. He believes she is a real witch and either way must go after her.

Episode 3
The Germaninan tanks steamroll into Coenenberg. If they take this town, they can strike deep into Eylstadt. With the air raid bombarding the front lines, it is all utter chaos. A young soldier, Jonas Gallea seems to be lucky enough to survive all that and continue fighting in this hell hole. Because no reinforcements will be coming, it saddens Fine that her men are dying to buy time for the people to escape. When some of the soldiers request Fine’s permission to head to Coenenberg to fight even if it means dying and at least kill a few enemies, she puts her foot down and orders a big no. She reminds them they are not here for revenge or a reckless challenge. It is to protect their families. She will call upon them to sacrifice their lives but now is not the time. She is sorry she can’t tell them where to die. Not tell them how to die but how to live. She hopes they can forgive her for not being strong enough. The Eylstadt forces at the front lines are really stubborn and tough to rout out. It is because of the forts at the top of the hill giving the exact location of the enemies. Extra Germanian air bombardments are requested but before the bombers could blow the hell out of the forts, suddenly they explode and crash down. Here comes Izetta riding and firing iron lances (old weaponry found in the old fort’s arsenal) and shooting them through the planes. What about tanks? Surely mere swords can pierce through their thick armour. Why, just flip them over with magic! With the tide turning so quickly both sides are in a state of confusion. When Fine realizes what is going on, she sends a Morse code to her fellow countrymen at the front lines that Izetta is her friend and the White Witch from the legend. She wants them to fight along with her for their country’s freedom. Unbelievably, Eylstadt is able to turn the tables and send Germania packing. Izetta returns to Fine knowing she went off and did this on her own. Fine is glad she is alright. The soldiers sing their national anthem in respect of this victory. News spread that a witch saved them. The king hears about Fine being with the White Witch before exhaling his last breath.

Episode 4
Fine breaks down once she sees her father’s motionless body. The lieutenant general in charge of taking Coenenberg is finding it hard to explain to Germania’s emperor, Otto about their platoon’s rout by a witch. But upon hearing that he feels excited and delighted because he believes in the existence of witches. Izetta doesn’t feel comfortable with the hospitality she is given in the palace. Because Fine has assigned her personal maid, Lotte and bodyguard, Bianca to be with her. With rumours swirling around about Izetta, Lotte says that she is now the hero of the kingdom. Discussing with Schneider and Warmer, as suggested by the late king’s aide, Sieghart Muller, Fine will only announce her father’s death only when she ascends the throne in 2 weeks’ time. They might have temporarily repel the enemy out of Coenenberg but there are other entry points in which the enemy can enter. The news will only confuse their own ranks and benefit the enemy. As for Izetta, Fine is hesitant to further use her to help protect their country. There is something about her powers she is wary of. Because Bianca is suspicious of Izetta as a witch, she wants her to prove it and inadvertently causes a small part of the statue to fall on her head, slightly injuring her. Fine is glad she is alright but soon summons her. She wants Izetta’s help but there is something she needs to confirm first. She is intrigued that she did not use her power to dodge the accident and she carried her by foot after the plane crash. Izetta reveals the biggest secret that witches have kept. The powers do not come from within. They are from outside. Powers that originate from what is called leylines. This capital has none unlike Coenenberg which is flowing with them and allowed her to use the powers freely. Witches who reveal this are killed but no worries, Izetta is the last witch left. While others are contemplating on how to use Izetta as a secret weapon and hide her existence, Sieghart suggests the opposite. The people are already talking about her and it would be even more suspicious to hide her. With the victory at Coenenberg still fresh in everyone’s minds, they should use it to their advantage and make up a myth about the legend. This will make the enemy cautious and Allies to reconsider their decision.

There is another person whom Sieghart wants Izetta to be introduced to. Meet Elvira Friedman. Currently Fine’s tutor as she has worked in various media in America. She is hired to advertise Izetta as the legendary witch. First order of business is to take her physical measurements by hand. Read: Groping and molesting! Do people influenced by America always act like this? Then it’s Fine’s turn. Witch or princess, you can’t hide those boobs from her! Since it will be a hassle to check every inch of the country to see where Izetta can or cannot use her powers, Izetta remembers her grandma telling her about the legendary castle of the White Witch. Currently it is an abandoned castle in the old capital. Bianca drives her there and as she inspects the walls, a secret room opens up. Bianca continues to remain suspicious that Izetta is close to Fine. She expands on the story of how Fine saved her life. Izetta was accused of starting a fire (her power was then going out of control). She tried to run but when a guy attacked, Fine blocked it with her body. At first the angry mob didn’t want to believe but after Fine swears on her royal blood, they relent. Izetta then saw her smile and at that point swore to do anything for her. Fine rendezvous with Izetta at the secret chamber that contains the world map of leylines. Fine warns Izetta that there is no turning back after this. She doesn’t mind despite remembering grandma telling her the White Witch was a traitor in the legend. They are highly motivated to end the war, bring peace to all countries and give everyone a bright future.

Episode 5
Fine’s coronation begins as she takes over the reign of Eylstadt. She also introduces Izetta who demonstrates her powers wowing the press and crowd. With the news now spread throughout the world, Otto is even more excited. He has Berckmann give his opinion and he believes Izetta is the real deal. Otto now wants Izetta captured no matter the cost. His aide, Elliot reminds him that the subjugation of Eylstadt is to secure a supply route to the Mediterranean and Africa with their allies in the Romulus Federation. Of course his plan is to kill 2 birds with a stone. Capture Eylstadt and the witch while they’re at it. News come in that Izetta now launches a surprise attack to take back one of Eylstadt’s conquered towns serving as Germania’s base point. This is a blatant advertising ploy to show the world about her powers. She easily overwhelms the entire battalion. With the world getting excited about this, Berckmann and his special unit are now given all the money and resources they want to claim this witch. He meets with Basler, the captain of the air force and only survivor who first fought with Izetta. He gives his statement on his first hand witness of Izetta’s terrifying powers. He is then drafted to help hunt her down. Berckmann also suspects Izetta has some sort of weakness because if she was invincible, she would have reached Eylstadt’s capital in a few minutes instead of a couple of days. Of course she would have easily flown to Germania and kill the emperor and end all wars. There must be a limit to her power. Otherwise witches would have ruled the world.

Now that Izetta’s existence is known, looks like she has ‘fans’ from other nations even requesting to come see her. They have a copy of the leylines in Eylstadt which covers most of the area. Then a call comes in regarding Germanian forces invading from Veile Pass. It is one of those small areas the leylines aren’t present. Sieghart has expected this and talked to Fine about it. This was the gamble they had to take when they advertised Izetta. It is time to see if the gamble pays off. The environment is also ideal for them. It is foggy and the Germanian side will not bomb the area but send infantry as they need to secure a smooth route. Fine introduces Izetta to Bianca and her entire secret group of royal guards who work in the shadow. Part of the plan is for one of them to dress up as Izetta. Once the Germanian forces advance, it is show time. They see Izetta flying behind the Eylstadt’s planes. In actual fact it is just a dummy tagging along the wire. The real Izetta pops up to demand the Germanian soldiers to retreat or else. They don’t believe in fairytales, eh? Izetta uses her ‘magic’ to smack away her weapons. Real credit goes to the royal guards’ sharp shooting away the guns from their hands. Still stubborn? Time to use ‘magic’ and blow up the rock and bury them under. Yeah, bombs were planted there already. News of Izetta’s victory spreads again. Berckmann isn’t panicking yet and has sent a spy into Eylstadt’s army. As Jonas is fetching water, he accidentally drops his family picture. As he tries to retrieve it, he hears a secret conversation between Sieghart and Schneider. The latter realizes this whole thing is a setup and royal guards were used. As for why the real Izetta was exposed, Izetta herself willed it. Originally one of them was going to be used as a decoy but she wanted to do this herself. Sieghart thought he heard something from the river. Nobody. Just a photo.

Episode 6
Jonas runs back to his camp and the first person he meet as he murmurs about Izetta’s secret (though short of saying what it is) is that spy, Laurence. Izetta still can’t get used to the compliments Fine showers her. They thought of putting Izetta in a dress but the corset was a torture. Then the top cannot be zipped up because her boobs are too big. Fine looks around and feels defeated because Bianca and Elvira are bigger than hers. Metaphorically she is even speaking can a small kingdom defeat huge ones! Izetta wears back her ordinary dress as Elvira teaches her how to do ballroom dancing. When Fine learns that her favourite bakery will be able to bake her favourite pie (sugar is rationed during the war and with Eylstadt’s recent victory, Fine distributed extra as celebration from the stores), she cannot hide her happiness to visit it. Jonas’ photo is in Sieghart’s hands. He sends Koontz to make contact with him and pretend to be a journalist. Rickert takes Basler to the design division to show him the state of the art high-tech plane. Berckmann also sees the division head and has an official letter from Otto to conduct his investigations. He wants to investigate the workshop for clues. Fine and co are disguised as commoners as they enjoy the delicious pie. But the owners can recognize her. When Bianca and Lotte reveal they know Fine often sneak out to visit her, Fine loses her balance. Her disguise and pie fall off. At least Izetta saved her pie. With everyone recognizing her majesty, time for Fine to give her reassuring speech. When they return, Sieghart requests Fine to send him to Britannia as they are holding a conference between governments in exile and allied countries against Germania. Oh, America will be there too. Fine knows what they want to know is Izetta’s powers and if this is the case, it is best she and Izetta go. While Bianca disagrees, the phone rings. Sieghart picks up to learn the Germanian spy has been located within the platoon. He allows Fine and Izetta to go. Yeah, they’re going to ride the entire way riding on a rifle? Won’t their butt hurt? Anyway Jonas is shocked when Laurence turns his gun at him and wants him to spill details about Izetta. Since he won’t, he gets shot in the leg as warning and even threatens his comrade is now with his siblings. You know what this means, right? Luckily Kloontz and Sieghart come chasing so he flees. Sieghart asks Jonas if he is willing to whatever it takes to protect his country. He nods yes. Sieghart then shoots him!

Episode 7
Off the Bergen Coast of the Scandinavian Peninsula lies Germania’s aircraft carrier, Drachenfels. Redford hosts the representatives of several nations as they discuss about Germania’s plan to use it to cross the Channel from Normandy and attack Britannia. They request America to send troops but with the constitution thingy, guess not. Then they discuss about the witch and many don’t believe such exists in this century. Redford ushers in Fine as she introduces Izetta with a bit of demonstrated magic. Seeing is believing. Of course they wonder if a single witch can still defeat Germania. That is why Fine is also requesting troop assistance and as a gift, she will have Izetta sink Drachenfels. The ladies are introduced to Wing Commander Groman who will be flying with Izetta as part of the bombing operations. The plan is for her to carry and drop 4 torpedoes in the centre of Drachenfels to have the maximum shockwave effect of breaking it into half. All goes as planned until Izetta realizes Drachenfels is not at the port. Thinking it has gone out to sea, she flies over there only to be ambushed by other carriers. It is obviously a trap and Germania knows about this plan. A couple of torpedoes have been destroyed by enemy fire. Basler rides in his new plane that can match and follow closely Izetta’s movements. Izetta has to drop the remaining torpedoes into sea just to dodge Basler and his air force trying to surround her. Luckily Groman’s side help keep the Germanian air fighters at bay. When Izetta sees the elevator opening on Drachenfels, she picks up the torpedoes and fires them into it. Drachenfels sinks as one of them directly hits the fuel tank. Mission accomplished. Basler wants to go after Izetta but Berckmann orders him to return. They have achieved what they want. Later Berckmann reveals to Rickert that Drachenfels was just a decoy to expose Izetta’s weakness. He is now sure after witnessing today’s battle. He can move on to the next phase of the plan but he needs to confirm the White Witch’s legend at Eylstadt’s old castle. He wants to send Laurence for the job but Rickert volunteers for it.

Episode 8
Rickert reads the White Witch’s legend. A prince went hunting and was saved by a woman with silver hair. At first he feared her as she is a witch but upon realizing she is kind, he opened up to her and they gradually fell in love. He wanted to marry her but she declined. Instead, she promised her that if he ever needs her power, she will offer it. Rickert parachutes down in Eylstadt at night. A bit of bad luck because the wind blows him off course and got a rough landing. He has to trek quite a distance and fall into a river. Luckily Bianca and Lotte were passing and picked him up. Rickert hides his identity by saying that he is from Tull but was away overseas studying. He returned home to fight the war but he has some illness so they refused him. Bianca is amazed at his bravery and there is no shame in his failure. This makes Rickert wonder if they are really the people he is fighting against. Rickert continues reading the legend. When the prince returned, a war broke out. He was injured and almost lost the war. The White Witch appeared and saved the day and drove the enemies away. However the prince shortly died from his injuries. In grievance, she vowed to protect his country until the end of her life. Rickert stays at the inn run by Lotte’s sister. As Bianca is a fan of the legend, Rickert mentions an alternate ending. This makes her blow her top. If you think that was an embarrassing head start, wait till he later accidentally enters her room after hearing her scream. She is being bathed by Lotte. Whoops. Rickert later meets Laurence whose proof of Jonas knowing something was how he was silenced. With the royal guards keeping constant watch on the old castle, it proves that there is something they want to hide.

Izetta and Fine attend Redford’s birthday. While it might look like that on the outside, it is also a meeting for the Allies to respond on Izetta’s effort. Also at this party is Berckmann. His date is strange. Already with dead zombie eyes, she goes up to Izetta to suddenly kiss her! Actually she bit her lips! After that she collapses. Berckmann apologizes over his fanatic Izetta fan but hints he knows who Izetta is before ‘disappearing’. Fine is delighted as America agrees to send troops to help. Rickert and Laurence sneak in the old castle by hiding underneath the cart of an old man delivering goods to the soldiers. Rickert relays to Laurence what Berckmann told him about the secret room in the old castle. The legend is much darker but more believable than the fairytale. It states that the prince was already married when he met the White Witch. When his wife found out he gave all his love to her, she was enraged. After the prince died, the wife found out about the White Witch’s secret, sealed her power and sold her to the enemy. After suffering inquisitions, she was burnt at the stake. After the wife died, the people who feared the White Witch sealed her secret within this room in her memory. True enough they stumble upon this room which has murals depicting the dark story. Rickert takes pictures of the leylines when the vial of blood in his pocket reacts. A short earthquake occurs before a mystic stone drops out from the wall. At this point, Bianca and her royal guards enter the room. Rickert and Bianca are shocked to realize each other’s position. The Germanians escape via underground. However Rickert was shot. He hands the evidence to Laurence so he could escape. Rickert will become the decoy. Bianca face off with Rickert who apologizes for shattering her fantasy. After all, it is a fairytale and it needs a happy ending. A reason why all fairytales have happy ending is so that tragedies in real life can be avoided. Rickert draws his gun but didn’t shoot. Bianca did. Bianca’s sniper takes out Laurence. However the evidence is taken by that old man of the cart, a Germanian spy. Stanley, the representative of America writes back to his higher ups about Izetta’s power that could be equal or higher threat. That is why he is suggesting to send troops to defeat both Germania and Eylstadt.

Episode 9
The resistance forces across Europe attack Germanian forces. They are further delighted when Izetta comes to their aid. She is now so famous worldwide she even stars in her own comics! Ever since Izetta’s return from Britannia 3 months ago, Germania has not invaded Eylstadt and they’re just ‘staring’ at each other across the borders. Bianca reports to Sieghart that because no evidences were found on the bodies on the spies, it is assumed they ventured into the castle not knowing what they are looking for. It is theorized that the enemy knew about that place when they captured Izetta and took her blood samples. It gave credence to whatever fairytales and must have led to them to discover such room was in existence. Hans shows Fine photos of strange enemy tanks. Based on their weapon manufacturer’s side deduction, it is believed Germania may have created a weapon to defeat Izetta. Fine is also surprised they might be trying to attack from the west again because it is as though they didn’t learn anything from Coenenberg. But if they want a fight, a fight they’ll give them. When Izetta is at the Coenenberg’s fort, a report comes in that the enemy has already begin their attacking. However it is not here but at the eastern border of Sellun Corridor. Looks like they feigned the attack from the west and came from the east instead. That elaborated weapon was just an elaborated hoax. Izetta makes her way there and everyone is confident it is Eylstadt’s victory because Sellun Corridor is a place containing lots of leylines. Before Izetta could bomb the enemy, her air torpedoes are stopped by another witch! Sophie once called herself the White Witch and pleads to Izetta to stop this.

Flashback 3 months ago, a hidden lab seems to have successfully cloned a witch. Years ago, one of their researchers found documents pertaining to the White Witch in an abandoned church in the Alps and it led to records about the location where she was buried as well as the truth about her legend. Using the records to buy her body, they were able to finally recreate her. That’s why Otto was so sure witches existed. However she is now in enemy hands and they have no choice but to make this one succeed. Unfortunately Sophie is like a doll and has no own free will. Then they realized she reacted to Izetta’s blood samples and Berckmann decided to test her out. So the night at Redford’s party, that crazy fan girl was Sophie biting Izetta’s lips to taste her blood and awakened her. With tears and emotional drama, Sophie tries to convince Izetta to stop using her powers because this is not what a witch’s power should be used for. However Izetta made a promise to Fine and will carry on fighting no matter the outcome. In that case, cue for Sophie to turn on her crazy mode. No more Ms Nice. Both witches engage in mortal combat but Izetta surprisingly loses power and crashes. After Sophie ties her up, word of Izetta’s loss spreads like wildfire. People who once relied and placed hope in her are now in utter shock. In no time, Germanian forces steamrolled into Eylstadt and the capital being bombed in a blitz. In 2 hours, it fell into enemy hands.

Episode 10
Fine and her entourage escape via secret underground passage as Sophie mercilessly uses her mystic stone powers to destroy Eylstadt. Izetta is tied up and filmed. Hans leads a small team to rescue her from the enemy. But the damage is done with the world now in fear of Sophie after propaganda photos of Izetta’s lost is being publicized worldwide. Otto promotes Berckmann to Lieutenant Colonel but his service ends there since Otto will personally take charge of any matters pertaining to the witch. Sophie is impatient but is told to wait as she wants to destroy Eylstadt, which is her ultimate goal. Izetta remembers grandma told her that the White Witch is a traitor because she used her powers to meddle with the human affairs. To win the battle, she stole a mystic stone which the first witch had. In turn of giving her powers, it devours her life. Izetta wakes up and Fine is glad she has regained consciousness. Fine tells her what happened and they are now remaining hidden in a secret base built by her ancestors in the Alps. Izetta blames herself for failing but Fine blames her own arrogance and complacency for letting this happen. Sieghart confirms Sophie is the name of the legendary White Witch. This means she will show less mercy to them as she was the one who was hated by the prince’s wife (Fine’s ancestor), betrayed by her men and sold to the inquisition to be executed. She’s really out for their blood and revenge. Sophie was able to use powers in areas without leylines because of the mystic stone. It stores powers it absorbs. Now Sophie is using it to materialize a huge Exenium (magic crystals) to be carried out for their next attack on Britannia. Sieghart further explains his family was involved in the reality that was the White Witch incident, the reason he knew a lot about this. It was passed down orally through its generations. He never thought it was real till Izetta showed up. When Izetta was away at Britannia, he searched his ancestors’ home and found a diary detailing the betrayal, regret and sin of the White Witch.

Meanwhile word has reached everyone that Londenion has fallen. That’s London, right? Oh look. London Bridge is burning down, burning down, burning down… The strain of that attack still puts a burden on Sophie’s body despite the mystic stone is only half. Thus the lab has cloned many artificial bodies just in case for standby. Basler reports the different ways the witches fight totally rewrites the rules of warfare. He is not amused that Berckmann who drafted him into his team now wants out. He explains that he was ‘kicked out’ and thus he is seeing him just to say goodbye. It is suggested that Fine seeks asylum in another country and try to establish a government to fight from there. Izetta insists she can still fight although she has taken a lot of damage. She can’t even walk. This makes Fine realize that she won’t stop fighting if she doesn’t give up. She remembers Izetta’s grandma telling her not to use her powers but she made Izetta fight the war. No amount of thank you or sorry could be enough. Otto is making extravagant conditions for the Allies to surrender. He knows they have no choice. After that, they attack the Volga Federation. Although Germania has signed a nonaggression pact with them, Otto never intended to honour it. Once the entire Europe is under Germania’s rule, they’ll attack America. Then the world will be theirs! Sieg Reich! Izetta is sad she made Fine cry and hasn’t repaid her yet. Sieghart comes up to her with some hope. He has half the mystic stone. If she still wants to change things no matter what…

Episode 11
Sieghart reads his ancestors’ diary as it details how they betrayed Sophie. The moment they took away her mystic stone, it broke into half as though it was signalling the country’s betrayal of their hero. They cannot forget the rage on Sophie’s face when she was handed over. Berckmann is at Rickert’s grave when he hears Lieutenant Colonel Hagar leading the assault as he has discovered Fine’s hideout. He wants to join in claiming he has met the princess twice. The Germanians ambush the hideout and slaughter most of the troops. To lure Fine out, Hagar kills the hostages one by one. Although she decides to surrender, Hagar is not happy because it ruins his fun if she isn’t resisting. At this point, Izetta returns and turns the tables on the Germanians with her power. Flashback reveals Sieghart warning her she is able to use her powers freely like Sophie but at the risk of shortening her life. Bianca was against this because she felt Izetta had fought enough and can’t bear to see her like this anymore. Izetta wants to fight till the end. As Izetta starts throwing bricks around, the Germanians scatter. Hagar hits a dead end and cannot believe his rotten luck. Berckmann corners him and confirms that Otto has ordered his execution. Berckmann shoots Hagar before surrendering himself.

He is blindfolded and taken to a storeroom where Sieghart interrogates him. Berckmann wants a trade. Letting Sieghart take hidden films in his back pocket, Berckmann explains Germania has successfully created a bomb using Exenium. They plan to load it on a missile and use Sophie to bomb Eylstadt. Let’s say a single bomb can destroy the entire place. Then they are going to hold a peace conference in Westria with all the major powers. This is just a ploy to unveil the new bomb and threaten all of them to submit or end up like Eylstadt. It is obvious that Berckmann has defected and is willing to share this information. He is vouching for Izetta to defeat Sophie and perhaps Germania itself. Sieghart is not amused he has no loyalty but Berckmann prefers to stay alive and what better way to do that is to strike first the person after his life even if it means he is the only person left. Sieghart punches him and is glad he was never like him. After Sieghart tells everything to Fine and co, Fine decides to surrender herself to Germania. She puts the blame on herself that she can’t make Izetta fight anymore. It was the temptation of using her witch powers that led to this. Izetta slaps her for trying to be a hero. Because since they started this together, they’ll end this together. All she wants is for Fine to be as she has always been. Fine changes her stance and will fight with Izetta. Berckmann further explains when and how the missile will be launched. Because Sophie is a clone, her powers are limited to 2 hours and this is depending what kind of magic she uses. Thus this is where Izetta comes in to stall and fight her for that duration. At the same time, Fine will attend the conference. Sieghart and Bianca will accompany her. That night, Izetta takes Fine flying around the forest as apology for slapping her. All the major powers arrive at Westria. At the guard check, when Fine’s side show their documents as proof, Basler suddenly comes in and rips Berckmann’s documents. He is disappointed that he is now a traitor. Izetta begins her face off with Sophie.

Episode 12
Fine gives Sieghart the signal as he rams the car through the post. After they alight, Berckmann parts from them. The conference begins as well as the witches’ messy aerial battle. They’re throwing planes and tanks too! Knowing that Sophie needs to power the missile, Izetta distracts her away. It works since Sophie is so crazily bent on killing her. Don’t worry. The Germanians have got another clone to wake up and do the remote control. Sieghart distracts the guards so Fine and Bianca can head into the conference. As he runs, a soldier stands before him. Because he looks so much like Jonas, he hesitates and enough time for the panicky green soldier to fire back and kill him. Karma? Berckmann is about to escape via boat but Basler again catches him and lectures him about loyalty. Because Berckmann mocks Rickert’s sacrifice, Basler shoots him. Fine has made it into the conference. Although she is not invited and the Germanians could have her arrested, the Allies want her to have a say in this because the bombing of Eylstadt is very much of her concern, right? However Stanley argues that even if Sophie and Germania are defeated, this means Eylstadt will be left as the only powerful nation possessing magic technology. Who will stand up to them if they ever have ambitions like Otto? Sophie reveals her hatred for Eylstadt not because it was the prince’s wife who betrayed him but the prince himself who sold her out. Although the prince’s last dying words worries about Sophie’s status as a witch reaching the Vatican and thus Eylstadt was in danger of becoming branded as a heretic country, Sophie still takes this as ultimate betrayal after all the sacrifice she had done and pain endured for him. Izetta may not know everything but she believes someone who has entrusted with everyone’s lives cannot focus on just 1 person.

Stanley continues that his nation is divided. At first they were thrilled by the witch’s power but now some are fearful and do not want to take action. That is why America’s forces are still in Britannia remain stationed. Fine promises that the battle of witches and magic will end today. Izetta will absorb all the powers from the leylines over the continent and thus no magic thereafter. This is at the cost of her life. Prior to this when Izetta told her about this, Fine was against it but Izetta despite knowing the risks still wants to do it. As long as she has this power, she will fight. I guess Fine makes it even more convincing with all those real tears that they should be happy after Izetta, magic, witches and all those destructive weapons will be gone after today. And yet will Germania still think itself as the ruler of the world? Izetta successfully absorbs all the Exenium and even faster because Sophie tries to match it. Ultimately Sophie runs out of power and Izetta is left happy able to fulfil her duty. A bright light is shot into the sky. Fine takes this that Izetta is gone and breaks down. Otto is mad but will continue his conquest via traditional iron and blood. By 1941, America kept its promise by bringing together the Allies to fight against Germania. The Volga Federation also started their own invasion and this pushes back Germania and liberating a few countries. Shortly, Otto takes his own life and the war ended. It is believed the war could have last longer had not the actions of Fine and Izetta. While Fine believes as long as humanity still exists, there will some war popping up in the future, she still won’t give up in making a world where everyone can choose their own future. Berckmann is seen making shady trades with shady people. He just lost an eye. Basler a bad shooter? Lastly, all is not lost as Fine pays a visit deep in the woods. A cabin where wheelchair-ridden Izetta still lives and is being taken care by Lotte.

Strike Witch: Operation Victory Eylstadt
This is amazing. I never knew that I would be enjoying this series so much. I mean, I had really high hopes of this after a couple of war themed animes like Senjou No Valkyria and Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou No Alderamin made war genres pretty likeable in my books. Of course at first there was this scepticism that this will not be as good as the aforementioned series because despite it has fantasy elements, it is still closely based on some real life events like the name of the countries and the time period for World War II. I did not expect to be blown away by the amazing flow of the story. Well, maybe except the ending which I had mixed feelings about. I thought it was all too rushed because with the great big war averted, they make Otto kill himself like Hitler did but only years earlier and that to satiate crying fan boys of Izetta, they make her live instead of die (although not sure if she is a vegetable). I wonder if it’s because Sophie absorbed some of the magic so it didn’t actually affect Izetta greatly. But then again, thinking hard on what could have been the better ending would be futile because nothing would have been more fitting an ending like this. Fine and Izetta has played their vital part in securing Eylstadt’s freedom as well as ending the war. Therefore what comes after that doesn’t really matter. Remember, this is a series about Izetta and Fine.

I really got lost in the plot and when I say lost, I don’t mean getting confused. I was quite enthralled by the simple and yet fascinating flow of the story as we see both sides trying to up each other in times of war. It gets better with the power of the witch intervening. Although I have to admit that the revelations of the White Witch wasn’t that interesting because I somehow have guessed that she was betrayed by the ones she loved and trusted. I don’t think Sophie ever found any closure since this Sophie isn’t the real Sophie and this wasn’t about making right the dark history of Eylstadt. It’s to fight against the invading Germanians, remember?

The characters are absolutely perfect and each play their role perfectly no matter how small their role or appearance they have. Although that itself is a bit of a complaint on my side. More on that later. The main characters, Fine and Izetta have really great chemistry and they really have this bond that makes you feel that they’ve been with each other for ages instead of meeting each other again since the war began. I love Fine and her steadfast to fight for her people although her character might be very cliché in such stories. She isn’t just a royal princess who lives a spoilt life but is very down to earth and connected with her people. She takes action and kicks ass. She knows what needs to be done for the greater good even if it means losing Izetta (and lots of tears of course). Izetta of course compliments Fine and the duo are so fine as a combo that it is hard to imagine one without the other. They might be away sometimes for separate missions but you know that they are making things work at the same time. They have a very good friendship that touches all of our hearts because this is what we all love to have and look for in a friend. Despite a few very hinting scenes of Fine x Izetta lesbianism, thankfully it didn’t go that far or it might have left a bad aftertaste in the mouth.

Though I did say that many of the other characters are also great and play their role in the anime as they should, sometimes I can’t help that because of that they too are insignificant in an overall manner (like those heads of states such as Redford and the rest whom I couldn’t name). Just enough to play out their role. What I really meant is, take for instance Elvira. She is a great tutor to the girls and also helps in the advertising of Izetta as the great witch. However you don’t really see her play that role and because it is mostly behind the scenes, sometimes her character felt a bit redundant. What the heck happened to Hans? It’s like he is no longer relevant in the second half of the series. He is still alive in the infantry but it would be as good as dead if he had no more role to pay after that. Then there is Lotte who is just there being a maid and Bianca being a close royal guard for Fine. Basler just had a single proper episode (and that was just for a while) where he had his rematch with Izetta but other than that, he could have been just some nameless pilot as I don’t see him really fitting anywhere properly in the story.

There are many other small characters here and there that die but that don’t matter anyway. They come and go and are mostly forgettable whether or not they live or die. But some like that poor Jonas kid whom I thought would have some standout role (or at least of some importance) because it looked like he had some sort of potential story to tell (family of his photo tells you a lot) but looks like the poor chap existed just to get shot to cover up a big secret. Just sad. Because compared to Rickert who actually played a part and died for it seemed better from this point of view. And when Sieghart really died, it’s like we’ve forgotten all about him. It’s like as though he lives long enough to reveal his ancestor’s dirty work and do Fine one last service before biting the bullet.

Otto is supposedly the villain and the equivalent to our Hitler. However it is hard to see him as the bad guy because we hardly see him in some sort of vile action. Just sitting on his throne or hanging out somewhere in his palace while he makes his plans. Even if his plans to snatch away Berckmann’s hard work, orders for him to be killed and betray the Volga Federation are supposed to make him sound evil but you know what they say about actions speak louder than words. And when he died so ‘quickly’, the shock wasn’t as resonating as Izetta’s ‘death’. Just saying… So the main bulk of the action falls on Berckmann who is supposed to be the despicable villain but from the way I see it, he isn’t such a bad guy in the vilest sense after all. I mean, in times of war, all is fair and to spew nonsense about loyalty and your own life differs on the individual’s stance. Though, it was really odd for me to see someone who had been fighting against Eylstadt in the beginning only to easily defect to the other side and fighting his own homeland, that makes him a dangerous character. All the more so he didn’t die and close his case because he is still alive and might be the next perpetrator for the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Gulf War, the Arab Spring, the Syrian War… Oh yeah. And Sophie? She’s just a mad bloodthirsty clone.

The battle scenes are also impressive and although you might say that Izetta’s magic might have exaggerated things because uplifting and throwing heavy tanks and lances feel more fantasy than reality, it is still kept to a believable level. In that sense you can’t help vouch, support and even cheer on Izetta when she charges into the battlefield to save the day. Yeah, she makes it all look so easy. It’s like Superman making his debut saving the world. Otherwise, without Izetta’s witchy intervention, it might looked like plain ol’ boring warzone to remind us the atrocities of war. Nobody really wins in a war, right?

Although art and drawing are rather okay, I won’t go so far to say they are spectacular but because the setting is in the 1940s, the lush greeneries and sceneries of Eylstadt do amaze me even if the quality is just pretty standard. The design of the European houses and structures in the 1940s as well as the tanks and planes are also beautiful and quite accurate. The animation is pretty fluid itself but I really didn’t take full notice of it since I was more focused and drawn into the plot and storyline. But I guess it is a good thing too because if the animation was that bad, I would have already complained about it. CG is also used by thankfully very sparingly because I thought the Exenium stones looked ugly (unless it was intentional to look like this). But the simple magic effects and the lighting are quite okay. This series is animated by Ajia-Do who seems to be making a comeback after a few years of hiatus. This is the first TV series they made this year and the last they did was DD Hokuto No Ken way back in 2013. Other works under them include Zettai Shonen, Kujibiki Unbalance, Emma: A Victorian Romance Second Act and the long running Nintama Rantarou series.

There are a handful popular seiyuus lending their voice to this series. Most notably for example Saori Hayami as Fine. Quite some time ago she played a red haired princess of a fictional fairytale kingdom of a fictional world. This time she plays a blonde princess of another fictional kingdom in an alternate parallel world. Other recognizable seiyuus include Juinichi Suwabe as Berckmann, Kana Hanazawa as Elvira, Nao Touyama as Lotte, Koji Yusa as Gorz and Takehito Koyasu as Hagar. The rest of the other casts are Himika Akaneya as Izetta (Honoka in ReLIFE), Sora Amamiya as Sophie (titular character in Akame Ga Kill), Hiroki Takahashi as Seighart (Japan in Hetalia series), Aya Uchida as Bianca (Kotori in Love Live!), Kouichi Yamadera as Otto (Spike in Cowboy Bebop), Kenn as Hans (Jinbei in Mushibugyou), Natsuki Hanae as Rickert (Inaho in Aldnoah.Zero), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Basler (Reiner in Shingeki No Kyojin), Mitsuaki Hoshino as Redford (Magellan in One Piece) and Hiroyuki Endou as Jonas (Rui in Sora Wo Miageru Shoujo No Hitomi Ni Utsuru Sekai).

The fast pace rock outfit of the opening theme, Cross The Line by Akino with Bless4 somehow I personally feel that the beat of this song doesn’t quite fit the setting of this series. It gives me a projection that this song would have been better suited for a mecha shonen genre. Seriously. It is a sudden u-turn for the ending theme because Hikari Aru Basho E by May’n is a very heavy and gloomy song. The slow pounding of the piano is enough to make you feel heavy and grounded. Luckily the string parts are better on the ears but despite being a sad sounding song, it is quite lovely and beautiful in its own right. There is also the Eylstadt Kokka (Eylstadt’s National Anthem) as a special ending theme. This one really sounds like a patriotic national anthem. Not sure if they really write it or they rip it off from some nation’s national anthem. I mean, it’s not like you’re going to recognize every darn anthem in the world, right? There are also a variety of background music from those dramatic pieces fit for a fantasy world to battle themes and the weird but lively a cappella sung by female choirs. In some ways, I do find it a little creepy depending on the scene they are played. For example, the scene is mellow and all of a sudden you hear this loud a cappella voices in the background.

Overall, I am very satisfied and very thrilled to have watched this series. It might not be perfect but it has a good story with many good characters. I’ll say this is really an interesting watch and would recommend that sometimes you don’t really need epic exaggerations and action like a certain Titan slaying anime or even crazy flashy over-the-top series like a certain clothes aliens trying to control the minds of humans, to make a good anime. I know it is just impossible and wishful thinking, but sometimes I wished that Izetta would really exist for real to stop all the stupid conflicts and clashes our world has had enough of. Because f*ck Superman and Batman who throughout the ages continue to fail to stop evil megalomaniac villains and aliens from constantly trying to take over or destroy Earth. Izetta literally ended a war prematurely than it should! And she rides a rifle for Heaven’s sake! Move aside. Witches are the new superheroes!

At first I was going to pass Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou No Alderamin or also known as Alderamin On The Sky seeing that this is another military series, a genre ranked quite lowly on my favourite genres list. I’m not saying I totally dislike this genre (better than mecha or yaoi) but seeing I have watched mecha series when I am supposedly not interested to begin with, what are the chances of this one? The main point that attracted me was the synopsis about a main character who is lazy as f*ck. He gets drafted into the military and forced to fight a war he doesn’t want. But his lazy tactics prove to be the winning formula. Sounds familiar? That’s right. Because of my stint with the amazing Senjou No Valkyria which also has a non-military background protagonist who used his unorthodox non-military out-of-the-box thinking to win, it is simply this reason and similarity that I became interested in checking this out. Man, did I procrastinate long enough to release this blog? Talk about being lazy already…

Episode 1
Ikta Solork and Yatorishino “Yatori” Igsem are going to board a ship that will take them to their official exam. Currently the kingdoms are at war and Ikta is viewed as a pessimist for believing the defence garrison under their kingdom, Katjvarna Empire will soon fall under the hands of Kioka Republic. Also on board this ship to take the exam are Haroma “Haro” Becker (nurse wannabe whom Ikta can’t help flirt), Matthew Tetdrich (whose family has been famous in the military for generations but not many seem to know it) and Torway Remeon (handsome guy whom Ikta scorns as his rival). The ship starts sinking during a stormy weather. The quintet are then ushered to the deck whereby they are dropped into a lifeboat. In this weather? I guess it beats going down with the ship. They see a little girl slipping off the deck and into the sea. Ikta becomes a hero by diving in to save her. When she wakes up, everyone is in a cave on a remote island. Yatori can tell from her royal ring that she is Chamille Kitra Katjvanmaninik. They have met before when Chamille’s father the emperor visited her home but that was many years ago. Yatori informs that only them have survived the storm and were fortunately washed up on this shore. Ikta and Torway return from their scouting and they have spotted a garrison line. This means they are in Kioka’s territory. Ikta has 2 options: Surrender and become their prisoner of war or take a gamble and burst through it to reach back to their kingdom. Because Chamille furiously won’t become a prisoner of war, Ikta shuts her up that being angry won’t make the impossible possible. Yatori tackles him and asks Chamille to forgive his rudeness since this is the man who saved her. So while they live out their isolated life, they have time to think about their options. They spot a Kioka blimp hovering over and go into hiding. It is Kioka’s new weapon that recently caused much damage to the eastern mission. Since it is alone, it is just on a scouting mission. That night, Chamille goes into the woods to relief herself. However the enemy patrol is metres away from her. Because they tripped on some makeshift alarm, the rest instantly got up and take precautionary measures. Chamille thought she is going to be discovered but it seems the enemy caught Ikta instead.

Episode 2
Ikta acts like a scared asylum seeker and this makes the enemy let their guard down. When Ikta gives the signal, his comrades strike and kill them. One of them is barely alive so Ikta interrogates him in exchange for treatment. But he died from his wounds after Ikta gets all the necessary information. Torway is scared because it is the first time he killed and almost screwed up so Yatori had to remind him he is a valuable comrade since he can use an air gun. Chamille also feels guilty about this so she bites her finger till it bleeds. Ikta kisses it and uses his scientific explanation why her blood isn’t rotten and it should be as good as it is if it remains in her body. Chamille thought he hated her but he says he just thought what happened before was just a childish tantrum. As twisted as Ikta may be, he gives his enemies a decent burial and even offerings. Next day they discover a mini blimp that the enemy came by at the beach. Instead of picking 3 to ride it home, Ikta has this sly idea. Dressing up as a Kioka army and the rest as asylum seekers, Ikta pleads to the garrison’s chief that the blimp is being stolen (currently it is unmanned and visibly flying away in the sky). Ikta lies that the ‘thief’ demands his family to be returned to the kingdom in exchange for the blimp. The chief of course panics as he has to make a decision now and Ikta’s acting is so convincing he could win an Oscar. Thus a decision is made and Ikta and co are moving steadily across the border and back into Katjvarna. Chamille is greeted by the garrison’s head, Lieutenant General Hazaf Rikan. She introduces her saviours.

A month later, our heroes are living the luxurious life but it all comes crashing down when news reports that the eastern territory has fallen into enemy’s hands and Rikan has died in battle. Flashback shows Ikta desperately tried to persuade Rikan to withdraw because either way they are going to lose. He believes the whole war is rigged. Because the Empire failed to develop this section, they want to rid of it. To make the people think they are fighting the war seriously, that is why they placed a famous general there. Of course he cannot withdraw because he is following direct orders. Ikta becomes mad and before he could get violent, he is knocked out by Yatori. The quintet then have an audience with the emperor who bestow upon them the title of Imperial Knight. Ikta is not happy because this means they are now soldiers who cannot disobey orders. So much for his life. He blames Chamille for this political move because the people had no favourable news for the loss and the only way was to make heroes to make them feel better. Chamille has dug up some past on Ikta. His real name is Ikta Sankrei. His father was the famous General Bada Sankrei who died in prison for disobeying orders. She also knows about Ikta’s master who thought him about science, Dr Anarai Kahn who fled to Kioka last year. She also talks about his mom, Yuhka who was part of the emperor’s harem. Before she could continue, Ikta gets violent with her but luckily Yatori puts him down. While Ikta is glad that this Imperial Knight thingy may be good for Yatori, it isn’t for him. He managed to become 3 things he didn’t want to in the same day: A noble, a soldier and a hero.

Episode 3
The Imperial Knights attend Katjvarna Empire High Level Officer’s School. Chamille also enrols here to learn with them. Some bullies think they can get the better of Ikta by dropping him a live centipede. Ikta isn’t scared. Instead he kills it and eats it! How about that! Even in class he might look like he is slacking but he knows his stuff well. If his comprehensive textbook answer isn’t impressive enough, he even adds his own analytical thoughts to it! Torway runs into trouble when he meets his elder brothers, Sarihaslag and Sushuraf. It seems they hate their younger brother and badmouth him as a coward. Because their loudness ruined Ikta’s nap, he intervenes and says what he wants. Sarihaslag beats him up even when he is down but that didn’t stop Ikta from running his mouth. They stop when Yatori and Chamille pass by. Yatori tags with Ikta to judo throw some of them so Sarihaslag calls it a day and leaves. Don’t bet it would be their last time. 3 months later, the Imperial Knights are done with their studying and some of them are given their own platoon. Like Yatori commands the Fire Troop, Torway leads the Air Rifle Platoon and Ikta gets Light Platoon. In this platoon is Sergeant Major Suya Mitcalif. Who? The daughter of the woman whom Ikta slept with! Oh sh*t! Not even Yatori can save him from this. Because of that, the troops won’t listen to him and Suya won’t let him take command. Matthew relays bad news about their upcoming problem. It seems the groups have been split to have Sarihaslag and Yatori on one side against Ikta, Torway and Matthew. Obviously revenge objective but Ikta isn’t panicking yet. He goes to make a deal with Suya that if he can prove himself that he is a vital factor in this victory, he will be allowed to lead the platoon. He makes his first proof as his platoon treks to the camping grounds. Nothing special except that Ikta got his troops to the site exactly on time and having without using a map. It’s all memorized in his head! He also sets up camps all over the place that will give him advantage in battle. On the second day the mock battle is supposed to start, Sarihaslag thought Ikta’s side didn’t turn up because they got lost. Then Yatori points out this is just a meeting place and it didn’t say anything about fighting. Sarihaslag panics and advances his troops. Ikta knows this will happen and has his men already lying in wait.

Episode 4
Sarihaslag thinks he knows the grounds and conditions better than anyone and is even confident of splitting up his troops to get ahead of the enemy. He disregards Yatori’s advice just because he is the commanding officer. But then it proves fatal because Ikta has his troops cross the river to attack. Last night they used a tree and made an underwater bridge. Thanks to the rainy day before, the muddiness hid it. Sarihaslag panics and has his troops fight back. Only when Yatori returns, Ikta too has his troops retreat. Sarihaslag thinks Ikta will come chasing him and has his troops lie in wait for a pincer attack. However we know Ikta won’t be doing that. It’s just exhausting to chase somebody. Instead he cuts off the northern exits that lead to the central base. At some point they have to return there and if they can’t, it is as good as they have lost and Ikta’s team will win by default. Predictably Sarihaslag follows the enemy for a showdown. He even orders his troops to break the rules just win. Before he can charge, he is sniped in the head courtesy of Torway hiding in the trees. Sushuraf takes over command and has everyone break through to reach the base. In the aftermath it is Ikta’s win. He lectures his troops about science and laziness. Apparently he believes slacking off in a war means doing the right thing. So follow him and they can fight easy and win easy! Woah. With all the men cheering his name, it’s like Ikta is now God! Ikta then receives news that Chamille is heading towards a wrong direction and something feels wrong. He sends a Morse code signal to Yatori about this. Chamille and her royal guards are rushing through the forest when some of them are killed. It is then Chamille realizes that the report of Ikta being hurt was just a ruse to lure her out. The mastermind is no other than the royal guard captain, Ison Ho. As they make their way, some of them are ambushed by Yatori’s troops. Yatori sticks her sword at Ison’s neck. He is willing to die and orders his men to shoot her. However they don’t move. Ison then reveals they are all students of Rikan and admired him. They know his death was all part of a political ploy and their aim is to kill Chamille to avenge him. Ison overpowers Yatori and could have killed her had not Torway snipe a headshot. Yatori swiftly picks up her swords and slices the remaining guards. She is reeling in shock and blood all over her. Only Ikta’s voice calms her down. Ikta learns of Ison’s aim and understands. He tries to cheer up Chamille soaked in blood as well but I guess that tomato joke went too far and she starts crying and hitting him.

Episode 5
It still gives Yatori the chills to think she was in that state. Ikta’s touch can only bring her back. She is sure that as long he is around, she can never fully turn into a sword. Flashback shows Yatori wanted to go study under Bada and her father gave his approval. She arrives in this remote village and started learning about scientific stuffs under Bada and Anarai. She quickly learns about scientific explanations which are another approach to explain theology instead of just always claiming acts of God. Of course there was young Ikta too and she trained him sword fighting. It looked like a blissful time the duo have. Playing pranks on some villagers, ‘taking’ ingredients from old ladies and fishing a big one out of a swamp. It’s really the simple life. One day the duo go on an expedition with Ikta’s older brother. At a remote cabin, the grownups forgot some tools and head back. But why the heck leave the kids behind?! They could have had the whole day to themselves had not for a hungry pack of wolves attacking them. They are holed inside the cabin as they use whatever resources, ingenuity and traps to scare them off and show who is boss. But that won’t deter the wolves because they’re really hungry. So far so good in counter attacking the wolves’ attack and even killing a few of them. In the dead of the night, the battle resumes again. This time a wolf jumps inside from the roof. The kids were fast and hid in a makeshift crate fortress. Yatori is willing to sacrifice her life for his safe return since one dead is better than both dead. However Ikta disagrees and anything less than both of them alive is a failure. The only way is for them to become one and solve this together. They will be each other’s hands. Somehow they manage to escape outside and trap the wolves in. They set the cabin on fire and wolves that try to breakthrough get killed in their trap. Eventually they face off with the remaining 2 wolves and one of them is the pack’s leader. The suspenseful battle is heading for a standoff when a cub’s cry is heard. The wolves back down and return to the forest with their offspring. Next day, the duo just chill eating whatever leftover burnt meat from the burnt down cabin. Shortly, Bada is captured and Ikta and his mom went missing. Many years later, Ikta returned to her and claimed he is here to take her away from this land with no future.

Episode 6
Ikta reads a letter saying that Anarai’s box is about to open. It is a safe supposedly containing his intellectual properties. But when he sought asylum, Kioka had him give up some of the military applications of it. The usuals are heading to the north for an expedition and some aren’t too fond of the Sinack tribe ruling there. Commanding the northern garrison is Lt General Tamtooktsk Safida and Major Yukshiram Toakk. During the banquet, Ikta meets First Lieutenant Senpa Sazaluf who will be his supervisor throughout the duration. A burly platoon commander, Deinkun Hargunska challenges Yatori to a duel. After getting permission, they face off where they stand. Chamille didn’t like how Yatori’s sword skills are to be gawked at but Ikta begs to differ as it is meant to be gawked at. The emperor gave the Igsem family the ability to wield 2 swords which is the symbol of invincibility as long as they never lose a sword fight. The family values this order very highly and to continue carrying 2 swords, they must show everyone their superiority and protect that order. Yatori might look like she is just defending but one strike back is enough to win the match. Sazaluf leads the trainees patrolling around the mountains. It might look boring since they have been circling the same path for 3 hours. But this is to show their force and put silent pressure to keep the peace. He then realizes Ikta has gone missing. An officer is confiscating books belonging to Kanna Temari. This is when smooth operator Ikta comes in the save the day. He reveals this officer’s intention to sell the books he confiscates as they have a high value. The officer wants to teach Ikta a lesson but a spider prank has him running away. Kanna is grateful he saved her books. They discuss about this particular book that contains the Aldera religion. Ikta views her as a fellow science member. Before he could really hit off with her, Sazaluf is here to bring him back and reprimand him. Ikta is so sly that he could even trick Sazaluf and escape. However he stumbles upon a cell he shouldn’t have. Nanaku Daru thinks it is time to go to war to recover their stolen Hahashiku.

Episode 7
Ikta returns all dried up but with some liquids, he is back to normal. This guy then goes to flirt with Kanna. She thinks he is a lady killer but Ikta has the best reply: All the women in the world are conspiring to seduce him! Ikta learns from Kanna’s observations that Toakk does most of the leading around and keeps an eye on Safida. However when it comes to Sinack matters, Safida takes full charge. This is in line with what Ikta saw in the dungeon. There were many sprites locked up. He believes they were forcefully taken away from their Sinack masters and this amounts to spirit abuse. Sazaluf says they are all locked up under Safida’s orders. Kanna then explains her analysis of Aldera because the Sinack speak of the spirits without mentioning the God that everyone else prays to: Alderamin. With the difference in core tenants and commandments, she feels as though the sprites have nothing to do with being messengers of Alderamin. This sends Ikta into ecstasy because this means she escaped the bigotry that twists the truth. He likes her scientific thinking and believes if there was ever a God, the first command should be thou shall be lazy and all other Gods are fakes. Huh? Toakk and his men are supposed to fetch a Sinack representative but see him dead in his home. They are then attacked by Sinack rebels. When gunshots are heard, Yatori heads in and sees Sinack and his men killed. She instantly kills some of them but the rest escaped. Shortly, Ikta and Kanna enter the place and see the massacre. All other tenants of the house are dead. Ikta sees Alderan pilgrimage clothes in which Sinack people do not wear.

Yatori and her men chase the rebels but stop in time once she realizes an ambush is waiting for them. She seeks answers to her comrades’ murder but Nanaku as the chieftain of Sinack speaks of the discrimination and oppression over her people. She calls them monsters for stealing Hahashiku. They demand nothing and will return everything to its original state like how she should be. Erm, so isn’t declaring a holy war the same as a demand? Once Safida learns of this, he doesn’t want to report to Central yet. He will use this moment to purge all the Sinack. When some soldiers call for revenge for Toakk, surprisingly Deinkun voices his disagreement. He might always sound willing to go to war but that is only if it involves the enemy. And the enemy is no other than Kioka. Although Sinack people are considered citizens under the Empire, they aren’t treated on the same level as other races. As a fellow imperial soldier, they should be reluctant to point their sword at their own people. Ikta keeps thinking hard about the holy war declaration because that word never existed in the Sinack vocabulary. To them, war is just survival. He can’t bring himself to think it is to take back their spirits. The only reason he can come up with is someone has been giving them ready-made excuses for war. Safida mobilizes his punitive force to strike the northern mountains at dawn. With Chamille being sent away to the halfway base instead of Central, it only proves that Safida is acting on his own. What more, he managed to gather this large punitive force in such a short time. While the Imperial Knights are just on standby, the other soldiers are already starting the heavy fighting.

Episode 8
Casualties are mounting because the soldiers are not used to the high elevations. But Safida will not retreat and orders to keep pressing forward. The Imperial Knights are now thrown into the front lines since they have to deliver supplies. When the enemy attacks at night, Ikta suggests his platoon defend at the back. Since the front is chaotic, he doesn’t want to get caught up in it. With great tactics and strategy, Ikta and his side manage to defeat the waves of Sinack rebels without losing a single man. Kanna is part of the troops at the front. When her platoon takes over a seemingly abandoned Sinack fort, they realize too late that it is a trap since the Sinack surround them at night. Though they manage to escape to higher ground, Ikta’s troops who are supposed to deliver supplies to this fort can only see the enemy occupying it. First Lieutenant Manubans Najiru is hell bent on sending the supplies and orders Ikta and Matthew’s troop to perform force reconnaissance. Ikta knows the conditions will be unfavourable to them and requests Torway’s group as support. He even guarantees he can retake the fort in an hour. In actual fact everything can be settled in 20 minutes. To summarise the plan, Torway will snipe the enemy and the rest will barge in. But how? Can his air gun reach such distance with accuracy? Well, it did. The enemies are taken out right under their noses before they got a chance to prepare. It seems based on Anarai’s technology from his box, Torway was able to modify this air rifle to make the shot more stable and accurate. When an injured soldier from the front lines requests aid because the fort is being surrounded by the enemy, Ikta will take command of this mission and no one else will know about this. As they trek higher, suddenly Ikta wants everyone to make camp even though they can still go on and have energy. The reason being he wants everyone to adapt to the high altitude or risk having Alpine Sickness. They may be late in saving their comrades but his top priority is to keep everyone here safe. Speaking of that sickness, everyone in that fort is already starting to weaken. By the time Ikta and his troops adapt and move on, he realizes they have lost because he couldn’t see any of their comrades from the fort moving. Everyone has been slaughtered. To his dismay, among the bodies is Kanna. He had hoped so much to see her again but I guess this is goodbye.

Episode 9
Sazaluf explains to Ikta and co their next mission to fight the Sinack tribe by separating their forces and taking 3 different routes. Then he has them burn down the homes of a Sinack village and take them with them to a refugee camp. It is at least better than Safida’s haphazard plan of killing them all because at least they can be used for negotiations. Besides, Ikta is wary of the separation plan as the routes are over 100km wide and there is no way they can get help from each other. While Ikta is sorting the housing for the refugees, a little Sinack boy comes to take out his frustrations on him. Ikta ignores him but flicks his nose. He starts bleeding and crying. Then Deinkun punches Ikta. And then himself. It was his way to save Ikta from the hostility. Safida gives his speech on the upcoming battle with the Sinack where a large force of them has gathered on the other side of the canyon. So that night they rest and the guys talk about… Sex? At least it is hinted that way. Hey, you still got to make love and peace in times of war. Next day as the troops march through the canyons, Ikta and Sazaluf have a bad feeling the enemy can flank them from the opposite mountain although it may seem impossible. Better to be safe than sorry, Ikta suggests Sazaluf talk to Safida to walk instead of riding a horse since he is the highest officer around. Lucky old fat guy agrees although he isn’t happy. True enough, the Sinack rebels attack from above with arrows and from the opposite with air rifles. Haro is slow to equip herself and could have died if not for Ikta’s quick saving. But he too needs to be saved from Deinkun again. Nanaku targets Safida but Yatori stands in her way. Yatori observes her unorthodox fighting and finally learns her trick. It might look like she stabbed her back but it is some equipment powered by her sprite. As a sword warrior, Yatori find it odd that she was confident in leaving her back open and knew she had a trick up her sleeve and thus managed to avoid her hidden gun. Nanaku’s sprite self destructs to let her escape. Meanwhile an elite assassination group crops out from the bottom of the cliff to target Safida. As they race towards him, Deinkun gets slashed. However when Yatori faces them and other troops surround them, they dive back down the cliff. Yatori hears Deinkun’s last words to take care of his comrades before passing away. Nanaku returns home vowing revenge but finds her village burnt down.

Episode 10
9 years ago, Ikta was at Nanaku’s village for a festival celebration and they know each other well. Nanaku is devastated to see her grandparents killed. She mercilessly kills the guards. Although she is pinned down, they make a foolish mistake of not finishing her off because they want to rape her. Thank goodness they are such dumbasses fighting over who is supposed to f*ck her first because this gives Ikta time to beat the crap out of them and save Nanaku. Once everything is under control, Ikta explains to his comrades that the men who showed up at the end of the last battle are Kala Karm, the ghost squad of Kioka. It only makes sense that Kioka has been teaching Sinack guerrilla tactics and supplying them with air rifles. When an Aldera inspection team speaks with Safida, he mentions they were here to check on spirit abuse. But seeing how some of them are dead in the recent battle, the answer is clear now. Safida has Ikta’s team chase after him and they discover a huge army, La Saia Alderamin making their way here. They are the nation army of Aldera who invade other countries in the name of God. Ikta puts the pieces of the puzzle. From Toakk’s assassination, Kioka has been manipulating Sinack so this will spur Aldera to invade the Empire. With Safida needing suggestions on what to be done, Sazaluf suggests forming a small team to buy time for the others to escape. As this is his suggestion, he is put in charge. Part of the plan is to use Sinack’s help and manpower. This is where Ikta comes in to work his charm. First he frees Nanaku who feels this apology thingy is an insult. While Ikta doesn’t intend to apologize for the war, he will apologize for those non-combatants who were killed in the midst of it. To show his sincerity, he cuts off the tip of his pinky finger!!! Yikes!!! This is part of the Sinack tradition of apology as Nanaku once told him. It is then she recognizes who Ikta is.

He has 3 favours to ask from her. First is to accept his apology for the misdeeds. Second, the Sinack help them to repel Aldera. They are using this opportunity to wipe out both of them since both sides are exhausted from the war. Of course this is an excuse for Aldera to crush them in the name of the spirits. They are just a pawn for Kioka because once Aldera takes over here, they will destroy Sinack whom they view their religious beliefs are heretical. As apology for this favour, Ikta cuts off the rest of his pinky finger!!! OMG!!! I can’t watch this! Does Ikta know fingers don’t grow back?! His third favour is to remain calling her Nanaku. Well, since this favour is made as a friend instead of a soldier, he doesn’t need to cut any fingers. Phew? Once Ikta returns to the rest, he tells them Nanaku can supply 800 men for this operation. Thanks to Sazaluf putting them in one village, it will be easier to gather them. Sazaluf also returns promoting the quintet as per Safida’s reward. Ikta wants Matthew, Torway and Haro’s troops to be part of the evacuating squad. Because he makes it sound like it is goodbye, Matthew becomes upset that it is as though he has been a hindrance in his battles. He knows that there is a high chance his men will die, he will die. But it’s the same for Ikta too. Even so, will he be a hindrance? Ikta and Yatori retract their statement and apologize for underestimating their resolve. They hope they can lend their strength for this upcoming battle. For the next few days, the rear troops work hard to cut down and burn the forest because this is where Aldera must pass through if they want to invade. However they are quick to counter it by also using fire to fight fire by burning down the forest. Rumour has it that they have a guest officer from Kioka lending their strength as a strategist. Like as though God send somebody to counter and balance Ikta. They heard this prodigy is never seen resting and is always working nonstop. Nicknamed the Unsleeping Shining Officer, he is Major Jean Alkiniks.

Episode 11
Jean is fascinated and wants to know the tactician on the other side. Certainly it couldn’t be that incompetent Safida. Ikta’s plan now is to shift the enemy’s focus on them by fighting them head on. This is because there is a small pass through the mountains that will come out near the back of their camp that Kala Karm might use. Of course using this longer route will delay the enemy’s attack but it is not enough time to let the main group evacuate. Ikta wants to pin them down here for at least 8 days. So when there is a portion of the forest that stopped burning, opening a route, Jean knows that the enemy is trying to invite them to head that way. He has a plan so they are going to play along. Ikta and his troops wait around the newly erected fort at night. The first wave of enemy arrives and they are taken out. However they realize that this wave is to set up barricades. This is a problem as it will throw their cannon trajectory off and it is like they are trying to bring in something. Immediately Yatori and Nanaku request to fight the enemy head on. Nanaku gets too confident and has her Sinack men push further forward against Yatori’s better judgment. They are then sniped by the Kioka’s air rifle squad. Aldera then pushes in a giant trebuchet. Ikta is in a dilemma to abandon the Sinack or rescue them but risk some of his men’s lives. He can’t hesitate so he orders his men to protect the Sinack. After carrying back all the wounded to the fort, they set fire and escape. Although Jean’s side lost this battle, he is happy to have got certain information from the enemy like their battalion numbers. Even more important they didn’t lose entirely.

Back at the camp, Suya reports to Ikta the number of casualties of their men. However she is not happy as she thinks he doesn’t take their deaths seriously as they died upon his orders. These men lost their lives because Ikta ordered them to save the Sinack. Well, would you have all the Sinack die then? Suya still cannot accept this because those men looked up to Ikta and admired him. Yatori tells her she is blaming the wrong person. Yatori is partly responsible for this because she knows Ikta will take her into consideration to make such orders. It was the same assumption for Ikta too. When told soldiers are required to put aside all emotions, Suya asks if she will kill Ikta if ordered to. Without hesitation and in short, yes. Suya still can’t accept all this. After all, everyone here has always been on the winning side and thought it would be okay if they followed Ikta’s orders. But that is what war is about and the tide can swing the other way quickly. Ikta then asks Yatori how she would kill him. She’ll kill and destroy everything about herself first so that she will never come back to life. Then the last remaining Igsem will kill him. Kala Karm receives word that their allies are still delayed at the mountain’s base. This time they are going to move out.

Episode 12
Chamille is not pleased that Safida has returned safely. It is the priority to safely evacuate the commanding officer? Good too. Because he is going to stand in the military tribunal. Nanaku wants to atone her sin to Suya by allowing her to cut off her hands. But do so only after the war. But Suya can’t bring herself to do it. She has killed so many enemies. How will she forgive herself? Sazaluf tells her there is no reason she should be blamed at all. All responsibilities fall on him as he gave the orders. When it is reported the Aldera’s cavalry are giving the infantry a ride so the journey will be faster, they believe the enemy plans to split their units. Somebody needs to go intercept them but who? Sazaluf volunteers as he believes Ikta and Yatori must not leave this place. Jean flies his blimp over enemy territory to scout. This is shocking because such technology is a blasphemy to Aldera. With the forest fire dying out, Ikta rallies his troops to fight scientifically and lazily. Huh? It means replenishing the forest fire and repelling the enemy as they attack. While Matthews’ troops are putting up extra forest fire fuel, they are attacked but manage to hold their ground. The blimp is reported to be seen hovering over the eastern area again and again. Nanaku confirms there is no route there so Ikta is suspicious of the blimp’s actions. When Torway suggests deploying his troops to the rear of the fort, it was a wise move because Kala Karm is lying ready in wait to ambush. Torway’s troops ambush them first from higher ground. The remaining Kala Karm retreat but they are flanked by other troops at the end and got taken out. This is all thanks to Ikta’s foresight as he knows they will setup a rear attack. He has Torway think what he would do if he was Kala Karm’s commander and in turn what he himself will do to counter it. On the 6th day, enemy reinforcements are seen taking the long route around the east and pulling something big. They are explosion cannons and they pack a massive impact in shooting through the fire and destroying the fort. This is another technology from Kioka that is blasphemous t Aldera. Ikta then realizes they have been had. The blimp was there to record paths through the forest. The enemy setup obstacles and memorized how to break through the wall of flames as training. With the fire wall broken, Jean leads his side through.

Episode 13
Ikta has Matthew take command of this post for the next few days. He is pessimistic of his chances so Ikta reminds him he will never give orders to others like defend this place with your life. That is unscientific. Because if he dies, everything else will also collapse. So his single order is to live. Easier said than done, right? Ikta and Yatori head out to the battlefront. He needs to adjust his thinking to defeat the enemy. Then it hit him. When Jean and his army arrive, they see the traps laid out before them and also smell oil. They figure the enemy is going to burn the place. Not wanting to end up falling into their hands, Jean orders his troops to prepare fire. Suddenly he feels something amiss when the oil smell starts to subside. From underneath them, Ikta and his soldiers pop out from their hiding and pierce through and attack. This causes chaos for Jean’s side as they have to recalibrate their attack on the sudden change in distance and thus nullify their horses and air rifles advantages. Ikta then puts up a willing to negotiate flag. Not to be mistaken as want to negotiate because it means they are cornered. He is counting on Jean to do the same because he is the kind of guy who wants to be in control and they’re both sick of this battle. Jean accepts. Both masterminds meet each other for the first time. Jean calls for their full unconditional surrender and Ikta wants their troops to complete retreat. Since both sides are not backing down, Ikta uses his sprite to shine at Jean’s heart. How is this light going to kill him? He warns Torway is lying in wait to snipe him and he has been marked. Jean reminds him the war treaty regarding attacks during negotiation is disallowed. Ikta says this negotiation can fail and then he will quickly lower his flag and shoot him. Jean calls this a threat instead of a negotiation but in war times, what’s the difference? Just because it didn’t go his way, he calls it a threat. Ikta further reminds the difference now is that he has put his troops in place where they could aim directly at him but Jean has failed to do that. Jean has a feeling Ikta is 90% bluffing but he still can’t ignore the 10%. Surprisingly, Jean accepts Ikta’s terms. A good move that Jean should not be ashamed of. A good one for Ikta too because Torway isn’t there! He won the poker game.

Before they part ways, Jean asks Ikta what motivates him to work for the Empire because he wants to make Kioka’s ideals come true. Ikta tells him he doesn’t even want to protect the country in the first place. What he wants to protect are people. More advice from Ikta as he says all heroes die from overworking. Jean is an ideal example as he is slaving himself to death. A wrong way to work hard. And the rest around him are being lazy in a wrong way. Chamille is desperate to find Ikta and co once she learns the troops are back. Almost given a scare when Ikta isn’t around. He’s right here. A big hug from her but he points out important people she needs to encourage now. Chamille praises her brave men and the Sinack. In the aftermath, Safida is tried. He is demoted and will be executed for prolonging this war. We can only hear him scream for his life. When Ikta tells Chamille privately about the decaying state of the Empire, she wants him to make it to the top of the military because he has talent and knows he can do it. And then immediately lose a war to Kioka. This will lead to Kioka’s external influence of economy and political philosophy to purify the Empire’s core. Of course Ikta needs to lose just enough to maintain the Empire’s unique culture. As a person who hates soldiers, the imperial family and heroes, he is the right person for the job. I’m sure Ikta is lamenting about it as he notes his dad died of overworking and with no regard for how the people felt around him. If he follows Chamille’s plan, it won’t be long he will come into conflict with Yatori. If this country wants to die, let it die. What he wanted to protect has never been the country. That’s why he came to take her away from this and not allow her to be caught up in its collapse.

Too Lazy To Be Lazy
So what’s next for Ikta? Looks like the more he tries to get his hands out of this military business, the more deeply he gets involved. If the only way out of all that crap is through this sh*t hole, so be it. Thankfully this series lives up to expectations. As said in my opening paragraph that I didn’t like war genres but the thought of Senjou No Valkyria and its near similar setting had me raise the bar of expectations of this series. And once again I am awed and pleased with everything it offered.

The plot and story unfold and move at a decent and fast pace. From escaping enemy lines to being drafted into the military, having a mock game and even a quick royalty vengeance story thrown in. All this was just in the first half of the series. Then they spend the rest of the second half in the mountainous region battling the Sinack before making a truce with them to fight the Aldera army. Safe to say that none of these stories feel bored and by the end of it all, you feel like you want to see more. So it’s that dilemma of wanting the war to go on so we can see what interesting tactics they come up with.

Well, since this series is set in a fantasy world (not the kind with dragons and exotic floating islands), it naturally tries to set itself apart with weird names. Thus my old problem of trying to pronounce and remembering some of the tongue twisting names. Yeah, it felt like as though I am trying to learn Latin names or something. Some are easy to pronounce and remember but the rest are just like, how do you spell that again?

The concept of war is nothing new especially when war is fought on the baseless religious grounds. Well, if your religion tells you it is right to kill others, then you should rethink and relook at your religion again. What this series perhaps subtly tries to add into the mix is the factor of science. While this isn’t dominating the aspects of this series, it feels like in addition to the battle of wits, this war also boils down to a battle between religion and science. Even if you are blindly faithful to your religion, there are some scientific and technological aspects that you have to use and improvise if you want to win a war. After all, you’re not just going to sit there and pray to God, hoping He would rain boulders on your enemies, would you? God doesn’t work that way! He won’t give you that kind of victory you ask from a prayer. Because first you kill your enemies and then you ask for forgiveness! Haha! Whoops…

Ikta is likeable as the main character because he thinks differently from the rest. Complete with his suave charm and you’ll be rooting for this guy in no time. One of the biggest ironies I find about him is that despite claiming to be lazy and thinking so, he is in fact the most hardworking of them all, don’t you agree? He doesn’t sound or look like he needs to think hard to come up with solutions and tactics and the way he does so makes him sound lazy. But then again I would like to beg to differ because if Ikta didn’t really put in his effort and hard work, he wouldn’t have been where he is standing now and not be respected by many. I mean, war especially with eternal rivalry with a neighbouring country is not child’s play to say the least.

You also noticed that Ikta has to take into account so many factors when he lays out his plans to send troops to fight the enemy while minimizing casualties. That itself is already a herculean feat. Maybe he is such a smart guy that such strategies are just peanuts to him but an ordinary (dumb) viewer like me would definitely be in awe. Also, this guy is a scientific believer. How can you be a lazy bag of bones if you support science? There are lots of hard work, the amount of time and energy spent in researching and all that sh*t. So how can Ikta be lazy as he claims to be? If it is his way to motivate the morale of others, maybe. But then again how do you scientifically explain that? Hmm… Maybe this quote will: “Hard work pays off tomorrow. Laziness pays off today!”. Wow. That makes sense. Now I am motivated to be lazy too. Another reason Ikta isn’t a lazy person he claims to be is that when he takes on a job or mission, he properly sees through it till the end instead of doing it half heartedly. In a way, the perfect word to describe him is responsible. That’s why a lot of people respect him.

Complementing Ikta is Yatori and if this guy is the brain, this girl is his hands. They both make an interesting and effective pair since they have known each other from young. They think alike and know what each other is thinking. It is as though they are twins only born from different mothers. It is true that two heads are better than one that it is applied here. Because if Ikta loses his way, Yatori will be there to remind him and bring him back and vice versa. Jean proves to be a formidable foe for Ikta with his own ideas and tactics. I won’t go so far to say that he lost because Ikta is the hero but rather Ikta played his cards better. Remember, it was a battle of wits (and bluffing) and Ikta played his part more convincing and calmly than Jean in the final lap. I bet this won’t be the last time these great brains will meet as there will be more such encounters in the future seeing Ikta now has to go lose a war. Oh heck, why not just let Kioka walk through your Empire and ‘welcome’ them with open arms?

Unfortunately for the other main characters like Haro, Torway and Matthew, it is nice that they do get a little of the screen time but they are always being overshadowed Ikta and Yatori. Maybe because Ikta and Yatori have their own flashback whereas the trio are just there to make up the numbers as their close comrades. I’m not saying that they can be done without as they too play a few minor important roles throughout the series. But then again as I said, ultimately they will be eclipsed by the superiority and amazing dynamic duo. So we’ve got chubby Matthew whom you’d remember as someone who complains the most but he gets his job done. He is sometimes pessimistic but who isn’t afraid to die in a war? But it’s always the cool words of Ikta that motivates him. Sort of. Then there is Torway whom we’ll always remember as a sharp shooter with his air rifle. Sure, he has his past with his brothers but that is forgettable once that story is over since Sarihaslag is a jerk nobody wants to remember. Finally Haro is like, uhm, can somebody tell me this medical officer’s achievements here?

Other characters are pretty decent too. Like Chamille trying to do her duty as a royalty but unfortunately with the second half of the series being fought in the mountains, Chamille’s presence has been relegated to somewhere safer: Off the screen. Haha! Oops. Then suddenly she grows up and got all serious business with this devilish plan of hers to save her country by losing a war. In order to win you have to lose? Is that scientific? I know Suya is trying to be a good soldier but it is hard when you have a superior officer who once had a fling with your mom! Imagine a classmate same as your age having an affair with your mother! No wonder she can’t trust him but Ikta uses the right head to win back her trust and respect. You know, I have this feeling inside that all these girls would somehow have some sort of romantic interest in Ikta. That guy is pretty charming in his own right too, right? Some of them he tries to blatantly flirt with. Too bad this damn war couldn’t afford to turn this into a harem anime whereby we will have tropes of a childhood friend, the other childhood friend of a different race, the rich royalty, the tomboy, the shy and friendly natural beauty and the fellow bookworm. Oh right. Kanna’s dead.

One of the mind boggling if not disappointing elements of the series is the sprites. Their presence is hardly felt and it feels as though they can actually be done without. Sure, they are part of the lore and setting of this series but they hardly do anything that would warrant anything memorable. Some weapons and vehicles are powered by them and it feels funny because I thought they are just living batteries. Even funnier to see how soldiers insert sprites into their guns but I hardly noticed any sort of ‘magical’ effects while the sprites just look stoned as they are put in use. Or not. I always try to keep in mind that maybe somewhere the little sprites will play a pivotal role and a turning point in the series but it turns out we are so engrossed in the war tactics that they hardly even matter. These small little fairies are the sole and diminutive reason why the latter half of the series is dedicated to a single arc of fighting in the northern mountains in which you will hardly notice them playing any sort of important role anyway. Oh, I noticed they’re good torch lights, by the way.

Therefore it felt like nothing when we see those sprites who have names and belonged to our heroes, sometimes they talk to them and show some concern but eventually in the end they don’t really matter. I mean, do you even remember their names after their initial introduction in the early episodes? And to think that they come in a variety of elemental types based on their colours. Say what? Hence these sprites as far as this anime is concerned are only there to look cute and perhaps distract you from the atrocities of war. I suppose that they don’t have any decent screen time to focus on them so as to remind us, the next episode preview is just a still picture of them lazing around or doing whatever cute pose they are doing. WTF, right?

The action scenes compliment the war tactics and strategies well. Whether it is seeing Yatori slicing her enemies with her double sword wielding technique or seeing both sides of the divide firing their guns to outdo the other. But be warned there is quite an amount of blood spilled here. I mean, what is the use of having a war themed anime when there are no deaths and casualties. Therefore some scenes might get real bloody like as though somebody simply splashed red paint everywhere like that Ison and Chamille scene. Yeah, there was blood everywhere.

The animation is fluid and art and drawing are pretty decent but the funny thing is that the main and supporting characters look like they have more colour compared to the rest of the extra background characters who are just bland in terms of hue. Of course this is to easily identify the characters. Because how many red heads do you know and see in this anime? Who else here have green or purple hair colour? Is it me or does Matthew have that uncanny resemblance to that guy from Nameless in Senjou No Valkyria, Alfons Auclair? The designs of some of the weaponry and objects are not too bad either and perhaps quite creative as we see the guns and cannons mixed with some sort of air compressors to give it that extra oomph. Science, b*tch!

Let me bring up the sprites again but this time on your design. I know they are supposed to look cute but I can’t help feel their design is inspired from Care Bears… Don’t laugh! It’s true. They might not have those cute lovely colourful symbols on their stomach and yell out “Care Bears Stare!” but certainly when they use their power, their stomach flashes, right? Remember what I said about them being useful as torch lights? Maybe this is their Care Bears Stare. And don’t their overall body design somewhat resembles closely to Care Bears? Ugh… Anyway note that Care Bears are way much cuter than these sprites. Just saying…

I was pretty damn sure that Yoshitsugu Matsuoka was the voice behind Ikta. To my surprise after finishing watching the series, I only realized that it wasn’t him at all but Nobuhiko Okamoto (Karma in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu). It’s pretty embarrassing since I was really 1000% confident it was that guy from Shokugeki No Souma and Sword Art Online. At least I got it right for Risa Taneda’s Yatori, Takehito Koyasu’s Sarihaslag, Tomokazu Sugita’s Ison, Jun Fukuyama’s Jean and Keiji Fujiwara’s Bada. The rest of the casts are Ryousuke Kanemoto as Torway (Seiji Sagara in Happiness Charge PreCure), Junji Majima as Matthew (Kinji in Hidan No Aria), Haruka Chigusa as Haro (Tsugumi in Soul Eater NOT!), Inori Minase as Chamille (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Rie Takahashi as Nanaku (Megumin in Kono Subarashi Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo), Ayumu Akikawa as Suya (debut), Shinobu Matsumoto as Sazaluf (Galdarblog in Dakara Boku Wa H Ga Dekinai), Toshiharu Sakurai as Safida (Andou in Kaiji), Itaru Yamamoto as Deinkun (Jacques in Zero No Tsukaima F), Ikumi Hayama as Kanna (Sayaka in Strike The Blood) and Mugihito as Anarai (Wombat in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!).

The rock based opening theme is Tenkyou No Alderamin by Kishidan Kyoudan and The Akaboshi Rockets. If you find their style of music pretty similar it is because they have also sung the opening themes for Gate and Strike The Blood in which all of them strikingly sound almost the same. At first glance I can’t seem to tell the difference between the songs since they have this very similar rock beat to them. Very similar. Another rock outfit graces the ending theme, Nameless by Kano (for some reason I keep thinking the singer has some sort of relation to that Black Dragon dude in Mortal Kombat).

Overall, this series might not be Senjou No Valkyria but it manages to be more than interesting enough that you don’t remember and want to compare them. Even if you aren’t the kind of person who has any interest with war related things, at least the action bits as well as the tactics and strategies thought up by a ‘lazy’ person should be fascinating. Especially some of the decisions that Ikta makes it compel you to question what the heck he is thinking. I thought the yakuza only cut off their fingers but… Since when cutting off limbs is a true sign of sincere apology? It might be wrong to look up to Ikta’s laziness as motivation. But I’ll stop being lazy once lazy stops being awesome.

Heavy Object

December 11, 2016

Oh no. It is that time to be hypocritical again. This time I decided to watch the mecha themed Heavy Object simply because I read somewhere there are maid characters in this anime. Yup. Shame on me. But I can’t help it. I love them too much till it became a silly reason for me to pick up this series that would never have easily been on my list of anime series to watch. Not even a casual one. And with this reason, that is why I am here. I hope the maids will be worth it. Yeah, really. And I’m sure I am deluding myself if Heavy Objects are some sort of term referring to maids. But instead, in the near future where the face of war and how war is conducted has totally changed. No more infantry foot soldiers and fancy jet fighters or tanks. One big mother spherical weapon called Object is now used to fight battles. A country losing an Object is akin to losing the war. This is the story of how a couple of young engineers bring those juggernauts down with their ingenuity and instinct for survival. A story of David versus Goliath. The bigger they are the harder they fall.

Episode 1
Despite human’s advancement in technology, they never stopped fighting each other. You see all the wars they fought till this super military weapon, Object obliterated allies in a blink of an eye and its defence is super hard. It changed the face of war with nations using Objects piloted by Elites to do most of the fighting. So it is no surprise that in the remote Alaskan base, a couple of low ranking soldiers, Qwenthur Barbotage and Havia Winchell are relegated to and so bored shovelling snow, they decide to go fishing and hunting deer respectively. While Qwenthur waits for his catch, Milinda Brantini talks to him since the guys forgot to off their communicators and was heard all over the command centre. As her Object, Baby Magnum is being maintained, she thought of killing time to see what they’re doing. They talk about the second generation Objects which are more specialized for certain places or objectives compared to the multi-role first generation and this allows them to perform better. Milinda is suspicious that a mechanic like him transferred here although he claims it is a faster way to learn Objects and become rich quick. She warns him not to be too greedy. As expected, the guys get an earful from their sexy but strict superior, Frolaytia Capistrano. But she lets them off lightly since they manage to shoot a deer and she can have BBQ tonight instead of the usual sickening base rations. Later Qwenthur goes to help maintain Baby Magnum. He accidentally pushes some buttons that causes the seatbelt to tighten over her body. I don’t know but I believe this is our fanservice cue for her boobs to protrude! Qwenthur’s mind must be crazy thinking about what he should do next and the obvious fanservice before his eyes. Milinda saves all that trouble by ejecting her seat. While having BBQ with Frolaytia, Qwenthur asks her what if an Object loses (because Milinda once said her upcoming battle she didn’t have any confidence to win). All you need to do is raise the white flag. Losing an Object is as good as losing the battle and it is pointless for the victor to go after helpless infantrymen. But in the next battle, Baby Magnum did get destroyed. Qwenthur for the first time finds himself face to face with the enemy’s Object.

Episode 2
We see the battle between Baby Magnum against Water Strider. They’re racing to get a favourable position to shoot each other. Whoever does it first wins. And perhaps Baby Magnum wasn’t suitable for this terrain and it contributed to its downfall. Even when the fight flag is raised, Water Strider continues to attack and decimates the entire base! Dead bodies everywhere. Qwenthur and Havia thought they are done when Water Strider turns away. They do not understand why they are alive. Till Frolaytia tells them Milinda became a decoy to buy time for survivors to escape. Qwenthur doesn’t like this a bit so he is going to do this insane rescue mission by himself. He sees Milinda captured by ground troops. He is nervous in taking them out as he never killed before. But when those assholes start talking about raping her, he pulls the trigger to take out a couple of them and Milinda finishes off the rest. The last one shoots a rocket launcher at Qwenthur and he could have died had not Havia pushed him away. Milinda is confused why they saved her without any protection. Even more so, she sees herself as a person who looks down on them and protecting them all the time. Qwenthur admits Objects are the monsters but who has been toughing it out alone in piloting those monsters? They have to run when the Water Strider targets them. Using their resources, it seems they have dived into a cave and blow up the entrance. This is just a decoy to make the enemy think they are trapped in the cave and to go searching for them. They are actually outside plotting their next move. It seems like a crazy idea to buy time for their comrades to escape because it is either they die with honour or live with guilt for the rest of their lives. They’re going to find Water Strider and find its weakness.

Episode 3
The trio discuss about what they know on Water Strider. Eventually they decide to go sabotage its maintenance base since it must be maintained every day to perform at optimum. Qwenthur and Havia sneak inside, careful not to trigger any alarm but it is going to be a tall order to take down the entire facility with very limited arsenal. As Water Strider is spotted returning, Milinda is in a dilemma to alert her comrades as this will signal to the enemy their presence. She runs off on her own. Time is running out for our guys when Qwenthur finds a maintenance manual. He goes off to find some part and stick a bomb in it. Water Strider returns and maintenance personnel start striding in. The guys get out in time as they randomly toss their bombs around. Then change of plans when they see Milinda captured. Again? I guess she let herself become the decoy again. After coming this far, surely they’re not going to abandon her again, right? Upon Qwenthur’s request, Havia hacks the communication so he could call Frolaytia to send reinforcements. Once done, they are surrounded by enemy guards. The enemy chief toys with them and after Water Strider finishes its maintenance, Qwenthur causes a distraction by attacking the chief and then sets off a bomb that he placed in a Water Strider’s part. Although nothing happens, Qwenthur then explains how Objects is a big load of secrets and when it is incapacitated, the system will automatically self destruct. He believes their Object is no different than any others. What is manmade can also be destroyed by man. Soon, Water Strider explodes and it takes out the entire base! Our heroes saved by scraps of metal? The enemy soldiers fire at them but I guess that’s what those random bombs are for. Before the mad enemy chief can shoot Qwenthur, he is taken out by Frolaytia’s snipe. Looks like her reinforcements are here. And they continue bombing the already destroyed base? Overkill? Just to be safe… Our heroes return as real heroes and attend a ceremony to be awarded with medals. But the real award is when Milinda thanks them for saving her. But they too thank her for always keeping them safe. After getting their medals, they thought they could retire and live a happy life. Then they hear military plans of their next posting for the next battle. Yup, they’ve been had. Screw this damn war!

Episode 4
Not only Objects get their due maintenance but the pilots too. Yeah… Because some lucky doctor is rubbing lube all over Milinda’s naked body for her usual maintenance. Meanwhile our newly promoted guys are tasked with a new mission to stop an Object named Tri-Core. It is believed that it is delivering oil to terrorist associations. Although Objects do not run on fuel, the sale of oil will give terrorist affiliates some source of revenue. Thus the guys are stationed at an oil rig at Gibraltar to stop it from advancing to the Mediterranean where it will distribute its oil. This means the guys will be at the front lines. Death has been accelerated faster. Even more so the higher ups are now watching them and any screw ups means there will be consequences to pay. And then Tri-Core attacks. Uh huh. It is like shooting at oil rigs as target practice. When undersea mines can’t even stop it, you’re really screwed. The guys are wondering about Milinda’s Object. Haven’t they heard? It is being fitted with sea adapting accessories. That is why the duo are called to stall it until she is ready since they have a reputation for taking down Objects without an Object. Screw this sh*t! Jump off the rig now if you don’t want to be blown into pieces! Call it lucky or unlucky, they’re still alive. They put on their diving mask and dive under to avoid being rammed. Then they get caught in the net which got caught in the Object’s fin. They climb up to the deck to put explosives around but the enemy soldiers start attacking. They shouldn’t be too relieved that Baby Magnum is here. Because she might blow the smithereens out of them. Qwenthur contacts her to inform they are on board and to switch to lasers. But due to bad reception, she misinterprets a different kind of laser which is as devastating. It would be really bad luck if they get killed by friendly fire. After they jump off into the sea and blow up the deck. Mission accomplished? Well, Tri-Core isn’t sinking and still running.

Episode 5
Frolaytia picks them up and then into the rescue helicopter. She reminds them their mission is done once Milinda is on the battlefield. However they notice Milinda’s attacking tempo decreasing. Tri-Core is taking out her weapons and attacking ability seeing they know this is going to be a long drawn out battle. At this rate, she will sink. Of course this means Qwenthur wants to go save her, much to Havia’s dismay since they were lucky to survive all that, are they going to risk their lives again? Well, he hopes he remembers the Alaskan lesson about everything manmade has a weakness and can be destroyed. Qwenthur jumps back into the sea. He notices Tri-Core has only been moving in clockwise direction and something in it must be damaged. He realizes its weakness and starts swimming towards it. Something about its fins and the balance it keeps Tri-Core afloat. He sets his explosives to go off and explode the mines on the net. Havia thought he wants to blow up the fins but Qwenthur’s aims is to blow up the net stuck to it. His logic is that with Tri-Core being 3 times heavier than standard Objects, it produces a phenomenal amount of kinetic energy. So if the fin is useless, the shifting of mass will not occur and this will put a strain on Tri-Core itself. Thus using its own weight to destroy the Object. Tri-Core malfunctions and sinks. However Qwenthur is caught in its tidal wave. Thankfully he is caught by Baby Magnum. Back on the helicopter, the guys are treated to teasing fanservice by Frolaytia as he eats with her legs open and even baths nearby, letting the guys only watch her silhouette on the curtains. I think Qwenthur appreciates more the personal thanks from Milinda. But time for some news. The good news: This mission will elevate their status even further but no more commendation medals or event. Bad news: There is something going on at Oceania and the higher ups want them to scramble there right now! No use complaining guys. You’re the MacGyvers of the series. Deal with it!

Episode 6
Now the guys are raking tumbleweeds in some desert? Oh well, what else is there to do but to watch videos of his military idol known as Mini Skirt Santa (to be nicknamed Ohoho since her real name is unknown). Wow. Those G-cup boobs are such monstrosity! Those are real Heavy Objects! Hahaha!!! The duo also talked to a curious young girl at the border but were told off by Frolaytia not to slack since there are many reporters waiting trying to dig up dirt on them. They go visit Milinda who is in yet another suit tuning maintenance. This time using a flute to tune? I don’t know the musical connotations but seriously? She lets Qwenthur see the flute. Not only he tries it out and did an indirect kiss, he doesn’t play well so this sends weird sensations to her. By the time he notices something is wrong, he thinks she has been holding it in and needs to go to the toilet! Oh yes, she has been holding it in and now she is letting it all go. One big punch coming up! The guys then happen to pass by Heavy Object, Rush who is piloted by no other than Ohoho. Qwenthur is happy to learn a lot of technical stuffs from her but this doesn’t sit well with Milinda. They sound like they get along so well, eh? To show her disapproval, she sweeps their jeep off the ground. Frolaytia will be working along with Flide who isn’t a soldier but involved in the development of Elites, to oversee the security at Oceania. He orders her to attack. Baby Magnum and Rush fire into the woods to flush out the enemies. Seeing nothing comes out, they think it is a dud but this is where the guys come in. They need to scout into the woods to check if there are communities before the Objects move on to their next target. Ohoho turns on enthusiastic Qwenthur with details about the pressure suits Elites wear (they’re probably bluffs) and this makes Milinda mad. This causes the girls to clash in their Objects. Yeah, the guys remind them they’d rather see a cat fight in a swimsuit! But for now they are allies. Once this mission is over, they’ll go back to enemies so watch your back. The guys head into the forest to scout. They see the military massacring the local community. Qwenthur spots a familiar young girl. Okay. Time to get involved.

Episode 7
When they attack just to create diversion, the enemy instead fights back because there is an unknown sniper cutting them off so all they can do is just fight back blindly. Qwenthur and Havia receive reinforcements but Havia wants to take care of the sniper. Eventually the sniper, Seewax is caught and fiercely interrogated by Frolaytia. He is just a journalist who maintains what he did was right but from what I understand, his single shot will start a misunderstanding that will lead to a great massacre and have undone all the efforts they have done. Back to square one. With the higher ups already giving their orders, it feels like they’re going to let this massacre slide. The only thing they can do before the massacre happens is to find the water plant the enemy is operating from. As Qwenthur and Havia try to narrow down all the possible plants, the alarm to sortie is activated. It seems Flide has discovered the enemy base based on the satellite picking up its reactor activating. Qwenthur senses something amiss because the enemy has been hiding all the while only to let it be spotted like this. He realizes it could be a trap because this reactor might be a prototype (before building an Object, it is standard practice to build a prototype reactor to test it). So if they blow it up, it has got the energy to blow 200 kilotons. In other words, big sh*t! They sneak into the briefing room to look for clues but Seewax tells them everything since he heard it all. Mind boggling that the interrogation room is right next to the briefing room. Seewax wants to be taken along too to atone his wrongdoings. Making their way there, the guys communicate back to base to let everyone listen that the one at Great Sandy is a decoy and the real threat is at Tamami Desert. They have no time to verify the source and that is why they suggest both be taken out. Qwenthur suggests Milinda to use her long range attack to destroy Great Sandy to avoid getting caught in the blast. Frolaytia will not give permission to this but the guys make a bet with her (including doing kinky stuffs to her body parts?!) and mention that they are doing this on their own will and she can hold them responsible. They might be up against an Object but hey, that’s their specialty, right?

Episode 8
The duo are at Tamami Desert and confirm the sighting of the enemy’s Object, 0.5 Gen. Heck, it even fires a practice shot destroying the mountains! They request reinforcements to focus here and Milinda is happy to oblige except Ohoho blocks her way. Flide jams their communication and tells everyone to ignore the duo. Then he personally contacts them to tell them they must die here for their acts have been giving hope to terrorists thinking they can take down Objects as humans. The guys don’t think so since if they die here, the massacre will happen. They know Flide has his own interests to protect by prolonging the war so they make a bet to see who can take each other down first. Heading inside its hangar, they are shocked to see electrocuted corpses. It seems the crews tried to increase its energy output but it backfired. So they are going to destroy 0.5 Gen by overflowing it with power by connecting to its broken cable. But 0.5 Gen spots them and fires. Qwenthur is injured and immobilized. Havia too had not for his devil’s luck when the cable reaches its maximum length, the jerk throws him off the tractor and thus the shot missed him. Qwenthur gets an idea as he tells Havia to climb the water tower. Qwenthur fires into the water storage and uses it as conductor to connect the power supply. Boom! With the enemy down, Frolaytia orders Milinda to go rescue their men. Flide is not about to give up yet as he sends another Object, Exact Javelin to fight Baby Magnum. Frolaytia confronts Flide about the hijacked transmission. He maintains he exerted his influence to protect the world since those boys are only destroying the balance and roles of Objects. Frolaytia threatens to court martial him although he claims he has the police, court and military on his side. Qwenthur sends the enemy attack patterns to Milinda as she easily claims victory over Exact Javelin. I don’t know how fast Havia was but he returns to the base to give a good punch in Flide’s face. You lose. Flide thinks they’ll regret this but they refute because if the world is all about the stronger winning side and with better numbers, then that world can go screw itself.

Episode 9
You’re wondering why the guys are being treated to such low errand job of filling bullet chambers after their miracle victories. Life so unfair… Havia finds a raunchy training video and oh my, it gives them the motivation to do their job faster!!! But then their watching is interrupted when Havia’s fiancée, Lady Vanderbilt contacts him. Busted? Thankfully or not, Frolaytia takes the guys away for another mission. What have they done to deserve a mission in freezing Antarctica? A survey aircraft that was flying by was shot down by the enemy’s SAM and its crew taken hostage. Their job is to find the enemy base on foot. Some political geographical thing that doesn’t allow the use of satellites for easy tracking. Oh, Objects will just break the ice if they set foot. So once they find the enemy base, they can relay to Milinda who will fire via long range. The guys engage a group of enemies. But a group of baby penguins walk by! OMG! Both sides stop to watch how cute they are! OMFG!!! When they’re gone, they resume fighting. F*cking sh*t! Should have just brought penguins. Once Qwenthur has them where he wants, he bombs the ice as underneath is an abyss. After finding the enemy base, they are set upon by rail guns. As they hide from its blast, Qwenthur has Milinda fire at their coordinates. She looks like she has missed but when the rail guns fire again, they topple. Qwenthur’s plan was to weaken the ground in which the rail guns were anchored to as they have very powerful recoil. The enemy base is secured but nobody is in. The guys then find a suspicious probe robot nearby that is operating via remote. It seems it is trying to hijack a satellite and fire its laser at a moon resort. Frolaytia says it is no cause for worry because if they are targeting this elusive general, Buffer Planters whom they have been trying to rid for a long time, they’ll just turn a blind eye and let the terrorists do their job. But they remember Havia’s fiancée is at some faraway resort. Havia contacts her to confirm. F*CK!!! I think she got the wrong idea of that word… So the guys pretend to slip up to stop the firing. Why does it always have to be 1 second left on the clock? The duo are reprimanded by Frolaytia but since this is an unofficial extra mission, they cannot be officially punished for all their violations. Phew, right? Milinda discovers power supply cables from the sea. She is baffled why it can move around secretly and if this Object is submersible and has stealth capabilities.

Episode 10
Our heroes are now going to fight another war against Mass Driver Conglomerate (MDC) at the Amazons, some huge mega rich company that makes mass drivers (powerful weapons that can shoot right up into the orbit) that broke away from its parent company, Capital Enterprise. There are lots of messy political stuffs that I don’t want to go into. Apparently MDC is the one behind that Antarctica drone and moon resort attack plan and are believed to be hiding an Object. Thus from what I understand, our heroes have to get involved in this war just to ensure their overall long term safety. As Milinda receives report that there are iron ores detected via satellite behind a mountain, she fires but it seems there are no enemies responding. But when the crew begin to land onshore, multiple enemy shots are targeted at them. Oh what the heck, Baby Magnum just blasts the entire mountain range! The guys check the area and it seems there were only gun barrels and thick power transmission cables. They then scout on food for any sightings of MDC’s Object but nothing in sight. Then they hear over the transmission radio from Major Halreed Copacabana, a noble and Elite pilot of Bright Hopper relaying to Frolaytia to wait for his team before commencing their operation. Of course she will only begin right on the dot. It seems Halreed is suggesting her team damage the Object enough for him to take down and steal the glory. Frolaytia of course rejects that so Halreed advises her to accept his proposal, both public and private. Well, looks like Frolaytia is also a noble and having her own high class problems and she’s not too happy about it. She contacts Qwenthur and Havia to return to base. Change of plans. They’re going to settle this before Bright Hopper can interfere and mess up their operations.

Episode 11
Big Hopper is on its way when he detects enemy shells targeting at him. Halreed fires at the shells but they turn out to be chaffs. Before he knows it, artillery shells coming down at the speed of mach 25 heavily damage Big Hopper! Everyone is shock at this development as Qwenthur deduces the chaff was used as a big reflector for the target. This also means the enemy can accurately target while remaining hidden as they are not relying on satellites. Qwenthur suddenly knows what the enemy is up to and in the nick of them calls Milinda to move. Had she not, Baby Magnum would have been totally destroyed by the incoming shells. It only sustained moderate damage. The enemy shells then destroy the main base. When Qwenthur wakes up, Frolaytia is by his side. Their base is devastated but they are considered lucky because the shell somehow detonated in mid-air. Even if it didn’t reach its target, the effects were still devastating. She proposes that they retreat from this mission since they have no way to engage the enemy. Meanwhile Havia has Baby Magnum hide under some anti-reflecting cover for the time being. They are contacted by Halreed’s subordinate, Corporal Bilany Saronna who suggests working together to take down the enemy. The plan is for Baby Magnum to fire a shot at a nearby dam and flooding the area to immobilize the enemy. Havia is of course against this as there are civilians living around the dam. No sh*t is given for them. If Baby Magnum won’t cooperate, they’ll just blow up the dam themselves. And they’re already there. While Havia will personally go to stop them, Qwenthur and Frolaytia will go scout the enemy Object codenamed Break Carrier which is on its way to their base. As they wait, Qwenthur learns a little about Frolaytia noble heritage. Her family has this trait that will produce 100% male. Don’t start thinking she is a cross-dresser! She is a true blue woman. Because of that, rumours get out of hand that she will produce a male and this is important for noble families who are seeking a male heir. There is a long list of potential candidates who are just out to bed her. That is why she prefers being on the battlefield instead of a safe nation and will be as useful as she can till she is as old as a granny. Halreed is one of them and although one of the kinder ones, she can’t help feel happy when Big Hopper was taken out. So living and dying on the battlefield is true freedom for her.

Episode 12
Havia is now at the dam. Communicating with Qwenthur, it seems all he needs is just to find a bomb and disable it as the sum of its destructive explosion is needed to destroy the dam. As the bombs are wired, Havia just shoots the wire. It is then Bilany comes out of her hiding to fire at him. Her team also try to take him out with shoot to kill orders. Bilany gives him a chance to surrender. That is when Havia tells her that Baby Magnum is now on its way to rendezvous with Qwenthur. They will take out Break Carrier therefore her destruction of the dam will be unjustified. Thus Havia’s goal here is to buy them time. As Break Carrier will be approaching from 1 of the 3 routes, the reverberating mountain echoes are making it hard for him to determine where it is coming from. With time running out and they have only 1 shot to decide, Qwenthur suggests they each take a route and if it is a dud, it should be the third one where Baby Magnum is waiting. Milinda isn’t getting any response from Qwenthur so she is jealous that he must be having a grand time with Frolaytia. So call Havia to complain? He is in a pinch too… Break Carrier appears at Qwenthur’s route. However his communication is broken. The only way is taking out his gun and firing at Break Carrier? He is not that dumb to finish it off with a pee shooter but rather his shots resembles Morse code to relay a message to Milinda. How many f*cking bullets does he have?! And Milinda is so sharp she can pick it up but the enemy so dumb trying just to locate where Qwenthur is? Baby Magnum fires through a mine shaft, obliterating Break Carrier. There, another one bites the dust. Havia and Bilany’s fight ends once victory is confirmed.

Qwenthur know gets a proper beating from Frolaytia for pulling such a dangerous stunt. Later Havia discusses with Milinda that there was a different Object that bombarded them when they arrived at the shore. It could be the mysterious Object that can’t be detected by radar or sensor. Frolaytia is about to begin her personal sadistic torture on Qwenthur when she gets contacted by Halreed. He survived the ordeal and because his participation is considered heroic, he has now moved to the top of her potential candidates list. He wants her to return or even retire from the military for a check-up. Qwenthur can’t stand this arrogance anymore as he quickly fondles Frolaytia’s breasts and indicates they are in an illicit relationship. This upsets Halreed as he will have no vulgar woman bear his child. Time to start looking again? Well, embarrassed-cum-upset Frolaytia certainly showed her gratitude by beating him up to the max. I’m sure there would be consequences if word of this goes around since it will make her look like a slut. More importantly, will Qwenthur be pulling off this stunt each time she rejects a candidate? But she is still grateful that he was bothered about her situation and wanted to do something about it. It’s a good thing Milinda didn’t find out about this, right?

Episode 13
Frolaytia and a few others are discussing about the survivors of MDC somehow invaded and took base of Amazon City, the world’s largest ghost town after it was abandoned when some virus popped up. With Baby Magnum still undergoing maintenance, they suggest to work together and pool resources. Their only fear is how many Objects MDC has. There is also talk about Sladder Honeysuckle who is now in charge of MDC. He is a genius as he is MDC’s in-house Object designer. Their mission now is to kill him and in turn the survivors will fall apart. On an unrelated note, seems Milinda has found out about the breast fondling and questions Frolaytia about it! This will be the toughest battle yet… When the guys enter Amazon City, survival is imminent because they are about to be attacked by… Amazon ants!!! After throwing all they’ve got, finally they use smoke and explosion impact above it to kill them all. Phew. It couldn’t be worst timing for Frolaytia as she receives communication from Buffer regarding Honeysuckle’s asylum intention. Qwenthur and Havia inspect the enemy base. Many died because of the ants’ bite. They also inspect the enemy’s ammo and find it odd about its supplier. Suddenly they get an emergency call from Frolaytia to quickly finish their mission. Seems Honeysuckle and co are planning to seek asylum with Intelligence Union and all they need to do is hole up and wait until then. This will give Intelligence Union pretext to invade the area with their Object. In turn, Capital Enterprise will fear their technology will be leaked and send their Object to intervene. And if you take into account MDC might be having a hidden Object, there will be 4 Objects waging war in the area, making it hell on Earth. Oh, looks like it is already here. MDC has brought out their spare gun from Break Carrier which is a high output rail gun.

Episode 14
With the uneven ground, Baby Magnum has trouble being mobile and the compact buildings are preventing her to have a clear shot. A jet fighter ally bombs a clear path. When Baby Magnum makes a move, Qwenthur feels something amiss. Why is the enemy using a rail gun? It must mean they don’t an Object. Considering how rail guns need ground stability to fire, he realizes this one is a decoy to lure Baby Magnum. Too late. Caught up in a huge explosion. Meanwhile Frolaytia is talking to Intelligence Union’s Lieutenant Colonel Lendy Farolito about her kingdom’s goal. She is here to get the mass driver space technology and not the rail gun. Frolaytia thinks she is trying to confuse her with information so the only way is to kill Honeysuckle at all costs and thus eliminating her reason to intervene. Because Baby Magnum is stuck and damage, this naturally sets it on a self destruction mode. Milinda is trying to override the command but since it is not working, the only option left is to eject. However somebody throws a wire net over the hatch. Imagine Milinda being cut into strips ejecting at the speed. Qwenthur hurriedly rushes over, throws a bomb to destroy the net before Milinda could eject safely. However she spots a suspicious guy aiming at her. Sitting duck. Luckily Qwenthur was fast enough to distract him for Milinda to safely land. As Qwenthur takes cover, he discovers this guy is Honeysuckle! Qwenthur doubts if any country would accept a traitor and it seems Honeysuckle’s aim is to destroy the conventional doctrine. That is, using non-Objects to destroy Objects (just like how Qwenthur has been doing). He is confident that with his rail gun technology and expertise, it will be his selling point. Furthermore, such prototypes cost less to produce compared to Objects. Whether successful or not, it doesn’t matter as he is projecting a great possibility. Although Qwenthur gets a flesh wound from Honeysuckle’s bullet, he did another decoy move as he exposes his body wrapped with bombs. The real bomb was thrown near Honeysuckle and he almost got caught in the blast. It’s game over when Havia secures him. In the aftermath, Honeysuckle is to be tried in their country and because of their failure to kill him on the spot and end all the complications, Intelligence Union and Capital Enterprise are trying to ‘negotiate’ for his release in which they are no circumstances to oblige. The guys think they’ve done another great job till Frolaytia mentions all the violations they did. Including the breast fondling! Still having a grudge over that? The only way to get back her trust via results. How does another mission to destroy Objects at the far end of the Earth sound? Yeah, military punishment sounds a whole lot easier.

Episode 15
Qwenthur and Havia are secretly exchanging their porn stash. Suddenly Frolaytia and her all-female team of inspectors barge into the place to arrest them and confiscate their porn. Yeah, they’ve got porn for all sorts of categories! I suppose there is only 1 way to overlook all this: Go on another mission. Welcome back to Alaska, boys. Remember their first mission when they destroyed Water Strider? Since its wreckage has been lying around for weeks, Intelligence Union has been sneaking into the place in search of any technology as well as scavenge for rare metal parts. They have also built a satellite to transmit information back so it is the guys’ job to destroy that station. Because so, they may come face to face with Rush. The duo bomb certain routes to confuse the enemy as Baby Magnum and Rush face off. When Ohoho hints Milinda to surrender so she can capture her mechanic as her prisoner, no more talking, just kill the hell out of each other. Both Heavy Objects take heave damage. They rush back to their station to repair their main cannon. The guys believe it will be their victory since those routes they make are like a maze. In terms of time, Baby Magnum will finish repairs first and win it. However Frolaytia contacts them with an emergency. Rush is not heading back to its station but meeting the maintenance crew halfway. They are dragging the parts via manual labour using power suits! This means Rush will finish reparations first. As the guys are still in the area, they need to sabotage the repairs. It is a very risky and dangerous move but there are no other choices. Qwenthur knows one of the routes have heavy rubble and that Rush must detour in which it will pass closest to them. After Havia fires a missile at Rush as distraction, Qwenthur swings on board. Ohoho detects a little bug and fires all her mini cannons to shake it off. When Rush is starting its maintenance, Qwenthur drops into Rush’s cockpit and holds Ohoho hostage. But he is shocked to see her true form. A flat chest loli?

Episode 16
Qwenthur is in despair! His dreams crushed! Give back those G-cups! Apparently Ohoho’s busty self is just a 3D rendered model. So real, eh? Although Qwenthur tries to hold her hostage by making her do nothing, she quickly activates her AI, Juliet. Rush disengages from repairs and instantly heads out to the battlefield. Qwenthur is tossed like inside a washing machine from the G-force. Baby Magnum has not progressed much in its repairs and is forced to engage Rush. To taunt the enemy, Ohoho starts singing! Well, since Juliet is handling the combat, it leaves her free. To up the ante, Ohoho shows pictures of her flirting with Qwenthur. You know how this is always a death flag, right? So Milinda gives him the ultimatum to get out of there or she’ll blast him along with Rush. And then he had to say this: If he dies, there is an engagement ring in his barrack. Return it to his fiancée, Angelina back at his hometown. Immediately Milinda fires her full force at Rush!!! Then she gives him options to die. Qwenthur continues to mention about his playboy status with some foreigner named Julia to rile up Ohoho. Then he gives Milinda commands to lead Rush to be blocked by an obstacle. Although Rush is faster and packs more firepower than Baby Magnum, suddenly it shuts down. From Qwenthur’s explanation, what I understand is that Juliet recalculated risks trying to avoid a checkmate but got itself into one. The messages Qwenthur relayed to Milinda weren’t for her but to Havia to manipulate some infrared targeting system to make Rush mistakenly think Water Strider’s main guns are aiming at it.

Ohoho can shut down and restart manually but Qwenthur tells her to quiet and shut off communications. He hints there is a bomb at the back of her seat. It seems when Rush halted despite having overwhelming advantage, her higher ups deemed her as a traitor and is going to blow up the Object. Because it is not Rush or the Elite that they want. It is Juliet. Ohoho becomes mad as she blames and punches Qwenthur repeatedly. He makes a deal with her to let her escape since her song was nice. In exchange for her life, they get to capture this enemy Object intact. After she ejects, it is revealed this was just an elaborated cooked up plan. The bomb is from Qwenthur. Although Havia can help keep this a secret to Frolaytia and Milinda, the problem now is to cook up an excuse for Milinda who is raging who the f*ck are Angelina and Julia… Ohoho is picked up by Lendy who assures her despite Rush’s loss, their military attaches importance to control systems and AIs so it is okay. Besides, they have a backup of Juliet’s system. Even if Juliet is seized, there are measures to keep its intelligence under wraps. After Ohoho realizes she has been tricked, she slaps Lendy and threatens to shoot their own team if they pull this off again. This makes her want Qwenthur all to herself.

Episode 17
Their next operation will be a night time blitz at the Kamchatka Peninsula. Qwenthur is getting supply parts for Baby Magnum when he stumbles upon a woman in black uniform. This strict lady pulls out her gun and demands his rank and affiliation. Once she realizes he is a student, she goes away seeing that is not her jurisdiction. It seems such people are like the police for the military to keep an eye on them so they won’t commit crimes. Frolaytia initiates her battle plan briefing with the engineers. Their mission is to destroy a coal mine belonging to Faith Organization. It is believed this is their power source for their Objects and will greatly stifle their movement. Also, it is spotted they have deployed a second generation Object codenamed Wing Balancer. In short, Baby Magnum is no match head to head with this amphibious gunner. And because the Kamchatka Peninsula’s geographic layout is not suitable for Baby Magnum, that is where the engineers come in to hack in some radar facility. I’ll skill the technical details. After they complete their mission, a grace period will be given for the commander to surrender and coal mine staffs to evacuate before Baby Magnum fires and destroys everything. The engineers are split into 2 teams. Havia has Cookman, Myongli and Westie trekking to some point. Qwenthur has Nutley, Charles and Charlotte Zoom (that strict lady in black) for company. I’m going to cut out lots of small chatter as they proceed with the operation. Aside Baby Magnum, there is also Indigo Plasma on their side but this is just a decoy to keep Wing Balancer in its place while the engineers carry out their mission. When Qwenthur spots the enemy’s target plane, he relays to Charles. However there is no answer. Blood is hinted splattered in his area. Qwenthur and Charlotte are then shot in the back by Nutley.

Episode 18
The duo are still alive because their f*cking thick backpack protected them (at the expense of their communication device). But Charles is confirmed dead since Qwenthur has his dog tag. And Nutley didn’t bother to check if they’re dead?! I understand we can blame the bad weather for poor vision but if he was travelling with them, he should have known what they were carrying, right?! So he just sabotaged their hacking device and gone ‘missing’? Some spy. Meanwhile Havia’s group is not too pleased that before them is Wing Balancer. Running away now won’t do any good so it is believed Wing Balancer has some build bridging mechanism to cross the terrains. If they destroy it while it is crossing the gorge, maybe they’ll seize victory? Well, don’t bother. Because Wing Balancer flew over the gorge!!! The turbulence and impact blew everyone away. Literally. It might have even caused Cookman and Westie’s life seeing they were flung deep into the ravine. Havia and Myongli enter the barracks and discover a room that is seemingly kid friendly. Till they realize it is a spy room trying to learn their country’s language and culture. Qwenthur and Charlotte are walking through the mine shaft. A civilian bringing first aid appears. Charlotte is ready to shoot to kill but Qwenthur stops her. Because of that, Charlotte gives him a gun not to defend himself but to commit suicide in the case that girl goes to report to the enemy and then they swarm and corner them. As the epic battle between Baby Magnum and Wing Balancer begins (it’s jumping everywhere!), Havia beats up Qwenthur thinking he screwed up on the operation. After explaining thins, Qwenthur notices this isn’t a coal mine but a mine filled with diamonds, they realize this is a war over resources. But they find it odd if it was over it, why isn’t the enemy Object stationed and guarding here? Based on Myongli’s theory, perhaps there are civilian pacifists trying to learn cultures and languages for diplomacy unlike higher ups who want to wage war. Thus the people in power want to get rid of them and make it look like they get crossed in a fight between Objects. And you know the backlash if they are killed by the nation whom they were trying to reach out the most, right? This means Baby Magnum is very much in danger as Wing Balancer is luring her to shoot at the mines. Qwenthur and co make haste but stopping them in their tracks is traitor Nutley in a powered suit.

Episode 19
The civilian attacks the powered suit with a pick, giving Qwenthur a new lease of life. The guys split up as Nutley chases Qwenthur and Charlotte. He drops explosives along the way to slow it down but Nutley retaliates by throwing a rock. A debris cuts and injures Charlotte’s leg. Playing hide and seek in the mine, Qwenthur ends the game by planting explosives in the diamond ores. The blast and impact pierce through the powered suit, making it Nutley’s glittering coffin. Qwenthur then hacks a communication device to communicate with Milinda. Talking about the rage of air cushions in newer Objects, he then discovers Wing Balancer’s weakness. You might think he is crazy to shoot at it with his rifle. But it is actually to take out the sensors at the bottom of its feet as they are used to sense the uneven ground and terrain. With that taken out, a single shot from Baby Magnum is enough to send it toppling over. Qwenthur thought the war is over and victory is theirs but when Frolaytia contacts him about the civilians still being target, he didn’t see this one coming. Indigo Plasma fires a powerful blast to destroy the mines! Qwenthur realizes that the higher ups want the war to continue. The enemy isn’t just confined to the different factions but from within. Nutley wasn’t a spy from the other side. He was a spy sent by their own country. Qwenthur laments the atrocities of war but Frolaytia relays the good news that there are no civilian casualties. Everyone escaped via underground submarine since the mines used to be a submarine base. Back at base, Myongli can’t believe how the guys are so nonchalant after what they’ve been through and the possibility of an impending civil war. Well, they’ve been having the devil’s luck and living this far… You learn to take life as a joke. Charlotte admits she isn’t cut out for this kind of job. She also mentions she is a ‘fan’ of him ever since hearing his heroics of taking down Objects with his ingenuity. Then a box of diamonds drops out from Qwenthur’s pocket. She was going to get mad about him but lets it slide since she has no authority over students. Later Charlotte reports to her commander and clears Qwenthur that his victories aren’t due to List’s scenarios but his own efforts. He has her continue sticking with List and investigate Flide who has escaped and now a fugitive.

Episode 20
Indigo Plasma is attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean into Europe. The plan is to intercept it with Baby Magnum, Snow Quake and Active Sledge. The decisive battle will be held at Victoria Island. There is this briefing about this noble dude, Prizewell City Slicker behind this ‘war’. He is a selfish person who gets what he wants. He started falling out of favour so his goal is to threaten their homeland with overwhelming military might to get people to listen to him again and to have his say in matters. When Milinda is worried about the maintenance granny as she is acting unusual, Qwenthur goes to talk to her. He is shocked to see a beautiful photo of her in her teens. Granny is an emigrant from Capital Enterprise (supposedly the old Japan) when her daughter and her husband were almost executed because of their philanthropic ways which was seen as ‘hurting the economy’. Now they live in an immigrant settlement city near Victoria Island. Qwenthur and Havia go help their infantry by sniping the enemy’s infantry engaged in a gun battle. As they inspect the bodies, strange gas starts flooding the place just as when the Heavy Objects are arriving to engage in heavy fighting. Everyone runs for higher ground as Qwenthur finds it odd it isn’t poisonous or flammable. Then it hit him. Just in time for everyone to duck, a big area blows up. Qwenthur explains some plasma cannon thingy in which its high temperatures will be spread via gas. That is why the enemy infantry was trying to spread the gas around. That area now is a huge magma crater! Snow Quake takes damage in its base. Baby Magnum makes a risky move to save it before it gets toast. The guys believe the battle will turn in their favour if Active Sledge arrives. However they hear reports it has been sunk! But how?! 6 stealth Objects emerged from underneath the sea. Once those Objects arrive on land, Slicker makes his broadcast about the stagnation of their country due to the many languages other than the official language. That is why they aren’t united. He will make their country great again by eliminating all the other inferior languages.

Episode 21
Nobody is going to believe about Slicker’s BS exercise when they know he is targeting the immigrant city. Luckily Frolaytia evacuates the personnel of the base first before Slicker’s Objects blast it to smithereens. As Snow Quake’s Elite has ejected, Baby Magnum is damaged but still operatable, Frolaytia orders the crew to scavenge parts and go fix it before Slicker’s Objects destroy it. However granny is not around and it is believe she has fled to the village to save her family. Qwenthur and Havia get into an argument about the former’s risky move. Qwenthur argues about Slicker’s Objects. Are there really 7 of them? Do you know the cost and manpower to maintain and operate one? Some may just be a ploy to deceive and throw them into confusion. Qwenthur proves his theory by examining the carrier the Objects arrived on. Because of the structure of the cheaper metal it used, in no way it could have supported a real Object. Thus some of the dummy Objects may not even have any other fire power except their main guns and they can even take them out with their weapons. Havia agrees to participate in this crazy attempt one last time. Suddenly they are attacked by mercenaries of Capital Enterprise. FINALLY! THOSE FABULOUS MAIDS APPEARED!!!!!!! WOHOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Led by Wydine Uptown, they capture the duo and want them to trick Baby Magnum’s Elite to eject and after they capture her, this place will be defenceless and when Capital Enterprise make their move, they’ll get rewarded.

Qwenthur wants to buy their services but they mock him of not knowing his position and his allowance cannot buy them. Then he shows a box of Kamchatka diamonds. You listening now? Qwenthur says he has a few more boxes of it and will give it to them at the end regardless of the outcome. After verifying its top quality authenticity, suddenly it they become goshuujin-sama! Gladly at your service! Wow. Money really rules the world. Hitching a ride to the immigrant city, it seems only Qwenthur only gets first class treatment as Havia is scorned since he didn’t cough up any cash. They discuss about the strategies the enemy might be using. Whatever it is, the maids will gladly use all their expertise to help. Granny has reached the city as she frantically gets her daughter. She notices all internet and even the telephone lines cut so as not to spread the panic. She tells her daughter what is going on and then slaps her when she panics. Granny doesn’t want her to tell others as she is only here to save her family. She will bear this sin and responsibility. They go pick up the husband and granddaughter. But since the enemy Object is already within firing range, granny feels she has failed and there is not enough time to escape. That is when she is contacted by Qwenthur and Havia via walkie-talkie that they can’t have her die on them just yet. They’re going to stop the Objects and the maids will gladly oblige their orders to take out anyone who stands in their way.

Episode 22
The maids use land and air drones as distraction. The Objects take the bait and destroy some of them. The gas is fired and it is getting pretty close to where Qwenthur is. If not for the drone shooting it away and Qwenthur throwing his bomb to disperse the gas back, he would have got caught in it. Like how it destroyed its own ground platoon. Qwenthur notices the destroyed pieces of the fake armour from the fake Object. Although it is thick, it is very light. He contacts granny for help on how to analyze it. Using some radio frequency, granny speculates the ‘armour’ is just special ceramic to make it look like an Object. Yup, everyone was visually fooled. The communication is then jammed so Qwenthur contacts the maids to initiate their attack. So one of the remaining drones behind the Objects fire a shot. This has the AI controlled Objects to turn around and vaporize it, taking out the entire infantry following behind! This AI is certainly dumb! Because of the gas the infantry was carrying, this means the plasma also turned the area into that magma crater. Thanks to the subzero temperatures of the land combined with the heat from the plasma, the sudden shock in different temperature causes the fake Objects to crumble! All that is left is Indigo Plasma as a pissed Slicker is going to wipe out Qwenthur. But Baby Magnum is here. She fires her cannons at Indigo Plasma and since his side is shrouded with the gas, everything goes boom. Baby Magnum shields Qwenthur from the impact. Safe. It’s good he is alive because the maids are so afraid they won’t get their payment. Money face. In the aftermath, Qwenthur and Havia pick up granny who is ready to face the music. However they say Frolaytia will overlook this as long as she makes up with results. Back at base, Frolaytia is not amused the higher ups are fighting over who to take credit. She just hates the paper work that comes with it. Learning that Qwenthur teamed up with a bunch of mercenary maids, she has checked that every mercenary under Capital Enterprise is registered. The maids are not. She has a feeling he might have met a troublesome bunch. It is revealed the maids are under Intelligence Union’s Lendy. They were sent as spies and to destroy information on Rush. They have erased one and all that is left is one more. Charlotte is seen interrogating Honeysuckle in prison. He warns to act quick or else Baby Magnum’s battalion will be annihilated.

Episode 23
Qwenthur and Havia are in the middle of a flower field. But they’re not stopping to smell the flowers. They are on a peace mission to exchange a prisoner, Klondike. Originally from Faith Organization, he is popular and has many followers around the world. Because he preaches peace and non-violence and his teachings are more like ideology, he doesn’t fit into Faith Organization. They don’t want him but want to be seen protecting him. This is the same for every country as they don’t want him to spread his ideology but cannot risk international incident if they kill him. So they just detain him. He has been ‘tossed’ around various countries and this time Intelligence Union is willing to take him in. Before Klondike goes with Frolaytia for the handover, he meets Qwenthur and Havia. He questions their ideology of killing one to save thousands. He has them think again if that kind of thinking is the reason why war never ends. Meanwhile Milinda and Ohoho are having a war of words since Milinda is chirpy about Qwenthur making and giving her a small mirror gift. Let the b*tching fly. As Qwenthur tries to calm her down, all communications to her is cut off. Contacting Frolaytia about it, she too is having the same problem. It seems an unknown source is trying to obstruct her. She traces a source to a nearby town and wants them to deal with this before anything unnecessary crops up. On the way, they are contacted by Charlotte who tells them Flide might be behind this. As he ran the Elite training programme, he has data on Milinda and is traced to be in this area. Because all the superpower Objects are in the area, Flide might want to hack Baby Magnum and trigger a big war by foiling the exchange. By the time the guys arrive in a dilapidated house, Flide has already finished his final hacking. All systems in Baby Magnum shut down. Milinda experiences some kind of kaleidoscope horror vision before everything is restored. Back to normal? Then she targets where Flide is. Part of his plan to die along with the hacking evidence. He chained himself so the guys have to escape themselves. After Milinda fires a shot, she targets Rush and both Objects now engage in a bloody battle. She doesn’t listen to Frolaytia’s orders to stop. As explained by Honeysuckle, Milinda has been affected by this cognitive intervention programme for Elites, Mirror of Truth which was developed by Intelligence Union. Now Milinda will interpret every data as negative. It cannot be stopped since the key died along with Flide. The only way to stop this from getting out of hand and Klondike from dying is to destroy Baby Magnum.

Episode 24
Qwenthur and Havia get hit by a stray shot. While Havia sustains injuries and not life threatening, Qwenthur is on the verge of death. Had not Wydine find him, he might have bled to death. The doctors desperately try to bring him back to life. Fortunately he lives. But ironically he wakes up as though he was just lightly injured. By his side is Ohoho. It seems she is not piloting Rush as it is being remotely controlled. Lendy meets Qwenthur for the first time and learns about Mirror of Truth. She is interested to know more from his source. Qwenthur talks to Honeysuckle about this. He reiterates what we already know. The only way is to destroy Baby Magnum as he suggests all the parts that could easily obliterate the Object. With Frolaytia confirming the higher ups have decided to abandon Baby Magnum, I guess the only way for Qwenthur is to screw all that and do it by himself. He is going to inflict enough damage to force eject Milinda but not kill her when he destroys the Object. Ohoho reminds him he is their prisoner and proposes that he defects to Intelligence Union and becomes her personal maintenance engineer. However he rejects her. I take it that he chose Milinda. His reason threads along the lines that Elites like her have been alone all the time and building thick walls around themselves. Isn’t it the same case for other Elites and Ohoho as well? Whatever. He requests Ohoho’s help to pilot an Object if she wants to repay her debt from Alaska. Qwenthur and Havia ride their jeep as Ohoho gets into her Rush to fight Baby Magnum. Ohoho’s role is to lure Baby Magnum to a designated area. However feeling the need to save Frolaytia still in the battlefield, she strays from the course. With no time left (Capital Enterprise and Faith Organization are also mobilizing their Objects), Qwenthur decides to become the decoy. It’s of course another dangerous stunt. He former contacts Milinda and despite telling her not to shoot their jeep, she interprets as an order to shoot it. In a well timed coordination, she fires and the jeep is hit. This distraction allows Ohoho to fire some sort of powder gas into Baby Magnum’s cannons. When Milinda fires, the cannon’s heat causes Baby Magnum to explode but enough to eject Milinda out. There is some technical explanation from Qwenthur about this but I’ll skip it. I don’t understand and couldn’t really care. But it seems Qwenthur took a big gamble with that shot and got very lucky this time he wasn’t killed. A happy ending as Milinda happily drops into Qwenthur’s arms. Honeysuckle and Klondike have their own comments that Qwenthur can be the new change that everyone should look out for.

Heavy Fanservice
Not really. But in every episode, there is guarantee to have at least one fanservice scene be it a small subtle one or a big obvious one. A close up on those boobs or those curvy asses, well I guess we need to have our little distractions from the plot and mecha action. Heck, even many of the sponsor screens have a seemingly fanservice-like pose from a scene in the episode. And yes, sometimes our pervy nature of our main duo is one of those small reasons why fanservice is forced into the show. Raunchy training video anyone?

I have to admit that watching the first few episodes, I was already hooked on where the series was heading. Yeah, it made me forget (but not entirely) that I would be patiently waiting for the maids to pop up and squeal with glee. Seriously. I was going to do that. But thankfully the resourcefulness of Qwenthur and Havia was the one that kept everything interesting because they were thinking outside of the box to bring down something that is so many times bigger and more damaging than them. It was absolutely thrilling and mind blowing to see them come up with creative and ingenious plans and tactics to bring down the enemy. Sure, it got a bit stale after a few arcs and after halfway through, I thought they might have ran out of steam seeing they somewhat follow this formula albeit with a bit of tweaking. But still, it is still fun to see them in action and get out alive after all that.

Which brings me to the next point at how freaking lucky the duo are. Yes, people. These guys have lady luck smiling on them. I am guessing Qwenthur is such a ladies’ man that not only he has some of the girls in the series interested in him but even lady luck herself can’t help be on his side throughout the series. They could have died anytime from the extremities and impossibilities that they are facing but they always get out alive and the most are only a few scratches. Nothing as serious as breaking bones that would have put them out of commission for weeks. I mean, they prove that beating an Object all by themselves isn’t just a fluke. They do it all the time! Sure, there are times when they are in a pinch but there will always be something that will get them out of their unlucky situation and turn the tables in their favour. If Objects were a casino, they’d strike jackpot all the time! They are better than cats or Contra cheat code because it is like they have infinite lives. Making them even luckier is the fact that they get to travel around the world! Notice how each arc brings them to different locations around the world? From the freezing cold of Alaska to the deep waters of Gibraltar and the dense forests of the Amazon. I think they visit cold places more often as they revisited Alaska and Kamchatka as well. Man, these guys got a paid trip around the world. Of course you can argue that they are risking their lives on the mission but hey, I guess those are the perks and dangers that come with the job. You lucky bastards!

Another fun part that kept my interests in the show is the dynamic interaction between Qwenthur and Havia. These two are inseparable, probably fated to be together and may God forbid, die together on the battlefield. Though, it is always mainly Qwenthur’s initiative that drags Havia into the mess because the latter would very much like to stay out of trouble. He could have an easier noble life back in his home town had not this military requirement that requires him to rack up some reputation points. I hope it was all worth it for his fiancée. Because no matter how much Havia screams and complains, I guess he will eventually have to tighten his seat belts because he is already in for the ride with his partner. With all the jabs and prodding the duo make, it is never a dull moment to see the dynamic duo get things done and outsmart the enemy. And with them going around destroying Objects without using Objects, I bet that when they reach well into their adults there won’t be many Objects left because you know how freaking hard and expensive it is to maintain such war machines. They’ll rack up such reputation that even Elites would run upon learning if they are present in the battlefield. Like how a mouse could scare away an elephant, no?

I want to say that Milinda completes the trio but she is hardly physically with them. Because if you noticed she is mostly cooped up in her Baby Magnum most of the time. Seeing her outside of it is something rare. I would say that half of the time you will see her piloting inside the cockpit of Baby Magnum. Though she plays a pivotal role in many of the missions as you still need an Object to finish the other Object or at least stave it off before Qwenthur works his scientific magic, somehow I just don’t feel Milinda is as close as the guys. They are out on the battlefield but she is inside her Object while the guys are on the ground. Even if they are separated at least the guys have more physical contact with each other on occasions unlike Milinda who is often on standby inside Baby Magnum.

So that is why I thought that the only way to make her relevant (notwithstanding the final arc which feels like a shoehorn so that she would have some sort of ‘proactive’ role) and have something to do with Qwenthur is to make her have this secret crush on him. It is so freaking obvious. She likes him. Any other girls come into the picture, she pouts and you can see a drastic change in her attitude. Not even Frolaytia is spared. Not sure if the guys know about this or just deliberately ignoring it because you can’t have your love in fruition when you’re on the battlefield, right? Because you can hear Havia teasing lightly about this and Qwenthur is like, well, not sure if he’s just acting to just appease her. So if you’re hoping for some sort of romance, it is a big miss. It’s like trying to bait us with a potential harem because nerds with brains like Qwenthur is a hit with chicks (girls dig brainy guys, right?) but nothing of it materializes. Just a distraction. Or is Ohoho trying to piss off Milinda by trolling that she would steal her man? If I am not mistaken, in one of the later arcs, there was this idol reporter waltzing into the base doing her cutie reporting. I believe she was trying to look for Qwenthur but left disappointed as she couldn’t find him around. Duh. He was on the battlefield risking his life. What is his relationship with him? Could she be another love rival? It feels like a waste and troll just to show cameos of her in that arc.

Having described the trio, there is nothing more we can say about the character development about them or any other character partly due to the nature of this series. If you want to know more about their past in depth, you’d be disappointed because there isn’t much to know about. I mean, how much do you know about Qwenthur? We know a bit more in Havia and his Vanderbilt fiancée but that is about it. How about Milinda as an Elite? How did she end up in this position? What is her back story? Again, nothing told. At least Frolaytia has slightly more back story and past despite being shoehorned as part of the story arc. So what else can I say about Frolaytia that she is like your typical higher up who acts strict and is quirky in her own way but cares for her subordinates. Busty assets to flaunt and tease Havia just because she can.

Oh, before I forget too, by the times the maids appeared (it’s about time), I have almost lost my enthusiasm that I had as I did from the start since my main interest by then is Qwenthur and Havia’s feats. Not to say that I totally lost interests in maids (NEVER WILL!), because at the start and end of each arc my conscious would be telling me that there was no show from the maids here. Could it be I was deceived? And then they finally pop up. Didn’t do pretty much except providing backup to Qwenthur and then off they go. Well, what was I expecting anyway. Other characters are like, uhm, well I don’t know how to elaborate more. Ohoho is only remembered as Milinda’s rival on both the battlefields (give me back those G-cups too!). Lendy is sneaky (I think everyone in Intelligence Union is as sneaky). Charlotte, why do we still need her? Anybody else that matter? No? Baddies? No? Honeysuckle. In prison. Flide? Dead. Slicker? Dead. Nutley? Dead. Halreed? Finding someone new to go f*ck with. Haha! With baddies and characters with names like these, oh boy, sometimes you wonder if the world has gone ‘internationalized’ is a good thing or not.

For the plot, overall it might sound silly and recycled seeing that every arc is more or less the same. Some country is going to do something bad. Our heroes need to interfere. Qwenthur and Havia have racked up a reputation big enough to be sent around the world to stop and foil the enemy’s plan. And they did it. End of mission. Mission successful. Well, at least it is easy to follow this way. That is why the ‘ending’ didn’t feel like anything much because you know, if there was going to be another arc, it would probably follow this same formula. That is why there isn’t any closure for any of the characters because it is most likely the same stuffs will continue. But hey, at least Qwenthur gets the girl in the end. Literally. Besides, if you look at the settings of the world, a few things feeling unrealistic especially about Objects being the sole thing that are used for war. I know such behemoths are so precious and important but do they really need to do away with classic military weapons and arsenal? Because they are all just reduced to just useless supporting roles. And somehow the world is only divided into 4 major powerhouse countries. I don’t know. In today’s reality with more countries breaking up, I can’t see why it will all turn to just a few of them. Oh right. They did something similar in this setting for Code Geass too. And to call those big sophisticated war machines as Objects… Can’t they come up with a classier name? Don’t get me started at the penguin scene. What the f*ck was that all about?!

Then there are those sci-fi and engineering terms. Well, I’m not saying that they are as bad as To Aru Majutsu No Index but there are enough spewed around to make it sound, uhm, authentic. You know, they can come up with all those classy sounding names and terms and all those BS and still get away with it because I’m just too dumb to understand what it all means and too lazy to even Google and find out how true it is. I’ll just accept them all! And I’ll also give an excuse that I am not an engineering or science student to understand all that crap.

The action scenes especially the Objects facing off with each other do not disappoint (fire and explosions, okay?). While they might seem that they are just shifting and realigning to get better positions than their opponent and then firing big beams, you can feel the powerful impact when they fire their main cannons. It really packs a punch. Definitely you do not want to be caught in between the crossfire. Your entire existence will be erased right down to your last DNA I kid you not. Seeing the enemy Object crumble in dramatic fashion also yields some sort of relief because after all the hard work our little heroes put in and to see it pay off is just satisfying. Though, it is a bit silly that something this big and almost indestructible would be destroyed just like that. You know, the end level boss is so tough and once you finish off his last health point, he breaks down and disintegrates to bits. Like as though their DNA molecules have reached their limit in holding up and just let it all go. Seriously.

The art style and animation are pretty fluid and good especially with the Objects using CGI, they don’t look very jarring and blend in perfectly. It is no doubt about the quality because the veteran anime studio, J.C. Staff did this (in collaboration with Sanzigen too). If you find similarities in their art style in other animes, say To Aru Majutsu No Index, now you know why. With a big part of the backgrounds and scenes concentrated on the battlefield, this means the natural environments like the icy desert and the plains, not to say they are masterpieces but good enough to look at. At least it isn’t urban warfare. On a trivial note, the mid-intermission eyecatch is a good place to view comprehensive details on Objects if you really want to get to know its specs. Although eventually many of them will be repeated because there are only a handful of Objects in the series. However the second part of the eyecatch might feel a bit out of place. Because they are just silly random poses of the characters (mostly fanservice for Milinda and Frolaytia) that borders comical. Screw all the technical stuffs. We need to laugh and get a boner sometimes.

I’m not sure why I thought it was Akira Ishida behind Qwenthur’s voice but it was rather Natsuki Hanae (Inaho in Aldnoah.Zero). Maybe at first they sound closely similar but as the series goes on, there was some notable difference but I still thought the character was so. At least I didn’t make the same mistake for Shizuka Itou as Frolaytia and Rikiya Koyama as Seewax as well as Satomi Arai as the head maid Wydine. Rina Satou as Lendy? Didn’t think it was her since she lacks screen time and more lines. Hisako Kanemoto as Ohoho? Trading her “~de geso” line for “ohoho” laughter? There are quite a number of casts here thanks to the nature of the series. Some even playing multiple roles albeit they are just minor background characters that we’ll never notice anyway. So the rest of the (selective) casts are Kaito Ishikawa as Havia (Genos in One Punch Man), Eri Suzuki as Milinda (Chinatsu in Flying Witch), Saori Oonishi as Charlotte (La Folia in Strike The Blood), Maaya Uchida as Vanderbilt (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Honeysuckle (X-eins in Valvrave The Liberator), Ryota Takeuchi as Halreed (Shiro in Ansatsu Kyoshitsu), Katsuyki Konishi as Slicker (Laxus in Fairy Tail), Ryuusuke Oobayashi as Flide (Soun in Ranma 1/2) and Shinpachi Tsuji as Klondike (Makarov in Fairy Tail).

Both the opening themes are sung by All Off. Both are hard rock pieces supposedly to give you a feel and pace of what this series is about. One More Chance is the first opening theme while Never Gave Up is the second one. But it is an easier pace for the ending themes. Dear Brave by Kano as the first ending theme is still a rock outfit. The second ending theme is Unchanging Strength and is more of a slow anime pop. Done by Yuka Iguchi who only sang and did not provide any voice acting. Not even a cameo. I suppose with Milinda’s limited appearance, I have a feeling that is why the ending credits animation is mostly all on her.

Overall, I have to admit that despite falling under the mecha category that I dislike, this series has been a fun and enjoyable ride thanks to the boys’ cleverness and interesting tactics to take down the nearly invincible despite the stacking impossible odds against them. Not to mention their teamwork that sometimes could border as a manzai comedy duo (they can be good stand-up comedians if they retire). Also partly thank the maids for appearing or else I might have been feeling more disappointed had they not and screamed deception. Also thanks to the big mecha action to remind us why war is big business and reinforce and make us feel less guilty why we will forever fight each other despite you’re not supposed to take this anime seriously. Last and not least, thank the few fanservice peppered throughout because what is all that explosive action if you don’t have a little boobs and butts to show even if they are just mild. Sex sells. Hentai parody when? Heavy Sex Object. Haha! Song parody when? He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Object. Haha! So yeah. Why the heck do we want boring peace anyway when we can have so much fun in war?

Senjou No Valkyria

November 20, 2016

Military and war genres aren’t really my kind of taste when it comes to picking animes to watch. Not to say that I really dislike the genre but it is rather very low on my priority list as compared to high school romance comedy and yeah, fanservice genres. So perhaps the only reason why I decided to watch Senjou No Valkyria was perhaps the many rave reviews it got. No, not the anime but rather the critical and positive reviews from the tactical role playing game that it was adapted from. Now, many of such Japanese games are rich in story, plot and characters so probably that is one reason why at that point in time I decided to give the anime a chance. Furthermore, the game was created and developed by Sega, a childhood console favourite of mine (because of certain blue hedgehog). However sometimes adaptations from games to the silver screen doesn’t necessarily transit well like in the case of Hollywood. In the case of Sega there have been some hits and misses. I can’t really point out good ones because there are many of their series that I have never watched like the Evangelion movies and Persona 4. Those that I have seen are rather okay and passable like World Destruction, Sakura Taisen and Shining Hearts. Some are just mediocre and fail like Shining Tear and the more recently dreadful Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation. Remembering the funny and nostalgic Hi-sCoool! SeHa Girls, maybe there is still hope for Sega still although this anime was released way back in 2009.

Episode 1
Alicia Melchiott is part of the Bruhl Patrol and is evacuating the townspeople because the evil Imperial will soon launch its attack. Her fellow colleague, Susie Evans report of a possible spy at the bridge. Alicia rendezvous with Jean and Miguro to watch the spy noting down in his notebook. When they confront him, he claims he is just sketching trout. Indeed he is but they think it is some code and take him away. When she learns his name is Welkin Gunther, she becomes more suspicious because that family name is supposed to be a well respected one in the Patrol. The emergency siren goes off and Alicia has to go for a meeting with her superiors about the possible delay of reinforcements that will put a damper to their plans. Then she returns to tie him up in a shed although he pleads to be released and promises to be back because he needs to go get someone. Not buying it. Jean and Miguro wonder if the Imperial is really going to attack this place so Alicia reminds them about the history about the war between Eastern Europa Empire Alliance and Atlantic Federation to control the important resource called Ragnite. Therefore Gallia must fight to protect itself. She returns to the meeting and after it ends, she sees Welkin escaping before her eyes. She goes after him but she hasn’t the guts to shoot. Once she catches up in the forest, he has her keep quiet because they spot the Imperial scouts from a distance. Welkin mentions the person he is supposed to get is his younger sister, Isara. The scouts spot them and they run. Thank goodness they are all bad shots. When they take refuge inside a manor, Alicia couldn’t understand why he is familiar with the place. Then it hit her. Could he be the son of the famous general that saved Gallia in the first war? Yup. Alicia almost got beheaded by Isara in the kitchen thinking she was an intruder. Alicia thinks the siblings are liars since Isara has the Darcsen looks. She has them raise their hands in the air but a rocket propeller rocks the place. Alicia drops her gun. Isara picks it up and shoots the enemy scout at the window. Now you trust her? Isara guides them to the back where more weapons are stored. When the scout reinforcements are here, Alicia throws the old fashion grenade to silence them. Isara then unveils the biggest weapon they can use: A tank!

Episode 2
This tank, Edelweiss was created by Isara’s biological Darcsen father (this means Isara is adopted into Welkin’s family) and it is loaded up and has enough fuel for the ride. They surprise the enemy by barging through them. They return and reunite with the other patrol members who aren’t too thrilled Isara is a Darcsen. When Alicia reports of the advancing Imperial army, the patrol deputy is upset that her act will lead them straight to this town. She believes the enemy is in disarray after seeing an unknown tank and will definitely come after them. They will just need to hold out till the town people evacuate. Welkin couldn’t be more embarrassing in his timing to ask the question when they can retreat. You can’t blame him as he has never been in the front lines and need to take care of himself. There are a couple of tanks the patrol has but they are in unworthy condition. While they try to start it up, the rest go fend off the Imperial army. If you’re wondering why the enemy could stand in the open without getting shot unlike the Bruhl Patrol, hiding behind sand bags and yet they die, it’s because… Better weapons… With so many dead, the deputy returns for the tank. Unheeding Isara’s advice, he sets out in it. Sure, he destroyed a tank but he soon runs out of fuel. Sitting duck. Enemy is here. Bang! Game over. The injury and death toll is taking a toll and it is only a matter of time they succumb. With the patrol chief returning to confirm the completion of evacuees and the Gallian army will be here soon, Alicia, Welkin and Isara will ride Edelweiss to stall the enemy so the patrol can escape. Edelweiss is fast, flexible and powerful. It even deflects bullets! Eat this! With the Gallian army coming, the Imperial side retreats. In the sad aftermath fate of Bruhl, the Gallian army decides to abandon it. Alicia is sad the war has ravaged her home and to just think she was just working in a bakery here a few years ago. Because of this, she decides to join the militia to end the war so that the death of her comrades will not be in vain. When Alicia is summoned to give the commander the report on Bruhl’s retreat, guess who she bumps into? Welkin! Did he join the army too?

Episode 3
Eleanor Varrot makes Welkin the commander of Squad 7. Despite having no actual combat experience, his heroics at Bruhl is enough to be considered so. He gets permission to bring Edelweiss under his care this means Isara is also assigned to his squad. But it is bad news for Alicia because she is assigned to be Welkin’s assistant. They meet Welkin’s university friend, Faldio Landzaat who is the commander of Squad 1. Faldio wonders why he joined the militia seeing he hates fighting and there were many ways for him to avoid being drafted. After experiencing Bruhl, he thought he must end the war fast and return to that place. Welkin addresses his squad but some like Largo Potter and Brigitte “Rosie” Stark already dislike him for being a greenhorn ranking higher above them. Welkin talks about the most important in battle is not experience but their lives. He promises to do his best to protect them. Varrot has the squad commanders in briefing in a next mission to take over Vasel Town as its bridge is a crucial location that connects to the capital city of Randgriz. The squads are to sortie their team there. Things aren’t looking good for the Gallian side and Welkin has another set of problems on his hand. Largo and Rosie spite Isara as a Darcsen. Welkin then decides to make a bet because he knows this is clearly a question whether or not he is fit to be their commander. Give him 2 days and they will take the other side of the bridge. If successful, they will follow his orders. Otherwise he will resign as the squad leader. That night, the area is shrouded in fog. Welkin knew about this because he spotted the swallows flying low and could be a sign of low air pressure. So he summons his squad to cross over. Not via bridge but by river. The non-believers cannot believe a tank can cross water. That is why Edelweiss will do it. The siblings ride the tank underwater and they have to go faster as water is sipping in. The rest follow behind via boat. When it resurfaces, Edelweiss continuously attacks the enemy to confuse them about the numbers. With Squad 7 flanking the enemies at the bank, the confused enemies give up thinking they are outnumbered. By day, Gallian has taken control of the bridge. With Welkin winning the bet, they agree to follow his orders but this doesn’t mean they will accept Isara. The hate is strong…

Episode 4
The Imperial generals are discussing about Vasel’s defeat. Imperial Prince Maximilian will not be cowed by this setback and must stem them before they grow bigger. His tactic is to push the Gallians back by increasing their forces where the resistance is strong. Therefore it is necessary to reinforce the supply route through Kloden. He sends Berthold Gregor there to take command and Radi Jaeger to support him. Selvaria Bles will accompany him to Barious Desert. Welkin and Alicia are summoned by General Georg von Damon. His Regular troops plan to cut off the supply lines at Kloden. Thus he wants Squad 7 to stay out of this thinking they will be a burden unless they would like to be their shield. That Vasel victory was just luck he thinks. Welkin agrees not to participate. Of course his squad isn’t too happy that Welkin did not retaliate after Damon looked down upon their squad like that but Welkin’s order to stay out is clear. So what will they do? Cleaning and laundry… Gregor arrives at Kloden. So do Damon and his troops. When the Gallian side attacks, Gregor orders a decoy troop to the front lines as bait although this will cause casualties. He doesn’t care as he will counter the Gallian force with a bigger attack then. Damon’s troops suffer heavy damage. Like the coward he is, he runs. Only he survived the onslaught and everybody else died. Thus Varrot explains how lucky Squad 7 is by staying out of it. However orders from central HQ will have Squad 7 assault Kloden. Welkin tells his team about this and they are revved up to show those Regulars what they are made of. But it is not only Squad 7 who will be going in alone. Squad 1 will be supporting them too. Because Faldio won’t let Welkin steal all the glory.

Episode 5
Squad 7 and Squad 1 are at the outskirts of Kloden. Alicia thought there is a spy in the bushes. Rosie intercepts it but it turns out to be a pig? With wings? Alicia wants to keep it to avoid it being on the dinner plate of somebody?! It then hit Welkin what their plan will be. As there is an animal trail in the forest, this will lead to the base. Edelweiss and the main attacking team will be the decoy to attack the base from the front while another team will travel via the animal trail and flank them. Edelweiss begins the attack. Alicia and Faldio are part of the flanking team. They reach the base and Alicia is feeling nervous that she couldn’t think. Faldio plays a prank on her and though it startles her, he tells her being nervous makes her weaker than any soldier and it will also make others nervous. And yes, believe in Welkin. As told many times, he is a man who does things when he needs to. The flanking catches the enemy by surprise. Although Alicia get shot in the leg, don’t worry, she is such a strong girl and won’t let this little wound slow her down. Gregor is furious that his numbers cannot best a small army. Jaeger tells Gregor to retreat. It might be painful to lose this base but they must cut their losses. As much as Gregor doesn’t like this idea, he orders his troops to load up the Ragnite and retreat. As the Imperial army escapes, Alicia wants to chase after them but Welkin stops her. Faldio suggests using this momentum to their advantage. However Welkin explains their orders were to occupy this base. This might be detrimental for their side in the future but if an enemy general made the wise call to retreat his troops when the situation changed, it is dangerous to depend on the momentum when facing a commander who gave such a decisive order. Jaeger also notices the Gallian side has a wise commander because he chose not to chase them. The success of this mission gives Alicia the more reason to keep the pig. She names it Hans.

Episode 6
Irene Ellet, a reporter from GBS Radio gets permission to interview Welkin. Despite his good looks, Alicia knows how different this guy is and if the public finds out who he really is, this will not only bring down the militia and Squad 7 but ultimately herself whom she is an assistant to. She needs to stop this interview. Sorry girl. While you were being paranoid, Welkin already accepted it. Making it odder, Alicia answers all questions on his behalf and makes Welkin agree to them! Of course Ellet feels something suspicious and will get to know Welkin via his other members. As Alicia is about to go stop her, she is confronted by Varrot. My, what a long lecture on the do’s and don’ts of the interview… But Ellet isn’t faring well either. Just how weird is Squad 7? Largo talking about his vegetables, Rosie trying to sing, there is this one guy who is gay and Susie and the other girls are taking time dolling up themselves till they realize this is a radio interview. No pictures… And why the heck did Ellet interview Hans too?! Wherever Ellet tries to interview Welkin, there Alicia is intercepting. So will Alicia follow wherever Welkin goes? Except the men’s toilet… But there is where Ellet is waiting. She tries to seduce him in hopes he would open up because she believes Alicia’s strange acting means there is something to hide. Alicia wondering why he is taking so long, barges in and misinterprets they are having a scandal. Nothing happening. Because Ellet promised she would do anything, Welkin has her throw his squad a BBQ party. All the glorious meat! Since they cannot finish it, Squad 1 is called to join in. Before long, some petty jealousy has both sides in a big brawl. Things are thrown, punches are made. But at the end of it all, they make up, drink up and become friends. Yeah, confusing, right? In that chaos, Ellet takes the opportunity to talk to Welkin. Once she learns why he isn’t like typical commanders who are strict and stiff, she understands what Alicia was trying to hide. The real interview starts. Alicia is depressed thinking the militia’s reputation is doomed. But when Ellet’s broadcast is played live, she praises all about Squad 7. But in the end, she surprises everyone that she doesn’t really understand Welkin and will one day interview him again. Oh dear. Does she really need to come back again?

Episode 7
Damon is back to his arrogant ways like as though that humiliation never happened. As he plans his next mission at Fouzen, Varrot makes a suggestion but he scoffs her off and instead gives her an investigation mission to Barious Desert. Squad 7 must be a jovial squad. The guys gambling, Alicia is baking good bread and Welkin sketching his wildlife. Only that uptight kid from Squad 1, Ramal Valt seems to disagree with all that. Wet blanket. Even more so he doesn’t believe they have a Darcsen fighting on their side. This is a perfect chance for them all to discuss about the Darcsen Calamity that happened 2000 years ago right at this spot, Barious Ruins. Of course there are many theories and inconsistencies. Also the Darcsen records themselves do not tell of such conflict. So our related parties head to the ruins to further their investigation. I think Isara is giving an excuse not to go and would just stay back to fix the vehicle. And I think Ramal has a thing for Isara because he changed his mind to stay back to watch over her in case somebody attacks. Welkin, Alicia and Faldio read the old scriptures of the ruins about the calamity, the war that devastated the continent between the Darcsen and Valkyrur races that result the latter being wiped out despite being the more powerful one. Also in the ruins are Maximilian and Selvaria to find the legendary lance. Selvaria initiates and opens some chambers. Faldio thought lucky girl Alicia did something because a chamber nearby them also opens and it reveals more scriptures that would decipher the real truth of this calamity. Welkin has his reservations to venture further since they don’t know what lies ahead but Faldio is insistent as he doesn’t want to let Damon hog all the credit. Who wouldn’t be happy if you are the first to discover something this big? While examining the scriptures, that is when both sides meet.

Episode 8
Alicia tells the Imperials to get out of her land. However Maximilian replies this isn’t theirs either. It belongs to Valkyrur. Thought they were extinct? Selvaria is their descendent. Alicia panics and accidentally fires a shot but Selvaria deflects it with her sword. Once Maximilian gets what he is looking for, he returns to his giant monster tank and has it destroy the entire ruins. Apparently it is cue for our Gallian soldiers to get out but Faldio wants to confirm what Maximilian said first. Is he that desperate? Welkin pushes Alicia towards Faldio from a falling slab before the entire ceiling caves in and separates them. Isara and Ramal head to the ruins and only see Welkin. He promises to save the others. What else for Faldio and Alicia to do but talk about how awesome and mysterious Welkin is. This includes during their university days where there was this hot chick whom all the guys bet who will be the first to approach her. Guess who? But you know what Welkin first said to her when he usurped the rest? He was interested in her cheekbones and wanted to sketch it! Definitely worth a slap. Ironically they became close although he didn’t see her as a woman. When Welkin’s voice echoes through the rubble, they communicate. Then there are uninvited guests: Lizards! Don’t worry, they’re harmless. And cute. Welkin knows that because they are seeking shelter from the desert’s cold, there must be spaces big enough for them to crawl in and thus the duo need to find that space to crawl out. Welkin knows where the exit will be because the scriptures were inscribed on Ragnite and thus its light is being reflected. They reunite and Alicia hugs Welkin the first thing. But what is the first thing Welkin asked her? About the lizards! This guy… We continue Welkin’s ‘university love story’, Faldio talking to him about saying empty words to that chick. Welkin isn’t worried because he knows she has made the right choice and will be alright (although Welkin rejected her). They were at her wedding ceremony. Lastly, the battle at Fouzen, Gallia totally lost. Still, Gregor isn’t satisfied because his ‘favourite tank’ didn’t show up.

Episode 9
Maximilian is summoned back to the capital since Central is not happy with his war record. He orders Selvaria to stay behind. Central has also sent a few aides for the generals and one of them being Karl Oswald who is to be Selvaria’s aide. However Selvaria always keeps her distance and never giving him a proper response, confusing this kid a lot. Meanwhile at the capital, the crown prince and his cronies can’t wait to take over the throne once the emperor kicks the bucket. However he feels the need to eliminate an obstacle. His cronies already assured it is already being carried out. Selvaria is about to go to Maximilian and would have if not for Karl reminding her she would be betraying Maximilian’s orders. Flashback reveals that Karl is under orders to keep Selvaria away from Maximilian. When he returns to his quarters, an assassin congratulates his job well done and will kill him since he has outlived his usefulness. After all, an elite soldier from Central committing suicide from demotion is not uncommon. Luckily Selvaria slices him up. Once Karl tells what he knows, Jaeger believes he is caught up in a conspiracy from the higher ups. Karl becomes distraught that he has nowhere to return after this. This reminds Selvaria of something similar. But Maximilian offered his hand. She does the same to him. Noting that Maximilian’s life is in danger (speaking of which, assassins have already infiltrated his place of stay and trying to kill him), they ride all the way there. Be prepared for bumpy short cuts. They made it in time as Selvaria shows why she is known as the Blue Witch as she cuts all assassins (and bullets!) into half! To their relief, Maximilian is fine because he too can fight and sliced up a couple of assassins himself. Next day, Maximilian sees the emperor who berates him of his recent failures and will continue to be observed and his troops subject to reduction. The crown prince isn’t pleased Maximilian is still alive. When they cross path, he warns Maximilian to watch over his shoulders. Right back at him too. Karl has found his new place under Selvaria and he is quite happy about it.

Episode 10
Alicia has Welkin to thank for when they take shelter in a cabin as he predicted a blizzard would be coming. So… You’d be expecting some sort of romance, right? She wants him to talk about Squad 7 or even himself but all that guy got is animal stories. She didn’t sign up for Animal Planet… He credits his father for making him have an interest in nature since he was an avid insect collector. Alicia notes it is nice to have a family since she is an orphan. Welkin adds his complicated family that despite his dad being proclaimed as a war hero, he couldn’t save his wife who died in the war. Just when you think the mood is right, the warm fire, cuddling up close together, Alicia looking like she is making her first move… Then Welkin chickens out and says to get some rest. Some romance we’re expecting, huh? Deep in the night, they are awakened when footsteps are heard. As they prepare themselves, a mad soldier from the Imperial barges in and threatens to let go a bomb in his hand. The standoff continues… Meanwhile Squad 7 members are anxiously waiting. They believe something has happened to them. As Largo is in charge, he will wait for 2 more hours and then decide since the longer they wait, the more dangerous it will get as they are in enemy’s territory. When Alicia notices the soldier’s injuries, she becomes daring and dares him to shoot at her because she wants to treat his wounds. Before they are soldiers, they are human beings. Despite doing her best, the soldier knows he has not long to live so he tells his story as his last will. He was a farmer in the empire and like many believed the better life if you rise up through the military. Over the years, the many wars fought, the many enemies killed, the many friends who have died, he started questioning what is it that he wanted from this war. That is when he ran away. The wounds he got are from his fellow soldiers shooting at him for trying to dessert the army. Once he learns their names, he summons all his strength to put back the safety pin in the bomb. His final wish is that they remember him and his name, Michael Weber. Sadly, he dies. Next morning when the weather is clear, the Imperial army find Michael’s grave outside the cabin. The commander doesn’t want his men to give chase since he knows the enemy respected a fallen comrade by burying him. Welkin and Alicia get a surprise as they see Squad 7 still waiting for them. They never stopped believing, right?

Episode 11
Cordelia gi Randgriz, the princess of Gallia like any girls her age would rather be outside playing with nature instead of listening to an old fart teaching her political stuffs that won’t do her any good. She is also hosting a banquet and Welkin and co are also invited. On the surface this banquet might look like to celebrate the victories at Vasel and Kloden but its true purpose is to raise the Randgriz family’s influence. Ellet is also here to get any big scoop but with all the stuck ups, it is hard to get anything out of them although her reporter guts tell her something interesting is going to happen. Selvaria and Jaeger are also here masquerading as a noble couple for an infiltration mission. So when Selvaria and Alicia see each other, things are going to get more interesting. Cordelia gives her speech but it sounds so boring, robotic, monotonous and her face is all written over that says I-wish-I-wasn’t-here. The rest of the ceremony is handled by Maurits von Borg, Gallia’s Prime Minister and Cordelia’s close aide. Welkin and Faldio receive their medals for their bravery. As Alicia takes some fresh air, she is surprised Jaeger approaches her. Since she is still suspicious, he lets her know a warning and to tell it to her friends too. Faldio knows Welkin doesn’t want the medal and is here on behalf of Varrot to show face. Faldio wants to know about his relationship progress with Alicia especially that one night with her in the cabin. Sorry to disappoint but nothing happened. You should have known better that his head is only filled with lizards and dung beetles… When Alicia tells what happens to the guys, Welkin goes to find Isara. Since Alicia is still uneasy the way Jaeger kissed her hand, Faldio gives her a piece of the inscription he collected from Barious to calm her nerves. Shortly after Cordelia retires to her room (must be a tiring day, huh?), she gets kidnapped. Alicia got lost trying to find Welkin and sees Cordelia being hauled away. Too bad she too gets knocked out and taken away. It is no surprise that Borg is the ringmaster behind this.

Episode 12
Karl reports Cordelia being kidnapped as expected. However he also saw another unidentified hostage. When Faldio and Welkin reunite, they know something is wrong when Alicia is not with either. They go search around and they mistake Jaeger and Selvaria may have a hand in this since Selvaria picked up Alicia’s dropped inscription. Making a big assumption that Alicia is also kidnapped, they dismiss the Imperial will not gain from doing this and deduced somebody must be hungry for power to even sell out Gallia. Indeed because Borg’ plan is to make known Cordelia’s defection to the Federation. This will make Gallia under the Federation’s control and Borg will be put in charge of the new territory. Welkin suggests both sides to cooperate. It will benefit them. By saving the ladies, the Empire can stop Gallia from becoming part of the Federation. Alicia and Cordelia wake up on the back of the truck. Alicia plans for their escape but Cordelia is not interested. She has resigned to her fate and doesn’t care what happens to herself. When Faldio and Welkin catch up to the truck, the kidnapper is dumb and useless enough to let them hijack. Alicia wants Cordelia to jump onto Edelweiss and Welkin will catch her. Too bad she continues being pessimistic. She doesn’t want to be rescued since nothing will change. Alicia then scolds her for the spoilt brat she is. Change of heart? But the kidnapper takes Alicia hostage (how the f*ck did he climb back up at such a high speed chase on a narrow cliff road?!). Any funny moves, he’ll shoot Alicia in the head. But Welkin pulls out his gun. What is he thinking? Even the kidnapper panics. Luckily Welkin shoots and wounds him. Alicia gives the signal for Cordelia to jump into Welkin’s arms. Faldio finally wrests control from the driver and steps on the brakes in time before it goes off the cliff. Phew. Meanwhile Jaeger and Cordelia successful defeat the accomplices the kidnappers are supposed to hand over Cordelia to. Cordelia is returned to the palace before sunrise. She decides not to let the public know about this issue as she doesn’t want her people to panic. But Alicia and Welkin’s words have given her new hope to try and do something to change her country. Later Faldio asks Welkin how he can aim the gun while Alicia is a hostage. Saving Cordelia was the priority. If he missed? He never thought so. He thought there is this trust between them and everything will be okay. With Welkin continuing to be his happy-go-lucky self, Faldio gets serious and makes him sweat. What will he do if Faldio tells him he loves Alicia? He’s not joking. You looking very stunned, Welkin.

Episode 13
Despite Gallia is doing well recently, Daman is not pleased. Because the militia is usurping the Regulars especially Welkin’s reputation is rising among the military. He decides to send the militia to a death mission at Fouzen. While many other squads suffer casualties as a result from the missiles from the armed locomotive commanded by Gregor, Esel, Squad 1 and Squad 7 are silently infiltrating Fouzen. This town is rich in Ragnite and whoever controls it may turn the tide of the war. They meet up with resistance leader, Zaka. He is a Darcsen and Rosie doesn’t restrain herself in letting him know how much she hates that race. Not that he cares anyway but he warns that this is their town and they cannot do anything without them. Zaka explains when this town fell into the Imperial’s hands, a concentration camp of Darcsen all over the continent was brought here to mine Ragnite. Thus the resistance has been fighting to release their kind. The midnight mission at Fouzen is a 3 pronged attack. The teams are split into 3 divisions. One team is to destroy Esel which is the greatest obstacle to capture Fouzen, another team will assault the mining base that is serving as the command centre and the final team will liberate the concentration camp. Rosie gets permission to go out but under condition she is accompanied by Zaka. When Imperial soldiers pass them, Zaka has to cover her by faking a rape scene. She isn’t too pleased, though. She warns him she is a militia first before a woman. But he replies that she is more human than anyone else. All teams are on standby as they get ready to carry out their mission.

Episode 14
The assault begins and proceeds smoothly. The Darcsen prisoners are freed. Many run but a handful stay back to help with the riot as a diversion. Although the resistance and Gallian sides use the darkness to their advantage, it isn’t long before the Imperial side brightens everything up with flares. Isara and Ramal steal an enemy tank to increase their advantage. Alicia almost got shot by a sniper but Faldio rescues her. Add that to the list of seemingly romantic moments for the duo and another worry for Welkin. Zaka and Rosie plant a bomb on the tracks so when Esel passes, they will blow it up. Gregor knows the Gallian side is behind the attack since the resistance cannot have such organized force. He senses something amiss when the Imperial is still losing despite their strength. When he gets to know Squad 7 is part of this operation, he sets Esel into motion. The bomb goes off but only half of it detonated. Despite derailed, it still can fire its cannon. Gregor broadcasts to his enemies to retreat now or he will fire at the escaping Darcsen. This is of course to buy them time. When they come out of their hiding, they will be shot. Welkin is hesitating as he cannot come up with a good plan. He knows they will be killed if they come out of their hiding. Since it is taking too long, Faldio takes over command and orders to attack. Gregor expected this and fires the cannon, killing all the escaping Darcsen. Apparently Rosie is the maddest. What can she do when she charges at Esel? Zaka saves her before the guns make her into Swiss cheese. Isara’s tank then shoots the other half of the bombs to fully blow up Esel. Gregor admits his defeat and resigns to his death fate but warns that the Gallian’s actions have caused deaths of innocent Darcsen. Everyone mourns over the bodies of the Darcsen people. None as emotional as Rosie. And you thought she hated them.

Episode 15
After what happened, it is reasonable that nobody is in the mood. With no missions at hand, Varrot has the militia rest and relax with a simple banquet. With a suggestion that every squad puts up a performance, Squad 7 is eager to hear Rosie sing. However she does not agree with it and gives an excuse she will not sing before a Darcsen. Welkin goes to convince her but the only way he is going to get her to sing is if he orders her. She will not disobey it. Since he won’t do that, tough luck. Isara feels guilty for being that cause and ironically gets the unlikeliest advice from Ramal to push forward (he was probably just to see her face). So Isara confronts Rosie and knows she felt sad for what happened at Fouzen. Despite her hate for Darcsen, Isara wants her to treat her as Isara and not a Darcsen. She mustn’t run away although her past his shackling her down. This is when Rosie discloses her past. During a time when the hunt for to purge Darcsen was at its peak by the Imperial, Rosie’s family lived in a town where there were many Darcsen. Her family was forced to hide some and they threatened to kill them if they rat them out. When an Imperial patrol comes over to check, a misunderstanding has them panic so the Darcsen shoot everybody, killing Rosie’s parents. Only Rosie survived. Isara feels sad but she still wants her to sing for everyone. In exchange she will not participate. Isara tells this to Welkin who is of course against it. He doesn’t want her to be singled out or sacrificed. But since she put it in a way to respect her wishes, he has no choice. Eventually Faldio learns about it from Alicia’s complaints (because she is mad Welkin won’t do anything about it) so he weaves his magic to take Isara along. With everything that has happened so far, Rosie makes tonight an exception, delighting Isara. Everybody has a good time and in awe hearing Rosie’s magical voice. The morale of the militia is back to normal at the end. That is when Faldio takes this chance to confess to Alicia he loves her.

Episode 16
With the fall of Fouzen to Gallia and the loss of Gregor, the war has not been advantageous to the Imperial. But Maximilian has his own plans. More flashbacks on how Selvaria and Maximilian met. She was hiding in his blue rose garden. Because he gave her a chance to exist, today she is able to walk under the sun and beside him. Alicia has been spacing out and almost burnt her bread. After Faldio confessed, she just ran away. Even Welkin couldn’t pay attention during the squad briefing. Largo noticing him as such, takes him to a makeshift tent bath to talk. He knows what is going on because he too experienced something similar. Largo had a best friend too during his heydays in the militia. Nice handsome guy as a friend. Largo was introduced to newbie Varrot then on the same squad. He was smitten with her and tried to communicate. But he never confessed after he realized his best friend also liked her. It was one of those thoughts of whether to value friendship or being true to your feelings. But before any sort of complicated decisions could be made, his best friend sacrificed himself. He too chose friendship as there were too many problems arising at that point. Largo accidentally reveals Varrot’s name so he warns surprised Welkin not to tell others or else. Love must be in the air too because as Isara leaves the base for town, Ramal is ‘coincidentally’ there to give her a lift. See how happy he is when she calls him by his name? He must be imagining… Alicia can’t stand moping around so she confronts Welkin. She knows things have been awkward between them lately and hopes they can go back to how it used to be. Welkin is glad because he thought she hated him. Reconciliation seems to be on the tracks till Welkin made this mistake of mentioning Faldio’s name. Oh boy. Alicia reveals Faldio’s confession and wants to know what she should do. I know it is not Welkin’s place to decide but my guts tell me Alicia is mad. Even if Welkin paints Faldio as a good guy, you can tell she’s mad. If that is how he feels and thinks, then there is nothing else to be said. Yup, she’s mad. Welkin returns to his room and sees Isara preparing a splendid meal for him. At least tonight is not getting any worse.

Episode 17
Varrot tells Welkin Squad 7’s next operation. They are going to take the Imperial’s strong fort at Mulberry Beach and the only way to access it via sea. The enemy has heavily fortified the cliffs and coming by sea means no cover. Well, since it is a plan from Damon to test waters, I guess you know what this means, right? Ellet then shows Welkin photos of Damon and Borg together. They have been meeting a lot lately and she feels something big is coming up although she hopes to be wrong. After Welkin informs his squad of the next mission which is during the Festival of Spirits, Alicia chides Welkin for always apologizing and blaming himself. It is not what a commander should do. Rosie believes he got arrogant after getting the medal and now the squad is being targeted by jealous people. Fortunately the rest of the squad throw their support behind Welkin and rev themselves up to fight the enemy. Alicia’s mind is so preoccupied that she burnt her hands while trying to save her baking bread. Faldio assists in cooling them down, though Alicia takes her leave shortly. So the Festival of Spirits is like giving gifts to your loved ones? Faldio comes to check on Alicia’s wound and it is perfectly healed within the short span of days. He then gives her the inscription. Welkin sees this and he looks worried. As Welkin surveys the beach and notices the wind conditions, Isara shows him smoke bombs which she has diligently made. She is not sure if they will work under the wind conditions but an idea just cropped up in Welkin’s head. He briefs his squad to attack during periods when there is no wind. Isara gives Rosie a doll for the festival. It is a Darcsen charm. The battle at Mulberry goes in favour for the Gallians as the smoke bombs cover the enemy’s visibility. The charm proves to be a life saver because had not Rosie bend down to pick it up, her head would have been blown off. She just got a flesh wound on her arm and everybody is so worried? Yeah, how many Imperial enemies did they kill? With Gallian reinforcements arriving, the enemy is forced to retreat. Yet another victory for Gallia. Rosie thanks Isara for the charm. A lone Imperial soldier wants to get his last revenge and aims at them. Isara gets shot in the chest! Isara… NOOO!!!!!!!!!

Episode 18
Our worst fears have come true. ISARA IS DEAD!!!!!!!!! NOOOOO!!!!!!!! A gloomy day as Squad 7 and Squad 1 attend her funeral. Ramal is emotionally most affected and blames Welkin for not taking his sister along. She blames him as Isara’s killer. Faldio tells him to calm down and not see off Isara with angry feelings. Everyone is shocked when Welkin tells them to forget about this fast as they have many more battles to fight. This is what Isara would have wanted. Some members thought of cheering Welkin up by bringing him some beetle they found. Instead, he wants them to rest if they have energy to worry about him. Rosie as the only one who didn’t attend the funeral is recuperating in hospital. She still has recurring nightmares of watching Isara die. She remembers she furiously gunned down the perpetrator and desperately trying save Isara, Isara wanted her to sing a song. Too late for her to sing any song because Isara died with a smile. Rosie as expected blames herself that she should have been more alert. Damon is not happy despite Gallia’s victory and Mulberry. He is interested in the smoke bombs and orders Squad 7 to gather. When he learns the creator is dead and nobody else knows how to make it, he orders them to find the blueprints. He sees a Darcsen mark on Edelweiss and becomes furious. He disrespects it and Rosie beats him up. Fatty general cannot even fight… Welkin apologizes and will bear all responsibility. Damon orders him to find the blueprints or he will consider this as military offence. Although it isn’t Welkin’s fault, he will still take responsibility (and all of it) otherwise Rosie will be punished.

Alicia finds some of the squad members trying to dig a pit as trap for that fatty general. They won’t listen to her to stop and even dare her to report to Damon. Alicia talks to Welkin about this but he too isn’t interested in stopping them. If they won’t listen to her, what are the chances they will to him? Alicia doesn’t want him to bear the sorrow alone and at this rate he will be distancing himself from everybody. He wants to be left alone but Alicia won’t. Because she loves him. Oops. Okay, now she leaves him alone. On her way out, she bumps into Faldio. She accidentally drops the inscription in which it was temporarily glowing. Faldio finds out what is wrong and talks to the squad members. He isn’t going to stop them but finds their method inefficient. Because the military is filled with people like Damon, even though they get rid of him, another one will replace him. So the best way is to fight and win. Win and get peace back for Gallia. This is the only way to honour Isara’s death. Time to cover back the hole. Rosie visits Isara’s grave and sings for her. Faldio goes to talk to Welkin who as usual blames himself unfit to be a commander for failing to protect Isara. Faldio chides him 3 of his squad members have been discharged and he never once said he failed to protect them. So what is he? God? Just a fool wallowing in self pity. Welkin agrees to that but this upsets Faldio that he punches him. Feeling better?

Episode 19
With operation orders expected to come in, all personnel are ordered to rest and wait for the next orders. Welkin and Alicia put aside their difference to continue working but the rest know they are the most painfully affected. Varrot summons Welkin and tells him their next mission is to take over Bruhl. Rosie is surprised that Zaka is here. He learns about Isara’s death but this is nothing new to him since he has watched countless of his comrades die. It is how you react and move on. Zaka is here because he has joined Squad 7 to be Edelweiss’ replacement driver. Meanwhile Welkin has to pack up Isara’s belongings. He never realized she had so little stuffs. It was the same when his father brought her home. Because she moved frequently, she only packed necessary things. Welkin said it won’t be necessary anymore since they will always be together. Faldio researches more on Valkyrur and he deduces Alicia is its descendent. Squad 7 moves out ready to recapture Bruhl, the birthplace of some Squad 7 members including Welkin. They fight the enemy but I believe they aren’t that aggressive because even so, the enemy just surrenders. Even the command centre at Bruhl gives up without a fight! Welkin goes to visit his old home. He sees visions of Isara. He feels bitter. He feels sorrow. He feels mad he should have done something else to save Isara then. Alicia knows how he feels. Because she was with him the entire time. Welkin then asks after all the pain and suffering, why can he not cry. Alicia just hugs him. Then all the tears come out lie the dam walls crumble. Better for him to cry all his heart out. He is going to need it. Once done, he joins Alicia outside watching the Edelweiss flowers growing nicely while they hold hands.

Episode 20
Maximilian relays bad news to his generals. Due to their recent failures and the lost of Gregor, the emperor will be relieving him of his commander post in a month. They are not willing to use resources for a single country when they should be concentrating on fighting the Federation. Of course Maximilian isn’t going to follow orders so he takes his entire army for a decisive battle at Naggiar Plains. No doubt their size will draw out the Gallian forces. This is part of their plan to wipe them all out at one go. Varrot relays the Imperial’s impeding attack to the squad leaders. But Welkin believes Gallia has the advantage because the enemy must be pushed to a corner to resort to this tactic. With Gallia’s recent victories, the Imperial wants to win this one to turn the tide and get some results. As the battle rages on, Squad 7 continues to serve as the rear because jealous Damon doesn’t want them to gain more fame than they already have. Cordelia has also gone down to the battleground to give the Gallian troops a big morale booster. Faldio leads his Squad 1 in taking down the enemy tanks. Their confidence bolster when they manage to stop the big ones. Just when it seems Gallia is winning, Maximilian unleashes Selvaria. We almost forgot they’ve got a Valkyrur on their side too. OMG! Her lance fires devastating beams! And her tiny shield protects her entire body?! Too freaking awesome?! Selvaria then finishes off everybody with her super beam. Ramal saves Faldio by pushing him into the ditch before getting vaporized. It seems Faldio is the only survivor. He trudges back to base camp and he is clearly in shock. Not even Alicia can calm his soul. Maybe he needs more time alone. But the thought that Alicia is also a Valkyrur makes Faldio even more scared. He pulls out a gun and shoots her! OMFG! What have you done?!

Episode 21
Faldio carries Alicia to the infirmary. Squad 7 receives word that Alicia is gravely injured. At first Welkin wanted to go see her but realizes that his team needs to sortie. He decides to carry out his mission and at the same time protect Alicia. Damon must be sweating in his pants since Selvaria continues her slaughter over the Gallian troops. Man, is she on cheat code? So much so, Damon desperately pleads to Cordelia to go fight in the frontlines since she has the symbolic lance and shield! Then Faldio comes in wanting to borrow the lance and shield because he also believes they have another Valkyrur. They don’t believe him so he takes Cordelia hostage to do the necessary. Going back to the infirmary, it seems Alicia’s wounds are almost healed. Faldio explains Alicia’s Valkyrur powers will awaken when she returns from the brink of death. As proof, she starts glowing. Now Faldio is desperately trying to wake her up but to no avail. Selvaria has broken through the third line of defence. Squad 7 fires from all directions to keep her occupy (she can’t defend and attack at the same time). She was almost caught off guard by Largo and in her rage, he almost got killed by her. Welkin has no choice but to order his squad to retreat to the final defence line. Faldio continues to call Alicia. Then they hear Squad 7 retreating. She reacts when Welkin’s name is said. Faldio I suppose know what is going on so he uses Welkin’s name to his advantage. Alicia then wakes up like in a trance and goes to war. Not only the Gallians are surprised but the Imperials too. They never knew they had a Valkyrur. Now it is time for them to get a taste of their own medicine because Alicia also unleashes terrible beam blasts to obliterate the enemy! For the first time, Maximilian is agitated and losing his composure and orders his men to shoot Alicia. You think normal bullets can harm her? Then it is a showdown between the Valkyrur ladies. But it seems Alicia is superior. When Alicia targets Maximilian’s tank, Jaeger orders a retreat. Maximilian still lives and leaves with his troops. Gallian celebrate their miracle victory although Squad 7 is in shock about Alicia. Once she loses her Valkyria power, she collapses in Welkin’s arms.

Episode 22
Alicia was once part of a group of experimented children. A girl looking a lot like Selvaria helped her out. Alicia thought that obliteration was just a dream. Nope, it wasn’t. Welkin wants to go see Alicia but top brass has prevented anyone from seeing her. Damon and his generals discuss about using Alicia as their weapon against the Imperial. Against Varrot’s wishes, he will not consult her opinion and will immediately transfer Alicia to the Regulars. Welkin sees Faldio and is shocked to learn he is the one who shot Alicia. Faldio explains he noticed some of the signs Alicia had as a Valkyrur. The lance and shield amplified her power. Welkin is upset that he put Alicia through all that although Faldio is equally correct that had he not done all that, they would have been wiped out. He couldn’t stand seeing his squad annihilated while he is the only survivor. He knows Alicia will go through a lot now and hopes Welkin will support her. Welkin is still mad but seeing his confused face, he can’t stay mad forever. Meanwhile Jaeger is worried their loss will have serious implications since Central isn’t going to turn a blind eye to this. Maximilian doesn’t care since he has a trump card. Speaking of which, the engineering division has completed it. Damon goes to see Alicia, praising her for everything and then relaying the good news of her transfer and promotion. But Alicia doesn’t want this so the rest explains after displaying such power, nobody is going to see her the same. This means she doesn’t belong there anymore. Unfortunately Damon lies that Welkin agrees to her transfer but Alicia knows better than his BS. She runs out while believing that Welkin would never send her away. Meanwhile Squad 7 discusses about Alicia. Some are confused and feel they can’t interact with Alicia like before. Well, what do you know? Alicia heard all that so she thought they had said what they wanted. She’s just here to say goodbye now that she has been transferred. Welkin goes after Alicia. He explains they have always been fighting together. She took care of him when he was in sorrow after losing Isara so now it is his turn. But she tells him he doesn’t understand. She is no longer the Alicia everyone knows. She is a monster. I guess this is goodbye.

Episode 23
With Alicia in the frontlines, she just bulldozes through the enemy! Flawless victories! Meanwhile Jaeger is worried of Maximilian’s next move. He is not too happy that Maximilian plans to disobey Central. He claims he is no longer part of the empire and thus a ruler of his own nation. Jaeger is upset that this means he have followed him for naught but he has only himself to blame as it was his choice. He goes to see Selvaria who has distanced herself from Maximilian since. A little talk here and there, we find Jaeger’s hometown was destroyed by the Empire and the reason he follows Maximilian is that he hopes one day it will be rebuild. Squad 7 is worried about Alicia and wants to go see her. Of course the officials will not allow them. Things get heated up when they hear superiors badmouthing Alicia and even claiming credit for themselves over the recent victories. Then it descends into a big brawl. Welkin tries to stop them and even admonishes his own troops. But when the superior calls Alicia a monster, he punches him! Cordelia goes to talk and free Faldio. The officers then throw Welkin in and Cordelia demands them to show more respect to this decorated officer. Thanks to this, Welkin and Squad 7 are let off the hook. Damon is addressing his generals for the upcoming decisive final battle. He even lets Alicia have a few words. She hopes there will minimal casualties on both sides and will do whatever it takes to end the war quickly. The men applause like as though she meant leaving everything to her. I suppose they don’t even want to question why she looks so forlorn giving her speech. Only Cordelia shares her pain… Later Cordelia personally sees Alicia and wants to grant her a wish. Any wish. Alicia wants Squad 7 and Faldio to be kept safe and once the war is over, please let them return to their hometowns safely. Before the Gallian troops move out, Welkin is not pleased that Varrot relays orders that Squad 7 is to guard Cordelia. This is a personal request from her. However Welkin knows Alicia has a hand in this and goes to look for her. They did cross paths but Damon won’t allow her to see him since the troops are already moving out. All Welkin can do is scream her name. Selvaria returns to Maximilian and vows him victory. The rematch of the Valkyrur ladies is at hand.

Episode 24
Squad 7 safely escorts Cordelia back to her palace. Meanwhile the Valkyrur ladies are duking it out in an epic battle but Alicia is losing because she keeps wondering what she is fighting for as she has lost everything and no place to return. Alicia recognizes Selvaria from the orphanage and asks her why she can still fight like that. This has Selvaria remembering Alicia from the orphanage too and ‘advises’ her not to put unnecessary feelings into the battle. More flashbacks reveal that Selvaria was tested positive for her Valkyrur powers and named A1. Other orphans were released. She was subjected to abuse and testing so naturally she always tried to run away. One day she successfully escaped and hid in Maximilian’s garden. He found her, named her, called her to serve him and the rest is history as we know it. And thus this is the reason why Selvaria can still fight. Cordelia is shocked to hear that Maximilian himself is coming to negotiate for a ceasefire. At first she is suspicious but agrees to hear his conditions to end the war. He wants to marry her! Cordelia believes he just wants the throne to control Gallia but he claims by doing so all the in-fighting in the empire will stop as he will wield ultimate power and shape the world according to his ideals. However Cordelia says that is impossible. She says she is not of Valkyrur descent and takes off her wig. Well, what do you know? She is a Darcsen! Shocking, right? Meanwhile Alicia continues to lose till she starts remembering Squad 7. This is what gave her more strength to fight back and eventually win the rematch. Selvaria wants her to finish her off but Alicia won’t, believing that she too has someone precious. Selvaria thinks she doesn’t understand because the moment she lost, she has lost her worth. Alicia believes she still has a chance if she is still alive. Too bad if you’re as stubborn as Selvaria. She commits suicide by turning herself into a bomb? Is this a Valkyrur power? OMG! Atomic bomb?! It’s sad that she blew herself up this way but I hope Damon and those general blokes get caught and die in this blast too. Cordelia threatens to reveal her Darcsen lineage to her people and thus preventing Maximilian from obtaining the throne. Time to end the fake history. Viewing her as no longer of use, he orders Jaeger to initiate the operation. You mean steamrolling this giant dreadnought into the palace to pick him up? When Karl reports of Selvaria’s death, Maximilian is unfazed. This makes Karl mad that she died for his sake only to be shot by Maximilian. Know your place, small fry. And don’t get in my way. Scary.

Episode 25
There is fierce fighting going on at the palace. Emile gets shot. Another casualty for Squad 7? Welkin gets his groove back to command his squad and give them motivation to carry on fighting or else they can’t face Alicia. Once a giant Valkyrur spear relic hidden in the palace is fitted on the dreadnought, Maximilian orders a test fire at the mountains! Oh sh*t! Flattened only at 20% output?! Maximilian explains this spear’s power was what Valkyrur used to defeat Darcsen and oppress them. This land belonged to Darcsen and Valkyrur were the invaders. As victors of the war, they rewrote history and made themselves as legends and saviours. Maximilian then orders all Gallian forces to surrender. Welkin knows better this is the Imperial’s tactic to weaken their morale because they will not believe Alicia is dead. They must fight on. Now Maximilian turns the spear to fire at the palace. Jaeger wonders why Maximilian thirsts for so much power and feels he has an ulterior motive seeing they have technically conquered Gallia. But Maximilian asks him about hesitating now because he knows Jaeger used him as a stepping stone to get where he is now. Jaeger isn’t hesitating. He betted on his power that he could regain his country as long as he had military strength. But after invading Gallia, he is at a loss. Maximilian sacrificed his own comrades just for power and the Gallian who love their country cared for their companions.

All Maximilian needs is power. As long as you have that, attacking is the same as protecting. Jaeger wonders if this is for revenge. Partly. Flashback shows his mother died in some train ambush. In order to bury that hateful past with his father and brother, he will surpass the emperor and become ruler of Valkyria. As long as the spear is in his hands, that goal is within his reach. Jaeger warns of repeating the Darcsen Calamity but Maximilian will bear that fate as his destiny. When they fire, it seems Alicia stands between their way and her tiny spear could neutralize the big one! WOW! Squad 7 is happy to see Alicia and rush to provide her support. The Imperials keep firing at her and Maximilian could tell from his observations on Selvaria that Alicia cannot control her power effectively after a heavily fought battle. The spear recharges and they aim at her. Alicia uses her will to block the attack and deflect it back to damage part of the dreadnought. She then collapses from exhaustion. Maximilian orders Alicia’s capture. Jaeger once again disagrees of his motives to obtain her. Getting more power will only be more dangerous. This is the last straw as Jaeger will find another path to reach his goal. Maximilian points his gun at him. A gunshot is heard. After the Imperial soldiers retrieve Alicia, Welkin wants to go alone to rescue her. You think his squad is going to let him hog all the glory? They’re coming along. Faldio backs them up while Squad 7 races towards the dreadnought. Thank goodness the Imperial soldiers are bad shots and Faldio’s is so accurate.

Episode 26
Squad 7 infiltrates the dreadnought. The rest become the decoy so Welkin and Faldio can go look for Alicia. When Faldio gets shot, he tells Welkin to go ahead first. Welkin won’t abandon his friend but Faldio reminds him about why his comrades became the decoy. Don’t worry. He’ll catch up. It might be one of those times Faldio lies. Because he can’t keep his conscious and goes all out assaulting the enemy. Alicia is taken before Maximilian. He claims he has saved her and as long as she obeys, she can have anything. Alicia is disgusted with the way he categorize people into those who obey and those who don’t. She laments Selvaria died for his sake but Maximilian denies. It was Alicia who defeated her and then drove her to suicide. Alicia claims she is just a normal person but Maximilian replies that normal people are everywhere and have no value. She earns his wrath (and a big slap) when she tells him he must be talking about himself because he is afraid of his own lacking values. That is why he treats everyone like trash. By the time Welkin gets to Alicia, Maximilian is geared up in his artificial Valkyria spear and shield. Some technology of his using Ragnite that allows this weapon to replicate the original without having to rely on the empire or Valkyrur anymore. He wants Alicia and Welkin to fight so that he can show off his new powers. As they try to find his power source, they realize his weapon starts malfunctioning. Could it be because it cannot handle the power? Their plan is to overload the weapon.

When Welkin gets injured, Alicia becomes mad. Her Valkyrur power awakens as she holds down Maximilian. This causes her Valkyrur power to be infused into him and the weapon. The weapon malfunctions while his veins… Ugh. They’re bursting! Maximilian knows he is defeated but refused to be capture. So he kills himself but will also destroy this dreadnought and take everything with him. Alicia realizes her swelling power is the same like Selvaria. She is going to turn into an A-bomb. She tells Welkin to get away and protect everyone or they will be engulfed. You think Welkin cares? Instead he hugs her despite the power burning him. He returns her scarf and reminds her he will always be with her. It doesn’t matter if she is a Valkyrur or a baker. It is that part of Alicia that he loves. Then the much awaited kiss. I am guessing this kiss dissipates her overflowing Valkyrur power? As the dreadnought is collapsing, Squad 7 waits with anxiety for their captain. Then over the horizon, Welkin and Alicia are seen together. In the aftermath, the empire calls for a truce with Gallia. With the war over, many return to their hometown and families. If you look closely, Jaeger can be seen in the background. Susie from a noble family? Oh sh*t! I wouldn’t have guessed. Zaka and Rosie seems like they’re hitting off together. Cordelia reveals her true Darcsen origin to her people and they welcome her. Alicia and Welkin return to Bruhl.

Theatre

3 minute specials from the DVD.

Special 1
Beach episode! Of course for the Squad 7 girls only. We see them compliment each other’s swimsuit (nothing too risqué), play beach volleyball, play water, surf the wave, bare in the sun… Ah, yes such a fun outing. At the end of the day when they leave, Selvaria arrives. Waiting for her majesty who will never ever show up…

Special 2
Now it is time for the festivals. This means our main characters in their lovely yukata. Nothing really much happening except when the fireworks start, it startles Alicia as she hugs Welkin. When the fireworks take a break, they realize their embarrassing position before resuming watching the fireworks again. And poor Selvaria. She too is watching the display alone and laments her highness’ no-show.

Special 3
The young boys are tired after hard training. Ellet has a way to freshen them up as she shows pictures of the girls. We all know why Ramal can’t help stare into pictures with Isara but his pride won’t admit it. So you don’t want it? What are better than pictures of girls? Pictures of the faces of the girls sleeping! Again, Ramal why are you so infatuated with a sleeping photo of Isara? But what could beat such pictures? Ellet is about to reveal a racy picture of Alicia but Alicia caught her red handed and confiscates them all. And she has the guts to ask if there are pictures of Welkin. Oh, the racy picture is just Alicia sleeping in a crude position.

Special 4
Selvaria is unsure what civilians wear so she has Karl do some research. I believe why he is so eager beaver is because he gets to dress up Selvaria in various outfits from a plain commoner even to the Gallian militia’s uniform! Where the heck did he get all those uniforms? The final outfit has Selvaria very reserved but Karl argues it is necessary if she is to fully understand his will. And so she puts on Maximilian’s garb and starts acting like him. Unknown to her, Maximilian spots this and just lets her be. Could he be considerate not to embarrass her? Or he just doesn’t care?

Special 5
Maximilian and his generals are playing Old Maid. Jaeger and Gregor have reached their goal and all that is left are Maximilian and Selvaria. She is in a dilemma to let him win and decides to let him so but each time he is going to draw her joker, she quickly withdraws. This arouses his suspicions and he wonders if she is mocking him. So when he finally picks the joker, he wins the game. There are 2 joker cards?! Because this game is called Old Man?! Game for another round? Oh God it’s already morning…

Special 6
Bath fanservice time. Hans is one lucky pig to be swimming with our Squad 7 girls. As usual, girls must target somebody to molest and the victim is Alicia. Then Varrot comes in and all the shenanigans stop. The girls ask about Varrot and Largo so she explains how they met and all. Varrot must be dense never noticing Largo’s feelings because she always thought he loves his flower farm so much that he always gave her different flowers. Yeah… Eventually Varrot goes on and on and on, lasting longer than a Duracell battery. All the girls have passed out from the heat. I wonder if Hans has turned into bacon…

Special 7
You know this is going to be Hans’ episode when everybody suddenly wears pig ears and can only oink. Buuhi! Yes, Hans is now the new commander of Squad 7 and the only one who can speak in proper human tongue! From stopping the English populace from eating pork to saving the Randgriz palace from Imperials, man this pig is going places! And if you think all this is too good to be true, it is because it is just a nice dream from little piggy. Hey, even pigs can dream, right?

Special 8
Cordelia feels the need to give a surprise gift for Welkin on his next visit. I’m not sure why all she has are animal headgears. Even more baffling is how she tries them on and tries to act like it. From a frog to a newt to a bunny, what was her intention again? None seems right as she tires herself out till early morning. That is when she realizes she is late for her English test. She makes haste but forgot she is wearing a chick headgear. But imagine her surprise when she sees Borg. He is not donning his wig… But Cordelia’s official headgear! My, is everyone here so absentminded?

Special 9
This feels more like an extension and epilogue of the TV series. Alicia writes a letter to her squad members that she will be marrying Welkin. But due to their busy schedules (Welkin returning to university and Alicia getting her baker’s licence), they are unable to hold a ceremony for the time being. Of course everyone can’t sit around and agree to it as they arrive at Bruhl to give them a surprise and hold their own ceremony. It ends with a lovely wedding kiss. Last picture: The duo are blessed with a beautiful child.

Unrecorded Chronicles: Ta Ga Tame no Juusou

OVA 1
Taking place during the war between Imperial and Gallian sides where everybody you love or hate in the TV series are still alive, the Gallian army is fighting in a decimated town at night. The enemy is taking them by surprise and the darkness is shrouding their presence. Then they realize they are fighting Nameless, a group of renegade military members led by Kurt Irving. They are forced to flee with their tails between their legs. Maximilian plans his next assault on the capital and plans to capture the town of Dillsburg as their stepping stone. He assigns Darcsen Dahau to defend this town that is being stationed by Munchhausen. Similarly, Nameless is also going to take part in the fight at Dillsburg believing the enemy will not anticipate them. As they make their way there, one night while they are camping, a little girl strays into their camp and collapses. They find out that the Imperial army suddenly invaded her town and took everyone hostage. Nameless is in a dilemma to go save her village because of their depleted ammo. There is this thought that Gallia will send reinforcements to save the village but they know better from their position that Gallia doesn’t care about this little village and it is most likely abandoned. With Kurt reminding everyone that even insignificant and innocent people still bear names, where the regular army cannot protect the people, Nameless can, I guess it is decided that they’re going to save this village with what they’ve got. The plan starts at midnight as some members take out the guards stealthily. When their tank is in position, they go into full force attacking the enemy till they capture the commander. The Imperial army surrenders as Nameless disarms them. As thanks, the village throws them a feast. When they leave, Kurt decides not to take the enemy weapons and leave it with the villagers so they can defend themselves. I believe Nameless get their much needed supplies after Lt. Col. Ramsey Crowe pulled some strings and left a whole truck load of necessities in the jungle. The Imperial army gets a rude awakening when Squad 7 attacks them during the foggy morning. Dahau isn’t taking any hard action and just drinking his tea because he notes their mission is just to protect these large ‘toys’. When Nameless arrives, they hear gunfire in the vicinity. They save Isara from being chased and shot by Imperial soldiers. Kurt knows about Isara and wonders why she is here. She is pleading for help because the Gallian army is being routed.

OVA 2
Isara explains the Imperial started relentlessly firing their twin cannons, causing the Gallian side to retreat. Edelweiss was hit and its engine damaged. Despite Welkin’s objection, Isara volunteered to go look for reinforcements. Kurt plans to approach the enemy base by climbing this steep and narrow mountain. It is very risky and dangerous but they can creep up on the enemy. But first, they need to fill their stomach is food. Sure, time is ticking but certainly you can’t fight on an empty stomach, right? Better than an empty arsenal. Isara mentions about different uniformed soldiers at the base and Kurt knows they are Calamity Raven, an autonomous military unit comprised of entirely Darcsen led by Dahau. Once Nameless traverses the tricky mountain, Kurt’s sharpness spots several landmines at the mouth. Looks like Dahau anticipated a platoon will show up here and sent Gusurg to wait and assault. Kurt and his team are forced to retreat and take cover. It gets worse when the retreated Gallians come out of their hiding and charge back at the base. This is part of the Imperial’s plan to lure them out by stop firing the cannons to make them think it is safe to come back out. Now they are sitting ducks in the open. Munchhausen orders to fire the cannons at them. Kurt then tells Isara not to tell what she is about to see to anybody, not even her brother. Riela Marcellis uses the Valkyrur spear and shield to power up as she fires a beam to take out one of the two cannons. Gusurg could have cornered and wiped out Kurt’s team had not he received orders to return to base, much to his dismay. As part of Kurt’s plan, his other team served as a decoy in the forests. They make it sound that the Gallians have come back with reinforcements and surrounded the base. Thus Dahau has ordered his Calamity Raven to pull back and retreat. He reminds his generals that their battles aren’t waged for the sake of the empire but to build an independent Darcsen nation. So if it gets dangerous here, they don’t have any obligation to comply.

Kurt splits his team further as they try to infiltrate the base to take out the other cannon. With the heavy attack from the south, Munchhausen starts panicking that is where the main force is attacking from and deploys all his force to concentrate there. This gives the Gallian side a much needed reprieve. Isara returns to Squad 7 and wants to introduce some of the Nameless reinforcements but none followed her. The other cannon is about to fire but Edelweiss is able to take it out thanks to Nameless’ Alfons Auclair giving coordinates of the cannon from the mountains via Morse code. This drives Munchhausen crazy as his ‘children’ are destroyed. He gets desperate to kill the enemy as he is going to use his other secret cannon albeit it is not ready for battle. The coordinates of this cannon is too far for Edelweiss to take it out. This is where Imca comes in, barging her way through enemy fire like Rambo (seriously, what the f*ck are the enemies doing?) and even has time to fire several rocket grenades into the cannon! And then run back out! WTF?! Super cool!!! The cannon is destroyed, taking along Munchhausen. With the enemy fallen, the Gallian army now fully charge forward to take over the base. Yeah, it is like they’re taking credit for everything, huh? But Welkin knows that Nameless did most of the work behind the scenes and knowing that itself is good. Dahau and his Calamity Raven have safely escaped. They receive word the base has fallen. Despite some taunting Munchhausen’s incompetence, Dahau believes he was a good commander because ‘he gave them time to escape’. Nameless continue their journey to find others in need of their help. For their battle still carries on.

War… Never Changes
Wow. I never imagined that I would find this series interesting from start till end. And there I was ready to write it off as early as the first episode this was going to be a long drawn out genre not to my liking but I was proven to be very wrong. I should be ashamed of myself for having such thoughts at the very beginning and that I shouldn’t even have picked this series up if I had thought so. But I am glad that I watched this series and as it easily blew away all the negative perception that I was once so eager to label this series as. So it goes to show that you must always give things a chance. Just like Squad 7 itself. The more chances it gets, the more credibility they get for their deeds. Thanks Welkin and co for giving me that chance to change my mind. Though, it was as early as at the end of the first episode that my views totally changed. Hah.

I never thought that the first few episodes would be so interesting and drew me in intensely. Although the plot gradually gears towards to be somewhat predictable at the end but it isn’t all that bad overall. Welkin is the sole reason for retaining my attention and made me eagerly want to watch the next episode so badly. Because he is not your typical military man, his tactics and strategies are thinking out of the box and this makes it very refreshing. I’m not saying that I have watched lots of war movies or series but in such genres you’d normally expect the usual of both sides showering each other with hot lead and RPGs. So when Welkin who has no military background at all and uses his keen observations and his love for nature to turn the tides against stronger opponents, this sealed the deal. I was then quite interested to see him and his team fight in more skirmishes just to see what kind of brilliant strategy he would come up with. Each victory didn’t feel like a fluke and each time I would just be amazed and give him the respect that they earned it.

I thought the ending and the final episode of the TV series felt a bit rushed. For 2 things that I say this. After eluding and teasing us with the romance between Welkin and Alicia, it is like he suddenly wins the game when the duo kissed at the end. Uh huh. It just feels so unrealistic if not rushed. I know it is irritating throughout the series that Alicia and Welkin aren’t being honest with their own feelings but I suppose that kind of ‘tension’ and build up in its own way is good. We were hoping for them to get together somehow in the end (and sometimes even not) but in this way? And then with the finale, the main antagonist is dead, Faldio is dead like as though he is the main stopper that prevent the realization of their romance and once he is gone, the duo are free to love each other till the end. It just feels odd. Yeah, romance feels like a jinx here because the potential pair of Isara and Ramal died, Selvaria died and her one-sided crush never materialized while Largo will forever stay in friend zone with Varrot. Yeah, truly cursed this romance thingy.

The other second reason is the sudden end of the war. You know, it got me thinking that this prolonged war between the empire and Gallia just feels like it is just one big elaborate plan to get rid of Maximilian and his subjects. Do you not notice that the moment he is gone, both sides sought truce and peace reigned! OMG! I didn’t know it was that easy! Because you do also notice how Central has been annoying patient with Maximilian’s less than stellar progress. At the same time it is like they know he isn’t one who is going to play by their rules so they just let him do whatever he wants. Not like they can personally take him out easily seeing we had an episode that sees how the most skilled assassins fell to his swords. So I guess what better way than to rid of this thorn in their side via battle. A befitting way for a commander to go down in the battlefield. And so when we have the epic battle between our main hero and main antagonist and it ended in a good ol’ good triumphs over evil route, it just feels freaking suspicious to think what the heck this war was about in the first place.

I believe (although I am not entirely sure) that the game itself has lots of characters with equally rich backgrounds and personalities. I am not saying that the anime version sucks but it is predominantly about Welkin, Alicia and Faldio. The rest like Rosie and Isara have their moments too but they are way too limited. What I am trying to say is that the other members of Squad 7 feel like they are just extra characters. Because the main focus is usually on Welkin, Alicia and on occasions Rosie and Isara, the rest just feels they are just there. Heck, I don’t think I even remembered their names. Despite the closeness of Squad 7 in the story, but the way they lack decent screen time where it matters makes me feel like I don’t really want to care about them. Look, if one of them died, I wouldn’t even shed a tear or care about him or her. Like those in Squad 1 whom I believe many are even just nameless. These characters didn’t even reach the minimum level like Isara to shock us when she actually did die. At least we cared about her. But for the rest, I don’t think so. Therefore the most mind boggling character ever in Squad 7 is Hans. I don’t even know what this pig is for despite being a cute mascot. It ended up in one of the girl’s ownership but I didn’t really care since it did nothing that really mattered throughout the series. The series could have been done without it but seeing Squad 7 as mentioned has cute boys and pretty girls, why not the heck just throw in a cute animal to go with it all.

On a trivial note, I can’t help notice how Squad 7 is comprised mainly of people who aren’t the kind to fit working in a military. I’m not saying that other squads do not have their own weirdoes (because they don’t even get decent appearances) but doesn’t Squad 7 look like a squad for little boys and pretty girls? I mean take a look at this squad. At first look you might think they are some sort of orphanage or something. Only Largo seems to fit the stereotype of a military man thanks to his big burly body size but when you have a group that has this gay guy and a bar singer apart from little boys and girls, you wonder if the recruitment screwed up somewhere. Especially Susie whose running joke seems to be fainting at the slightest hardship or bad news. It makes you wonder how the daughter of a noble family even ended up joining the militia. You thought being in the Bruhl Patrol was already bad enough and that after the end of it, that will be the last time she’ll join a war. But then surprisingly here she is in Squad 7. Did she follow Alicia because they’re like BFF? It is amazing that she actually survived till the end of the war. So don’t you think Squad 7 in this sense feels like they have odd members? Take a look at Squad 1 which as far as I can see consists of only macho men. There are some young lads too like Ramal but Squad 1 is basically the manliest of the manliest squad ever. It makes Faldio like the pretty poster boy of the squad. Am I right?!

If you want to talk about colourful characters of a squad, the big irony is that Nameless seems more interesting in this aspect. Because in addition to have a hot hunk leader, the group consists of a wide variety of characters from a fatty to a grandma, lots of beautiful babes and brooding hot men. And the biggest irony is that their appearance is only limited to those double OVAs. Two episodes were enough for them to attract my attention. If they had more appearances I am sure they would have been a whole interesting lot with their own interesting back stories to tell seeing that Nameless are comprised of deserted soldiers and military offenders. Compared to Squad 7 who had an entire 26 episodes to fairly give out their individual stories but fail to get any sympathy from me. Of course you can play the game which is fully fleshed out but that would be missing the point for those who just want to watch a good story instead of engaging in game play.

Talking about the main characters, throughout the course of the war, we see how Welkin gradually changes when war starts to take a toll on him especially the turning point when his adopted sister is killed (I still can’t believe they killed her off) and when the love triangle starts to rear its ugly head. It sure would be confusing about your feelings in the middle of a war. You will notice that from a man who doesn’t follow regular military regulations and does things his own way and pace gradually becomes rigid and closing himself off to the rest of the squad. I am sure he wants to keep a brave front and not show any weakness that might send the wrong signals but this isn’t really Welkin as we know and it made everyone worry. Then there’s Alicia who doesn’t think too highly of Welkin at first and always an excuse that she is needed to clean up after him. Probably after sticking with him for so long, it is only natural she sees him in a better light. Finally is Faldio the third wheel? Actually because of his charisma, he bridges the gap between the duo and many of the other squad members. He is cool, observant and mature so without his guidance and advice, there are many times that worse things could have happened. It is unfortunate he had to perish in the end.

Maximilian and his generals might be painted as the series’ main antagonist but once you get to know his background, they aren’t all that bad. It is like they are just fighting on the wrong side. Whether his way is right or wrong depends on your discretion, your stand and perception of things. He is after all fighting another war of his own. The war with Gallia is just a stepping stone to achieve that. Since he would do about anything to achieve that, sometimes it makes you wonder if he is just as bad as the Imperial side. Because despite showing kindness by saving Selvaria, he doesn’t hesitate to use her and doesn’t even bother when she died and is happy she served her role. But a baddie is still a baddie so he still has to die, right? Assuming he is really dead. Or he could be touring the countryside in secret just like Jaeger? Just like in any other wars, the true devils and big baddies are those at the top, letting others fight for them while they remain behind the lines. Whether you are from the Imperial or the Federation, power, money and politics rule. So I’m glad that people like Damon got killed in the battlefield (at least in its own way there is justice in death rather than letting Isara and Squad 1 people die) but still rue that people like Borg and the Imperial’s emperor are still alive. Well, life isn’t all that fair either despite the saying all is fair in war.

Coming as part of the package in wars is of course discrimination of certain people and as seen here the Darcsen. Not only they are persecuted and discriminated for this war but throughout the history. The odd thing I find is that the Darcsen are almost everywhere at least where this anime is concerned. You noticed how every main squad you see here has at least a Darcsen member. From Squad 7 to Nameless to Calamity Raven. So you lose a Darcsen in your squad, just replace with another Darcsen! And what do you know? The princess of Gallia is actually of Darcsen origin! As much as we want skin colour and race not to play a pivotal factor but that itself is the source for many conflicts. Like how we see the people rally behind Cordelia after her revelation but somehow we can’t feel sceptic that such won’t last. And what about Rosie’s initial hatred for Darcsen at first? Spend a bit longer times with a Darcsen and her entire life of misguided hatred for the clan becomes friendship. It’s almost as you could say her best friend is Welkin’s late sister.

Aside from all that drama, the war and action scenes are also sufficient and satisfying to complement it. As said, Welkin’s unconventional methods to seize victory without losing any of his members are an incredible and amazing feat. Then it gets a bit weird when both sides start to throw their Valkyrur trump cards into the battlefield because then it suddenly becomes an overpowered fantasy battle with both sides shooting beams that could even destroy the moon! It looks fake, it looks exaggerated, it doesn’t make sense but hell yeah, it was fun. I just wanted to tell Maximilian to use Selvaria’s Valkyrur powers from the start and blow Gallia and his own Imperial side away instead of waiting for last minute for the decisive battle.

Art and drawing are beautiful in its own right. I believe they follow closely to the game. One thing that makes the art style stand out is how they look like they are done with colour pencils. Now, you may say that using colour pencils in today’s anime standards is like child’s play or that it may look cartoonish but I assure you that instead of looking low quality, the characters and the background sceneries are looking gorgeous instead. In a way, it is quite refreshing and unique itself. With nice character designs (at least for many of the main characters because you have lots of your bishonen and bishoujo looks) and military uniform designs, it makes this series quite the eye candy in this department. The only odd character design was Cordelia’s princess ‘suit’. Those horns or flaps or whatever those are makes her look like she is some sort of alien. Really.

However I cannot say the same for the OVA. It seems they have done away with this colour pencil technique and decided to go with the standard anime art style. Although not obvious but it is noticeable. One big reason I didn’t like this style is not only the fact that I have gotten used to the TV version’s style (since the OVA only had a couple of episodes), but the characters look somewhat different! Take for example, Isara. In the OVA she looks a little different. I mean, I could tell it is her but at the same time it didn’t really look like her. Like as though she had ‘less quality’ put into her. Yeah, you could say the Isara of the OVA version is less cute. Even the rest of Squad 7 in the OVAs were looking a bit different than usual. It had thinking if that was Alicia or her twin.

Voice acting is quite good with the seiyuus portraying their characters very well. There are some recognizable ones such as Marina Inoue as Alicia, Takahiro Sakurai as Faldio, Jun Fukuyama as Maximilian, Sayaka Ohara as Selvaria (again another villainess character), Kazuya Nakai as Zaka and most important of all, Mamiko Noto as Cordelia. Phew. I’m glad she didn’t die in this one. With Isara and Selvaria dead, man I thought she would be next. Phew. Thank goodness. Hehehe… At first I thought Miyuki Sawashiro was behind Ellet but it turned out to be Naomi Shindou (Shizuru in Mai-HiME). For the rest of the casts, they are Susumu Chiba as Welkin (Kondou in Gintama), Houko Kuwashima as Isara (Sango in Inu Yasha), Junko Minagawa as Rosie (Ryouma in Prince Of Tennis), Kenji Nomura as Largo (Kugayama in Genshiken), Atsuko Tanaka as Varrot (Caster in Fate/Stay Night series), Makoto Naruse as Ramal (Kei in Pretear), Akio Ootsuka as Jaeger (titular character in Black Jack), Chikao Ootsuka as Gregor (Gold Roger in One Piece), Hiroshi Okamoto as Karl (Tanbabashi in Inari Kon Kon), Hidekatsu Shibata as Borg (King Bradley in Fullmetal Alchemist series) and Hans even having his own seiyuu and probably the easiest of the lot, by Chigusa Ikeda (Mizuno in Yakitate! Japan).

Both the opening themes of the series are pretty decent. The anime rock of Ashita E No Kizuna (first opening theme) by Himeka and Kanashimi Rensa (second opening theme) by Maria are not bad but they won’t end up staying in my head for days. The first ending theme is weird. Not only Ano Kaze Ni Notte by Pe’zmoku sounds like the singer is having synthesizer effects in his voice but the carnival and casual feel of this song makes it weird for the genre this anime is supposed to be in. I suppose with all that fighting, we need to take a little break once in a while, no? And doesn’t the animation style and execution of it feel uncannily similar to the one in the first season of Kuroshitsuji’s first ending animation as well? Hmm… Suspicious… The second ending theme is Hitotsu No Negai by Hikari Inoue and is a very slow and lovely ballad that sometimes feels like you are going to have tears well up in your eyes. Another slow and lovely slow piece for the final episode of the TV series, Brightest Morning also by Hikari Inoue, a befitting song to fit the end of the show. For the OVA, the opening theme also has that anime rock feel. Entitled Tomoshibi by Faylan. Its ending is the acoustic ballad, Itsuka Saku Hikari No Hana by Minami Kuribayashi.

Overall, this anime is one of those few adaptations done in the right step. Few games have very much or even little success when they translate to the silver screen or even your normal TV. There could have been better potentials and developments that could be slightly improved (if you are very nitpicking) but as far for an average viewer who hasn’t heard of the series or played the games before, it did a pretty good job and maintained its quality. We shouldn’t be too greedy sometimes… Sometimes it is a curse and blessing that humans have all these wars and conflicts. Otherwise where would we be able to get such great stories that bring out the best and worst in us? Maybe for every 1 in 10 war themed stories, there will be good ones like this. It’s like saying we’re keeping on fighting so we have great legendary tales to tell our future generations.

Gate S2

August 27, 2016

There is always a little devil in our heart. We get worked up when we see the enemy invade and do all the heinous barbaric acts on the innocent. Then we smile and heave a sigh of relief when our heroes turn up to kick all their sorry asses to back where they came from. Don’t we just love such great action stories like that? Be glad because we are about to see more and continue Japan and the SDF’s awesome dominance over the primitive magical world in Gate: Jietai Kanochi Nite, Kaku Tatakeri S2. The first season was awesome enough to assert their dominance and with the sequel, we’ll get to see even more of their coolness as they ride through crisis after crisis plaguing the land in search for peace. Yes people. All hail and glory to the SDF! Ahem… Maybe they just look like big bullies with over-firepower if you sympathise with the enemy… Oh yeah, then there is that otaku first lieutenant guy and his harem girls from this world… It’s all getting as exciting as before, I tell ‘ya!

Episode 13
Itami is dressed as a local for the negotiations. Don’t blame you if you can’t stop laughing at how dorky he looks. Meanwhile Prince Zolzal El Caesar is f*cking hard a furry sex slave, Tyuule. Punishment sex-cum-rape?! She has to put up with it and scream like hell since he threatens her comrades lives depend on it. I guess she couldn’t keep it up. Anyway, he is interrupted by Count Marx about some of their senators being bought over by the enemy ambassadors with the promise of their safe return as a bargaining chip. As this may be disadvantageous to Zolzal who would be next in line to the throne, Zolzal will make his visit and give the enemy his piece of mind. Pina and Sugawara are holding a garden party. There is this noble loli, Sherry Tyueri who seems to be infatuated with Sugawara. Itami and his troops demonstrate their military firepower. The nobles are so freaking impressed and want to know how to make them! Then they visualize how this firepower can bring down their cities and so they are wise enough to negotiate for what Japan wants in exchange for peace. This negotiation is put off when uninvited Zolzal and his party are seen riding in. Pina is surprised to see her brother here. He takes a look around and isn’t impressed. Till he tastes the food. Yeah, he goes away satisfied, bringing back a few of those delicious meat. You know what they say about a man and his heart. Pina talks to Sugawara that she knows this is Marx’s warning by sending her brother here. Sugawara wants to start negotiations as soon as possible but Pina is shocked and fainted after hearing the freaking huge amount of reparations. I suppose all the gold in the kingdom will not be able to pay that off. Marx reports this to Molto who tells him to let Japan negotiate all they want because he is not giving them anything. And when negotiations fail, Japan will break them off themselves.

Chief Nyuutabaru has Kurokawa under his wing as a medical staff. She tends to a local furry, Misery. She is a whore. With a painful name and body for pleasure, I can imagine… She is here to buy contraceptives. Misery gives out some information that Bessala was a big shot around the red light district. Until that fateful night when the army wipe them all out with their firepower. F*cking slaughtered them all! After that all the other big shots split up his money and territory and even went out their way to offer information to SDF. Misery is sad that the men in SDF refuse to do business with the whores and it breaks their confidence. Yeah, heard of STD’s? I’m sure they’re trying to stay safe instead of being gay. Yao desperately tries to find Itami and some information about him. Especially if he has something he would risk his life to protect. She was told there are 3 people… Late that night, Misery brings her fellow furry whores to Kurokawa as one of her friends couldn’t shake off that shaking feeling. Nyuutabaru recognizes this as a sign of a major earthquake because birds and animals panic before one. He orders for everyone to evacuate. Pina doesn’t appreciate Itami waking up her beauty sleep to inform her about the earthquake. She doesn’t believe it. Then the ground shakes… You believe now?

Episode 14
With the locals panicking and proclaiming the end of the world, Itami and the SDF are just cool. They’re accessing the mini earthquake and it is nothing to be alarmed about as this isn’t the epicentre. Pina wonders why they can be so calm at this moment. Because it happens a lot in Japan. She needs to go warn her father and since the SDF can’t just waltz into enemy territory, Pina begs Itami to accompany her. Is she a little girl?! In his throne room before anything could begin, Zolzal barges in and wants father to escape because this woman Noriko predicted another big one coming. Everyone wonders who that woman is and when Zolzal brings her in, Itami and co are devastated she is a Japanese. Zolzal claims she is a survivor during that invasion. Itami becomes so mad that he beats up Zolzal and his entourage! Boxing time! When Zolzal commands to attack, Itami commands his to fire at will! So Kuribayashi relishes going all out from her punches to shooting her machine gun! Man, those shields are useless! The bullets just went through! Now you surrender? Itami questions Zolzal if there are other such survivors but he won’t say. Kuribayashi then proceeds to give him a super combo beat down till his face swells like hell! Itami could have killed him if not for Tyuule protecting him. When Noriko asks about Hiroki, Zolzal says the men have been sold as slaves at the market. Sugawara will have his banquet with Molto once they rescue the hostages. Molto mentions how strong they are but they have a weakness: They love their people too much. Of course he knows he cannot best them anyhow and agrees to initiate peace talks immediately. Pina is sure going to have lots of explaining to do. Can she?

To further show Japan’s might and as warning, the senate house is bombed although there are no casualties. The senate discusses about this unfortunate event all because Zolzal kept Japanese prisoners. Shaky Pina seems to be describing about the Japanese’s greatness and how much they love their people. Zolzal talks to his younger brother, Diabo that unconditional surrender is inevitable. Zolzal regrets he is not smart like him to make his way through life but it is hard too playing the fool. As they talk about succeeding their father, Zolzal believes himself as most likely. Diabo disagrees because word goes around that he is not favoured. That is precisely why. To end this war, father must resign but that man isn’t going to give up on power and will rule behind the shadows. Since Zolzal is easy to manipulate, it makes it more so he will be chosen. Therefore Diabo is told to choose his allegiance either to father or him. They can’t count on Pina as she has betrayed them. As for the slaves, it is learnt out of the 2 that were sold, Hiroki has already died. When Itami and co return to base, he is told by Yanagida that he won’t be charged because the government intends to use this prisoner rescue incident to boost their image and thus cannot punish the saviour. He is also told about Noriko’s family handing out flyers over her disappearance at Ginza then when the invasion broke out. Itami doesn’t want his team to tell her about this yet. Meanwhile Tuka continues to look for her father…

Episode 15
Yanagida further tells Itami about Yao’s request to slay a dragon back at her home. Itami isn’t too keen on it and what’s more, higher authorities have rejected her. But when Yanagida points out there are oil and diamond resources, perhaps a reconnaissance mission would suffice. You know, he has more liberty to do things. Like, he might stumble upon a dragon and kill it? Itami protests to that. He would not risk his men to fight another dragon. Yanagida then tells him to go see Tuka. She is kicking up a fuss because she is being told her dad is dead. When Itami enters the picture, her hallucination is so bad that she sees her father in him. She becomes all clingy with that in-your-face attitude that her ‘father’ is still alive. It is said that Yao told her the truth and that broke Tuka. Itami confronts Yao about this but she doesn’t regret her actions as she merely told the truth. She was also told Itami hold these 3 women dearly and would do anything for help. It gets emotional for Yao when she explains she sought help through her comrades to defeat the dragon but was turned down. They said only Itami could do it. Therefore she broke Tuka’s sanity just to make her understand the dragon killed her father and thus fuelling her desire for revenge. After all, when a man kills another, he can track him down and take dragon. But what if it’s a dragon? How do you direct your anger? She is willing to give her mind, body and soul to Itami if he pulls this off. When Pina tells Diabo that Zolzal has been chosen as the heir, he cautious her that Zolzal plans to go against Molto. He is worried because Zolzal is the kind who will also bring others around him down. Tyuule is told by her informant, Bouro about Zolzal’s succession. Her plan for revenge has begun and will not let this land be in peace. Bouro suggests killing the Japanese slaves so their comrades will burn down the land in rage. She cautions it is not that easy because Noriko was in the same position as her but offered salvation. Bouro wonders who will kill her. She says Pina will do the job.

Everyone is shocked that Itami decides to play Tuka’s father. Oh, happy days are here. Then one day he gets a mission to head to the capital for another translation duty. He takes this chance to tell her he will be going away for a while. Of course she is not too happy about it. Later Itami is confronted by Yao who tells him he can’t keep up with this act forever. She can see Tuka is still in pain. He can play her father but he doesn’t know her father and that is what causes the inconsistency and pain in Tuka. Even playing house continues to bother Yanagida as he wants him to go slay the dragon. He would even help arrange the paperwork when he is ready to go. Itami sees a doctor to ask his opinion if revenge can help one move forward. Then there is this talk with Duran who reminds him he is forgetting his heart. One must act even though it is very dangerous. Because in his heart he already knows what must be done. After Itami and his team leave for their mission, Tuka’s words flash before Itami’s mind. He suddenly changes his mind and jumps out of the helicopter! OMG! Yeah, they’re going to slay the dragon together. I thought Yanagida should be happy but he is blowing his top because he can’t come up with good excuses to cover for Itami abandoning his current mission. So is Itami sure he is going alone with only Tuka? Think again because Rory wants in on the action. You don’t go play fire with a girl alone, right? I suppose she is making him consider her in his team and even so it will be costly. Can he pay for her assistance? She bites his arm and drinks his blood. A contract is formed. What contract? When he dies, his soul is hers! As you might have guessed, Lelei and Yao will also be tagging along. Off they go and Yanagida cannot understand why there are people who volunteer to follow him. Yeah, I wonder. Four hot gorgeous babes, damn it!

Episode 16
Delilah must be one happy singing bunny girl. Till she receives an official kill order. Now, this is all part of Tyuule’s plan to use her spy to kill Noriko and make it look like the orders came from Pina. Relations with Japan will then break down and war will continue. Then Zolzal, the man who destroyed her clan will be destroyed with everything else. When Yanagida reports to Hazama about Itami’s reconnaissance, the latter knows there is more to it. Since Itami is such an important man, he sends out more troops to support him. Yanagida is in shock since he didn’t expect troops to be sent out so easily. Yanagida is then tasked to talk with Duran. He believes his crown prince is trying to get him out of the picture and needs his help to send letters to his allies to retake his province. Of course Yanagida won’t get involved in this family affair if there is nothing in it for SDF. Duran will allow him to cross borders to fight the dragon but that itself isn’t sufficient. Yanagida negotiates for mining rights and tax exemption. Noriko tries to call her family but there is no answer. She thinks of dying. Delilah heard that and she is very much happy to oblige. Oddly when Noriko accepts her fate to die, Delilah becomes worried. Nobody in her line of work would want to die that easy, eh? Yanagida catches her in the act. They face off. As reinforcements come, Delilah stabs him in the back. This causes him to panic and unload all his bullets into her. Double KO.

As they are in ICU, the SDF use their manpower and intelligence to track the mole and information. It seems the anti-peace faction is trying to use the Formar clan to assassinate Noriko and the one who will gain most from it is Zolzal. As information will take 10 days to reach him, they decide to leak out information of the failed assassination and see how far it takes them. Also, they will investigate people around Zolzal. The air force division tracks down a dragon. Normally a dragon would be furious if something zooms faster and closer than it is. This is part of the air force’s plan to observe the dragon’s flying capabilities. Then they play chicken? Well, the jet seemed to get roasted and the pilot got roasted by the mechanic for being too reckless. Itami and co arrive at the canyon where Yao’s clan lives. As she goes down to call her clan, other clan members surround Itami and co. However the dragon drops by. Bullets and arrows do no harm. Rory and Lelei tackle the beast while Tuka starts reeling from the trauma. Itami then tells her this is the dragon that killed her father. She continues to be in denial so he put his foot down he is not her father and they are going to kill the dragon that killed her father. Then he guides her to use a bazooka and aim at the dragon. Missed. But that felt good, right? Or not. But it got away.

Episode 17
Itami and co take shelter for the night. Yao introduces the rest of her clan members who will accompany Itami to kill the dragon as some know where the dragon’s nest is. First, they are trained on how to use a bazooka. I wonder if they understand the fancy words. Then they begin their long trek to the volcano. Lelei puts Tuka to sleep all the way so she won’t kick up any fuss. Because Rory has bad experienced with undergrounds, she is made to wait outside to lookout for the dragon. The rest head in to plant C4 bombs around and it is a good thing the dragon is not around. They notice swords of fallen warriors who died while challenging the dragon. Also, hatched egg shells. Could there be more than one? Rory spots the dragon coming back but the geographical rocks are interfering with the headset. Everyone panics when they see the dragon. I guess the dark elves forgot their training. We see them all get burnt, smacked, stomped and even eaten! Even worse, the wiring to the C4 is cut off. Can Itami rewire them back in this chaos? Tuka wakes up from all that ruckus and this brings back her trauma. She remembers her dad died protecting her and now she blames herself for his death. Lelei dismisses it and tells her it is the dragon that killed him. Now vent your anger towards it. Tuka feels helpless to defeat it. Lelei also explains the same experience of the dragon slaughtering her village and she lost many friends. She uses all her magic to pick up the weapons and pierce the dragon. It worked. But the dragon is even madder. Seeing the utter chaos and Itami’s life in danger, Tuka unleashes her lightning power down on the dragon. This in turn sets off the C4 explosives as it blows the dragon to bits!

Itami and his harem manage to get out alive. If you’re wondering where the hell Rory is all this while, please note that she is bleeding with all the wounds outside! Giselle, a fellow Apostle like her swoops down to explain how she easily defeated Rory. Because Rory made a contract with Itami, all his wounds transferred to her. Therefore in normal circumstances, Giselle can never beat her. Now you know why he is unscathed, right? Giselle is here under orders from Hardy to bring Rory to her. Giselle reveals she has bred 2 dragons and trained it to obey her. Thus the awakening of the dragon 50 years earlier from its slumber is due to Hardy’s doing. Like she gives a f*ck about other lives, right? She orders the dragons to get them as Itami and his girls make a run for it. That is when the air force and the tank artillery support arrive in time to bomb the hell out of the dragons!!! Oh sh*t! Such awesome firepower! Now Giselle is left shaking in fear what the heck she just saw. Better make a run for it before it’s Rory to return the favour. Itami is surprised at the turn of events. I know, it must be shocking to still be alive. Yeah, a miracle. Tuka has come to terms with reality and is glad she has got her revenge. But she won’t stop calling Itami her father is she is already used to it.

Episode 18
For Itami’s act of desertion, he will be suspended for 2 weeks, stripped of his command and get a pay cut. But now for his rewards! And there are a whole damn lot of them! From obtaining honorary ranks from chieftains to commendations to riches to even ownership of Yao, he is also promoted as the Special Region resources and can go anywhere and even bring his harem along to look for anything. What has he got to say for all this? He just wants his break… Itami and his harem make their way to the academic magic city of Rondel since Lelei has a presentation to do so she can be promoted to the rank of master. This town is as odd as any other town. People think they are followers of Rory but thanks to this they get preferential treatment at their inn. Except for Itami whom they think is a manservant so he gets to stay in the dusty storeroom. The gang make their way to the R&D department of the city. The very hip and lively old lady grandmaster, Mimoza La Mer welcomes them with open arms. Only is she managed to pronounce Lelei’s name right. It’s Lelei not Lily! She is impressed she is trying to become a master at such a young age and even making it more commendable is Kato’s recommendations. Happy Mimoza makes a mess by tripping over the books. This earns the wrath of her assistant, Arpeggio. She is Lelei’s older sister. You can tell how much jealous her sister is when she sarcastically hints about a certain someone trying to become a master while her sister is struggling in her doctorate. A certain someone dabbling in romance while her sister can’t land a man. A certain someone hanging out with rich people but her sister has no money at all. Yeah, jealous sister alright. Got a problem? Deal with it!

The peace talks at the capital begin. Sherry continues to bug Sugawara about being her future wife. No doubt being a lolicon is frowned upon in Japan, it is legal here. However Sherry isn’t just an annoying loli because she observes that no one is talking to the Japanese diplomats as the people are too afraid to approach them. She hopes he can use her as lack on conversation skills won’t be good for peace talks. Zolzal is mad that peace talks have reached this stage. He didn’t want this to happen and despite being the crown prince, he feels powerless. Tyuule can only note he doesn’t realize he is being controlled. The ceremony begins. Zolzal breaks protocol to meet some of his subjects who survived that humiliating beat down. He remembers he held back during the beat down so he could feign incompetence and avoid a purge but it backfired. The head of the dragon was found at the castle gates and nobody knew who put it there. Molto wants to know who defeated the dragon so Shandy Gaff names Itami and his harem. He isn’t too impressed hearing the name but as Shandy describes each of the members, Molto takes an interest for Lelei because she can be considered as an Imperial citizen. Furthermore, a student of Kato. He orders Pina to find her and invite her to this palace as he wants to reward her. Zolzal is furious that someone else is getting higher glory just for slaying the dragon. When everyone drinks to a toast, suddenly Molto collapses, shocking everyone. Tyuule and Bouro had slipped poison in his drink. Zolzal didn’t have a part in this but you can see his face he is sure damn happy about the turn of events.

Episode 19
Zolzal takes over the throne as he rallies his people and army to make their kingdom great again. In short, they’re going to war with Japan. Pina talks to him about imprisoning pro-peace senators without proof that they were bribed to support Japan. Well… They’ll eventually find it. His friends are made generals as they plot their less than ethical way to wage war with Japan. This includes gathering goblins to attack villages around Arnus. They will also dress some of their men up as bandits and criminals. This means Japan will take the fall and have the people lose faith in them. Pina then tries to convince Diabo to help her stop Zolzal’s tyranny but his plan is to bring in other countries to stop Zolzal. Not a wise move from Pina’s perspective because this could mean their kingdom and people will be stolen. Unfortunately Diabo will do the way he deems fit. Meanwhile Mimoza talks to Lelei and co. Mimoza knows Rory 50 years ago and once travelled with her. Rory tries to tease her for becoming an old woman but Mimoza the ever happy old lady takes that in perfect stride. No fun… When Lelei talks about cheap books, this sends Arpeggio into break down mode because it seems her part time job is writing book copies (no Photostat machines in this world) and her pay is dictated by its price. Well, studying mineral magic isn’t cheap… Rory reminds Mimoza about the ‘homework’ she gave her before they parted: Why are there so many races in this world. Her life research shows that the Gods created some Primal Forest where elves came from and then its different clans scattered throughout time. As every elven legend points Arnus as their home, the reason why there are many reasons is because of the Gate. From time to time, a portal from another world opens and it brings other worldly creatures here. They fight with the locals but over time they mix and consummate with each other. Thus it is no doubt that humans here have also originated the same way although they are the newest to arrive. Rory praises her work. Although Rory might not know everything entirely, demigods like her only obey the will of Gods by guiding those who are promising and eliminating those who approach the forbidden. That is how world order is maintained.

Back to Arpeggio is might be going crazy upon seeing a laptop. You know how this could replace books, right? She reaches breaking point upon realizing Lelei has surpassed her in everything and that she should just give up and be a housewife. She asks if Itami is single! Then all the girls gladly give out what they know about him and she is taking down notes! However Lelei notes Itami is no longer single because he has done Ceremony of Three Nights with her. Basically it is as good as married in this world when you sleep in 3 different places together. Didn’t know that, did he? Furthermore, Tuka can be considered during her moments of lunacy. This makes Rory mad because she is left out! Now Arpeggio has lost it. She snaps. Lelei is ahead in everything she does. What else to do? SHE DUMPS SOUP ON HER HEAD!!! OMFG!!! Time for a b*tch fight! Rory officiates this ‘match’ and anything goes as long as you don’t kill or scar the face. So destroying the city is okay? The match is equally fought and when it seemed like a draw, an assassin walks up to Lelei and fires his crossbow! Luckily Grey Co Aldo took him out. They explain about the orders to bring Lelei home because she is a human hero of the Imperial that slew the dragon (I wonder if Arpeggio can keep her cool upon hearing another awesome milestone). Although Lelei protests and doesn’t consider herself an Imperial citizen, that is not what the people thinks. Furthermore, this assassination could mean somebody is jealous of Lelei and wants her taken out. Grey adds another skilled assassin, Pied Piper is also hired to assassinate Lelei. He hopes to work with Itami to protect her and defeat the enemy. However Itami has a different plan: Run! Meanwhile Tyuule passes to Luflus a law created by Zolzal that would make him convict anyone he wants. She hopes the senate will pass this and set it in motion.

Episode 20
Kanou learns this oppressive law, Oprichnina. However he will not let Japan take in refugees and wants those in the Special Region to stay low. As many are being arrested, Casel as the leader of the pro-peace faction is seeking refuge in Sherry’s home. But it isn’t long before those Cleaners come looking here. Sherry’s parents have her guide Casel to safety as they sacrifice themselves and burn down the mansion. She is in shock over her parents’ death but Casel slaps her to her sense so as not to let their sacrifice be in vain. As they have no food, Sherry has to trade some of her pearls Sugawara gave her to get some. Luckily she also has gained some valuable information about the changing of the guard. She suggests to Casel to seek asylum at Jade Palace, the only foreign territory here under Japan that is guarded by the treaty and the empire cannot touch them. They make their way as the Cleaners are making a ruckus from their door to door search. Bozes and Beefeater E Caty have them wait as they go request for the ambassadors to have an audience with them. No luck. Rejected. Sherry wants her to try again and seek Sugawara’s help since that guy is going to be her future husband. Being the good diplomat he is, he has to turn down that offer because if he accepts one, he might as well have to accept all. Besides, Japan’s orders are already clear. Even more heart breaking is how Sherry is screaming his name to hear his voice. Being the professional, he ignores her. The Cleaners are here and Casel knows his time is up and surrenders. Sherry is dragged away but she continues to scream Sugawara’s name. I guess it got to him because here he is telling those uncouth barbarians not to touch his future wife. The Rose Knights help Sherry cross over to Japan’s territory. Sugawara and Sherry emotionally embrace. She apologizes for selling his necklace but he promises to get her another one with his own money and not taxpayer’s money. So that’s how… Of course Sugawara’s act just opened a can of worms. The Rose Knights fight off the Cleaners.

Episode 21
The Cleaners are amateur soldiers so it is no wonder they take heavy casualty. Some ministers talk to the PM about this crisis and to get their people out to safety but the PM insists no action to be taken because of the media and foreign ambassadors who are touring Arnus currently. He doesn’t want such information leak would let the media have a field day. So looks like everyone will have to hang in there for a week… After the Cleaners retreat, Sugawara is left wondering the consequences of his decision. By saving Sherry, he put his nation in danger. But Casel has who now become a refugee in Japan, mentions about the sin he will bear either way. The most he could do is choose the sin he feels most satisfied with. As part of the Imperial’s law, he is now Sherry’s guardian. That is, he is now her father-in-law. Noriko is now a neutral coordinator for the media and talking to Kazunari Komurazaki who intends to expose the SDF’s incompetency and wasting taxpayer’s money. He is sure SDF only wants them to visit areas they approve and the locals are putting up a show to see how good their relationship is. Noriko wonders about this negative reporting and if there is no objective journalism, who are readers supposed to trust? It is not the media’s responsibility! I guess in a way he is right. You are responsible for what you read and believe. Itami and co are back in Rondel after a little runaway detour. That night they anticipate assassins will come into their room. True enough, they did. Itami unleashes a flash bomb that temporarily blinds them and Rory knocking them out. They recognize those assassins as the inn’s staffs. Talking with the inn’s manager, Hamel, they reveal somebody paid them and convinced them they were criminals. They are very sorry for what they done and Hamel too hopes they won’t punish them. Thanks to Lelei and Rory’s mercy, they live.

Grey talks about Pied Piper whose real identity is unknown and he operates from behind the shadows manipulating others to do his dirty job. Unless he is defeated, he will send more assassins. Lelei suggests they remain staying at the same inn as those who are tricked will be more wary. Also, it helps narrow down their opponent’s identities and she is confident Pipe Piper will contact them again and will use the inn staffs as bait to ambush Pied Piper. Next morning, there is a commotion outside the inn. With the bridge repaired, a messenger arrived and spread that heroic dragon killing act, which of course has been blown out of proportion. So the people want to glimpse them especially Lelei who has been made a hero. Itami feels something amiss. If Grey knew about their situation and came here from the capital, but how come this just became public knowledge? As there are many bridges from the capital to here, Itami suspects someone knocked them out and that something happened in the capital after Grey left and they didn’t want them to know. A thousand Imperial guards now appear outside the Jade Palace. Pina is summoned by Zolzal to request her knights to stand down so he could capture the escaped people there. As promised he won’t hurt the ambassadors and leave them until the political situation stabilizes. She refuses to hand over Casel and tells him to do what he wants since this country now belongs to him. In that case, he won’t let her leave this place. The PM chides his ministers about Sugawara’s actions in accepting those refugees. If the media finds out about this, they will be criticized in every way and lose the next elections. But these good men would rather lose the election than not do the right thing and regret it. The PM relents and gives him permission but they will solely bear this responsibility. Time for the SDF to get moving.

Episode 22
Shandy is tasked to keep tabs on the inn staffs as they do not recognize her face. She spots them meeting up with this hot chick, Norra who tells them to let Lelei know there will be an assassin on her presentation day and to wear an armour. Norra will pretend to be the Pied Piper and pretend to kill Lelei. The real Pied Piper will come to check the body and that is when they will nab him. After Norra leaves, Shandy goes to tail her. Man, it took her 4 days to return to the rest! She lets them know everything as well as seeing the real Pied Piper in person. Itami’s plan is to let the enemy think their plan is proceeding well. On the day of the presentation, everyone is on a lookout for anybody suspicious. A frail old man takes out his knife but is easily apprehended. He accuses Lelei of stealing somebody’s life research for he cannot believe a girl as young as her is trying to be a master. When it is Lelei’s turn to present, Norra comes out of her hiding to attack. Suddenly all the magic blasts Norra away. As word of Lelei’s assassin spread around, it seems everyone in the hall has anticipated for this day. Itami and co believe Lelei is in safe hands as they leave the stage. Suddenly Shandy stabs her in the chest! Thankfully Lelei was wearing armour beneath. But I wonder why didn’t everybody blast her with their magic? They didn’t think there would be a second attempt?

The battle between the Rose Knights and the Imperial guards are taking its toll. Tyuule is not amused that Luflus is taking this long and warns him to do whatever it takes to win because Zolzal is awaiting news of their victory. Pina is now treated as a slave and locked in a cell where Tyuule was once imprisoned. Tyuule herself even personally welcomed her to her old room and tells her a message from Zolzal: You lose. Shandy is apprehended and Lelei manages to finish her presentation but her masters title will have to wait until this commotion is settled. I don’t understand this part because it seems Shandy doesn’t remember hearing the inn staffs talking to Norra about letting Lelei wear an armour. Unless she didn’t hear them or she didn’t believe they would tell her. Shandy explains her doing. As Zolzal is after Pina’s life, she wants to prove her loyalty to Pina by bringing Lelei’s head. If Pina is held captive in the palace and risking her life, wouldn’t it be easier to just raid the castle? Unless you want to fight the thousands of soldiers protecting it. Therefore Grey says the fastest way is to cut everything off from the source and kill Zolzal. Otherwise the assassinations will just keep coming. The messenger has just arrived to update everyone about the bad news on Pina. Hazama has now received the official word. He immediately mobilizes the SDF.

Episode 23
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! To see how cool SDF kick ass and kill all their enemies! The action that we have been deprived of this season is now here! Oh yeah! Watch how the SDF easily take out the primitive enemies with their firepower and stealth, leaving no stones unturned. Everybody dies! Also see how cool their jets bomb the place and helicopters drop down parachuting troops into the capital. You enemies are no match! You’re in sh*t hell now Zolzal! Tyuule reminds him he mustn’t run and stay here even if the enemy comes here because he is supposed to give orders. The SDF continue their mission to free the nobles and ambassadors and send them to Italica. They made it to Jade Palace to slaughter all the troops there. To show that they aren’t all perfect, just one freaking guy just got an arrow in his arm. That’s it?! Luflus is slain when he attempts to escape. With the enemy slain, they secure Sugawara and the rest. Bozes and Beefeater hope the SDF can take their Rose Knights with them to Italica too. Then they ride off to rescue Pina. Unfortunately the castle defence is heavy so they have to make a run for it. Fortunately for them, a unit of SDF has been waiting for them. They shoot the chasing cavalry pack and everyone got onboard safely just in the nick of time! Super wow! Only Bozes is crying hysterically because she couldn’t save her beloved Pina. Yeah, no fun reading yaoi doujin without her partner, right? Oops… Zolzal is at a loss over the heavy defeat and asks Tyuule for advice. She suggests telling the people he is leading his army to defeat the Japanese even if it doesn’t seem so. But she knows they will come back here because the biggest key to peace is still locked up in the capital. Pina is screaming at the top of her voice to be freed but nobody is there… Itami is driving recklessly and fast back to the capital. His girls wonder what gives for this bumpy ride. He is worried about his men and can’t let them die.

Episode 24
We are reminded of Itami’s priorities of working to support his hobby. Remember who this guy really is. Itami is reunited with his team as they plan out a rescue mission for Pina and Molto (yup, this guy is still very much alive but in ICU). Although Itami will go through the front gates with Rory and Lelei, he has to act as their servant. Pulling the humvee hidden beneath all that wood to make it look like an oversized cart? Good luck. Pina is bought before Zolzal and she isn’t giving him any answers he wants to hear. However is not cowed because he knows the SDF will return to save her and he will be ready for them when they arrive. You think so? See how scared he looks when Rory bursts in. The guards are hesitant to act because all those outside have been put under a sleeping spell and those inside the chamber want to slug it out with Rory, be my guest. Zolzal becomes desperate as he calls his ogre to attack them. Man, how did this huge creature enter the hallway? Anyway, Rory and Lelei fight it but it is Lelei who steals the limelight and finishes it off with her powerful magic. Zolzal wants to fight Itami man to man but Itami fires a warning shot to stay where he is. After all, they are always watching him and can go to him anytime they want. He is just here to rescue Pina and Molto as well as remind Zolzal to stop sending assassins after Lelei. With the rescue mission done, Itami and co drive their way out as they pick up their comrades, smashing through the Imperial guards. Seriously, bullets versus spears? Humvee versus horses? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who will win. I just have to commend the Imperial guards for their bravery and loyalty.

The bumpy ride even wakes up Molto from his slumber! He even finishes their sentence about making Zolzal a traitor once Pina reunites with the pro-peace senators in Italica. Molto knows Zolzal will not listen to him anymore and thus a civil war is inevitable. He has decided to side with Japan and will make Pina the crown princess and establish a real government. Whether she wants to fight her brother is up to her. It is her path to decide. Zolzal and his subjects as well as the pro-war senators are leaving the capital to the northeast even if it means the government here would fall. Zolzal promises revenge but how can he say that when he spots such a scared looking face and cowering each time he hears a gunshot? Tyuule is also in a dilemma. She spent her life as a prisoner and trying to bring down the empire to avenge her fallen people. Now it is achieved, she cannot understand why she is still crying. I suppose those aren’t tears of joy? Ten days later at Italica, Pina is officially appointed as the crown princess. In this lavish ceremony, we notice a lot of hook-ups . Other than Sugawara-Sherry, there are also Tomita-Bozes (she’s pregnant too?!), Beefeater takes a liking for Shunya Kengun after that last minute rescue, and finally Delilah taking responsibility caring for Yanagida. Shocking romances, right? Especially Shandy who laments nobody chose her. That’s what you get for being conned by the Pied Piper, right? But the most important person of all, Itami is not here. Because he is back in Japan getting his ‘revenge’ attending his doujin convention he missed so much! Oh yeah! This is it! Screw coronation ceremonies! This is his reason for living! His spree is abruptly halted because Tuka, Lelei and Rory won’t let him have all the fun as they have got permission from Hazama to come here so he must take care of them. He tells them to go back but his nightmare has only just begun. Everyone recognizes the girls and they surround them like celebrities! A policeman offers to give them special escort and as they sit in his police car, Risa passes by and is in shocked what her ex-husband did this time!!! And all he wanted to do is to buy his doujin… This war will continue…

Nobody Messes With Japan! And I Mean Nobody!
The ending felt insufficient… Not because it was a bad one because I want more! It is not enough to end it like that! Don’t leave me hanging, come on! It is a worrying trend these days that anime series usually getting sequels will most likely ending having that sequel faring worse and fall below expectations. Thankfully I can say that Gate does not fall into that category because the second season is still as exciting and impressive as the first. Although there are a few things that prevent me from saying that the second season is much better than the first and even if it was, it is just perhaps a little bit more. Even with the serious stuffs picking up this season feel like glorifying Japan’s military propaganda. Yeah, so good I don’t mind being brainwashed by it.

Now, one reason why I said it isn’t way much better (please note, I still mean this season is pretty damn good) is because there are too many characters and this itself can be both a double edged sword in a short series although this series is 24 episodes if you take into account both seasons. But that is still by far an underachievement where it is concerned. Take for instance Itami’s own troops. Last season some of them I believe had very minimal dialogue and roles like as though they are there to make up for the numbers. This season feels even worse with only Kuribayashi and Kurokawa getting the most albeit very limited screen time. And that is just relegated to the first half of the series. What happened to the other guys? Like Itami’s fellow otaku Kurata? Because with Itami away from his team most of the time this season, it is like they need not showcase his little platoon as there are many other army personnel to feature and go about. Not that it makes any difference anyway. Then it is like because it is the final episode, they decided to make it one last hurrah for them to remind us they are still around and not to be forgotten like Itami’s otaku hobby and thus reuniting his team for one big operation. I don’t know if this is fair or not. As long as it ends well.

Some characters who were featured in the first season were sorely missed in this season. Remember Itami’s ex-otaku wife, Risa? Yeah… My hopes of seeing her make her return this season is dashed. Even making her cameo in the final episode didn’t make up for it. After all, this season mainly concentrates on the events in the other world instead of in Japan. Therefore no sneaky moves from foreign world leaders, hit squads and CIA agents this time (sorry folks, Komakado not appearing this season). Same case for Bozes’ partner, Panache. I didn’t know what happened to her till that final episode cameo. Then there are some characters who didn’t even appear this season despite appearing in the first. Such as Lelei’s old wizard master, Kato. Remember this guy? I suppose nobody likes to remember an old fart so that is why he has been dropped. Not that he would play a pivotal part in any of the plots anyway. Remember that merchant, Lyudo too? No? Guess not. Not that it mattered anyway. Maybe the series was just trolling with some of the characters to appear in the first season, making you think they are important but they aren’t actually. What about Diabo? How long does this guy take to get help from other countries? Or did he just run away and never to be seen again.

Remember Kuribayashi’s reporter sister, Nanami? Only appearing for one freaking short scene when the media visited Arnus. That’s it?! What the heck was that scene for anyway? It wouldn’t have been necessary to the plot (at least for this season concerned) and my view is that it is just to show what happened to Noriko. Some new characters debuting this season showed potential but their very short and sometimes single episode appearance only leaves more to be desired. Especially Giselle whom I thought would become the antagonist or at least sub-boss and thus opening up another development that is related to Rory. How unfortunate that did not happen. At least not as unfortunate as Yao’s other dark elves, all who died during the dragon slaying stint. Because it felt a bit funny when Yao introduced them all like as though they might be staying with us for a little longer but they only served their purpose to be sacrifices. I wonder what happened to Norra too. Just another unimportant character tossed away after her failed assassination…

Then there is the plot too. Rest assured that the plots and developments are intriguing as they are amazing. It keeps you on the edge of your seat trying to anticipate what happens next because a lot of things happened in this season. Some would turn out serious and affect the tone for the rest of the series like Zolzal becoming the next emperor and some turned out to be duds and just trolls. Like that seemingly earthquake that occurred right in the initial episodes. Mainly they substituted many of the comedy parts for the serious drama this season. Either way, they are all interesting nevertheless. The plot moves quickly from one to another and this branches out into a handful of developments, splitting this season into one that focuses on Itami’s group and the other on the rest. That is why it feels that Itami and his little platoon didn’t have much screen time this season as Itami is mostly away with his harem from slaying the fire dragon to escorting Lelei to obtain her masters. And while he is away, Zolzal makes his moves to further throw the world into chaos with his brand of war to Japan. I hope after this season that he and the future emperors would learn never ever to f*ck with Japan! All hail Japan!

Talking about Itami and his harem as the main characters, like I have said in my previous paragraph that because of the plot developments and many other characters, their role and appearance seem to have dwindled albeit you will still feel that they are the main characters. One thing good I can see about this that it shows that the SDF doesn’t need to overly rely on this guy to get things done. Itami may have did some ‘miracles’ in the first season but it goes to show that the SDF too can perform as good without the need for being him in every damn mission. With Itami getting a bit serious here, we hear less of his otaku penchant. My last season’s blog I remembered that I was hoping to see more development for Itami’s harem as well. Unfortunately with what I said about too many other plots and characters, this seems to dilute this too. Tuka is basically a damsel in (mental) distress for the first half of the season until she overcomes it but after that it feels like she is just tagging along. A food for thought: Is it okay to get revenge as cure for psychological trauma? Yeah, we’re only human. Apparently it works for elves too.

It feels the same for Lelei too because doing her masters isn’t exactly exciting but making her the target of an assassination plot seemed to drum it up although it isn’t that necessary. Finally the most disappointing would be Rory because she is cheeky, sarcastic (she did ask Itami how it feels to have a ‘daughter’ way older than him) and bubbly and other than her short stint with Giselle, there was nothing devilishly interesting in her role. You don’t see her go on a crazy killing spree in the name of Emloy and thus she is by far quite tame this season. She didn’t even do bold flirty stuffs with Itami here (biting his arm doesn’t count) like the last time (remember that seductive hotspring inn night?) and dare she blame him for not doing anything to her? I thought she is the one who is supposed to take the initiative? And with Yao confirming to be the latest in Itami’s harem, she didn’t do anything important either. She is with him because she is now his property after the dragon slaying mission.

With the drama drumming up, there is no time for Pina to appreciate and enjoy her yaoi doujin… After all, it is all hard work trying to prevent her kingdom and world falling into chaos and it gets even tougher when she gets imprisoned. If yaoi was something subtle last season, then perhaps the issue of child marriage would be that subtle issue this season. Sugawara’s unexpected engagement to Sherry might seem a bit odd for now. It is not like they are getting married instantly. But you have to remember that Sherry is willing to wait till she grows up till the legal age before they get married. By that time she would have grown up into a stunning beautiful woman instead of looking like a loli. Then it would be no different story because even in the real world, there are many marriages with such wide age gaps between men and women.

Some new characters this season were fast becoming my favourites like Arpeggio and Mimoza. In need for a comical character this season (because Pina was one in the last season especially the way stressed out herself), Arpeggio quickly became a likable idiot in my books simply because of her jealousy towards her little sister who seems to be better in everything than her. That soup dumping incident was the funniest by all. She might not take sisterly fights and rivalry to a new height but you can sympathise with her whenever she goes into that breakdown and stress mode. Or not. Somewhat reminds you a bit like Pina, eh? And Mimoza is truly likable because of her bubbly personality. You can never insult or bring this woman down because she takes everything as a compliment. It is odd for me to say this but I find her penchant for saying “Oh my, oh my, oh my…” to be highly addictive. I thought Shandy would become another joker character especially after that flash bomb incident with the assassins. She was really funny, her reaction being temporarily blinded. I’m not sure why or how she became a traitor even if it is the effects of Pied Piper whom we will never know of his identity, it is just mind boggling that she would easily do the unthinkable. Or a crazy theory of mine, she could be Pied Piper herself! Then again, since she is back to her normal ditzy self, guess not. Or is it?

Zolzal might look like the antagonist of the series but everyone knows Tyuule is the puppet master behind it all. This guy became a puppet anyway and if it is not by his father, it would be his furry slave. All under his nose. Just like Zolzal, I feel Tyuule is also lost because unlike others like Pina who have support and backup, Tyuule has always been very much alone. Had she met the right people earlier, would things have turned out much differently? With the way this season ended, you won’t hear the last of him (or any other characters in that matter) because muscle brain guys like him are very hard to put down or change over a new leaf. Even after being scared by the might of the SDF, he still won’t learn his lesson. And with the SDF do not practise killing the big fish (small fries who are unimportant to the series are acceptable), Zolzal will come back again with a vengeance unless somebody really puts a stop in his tracks. Uh huh. Let’s leave it to Itami and co again, huh?

The action parts do not disappoint and it is as good as before. Though, this season they leave it a little late to showcase the SDF’s firepower. I have to admit that there is a little guilty pleasure inside me (and most of us) in seeing the SDF gun down the ‘enemy’ and emerging unscathed. Yes, they make no mistakes and their missions always work out as planned. To perfection. Even if there are injuries, it is so minor that we will overlook it and still consider their victory to perfect. Flawless victory. Oh yeah. True heroes of the world! It is in a way sad to see them being glorified like this because at the same time if you think too much about it, they look like big bullies taking out on enemies with lesser and backwater technology. Heck, I don’t think they even have technology! That is why in a certain light, the media in this series are the other ‘antagonists’ as they are trying to find ways to bring down the SDF. Of course don’t worry. The SDF can’t be guilty of war crimes and slavery, right? (Read: Sarcasm). Other than SDF kicking ass, the dragon slaying mission was also exciting in its own right. Because they added explosions. Yeah, we all love explosions and things going boom. The most boring one goes to Rose Knights and Imperial guards clashing. See how allies clash in a primitive hand to hand combat… Even Lelei and Arpeggio’s magic fight that didn’t amount to anything much seemed better. Just saying…

The same seiyuus from the first season are retained and with more characters this season, the list of seiyuus expands. Joining the casts this season are Ami Koshimizu as Tyuule (Ryuuko in Kill La Kill), Katsuyuki Konishi as Zolzal (Oga in Beelzebub), Rina Hidaka as Sherry (Silica in Sword Art Online), Rumi Ookubo as Shandy (Hibachi in Mushibugyou), Mutsumi Tamura as Beefeater (Sonya in Kill me Baby), Fumi Hirano as Mimoza (Squall in Infinite Stratos 2), Ayahi Takagaki as Arpeggio (Chris in Senki Zesshou Symphogear series), Yuichiro Yumehara as Diabo (Mitsuhide in Akagami No Shirayuki-hime), Hibiku Yamamura as Noriko (Asuramaru in Owari No Seraph), Ayane Sakura as Giselle (Nao in Charlotte), Rina Satou as Norra (Misaka in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun), Makoto Furukawa as Luflus (Banri in Golden Time), Yuka Saitou as Misery (Tamamo in Daitoshokan No Hitsujikai) and Tsuyoshi Kouyama as Bouro (Leon in Trinity Blood).

The same group of people that sang the opening and ending themes for the first season continue to reprise their roles in their respective themes. Thus don’t be surprised to hear Kishida Kyoudan and The Akeboshi Rockets singing the very rock based Gate II ~Sekai Wo Koete~. This song somewhat reminds me of Highschool Of The Dead’s opening theme since it is also sung by the same group. The voices behind Tuka, Lelei and Rory again sing the ending theme, Itsudatte Communication, a generic anime pop ballad. The ending credits animation shows Itami’s harem having fun in a military training stint. Rather odd because I believe army training regiments are quite strict and disciplined. So it feels like they are like in some kid’s summer boot camp. Really.

Overall, this marks the end of a great season and it leaves me wanting for more. Since the novel which it is adapted from is still ongoing, there is still hope that there might be more episodes and seasons in the future. If you can get past all that military propaganda, this series is a good and entertaining watch. If there is one thing we learn from this series, even if it is all just waxing lyrical about the SDF being nice and ethical blokes dedicated to protecting their country and loved ones, you still wouldn’t want to mess with them. They will kick your ass so hard it will send you flying back in time to a primitive era and turn your civilization into a caveman. You have a choice of making them your friends or your enemies and risk being taken out. Don’t you even dare thinking of f*cking them. You have been warned. All hail the SDF! All hail Japan! All hail mighty Japan for their continuous unrelenting efforts in protecting world peace. And anime and manga too!

There are a bunch of animes out there that dabbles and mixes science and magic in between. Some giving off a great storyline and everything while others just freaking confuses the hell out of me. The fight for supremacy between magic and science is showcased here differently in Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai. Magic it seems is mainly the source of all bad and evil things whereas science and technology are the only things that can keep them at bay. At an academy where students train to become the next force and keep magic users in check, we have a small little group of quirky underdogs who is at the bottom of the league where it concerns most. Just because their captain cannot use magic well and has only his ‘outdated’ sword skills to fight. I guess you can tell where this is going. Will they prove that the good of science will rule over magic or will they find a good mix between science and magic and show the world both can be used for the benefit of many when in good hands. No? That’s not what this series is really all about? Yeah. I don’t care either. Then what? Oh, I’m only here for the harem factor ;p.

Episode 1
Takeru Kusanagi has it rough. He is trying to become an inquisitor to earn big money to repay debts his late parents left him and take care of his little sister. It is bad enough others badmouth him for carrying his sword around, it goes to worse when he returns to his platoon’s room only to see fellow Usagi Saionji in a Playboy bunny suit being filmed by Ikaruga Suginami. He sees the future about his fate. So he starts crying. Guess what? Usagi felt insulted that he cried instead and beats him up! But when he compliments her body, she calls him a pervert! Ah, being a woman. Damn if you, damn if you don’t. Meanwhile Ouka Ootori is talking to Sougetsu, the academy’s chairman (she is his daughter on paper although not blood related) and for some reason she will be reassigned to the 35th Test Platoon AKA Small Fry Platoon as their backup. Of course, this platoon that Takeru is in is the worst of the lot. Takeru was in the same class with Ouka and knows her outstanding credentials. Unfortunately Ouka doesn’t remember him. Ouch. The platoon is now on an infiltrate mission to stop the trade of an illegal magic item. It goes well till Takeru enters a room full of mobs. Wasn’t Usagi supposed to take them all out? Yes she did. At the wrong building! The mobs did the wrong move by mocking his sword. He snaps when they call it scrap metal. Now they’re scared when they witness Takeru slicing their bullets in half! He is going to kill them but Takeru calms him down by imitating the voice of his sister. Ouka enters the scene to kick ass.

The last guy unleashes instant magic. A huge Dragoon mecha appears. Too bad it broke down thanks to its fragile drive mechanism and that it wasn’t fit for close combat in the first place. Things get bad to worse when Takeru trips and falls onto Ouka’s boobs. If getting beaten up wasn’t enough, Usagi flops again when she misfires and some metal part drop on Takeru’s head as he faints on Ouka’s boobs. I guess she now understands why this platoon is so f*cked up. Because of that, Ouka goes lone ranger in her missions. She is right as she points out the flaws in Usagi’s sniping as well as caving into pressure and over-modifications of the items. And what to begin with for Takeru? But they try not to lose hope and even host a welcoming part for her. Too bad Ouka doesn’t appreciate it. Takeru notices an injury on her arm so he has to put his foot down that he is her captain no matter what. On another infiltration mission, Takeru almost got into a bomb trap if not for Ouka’s quick reflexes. However they were too late because the victims have died and become sacrifices. Ouka feels guilty that she is going to kill the perpetrators. Takeru stops her that if she does, she will lose her inquisitor licence. She doesn’t care. Her family was killed by witches and she hates them and anything that is magic. It has become her life’s mission to kill witches till the day she dies. That is why she cannot work with others or they’ll get in her way for revenge. Takeru believes she can. Although he doesn’t fully understand what she has gone through, he won’t give up trying to be her comrade.

Episode 2
Takeru feels embarrassed thinking what he said to Ouka then. And Ouka continues to have reservations that she’ll accept her platoon members. Mari Nikaidou, daughter of the great witch meets up with Haunted, a necromancer-cum-alchemist-cum-summoner from Valhalla. She is to trade a magic item for him to summon an einherjar. But as it needs a weapon, looks like he killed 50 people for it. Mari doesn’t look too pleased, though. Don’t worry, they’re all criminals and he promises he won’t touch ordinary folks. After all, they view the inquisitors as the enemy and will fight them to abolish all discrimination and prejudice witches face. Ouka berates Takeru for being an unqualified captain once she learns his goal is to become an inquisitor for the money. However Ikaruga fires back as she also knows about her background. She has garnered the nickname of Calamity as she kills criminals without orders. The only reason she is back at this academy is because she got kicked out of the inquisition. Later Takeru sees Ouka paying her respects at her family grave as she relates the horror 9 years ago that made her devote to her revenge. Their small talk is ruined when Haunted begins his move to wreak havoc on the city and to destroy the academy. As usual, Ouka rushes off by herself. Although the low level ghouls are easily taken care of, it is the einherjar that is going to be a problem. Yeah, this Dragoon has got Arthur’s Excalibur. With the academy on full alert to fight back, normally Takeru’s order would be to run since he knows they are fighting a losing battle. However with Ouka in the field and her quest for revenge running high, he can’t leave his comrade alone.

Ouka summons her contracted gun, Vlad to fight the einherjar. As she does not plan to make a full contract with him, she only allows him to take her blood and heal her wounds for more power. Things are going well till some stupid time limit means time is up in using him. You’re on your own. Before she is killed, it’s Takeru’s turn to rescue her. Although he could fight the einherjar via close combat, still it wasn’t enough as he takes a serious blow. On the verge of death, he is met with this goth loli, Lapis Lazuli who wants to make a contract with him. In some alternate dimension, she asks him several questions like if he is willing to annihilate witches, abandon all that is precious to him and toss away his humanity just to achieve his goals. After answering most of them as yes, Lapis accepts him and turns him into witch hunter mode. Basically Takeru in a super cool armour. Lapis introduces herself as from the Relic Eater series which can only be used by inquisitors. She has chosen him as her owner. Takeru is super powerful as the einherjar’s magic does not leave a scratch and he can fight on par with it. Lapis could also absorb its magic into Takeru’s blade so that he could return all that magic power and destroy it for good. Takeru returns to Ouka. He won’t lecture her about revenge and stuff but wants to carry half her burden. He might not be that reliable but feel free to rely on him. Eh? What? He is her comrade after all. So I guess her sign for accepting this is allowing him to use her lap as his pillow?

Episode 3
Mari has been captured by the inquisition and she has lost most of her memories. Sougetsu explains about Lapis to Takeru and co and how as the last Relic Eater, she finds compatibility in him because he is a swordsman. As she has a habit of taking human form, he has made her a fake ID. I’m sure Takeru didn’t expect her to be his little sister! Sougetsu also introduces Mari and has her join the team. He doesn’t waste time admitting she is a witch. I wonder how Ouka would feel about this. Not good. The academy has decided to implement a new system on an experimental basis so their job is to guard and keep her identity a secret. So you can tell sparks are going to fly between Mari and Ouka and a war is just itching to start if Takeru doesn’t intervene. Their rivalry goes as far as in the classroom and on the field and their public feud is getting out of hand that when Takeru tries to stop them, he got double punched. Later he talks to Mari about her goal in wanting to become an inquisitor. She isn’t quite sure but it is probably to show the world that magic isn’t a bad thing and to change their perspective it could be a good thing to help others. Haunted is talking to his staff, Nacht during the aftermath of that failed academy attack. Mari was pissed that innocents were hurt. It was a condition that she agreed to work with him. When inquisitors arrive to arrest them, he quickly kills them. Mari falls into shock that she got captured by reinforcements. Haunted fled but not before leaving a magic spell to erase her memories. He doesn’t want to kill her yet but torture her mentally. Though, she getting captured by the inquisition wasn’t part of his plan.

Ouka and Mari continues their b*tch fight. It goes up a notch when Ouka gets irked by their first name basis and Mari sending ambiguous signals by cuddling up close to Takeru. Surprisingly, Usagi ticks them off to stop because they have to worry about the upcoming mock tournament. It is important for their team because they’ll get the much needed credit points if they win. Ouka thought Mari has seduced Takeru as she is going to live with him. Turns out the dorm has no rooms and even if they had, they couldn’t risk her identity being found out. The other girls either live with her family or have no space and since Ouka hates her, I guess Takeru is the only option left. So this excuse for Ouka to follow them is so that Mari won’t assault Takeru? Welcome to his rundown apartment… Geez, it feels like a haunted house! You scared, Ouka? But he soon leaves them alone as he needs to go off to work. Really? Leaving them together? I guess Ouka tries to chicken out but Mari clings on to her tightly! No escape! When Takeru returns, he gets the bad luck of seeing them naked. With Ouka freaking out thinking she saw a ghost, they fall over him. Double boobs in the face. Double slap in the face. During the first round tournament, Takeru’s team is in a pinch. Mari won’t help and Usagi is panicking all over. But a change from heart from Mari as she becomes the decoy so the rest could move in and win it. Everyone thanks her but since she doesn’t sound that appreciative, Ikaruga labels her as a tsundere and perhaps a flat chest variety to the rest of them. Oh, at least she has Lapis as fellow comrade. While the rest is hanging out at the stalls, Ouka goes to hand in her report when she stumbles a report on Mari. An ancient witch with amnesia accused of murder.

Episode 4
Mari talks to Takeru that she is worried she may be a bad person but in the event if she does, he’ll just brainwash her and bring her back to the right path. That is what it means to be comrades. That easy? Before their second round match, Ouka talks to Takeru about her discovery on Mari. When it begins one of the opponents bursts into a giant flower. Haunted pops up to rescue Mari. Hayato Kurogane orders his men to keep firing into him but Haunted creates a giant barrier that sucked Takeru and co in. Haunted is pleading Mari to come back to him as he declares his cheesy love for her. Takeru is not amused and transforms into his armour to fight him. However he is surprised when Haunted too has his armour and could even be a better swordsman than him. Meanwhile Ouka manages to contact Sougetsu and she tells him her findings of the crime scene Mari was in. Based on the different magic, it was not her who did the murders so Ouka is going to indict him for false arrest. So how? Want to make a deal? Haunted undoes Mari’s amnesia as she remembers the tragic of her orphanage. It was burnt down and they were kidnapped by him. She was forced to work for him if she ever wants to see them again. So if she comes back to him, he’ll let her see them. Takeru tells her he is lying because from Ouka’s report, they are all dead! To prove him wrong, Haunted shows the kids. They’re zombies! Oh, he admits he was the one who killed them.

Mari falls into great despair and Haunted relishes seeing her like this. Then Takeru lectures her about atoning her mistakes by saving more lives with magic. Otherwise, those kids won’t forgive her. If that is not enough, he is willing to carry half her burden. That line again? No wonder Haunted is laughing at his cheesy ideal. So while both of them exchange blows, Mari remembers the nun teaching her some magic. She decides to sacrifice her life to do so but missed. Because the academy put some collar on her that will explode if she uses it, it never happened. Ouka says she cut a deal with Sougetsu to disarm it because she wants her to use her magic to save Takeru. Yeah, they still hate each other and doing this for the guy. Mari then fires her magic once more. Missed again? Actually, it is for Takeru to absorb. Now he powers up and defeats Haunted. He makes his escape but not before hinting to Takeru that he knows he is from the clan of demon hunters. Mari is ever grateful to Takeru and thanks to him, she didn’t commit any more mistakes than she already has. More good news when Mari is now officially a student of the academy as Sougetsu decided to make the witch enrolment policy official. Ironically it was Ouka who lobbied for it. Her excuse is that she doesn’t like the way he does things. But still, they hate each other… Resorting to boobs shaming now, eh?

Episode 5
Usagi’s mom is not impressed with her low grades. Because of that, she will be bringing forward her marriage and this will be her last month in school. The most heart breaking thing? She tells Usagi not to call her as mom because she isn’t. Reima Tenmyouji, the executive committee chairman is going to bring back the witch hunting festival whereby a special currency will be used to gain credit points and even money. Oh look, Takeru is so motivated. Usagi is having a hard time wanting to tell her friends when Ishida the captain of the 23rd Test Platoon comes in to request their teams to form an alliance for the festival due to their small size. When Usagi is walking in the hallway, she bumps into Reima. They know each other. The sight of him starts making her have breathing difficulties! From the way he says things, looks like he is her fiancé. Naturally Takeru comes to her aid but he doesn’t understand Reima’s words about taking care of her a little longer. Ouka is brought by Shizuka Sendou of the student council secretary to see the president, Nagaru Hoshijiro. They talk about the urban legend witch named Mephistopheles that devours human minds. It seems she exists because Nagaru’s entire team was killed and she and Shizuka are the only survivors. The catch is that this happened a month ago, the same time when Reima transferred to this academy. Isn’t that strange? Ouka agrees to lend her help.

Usagi recuperates in the infirmary and since she is holding onto Takeru’s hand, I guess he has to stay with her. She feels sorry for keeping him this late so as they walk home, he can sense something is wrong. Then she asks if he is willing to marry her. What gives? Then she explains about her marriage to Reima. As she is the sole heir of her family, being a good for nothing, the only way for her family’s future is to marry into the wealthy Tenmyouji. I guess Takeru felt bad so he tells her to come stay at his place tonight. What?! So she’s here in his shower, wondering what the heck she is doing. Hard not to think thoughts of them getting married and starting a family, eh? And then maybe she’s just going to accept all that because she comes out just wearing a bath towel before him. As predicted, she trips and her towel comes off. She readies to let him do her first time. As predicted too, the other girls come in. That shock on their face? Priceless. I’m sure each has their excuse to beat him up for this indecency. Especially Ikaruga’s wrath is because he didn’t invite her to this! Like the usual shoot first, ask questions later, they eventually learn of Usagi’s predicament. Since their original plan was to discuss strategies for the festival, this meeting will also be to help Usagi improve her grades so her mom could accept her and let her remain till she graduates. That’s what comrades are for, right? Since she still views herself as dragging everyone down, time for Takeru to remind her the countless times she saved them with her sniping. Takeru and co do cosplay and demonstrate before the 23rd platoon guys. They love it! Even if Takeru is cross-dressed in a gothic outfit. Because Usagi nails it by just having band aids covered over her necessary parts!

Episode 6
Reima and Takeru confront each other. The former gloats Usagi will be his but assures she will be treated nicely. Takeru won’t allow it because Usagi belongs to no one (or is it she belongs to him?). He gets mad when he thinks Reima is bullshitting that Usagi killed her brother and that she has no true comrades. And of course, Takeru says they’ll do their best to always protect her. Ouka is investigating around the school and a bird’s eye view reveals a large magic insignia all over. When Reima confronts Usagi, bunny girl tries to be tough that she won’t listen to him anymore. However he plays mind games with her about her brother’s death. When Shizuka reports to Nagaru, she suddenly pulls out her gun to shoot her. Then she joins Ouka to apprehend Reima. When Ouka mentions Reima’s true identity as Mephistopheles, shockingly Shizuka is the one who responded. The duo corner Ouka as they place a talisman on her for Mephistopheles to possess her body. Mephistopheles wants to initiate the magic sequence earlier than expected so Reima protests since he did her bidding in exchange for the academy and inquisition to be his. She threatens this wimp she could have killed him anytime and didn’t because his family might come in handy. So STFU. Nagaru contacts Takeru about the situation. She is alive thanks to her bulletproof vest. Takeru didn’t like how she dragged Ouka into this and won’t follow her orders. He’ll be saving his comrades on his own. WTF. Isn’t that the same? Lapis detects Usagi at the chapel. She is having nightmares how her brother was playing with the rifle and while trying to stop him, she accidentally shot him in the struggle. Reima jerk popped up before her and knew she killed her brother. That is when he decided she will be his and started his brand of rabbit abuse.

So now she is going to be raped by him at the chapel. Sure she struggles, but that slap puts her back to docile mode. Remembering her friends, she won’t go down that easy and bites him! Takeru arrives to save the day and goes tell her to help Mari as she is trying to diffuse the magic. You know, the duo could save the reunion and the promise making for later. If you’re wondering why Reima didn’t attack them in this period, yeah, he is putting on his armour. Ouka worries about Mari but she laughs off her fake acting because there is no way that b*tch would care about her. Mephistopheles is going to shoot her but here comes Usagi to the rescue. How bunny girl had to run when Mephistopheles activates a spell that causes all the guys in the academy to go after her. Rabbit hunting? Creepy. Takeru defeats Reima. Yeah, I guess it’s not worth even seeing this wimp fight. He is scared out of his daylights that he soiled his pants! Now Takeru fights Mephistopheles who can use Vlad. Feeling that Ouka is coming back, she is going to test Takeru’s bonds. When Usagi returns, Ouka claims Mephistopheles has possessed Takeru. So shoot him. But Takeru says if she is unsure, shoot him then her. Mephistopheles: Believe in me. Takeru: Believe in us! I guess it’s clear. As Usagi is going to shoot her, Ouka fights back to reclaim her body, pushing Mephistopheles out. Usagi shoots her special bullets to finish off Mephistopheles for good. Great news for everyone. Ouka survives the shot and Mari finishes her task. Scary news: Takeru dressed as a maid during the festival scares off the guys! Hey, they didn’t pay the bill! Ikaruga tricks Usagi to wrap herself only in ribbons for Takeru to view. Best news of all: Usagi’s engagement is annulled. And as promised, a great pat on her head.

Episode 7
Sougetsu calls Ikaruga for her opinion on this case. A spy infiltrated the Alchemist Corporation and took a picture of a Lost Matrix cell. Inside there is a dark elf that could be used for resurrection as a weapon. Since she worked there 4 years ago, he thought she should know. Of course it is impossible to clone. Even more so, Lost Matrix had gone missing 4 years prior too. Kurogane wants to keep her lock up but Sougetsu would rather wait and see so they can have more cards to play against Alchemist. With the 35th platoon in last place and in much need of points, Ikaruga suddenly says bye-bye and hold the fort till she comes back. Of course feeling something amiss, they tail her to some slums but ultimately lost her and encounter the mafia! Haunted is seen talking to Isuka, Ikaruga’s older sister. Seems she has failed to resurrect dark elves again. He notes her actions to betray Alchemist and join Valhalla. It’s because if she continued to work under Alchemist, she’ll just be ordered to do what they are told. Haunted then gets upset that she killed her fellow scientists without emotion. It is like disrespect to them. Because he loves people and thus loves killing people so put more emotions into their deaths! WTF?! Isuka promises she will keep her end of the bargain to resurrect dark elves. She receives a report that somebody has leaked info about the stolen Lost Matrix. Haunted wonders if she can trust that source. Of course. It’s from her sister and she is on her way here. Ikaruga further tells Isuka that she is willing to trade the Lost Matrix as her interest is only resurrecting elves. Staying at Alchemist would have meant she would eventually be executed. That is why she left the place and continued her experimenting outside. However Isuka’s men find her and get rough. Just in the right time for Takeru and co to stumble on her. While the girls hold back the other forces, Takeru takes Ikaruga to safety but a near-miss missile injures him. Isuka contacts her sister for the change in plans since she didn’t realize her friends are here. She warns her if she hurts or even kills them, she can say goodbye to the Lost Matrix.

Sougetsu is seen talking to Suzaku Suginami, the boss of Alchemist. He is ‘accusing’ her for passing the buck about the recent incidents that weren’t caused by Alchemist (because they were never authorized to do elf research). So as apology for this ‘screw up’, she’ll send him the latest Dragoon models so he could go crush this rogue facility. He calls all available platoons to go to war. Ouka, Mari and Usagi are taken in by Isuka and examined from head to toe. I guess that explains why they are bare naked. Since she doesn’t believe they are Ikaruga’s friends, she tells them the kind of person her sister is. As kids, they were already genius scientists. Till Ikaruga stumbled upon a book about family and friends. She became interested in that concept although Isuka objected to it. Ikaruga’s resurrection of a wood elf fails because despite cloning it, it had no magic. Isuka became mad when she found out she purposely did so to get thrown out. Ikaruga became close with the elf, naming it Kanaria. One night, Ikaruga is going to run away and Isuka stops her saying that they need each other for research, which is their passion. Ikaruga wants her to run away with her but the alert has sounded. Somebody stole the Lost Matrix. Guess who? Ikaruga is supposed to get Kanaria but it was nowhere to be found. She had to leave before security forces come. She then came to the academy to keep the Lost Matrix away from Alchemist as they couldn’t attack an inquisition academy. Ikaruga is telling this similar story to Takeru. I don’t know, this place looks like a love hotel… Takeru doesn’t understand why she would trade the Lost Matrix now after finding out they were going to resurrect dark elf. She thinks he won’t understand try him. As she has no sense of what is right or wrong, what if it is wrong? Takeru will come and stop her. In that case, since this is goodbye, she is going to try it out with him while she still can. Try what? Sex. SEX???!!! HOLY SH*T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Episode 8
We continue where we left off abruptly the last time. Ah yes. Sex. Too bad those f*cking Alchemist guys are here so Ikaruga has to put it off next time. After confessing a hollow I-love-you, she injects a temporary paralyzing serum into him. Ikaruga then goes to meet Isuka for the deal. Ouka and co are thrown out on the streets as part of the deal. They see Sougetsu coming by with lots of Dragoons. He has them pick up some weapons so they can go fight. At this point too, Takeru is able to move and requests Lapis help to power up to go save Ikaruga. Isuka blames her sister over her betrayal and that she lost a lot of things when she decided to pursue unscientific matters. Isuka is feeling pain because of the redesigning of her body or something. She wants her to hand over the Lost Matrix so Valhalla will accept her. However Ikaruga says she is only here for 2 things. To prevent the resurrection of elves and to rescue her. This only makes Isuka mad. She considers her sister her enemy and will destroy the world to save herself. And since the world is Ikaruga’s home, that makes big sister her enemy too. Ikaruga reveals the Lost Matrix embedded right in her chest. With nanomachine technology, she is able to resequence her DNA and turn into a partial dark elf. She has enough mana to create dark matter. Isuka’s pain continues as well as her blaming everything is Ikaruga’s fault. Haunted cannot hold back himself after seeing Isuka’s face of despair. He had to kill her! And he loves that despair look on Ikaruga’s face too.

Her nanomachines are imperfect so Ikaruga returns to her human form. Isuka says Kanaria is being held at Valhalla and wants her to live. Too late for apologies now. Haunted offers Ikaruga to join him. He doesn’t need Isuka since she has shown him how to make Dragoons and resurrect elves. You know her answer. In that case, Haunted leaves her a present from big sister: A large rampaging dragon! Takeru saves Ikaruga in time before she falls to her death. Lapis says his chance of defeating the dragon alone is only 0.4%. However Ikaruga mentions that since it is purely machine, they can just destroy its core and it will crumble over its own weight. So Usagi has a few chances to nail the job but she keeps missing due to her nervousness. And when she does, it doesn’t break. Looks like it will take more hits to it. Yeah, but she’s out of bullets. Ouka’s turn to try. Didn’t work. Going to get killed. Takeru’s turn to stab it. Oh dear. Runs out of mana. Don’t worry. Mari replenishes him with her mana so he strikes it with all he’s got. Dragon down. There. Dusted and done. In the aftermath, Mari brags to Ouka and Usagi about her heroism but they’re not too amused and fire back with insults. Takeru talks to Ikaruga alone. Oh, you mean it’s not about the sex? Haha. Just kidding. He doesn’t want her to think she is useless, she is part of the time, blah, blah, blah. You know the usual drill. Uh huh. His trademark line of carrying her burdens. Or her tears as in her case. He pats her head. She doesn’t like it but allows it because it’s him.

Episode 9
Their next mission is to infiltrate and stop an illegal magic item trade that would earn them much needed points. Ikaruga thinks they won’t be up for the job but Ouka takes this as an insult and insists she can do it. Okay. You asked for it. The infiltration job turns out to be a hostess job. Damn, Ouka got played into her hands. Naturally, she freaks out whenever men touch her butt or trying to get flirty. My, what a hostile temper. Usagi and Mari are more natural even more shocking is how Takeru seems to be doing his waiter job so fine like he’s got talent for it. When Ouka thinks she has spotted the culprit with the magic item, she moves in close to him. However she screams when he swipes her butt and her impulse has her destroy the package. The rest quickly surround to arrest this guy only to find it isn’t a magic item but a handheld gaming console. The real culprit is just next table. Although he tries to run, the rest caught him. Ouka just stood there stunned… Big blunder? Back at their room, they analyze the item and it turns out to be a low ranking one. They won’t get many credits and with that fiasco, they might even have their points docked. Ikaruga suggests testing this ring magic item its authenticity before handing to authorities. When she thinks it might make one fall in love, the rest of the girls seem to have ulterior motive in grabbing the ring for themselves. In the struggle, the ring lands on Takeru’s finger. Then some magic happens. Usagi is such a kiddie flirt and Mari has high emotions, crying over her small boobs. Ouka is wildly aggressive and even Lapis is drunk. It is confirmed this magic item makes one intoxicated. Think Ikaruga is unaffected? Well, she seems flirtier. Not that she is any different than before. But I think she is the ‘best’ one because she ends up vomiting on him!

The gang are on their way to the beach since they receive complaints that summer won’t stop and the cause might be a witch. I guess your excuse to have fun at the same time as well as some swimsuit fanservice. Of all the sexy swimsuits the girls wear, why is Takeru only has his eyes on Lapis’ school swimsuit? During lunch, Takeru has bad stomach ache. Usagi and Mari prevent Lapis from following him into the toilet. When Ouka notices a guy being stretchered because he was attacked by a monster and almost drowned, they conclude this case isn’t the work of witches but a magical monster. Since it is under the sea, who can go investigate? Ouka can’t swim, Ikaruga has been ‘dead’ the entire time (she’s not an outdoor person) and Takeru is still taking a dump (oh, his screams!). This means Usagi will lead her mini platoon underwater. Somehow Mari can’t help feel insulted thinking she’s directing that to her mini boobs. As suggested by Lapis, to draw the monster out, she uses Usagi and Mari as bait. Like as in fishing bait. It did attract the monster and since it has tentacles… Yes, tentacle rape! Takeru has finished his business and runs to their rescue. Too bad his armour is too heavy. I don’t know how long they can hold their breath because it seems they can hold out while trying to communicate via sign language. As suggested by Usagi, Takeru uses Lapis as a fishing rod to fish the duo to freedom. With Mari’s magic to briefly open up the sea, they swing the monster onto land. Case closed. Ouka rewards the mini platoon with ice cream but Mari still feels insulted that she means her mini boobs.

Episode 10
Takeru visits a maximum security prison to see his sister, Kiseki. They talk about things and it’s pitiful to see her just trying to survive. Time flies when you’re having fun so Takeru has to leave when time is up. He must strictly obey all protocols or else he would have a harder time visiting her next time. After that he continues to do his missions flawlessly with his team although they notice that he hasn’t been sleeping lately. We get a little deeper glimpse into Kiseki’s confinement case. As Sougetsu and other scientists keep close monitor on her state, thanks to Takeru’s visit, it helped as she has mostly calmed down. To put how dangerous she is and the reason she is confined in such high security is because she has this uncanny ability to excrete dangerous mana. If destroys and collapses anything. So if they don’t keep that in check, it’s the end of the world. And that might come soon because she yearns so much to see Takeru that she is going into overdrive mode. Kurogane offers to fight off this beast she has created. While Takeru and co are out in the field to catch a dangerous wizard, the baddie caught win they are inquisitors in disguise and run. While Takeru chases him down the alley, unfortunately he got killed. To Takeru’s surprise, it is Kiseki as she collapses into his arms. When the other girls arrive, Takeru becomes a little hostile in keeping them away. No, he is not a siscon. But once he calms down and realizes they are not the enemy, he introduces them to her sister as they take refuge in some apartment room. Despite telling them she is the most dangerous thing in the world, he believes as long as he is with her, she’ll be fine. Kiseki has busted out of the prison. The place is in shambles. Don’t worry, Kurogane still lives. He’s one tough cookie and the best witch hunter around. Takeru perhaps is trying to explain nicely about Kiseki’s dangerous powers and how it caused her to kill many people in their village. So Ikaruga tells him to shut up as she explains bluntly about the excessive mana she produces and seeing she might have used a lot while escaping, it will take for a while to replenish. Surprisingly, Ouka suggests the siblings spend some time together so the rest tease her for breaking her character. Kiseki is scared thinking the girls are ganging up on her but they’re just going to help her put on nice clothes so she could go on a date with Takeru. It is the quality time the siblings have always dreamt of. But at the end Kiseki has a favour to ask for: Please kill her. And big brother said he’ll do anything, right?

Episode 11
What she meant is that if she is going to die, she wants to be killed by his hands. Sorry, he can’t do it. The only time he’ll do that is when he will die with her. That’s a promise. As they continue their date, Takeru is confronted by his rival, Kyouya Kirigaya. This guy now seems to hate Takeru a lot more. He also has his own Relic Eater, Nero. They both start fighting but are stopped by Kurogane. They will be facing the consequences for this public brawl. Takeru talks one last time to Kiseki before Sougetsu knocks her out with sedatives. He tells Takeru that Alchemist have signalled their interest to help them since they might have a way to solve her problem. The only catch is that she will be transferred to a different facility. He cannot reveal the location seeing that Valhalla is after her. When the transfer gets going, Valhalla launches their attack but most of them are decoys. The real Kiseki is being transported via ground, guarded by Kurogane and Kyouya. The latter asks which side he belongs to because he doesn’t want him to get in his way of revenge to kill all heretics. Their convoy is also under attacked. Kyouya relishes taking out his anger on them. Takeru dreams he was tasked to kill Kiseki. Even after seeing her monster form, he still couldn’t because there is no way he could kill his sister.

Takeru and Ouka are in solitary confinement. She blames herself for getting him into this but on the contrary he has every reason to be thankful as she allowed him to be with his sister. I guess it is her turn to borrow his line to share and carry half his burden. Because she has found the platoon a comfortable place to be. She reminds him he is not alone. Nagaru lets them out since she has some connections with the guards and explains to them Kiseki’s convoy has been attacked. Takeru is surprised his teammates are ready to move and help out with him. They in turn are surprised he is asking for their help because normally he would never let his teammates get involved. So they’re staring at Ouka for she might have changed this dude… Can we stop the petty argument and get a move on? After despatching the lower guards, Kurogane and Kyouya are faced with Orochi Kusagani, the big boss of Valhalla. Kurogane wants Kyouya to continue with his escort task because this guy will be too much for him to handle. Halfway, Kyouya decides that everything now is just damn wrong so he stops the truck and is going to kill Kiseki himself. Luckily Takeru is here. Despite Kiseki never did anything to him, Kyouya is bent on destroying everything related to heretics. Takeru believes Nero is influencing him because revenge is what she is seeking as her reward. The power fight goes on till Takeru’s team back him up. Kyouya is forced to escape but that won’t be the last they’ll hear of him. As Takeru rescues Kiseki, he could see all the pain and anguish she has gone through. She already has enough of it and wants to end it all. Time to keep your promise? Haunted had to interrupt and bag about how much he wants Kiseki as part of their world chaos plan. Kiseki then goes berserk seeing her brother impaled. Looks like the end of the world is coming sooner than you think. Hallelujah!

Episode 12
The monster blob overflows the city. Sougetsu and Suzaku are watching as the former implies that this mess was created just to satisfy her curiosity. She offers to clean it up but instead he wants to bet with her if Takeru can kill Kiseki or not. Ouka fights Haunted and this time she is willing to make a contract with Vlad. Her fight this time is not limited to her family’s vengeance but to protect those around her now. Vlad is touched by her nobleness and accepts. And for the first time, Ouka in her battle armour. She manages to dispose Haunted before the other girls pick her up. Ikaruga explains the only way to stop this monstrosity is to keep killing the blob. Kiseki’s body is immortal and will not die unless she accepts it (her body rejects death if it’s not killed by the person she wants). So they’ll have to concentrate in killing all the monsters or risk it destroying the world. Takeru is still alive because Lapis is healing him. But he is reflecting on what he should be doing. Lapis gives him some encouragement and after confirming his final answer to toss away humanity so he could achieve his desire, she further powers him up into a much darker armour. Sealed with a kiss. Ouka has to put up with the monster’s jealousy lies that because of her, Kiseki cannot spend more time with Takeru. The other girls are at their limits holding their ground when Takeru revives. It’s time for him to be the hero. Because he sucks Ouka’s power and then apologizes he can’t walk with them anymore. Just great. So he’s going to be a martyr? Too bad Haunted gets in his way again and they both continue to clash swords. This time Takeru has decided. He regretted he could not kill Kiseki. But now no matter how much he regrets that, he will stay true to his desires. This means he will have Kiseki live and will return to his girls. All with his life intact. Gee, he gets all his cake and to eat it. With time running out, Takeru uses his ultimate move to finish Haunted and then dive into the monster blob to bring Kiseki out. With those comforting words that he’ll stand up by her side till she can be saved, the monsters vanish. Orochi has to cut short his battle and communicate with his comrades to retreat. But he is confronted by Sougetsu and thinks he wants to use Takeru to make history repeat itself. Whether he likes it or not, the trigger of war will be soon at hands. Takeru returns to his platoon and says he didn’t exactly save Kiseki. As long as she is still alive, she will continue to put the world in danger with her power. Don’t worry. The girls assure her because they too want to carry half his burdens. Right back at ‘ya! Hey, don’t they mean a quarter of his burdens since there are 4 of them…

I Don’t Want To Carry Any Burden At All!
And that is how it ends? At least in the context of this anime. What more could we ask? World is saved at least for today and Kiseki in this context of ‘happy ending’ could be considered saved till the next time she goes berserk. Just like many other animes that end on this kind of note, as usual there are lots of potentials and development if it ever gets another season. Because I’m sure that nothing is really settled yet and if things do get settled (like Takeru’s platoon girls and their respective personal problems), it is an indication of bigger things to come. Then there is the case of the characters’ past which is not fully explored like Ouka’s family and quest for revenge (which seems to have died down towards the end).

If you are wondering why the storyline seems to be moving along a very fast pace, I read some comments over the internet how the anime is like literally rushing through the chapters of the light novels that the series is being adapted from. Because it felt a bit weird when we are in one scene and then all of a sudden we are ushered into another scene. I thought it was how the flow of the series works but when it happens for all the time, something felt amiss. For example, the early episodes when Ouka was just inducted into the platoon, it felt like they calm her blood thirst for revenge very quickly. Then there is that mock tournament that makes you wonder what the heck happened to it. Sure, Haunted interrupted it big time (this feels familiar just like that guy who did back in Naruto’s chuunin exam). What happened after that? So is it put off indefinitely? And I thought we were going to see Takeru’s team seriously squaring off with Kyouya’s team in the next round since the latter still hated him so much then. Heck, so abrupt that some scenes right before the opening or ending credits is abruptly cut off. They really take this rushing thing to a whole new level, eh?

Thus the controversy of rushing through arcs/stories and skipping lots of details in between can sometimes be a hot issue among fans and casual viewers or those who are not aware such series exist. It is like a double edged sword where it is both good and bad. Because while you keep it short and fast, you do not have to bore viewers and drag out the arc with too many episodes. Take for example the case of One Piece. Do you know how many damn years that series has been running with the recent Dressrosa arc?! Yeah… Fights that lasts for episodes which could turn out to be for months… So when you zoom past things like this one, at least you know it won’t last forever but at the same time, so fast it might make you feel like if you blink, you’ll miss it. Maybe the light novel has lots of chapters to cover and certainly rushing at this pace means at the expense of its materials. But I’m not too sure about this since I don’t really read it.

Being the harem anime it is, I’m not sure whether to call Takeru’s platoon girls a diverse one because like any other groups from other animes, you definitely have quirky behaviours. From the typical tsundere type of Ouka who gradually finds comfort in the team she once thought she would never give a chance to fit in, and Mari the proud magic wielder except whenever it comes to her boobs. If she is a ‘natural enemy’ to Ouka, then something similar can be said to Usagi and Ikaruga because the latter loves harassing the former like boobs groping and the likes. Not to say that Ikaruga only targets her as she does display her uncanny sexual fetish onto others but usually it is bunny girl who is often her victim. The duo are like polar opposites. Because Usagi has high displays of her emotions and prone to anxiety while Ikaruga has that emotionless don’t-give-a-f*cks face and she tends to be very blunt at times. Don’t expect much from the harem side although there will be a little tiny bit for it and mainly it is just for fanservice. Yeah, I remember Usagi’s sexy moments and Ikaruga’s sex time…

Completing Takeru’s little platoon harem is Lapis but nothing much can be said about this kuudere goth loli since she isn’t given her own mini arc unlike the rest of the other girls. I mean, don’t you quite notice how they have their own respective problems and usually Takeru has to have his hand in solving them because he is their captain as well as the main character. Speaking of that guy, he must be one heck of a strong kid to love shouldering half of other people’s burdens. It is the clincher and line that makes the girls submit and give in and at the same time allow him to meddle in their affairs. Yeah… After all, since they particularly like him, there is nothing better than their prince charming and knight in shining armour to save their day. Thank goodness it always turns out alright. Thank goodness his platoon is limited to a handful of girls. Now, if he had 100 girls in his platoon… I hope he doesn’t get crushed by its weight. Not forgetting Kiseki who obviously has brother complex. Would the cat fight take a different turn had she not have such dangerous powers and thus the rest somewhat take pity on her? Though I’m not sure if she is going to be placed in Takeru’s personal care or to be under Alchemist’s surveillance.

Haunted is quite the interesting villain and antagonist. Already with a twisted concept and his love for killing, it would be even interesting to see more to this depraved Catholic priest other than making his entrance via annoying sudden attacks. I mean, this guy has a penchant of just barging in the midst of something, claiming he can’t stand anymore of this excited feeling while watching. It happened during the mock tournament. It happened again during Ikaruga and Isuka’s face off and once more it happened when he was going in for Kiseki (twice for this, in fact). What a better way to throw a surprise attack to your enemy and catch them off guard? I’m pretty sure Sougetsu is on the good side but because of his scheming looks, it never fails to make you think that he might have some sort of ulterior motive behind that calm smiling face. It just makes you suspicious if you can trust this smooth operator. Indeed he might be because the final episode hints that he could be over 150 years old considering he knows Orochi and the fact there is some shady friendship with Suzaku despite both their organizations are enemies on the outset.

Thanks to the rushing pace of the series, the character development for some also suffers especially minor ones like Nagaru, Kurogane and Suzaku. And for those like Orochi, he appeared too late. The same case with Kanaria who seems pretty grown up and Orochi’s sidekick. I am pretty sure her past with Mari will intertwine again in future story arcs. I thought Kyouya would be just a minor character to be brushed off with no importance but seeing his return as much meaner and enraged guy showing much more hostility each time he sees Takeru’s face, it goes to show that things are clearly not over between them yet. Would this guy softened had he been under Takeru’s platoon? I mean, look at what happened to Ouka. Oh, that’s right. Maybe it works on girls but not guys.

Action stuffs are pretty okay. Enough worth for your entertainment attention. From Takeru’s different sword abilities to Ouka’s gun wielding capabilities (since she is not in contract with Vlad, thus limiting her overall power and proficiency), Mari’s use of magic (she cannot use it freely since there is a magic blocker collar she has to wear and under Ouka’s control) as well as Usagi’s long range sniping add to the variety of the team’s arsenal and offence. Even if Ikaruga has no fighting abilities, her background support as intelligence and hacker as well as weapon modifications and gadgets play as important role as the rest. Though, it is not clearly obvious her contributions in this anime since we don’t particularly see them.

The art and drawing feel pretty decent. Your typical conventional Japanese anime by today’s standard. Animated by Silver Link studio that produced a few well known anime comedy and harem series like Rakudai Kishi No Chivalry, Shomin Sample, Strike The Blood, Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankei Nai Yo Ne and Rokujouma No Shinryakusha. It is that time again when I start thinking that I have been watching too much anime when some of the characters felt like I have seen them somewhere in other animes before. Right after the first glance, I thought how Usagi looked so familiar to Gochuumon No Usagi Desu Ka’s Sharo while Ouka has that uncanny resemblance to Subaru from Mayo Chiki. I’m sure the rest do too but I’m too lazy to figure out at this point of moment. For instance, Ikaruga’s character in lab coat and long hair and Takeru’s generic heroic teen looks. Definitely seen them somewhere before… And I thought Mari looked like a kid who worked in a train station…

As for the design of the battle armour and Dragoons, since I’m not really a mecha aficionado, they look pretty average. But I have to say something about Ouka’s armour. Why the heck does it look skimpy and what on Earth does her armour need a cape for?! Don’t tell me it’s to fly. Some of the animation here employs CGI effect but I can’t help notice how poorly done it is for the monster blob. I am sure they want to make it look hideous and it really does with all the eyeballs and teeth sticking out. But I didn’t think it would be such a poor job ‘ugly’ that you could see how obvious the jarring CGI blend in with the 2D animation.

I am not sure why in this series I find some of the voices not suitable for some of the main characters but it could be just me. For example, I kept thinking how Takeru and Ouka sound too mature for their student character. Their voices seem to give an impression that they sound older than they should be and thus not fitting as things. But it is not like Yoshimasa Hosoya as Takeru (Kojou in Strike The Blood) and Reina Ueda as Ouka (Mikan in Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa) have such low sounding voices, perhaps they just did a lower one for this series. That’s why I said it could be just me for this series because if such voices do sound unsuitable for such characters, then seiyuus like Youko Hikasa and Marina Inoue who do not have cute high pitch anime-like voices would have failed in their character’s voice.

A handful of recognizable seiyuus include Kanae Itou as Mari, Shinichiro Miki as Sougetsu, Koji Yusa as Haunted, Jouji Nakata as Vlad, Sayaka Ohara as Mephistopheles, Rikiya Koyama as Orochi and Satomi Arai as Suzaku. I thought Ikaruga sounded familiar and I couldn’t figure out the voice behind her till I decided to look it up. It’s Hayate No Gotoku’s Ryoko Shiraishi. Man, it’s been a long time I have heard from her. Others that I don’t recognize are Rumi Ookubo as Usagi (Chinatsu in YuruYuri series), Iori Nomizu as Lapis (Nymph in Sora No Otoshimono), Kenjiro Tsuda as Kurogane (Inui in Prince Of Tennis), Chika Anzai as Kiseki (Chaika in Hitsugi No Chaika – initially I thought it was Kana Hanazawa who voiced her), Yuko Sanpei as Isuka (Sasha in Seikon No Qwaser), Natsumi Yamada as Nagaru (Lam in Yuushibu), Makoto Furukawa as Reima (Banri in Golden Time) and Kenji Akabane as Kyouya (Arashi in Triage X).

The opening theme is Embrace Blade by Afilia Saga. A typical generic anime-like music sung by an all-girl pop group, nothing too special although it isn’t that all bad. But the ending theme, Calling My Twilight by Kanako Itou sounds a bit different as this dance beat mixes in a bit of techno rock. The opener of this song might sound a little bit cacophony thanks to the screeching-like sound effects. The other background music isn’t that noticeable except for those with techno rock music as they are mainly used during fighting sequences.

Overall, if you are not a fan of series that rushes telling its stories, then this one is not for you because it will come and go so fast that it would leave you wonder what just happened. By the time you try to digest what is happening, they move on to the next part. So if you are like the casual me, watch everything fast, forget everything fast, and then try to remember it all again if ever there is a sequel. Yeah, a subtle reminder that life has become such a fast and sickening pace that you can’t stop to smell the flowers. Will then be anybody who would carry half my burden? Does it sound like I am trying to pass the buck here?

The norm of stories of this kind of underdog story is that we have a responsible leader or head leading a group of undisciplined misfits and ragtags, training them, instilling core values to work together, etc until they’re strong enough to beat the odds and stand above the rest. You have your moments of bonding and mutual respect that they crew finally warms up to the leader that he is like family and it would be unthinkable if they part. Rarely you have one of this formula where the chief is the irresponsible idiot and the crew the responsible ones (well, most of them anyway). So when you have an irresponsible person in charge taking the lead, can things work out for the better? Normally we would assume it would be for the worst. That is why it is with such intrigue to know if that is the case with The Irresponsible Captain Tylor. A slacker and carefree young dude enlisted as the captain of a warship and leading his crew into several important battles and moments and always emerges victorious. Wow. I didn’t know being irresponsible can be this good because when I was that during my younger days, I got an earful and lots of reprimanding. And that is even for the simplest of things. What’s more, this guy who is leading a military crew. Oh, the fate of the universe is in the hands of an irresponsible guy!

Episode 1
Justy Ueki Tylor sees an ad about recruiting members into United Planets Space Force (UPSF). He decides to get enrolled simply because he dreams of the luxurious life. Free food, free lodging and free uniforms! But the officer lectures him about sacrificing for his country so Tylor mentions about rising up through the ranks fast. How can he do that? He points to the officer who will make him a fleet commander and waxes lyrical if he does so he will be famous in future memoirs and the likes. Meanwhile the top military brass is discussing to strike the Raalgon Empire whose young empress, Azalyn Goza just succeeded the throne. However the general doesn’t agree since they are underestimating them and the plan would backfire. Meanwhile Azalyn’s chief advisor, Wang is coaxing her to enter the war to avenge their fallen emperor. Although reluctant, she is pressured to do so and gives the command to fight. Meanwhile Tylor barely passes the aptitude tests and his interface with the AI unit, he is flirting with it and not paying attention. So much so the AI unit (whom he took the liberty to call Betty) starts falling in love with him! Short circuit! It exploded the core! WTF?! Because Tylor doesn’t want to take responsibility, Betty views him as the enemy and more explosions occur. UPSF thinks an enemy spy has planted bombs to distract them as a Raalgon cruiser commanded by Captain Ru Baraba Dom approaches. With the impending war, Tylor is immediately drafted into the army. I mean, who needs to past all those tests when war is coming, right? And that officer hopes Tylor would remember him in his memoirs. He really believed it? And so Tylor’s easy life in the military begins…

Episode 2
Tylor is assigned to the pension department. He hears about a retired Admiral Robert J. Hanner who is now living under pension but his pension is rejected due to change in address. In fact, his living conditions are paltry considering he was a former decorated commander. He is being taken care of by his twin daughters, Emi and Yumi and Yuriko Star, a family friend. A couple of guys from the Universal Peace Revolutionary Front (UPRF) barge in to take everyone hostage. Their demands are to end all wars and disband UPSF. Lieutenant Makoto Yamamoto is called from his vacation to handle this hostage crisis. Tylor waltzes into the scene to hand the pension. Yamamoto thinks he must be a secret agent sent by Admiral Mifune. Yuriko works up the UPRF guys that they could be Raalgon agents and lowly ones so that she could buy time for the rest to escape. Then here comes Tylor to hand the pension. Seeing the pretty girls, he decides to stay and flirt. When UPRF makes another video deadline, Tylor does his usual idiocy. Yamamoto confirms from Mifune he didn’t send this idiot. Yuriko pulls off a sexy stunt to distract the terrorists and disarm them. But dumb Tylor gives it back to them! When the twins see how handsome one of the UPRF guys is, they start loving him and this causes the ugly one to be jealous. Tylor joins in teasing the ugliness in him. After much deliberation, Yamamoto decides to fire a missile to sacrifice a few lives to save humanity. Tylor talks about the beauty of the heart which touches the ugly one’s heart. So touched that he is going to blow up himself and everybody along with him! Yuriko is so mad at Tylor, blaming everything is his fault. To make amends, he allows her to hit him. She swings the briefcase but he ducks and it hits the ugly dude, causing him to drop his bomb outside the window. Poor Yamamoto got bombed! Ugly dude is so sad he can’t die and when Tylor tries to comfort him about women will someday love his ugliness, he jumps out of the window! And he lands on freshly bombed Yamamoto who is just in a daze what just happened. Tylor thinks the mission is over but Yuriko this time gives him a good punch!

Episode 3
Yamamoto is made the first officer of the destroyer class, Soyokaze. He is addressing his crew that includes Yuriko and the twins about the enemy within. You don’t say… Then here comes Tylor who says he has been reassigned here. Yamamoto thought he could boss him around till Tylor shows him a letter that thanks to the hostage crisis handling, he has been promoted to Lieutenant Commander and is now the captain of Soyokaze! Believe it! Tylor of course uses his new authority to set sail the ship. Even if his crew warns him of the serious breach in rules, he reminds them he is the captain and the highest authority around this ship. Yes sir, captain sir! Now he is literally sleeping on the job! Yamamoto is agonizing over an irresponsible man having higher authority over him. He receives a present from a crew and when he opens it, it explodes! He is cursing to have them court martial when Yuriko tells him not to lose it. She mentions her mission here to reform the crew of Soyokaze. Because Tylor saved the military some face, Mifune saw the need to promote him. But he realized his irresponsible attitude and thus assigned him to Soyokaze as the crew is made up of space outlaws. No captain has ever lasted for more than 3 days and this is part of Mifune’s plan to throw him out of the military. Despite Mifune’s objection, Yuriko wanted to be assigned here to reform Tylor and make Soyokaze’s crew into real soldiers. Yamamoto feels ashamed of himself and believes the enemy within is himself. Report comes in that a brawl is taking place at the hangar between the marine punks against greenhorn cocky young pilot, Kojiro Sakai and the mechanics. Yamamoto puts a stop to this while the twins wake up Tylor and bring him here. First thing he asks is who won the war! Yamamoto wants Tylor to say something and give his orders. Sure thing. Forget all the rules and do whatever you want. You heard that? Yes, sir, captain sir! The brawl continues. Yamamoto is holding in his seething anger. He believes the real enemy within is Tylor.

Episode 4
Yamamoto wants Tylor to rescind his order but the captain keeps denying him. Why? He enjoys using his position to give orders! The marines now resort to mutiny and are making their way to storm the bridge. Yamamoto wants to take hard disciplinary action but Yuriko thinks they should use diplomacy. Tylor likes her idea but she slaps him for trying to be funny. When the marines communicate, Yuriko tries her diplomacy talk. As opposed to strength as the marines need to win a war, Yuriko says it is love. They laugh it off and barge through the bridge to take everyone hostage. Suddenly the ship is about to warp to a random location. It cannot be cancelled. Yuriko is worried billions will die if they suddenly appear on a planet but Tylor remains positive. Maybe it will be a luxury planet? Well, what do you know? They warp in front of a Raalgon fleet. They’re in its firing path so what is the captain going to do? Yeah. He’s not sure either. The crew would rather die fighting so Yamamoto thought of motivating them with his fight to the death speech. Suddenly Tylor says they will surrender! It’s not fun dying so better to give up. Raalgon’s captain agrees and then boards Soyokaze. He couldn’t believe Tylor is the captain and even tries to be nice to him. The captain wants all of UPSF’s operation orders and even gives advice on the ingredients for victory: Love, strength and discipline. Tylor is pretty much impressed and has been praising him since. When the captain leaves, the rest are going to do a suicide move but they stop when they notice Tylor gives him his present. Could it be he purposely surrendered for this trick? When the captain returns to his ship and opens the present, the explosion causes it to crash into the mothership and send haywire commands to shoot each other! OMG! They took out each other while Soyokaze just flies away! The crew praises Tylor for his brains but to their shock he doesn’t even know it was a bomb and truly gave it away as goodwill! When Dom reports to Azalyn their fleet was destroyed by Soyokaze’s Tylor, she wants him to bring him to her as she wants to meet in person. As she asks the key to victory in war, he says luck. She wishes him luck then.

Episode 5
While Soyokaze is undergoing repairs, they will receive a new medical personnel. It’s no surprise that the guys are going wild over this beauty nurse, Harumi Nakagawa. She heads to Tylor’s room but she thought he was trying to ambush her in the dark. He was just waiting to pop a personal welcoming party. All the men, weak and tough alike start lining up to seek Harumi’s treatment. All the excuses they’re giving just to see her… Except for Kojiro. No, he’s not gay. He has fear of women. I’m sure Yamamoto would too but since everybody else is teasing him, his pride has him not give in to her. He reports to Tylor that he needs to do something about the men’s indiscipline but Tylor sees no problem about this. Harumi continues to examine the other men and find out more about Tylor but they call him an idiot. When she thinks somebody is tailing her, she hides in the bathroom. Turns out to be marines, Karl Bjorn Andressen and Mickey Cryburn. Dressed in tuxedos, these tough guys are here to give her bouquet of flowers? Harumi tries to contact her boss but realizes Tylor is in the bath. She cuts communications to take up his offer to join him. She tries to find out more about him when Yuriko knocks on the door to check. Harumi then runs out feigning she didn’t realize Tylor was there. That dense captain doesn’t seem to understand what’s happening and instead asks Yuriko to join him. That’s the last straw. She beats him up. Yamamoto has made up his mind and contacts Mifune to tell him Tylor’s victory over Raalgon was accidental. It is revealed that Harumi is working under Dom. Dom is puzzled that she is Raalgon’s best intelligence officer and she can’t figure out who Tylor is. She requests more time to study him.

Episode 6
After Yamamoto’s complaint, Tylor is summoned to the military HQ as Mifune hands him a medal of honour. Tylor doesn’t think too much of it but in actual fact the medal contains some sort of device that would attract Raalgon fleets. Once they are all gathered together, Mifune will activate some laser to wipe them all out. Killing 2 birds with a stone. Tylor is so bored that he wants to play cards. With Yuriko’s constant reprimanding, he gives up and he hopes some enemy will pop up to elevate the boredom. You don’t say… Because here comes a huge fleet of Raalgon destroyers led by Donan. Immediately he orders to fire on Soyokaze. It takes great damage and since Tylor is out, Yamamoto assumes command and is going to show how it is done. He orders to fire back but all weapons are destroyed! When it is time for the laser to activate, Donan detects some large enemy fleet and immediately has his fleet teleport away. They appear before Mifune’s fleet. Tylor has woke up and isn’t sure why the enemy suddenly disappeared. Then they warp to a beautiful area of the galaxy and he believes this is the reward that Mifune wanted to give them. While admiring the great view, Mifune and Donan’s side are heavily locked in battle. Mifune can’t lose this or else he’ll be the laughing stock of the galaxy. Donan then has his men target the laser. Although successfully destroying it, the explosion is so great that it threatens to engulf them all. Donan and his fleet retreats. Mifune is luckily to have drifted in Tylor’s path and gets picked up by Soyokaze. The crew is shocked to learn Tylor got a medal but as he is about to show them, it seems there is a hole in his pocket! Yeah, I guess that medal was dropped somewhere back on Mifune’s fleet. Mifune is so mad that he is going to kill himself! Stop him! The rest thought it was just over a single medal…

Episode 7
Yuriko is chiding the marines to clean up their area but of course they won’t listen. With Tylor contributing to the garbage mess, this isn’t personal anymore. She takes Tylor along hoping with his orders they will follow. But Andressen wants a challenge. If they win, things stay as it is. Otherwise they will follow her. She accepts even if the challenge is arm wrestling. Obviously Andressen is stronger and is fooling around although Yuriko isn’t giving up. Surprisingly Tylor supports Andressen. This throws everybody off and makes Yuriko mad that she got the strength to win the match! Now everybody start cleaning. This includes you, Tylor! Soyokaze is so sparkly clean that it is hardly the junk we use to know. Suddenly Raalgon fleets appear before them. Yamamoto wants to escape seeing Soyokaze cannot handle that many. However Tylor orders to stay their ground. He will not surrender. Tylor then orders to display fireworks before returning to the bridge dressed in his real military suit. OMG. He is acting so proper. What gives? Is he really Tylor? Then he contacts the Raalgon fleet who is helmed no other by Dom. He wants some time before they fight to the death so Dom agrees. Since they have time, Dom wants them to drink. Because the ship’s alcoholic doctor, Hidezaburo Kitaguchi cannot join them, he sulks and accidentally presses the siren button. The marines and pilots take it as a sign to begin their attack! Dom’s fleet is caught off guard and they suffer heavy damage. Soyokaze escapes and they dump all the garbage around Raalgon fleet for their getaway. Dom is pissed that he has been had but notes Tylor’s success was due to his ability to handle his men. Although Tylor is out cold, the crew wonder if this success method was for the best.

Episode 8
Dom tells Harumi to assassinate Tylor. This is a test to see whether he can defend himself. If he is easily killed, he is not worth investigating further. She goes searching for him and finds him discussing with the marines. Turns out they plan to hold a beauty contest. Harumi wants to join. Of course Yuriko protests as this would rack up the stress level (hers, I believe). Naturally Yamamoto also disagrees but when Tylor mentions of leaving him as acting commander, he agrees to it. The marines and mechanics start building the props and stage while Harumi is on standby for any injuries. As Tylor talks to her and at the end of the conversation, seems she has laid the perfect trap for the stage to collapse on him. Luckily Kojiro fires his staple gun to pin Tylor away. Harumi then takes him to her quarters with pretence to examine for any injuries. She’ll soon be frustrated she can’t kill him with injections or poison his coffee. This guy is just too damn lucky. Yamamoto might be happy with a big grin on his face playing captain. But what’s the use when he is the only one on the bridge? It’s like watching the house when everyone else is away at the beauty contest preparations. Later Harumi goes to Tylor’s quarters and tries to stab him. His place is full of junk that she mistakes the pile of garbage as his body instead. Desperate now, she tries to kill him outright but that guy is just too lucky! She breaks down in dramatic fashion. Frustrated alright. Surprisingly, Tylor knows she is a spy as she has always been the mysterious type. I thought he was going to get lucky with the guess but it seems it is true. After Harumi reveals the Raalgon spy she is, she tries to kill herself but Tylor stops her. He tries to convince her she can’t die while her job isn’t complete but if Raalgon finds out about her failure, it will be death. So he suggests that he has fallen for her and will keep her identity a secret. This will enable her to continue her observation while she feeds her people with lies. Well, that convinced her. And even Dom too because if she failed her assassination it means this Tylor guy is worthy to be observed and thus her mission will continue. Finally the beauty contest begins.

Episode 9
Harumi sends her periodic reports to Dom who in turn reports it to Azalyn. She is disappointed that there is still nothing much known about Tylor. Mifune seems to have gotten the unanimous decision of the board. So when Soyokaze receives word of a new order, they are devastated that they have been downgraded. Of course everyone believes Tylor is the source of this new order. Yamamoto wants to invoke some article that would revoke this new order. Although it has very strict conditions that go with it, everybody thought they would get through it except when they realize that only the highest officer onboard may send in that request. Guess who? They’re so doomed… And so when Yuriko and Harumi is on their way sending Tylor to the HQ, that irresponsible guy thinks there is still much time and wanders off by himself. Can you blame the waiting crew for not feeling so worried and anxious? Even resorting to superstitious stuffs like plucking leaves and tea stalks. Tylor bumps into Hanner who is now in a retirement home. He starts narrating his adventures. Man, that is going to take all day! So much so Yuriko can’t stand him anymore and slaps him! She lectures him about thinking how the crew is feeling and explains to Hanner about the situation they are in. He lets them go so Yuriko steps the pedal to the medal. As Soyokaze’s crew is deeply praying to all the religious faiths (I don’t believe they’re being this religious), Tylor comes back. They assume the order is rescinded since he looks so happy. Till he apologizes he couldn’t make the deadline. Oh sh*t… Despair! As Tylor talks to the twins about meeting Hanner, Yuriko just couldn’t understand why Tylor looks so happy about the demotion. Could he seriously have wanted it? Just don’t understand… And the only other happy person is Mifune who is glad no applications to rescind the order were received. Case closed.

Episode 10
Kojiro aces in his training as always. This has the twins want to become pilots more than ever. Of course Yamamoto and Yuriko won’t allow it since they scored very low on their aptitude test. So now that they take their plea to Tylor, as expected he allows them. Furthermore, Kojiro also supports them but with a condition. If they show any signs of trouble on their first flight, they will give up and never fly again. This of course is his plan to rid of them to bug him for wanting to become pilots. Not surprisingly, they screw up. Since they are Kojiro’s responsibility, he still needs to go save them. He relays the instructions that need to be done for them to avoid crashing into a nearby planet. Although successful, when they didn’t respond, he fears they might have accelerated too much and crashed into the asteroid field. Now he feels guilty that he put them up to this. Don’t deserve to be called an ace pilot, blah, blah, blah. He wasn’t concentrating and could have slammed into the asteroid had not the twins fire it out of his way. The wreckage he saw must be from another craft. He sees them skilfully manoeuvring their ship and he thinks their natural ability to fly must have awakened. Although he says they won’t fly again, it means he will become their personal flight trainer till they are good enough to be pilots. Because Tylor says he has a good eye in telling people’s talents, Yuriko wants to test him and asks hers. If he can pick out right, maybe he does deserve to be captain. This is Tylor’s response. She is not cut out to be a soldier and should marry him and bear his children! Slap! Hey, that was his honest answer, no? I guess she was a fool to have her hopes up.

Episode 11
Yuriko must be furious with everybody slacking their duties despite they have been demoted. Especially when communications officer, Kyunghwa Kim is all dolled up during duty. Yeah, Tylor gives the green light. Yuriko tries to set an example but I think the stress is going to ruin her skin. And when the twins said Tylor allowed them to wear casual clothes on duty, that’s the last straw for Yuriko. She confronts him about this order and as usual, he thought it would be good for everyone since they’re so bored. When Kim is in her casual clothes, Yuriko starts lecturing her about discipline and responding to emergencies in that outfit. Kim lectures her back about judging others by their appearance. Oh dear. Looks like there’s bad blood brewing between these ladies. Yamamoto should know better than try to quell 2 feuding women. Yeah, they never thought him in the military anyway! Yuriko and Kim’s feud is getting obvious. So much so the Marines are tapping it and enjoying to the last bit. When will the cat fight start? Luckily Kim discovers their shenanigans and puts a stop to it with a little court martial threat. Yuriko works herself to the bone and maintains she is fine with this kind of job. Then one night, Tylor snuck into one of the Marine’s room to play some virtual whack-a-mole. He didn’t even know he caused a fire and continued playing. Doesn’t it feel getting hot? So the ship is on alert but they can’t get into the room. Kim uses her hacking skills to enter and then has everyone use fire extinguishers to put the fire out. And Tylor didn’t even know what hit him. In the end, Yuriko and Kim reconcile over a drink. To a point that they sound like they are such good friends and that’s scary! And Tylor can’t even get in between them for once!

Episode 12
Cryburn is telling a past ghost story of Soyokaze to the crew. Especially about its previous captain who killed himself at 11.59.59pm when all his crew killed themselves out of boredom. Yuriko and Yamamoto are not amused he is spreading such rumours but it seems Tylor is also in, in this ghost scaring plan. When Yuriko is lecturing him about this, suddenly Soyokaze passes through some warp. The ship walls are now dilapidated and the time has stopped at 11.59.59pm. We learn something from Harumi as she observes the rest. She is an android and doesn’t understand this fear emotion the rest is going through. She also observes Yuriko is more strong willed than Tylor. A ghostly voice wants to know who the captain is so Tylor makes Yamamoto take responsibility. He always wanted to be the captain, right? With this, the ghost voice has Yamamoto enter through some warp. Yuriko wants the rest to go rescue him and abandoning a comrade is more shameful. So Tylor can sit here all alone if he wants. Not going to happen. Yamamoto sees the rest of the crew trying to kill themselves by opening the airlock. The ghost wants Yamamoto to feel his anguish and realizing he is not the real captain and his hatred for the real one, he hypnotizes Yamamoto to go kill him. Yuriko and co stumble upon the corpse of Soyokaze’s ex-captain. Harumi deduces he’s been dead for 10 years. Tylor is not happy Yuriko fainted before him! The ghost then possesses Yuriko and is going to make her kill herself to let Tylor fall into despair. Luckily Harumi’s anaesthetic prevented it. Can it work on a ghost? As they run, they bump into Yamamoto. Harumi slaps him into his senses. The ghost chases and corners them to the airlock. He possesses them and is forcing Tylor to open the hatch. Tylor and Yamamoto start arguing about responsibility and being the strongest. This causes the ghost to be so appalled at their pathetic behaviour that it’s not worth killing them! Soyokaze moves out of the zone and time resumes like normal again. Tylor picks up the ex-captain’s wooden pipe. They wonder if that ghostly encounter was hallucination. Shortly, Admiral Fuji contacts them for anything suspicious. Yuriko and Yamamoto don’t want Tylor to say about the hallucination as it will further demote them. But when Fuji sees the pipe, he fears that Tylor knows something about the ex-captain that connects him to Soyokaze. You see, Fuji betrayed the ex-captain for his own promotion. Though Tylor poorly tries to cover up, Fuji thinks he is trying to make some covert deal. He orders the crew to rendezvous with the UPSF main fleet now. The rest are unsure what happened but they believe the downgrade order has been rescinded. So happy that they waste a few rounds of ammunition, beams and missiles. On an unrelated note: Animation of this episode was horrendous!

Episode 13
Everyone celebrates Soyokaze’s promotion. Meanwhile Donan still lives and he is requesting Azalyn’s permission to settle the score with this enemy whom he doesn’t know his name before he becomes a bigger threat. Mifune is about to kill Fuji for rescinding the downgrade without his permission. Then the screen of Soyokaze’s flight path surfaces. Seems they will be heading towards the battlefield frontline where fighting is heavy. Mifune thinks this is Fuji’s trick to get them destroyed there. I guess Fuji will go with it. Some of Soyokaze’s crew are not happy when Tylor says he prefers being demoted. Some who support Tylor claim it was peaceful and not entirely boring. So when drunk Yamamoto tells Tylor about the crew are here to fight, Tylor throws him a series of what-ifs when the enemy is stronger, smarter and outnumbers them. Suddenly the red alert. They’re being attack by Donan’s single vessel. Soyokaze takes so much damage that they can’t fire back, can’t launch their fighters, can’t call for backup and the navigation system is broken. Tylor sees Yamamoto’s advice but is told to think about it himself! Then Tylor just orders to warp blindly. Donan anticipated this and follows them through and continues attacking. Tylor repeats the warp process and so does Donan. Then finally Soyokaze appears above a star and has run out of energy for another warp. This is when Donan summons all his other fleets to finish it off. After he commands all to fire, it seems the beams miss Soyokaze. The star’s gravity pulls the beams in and the high energy causes the sun to burst into a solar flare, engulfing all of Donan’s fleet! Dom who has been watching it all wants to aid Donan but the fatty still doesn’t want his help. All he wants to know if Soyokaze is destroyed. Dom has no choice but to lie to give Donan a piece of mind before he succumbs. Soyokaze still lives and Yamamoto knows it is purely Tylor’s luck instead of strategy. True enough, Tylor didn’t plan this and was just running away. Yamamoto hopes this would make Tylor learn the basics of strategy but Tylor remains indifferent. Because if it’s their time to lose, they’ll lose. This is proven despite the enemy was way better than them, they still lost. Instead Tylor tells Yamamoto that he should return to study the basics of strategy. The kind that all kindergarten kids know: Running away always wins! Fuji can’t believe Soyokaze survives again and Mifune is about to commit seppuku! Harumi is baffled Tylor didn’t want the enemy to die like that. It’s the same reason for why Harumi who is a Raalgon spy to still worry about him.

Episode 14
Azalyn believes with Donan’s death, the situation for Raalgon is now grave. She wants Tylor to be brought back alive. He sends his underling, Shia Has to do the job. The crew are repairing the very damaged Soyokaze. All thanks to a certain irresponsible captain. There is an order from Mifune for Tylor to collect another medal for another Raalgon victory and since Yuriko says they can’t move till repairs are finished, Tylor takes Harumi with him on the little ship, Galileo instead. I think most of the guys are jealous the captain took off with their beauty queen. Shia’s fleet is close to Soyokaze. The alert is sounded for all crew to return and cease radio transmission. They are like sitting ducks since they can’t fire any beams (still undergoing repairs) but luckily the gas clouds hide their location. Tylor realizes he and Harumi don’t have a nice dress for the medal ceremony and u-turn back to Soyokaze. As usual, Tylor hails noisily. After Yamamoto informs him about the situation, he tells him to run away. However Tylor orders the crew to shut off all electronics and run on silent mode. Although this means oxygen supply is cut, a big ship like Soyokaze can last for hours. But what about Galileo? Harumi is confused with Tylor’s kindness. This guy is willing to die so his crew could live? Had he run now, they would be spotted by Raalgon anyway. He believes everyone on Soyokaze is like his family and very important. Harumi is so impressed that she reveals herself as an android (that is why she is still holding up pretty well without air despite Tylor weakening greatly). However he still isn’t mad because to him Harumi is still Harumi, regardless she is a spy or android. So touched that she shed tears! She turns on the electronics and is going to call Raalgon for help and promises to protect him. But that won’t be necessary because Soyokaze has disobeyed captain’s order by turning back on their electronics too (they feel they can’t let him die just like that). Therefore Soyokaze pops up right in front of Raalgon’s ship and rams it till it is destroyed! Shortly, Galileo is retrieved. Tylor wakes up and is back to his idiotic self. The marines wonder if Tylor had done anything to Harumi but she tells them off he is a wonderful man and the fool they see him is not the real him. Shia then contacts Harumi to inform her next mission to capture Tylor. Harumi is worried if he would be executed but Shia tells her to do her job as android do not need emotions.

Episode 15
Tylor is shocked to hear from his crew that Harumi is transferring away. Of course a guy like him doesn’t know the rules. A nurse who has served at the frontlines for certain hours will be transferred to the rear and of course guaranteed promotion. Tylor looks for Harumi to confirm. After all, if she is a spy, how can she get more information if she is away, right? She assures she will always be by his side. She also vows to protect him if Raalgon ever captures him. A trap Harumi set prior causes 70% of the crew to fall sick. Tylor is still well because Harumi injected him with some antibodies under the guise of vitamin deficiency. Kitaguchi analyzes the virus and believes it is artificially created. Like as though a spy snuck onboard to intentionally release it here. When Harumi sees all the suffering patients, she feels scared and their pain. And she’s an android… Shia contacts Tylor. If he wants the vaccine then he must turn himself over to Raalgon. It goes without saying that he will take up her offer. Yamamoto and Yuriko despite their less than optimum condition, think they can steal the vaccine. But they are shocked to see Harumi handing over Tylor. They realize she is a Raalgon spy. However Shia can sense them and calls them out of their hiding. After Tylor confirms the vaccine, he is ready to give himself up with no qualms, shocking Shia. That is when Harumi takes Shia hostage. But Shia warns if she kills her, her men will destroy the vaccine. Harumi backs down. Shia wants to destroy this defective android but Tylor comes to her defence. He makes a plea bargain that since she doesn’t need her, why not give Harumi to Soyokaze? In exchange for that, Tylor wants Yamamoto to join him as Raalgon’s prisoner! Not so keen, eh? Shia agrees to give Harumi but since she isn’t interested in incompetent people, I guess Yamamoto is ‘lucky’ to stay. After Raalgon is gone, Harumi cries her heart out for Tylor. She realizes the human heart he has given her after spending time with him. Her confession is only drowned out by the ship’s engine. Tylor is brought to see Dom for the first time. Dom then congratulates Shia and wants to know her opinion of Tylor. She wouldn’t want him as her commander or subordinate. He might not be an ordinary man and looks like a fool but he is very dangerous and there is madness to his methods. Dom believes the UPSF higher ups also have the same thinking as her: Narrow minded.

Episode 16
Tylor is imprisoned on Raalgon’s flagship, Melva. Many can’t believe this kid is the one who destroyed Donan’s fleet. Dom warns not to be fooled by his appearance. Tylor sees a hole in his cell and escapes. This is of course set up by Dom so he can follow him. Azalyn sneaks out to have a midnight snack. Seeing there is only a chef around (Tylor), she tries to steal a bowl of snacks but slips up. Tylor then invites her to eat as she wants. Azalyn thinks he is new since he doesn’t recognize her and furthermore he wants her to show him around the ship. In a simulator room, Azalyn accidentally initiates projection of her homeland as she happily frolics around. Dom and his men are waiting ready to ambush. Azalyn then sees her former pet, Pecopeco and with Tylor’s help they try to catch it. You can be they had a lot of fun together. When Azalyn returns to her home, she sees her father before her. She becomes stunned as her father calls her to come over. The simulation is over and since Azalyn is spacing out, Tylor does funny faces to cheer him up. Dom enters the scene to return a pendant Azalyn has dropped. She surprises everyone by giving it to Tylor before taking her leave. Tylor is then thrown back to prison. When Wang presents Tylor before the empress and wants him executed to make an example of him, Azalyn is shocked to realize this chef she thought is actually Tylor. Feeling odd now? However she surprises everyone yet again when she declares she won’t kill him but make him her royal pet. He shall now be named Pacopaco. I guess this is better than being dead.

Episode 17
The Soyokaze crew is being quarantined despite being cleared of any virus. They realize they have been set up by UPSF to be locked up. Meanwhile Wang suggests to Azalyn to use all their force to attack UPSF using an old and famous general. However Tylor has his 2 cents worth of suggestions. He thinks the elderly should be treated kindly and furthermore he teases Wang he wants to be by Azalyn’s side to get special favours or manipulate her. Wang maintains his cool and denies all that. Meanwhile, the quarantined crew must be going crazy. Yamamoto blames himself for this shame and should have gone with Tylor. It is already bad enough some of the guys are fighting among themselves but it gets worse when Yamamoto is going to hang himself! Luckily the ladies are more level headed. Yuriko wants Harumi’s help to think of a way to get out. They pretend to kill each other or have a relapse for those dumb guards to open the door and quell the situation. Seriously, they think they can take on all of them? Musclemen and women armed with items to knock them out? As they sneak away, seems their hearts are in unison: They want to rescue Tylor. They make their way towards Soyokaze as more dumb guards fail to stop their advancement and even got tricked by their decoy. Moments before Soyokaze, they are surrounded. Cryburn accidentally shoots the pipes above. The cold dirty water makes them sneeze. But the dumb guards think the virus is relapsing so they become chicken and run away. WTF. With Soyokaze crew back onboard, Yamamoto for the first time gets to play captain for real. How does it feel, eh? Full speed ahead! But they better escape fast because orders to destroy Soyokaze have been given and tons of ships are hot on their tail.

Episode 18
Tylor must be having the good life as a pet. He eats until he is so full that his stomach hurts! Dom asks why Azalyn is so attached to Tylor. It is because with him, she feels secured. Soyokaze is in a pinch with UPSF hot on their trail. Oh, what will they do? Yamamoto looks so lost. When Yuriko hints what Tylor would have done if it was here, I guess Yamamoto took her words literally so he starts acting like Tylor and make rash decisions! This means escaping via asteroid belt (as long as you don’t hit one!) and then recklessly detecting and warping to the main Raalgon fleet to initiate their hasty rescue. Raalgon scrambles its forces but Soyokaze’s chaff confuses them. As the marines break in to rescue Tylor, Azalyn and Tylor are whisked away to a safe zone. Azalyn seeks an advice from Tylor. She has a friend who has fallen in love with a man at first sight (I think I know who she is referring to). However they cannot be together for various reasons. From age difference and different race, the big reason that hinders their love is because he is a dense guy! Tylor just proves it when he agrees! This causes Azalyn to be sad. Now she hates him! Wang has been planning Azalyn’s downfall with this attack. He already placed a bomb there and detonates it. I guess the bomb went off so slow that it gave out warning signs, enough time for Tylor to take Azalyn to safety. It blew up the entire ceiling. So the safe zone was just a level under where the marines and Dom’s guards were fighting?! Azalyn is devastated that Tylor protected her and is unconscious. Therefore she has decided she will go to the enemy to seek treatment for him. That is her order and no one shall stop them. As she also has something to say to Tylor, she promises to come back. Kitaguchi and Harumi do surgery on Tylor. Everyone is waiting anxiously. Even those Raalgon dudes are worried about their princess. Wow. These 2 people must be very important lives.

Episode 19
The surgery is over. Kitaguchi has found some sort of mind control implant in Tylor’s brain. Probably that is why Raalgon let him live instead of killing off the prisoner. Kitaguchi cautions that even if Tylor wakes up, his personality might be different. Because it is too risky for him to do brain surgery, there is a possibility he will never wake up. Yeah, so terrifying this outcome that Azalyn fainted! But Kitaguchi has some sort of brain synchronizer equipment. From what I understand, they need a person to dive in while synchronizing their brain waves to pull Tylor out. It is a very dangerous method and may result in death. Yuriko offers to do so seeing if they don’t make it, at least Yamato is still there to lead Soyokaze. The synchronizing begins and for some silly reason, Azalyn was quick enough to enter the pod and enter Tylor’s deepest conscious with Yuriko. Even mind boggling is how Kitaguchi can communicate with them inside via microphone and lead them to where the implant is when he can’t see a damn thing! The ladies touch nerve threads and see Tylor’s memories. Wow. So many different women in his life. Then weird face parts (eyes, ears, mouths, nose, etc) pop up and they talk about contradicting things but essentially are Tylor’s personalities as a whole. I think it got so confusing that when Azalyn screamed, they are transported into a deeper conscious. Azalyn is able to communicate with Tylor-like blobs and understand what they say. Yuriko couldn’t and Azalyn notes it is because she’s always mad at him! Azalyn’s brain waves synchronize with Tylor’s. She wants to stay in comatose mode with him. Yuriko then screams about the reason they’re doing this. The reason they save him. The reason why he is the only one worthy to be Soyokaze’s captain. I guess the impact was great enough that it blows the ladies out and back to consciousness. Not only that, the electronics short circuit and the implant disappears! Wow. I don’t understand it at all! However… Tylor is dead! OMG! Yuriko blames herself for not trying harder. But suddenly Tylor wakes up. Azalyn hugs him and she doesn’t care if she squeezes him to death. Tylor comments on Yuriko’s dry skin. It makes her want to slap him but eventually she can’t bring herself to. Just happy to have him back, eh?

Episode 20
Wang thought he is in total control but there are some who will only move under the empress’ orders. If Azalyn doesn’t get back soon, it is going to tear the empire apart. Meanwhile everyone on Soyokaze is having a big party for Tylor’s return. The marines give him their finest porn movie but warn him to handle it with care. He returns to his room to watch but Azalyn lies in wait to scare him. Suddenly the twins knock on his door and in his surprise accidentally presses the record button! Oh no! How to undo! Seems the twins are taking an awful long time to get what they want to say, Tylor is agonizing over the porn video instead of hearing about the twins who want to become his lover. They misinterpret he is not interested in them and leave in tears. Now it’s Kim’s turn. She gets straight in wanting to ask him out and build their future together. But since his mind is so preoccupied in trying to stop the recording, this makes Kim mad and she leaves in a huff, never ever to talk to him seriously again! And Tylor doesn’t even know what he said to her. Next is Harumi. She seems to be desperate in wanting to love him as a human! However Tylor says there is no time for this and she thinks it is because they’re at war. Actually, it’s the recorder… When Tylor grabs the remote, he sees Azalyn hiding (she must have got lots of hints on planning her confession based on these women). But Yuriko knocks on his door. Now it’s her turn? Actually she wants to discuss about Azalyn. Her earlier talk with Yamamoto, he believed in handing her over to UPSF, their forces will win and their name will etched in history. But Yuriko although felt that is technically the right thing as a soldier to do, she felt Azalyn was just a girl and it is wrong to use her as a tool of war. So what does Tylor think? He throws back the question. What will she do? She doesn’t know. He too! But whatever it is, he isn’t planning to hand Azalyn over. And no, he has no other plan. Tylor now smashes his VCR and it explodes! Azalyn thinks this is the right time to confess but Tylor is asleep. She lies closely next to him. Meanwhile the UPSF higher ups discuss about rendezvousing with Soyokaze as they have the trump card to defeat Raalgon. Whatever wrongdoings by Soyokaze have been forgiven and this doesn’t sit well with Mifune.

Episode 21
Some of the Raalgon guys who are disgusted with Wang’s ambition feel the only way left is to rescue Azalyn. They hope Dom can pull off the risky job. Yamamoto goes to wake up Azalyn but she is not in her room. Fearing the worst, the crew goes to Tylor’s room and to their shock sees them sleeping together! Tylor isn’t even fazed about it. Yuriko and Yamamoto reprimand him about this despite Tylor saying Azalyn was afraid of sleeping alone. Because of this, they want to hand Azalyn over. Azalyn heard this and believes they are trying to separate them. So she lies she cannot leave because… She is pregnant with Tylor’s child! Everyone is in super shock. Except for Tylor. He’s just cool about it. These things sometimes happen… Yeah… But can she get pregnant after a one night stand? For a human it’s not possible but she is Raalgon… Tylor is so carefree that he even has time to think up names for their child! Unlike Yamamoto who is such a worrywart thinking about the punishment UPSF will hand down if this gets discovered. Suddenly the ship is under attack. Actually the marines are fighting among themselves as they were betting if Tylor’s child is boy or girl! That is when Yuriko talks to Azalyn to be careful with the words she says because it will affect lots of people. However Azalyn thinks she is being blamed and scoffs her off. Real Raalgon fleets appear before them. Dom wants everyone to hold their fire and just wait and see. Soyokaze cannot fire back because that scuffle took out all the weapons and must be repaired. Yuriko furthers lecture Azalyn about being a role model as she commands lots of people behind her. Unless she understands what she says, she will send many people to the frontline and die a meaningless death. Azalyn isn’t amused with her lecture but she takes time to walk around Soyokaze and ordering those who want to fight to stop. Then she returns to the bridge to tell everyone that carrying Tylor’s child was just a joke. She decides to return to Raalgon as she has duties that she must carry out. Just like that? If she wants to go back, so be it, says Tylor. Azalyn has a little send off and she hopes the crew will take care of her pet. Dom is glad Azalyn has returned. Shia wants to initiate fire on Soyokaze but Dom stops her. Their mission is just to retrieve the empress. Wang is ‘happy’ to see Azalyn again. But that turn to horror when she tells him she is pregnant. Emergency meeting with the councils? Of course Dom and a few others know she is just joking.

Episode 22
Fuji is happy to see Tylor. Once he hands over Azalyn, UPSF can use her as their trump card and destroy Raalgon. So where is she? She has gone home. What? But why? Because she says so. Because of that, the council has decided Tylor to be strip of his rank and captaincy of Soyokaze. In addition to disrupting the plans of UPSF, he will be executed via firing squad at noon. All Tylor can say is how unfair it is. So when Fuji tells this to Soyokaze’s crew and rejoice that their dumb captain has been removed, nobody looks happy. Yamamoto might be for a while seeing he is now the captain. But then he realizes this is at Tylor’s expense. Meanwhile Wang tries to rally support for war against UPSF since Azalyn is back. However Dom and his small group are against this as they are still unsure of the enemy and themselves. This will only spill unnecessary blood. Wang scoffs off this small group and since the majority calls for UPSF’s blood, Azalyn is in a pinch. She later talks to Dom and wants him to do something before the war starts. It will be no turning back then. He tells her to say things from the heart and then let fate take its course. That cleared her mind very much. She summons Wang to recall their forces but he warns that somebody may be using this to exploit the confusion to usurp her throne. She thinks it is him but he denies and is only speaking hypothetically. He shows her videos of the force getting ready to fight and if she recalls them now, what will they think of her? Harumi has hacked and discovered Tylor’s position. But she isn’t the only one who is going to save him. Everyone is. Only Yamamoto stays back because he believes in the superiors’ orders. But eventually he too succumbs to his conscience and joins them. When Fuji and Mifune learn Soyokaze’s crew is coming, they want Tylor executed now. With a heavy heart, Azalyn orders her troops to go for an all out attack now. Right before Tylor is executed, the red alert sounds. Raalgon has gone on the offensive and UPSF’s defences are falling like flies. Fuji and Mifune blame each other to take responsibility. Tylor now speaks up. Just leave the entire force to his command and he’ll guarantee they won’t lose. What do you say? After much deliberation, they decide to put off the execution and give him a chance to clear his name. After all, he is the only who was captured by Raalgon and returned alive. The crew is happy Tylor is back but save your happiness for later because Raalgon is advancing real quick.

Episode 23
Fuji advertises Tylor as the one who will bring victory to UPSF. Fuji and Mifune will also be onboard Soyokaze for this battle. But instead of going for a strategic meeting, he goes around Soyokaze waving to all his crew. This earns the wrath of Fuji and Mifune but he doesn’t care because he is the one in control, right? When Azalyn learns Tylor is leading the UPSF side, she starts worrying. Wang believes he has the last laugh because if Raalgon wins, it will cement his place as a warlord but if they lose, Azalyn will take the blame. Dom suddenly laughs out loud. Later he wants Azalyn to give him command the Raalgon fleet. She fears he wants to kill Tylor and he admits he will need to if it is for the empress and Raalgon’s sake. Thus Azalyn makes Dom the leader for this battle, much to Wang’s dismay. Both sides enter the battlefield and it seems both have the same idea of giving orders just to advance instead of begin fire. The fleets are close enough that they’re starting to give out static electricity! Still won’t fire? Just advance! Playing chicken? Playing wait and see? The tension is getting to both sides. And WTF is this Lone Ranger BGM???!!! Tylor is looking so calm and smiling that I suppose the pressure got to Mifune. He wants to kill him but is restrained by Yamamoto who believes Tylor must not be disturbed. Then Dom also starts panicking. He cannot understand what Tylor is thinking. When both flagships pass by each other, Tylor then salutes to Dom. He also salutes back. Both sides safely pass each other without a shot being fired. The battle is over. Tylor then gets a personal message from Hanner who was watching. He praises both sides for emerging victorious. Dom is also praised by Azalyn that both sides achieved victory. She was glad to have chosen him. When Dom explains about his intention to kill Tylor, he added that he trusts Tylor and if he is that great man he thinks he is, then the war will end without a single bloodshed. And now he can sure be was right about it.

Episode 24
When Soyokaze returns to base, the crew sees the newly completed hi-tech ship, Aso. They wish they could be on that one so Tylor thinks of requesting for them. The Soyokaze crew members are rewarded for their heroic efforts and Fuji even giving Tylor command of Aso. There is a party tonight in honour of Tylor but he wants to go visit Hanner. Unfortunately they receive bad news that he recently passed away. Tylor’s sad. The twins are sadder. During the party while Fuji sings praises of Tylor, he seems to be in a lot of depression. Drinking the entire champagne bottle, eating food with his hands, wiping them on his clean shirt, climbing up a flag pole and dancing. And he still can give his crew members about being careful before life creeps up on you? News of Hanner’s death also reaches Raalgon. Azalyn wants to pay tribute so she sneaks away with Dom. A ceremony is held for people to pay their last respects to Hanner. Everyone turned up except Tylor. Even Azalyn and Dom are here courtesy of Harumi making arrangements for them. So when the gang believe Tylor won’t show his face, here this guy comes in humming some sad song with a freaking huge flower bouquet in hand. I wonder how he made his way here seeing the flower clearly obstructed every point of vision. After placing the flower, he shouts aloud a happy thank you. Nobody understood what Tylor was thinking but Dom can see the relief in his smile and it feels worrying. Later Tylor calls Yuriko to personally tell her something. I can guess what it is. And I believe it is not a confession because of the way Tylor casually walks away and leaving Yuriko freaking shocked. And no, I don’t think it is “I’m the father of your unborn child”! F*ck, no way!!!!!!!

Episode 25
Soyokaze’s crew takes a first look at Aso and they can’t wait to get on board. Except Yuriko who is spacing out for quite a while. She is then summoned by Fuji and Mifune. They noticed her exceptional skill in the intelligence and offer her a promoted position in the intelligence department. Mifune tries to persuade her that it is better than risking her life in the frontlines. While the Soyokaze crew party, Yuriko continues to ponder about her future. She calls Tylor and when she finally gets through, she meets up with him. She tells him about her dilemma of serving as deputy intelligence, she can’t serve onboard Aso. Perhaps she should just resign like him. Tylor replies she just answered her own question. Eventually Yuriko takes up the intelligence job. The alert sounds when an unidentified ship appears on radar. Yuriko deduces it is Azalyn’s mini ship leaving the area and so as not to blow this out of proportion, she remembers an abandoned satellite in the area. She calls Harumi about this and after making some arrangements, the base picks up the unidentified ship as the satellite and everyone backs down. Azalyn got away safely and sends a personal thanks message to Yuriko and her crew. This job has Yuriko remember those old feelings of what it is like in the military. She is surprised that her juniors are surprised of her politeness, something that is unheard of in the military. To her it is normal all because of Tylor. He never did things by the book and made the impossible into the simple just by doing what he felt it was right. This is when Yuriko has decided. I guess she is not going for this job after all. The Soyokaze guys can’t stand Tylor not being with them so they’re going to drag him out from his house. But when they get there, he is not in. His place is all neat and his uniform is still there. What is the meaning of this? Yuriko then reveals Tylor told her he is leaving the military. They want answers. That, you’ll have to ask him. How? Find him! Everything else will fall into place! Now you’re thinking like him, eh? It’s a big planet so it is going to take a while. Tylor, where are you?! Yuriko is before Soyokaze. She really wants to fly with him again and still can’t do anything by herself. She hears familiar footsteps approaching. She turns back and salutes Tylor.

Episode 26
The duo are on board Soyokaze for what probably would be its last time since it will be scrapped. Hey. I didn’t know there was such romance between Tylor and Yuriko? At least, the way she is lying on his chest as though she’s his mistress or something! Tylor doesn’t want to go back to the military and command Aso. Learning the rest are looking for him because they still haven’t found what they are looking for, he believes they shouldn’t waste their time on that. You have only one life. So make the best of it and do what you want. I suppose it’s time for goodbye so Yuriko gets up and back to where the rest of the crew are waiting and tell them what Tylor said to them. Of course they are confused and want to beat him to his senses and drag him back but Yuriko tells them that perhaps Tylor just wanted to be alone. Fuji and Mifune promote and make Yamamoto the captain of Aso. He has the liberty to choose his crew and can even pick his old Soyokaze mates with the exception of Yuriko. So Yamato recalls his former mates who are scattered across the land doing what they want to be reenlisted again. They gladly take up the offer. On the day of Aso’s launching ceremony (WTF?! Light Cavalry Overture BGM?!), Yamamoto is grinning like a big happy idiot. The biggest day of his life, right? When all systems are checked and ready to go, Yamamoto then passes to Tylor to give the next order! Tylor is back?! Suddenly Soyokaze wreaks havoc and pops up through the UPSF base, all shiny and clean! When Azalyn learns Tylor is back, she orders Dom to go get him because she wants to see him. Dom is not amused and delegates this job to Shia. Yuriko also quits her intelligence post for good and her colleague salutes her. Though, she’d rather give him a handshake. That guy envies if he could just meet that irresponsible captain once. Tylor, now sporting a cool pair of shades, gives the order to blast off and retrieve Yuriko while they party to their glass of champagne in the bridge.

Trust Me! Everything Will Work Out Just Fine…
They don’t make shows these days like they used to in the old days… Yes, people. It is I once again, singing heaps of praises for this retro series. Watching Tylor and his crew going from one misadventure to another or just watching their silly antics just brightens up my day. I don’t know. They make being irresponsible so fun and funny. It is just sad that it is clearly not acceptable in the real world. I guess that is why when this anime was adapted, it was such fun and hilarious all the way. It made me wished it had more episodes to go with.

To my glee as I found out, there were 10 OVA episodes after the TV series. At first I was interested in wanting to watch them since the TV series is quite enjoyable. However the reason why I didn’t get to watch of them is because of my enthusiasm in wanting to find out more about what the OVAs are about (I don’t know, shouldn’t it be somewhat the same?), it led me to find a couple of reviews on the internet, rating the OVAs as disappointment. Seeing that this is an old retro show, there aren’t as many reviews as you could find out there. Sure, the reviews did give some good points but the cons outweigh them so much so that I began to lose interest. It was a far cry compared to the TV series. Yeah, I’m taking their word for it. Better not be disappointed and let the OVA ruin my overall sentiments. Let the TV series crystallize as the best of it. Plus, I couldn’t really find any OVA episodes to stream over the internet. And even if there were, it is all dubbed. Yeah. That sealed it.

Some of the episodes feel like fillers and some of the stories feel silly or unexplained like that brain dive into Tylor’s mind to wake him up but left unexplained is how Tylor came back up alive like it was nothing or the time Tylor was acting so proper when he first communicated with Dom (I thought he was under some spell but it wasn’t the case). But if you’re trying to think too hard about the details, remember, this is an old show so such logic is forgivable. Really? Yeah. I mean, look at the kind of ‘futuristic technology’ they had in this anime. At the time of this anime’s airing (1993), do you not realize the ‘futuristic phones’ in the series? I guess iPhone is not heard off yet so you have land lines and wireless telephones as your ultimate communication then. Yeah, very advanced indeed…

I suppose all that melodrama about Tylor quitting the military for good was just his way of trolling and fooling around? Because it would suck big time for the Soyokaze crew not to be together at the end after being through thick and thin for every other episode. My theory of Tylor making a u-turn decision to come back is not because to warrant a happy ending for the series but rather the fact that he wouldn’t want to be the high commander of any other ship in UPSF other than Soyokaze. It makes sense, right? The ship that brought them lots of (mis)adventures and memories. Just because it is old, why the heck scrap it when all you need is a little maintenance and cleaning up to run like normal. Perhaps all that melodrama from Tylor was him being worried about Soyokaze the ship? Also, the other reason why Tylor doesn’t want Aso not because it is new or unfamiliar, it is because it is a ship under the military’s direct rule. Soyokaze is for outcasts and no hopers. In this sense, they won’t be expected to follow strict orders or live up to expectations, right? This is the reason why Soyokaze surpasses expectations. Because nobody expected to do it. The best part is, everybody is back because they wanted to on their own will.

To say Tylor is a great man might be inaccurate. But as far as this series is concerned, despite his slacking and irresponsible ways, he is the greatest of all. Do you not agree? My theory is that the only difference why such a slacker and lazy dude like him succeeds in everything whereas others who might have the same attitude will fail is probably because of luck. Yes, this man has an extreme amount of luck. If you think about it, for every irresponsible decision and act he made, surely it would have caused grave results for others. For him to come out tops and unscathed means he has a very good streak of luck, no? That is why he can continue with his seemingly irresponsible ways. Because as long this so called luck is on his side, he will never fail!

Of course being irresponsible might just be a term used from the point of view of others because if you are holding such an important position, there is some sort of expectations to live up to. But Tylor rips through all that strict military protocol and procedures. He does what he wants and feels like. Can this be called true freedom and being true to one’s heart? Can this be called thinking out of the box? Yeah, luck, right? Many decisions he made might seem selfish and going against what is supposed to be but hey, being a coward has them survive this long. Heck, sometimes he doesn’t even have a plan! So do you not think it is all because of his extreme good luck? But Tylor is not totally irresponsible as a few of his ideals are quite commendable. Especially about caring and looking out for his crew even if he doesn’t seem very much like it.

The only reason why Tylor is not as hated as much in the end as compared in the beginning (both the characters and us viewers would like to strangle this guy for being irresponsible, right?) is because he gets things done. He gets the results. Even if that is not his intention in the first place but fate has it that it turns out for the better. Now, imagine if he fails. Do you not think his crew and higher ups will not hate him? Therefore it is no surprise that in time to come, the crew of Soyokaze who initially do not think much of him eventually fall under his charm. He is after all their beloved captain. Everyone comes to respect and gets used to this captain and his irresponsible ways seem like the norm that they too start thinking like him! I see his luck too spreads. Can you imagine the entire military taking after this approach? I know. One Tylor is already bad enough. Everybody a Tylor? No way, man!

The rest of the unique crew members of Soyokaze are amusing enough although some don’t really catch your attention. Soyokaze is after all a ragtag group of people whom the higher ups want to get rid of, right? Yamamoto and Yuriko are by-the-book people and whose early roles in the series were to remind and rebuke Tylor of his irresponsibility. Especially Yamamoto whom I think he isn’t such a great guy as it was painted in the beginning. He is like a joker and being useless with worrying as his best asset. This guy thinks he can be a better captain but when the real situation calls for it, he just couldn’t do it. Tylor seemingly makes a better captain even if he doesn’t have a solid plan. I thought the final episode of Tylor and Yuriko’s seemingly romance was just to troll us. After all, Yuriko who has been spending almost every episode reprimanding and scolding Tylor even finally finds herself unable to be away from his crew. See what irresponsibility can do? Strict people by the book even lose out. Uh huh. Ironic to say, Tylor’s irresponsible ways teaches his crew real lessons that they won’t find in any military training or course.

I wished the other characters had more fleshing out but seeing this is an old anime, I’ll forgive this. Like Kojiro and his fear of women (which I don’t see him having a very extreme phobia of it all the while) but with the twins as his disciple (they seem to be taking a liking for him lately and follow him wherever he goes), he looks like he is handling it pretty well. The twins are just there to look cute and Harumi after being dumped as a Raalgon spy, is she relegated to being just a pretty face on Soyokaze? Not much about communications officer Kim or that handsome helmsman, Katori either (so his blonde hair is just a wig?). Then there is Kitaguchi who works his magic best when he is drunk and never seen without an alcohol in hand. Or the marines whose crude ways means they are quick to jump into any kind of fight even among themselves. I find it funny that the exo-skeleton suits the marines pilot. I don’t know, personally doesn’t it look a little cramp in there? And why does Cryburn have a different colour suit than the rest? And why pink???!!!

Can Fuji and Mifune be the ‘antagonist’ of the series? Because they always scheme to rid of Soyokaze but their plans always backfire thanks to Tylor’s irresponsibility and lady luck. While Fuji is more receptive of them (probably because of a haunted past that would connect him to the ship), Mifune seems like he needs to undergo anger management to keep his sanity. Maybe that is why he always carries a sword. To commit seppuku once he can’t take the pressure anymore? I think at the rate Tylor continues to piss him off, he is going to get a very high blood pressure. And he is already this old…

I guess the true villains would be the scheming people and higher ups in UPSF and Raalgon, the reason why the war is prolonged. Because Azalyn and Dom are all for peace but Wang wants to cement himself as a warlord in his empire. Young and naïve to the throne, Azalyn would certainly have fallen into Wang’s web had not Dom been her great advisor. Even more so, the turning point of spending time with Tylor. See, this guy is just so amazing that the princess of an empire falls for him. Now I wonder if there would be eternal peace if there is some sort of marriage between them. Not too sure if it would amount to a political marriage but assuming Tylor returns Azalyn’s feelings, there would be a big chance that peace would rein over the universe. No more fighting. No more UPSF, right? I suppose that is a big no for warmongers.

As the marines are comprised of ragtag tough looking members, I noticed that some of them are designed after several characters of popular culture. I am sure everybody noticed that there is a Jason from Friday The 13th here because of that very familiar hockey mask. Heck, this one even shares the same name and wields a chainsaw! So this is where he went once the franchise ended? Then there is one guy who looks like that Snake guy from Metal Gear Solid and another Snake looking character, the one that Kurt Russell starred as. I have a feeling Andressen is taken after Dolph Lundgren. As for the rest of the marines, they look like they came out from a Mad Max setting with all their punk-like looks.

One thing that continued to bug and then amused me for the entire series… I was wondering how familiar the word ‘kanchou’ was. No, it was not the fact that I watched lots of military or naval animes or the fact that I knew kanchou meant captain a long time ago. I started thinking why did this word irk and bother me so much. Like something behind this word meant something else. And then it hit me… Kanchou!!! I remember that Japanese prank whereby you put together your index fingers and jab into one’s butt!!! What is it called? You guessed it. Kanchou! OMG! Once I realized this fact, I cannot stop laughing each time the crew keeps calling Tylor his position! OMG! And they have a penchant to call him many times. Guaranteed in every episode you’ll hear Tylor’s crew calling him so. OMG! Every time this is said, my mind immediately starts imagining an alternative prank scene whereby a naughty kanchou was played out! KANCHOU!!!!! OMG! I still can’t stop laughing! KANCHOU!!!!!!!!!!!! Especially Yamamoto who has a penchant for being a serial kanchou caller-cum-screamer.

I like the opening theme of the series. It is quite a good and catchy rock n roll style track. Sung by Mari Sasaki, hearing Just Think of Tomorrow sometimes want to make me get up from my seat and do a little rock n roll dance. The one thing that I don’t like is the fact that to show the irresponsible theme of the series, the song ends by being cut abruptly as Tylor tells his crew to launch. Well, the good news is that the original full length version doesn’t end this way too. At least it just fades. Mari Sasaki also sings the ending theme, Downtown Dance. Not a bad piece either. Yet again, I feel that to show the irresponsible theme of the series, this slow rock is peppered with laughter from time to time while Tylor himself is nonchalantly swaying himself in daydreaming land while holding a glass of champagne in hand. Personally, I feel that it just spoils the song. Like as though somebody mixed the wrong tape of comedy applause in it. Again, I went to hear the original full length version. No such irresponsible laughter.

Overall, this is quite a fun and enjoyable retro anime. A success story despite following the tried and tested formula of rebellious crew to trusting comrades and love for their leader and overcoming all obstacles. If there is one thing I learnt, if there is ever for me to be drafted into the military for some reason or caught in some long haul transportation, I want Tylor or a guy who looks like him to be on board! Yes, people. After watching this series, I know I will feel pretty safe just to be around this dude. To end this blog, I thought I felt the need to make puns and jokes about responsibility (that overused superhero quote… You know what I mean…) and irresponsibility but I don’t want to be irresponsible and making insensitive comments that would make a mountain out of a molehill and have everyone in the world after my head. That kind of responsibility I don’t want to take… Better for somebody else take the responsibility and we just point fingers, eh? And no, not point fingers the way as in KANCHOU!!!

When an alien civilization starts invading our world and committing acts of terrorism by slaughtering many innocent lives, what would the government do? Send in an army for retaliation! Okay, this was what I had in mind when I watched Gate: Jietai Kanochi Nite, Kaku Tatakeri. I heard that this was a military themed anime and such themes are ranked high above similarly with my ‘unfavourite’ genres like mecha and yaoi. Naturally I was going to pass this. Till that idea of venturing into another fantasy world tempted me. Ah, that is one of the genres that I totally love. So I’m caught in a dilemma. I guess the poster with a handful of cute girls from the other side of the world in seemingly cosplay-like outfits tipped the scale balance in favour of watching it. Sighs… I suppose I never learn. Ah yes. Once again, Japan is the hot place where invasions and disasters love to take place. You can’t have it anywhere else in the world because Japanese people are creative enough to come up with solutions to save the day. Why do this kind of sh*t things only happen in Japan? So from special people with special powers to normal people turned special people with their latent super powers, I guess it is the army’s turn to have a dig at this glory, huh?

Episode 1
Youji Itami is an otaku. He works because of his hobby and if he has to choose between his job and that, it will definitely be his hobby. So he is on his way to a special doujin sale when a strange structure appears right smack in town. Suddenly knights and monsters stream out and start killing the public. Itami sees this and feels the need to stop it or else his sale will be cancelled! A one man otaku stop this? Okay, so Itami isn’t just an ordinary guy seeing the way he skilfully killed an enemy. He takes control and command of the situation, having the citizens take shelter in the Imperial Palace and then calling the SDF and police to wipe out the menace. When it is over, her realizes the sale is over. Too bad. In the aftermath, Itami has been praised and commended. It seems he is from the SDF and was off duty at that time. He is also promoted to first lieutenant. But the most heartbreaking part is that his doujin event is cancelled for good! Subsequently with the recent event, the Prime Minister announces that there may be more of such Gates opening across Japan and they need to take action. The world that lies beyond will be considered as a special region of Japan. They will send the SDF to investigate and secure the ringleader of this terrorist incident. Itami is worried if he is going to get any off days. Sorry, but aren’t all leaves frozen in such times? Three months later and after the bill is passed, the SDF is ready to venture beyond the Gate. As they do not know what lies beneath, they must be prepared for combat at all times. The units move in and reach the other side of another world. It looks as though the enemy has been waiting for them as the SDF gets into position ready for combat.

Episode 2
At the Imperial Capital, Senate Marquess Casel address the king, Emperor Molto Sol Augustus about their embarrassing defeat to the outsiders. But his majesty will not blame anyone seeing that there will be losses in wars and only with wars will there be progress and advancement. Of course the important thing now is to take back Arnus Hill that the enemies have occupied and even set up base. Molto suggests sending men from his neighbouring countries for an allied assault. With different warlords arriving with high spirits, they even argue whose side is to fight in the frontlines. When the first group makes their start, they realize the Imperial soldiers are nowhere to be seen. Could this be a setup? Before they can think further, the SDF drops all the shells and ammunition on them. First offensive of the attack claimed 10,000 lives! The second offensive registered 40,000!!! Eventually around 120,000 enemies perished at the might of SDF! But this is no cause for alarm for Molto for his ulterior plan is so that his neighbours cannot threaten his empire anymore. He orders for all the villages to be burnt down, their waters poison and their food and livestock taken. Molto’s daughter, Pina Co Lada (wait a minute – is his supposed to be a pun?) is not amuse of the defeat so Molto suggests she take her order and scout the enemy’s position. Back on Earth, there are politics going on too. The Americans want to send in their army to secure its resources but Mr President is cautioned to let Japan take the risks. After all, everyone expects them to fail (multitudes of protests against SDF’s invasion) and America must not be seen as conspiring. To Itami’s dismay he is now made to lead a recon unit to make contact with the townspeople and determine their nature. He could have been at some anime event today if not for this. With his ragtag bunch, they make contact with the nearest Coda Village to get some information. As they drive forward, they see the entire forest in flames. At least they are certain it isn’t fire season because a lone dragon is causing it. They are suspicious about the dragon’s nature to burn down the forest without reason and remember the villagers telling them there was another village at this point. At daybreak when they investigate the charred village, there are no survivors and all buildings are burnt to the ground. As they try to raise some water from the well, they see an elf lady unconscious below.

Episode 3
After pulling her out, they return to Coda Village and explain what happened. They cannot put elf girl in their care because the village also needs to flee. Once a dragon starts burning down villages, it will continue to do so. With the SDF’s help, everybody gets busy packing their stuffs including the village’s old wizard, Kato El Altestan and his apprentice, Lelei La Lalena. Even in such world there are ‘traffic jams’. One of the villagers’ carriage broke down and is blocking the way. Lelei goes ahead to check things and sees a little girl wounded. When a horse goes berserk, an SDF soldier shoots it down. Lelei believes she was saved. Meanwhile a group of bandits that survived the SDF’s onslaught thinks of taking over some village and become mini rulers. However they are mercilessly cut down by this goth loli chick, Rory Mercury who is one of the 12 Apostles and the apostle to the Dark God Emloy. Does she need to overkill? The SDF continues to escort the villagers. Another carriage breakdown so Itami wants this family to take whatever they can and the rest of it is left to burn. His reasoning is because they have already passed the front line and if they go back and get a backup vehicle, the enemy might attack and more unwanted casualties and cost for the military. Rory now stands before them. The villagers are happy to see her and explain the SDF aren’t bad guys. She takes interests in their different uniform and humvee. She tests it out by sitting on Itami’s lap and teasing him, incurring the envy wrath of his fellow otaku maniac, Takeo Kurata. So unfair! As the journey continues, a mean red fire breathing dragon attacks. The SDF goes into offensive and probably for the first time their bullets can’t penetrate its skin. Elf girl suddenly wakes up to hint to them at its eye. They start firing there and the dragon becomes distracted and immobilized. With Rory’s flashy move and the RPG inflicting enough pain, the dragon flees. However there were many villager casualties and after laying them to rest, the village chief laments that they cannot take in kids who lost their parents as they cannot afford it. The villagers part ways with the SDF, thanking them for their help. So now the SDF is left with orphan kids, old folks, Lelei, Rory and elf girl.

Episode 4
A few days earlier, elf girl Tuka Luna Marceau was abruptly awakened by her father because a dragon was attacking their village. To hide her, he dumps her into the well. It was the last time she saw her father getting roasted. Rumours of SDF driving off the dragon spread. Many don’t believe it but Pina and her team are interested to get more information out of this. When Itami returns with the refugees to Arnus (now looking like a shuriken shaped Pentagon?), his superior isn’t so pleased about it but the high commander, Kouichirou Hazama allows it on reasons of humanitarian grounds instead of being seen as kidnapping them. And so it becomes Itami’s responsibility to look after them. Yeah… Somebody has got to look after them. Itami is confronted with officer Akira Yanagida who knew he deliberately turned off his communication after the dragon’s fight because they always had connection on. Because SDF would definitely turn away the refugees, the reason he did so as he can’t abandon them. Yanagida then tells him about the situation they are in now. The Japanese government doesn’t know how to deal with this new region or its special resources and there are lots of people against this. The question is, is turning this region worth half the world against them. Because Itami has established relations with some of the villagers, he is deemed the person closest to the most crucial information. Lodging, clothing and food are made for the refugees. Meanwhile back to more politics from our world. China’s president really covets the special minerals and will maintain friendly relations with Japan so they can send their forces too. Japan’s president is hounded with questions that there were reports of civilian casualties so he has to explain they were of natural disasters and not the SDF killing them. Pina sees Duran, one of the warlords who survived the offensive (but his limbs are blown off). He realizes the Imperial’s ploy to get rid of them and that they are the true enemy. Pina begs for any information about the enemy but he tells her to go to Arnus to find out herself. So she gives her team to head to Arnus to investigate but they have to pass through Italica first. When Itami hears Tuka is having some sort of problem (always requesting 2 sets of things, the other set is male and left untouched), he thinks it is her imaginary boyfriend! The ladies check out the dead dragons used by the allied nations during the offensive. Because the SDF doesn’t need the dragon scales that fetch a high price, they intend to pick them and sell in the next village. Itami is kind enough to play delivery boy since it will help them to understand this world’s trade system better. Tuka is troubled in going into an unknown land but Lelei comforts her if there is any trouble, these guys in green will save them. And off they go to Italica.

Episode 5
There seems to be a battle raging at Italica. Pina’s unit and the locals are engaging with rogue bandits although they barely drove them off. Pina is upset that she thought the enemy was those invaders in green and rushed here but ended up facing this. As she rests, she dreams of her younger days when she and the other nobles were trained to be knights. And when they were old enough and drafted as Molto’s Rose Knight Order, Pina couldn’t be more upset that they were treated as mere honour knights. So when will she get her first fight in battle? Well, this invasion seems to be the perfect start. Don’t tell me she is getting cold feet now. Pina is awakened when her team cannot confirm the SDF at the gates as enemy or ally. Slowly popping out of the vehicle are a mage, an elf and a Dark God! Wow. What terrifying combo. Pina is in a dilemma but she becomes rash in welcoming them and accidentally knocks the door open on Itami. Princess got scolded… Itami explains the history and fall of this town. From wars to in-fighting and with the recent case of the Imperial sending expeditionary force to the other world, many never came back. Therefore this town which was once a vibrant trading hub is now ruled by the youngest daughter, Myui. Oh, she is only 11 years old. Therefore Pina is taking command in her stead. Itami and his SDF are supposed to be the decoy of the south gate. They make it look defenceless so the enemy could attack here. Rory wonders why Itami agrees to help the enemy princess. He says it is to protect the villagers but more importantly, he wants to let Pina know that it is better to be friends with them rather than enemies. Rory starts laughing in delusion as she misinterprets his intention to terrorize her soul to the very core and will gladly help him. When night falls, the enemy ambushes the east gate instead. Other than having a spirit summoner on their side, the bandits seem to be happy to be killed. Once the bandits easily break through, they taunt and anger the villagers to fight them. Pina starts panicking that her plan is in shambles. Reality is so different from the plans, eh? What about the SDF? Hasn’t she called them for backup? She believes they won’t come because she sent them on a suicide mission at the south gate.

Episode 6
Previously Itami had called for backup so Hazama sent his air unit as time is of essence. More woes for Pina when one of her men is killed and the bandits making a big breakthrough. But why is Rory experiencing some kind of hentai orgasm at this point? Are we in the wrong show? Lelei explains that the souls of the death are being channelled to her by Emloy and this feed is like aphrodisiac. The only way is to let her fight. Don’t need to tell her that. Quickly she gets up and runs to the south gate. As she starts killing the bandits, laughing and relishing in all the blood, Shino Kuribayashi also enter the battlefield to take out some bandits with her bayonet and guns while Itami and the rest provide backup cover. The air units arrive and they blow away the bandits outside. No chance at all! Finally they are going to clean the entire area and want all friendlies to get out. I guess those enemies never really saw such big helicopters before. So they stood there in awe before the big wipe out. Everyone who saw this must be in awe of its awesome firepower. Including Pina who is just terrified at it all. She felt her side has lost and fears if the enemy demands their surrender, she might find herself begging for her life at their feet. Pina and SDF initiate negotiations. To Pina’s surprise, the SDF demands are minimal. It includes the rebuilding of Italica, the fair treatment of all prisoners and the abolishment of taxes. They are also leaving this place. Hardly believable that they barely gained anything out of this. Lelei and the girls complete their mission by selling the dragon scales to Lyudo the merchant. As there is shortage of coins, Lelei agrees for the balance to be compensated in the form of information. As the SDF make their way back to Arnus, they come into contact with the Rose Knight Order (Pina requested for their reinforcements albeit it will take them 3 days). Itami doesn’t want his men to show hostility and to refrain from violence but those beautiful babes start getting hostile once they learn they are the enemy from Arnus. With diplomacy failed, Itami orders his men to u-turn and retreat. This means he is left behind as their hostage.

Episode 7
Pina blows her top and chastises Bozes Co Palesti and Panache Fure Kalgi for Itami’s mistreatment. Oh God. See his badly beaten up face! This is clearly a violation in the treaty. Don’t worry. Itami has got 4 animal eared maids to take care of him! ITAMI YOU LUCKY BASTARD!!! SWITCH WITH ME!!!!! The SDF has been staking out Italica and when they can wait no more, they sneak in only to see Itami in good company. Worried for nothing? And Kuribayashi couldn’t believe Itami is a certified ranger. The toughest of the toughest. Think of it as Japan’s version of SEAL. Yeah, he sure doesn’t look the part. Pina told Bozes that she will have to pay with her body to appease him. So here she is, entering his room in her sexy gown and suddenly she sees the entire gang having fun talking to each other. Because she is ignored, she got so mad that she slapped Itami! WTF???!!! Clearly, you can see Pina stressing out on this!!! The looks on her face that just screams “Oh… My… F*cking… God…”. Pina is desperate to make up but the SDF have to leave because Itami has to report to the Diet. It is something similar to this world’s Senate. Pina fears that he could report what happened and use this to start a war. Holy sh*t! More stress! Therefore she is going back to Arnus to apologize to his superior. Upon arrival, she is flabbergasted to see the fire power of the army. From iron Pegasus (helicopters) to iron elephants (tanks), it’s that sh*t feeling if the SDF attacks the empire with this ‘magic’ force. Pina and Bozes are made to see Hazama and Yanagida. With Lelei as the interpreter, the more the guys ask for details, the more awkward and guilty the princesses feel. Especially the bruises on Itami’s face. Yeah, it’s like they’re on to them or something. Itami hopes Tuka can follow him to Japan as he wants her to be this world’s representative. Of course Lelei would also come as interpreter. Rory too wants to come as she doesn’t want to be left out of the fun. Next day before Itami and his harem leave for Japan, Yanagida surprises him that Pina and Bozes are coming along too. He has already got the approval so Itami now has to take care of them and show them their country.

Episode 8
Wow! Awesome buildings that reach the sky! Welcome to Japan, girls! Itami is greeted by Hideyo Komakado from intelligence who is here to escort him. Komakado has done his work on Itami’s background. A slacker who barely passed his training and all but that incident propelled him to where he is today. Although Komakado respects him, Kuribayashi literally cannot believe it all! She’s screaming about it! They stop by a clothes store to get Tuka proper clothes (can’t enter the Senate in jeans, right?) and then they get to taste the great Japanese food. Itami and his harem are before the Diet. The coverage is live. It seems a Diet member is calling the girls as witness and trying to fault the SDF for any poor handling of refugees and blame them for the deaths of the civilians during the dragon attack. She thinks Rory can be a good excuse thanks to her mourning-like clothes. To everyone’s surprise, she fires back about the stupid question she asks. Rory describes how the SDF fought bravely and from a distance. I mean, if they died needlessly, then who else would protect their sorry asses? She finds it funny that they are not praised for their efforts. Instead of looking at 1/4 of civilians died, it is an actual fact they saved 3/4 of them. Because the Diet woman is trying to be provocative about respecting elders, Rory is about to show her weapon. Itami quickly retires her and mentions she is the oldest member here. How old is she? 961 years old!!!! Tuka? 165! Lelei? Only 15. End of deliberation. Meanwhile, during the deliberation session, the princesses who are not supposed to be in Japan are instead taken to negotiate with the Prime Minister’s advisor and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Something about a negotiation to release the 6,000 prisoners of their world in exchange for something. At the end of the day, the press of course hounds the bus they were on. But that was only a decoy as Itami and co are travelling via subway train. I guess going underground is very scary for them. Especially Rory who is clinging to Itami because this reminded her of some Hardy guy who wanted to force her into marriage 200 years ago by dragging her deep down into the earth. As Komakado meets up with them, he tells of the success of the decoy but it’s not over yet because they have also staged some accident to stop the train service. It’s a warning sign to say they can hit them anything. All that is left is for a direct attack. One seemingly tried to steal Rory’s scythe but he didn’t think it was heavy and it collapsed on him. Komakado tried to pick it up but he hurt his back. Itami brings the gang back to the home of a woman living an extreme otaku life. Who is she? His ex-wife. NO WAAAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This guy just surprises you every time, eh?

Episode 9
Creepy dolls. Reminds Rory of Hardy. BL magazines! The princesses are hooked! Akira Tomita can’t understand why Itami had to return to his ex-wife Risa’s place seeing they can’t involve a civilian. Something about to check whether if Komakado is leaking information on them. Risa would really appreciate she has nothing to do with this since her deadline is tomorrow! Next day, Risa takes Itami’s harem for shopping while Tomita accompanies the princesses to the library because they want to ‘research’ more on ‘art’. Yeah… Rory who said she didn’t want any other clothes eventually succumb to the temptation of other cute goth loli outfits. Just like woman anywhere in the galaxy, they succumb to shopping spree and buying too much. Only the princesses are left disappointed as they didn’t get what they want. Wrong place, ladies. Itami gets his chance to visit Akihabara and also meet Defence Minister, Tarou Kanou. They’re like good friends. There is a special mission that Kanou has of him. Itami takes the gang to relax at the hotspring. Kanou has his special team discreetly guarding the gang. Just like any woman anywhere in the galaxy, bath times are times to talk about your secret crush and love, right? They learn about Risa’s relationship with Itami. They knew each other since school days and since they’re both weirdoes, they hit it off. Actually, Risa was quite the poor girl so Itami’s stable salary was strangely appealing. Their divorce was due to the terrorist incident. He assured her that some insurance will be left for her if anything happens. That was the reason they separated. It was like he didn’t understand anything. She thought it would be good for them to start over. It seems there are foreign mercenaries in the area and the secret Japanese unit skilfully takes them out. Till the US president personally calls the Japanese PM about the list of bribes and scandals on his cabinet ministers. As a sign of friendship, he would like his agents to come pick up their special guests. The PM agrees to that after being assured if the guests escape, Japan cannot be held responsible. So he calls Kanou to stop guarding them. It’s just that. He hasn’t agreed to hand them over. Kanou fears this will be end of his political career but he doesn’t mind. He is willing to go down. So both sides stop and withdraw before the casualties rise. Rory couldn’t sleep that night because the souls of the dead are being channelled through her. It’s that ecstasy feeling. Can Itami do something about it if she can’t go out and kill? I suppose as compensation she starts seducing him. Tempting, eh? Remember, she’s not a child so he isn’t breaking any pedo law.

Episode 10
Itami’s handphone rings. This upsets Rory. Now she is in a foul mood. Because of that, she goes outside to start killing all the foreign operatives. Not only there are Americans but Russians and Chinese military dudes. In the confusion, they fire at each other but Rory slices all with ease. The bullets do hit Rory but she regenerates. Demigods cannot die. Itami and co change and move out. Everyone hounds Itami for what is going on because they’ve been doing things so secretive. Too bad he too doesn’t know. Kuribayashi really wants to kill him. Pina deduces that there might be factions that are against this peace negotiation. Risa uploads to the social media how the special guests are going to make their appearance at the memorial before returning. This would increase the number in public and harder for foreign agents to move in. Next day, the PM has resigned and suddenly hospitalized. Kuribayashi’s sister, Nanami is a rookie reporter trying to get the public’s opinion but they don’t really care and her superior is telling her to shape up. True enough, the American CIA agents are waiting. They plan to cause some minor disruption to throw the public into chaos and abduct the special guests after cutting the TV connections. But the problem is there are just too many people today. This also means Itami and co are stuck in a traffic jam as the more-than-expected crowd is shutting down the city.

It is too dangerous for them to go outside but Rory couldn’t care less and goes to seek for directions. Those who recognize her start to be in awe as the crowd paves a way for them. Itami has to take this chance for them to walk through or else the PM and Risa’s plans are futile. Itami leaves the van in Risa’s care to dump it somewhere. But she can’t drive! She’ll figure it out. She asks if they’re getting back. He will be away for a while but he is more concerned about the money she owes him! Take care. Nanami gets the fright of her life when her sister gets defensive after she calls out to her. Kuribayashi then uses the broadcast to say hi to mom and complain about some other things. Meanwhile Komakado sees the CIA agents and threaten them about being unable to tell agents from other countries apart so they have no choice but to call Mr President about their entire team being arrested and force him to withdraw. China and Russia also do the same. After they make their prayers at the memorial and before heading back, the crowd gives them a rousing applause. And it was the end of Itami’s tiring ‘vacation’. Rory is glad to try out her new clothes. Lelei got a new PC (Kato freaking amazed). Tuka thinks her dad went off on his own. So return trip when? Pina notes the overwhelming power and technology the other side has and if the empire starts a war, they will definitely lose and be destroyed. She needs to prepare for peace talks as soon as possible and hopes to end this war.

Episode 11
The Arnus refugee camp is now like a mini township with people around coming in to trade stuffs with Japan. Pina and Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kouji Sugawara go off to negotiate with other noble clans. Pina explains about their Senate is split in going to war and peace. Those against those are trying to limit the emperor’s power as he was the one who recklessly started this war. This faction also wants Japan to return to the other side peacefully and is willing to help them. First stop is Lord Cicero. After Sugawara shows his finest Japanese arts and he is interested, the moment he hears he is from Japan, Cicero becomes cautious. But they ‘blackmail’ him to help out with the release of his nephew who is held prisoner in Japan. Cicero agrees to accompany Pina who will negotiate with another clan, the Dussie family. Tuka has been wandering aimlessly looking for her father. Mari Kurokawa feels bad for her so Itami paints a situation that all of them gather to tell her that daddy is dead. If she cannot handle the truth, is she willing to take care of her for the rest of her life? What happens if they have orders to withdraw? They are not in a position to be her pillar of support forever. If you can’t see something to the end, don’t do anything. They have to let her be. Rory seems to be flirting with Itami when this dark elf, Yao Ha Ducy chides him for serving alcohol to a child! Rory is not happy for yet another plan ruined. She planned to get drunk, have him take her back to her room where she will stay with him till dawn. Rory then screams Itami forced her to drink! As she cowers behind Yao, dark elf is going to kill him but Itami has run as fast as he could. Rory has also escaped during that distraction. Yao sits down as she explains she is looking for those green people (she didn’t know she just met one, eh?). She has a favour of them and has prepared a big adamantine rock as payment. If that is not enough, she’ll offer herself. The other guys are interested to take on the job but she believes they aren’t up to it. The job is to slay a wounded fire dragon. Oh… If that’s the case, maybe never mind. Those guys have no balls… Later as she sleeps, she dreams of her village being ravaged by the dragon months prior. She hopes her people can hold out while she brings their saviour. Her hope rises when she sees the magnificent jet fighters in a mock dog fight. Itami and his men prepare to leave for the capital with Japanese goods for negotiations.

Episode 12
A few months ago after Yao’s village was razed, the elders gather and gave Yao the important mission for help or their clan will be wiped out. She promises to come back with help from the green people. Now that she has arrived at Arnus, she excitedly explains everything. Only 1 problem: They can’t understand a word! Seems these green people didn’t make use of their spare time and learn the local language as many (in fact, all if I should say) cannot speak the language decently. Furthermore, local thugs try to con her by they always end up being beaten up. When she picks up a dropped pen, this leads her to a store. She notices the storekeeper, Meia fluently conversing in Japanese. Yao learns that those who work here get a book that teaches them the language. Sorry, Meia can’t sell this to her. Yao becomes desperate to talk to the green people when a couple come in. You can’t imagine how freaking happy she is but it seems they take her in for questioning after they get a series of reports that she is a mugger! Thus, Lelei is called in as translator since her story doesn’t quite match with the report (those thugs report her). After clearing her name and the thugs arrested, finally Yao gets her chance to talk to a green people. She is sent to talk to Hazama but he cannot help her. Because her home, Schwartz Forest lies beyond the Imperial’s territory, to an army that crosses the border without permission means a declaration of war. Yao only needs a dozen or so but still, Hazama will not order his men to their deaths. She is left very disappointed as Yanagida notes, perhaps Itami could have done something if he was here.

Speaking of him, he rendezvous with Pina and her order to give the goods. There is one goods that she is really looking forward to. Don’t say you forget because she’ll blow her top if you really didn’t bring it. What is it? Yaoi doujinshi!!!!!!!! OMFG!!!!!!!! She really loves this ‘art’! However it is revealed that it is just the cover. Inside are articles about Itami’s heroic deeds. Lelei accompanies Yao drinking tea. You can see the defeat on her face. All hope is lost. Everything has been a nightmare to her. So sad for her… It even made Lelei think perhaps Itami could have done something. Next table, another group of combat unit eavesdropped on them and also feels bad about Yao’s case. They really want to help but their hands are tied. They cannot do anything that would give the enemy the slightest ammunition. They too wonder what Itami would have done. I guess if they can’t do it, might as well talk about it on how they would tackle and take down the dragon. Yao is feeling desperate. If she could just get one on her side. Maybe she will have to use her body… Then she remembers about the people talking about Itami. Yeah, maybe this guy… Itami on his way back learns that the orphans from Coda Village left a message in Japanese to thank him for taking them in. This makes him feel good and he hopes peace will come fast to this place.

Glory! Glory To The SDF!
I didn’t expect this to be this interesting! OMG. I couldn’t believe I said there. Here I was at the beginning, didn’t put much hopes up on this series and when the action itself gets started in the first episode, I realized I am already hooked on it. It goes to show you just can’t judge a book by its cover and you’ll never know it till you try it. So it was a good thing I checked out this series? Yup. Definitely. As every episode is as exciting as the last even during those drama and political manoeuvres, the only downer that killed my enthusiasm was the ‘final’ episode. I said ‘final’ because this isn’t really the end yet. I knew that this was going to be 2 cours as announced but I didn’t expect them to break for a season before resuming the second half of the series. I guess even the military needs a break, huh? Because of that, the last episode of the first season feels very much boring as everything is left hanging as the first half of the series comes to a close. Maybe because Itami was not around when it matters and thus gone with him are the usual excitement.

The one thing that had me thinking whether or not if this is a good or bad thing is perhaps the way they glorify the SDF. I don’t know if there is some subtle message to have the public have a better image of them but from a casual viewer’s point of view, I feel that they might be glorifying the heroic deeds of the SDF. I’m not talking just Itami alone but the entire force. Because you see how mighty and great the SDF forces are. You see how strong and resilient they are because they can even defeat the mightiest creature in the creature that is probably feared and considered as god by locals. You see how impenetrable and solid their defences are that not even an enemy could scratch them even if they used magic. You see how resourceful and helpful they are because they can just do about anything and everything. You see how noble and righteous they are in dealing with their enemies, the defeated enemies and treating everyone as equal, heeding to their strict military protocol and etiquette. Wow. Too good to be true. Like an ideal army of a fantasy world, eh? Uhm, what is this genre again? Definitely there is some temptation of making you want to join the army, right? I mean, they even showcase Itami’s otaku personality so it can’t be that bad, right? The SDF is freaking liberal, right? Unlike in the past and in some countries where gay soldiers have been persecuted just for their different sexual orientation… So what do you say? The SDF is the best force there is in the world? You bet… Viva SDF! Banzai SDF! Yeah…

Now, when you see alien and monster invasions on Earth and then the army taking on them would all but fail badly. Thus the other reason why the SDF seems so great and powerful is by the only fact that the inhabitants of the other world are such a primitive force, the land is so backwater and technology is close to nothing. Their magic is not even great enough to put up a decent fight. This is a reason why the SDF is able to flex their muscles and maintain their superiority over them. More importantly, the reason why Earth is able to maintain superiority over them with this muscle flexing method. It makes us seem like big bullies considering the vast difference in strength.

Because as you have seen in countless movies, humans fall like flies when they take on a much higher alien civilization and their super technology that none of us can match. That is the same here in this anime as we are like that superior alien race with superior alien technology. The SDF bullets and ammunition can even kill smaller dragons and wipe out an entire clan with their artillery fire. If it was those Hollywood movies, I think dropping an atomic bomb is akin to a mosquito bite on advanced aliens. To give another example closer to home, it is like sending the current generation army back in time to the Roman era. Get the idea? Yeah, difference in military strength, weapon and technology are what sets the game. Checkmate.

Furthering enhance the image of the SDF guys is the fact that the politicians in our world have some sort of ulterior and sneaky motives. As seen in the Diet questioning. Whatever political motives were just shot down perfectly. I don’t know why some people are so against the other side. Nothing better to do, maybe. Then there are those foreign governments also seen as sneaky people trying to get their hands to control the Gate and whatever goes on in this other world. I guess now I know why many sh*ts only happen in Japan. Because Japan and namely the SDF here are the only impartial gatekeepers to a better future for both worlds. Hah!

The other thing that makes this series works is the lively and unique characters. Take for example the SDF and particularly Itami’s little unit. I can’t blame you if you think that every army unit is just some strict and lifeless pack, only adhering to orders and carrying them out. Then you get this guy who was probably at the wrong place and at the wrong time. He gets more for what he bargained for after saving the day and before he knows it, he gets promoted and has to lead his unit to venture into the new world. There goes his otaku hobby… Itami’s out of the box thinking is probably what makes him a great character. When I say out of the box, what I meant was that he thinks and takes actions that are usually rare in the military. Maybe he gets his creativity from his otaku side but you can see that the decisions he makes are the road less travelled in the military world. Because of that, he makes a long term impact on the locals, his unit and probably our world. He is such an interesting guy and isn’t it no wonder why girls from the other world start taking some sort of interest and hanging out beside him? Oh yeah… I was wondering when this anime would turn into some sort of harem. I was waiting for it seeing the tempting and ambiguous opening credits animation. Maybe it is a good thing that it was never materialized at least for this season or else it would just dilute and ruin everything that made this season enjoyable so far. When you have a death god, elf and mage as your harem, it is like you’re telling other envious f*ckers not to f*ck with you! Oh yeah. Who is da man? Perhaps the military should have more guys like him (can’t imagine the SDF sending an entire platoon to Akihabara for ‘training’). His name has spread so much so he is the guy to go to when there is some sort of issue.

Although Itami has like around a dozen men under his unit, not all of them get the spotlight. Heck, I don’t think some even have dialogues. So we are focused on a few and they too are interesting themselves since well, many don’t have that strict military expression. Like Kuribayashi, I am starting to think that she would become a little running joke of the series. Especially when she learns more about Itami. The more she discovers, the more shell shocked she is. It is like her role to put on the most ridiculous flabbergasted reaction each time something about Itami pops up. Sarcasm? She just cannot believe that this guy is all that and is a slacker at the same time. Yeah. Believe it. Then there is Kurata who is also another fellow otaku and his role kinda reminds me of ‘the other guy’ roles like you see in romance and harem animes. Always envious for Itami getting the good parts… Not everyone in Itami’s troop is like wackos because Tomita brings us back to reality with his typical strict and no nonsense military outlook.

As for the rest of the main characters, as this is just the first half, I suppose it is not fair for me to say that some are not fully developed or fleshed out yet. For example, Tuka and Lelei’s presence just feels wasted considering that they are the main characters. While Lelei is not that bad although she is relegated to somewhat translation duties, it is worse for Tuka as I don’t see the point of her role in this season. She is just a lost elf girl experiencing the trauma of her village burnt down, still in denial that her father is around and loves to wander about as he likes. So for a big part of this season when she settles into the refugee camp, her main job function is just to act as the dorm keeper. The only odd thing about her is that she is wearing plain t-shirts and jeans. I know she is some rare elf. Doesn’t she have any other ‘cosplay’ costumes to wear? I understand the dragon burnt down every damn thing in her village. So I’m presuming she’s not wearing any pantsu too? ;p. So I take it that she is the last of her clan that she can’t get any of her local clothes anywhere? Wearing our human clothes makes her feel so out of place and quite odd to look at. Rory is a much more fun character here. A goth loli death god carrying an overly huge scythe is no laughing matter. Making her interesting is her bubbly personality that at the same time hides a devilish heart that is just itching to kill. Even if she is an immortal, she’s still a girl so I guess living for 900 years without any true romance must have made her life a very dull one, eh?

Lastly about Pina, with a very suspicious name that you can’t help but make puns of or stop that song that is playing in your head right now (~if you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain~), I thought she was going to turn into some joke character after battle at Italica. The way you see this princess stressing out is hilarious! And then her blooming fetish for yaoi fetish and I fear what would become of her order if she spreads it to the other ladies. Oh yeah. Ladies, a new wave of fetish is going to hit your kingdom so watch out! Jokes aside, Pina is a responsible princess trying to work out the best ways for a win-win situation for both sides. I don’t know what happened to her father king because that stubborn old mule must have his pride so high that he is willing to sacrifice more to prolong this war instead of working together.

This season itself has amazingly a lot of characters and although it is great that it means there would be a lot of colourful characters, it also means that many are just playing minor supporting characters that would hardly have anything more about them fleshed out. Like that old fart wizard Kato. Seen him doing anything useful? Yao only made her debut in the penultimate episode. So there are still lots of potential about this dark elf. My guts had me feel that she too will be inducted into Itami’s harem. I have a feeling that Nanami has a more prominent role to play in the next season and thus her unimportant cameo here. But that itself might be just a red herring. I hope Risa comes back the next season. She is as interesting as her ex-husband is. Having an otaku as your waifu is equivalent for a gamer guy to have a gamer girl as his wife. The ultimate match make in heaven. Ultimately, many of the characters that appear once or twice for a short while may or may not appear again the next time like Pina’s maids, that merchant guy, that afro intelligence guy, the SDF higher ups, people from the Senate, the nobles, the warlords, the politicians and everybody else I missed out. Good luck remembering all of them when the next season airs. I hope I won’t have to scratch my head thinking what happened to that character when the time comes.

Watching this series somehow reminded me of another anime with a subtly similar theme: Outbreak Company. Noticed that both have an otaku as their lead, his possible romance among the few female leads, there is great military presence in the other world in which they invade it in which this other world is vastly inferior to ours that is also practising some sort of feudalism, and the inhabitants of the other world is trying to learn and absorb our culture. Or at least Japan’s otaku culture. And yeah, who could forget animal eared maids… I can imagine the chaos if this world is hooked on BL and then our world starts restricting them… Then our world will know the true power of girl power! Haha!

Art and drawing seems pretty fine. The fantasy isn’t what I imagined it would be because of the world’s primitive setting but it will still do. While female inhabitants of the fantasy world look like cosplay girls, I just keep wondering why older guys from both worlds have this realistic old guy look. Is it me or do I noticed that the presidents of the other super power countries like USA, China and Russia, how come they have this gangster look! Holy sh*t! True! When I first see them, I thought they were some yankee mobster, triad boss or communist mafia head trying to make their move but then I realized they are their country’s top leader! So again, why does Japan’s premier have to be decently good looking and the rest look like thugs? I hope there is nothing political here… Because you know, in the anime they also sound like sneaky bastards having their ulterior motive to usurp Japan for the Gate…

With a myriad of characters, the cast list is a long one containing veteran, new and old seiyuus. Familiar voices from the industry include Junichi Suwabe as Itami (perfecting his carefree-like voice for his character like Undertaker in Kuroshitsuji), Haruka Tomatsu as Pina (reminds me of her other strong female lead characters like Elen from Madan To Ou No Vanadis), Nao Touyama as Lelei (minus the tsundere attitude), Risa Taneda as Rory (she’s getting a lot of anime roles lately, isn’t she?), Hisako Kanemoto as Tuka (the more I hear her, the more I forget that she was once that squid girl…), Hiroki Yasumoto (this guy can only make Bleach’s Sado’s voice because every anime I hear him, he sounds exactly the same), Koji Yusa as Yanagida (that sneaky-like voice – yup, definitely him), Cho as Kato (that gay-like old men voice – yup, definitely him), Youko Hikasa as Yao (is it really her?), Maaya Uchida as Kuribayashi (after all these years I still can’t recognize her voice. Too generic?), Yoshino Nanjou as Risa (I thought she was going to burst into something like Kokoro from Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Kaito Ishikawa as Kurata (Tigre in Madan To Ou No Vanadis) and Yumi Uchiyama as Bozes (Momiji in Binbougami Ga).

The opening theme is Gate ~Sore Wa Akatsuki No You Ni by Kishida Kyoudan and The Akeboshi Rockets. The ending theme is Prism Communicate by the voices behind Rory, Lelei and Tuka. This is something trivial: I may be wrong on this but despite the overwhelming military theme of this anime, I believe I have not heard any military type of music or even the marching-like brass band songs. Not that I noticed of (perhaps it is because I was too engrossed in watching the plot and the likes). Maybe they don’t want it to sound out of place like as though it is some sort of parade. Yeah, it may look like fun the SDF gunning down bandits with ease and raking up the body count but I don’t think it is even funny despite we enjoy that kind of bloodbath scene.

Overall, I should have just waited for the next season to run and then watch it at one go to have a better overall perspective of the series. But I guess that is what happens when you are impatient. Therefore as far as this season is concerned, it may look like some run of the mill fantasy series and nothing ground breaking. In fact, this series could be as typical as the abundant of seemingly animes with similar cliché. Well, if you have got a taste that high… But to me since this series is interesting and good, I’ll prefer to keep things that way. Not because the SDF is an invincible all mighty do-gooders. Not because there are cute chicks in cosplay outfits running all over this world. Not because of the interesting cast of characters, the action, the drama, the politics and everything else associated with it. Okay, I lied. Maybe it is all of that. Yes it is. And somehow I get this disturbing feeling that a civilization and kingdom’s fall is not because of the prolonged effects of a ravaging war, but the spread of yaoi doujin… Girls will be too hooked on them to do anything else. Guys will be neglected and slowly die out or kill themselves in view of this. Oh yeah. Yaoi doujin… Fear thy true silent enemy of death! Maybe those Hollywood movies should learn a thing or two and give those advanced aliens a taste of yaoi… Yeah… It might open a new gate to a whole new experience.

Upotte

November 2, 2012

Hold on a minute. Guns personified as middle school girls? Just like those with fetish for babes and bikes, Upotte has girls and guns. Yeah, fire straight right into your heart, eh? So I thought the girls here were just being ‘brainwashed’ to think that they are a certain rifle model but nope. I guess they really are guns being personified as girls. Just like how they personified countries in Hetalia: Axis Powers, eh? By mixing guns and middle school girls, you can expect some gun totting action as well as some antics that middle school girls go through. Thus I conclude that if you are a hetero gun freak otaku, this is your paradise anime. Albeit this ONA (original net animation) only lasts for 10 episodes. A little too short? Well, how many rounds do you want it to last? Just sit back and watch the lock and load, baby. Bang! Bang!

Episode 1
Funko, Ichiroku, Eru and Shigu go see Fujiko who is planting a bed of flowers. She is disappointed in planting those she can’t eat. And just when she planted the Japanese edible chrysanthemums, it was bloody bitter. She lets them know due to some error (like hell she knows) a new teacher will be coming to your section. Genkoku (literally means Japanese teacher. That’s what we’ll call him) is lost finding his way to Seishou Academy and stumbles into a festival. A pair of young siblings at the shooting gallery felt cheated because the stall keeper tells them they have to knock it over the stand to win it instead of hitting it. Funko decides to help out and in a single shot, the prize fell off. However the stall keeper says it doesn’t count because she’s a pro from Seishou. Then Genkoku tries his hands claiming he’s just an amateur. The way he holds the rifle, Funko knows he’s not an ordinary person. Like as though he’s taking a stance for firing an assault rifle. Is this love at first sight? Is she going to climax?! But once Genkoku fires, the shot ricochets and hits her head. All the shots! That bad, huh? Genkoku notices her uniform and has her guide the way to Seishou. Mentioning about what he heard that they’re pro shooters, Funko says they are guns. She is an assault rifle. Say what? I guess it was unbelievable to believe coming from her mouth and since the wind is blowing up her skirt, all he remembered was her thongs. Back home, Funko can’t really get Genkoku out of her mind. Genkoku meets the Principal and is shown around. He brings him to the field to let him witness their daily morning practice. He notices the walls riddled with bullet holes and warning posters pertaining to guns. At the firing range, he sees the girls firing assault rifles! This is morning practice? Principal says the girls are assault rifles. So… Guns firing guns? Funko turns up late and since Genkoku barely remembers her name, he greets her as the girl with thongs. I can’t believe in a noisy shooting range, everybody could hear that and the gun sounds instantly died out! Funko got so embarrassed that she rapidly fires at him! Though all the shots narrowly missed him, the holes in the wall means the building collapses over him! So as Principal tells the class their new homeroom teacher will be out for a while. And Funko doesn’t feel it’s her fault! She asserts it’s not thongs but skeleton stock.

Jiisuri and Ichiyon talk to Faaru, Funko’s older sister about how she put the homeroom teacher in hospital on his first day. Yeah, unbelievable. As Genkoku recuperates in hospital, Principal gives him a book on how to understand ‘guns’. In case of emergency, he could also know how to apply first aid on them. As far as I understand, each part of the gun is associated to some body part of the girl. You’re interested to know where the butt and boobs are, aren’t you? Be careful when you touch certain parts or you’ll get ‘burnt’ ;p. It’s been a week and Genkoku is still in hospital so the girls get an idea to go visit him but Funko isn’t so thrilled. Shigu suggests recording themselves via camera as introduction. So we learn a little more about the girls. Like Funko is Belgian and her gun code name is FNC. Shigu from Switzerland, code name SIG SG550. Ichiroku is American and her official designation is M16A4 while Eru AKA L85A1 hails from England. Since Funko still disagrees in visiting him, she leaves. However she sees him smoking outside. First thing when he saw her, all the traumatic memories came flooding back! Don’t worry, she won’t shoot him this time. So they talk things out as he catches her unaware by petting her head. She’s going to climax again? She thought he was being concerned for a girl to have her lower parts get cold when he says it’s a pity the school rules has all the girls wearing thongs. Oh. It’s that word again. So embarrassed that Funko takes out her gun and fires away!!! Not again! Woah! Destructive! And so Principal has to once again inform Genkoku will be out longer than expected. Oh, Funko is suspended for 3 days. Still think it’s not your fault? You just got mad? But you nearly killed him, right?

Episode 2
In a test to shoot a silhouette target 500 metres away, seems Shigu is the only one doing well in the long range department. Since Switzerland is full of mountains, the closest target is a mountain away! The trio thought they could slack off and the instructor, Garland wouldn’t know the difference. On the contrary he did and got chastised. Not that I understand but Shigu uses different rounds than them. So the test results are out and you can say Funko, Ichiroku and Eru are way down the other half of the table as compared to Shigu. Because of that they’ll be having remedial classes. Till Faaru and Ichiyon show up to tell them they’ll keep taking them till they score 100 on all their make-up tests! Did Ichiroku admit defeat when she says they’ll never be able to do it even in 300 years?! But if they beat them, they’ll be exempt from all their remedial classes. What have they got to lose? The school will be turned into a big battlefield after school. To win, they must steal their flag but if they all ‘die’ (the balloons on their head indicates their life so if it’s popped, they’re out), it’s the remedial classes for them. But back in class, seems Genkoku is well enough to return teaching. He doesn’t develop fear of guns but somewhat hates them! He throws away all the ammunitions when he enters class! Is this Funko’s fault? Anyway the game beings after school as Funko, Ichiroku and Eru make their way to Faaru and Ichiyon’s camp. Hiding in the woods and devising a simple plan, first they need to be careful to not let the branch pop their balloon. Pop! Oh God. Eru’s already out! Ichiroku nearly got taken out by Ichiyon’s sniping so Ichiroku rushes to the building to close the distance. As explained, Ichiroku’s gun utilizes her burst mode. It’s a technique to fire 3 shots consecutively instead of full auto mode to prevent wastage of bullets. Also explained is the type of ammunition you use that will classify a student’s class in Seishou. The more powerful and those with better range will be in high school. Though the bullets they carry are more powerful, there is more recoil and thus harder to control when in full auto mode. For those with not so powerful bullets, they are light, easier to control and are allowed to carry more rounds. However due to air resistance, energy is lost and the bullet becomes weak. Thus their range is very limited. So this battle is the one who can get an advantage out of their range.

Funko tests by touching a door and true enough Faaru behind it starts firing warning shots. She goes round the wall but unknown to her, Jiisuri is aiming to take her out from the top. Before she could do it, she drops her plan and dodges a sniper shot. Looks like it is from Shigu and she has decided to join in last minute. Jiisuri ditches her team’s plan so that she could engage in a sniping battle with Shigu. Funko thought she had found the enemy’s flag but the room is filled with boys changing clothes! Embarrassed, Funko runs away. Faaru laughs as she notes that the flag is not in the room and is moving. Make a guess. Yup, Faaru is the flag. Ichiroku and Ichiyon face off and the latter thinks it’s her victory because Ichiroku is hiding underneath a tree filled with sharp chestnuts! It could go pop any time. Ichiyon starts firing at the tree to drop the chestnuts. Because Ichiroku doesn’t want to lose to her (especially her bad puns), she uses the butt of her rifle as a baseball bat and accurately pops Ichiyon’s balloon with the chestnut! But it’s double KO when the falling chestnuts also pop hers. Faaru learns about this and tells Jiisuri all she needs to do is keep Shigu company. Faaru and Funko face off and only a fountain between them. Funko thought she had the advantage since she closed the distance. However the water causes her light bullets to go off trajectory. And she can’t get out since Faaru won’t let her leave her hiding spot. So what is she going to do? Funko places her gun through the fountain and fires! Almost hit Faaru but she grabs her gun, pulls her out and pops her balloon. She praises Funko for grazing her balloon and to not forget that feeling of never giving up. The match between the snipers ends with a draw. In the end, the gang manages to escape remedial class. Except for Eru who got an earful from Garland. It is learnt that this battle was their remedial class to see how good they are. Seems Faaru and her friends tried talking to the teachers to get them out of remedial class in exchange for this. Faaru notes they have talent but just aren’t motivated. Asking about Jiisuri of her match with Shigu, she mentions it was good to a point that she needs to use her secret technique to keep the recoil down. It’s too embarrassing for her to explain but since Ichiyon insists, she demonstrates. First take off your socks, sit on the ground, then place the rifle between your legs and view the telescopic sight through your knees. Oh sh*t! Embarrassing indeed! Almost looked like a hentai position!

Episode 3
What’s this?! We begin with Funko and friends (including Ichihachi AKA AR18) washing themselves?! Guns cleaning themselves?! Ichiroku starts rubbing Funko here and there with the excuse she is ‘good with her hands’. Shigu couldn’t stand it and stops her. Genkoku trips on an empty bullet in the hallway and gets pissed off. Since the culprit is Ichiroku flaunting the rules once more, she gets a knock on her head and innocent Eru also got hit. Funko thought she should cheer him up seeing he is in a bad mood. But he pats her head and makes her feel all soft. Because he needs to attend a meeting and is not familiar with the place in school, Funko guides him. Along the way, they meet Faaru and her friends as they try to explain the meaning of their alpha-numeric meaning gun names. I’m not sure if they know or just guessing. They see Shigu demonstrating shooting off all the heads of the target with a rifle in a straight line! Seems she is using the rifle as a samurai sword and calculating the speed, centrifugal force and recoil nullification, she makes it look like she’s swinging a sword when pulling the trigger. So what is this for? To draw things on enemy’s ground. Huh? Eru still got a bump on her head and thinks she should sit in the sun to relax. Till she heard passing girls mentioning ultra violet rays degrades plastic parts. Then Ichiroku and Genkoku come by to tell her she’s been cleared of the misunderstanding as he apologizes for hitting her. Eru got so mad and had lots of things she really wants to say to him at the top of her voice. If she could only get those words out of her head. Genkoku will treat her to a drink and instantly she forgives and loves him! WTF?!

Funko and co meet Thompson sensei because they’ll be accompanying several elementary kids to go pick up trash. They notice among the kids, Gossan who is too big to be an elementary kid (something about her using different bullets and a small body even though is fully automatic), talkative Emten suddenly stopping dead in her tracks because she ran out of ‘bullets’ (she can fire 1090 bullets a minute!) and Empi who is Jiisuri’s little sister but the girls call her other names like mini Jiisuri and cutie instead of her real name. However the star of the group that the kids wanted to see so much, Ichiroku isn’t here because she wants to slack off. Funko tries to calm them and introduce Eru instead but the kids are grumbling. Then a kid asks why Eru is still being used by the British army despite her gun always breaking down. Now we have a short history of Eru’s L85A1. Something about the British first discovered the advantage of having shorter bullets coupled with lower calibre rifles will be the weapon of choice. They start researching on bullpup rifles but due to lack of resources and politics, other nations created better guns and the Americans ignored and made their NATO standard. Soon other nations overtook the British but they never gave up and finally came out with L85. However this gun had lots of defects. It jams frequently and magazines could even drop out. Though there were several improved models, the basic problems still remained. Even as of today, the British continue to use the gun simply because of their stubbornness. Guess what? The elementary kids got so touched and emotional by her pitiful story and felt sorry! At the end of the clean up, Funko and the rest as usual bath and clean themselves but she notices Ichiroku who didn’t participate in the clean up, cleaning herself more thoroughly than others.

Episode 4
Ichiroku is doing a photo shoot for a magazine cover. Ichihachi explains that she and Ichiroku are related but it’s her family that fell from grace when Ichiroku became the official American rifle. Shigu cheekily says she thought Ichiroku was popular because she’s cheap! While Funko and friends have lunch, Shigu wonders if Funko wants to do a model shoot too. I guess she does. Shigu demonstrates on how to introduce herself (sexy maiden in snow clothes “I’ll pierce your heart from 500 metres away. Bang!”). So Funko starts hers by explaining her origins from Belgium. Not that she could beat Shigu anyway. But the person they’re concern with is Eru. Yeah, she’s panicking and narrating that history of hers again. Since they mock her not being useful, Eru is going to pull her trigger on them but as we know how defective her model is. Her hand snaps. Ichiroku returns from her shoot but blows her top when Eru didn’t keep her end of the bargain when she failed to take important notes that will be in the test. Shigu and Funko offer theirs but she can’t read German or Dutch. She is so pissed off with Eru that she calls her a dud. This hurt Eru’s feeling as she runs away. There is a tournament coming up so Funko accompanies Ichiroku to the ammunition shop run by Curly (he’s got an afro. Don’t ask) to get dot sight optical device. Then comes in Israeli’s Galil AR and Sako RK95. These newly transferred students have a bone to pick with Ichiroku and will also take part in the tournament. The duo can’t make their move since they realize Shigu is targeting them from behind. However Sako couldn’t tell if she’s bluffing or not with the seemingly empty chamber bullet but decides to back off since she knows her skills are not to be messed with. Curly mentions that there is history between Ichiroku and Galil and it dates back to the war between the Americans and Soviets whereby M16 was created due to its lighter calibre even though one needs to clean it frequently and avoid mixing the wrong powder. However it was withdrawn in 1969 since it was unable to bring victory to the Americans in the Vietnam War. Funko gets a call from Faaru and seems she has picked Eru up and will be living at her place for the time being. Faaru tells her to do what she thinks is the best. Funko realizes she loves Ichiroku and Eru equally and doesn’t want them to fight. Come tournament day and it seems the battlefield will be a jungle rainforest, the reason why Sako and Galil were acting confident. However Ichiroku’s relationship with Eru is still strained and the latter didn’t show up but Ichiroku couldn’t care and will win it on her own. Shigu peddles all the way to pick Eru up on her bicycle. The tournament of 2-to-a-team begins as Ichihachi hopes Funko not to worry too much and to concentrate on the battle. The match gets underway and despite just being a one (wo)man show, Ichiroku manages to trick her opponent and advance to the next round. Oh, Shigu and Eru are still pushing their bikes through the thick swamp. How the heck did they end up here?

Episode 5
During the break, Funko tries to talk to Ichiroku but she’s serious in getting through the next round. Funko fears if Eru arrives she won’t be much help because as far as she could remember, she never makes it in every match as she always breaks. Ichiroku accidentally ate spicy chicken nuggets Funko made but no serious damage was done. Ichiroku’s next opponents are Australia’s Steyr Aug and Taiwan’s Tei AKA T91. They are supposedly improved versions of Ichiroku but she asserts they are just copycats. The first semi-finals take place in a jungle village. The enemy’s flag is hidden behind a thick tree so one needs to enter enemy’s territory to get it. Aug and Tei make their aggressive advance since they now Ichiroku is alone. She is trapped behind her true and wishes Eru was here. But then again, thinking back how much that dud often breaks down, she’d be more trouble than help. Ichiroku fights back but her gun suddenly jams. Then she remembers the chicken nuggets. Though M16 guns require thorough cleaning, bad mix or poor powder quality can cause such problems. But this doesn’t deter her as she’s going to show how she fights back. Aug and Tei give the signal to attack simultaneously when Ichiroku suddenly jumps out and pumps bullets into them! As explained, she did fanning. It’s like you see in old Western cowboy flicks how gunslingers shoot and reload rapidly with their pistol. Only thing is Ichiroku is doing it with her rifle. With that, she advances to the finals. Meanwhile Shigu and Eru are still lost in the swamp. Eru is about to give up but Shigu must bring her there. Eru says she’ll be useless and hates Ichiroku. Really? Yes. Really, really? Uh huh. Truly really for real? No. There you go.

The second semi-final match pits Funko-Ichihachi and Sako-Galil and there will be a giant lake and only a bridge in between. Funko and Ichihachi plan their move so as Ichihachi takes the bridge, Funko flanks on the side of the lake but comes straight into Sako’s resistance and hides behind a tree. Wondering where Galil is, suddenly Ichihachi is taken down. Galil snipes her from the far side of the lake. In a panic, Funko tries to shoot back but the bridge is in the way. Then she gets an idea and fires on the surface of the water. The bullets ricochet and hit Galil! Awesome! Sako is so thrilled with what she saw that she’s going to come (was she masturbating?!). She continues firing at Funko when the latter notices some metal fragments. Suddenly little fragments hit and blind her right eye! Sako pins her down and explains about fragmentation. She purposely used low quality bullets to scrape the trees and shatter them to fragments. Funko is in no position to fight with her eye in this condition as Sako brags now she can bring down Ichiroku. Funko still believes and cares in her friends when Sako shoots her, ending and winning the match. However Sako continues to coldly fire repeatedly into Funko feigning she didn’t hear the end signal from her gunshots. Ichihachi is willing to risk penalty to fire back (because she’s already ‘dead’) when Galil jumps out of the water like a zombie to attack! However she is shot away and subsequently Sako takes several bullets herself from the sniper. She only knows one person who can effectively snipe from such a distance. And yes, it’s Shigu using Jiisuri’s embarrassing tactic. The match is over and Galil become good friends with Ichihachi. Funko is being treated and though dented in some parts, she’s okay. Ichiroku is still arrogant she doesn’t need a partner but Shigu tells her off who knows what tricks Sako may have. It’s better for her to have at least have someone on her side. She warns if Sako wins, this won’t just be someone’s problem anymore as it is believed Sako wants to control Seishou. Eru joins Ichiroku in the final match in the swamplands against Sako and Galil. Ichiroku continues to mock Eru over her durability. The other girls are watching from the high tower as Funko is puzzled to see Sako seemingly knowing Ichiroku and Eru’s plan. Then she realizes the girls next to her are spies for Sako as they were pointing her friends’ location. Shigu tells them off but it seems Sako isn’t aiming for her opponents. She won’t forget when one humiliates her and fires at Shigu’s head! OMG!!!

Episode 6
Eru is so mad that she starts firing at where she thinks Sako is. She has already moved her position and fires at her. Though she missed, it made Eru tripped and got herself all muddy. Now she can’t fire her gun. Because if she does, the barrel will explode and kill herself. Sako mocks this useless piece of junk and beats her up in the mud. So much so that she doesn’t even take her out as she knows she can’t fire back. Poor Eru is left to cry alone. Meanwhile Shigu is very much alive. It’s just her hair is messed up. She’s never going to forgive that b*tch. Ichiroku faces off with Galil and remembers Shigu’s words how Sako transferred schools to subjugate its leaders and she thinks Ichiroku is Seishou’s leader. Ichiroku thinks something has happened to Eru since she is also now facing off with Sako. But there is no official announcement that Eru is out yet so where is that girl? Ichiroku thinks the duo are trying to corner her so she charges forward. That’s what Sako wants her to think as she’s waiting for her there and fires at her. Though missed, Ichiroku’s gun barrel is now stuck in the mud. Sako mocks her and proclaims the weak leader she is to everyone. However Ichiroku brushes off her theory and that she is no leader and just a dud like Eru. M16 had its history of defectiveness. But with improvements, it slowly gained the soldiers’ trust once more. In short, if Ichiroku doesn’t try, she’s not going anywhere. She’s not going to give up. Then popping up behind Sako is Eru. But Sako is confident she can’t fire and fires her gun at Eru without even looking back. Safe to say she got hit. Sako is taken by surprise when Ichiroku pulls her gun out of the mud and her barrel was covered in plastic. This means it’s still operational! Ichiroku fires back but barely misses Sako so Sako shoots and takes her down. Thinking she has attained victory, the announcer declares Ichiroku’s team the winner. It seems Ichiroku’s single shot had taken out Sako’s flag. How did it get here? Eru brought it here despite being heavy. Regret not taking her out? Even if she can’t fire, at least she didn’t give up. Ichiroku saw this and knew she just had to wait for her chance to shoot it. Sako is not amused and is going to shoot Ichiroku but gets her pigtails shot off. Shigu warns the next one will not miss her ear.

Ichiroku and Eru make up as Funko tells Sako how they believed in each other. She still thinks Ichiroku is the leader even if she herself denies it. Sako admits defeat and will leave school. Oh, she needs to apologize to Funko. How? She kisses her lips! FFFUUUUUU!!! Her first kiss! Nobody saw that coming, eh? Looks like she is the only thing that Sako won’t give up on. But it does make Funko feel better. In the aftermath, Sako transferred out but Galil was left behind and is good friends with Ichihachi. And for some reason Funko can’t understand, Shigu is pouting and won’t speak to her. Let me guess. She likes her too, right? Looks like Aug too has developed some feelings for Funko. She is too embarrassed to talk to her face to face despite Tei encouraging her. She wants to get close to her and talk. Comparing herself similar to Eru as they’re both bullpups, how come that dud is closer to her? Why the different treatment? She laments how unlucky she is. I’m not sure if she’s joking or for real. Tei suggests if she can’t talk directly to her, maybe she can to her friends. First she tries Shigu who is at the firing range. Note the accuracy of her shots because she’s still annoyed with that kissing scene. So when Aug asks her about Funko, the firing just became intense. Let’s try someone else. Trying Ichihachi, however she is too preoccupied with Galil and the clumsy latter eventually spilled her drink all over everyone. Next they try Eru since they’re both bullpups and should understand better. However she’s broken again and absent. So all that’s left is Ichiroku but she’s being too aggressive in wanting to make them meet. Suddenly Funko in person shows up. Wish come true? But Aug froze up and her tongue tied. She overheats herself and collapses! Eru returns and makes scones for her friends. Aug observes this and notes how she wished she was a dud too. Tei then takes Aug’s hands and will teach her how to make scones.

Episode 7
On a freezing New Year’s Day, the girls are talking about Genkoku. Ichiroku wonders why a clueless person like him is at their school so Funko mentions about meeting him at the summer festival. She ponders if they ever thought of the person they’ll end up being held with. Probably Funko thought too much and nearly climaxed! They’re supposed to write New Year greeting cards for him and Funko is at a lost on what to write. Her buddies just wrote something short and sweet. “Let’s have another good year”. Too short. Funko and Shigu are playing outside in the snow as Shigu convinces Ichiroku to get out into the snow via snowball challenge. They’ll be fighting in teams and it seems when the snowball fight begins, it hit passing Genkoku. I don’t know how Ichiroku roped him to her side to make ammunitions but Eru has already long bailed out to go make giant snowballs. Ichiroku even used Genkoku as a shield with an excuse the teacher sacrificing himself to protect his student. In the end all those snowballs Eru had rolled, rolled down crashing into them. So the girls are huddling together underneath the warm kotatsu while lamenting how cold it’s really getting. Except for Shigu. How can she stand the cold? Remember, she’s from Switzerland and is made to fire in icy temperatures of minus 20 Celsius! Since she’s the only one who can move, she makes food for them and soon Ichihachi joins them. But Ichiroku wasn’t amused when she made a Belgian flag via pot using Belgian chocolate, cheese and tomatoes. I hope it tastes as good.

Genkoku gets sick (from taking in too many snowball hits) so Ichiroku decides that they visit him. It’s her devilish plan to kill time. However they realize they never know his real name. I think it’ll stay that way. Since they can’t go empty handed, they stop by the convenience store to buy stuffs. Broke Eru already bailed. Ichiroku messes around and picks up too much stuff. Shigu chances upon Jiisuri and leaves with her. This means Ichiroku is left to pay the big bulk of the items. Because of that, she’s thinking of getting back her ‘investment’. Read: Search of Genkoku’s porn magazines and blackmail him. Oh brother. Along the way they meet Professor the dog. Who? Not that I know it has anything to do academically but as explained, it was around ever since Seishou was founded. Like 30 years ago. Woah! How old is it? Professor then used some telepathy thingy to stall and play with Ichiroku so Funko could go see Genkoku. At his doorstep, Genkoku knows they’re coming because, well, Ichiroku is being noisy playing with Professor outside. Anyway they invite themselves in and air the stuffy place. Ichiroku starts searching and hits the pot of gold (read: Porn magazine) at first go. Then she goes rummage his place and from what we can hear, she made a big mess of things and they got kicked out. Back in their dorm, the girls read their New Year greeting cards. Yeah, Genkoku’s card to them is short and sweet. “Keep it up this year”. Too short. Deja vu, eh? Funko realizes she has not received one from him and panics. Ichiroku teases her that it may be because of that incident that she left her out. Funko storms out and to his place, wanting to give that teacher a piece of her mind. Sure, she may be wrong for shooting at him but such discrimination is wrong. Nobody answers the doorbell and the door is unlocked. Making her way in, she sees Genkoku sleeping on the table and halfway writing his greeting card to Funko. She felt bad and her heart was becoming soft when suddenly Genkoku yells in his sleep, “Don’t shoot me!”. Haha! I guess the trauma is still there. Funko cleans up the place and cooks for him. He thought guns like her are afraid of moisture but she mentions if they were, they wouldn’t be military standard. Funko gives him a little Santa doll as present since in Belgium, Belgians are still in the mood celebrating Christmas. And she cares for him as she believes it’ll be lonely for him to spend Christmas and New Year’s Day alone. Funko leaves so Genkoku hands her the card. At least his well wishes are longer. He hopes he would take care of her health since she wears a thong. Oh no. OH NO! Not that taboo word. Well… Lock and load! Fire away!!! NOT AGAIN!!! I think his apartment got decimated. And yeah, she got suspended again despite Genkoku jumped out the window himself. Whose fault?

Episode 8
Genkoku gets to witness firsthand the preparations of Seishou’s cultural festival. Military style. So it’s okay to go ramming down the walls with the tanks?! Thompson thinks it’s the spirit of the festival! Genkoku has his own fantasy on how his class will turn out with the maid cafe but it seems they’re a long way off from finishing. Speaking of which, the girls are at Curly’s booth as he is setting up sales of rare items. It’s too tempting for Ichiroku to resist so how can she buy them all with limited funds? Use the war funds! Isn’t that supposed to be reserved for items for their class? If Genkoku hadn’t been there to reprimand them, I guess she would’ve blown it all. Heading back to the classroom, Genkoku is surprised there is a camel farm! The room is filled with sand and Galil brought in a camel from Israel! Was the room this big? Heck no! Galil wrecked down the walls! Oh, the realism of the heat must be getting to Genkoku’s head too. Genkoku sees a class exhibiting some camouflage device. He didn’t count on one that could see through clothes! He thought he saw the undies of a girl when that ‘girl’ is the Principal. Messed with your visions too, eh? Genkoku is disheartened that the maid cafe isn’t anywhere near its completion on how it looks like (no, not a jungle theme or art exhibit) but the girls have him and Thompson do food tasting on their menu. This pineapple dish…  Looks like a real grenade! Thank God it’s not. Then they throw a dart at the spinning board to determine the kind of food they get. While Thompson gets nice beef steak, Genkoku got military rations. But wait! Don’t be too quick to judge. In fact, it tastes good! Tei shows off Aug in their maid outfit. This is so that Aug can get into Funko’s good books. However Aug got embarrassed and is close to experiencing another overheating. Ichiroku flaunts the design combo between a maid and army uniform. Even the underwear is the same design so it’ll be harder to spot! Funko and Eru dressed as traditional maids but Eru wins simply because of her bigger boobs…

The festival seems to feel like a battlefield because Genkoku gets another shock seeing Garland as a pirate-in-the-box! I guess any students with grudges on him can take their frustrations out by stabbing him! So when Genkoku returns to the other teachers wondering what kind of festival this is, they mention everyone’s doing great as this year’s casualty has been very few. Oh sh*t! The maid cafe is completed as Funko and friends celebrate with Faaru and hers. Because Ichiyon makes another lame joke, Ichiroku isn’t amused and both sisters start pointing their rifles at each other. War could’ve erupted if Funko and Faaru didn’t step in. Learning Faaru’s class is doing a haunted house and that their make-up as zombies is so freaking scary, Ichiroku thinks she’ll get to shoot them. That’s what you do with zombies in video games, right? Or maybe she just wants to shoot Ichiyon as much as she wants. I guess that’s the last straw. Both sisters start shooting each other. So much so the place is decimated. How now? Surprisingly Genkoku didn’t blow his top. Instead, he tells them there is still time and he believes in them that they can pull this one off! After getting permission to stay overnight, Genkoku delegates the jobs to everyone and they work hard. Maybe they can really pull this one off in time. With the sign left to go, Genkoku ropes in Aug to do them by spraying her bullets. However she sprayed “Funko love for life!” and has to redo it again. And so the miracle happened and everyone makes it in time to enjoy the festival.

Episode 9
It’s the practice field trip for the middle school girls. As usual Genkoku lays down the usual rules of the trip but since the first day is free day, Fujiko rallies the girls to have fun as today will be the longest day! For fanservice obligations, you get your gun girls in bikinis and Shigu meets Jiisuri’s younger sister in middle school, HK33E. You can tell they both don’t like each other. Since Shigu mocks her by calling her Chuusuri, HK threatens to make her regret it and fires a warning shot. Unfortunately it made a hole in the book Shigu is reading and since that is school’s property, wow, look how many times she apologized to the teacher. Unknown to them all, a group of masked girls are watching them from afar. Funko and friends take the cable car up the mountain to sightsee before regrouping with the rest. Then it’s the hotsprings and since Shigu is making a lot noise fondling Funko, HK didn’t really like it and is going to blow a hole in her till Ichihachi settles things. She convinces everyone to get a drink from this green tea from mugs made out of real squids because legend has it that they’ll get good grades for their practice. On the way back to the room, Ichiroku sees Galil on the phone and teases her she’s talking to her boyfriend. That night, Ichihachi, Galil and HK manage to give Fujiko the slip to sneak out to get those mugs. However all of them were gunned down by snipers! Genkoku went to search for them and is shocked to see all 3 out. They are taken home to be repaired and though the wounds won’t kill them, it hit their vital points. Fujiko notes this is going to be troublesome because the bullets do not come from their school and that they are pretty good shooters since a single bullet could’ve inflicted a fatal wound. Funko heard that Ichihachi and co got shot so she rushed out to that spot. Ichiroku and Shigu must be having fun untying Eru’s robe when Ichiroku receives a call from Ichihachi about their attack. Though she doesn’t know who attacked them, she knows this: She was only shot once but the rest 3 times. A minus 2 difference. Ichiroku immediately realized she is their target and declaring war on her because 8 (hachi) minus 2 is six (roku).

Genkoku tries to stop Funko but she wants him to return as he is human unlike them who are guns. Suddenly somebody takes a shot at them but missed. Taking refuge, Funko deduces one is sniping from far away but will be able to see her location from the muzzle flash since it’s dark. Then another shot is fired but this time it’s from the ocean. Noting this one is on a boat and must be one very good sniper to shoot straight while rocking with the waves. The sniper in the woods snipe at Funko but Genkoku saves her by pushing her away. He hurt his leg in the process. That sniper backs off when Shigu snipes back at her location. Ichiroku and co reunite with Funko when they see a little doll next to them. It leaves a message to those guns that have lost their true form. At midnight, they will commence their attack and this entire city will turn into a battlefield. Ichiroku thinks it’s those from the east and wants them to bring them on. Shortly, several simultaneous explosions rock the place and the electricity out. Genkoku doesn’t want them to get involved but they can’t sit back knowing that the enemy has hurt their friends. Meanwhile the masked girls won’t kill those western counterparts as they know they will try to save the wounded and this will keep them busy.

Episode 10
The battle begins as Funko and co try to follow and rein in a couple of their escaping enemies. Though they got away, they know it’s their plan to lure them in and fight at the shopping district. They split into groups and will flank them from both sides. Ichiroku and Shigu meet resistance from an enemy using shotgun with magazines. A powerful gun they know as Saiga. Meanwhile Eru’s magazine holder breaks and she’s almost like a sitting duck. She could’ve been done for if Funko had not been fast enough to cover her. But they have a plan too. The enemy thinks Eru is making fun of her when she tries facing her off without any magazines. Leading her to a blind corner, Eru surprises the enemy when she sits down and uses her knees to hold the magazine and lands a clean shot on her. Ichiroku and Shigu are trapped from both sides. However the enemies from one side suddenly fall. It is Sako joining in. She has heard things from Galil (that ‘boyfriend’ telephone call) because she could smell scents of AK around. Sako also knew something was happening that’s why she left Galil behind but didn’t think they’d make a big event out of it. She lets them know they are not after anything but just looking for a good fight. Shigu thought she heard Funko in trouble and rushes off on her on and leaving the rest to handle things. However it’s just a trap to get the brain out of the way as they trap her in a freezer. Funko makes her way to the shopping district and knows the enemy is expecting her. Instead of walking straight in, she climbs onto the frosted glass roof and counts 5 of them waiting. She surprises them by taking out 4 of them. The fifth one fires through the roof and sends her crashing down and they engage in close range battle. However the AK leader tells her to stop and orders her to meet up with Saiga to fight Ichiroku. Meanwhile Eru makes her way to the freezer. She also pulls off a surprise move to knock out the enemy and malfunction the freezer door. Shigu is freed and takes out the last guard before heading off to Funko’s location.

Funko faces off with AK leader and the latter didn’t like the look in her eyes. To ‘improve’ it, she fires at Eru who is coming from behind. Then setting off several explosives to destroy the place. Funko gets mad and this is the look she has been waiting for. As they fire away, Genkoku gets in between them and got shot. He knows better, right? But something mindboggling happened. His blood absorbs back into his body?! WTF?! As explained as long as he’s not shot by another human, he won’t die from their bullets. Huh? WTF?! AK leader isn’t happy about this crap and fires several shots into Genkoku. Funko is really mad. AK leader loves that look and dares her to finish her off. She was going to but Genkoku stops her. He wants them to stop this game. AK leader chides him off if he has the right to tell them to do so since humans are the ones who made them. But even so, they won’t change the way they live because humans wished for this. With both sides reuniting, AK leader mentions their paradise will come and to retreat for now. In the aftermath, Funko and friends show serious focus and commitment in gun practice as Principal and Garland note how they’ve changed since that incident. They have felt what is most important for them guns and have matured a little. Thus Principal thinks his effort to bring Genkoku here has hugely paid off. So back in class, Genkoku takes a roll call and reminds them about their high school entrance exam soon. However Funko says they don’t have anything like that because they’re assault rifles and can’t turn into battle rifles. No chance for upgrade?

OVA
Just a filler… No fun shooting galore. But fanservice galore! You get to see tits in some scenes. Guns with tits? Anyway this OVA is mainly about the quartet taking a holiday by camping by a riverbed. We see Ichiroku challenging the rest to throwing stones on the water but the rest outdo her. Knowing that she is sulking, Eru cheers her up by asking her to teach her how to throw it. While the rest fish, Ichiroku got fed up of trying to catch and corner one with her hands so she uses her rifle! Oh sh*t! Be careful of deflections by the water. When a bait was too strong for Eru to reel it in and causes her to be pulled into the water, Ichiroku dives in but hits her head on the rocks. Don’t worry. She’s okay. And so is Eru. She caught the fish. After cooking the fish and eating it, Ichiroku wants to split the watermelon. Thinking that Eru the klutz will take too long and the skilful Shigu will be too fast and no fun, she hands it to Funko to do the honours. However Ichiroku messes with her by giving opposing directions and to a point lead her to the ‘watermelon’ which is Eru’s head! Good news no casualties were reported and everybody had their watermelon fill. Because Funko forgot to spit the seeds out, Shigu teases her that it will grow inside her. Funko believes she’ll give birth to a watermelon baby! And Eru is rubbing her stomach in a stimulating way. After having fun in the river the entire day, Ichiroku is made to look for firewood if she wants dinner. Along the way, she comes into a baby boar and decides this will be their dinner! Don’t let the protein get away! But I guess after soaking in the mini hotspring and feeling good about it that Ichiroku decides to let the piglet go. Then they play with sparklers before hitting the sack. The beautiful night sky is like a natural planetarium. Suddenly Eru starts reprimanding everyone loudly (especially Ichiroku). Turns out that she is sleep talking. Is she always like this? Who is to blame? Shigu and Funko couldn’t sleep so they talk about things and make a promise to always be together. Next morning, the girls pack up and make their long way back home. Throughout the series we see short snippets of the other guns too but it doesn’t amount to anything much. For example, Ichiyon and Faaru visiting Jiisuri as we see her having lots of little sisters. Lots of them! Clones?! Tei and Aug trying to bake cookies (over burnt), Ichihachi and Galil riding in a train while Sako watches the fireworks in the background from her room.

Load It! Shoot It! Hit It!
I admit that it was pretty enjoyable especially the gun battles. Though I am not a gun freak nor do I display any serious interest in guns (from the country I come from, unless you are a uniformed personnel, having a gun in possession is a serious criminal offence), at least the action part kept me well entertained. As I said I am not a gun enthusiast, there were some parts which I literally didn’t understand but that’s okay since all I wanted to see was girls with guns :). And shooting them ;p. In some scenes, the tactics, the usage and the history of the development of a certain gun model is explained and though they seem interesting enough, I feel that you should only pursue to learn more if you are only interested in this field and area. Thus sometimes I feel that this series is made for budding military enthusiasts. I mean, we see the kind of assault rifles used and not just mere handguns or pistols so that’s why in a subtle way, it is trying to cultivate an interest to join the military should your fascination with rifles hit top gear. But you definitely won’t see cute school girls in uniforms if you ever get drafted. That’s for sure!

The ending left lots to be desired. For one, I’m not sure why those eastern AK girls would want to pick a fight with Funko and friends. They did mention about them as guns who have lost their true form and I interpret that as guns taking on human forms acting like high school girls. Even if that is true, aren’t they the same? Except that they don’t like the kind who wants to have fun. And as Sako put it, they’re just out for a good fight so why go to great lengths turning the entire city upside down like a big battlefield? For realism? Even in earlier episodes Faaru did mention and Funko lack motivation, that’s why they did their little battle to serve as one. I’m sure those AK girls want to see more than just Funko’s angry expression. Then once it is over, they just retreated. Just like that? So simple? Didn’t feel like anything was resolved. Felt like they’ll be back the next time round. If they ever produced another season of it, that is.

Over the series, it was sometimes hard for me to try and separate the fact that they are both girls and guns together. For most of the time they act, talk and move about like normal high school girls so it’s tough to keep in mind that they are in fact guns manifesting in human form. Even when they are in the battlefield, it just looked like cute girls turned badass (for some) holding guns and running about firing or taking shelter from the enemy’s bullets. Of course it would be obviously weird to see them in their real forms and walking around. Ever seen a real gun walking by itself? How does a real gun talk anyway? Through its nozzle? Absolutely freaky. I suppose that’s why it’s better to portray them as school girls. It’s more pleasant to the eyes and easier on the mind, don’t you think? In battles when the girls get shot and don’t even bleed or break a bone like how we humans do scream father, scream mother when we get a bullet lodged underneath our skin, it gives this feel that they are superhuman girls with superhuman powers as they can withstand taking in the bullets. I wonder how they will look like when they are ‘broken’. That is the other thing that sometimes bugs me. Seeing that the girls are taking a human form, they sometimes display the quirky characteristics of the gun like whether or not being able to function in different temperatures (translated here as whether they can withstand for instance hot or cold), switchable to dual roles (as in Aug as reflected in her dual personality) and when they need water to cool themselves, they pour onto their bodies in which the water will evaporate quickly if the gun is in used frequently. You might be already guessing which part is the handle and to hold, right? Don’t press and pull the wrong part, though. And if a gun gets turned on, does it really leak? Well, don’t overheat and burn out.

But it really gets even more mind boggling because of the final scene whereby Genkoku got shot and healed. Just because guns are fighting each other, doesn’t mean that they aren’t dangerous, right? It’s like they’re trying to say, they’re shooting blanks, isn’t it? Does it really make a difference if humans hold them? Of course when humans do then it’s a different story but what I’m saying is that you’re a real gun whether personified or not, so the bullets are real, right? So the effects have to be real too. Fair enough that the girls themselves although won’t die since guns aren’t supposed to be living things. I know it’s ironic that they’re ‘alive’ as high school girls but for the sake of argument, they also feel serious pain and take serious damage when hit. Therefore I don’t really get when a gun shoots a human and the latter walks away unscathed except for some minor pain. That means to say if the guns fire themselves, we’ll still find ourselves breathing despite being in the midst of a hail of bullets. Hey wait a minute. Think about this. What about the time Funko showered Genkoku with her bullets? He shouldn’t be badly hurt, right? Well, maybe he got hospitalized due to tripping down the stairs or jumping out the window. So there was really no real harm if he got hit, right? Then do you notice where the girls keep their rifles? It’s like they can whip them out from thin air! What about the magazines? How much do they really carry? Where do they carry them? Oh, I’m sure underneath their skirt they have lots of wide spaces for them to store it all ;p.

I know that the main characters are taken after the country that their gun was manufactured in but somehow I don’t really get the feel that they are from that country. For instance, Before Shigu’s new hairstyle, I am inclined to think of her as from China because of her hair ornament. For some reason, Ichiroku doesn’t sound so American and in fact speaks like with a full Japanese Kansai-ben! I thought Sako was a demon with her long pointy ears! With Eru’s model giving so much trouble, the way they portray her as the ditzy and clumsy girl, it’s trying to tell us that the British are dumb people. Are they? And since the British and Belgians are of the Caucasian type, Eru and Funko hell they don’t look anywhere near like it. In fact, all the characters here look like your typical cute and kawaii Japanese anime girls. You can’t really pinpoint their nationality unless you know what kind of rifle model they are. Then those so called eastern AK girls, how come they all have cat ears and tail?! Just like Galil. Trying to up the moe factor? And with so many models and sister models, if you want to draw a family tree even though confined to this anime, it’ll be hard because even though for example Ichiroku and Ichiyon are sisters, they aren’t really true sisters. Get what I mean? Actually I don’t even understand it myself. Something about the difference in manufacturers or whatever that makes them related but not directly.

Genkoku may be a total noob when it comes to guns but there is a good reason why a human like him is being employed at Seishou. That’s because he treats the girls as humans and not as guns. If it looks like a girl, speaks like a girl, walks like a girl, shoots like a gun… Okay, maybe totally a real girl after all. Funko and her friends like typical friends together with Ichiroku the lively and cheeky one, Shigu the calm and brainy one and Eru the slow and dense one make their group a dynamic bunch. But are they trying to say that these guns are compatible with each other? Sometimes when the guns face off in battle, it’s like they’re trying to compare which one is superior. Although that part is for an expert to judge and in this anime it doesn’t mean that a girl wins, that gun is better. Another point to ponder about this school is, if they are going to raise these girls to become good rifles and they will end up in the hands of some person, doesn’t it show you that they’ll be killing tools in the future? I mean, they are not guns for sports so they’ll have to end up in the real battlefield, right? Or in the hands of some deluded psychopath shoot down innocent people. I hope not. So really. What’s the purpose of this school again despite the obvious to train them to be perfect guns? And since we know assault rifles will stay as assault rifles, how can Funko and co graduate to the next level as we know the school separates the guns based on certain criteria. Unless they’ll always be middle school girls till the end.

In the chemistry department, when girls as guns start to like each other, I take it as they’re compatible to be used together during battles, right? Maybe not. So in the case of Shigu having a crush on Funko, does this mean their assault rifle types go together? Well, I’m no gun expert so I won’t say much. But strictly in the love department, Shigu really does harbour feelings for Funko and if you pay attention closely to her actions you can see this is obvious. Now that Sako has come into the picture, I guess more bullets are going to fly if they ever make Funko the object of their goal. I’m sure Sako hasn’t really given up on Funko yet so Shigu has got to be very careful since Sako is quite bold and proven to be a psychotic b*tch. Don’t let your guard down. I almost forgot about Aug there. Unless she uses her aggressive mode, don’t count on her making any real advances, which I don’t think it’s possible since I get the feeling Aug doesn’t want to see her devilish side. It’s hot and cold for Funko towards Genkoku. I wonder if that military stance he first posed was a fluke because we don’t really see him do any more of them and that he hates guns (must be that trauma thanks to a certain Belgian assault rifle). I’m sure she’ll be harmless as long as you don’t say that ‘T’ word. It’s like asking for a death wish. The grim reaper is the firing squad all in one. Shoot first, ask questions later! It’s a love-hate relationship for Ichiroku and Ichiyon. Being the crude American sisters they are, sometimes the slightest thing sparks an argument and the place could very well turn into a firing range.

When you have babes and bullets, girls and guns, you can’t leave out the fanservice, right? I won’t say that this show is filled with fanservice but if you open your eyes enough, you can spot some obvious ones. Like Jiisuri’s embarrassing sniper position, the girls taking a bath and whenever Funko thinks too much about Genkoku that she is on the verge of climaxing. Heck, even the ending credits animation has such fanservice of girls in dressed sloppily and in sexy positions. All with guns in their hand so if you think of wanting to make some weird moves, they’ll fire right back. The mid-intermission doesn’t really have fanservice (just the girl posing with their represented rifle) but it mainly provides considerable information on the featured gun like its fire rate, feed system, length, weight, muzzle velocity and cartridge type. Like I said, if you’re a gun enthusiast, you’d know probably a lot more than this basic information otherwise for a guy like me, the numbers and data don’t mean a thing. Hey, there’s one episode whereby they featured Professor. But I don’t think the statistics on him are of those you see for a gun. Thank goodness, eh? Can you imagine a human using such a girl as their gun? Or putting on lingerie on your rifle and firing away. How perversely odd would that look? You thought the OVA would have more tits exposed but you’re going to be sorely disappointed because you’ll have more fingers on 1 hand than such scenes if you count.

Despite the coolness and cuteness of girls in guns being portrayed, remember that guns don’t kill people. It is people who kill people. In the wrong hands and wrong use they become a weapon for mass destruction. I thought they should have manufactured guns heavily and also when one needs to pull the trigger, one needs to have considerable strength. I learnt this from Grenadier’s Rushuna that this is to reflect the weight of life. Unless you can shoulder the responsibility of what you are going to do, then might as well you don’t easily pull the trigger like turning on your lamp. However when profits and sales are on the line and people wanting more powerful, lighter and faster guns in their hands for better ‘performance’, I guess this premise won’t likely come true. It’s such a dangerous world after all. If it’s something I learnt from this anime, guns are humans and have feelings too. They need extra care and attention just like real girls. Be extra careful not to shoot your mouth off, jump the gun or you may find shooting yourself in the foot. Some could really go blazing guns when commented on their underwear. You’ll need a miracle to survive that rapid fire.

Otome Youkai Zakuro

September 23, 2011

If you like half-spirit female demons in kimonos and military guys, you may want to check out Otome Youkai Zakuro. For your information, I’m not the tiniest fan of either but after watching my favourite and ubiquitous high school comedy genre for too long, I thought that it will be good to ‘diversify’ once in a while into other genres. Just like how I did for other shows from time to time. And in view of this once in a while thingy, this series got picked randomly simply well, I thought the half-spirit female demons look cuter than your stereotypical ugly and vengeful ghosts. Sheesh…

Set in an alternate Japan whereby humans and spirits are co-existing side by side, it is a time whereby the country is embracing Westernization amidst their traditional culture. Don’t worry, it won’t look odd and out-of-place like what Gintama is. Due to the uneasy co-existence between both sides, the Spirits Affair is established to maintain harmony between humans and spirits.

Episode 1
The Japanese military has sent 3 of its men to participate in this programme. They are Kei Agemaki, Riken Yoshinozakura and Ganryuu Hanakiri and will be watched over by Lieutenant Takatoshi Hanadate. The men accept their orders to co-habitat with the half-spirit ladies, Zakuro, Susukihotaru and twins Bonbori and Houzuki (those killer locks remind of a certain someone in Ladies Versus Butlers). Agemaki gets Zakuro, stoic Riken with shy Susukihotaru and the young Ganryuu gets double jeopardy, oops I mean the cheeky twins. The ironic part is that Agemaki has a fear of spirits! How can he do his duty when he has this phobia? He’s going to be surrounded by more than 1 spirit, you know. Plus, Zakuro hates humans especially those who are of the Jesuit belief. Whereas Susukihotaru feels that Riken is someone big and scary. Of course you wouldn’t expect things to work out as soon as possible and bonding takes time. The men also meet other spirits in the building they are supposed to live in. They include a fox spirit Kushimatsu, the elephant spirit Amaryouju, a pair of lively pumpkin-head spirit kids, Sakura and Kiri and 3 tanuki-like servants. Agemaki must quickly get used to having spirits around him because Sakura and Kiri enjoy playing with him. Worse, Zakuro’s artefact spirit, Mamezo (I feel he’s like a horror version of Bugs Bunny) likes hanging around this ‘big brother too. Other bonding in this episode includes introducing the ladies to cow’s milk in which Zakuro completely detests. While Bonbori and Houzuki enjoy frolicking with Ganryuu, Susukihotaru finds that Riken isn’t as scary as he seems but someone kind and helpful. Zakuro is further upset by Agemaki’s cowardice of spirit when he even requests her to accompany him to the toilet! And she thought he was hugging her out of romantic gesture but the actual fact he’s just a wuss. To further improve their ties, the gang go on a hanami (flower viewing) and receive unpleasant stares from other passers-by. During the view, a lightning beast appears and unlike its tame nature, it starts attacking them. Agemaki manages to temporarily overcome his fear and safe Sakura and Kiri from harm’s way but that’s when he starts to paralyze in fear. Zakuro and co go into action to tame the beast. She takes out a sakura branch from Mamezo’s throat and with the other half-spirit ladies singing a weird but sadness-filled ritual song in the background, the branch turns into a knife to slash and calm down the beast. In the aftermath, the beast becomes docile as Sakura and Kiri play with it and the gang continue their picnic amidst the hanami.

Episode 2
Zakuro dreams whereby she was picking a fruit up the persimmon tree when she was young. She saw demons crawling up from beneath. In her fear, she carelessly climbs up further, not heeding advice to do so because it is connected to the underworld. She falls off and wakes up from the dream. During breakfast, Zakuro continues to loathe Agemaki. This time he gave her a candle for breakfast thinking spirits like her eat candles. The gang are called on their first mission. Seems there is a ghost haunting a newly constructed western hotel though it is harmless. As they meet the manager, he wants them to exterminate the spirit because his workers are getting too afraid to go to work. They split up to look for the spirit. Susukihotaru tells Riken why Zakuro is important to them and how Kushimatsu brought them all together to this place. Ganryuu seems to be able to tell the difference between Bonbori and Houzuki, much to their delight (I still certainly can’t). Then the haunting spirit appears. Though looking menacing, it’s not attacking them. Zakuro and co go into action but after slicing it, it has no effect on the spirit but the building walls got destroyed instead. The manager is furious as Zakuro explains. Taking a lit candle and approaching the spirit, the light reveals its true form, which is a very tiny and meek self. The big one is just his projected shadow. Zakuro says that there was once a shrine in this area and the construction has caused it to lose its home. Plus, the surrounding rapid development and the streets filled with light makes the spirits’ dwellings vanish so it was just trying to scare humans away. She feels humans have lost the respect for spirits. However the manager and the other humans aren’t pleased with this. You know how much it costs to build a hotel? Hanadate arrives to quell the commotion. He says the military would reimburse all his costs incurred and give him a piece of land as compensation. He feels this is necessary as to maintain a good relationship with both humans and spirits. He also sees the importance of both westernization and maintaining local tradition. With all sides pacified, Zakuro starts blushing when he calls to her to thank her for reminding him about important things. Hey, this cool guy must be better than a certain wuss, right? That night back home, Agemaki asks Zakuro why she is willing to fight for worthless humans. Her reply is that this is where she belongs and that there are wonderful humans (Hanadate) and wusses (Agemaki). She just had to say that, didn’t she?

Episode 3
Zakuro isn’t happy that she is the only one who isn’t on a mission but Kushimatsu says that she should first improve her relation with Agemaki since she’s always bickering. Then when an old guy comes to request for help about girls from his village who start disappearing or in worse case, spirited away, Zakuro becomes all excited to take this mission and feels they can’t wait for the rest to return. In the train, Agemaki remembers what Kushimatsu told him about how half-spirits are born. When pregnant females get spirited away, the return with half-spirits. They who are believed to be possessed by fox spirits are shunned and taken away immediately at birth. She adds that though Zakuro and co look cheerful because they have each other, deep down some wounds are hard to heal. She is trying hard because she wants to be accepted and pushes herself hard. Upon arriving in the village, they are forced to share the same room and in an awkward position. That night they can’t sleep so when Agemaki tells her about learning how half-spirits are born, she explains her mom was spirited away twice. Once before she was born and after the second time, she never return. That’s why she got worked up when she heard about girls getting spirited away and she thought she might learn something about her mom. The next day as they start their search, Zakuro meets a bunch of curious kids who have never seen half-spirits before. They played without discrimination. After the kids leave, they rest but Zakuro is suddenly under a trance. She’s going to follow the voice when Agemaki snaps her out of it. That night, she gets trance again and walks straight into the woods. Agemaki spots this and goes after her. He also sees a giant white fox spirit hovering over the sky. When he manages to catch up and snap her out of her spell, they are outside a cave’s mouth. A pair of hooded ladies seems to be pleased that this is going as planned. The fox attacks them so they retreat. As they trek deeper into the cave, Agemaki becomes scared after seeing human bones everywhere on the ground. Then they see a huge spirit and Zakuro realizes the girls weren’t spirited away but eaten by it. They both cooperate to fight it and Zakuro lands the final stab on its head. Back home, Kushimatsu reports to Amaryouju that a half-spirit is using illusion of girls spirited away as bait to lure Zakuro. They think they’re starting to make their move. As for the rest, they are pestering Zakuro for details about spending the night together with Agemaki.

Episode 4
With Zakuro and Agemaki given a rest day, the rest head over to shop believed to be possessed. The gang are relieved to see the shop owner, Aya Orikata accepting the existence of spirits because she too has a little spirit, Mugi as her assistance. Aya brings out the sword she believes many people around her have met with unfortunate events. Riken is going to touch it but is stopped by Susukihotaru. She then starts feeling uneasy. Riken goes to talk to her while she is resting. The twins tell Ganryuu about Susukihotaru’s power: She is able to empathise with objects and other people by a mere touch. When Mugi shows Susukihotaru a comb from her mom, she starts seeing visions of how Mugi’s mom was brutally murdered by humans. To Mugi, she doesn’t remember much. Susukihotaru encourages her further by saying her mom will come if she is a good girl. Then they see Mugi trying to work hard so that she can be a good girl but she accidentally bumps and causes the cursed sword to drop. Susukihotaru catches it and sees visions of it being used to slaughter. She becomes possessed and attacks Riken. Aya and Mugi could’ve been victims if Riken didn’t get back up on his feet to protect them. Mugi starts to remember how her mom protected her. Riken uses the cloth and wrap around his hands to catch the cursed sword. This brings Susukihotaru back to her senses. She becomes guilty for hurting him and felt afraid to tell him about her powers. Riken holds her hand and asks if she could sense what he is thinking. As a man of few words, he hopes that this is a way he can show his feelings. Susukihotaru is overcome with emotion and hugs him. When they leave, they take the cursed sword back with them. Susukihotaru feels she is no longer bothered with all the other people around her and feels it must be because of Riken. He holds her hand and causes her to blush.

Episode 5
Hanadate pays the gang a visit. Based on a survivor’s testimony, there seems to be an incident whereby victims (all men) are lured away by a beautiful woman who then transforms herself into a giant spider. This only happens at official government parties. And yes, our heroes and heroines get to attend a grand ball as part of their mission. Zakuro seems to be enjoying herself with Hanadate accompanying and dancing with her rather than Agemaki. Then a couple of mean military guys mock Zakuro. She’s upset but holding it in. Agemaki gets this chance to show his cool side when he steps in like a gentlemen so the punks take their leave. Zakuro cries in his arms and he could feel her trembling in fear. Bonbori and Houzuki manage to locate the enemy and send message to the rest. However they are being stopped by those hooded characters. While Riken is clashing swords with one of them, Susukihotaru touched her skin. Though she escapes, Susukihotaru starts crying because she felt a very dark and deep sorrow. Ganryuu and the twins enter a room and to their horror, see lots of rotting corpse of men in the ceiling. There’s a fresh one up there and he is Hanadate. The lady culprit, Rangui makes her appearance and transform into a spider. Bonbori fights Rangui but her power is only at half level since Houzuki is protecting Ganryuu. Bonbori becomes injured as Ganryuu becomes hysterical. Enraged Zakuro whizzes and stabs Rangui for hurting Bonbori. Though Bonbori is still breathing, Ganryuu is upset over her actions. Rangui lies in her pool of blood but she’s laughing. She knows who Zakuro is and even her mother, Tsukuhane. Zakuro badgers her for more information but she vanishes, leaving Zakuro pretty confused and shell shocked.

Episode 6
Zakuro is visibly distressed but all that is alleviated when Agemaki comes by to hand her some cookies from Hanadate. Well, she really likes it. What she didn’t know and Agemaki couldn’t tell her is that it’s made out of milk. So it’s all in the mind, eh? Ganryuu on the other hand seems upset not because of the twins but rather himself for being incompetent and inexperienced that has caused what happened. But they don’t mind because they are prepared to lay down their lives for him whom they love dearly. They tell him their past how a woman once in awhile came by to see how they were doing in a cave. She always told them never to go out of the cave in daylight and never approach humans. They happily played together in the dark and came to love her. One day, the woman never stopped coming and they became curios and ventured out to search for her. They encounter a furious human who believes they killed his wife. In his rage, he hunted down to kills them and all the petrified twins could do was to run as fast as they could. They felt this bad thing happened to them because they disobeyed the woman’s instruction. But the next thing they know, they were whisked away on a flying white fox who brought them to meet the rest just like them. The ironic part wasn’t how they could understand each other without speaking and even so with that woman but rather they never realize they could speak! Until only recently. Meanwhile Susukihotaru tells Agemaki how they first met Zakuro. She’s always cheerful and smiling but is afraid that one day she might just disappear. Zakuro is pestering Kushimatsu about details about her mom, why she was serving her but the fox isn’t telling and will only do so when the time is right. That’s not an answer. Soon Agemaki requests Zakuro’s help to remove Sakura and Kiri’s kite stuck on the tree. Why her? Yeah, he can’t climb trees. When Zakuro climbs it, it’s that deja vu feeling of that persimmon tree dream again. She slips off but luckily Agemaki is there to catch her. Noticing her pendant’s chain broken, he offers to fix it. She mentions it is from her mom as Agemaki notes she is always putting on a brave face and pushing herself hard. After fixing it, he gives it back to her and hugs her. Susukihotaru notes that this is the first time she let someone else touch her pendant.

Episode 7
A young woman named Tae suddenly barges in and hugs Agemaki. Feeling jealous, Zakuro? Who the heck is she, unashamed of throwing herself at a guy? Well, she’s one of the servants back in his home and it seems she is here to ask for Agemaki’s return to the house since his dad has already been making noise. Agemaki then pleads to Zakuro and wants her to temporarily be his assistant. She agrees but on a condition that he owes her each time he insults her. She gives him a paper of coupons of sweets. Erm… I think you need to give a lot more than that seeing the favour he is asking of you. Not wanting to expose she is a half-spirit, she has to hide her demon ears which can be quite uncomfortable. Upon reaching his mansion, Zakuro is introduced to his little sister Kumiko. Tae wonders Zakuro’s relation with Agemaki and as usual those scornful comments but to Tae, he is a kind person that treats everyone with respect. Later Zakuro confronts Agemaki for the real reason of bringing her back to his house. She thinks it must have something to do with a spirit. He admits that it happened since his pet cat Itsue disappeared. Then during dinner, Zakuro hears Agemaki’s boastful father (he’s in the military too) and that he doesn’t like spirits very much. He has this perception that his son is going to rein them all in. That night Agemaki tells Zakuro how he thought Itsue was taken away by a spirit so he begged to it not to do so and would trade all his treasure for Itsue. Plus, his dad was always yelling at him for being a scaredy cat. Because of this, it led him to his fear of spirits. Then Zakuro says that Itsue is here, sending Agemaki into his usual hair-standing-on-ends feeling. Zakuro tells Itsue to appear in her true form. As explained, when a cat is loved, it becomes a demon cat. Itsue appeared before him when he was young because she wanted to thank him for his kindness. Agemaki hugs Itsue and asks for forgiveness for being scared. Itsue returns to her normal cat form in which he can’t see. The next day as they’re leaving, Agemaki tells Zakuro that he wanted to show her how his father is like and not hide anything from her. Then his mom whispers to Zakuro asking her for forgiveness over her husband’s discourteous. She thanks her for making Agemaki feeling relaxed and leaves him in her care. On the way out, Zakuro felt glad she came while Kumiko watches them leave with Itsue. Can this kid see spirits?

Episode 8
While Agemaki and Susukihotaru are out in town for an errand, those hooded pair cast a sleeping spell and kidnap them. The pair are working for Rangui and this is their plan to draw Zakuro out. Agemaki and Susukihotaru awake to find themselves in an earthen cellar. Then Aya and Mugi stop by and tell something wrong must have happened because she found stuffs from the duo lying outside her store. Zakuro wants to go save them but was locked up by Kushimatsu instead. However Amaryouji wants her to free Zakuro as this is an order from the Spirits Affairs. Though Kushimatsu insists that she is just living up to her promise to protect Zakuro, Amaryouju cautions her that she is the one who could be locked up instead for disobedience. That rainy night, Riken frees Zakuro as they rush out for a rescue mission without Kushimatsu’s knowledge while Ganryuu and the twins stay behind as decoys. When they arrive, they are ambushed by the hooded ladies who reveal their true form. They are also half-spirits, sisters Byakuroku and Daidai. They clash swords and Riken got injured. When Byakuroku tells Zakuro that their loved ones are trapped beneath a cellar and will drown once the water fills it up, Zakuro becomes enraged and violent. The fight stops when Byakuroku starts vomiting and feeling pain. Zakuro is shocked to Rangui but the latter is here to retreat her underlings. Agemaki and Susukihotaru are having a hard time holding back the door (can they?) but it bursts open. Luckily, they manage to grab onto Zakuro’s hand. Riken hugs Susukihotaru and is relieved she is alright. Back home, Riken reports to Kushimatsu and will take full responsibility. Zakuro couldn’t hold back her tears because she was worried sick about Agemaki. He holds her and apologizes for making her worry. Rangui and the sisters are back in their safe place. Rangui notes their powers are difficult to use if they’re far away from the Village of Oracles since they’re only half-spirits. After assuring Daidai that she’ll help Byakuroku recover, she turns to the latter and wants her to serve her in exchange for her sister to be treated the same way.

Episode 9
A beautiful day. Zakuro tries another hand at milk but still doesn’t like it. Riken’s punishment is a pay deduction and this is just a light sentence considering it could’ve been much more severe. Then Hanadate pays them a visit. Seems another occurrence in which recently girls are playing a popular game called Kokkuri. Think of it as something like the Ouija Board. When the girls play the game (usually involves pining for love), a peculiar spirit appears though it is harmless. He thinks they need to take action before something happens. So what better way than to investigate but to play the game itself. The gang including the Tanuki servants conspire to make Zakuro play and reveal her true love. As they start the process, a fox spirit appears but Zakuro notes that it isn’t a spirit but the visualization of the feelings of humans. Because the rest are still forcing to reveal Zakuro’s true love, Kokkuri causes a little storm and escapes via window. They give chase and when Zakuro is to cut it down, there is no effect. It soon disappears. Since it is not a spirit and just a mere visualization, they can’t really attack it. Everyone soon gathers to discuss to solve this problem. Amaryouju thinks that they need to show love and if Kokkuri sees a couple in love, it will think its task is done and will move on. Hanadate wishes to personally participate in this too. As they split up and set out to find Kokkuri, Agemaki is getting annoyed that Zakuro is having a friendly chat with Hanadate. Then they see Kokkuri larger than usual and well, it’s so colourful now. Is that a good sign or bad? Agemaki nervously is going to put on a demonstration of his love for Zakuro but she got embarrassed and strangles him. Then cool Hanadate steps in for the kill when he convincingly confesses that he loves Zakuro. Kokkuri is now at ease and disappears. Though Zakuro thanks him for putting up a splendid performance and big lie, unfortunately Hanadate says he is a poor liar. Uh oh. His eyes don’t indicate he’s lying or playing a fool. Back home, Susukihotaru asks Zakuro if she likes Hanadate. More woes for Zakuro when the Tanuki servants continue to pester her and to make her stand clear. She gets pissed off that they’re the root of this problem and they square off. Agemaki goes out after hearing the commotion and sees Zakuro taking on… Zakuros? One of the cheeky masquerading Tanuki goes up to Agemaki and seduces him so the real Zakuro gets flustered and beats him up. Meanwhile Rangui is seen making herself comfortable in the arms of a masked man. How come this guy seems familiar? Don’t tell me he is…

Episode 10
The gang head out for the night festival. As they make their way into the maze, Agemaki asks Zakuro if she is still mad at something. Not really anything important. Really. Agemaki continues that at first he was scared of her and is going to tell his feelings for her but she just ran off. While she is running away in tears, she sees a bright flash of light and soon disappears. Rangui continues to seduce the masked man but he isn’t interested so he orders her to take Byakuroku as her attendant. Zakuro wakes up from a dream of spending time with her mom and then saw her being taken away by those demons. She finds herself chained to the bed as the mask man enters with Byakuroku. He shows his true face… How come it’s no surprise to know the culprit is Hanadate? However he says that is nearly his false name and his real name is Omodaka. He mentions they are both disgraced creatures and will soon be as one. He’s not going to rape her, isn’t he? He orders Byakuroku to keep tabs on her. Zakuro sees her in pain and shares some of her power to make her feel better. As for the other gang, they are starting to get worried that Zakuro hasn’t returned. Their fears come true when Mamezo starts becoming weak, which is an indication that Zakuro is far away. At least by a day or two. Rangui continues her seduction on Omodaka but he is clearly not interested. Then he notices Zakuro’s powers in Byakuroku and is definite she is the one who will bear his child. Jealous Rangui confronts Zakuro and is going to tear her apart in her spider form. But in her rage, she not only destroys the room but accidentally sets her free as she uses this chance to escape. Zakuro chances upon lifeless half-spirits and as explained by Byakuroku, half-spirits like them all are merely tools. Neither human nor spirits, flawed by nature. Though female half-spirits like them are lucky, the males aren’t (those ugly dark demons from the persimmon tree). Zakuro sees an entire cell of lifeless half-spirits calling out her name. She gets scared and runs away through a dark corridor.

Episode 11
Zakuro’s pendant starts glowing and as she follows it, leading her to a secret pathway which leads to her mother sitting motionless in a tent. She is happy to be reunited with her but when she touches her, memories of Tsukuhane start flowing through her mind. Elsewhere Kushimatsu tells the rest about the Village of Oracles, the place where half-spirits are born. She once served Tsukuhane who was a maiden with rare powers. The Chief of the village wanted her powers and took her as a bride and kept her isolated in the mountains. When she gave birth to an heir, Omodaka, she was cast aside and not allowed to see her son. One day when she was peeking at the village where her son is, she fell out of a tree courtesy of the woodcutter, Enaga. He accepted for who she is and as time passes, they form a bond and she sneak out of her confinement to be with him and do chores in his village. She was having the time of her life when she heard that a villager’s wife got spirited away. She ran to the Chief’s village and begged for him to return those ladies.  Then she heard Omodaka’s voice and pleaded for a chance to see him but was turned away. She became depressed but Enaga stood by her side. One day, they decide d to elope but the Chief killed him in front of her eyes. If bearing his child isn’t bad timing, the bad news is that the one who told the Chief of Tsukuhane’s tryst is no other than Omodaka himself. Tsukuhane is taken in to be performed as part of another half-spirit ritual. The Chief noticed the glowing powers belonging to the newborn baby but at that time, Kushimatsu had taken Tsukuhane and her baby to escape the village. Kushimatsu can no longer return to the village since she has betrayed it. In reality, Omodaka puts Zakuro to sleep and gives Byakuroku an important role as a maiden at the wedding ceremony. Kushimatsu continues with her story, saying that half-spirits are the product of fox spirit rituals and they are considered failures. Zakuro’s pendant serves as a seal but over the years it has weakened as it could no longer hold her powers and thus difficult to hide it from the Village of Oracles (at that time Omodaka succeeded the Chief) so Tsukuhane chose to return to the village as atonement for her sins in return for Zakuro’s freedom. However Kushimatsu worries that he will betray them and that’s why they’re constantly on the move. As the years pass, Zakuro’s powers continue to increase and that’s when she met Amaryouju who told her not to run and hide but teach the girls to take pride in their powers. Though he feels that it’s a mistake now, the rest think it is not because they wouldn’t have met nor fought together. They are adamant to bring Zakuro back. But to enter the Village of Oracles, they must cross a barrier. They need to have a talisman which contains magic from that village. Riken shows them a little talisman left behind by Rangui when she appeared at the earthen cellar. This should do it. Meanwhile Omodaka and Byakuroku are starting the ritual. Daidai is jealous that her sister is given the important role instead of her. Rangui comes in to fan the fire and convinces her that she is here for her.

Episode 12
The gang are transported to the Village of Oracles. Agemaki is separated from the rest. As he treks through the corridors, he sees Tsukuhane and hears her voice. Seems she wants him to deliver a message to Zakuro and Omodaka. The ritual is interrupted when our heroes and heroines barge in. The priests use fox spirits to attack. Susukihotaru could feel that they are doing this against their will and wants them to kill them and put them out of their misery. Of course they can’t do it. Riken will bear the burden. No, he didn’t turn into a bloodthirsty slasher. Instead, he scared the priests and they lose concentration and run away. That’s it? It was that easy? And the priests never thought they’d be in danger? Omodaka takes Zakuro to the place where Tsukuhane and Enaga met and is going to defile her here. They get another interruption in the form of Agemaki. Byakuroku clashes with him. Though she got the better of him, Agemaki’s reinforcement arrives. He says it is just not him who is going to rescue Zakuro. Omodaka unleashes several fox spirits to keep them at bay. When a sword comes flying Zakuro’s way, Agemaki dives in to get her out of harm’s way. Can you believe it? He’s faster than the sword. Then he caught glimpse of her pendant. Ganryuu wants him to release the pendant and release her true powers but he did not. His reasoning was that Tsukuhane wanted Zakuro to live a normal life. Omodaka is surprised Agemaki was able to hear Tsukuhane’s voice. The way he says things indicates he must’ve been jealous of Zakuro who is loved more by Tsukuhane. When she returned to the village, she refused to be Omodaka’s tool by bearing more half-spirits and died though retaining her same form even in death. He thinks she is punishing him by sacrificing herself for Zakuro and hates him. Agemaki replies the other reason why Tsukuhane left Zakuro in Kushimatsu’s care. She felt guilty of hurting Omodaka and should her powers be used for ill intentions, she will take her life and her only wish is to be with the child she was separated from, thus her reason returning to the village. Flashback reveals Omodaka too wanted to see his mom badly and one day when he managed to sneak out, his happiness turned into hatred when he spotted her having a nice time with Enaga. Though Omodaka felt pain just thinking about it, he returns to his unremorseful evil self. He no longer needs her power and wants to destroy the world along with Zakuro. Suddenly they see the village on fire. Daidai is setting it on fire and releasing the lifeless half-spirits from their cells. All part of Rangui’s plan as she gets Daidai to fawn her even more by saying she only needs her and no longer Byakuroku. Omodaka takes Zakuro and rushes back to the village. Byakuroku decides to aid Agemaki and co in hopes they can help save Omodaka from his past.

Episode 13
Byakuroku questions them why do they easily trust her. Susukihotaru’s answer is simple: Because they’re half-spirits and have endured the same sorrow. Back inside the burning village, Byakuroku is horrified to see Rangui devouring Daidai. In her dying breath, Daidai apologizes for always being envious of her sister and didn’t want to be a burden because she’s always protecting her. Too late for those now. With her demise, Byakuroku is filled with enrage but being blind with anger won’t do her any good to Rangui. Omodaka tries to cast a spell but Rangui is stronger due to the life force she sucked from her victims. She is going to eat him too (out of love?) but Agemaki protects Omodaka. Rangui gets upset each time they mention Zakuro’s name so she intends of getting rid of her. Zakuro could hear and see everyone around fighting to protect her. Just that she can’t move. Agemaki then confesses he likes her. His feelings reach her and she’s able to move once more. Zakuro breaks her pendant because she wants to use the power to protect those she loves. What is her power up? Well, the Moon turns red and there are red drops everywhere. Zakuro easily slices Rangui in half. The village starts collapsing as Omodaka runs back into Tsukuhane’s room but is shocked to see her rotting corpse. As Byakuroku noted, all she ever saw were bones. Omodaka thinks it’s his self-delusion that caused him to see her retaining her form but Agemaki reasons that their mom wanted her children to see her in this form. Omodaka wants to die with Tsukuhane’s side. Though reluctant, Zakuro accepts his decision thinking Tsukuhane would be happy. Byakuroku also wishes to be by Omodaka’s side. Since her existence is to protect Daidai, with her gone, she couldn’t bear this new freedom and wants to serve him till the very end. The building caves in while the rest manage to get out in time. In the aftermath back at their home, Kushimatsu has an important announcement: The Spirits Affairs will be disbanded! Seems the military agreed to form this as it was part of Hanadate/Omodaka’s scheme to get Zakuro. But now he’s gone, they’ve lost interest and have other more important things to deal with. As the guys pack, their partners say their tearful farewell. Agemaki and Zakuro chat for one last time. Among it includes him being a wuss and she’s not scared of anymore. Out of the blue, Agemaki confesses he loves her, catching her by surprise. He gets depressed when he reprimands him for his bad timing. But I guess there’s so much a man could take so Zakuro blurts out to that dense guy that she loves him too. Finally they share a kiss. The guys leave and the ladies take their stroll in town. The passers-by seem friendlier. Hey, in that passing car, isn’t that Omodaka and Byakuroku? Well, anybody mentioned about finding corpses? Zakuro gets annoyed when she finds that Agemaki, Riken and Ganryuu are having tea with them. Why? Seems they managed to persuade the General about the importance of Spirits Affairs and thus was successfully reinstated. Zakuro is flustered because if she knew this would happen, she wouldn’t have said all those embarrassing things. It’s only going to get worse because Sakura and Kiri spill the beans about seeing them kissed. I wonder how they’ll get themselves out of this crisis.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?
So, I guess everything is rather okay. Nothing much groundbreaking. I just felt that it didn’t have any sort of impact that would leave it memorable for the long run. What kind of impact? A few of them I could name. Firstly, though we see the characters grow and their relationship deepen crossing the human-spirit barrier, it was like they got on good terms too quick. Not that this is a bad thing but from my perspective being from 2 different sides, this kind of bonding really do take time so it really is a miracle that these guys do get along pretty well. And since it is pretty much expected, I guess that’s where it lacks the impact. Hanadate as Omodaka as the villain was somewhat expected. I mean from my point of view, he’s got that villain’s look (no offense, buddy) and his actions were pretty suspicious too (say, being at the right place at the right time). So when he turned out to be a baddie after Zakuro’s power, it was somewhat so typical. Next, Zakuro’s super powers. I don’t really feel that she had powered up. Maybe that’s why they need to turn the scenery reddish with some dramatic effects so that we could see the awesomeness. Would you not believe me that she could still slice evil spirits like a hot knife through butter without breaking her pendant? It’s no different, right? Maybe Rangui has powered up and tougher to kill (which isn’t obvious either) so that’s why the need for a higher power. But the point is as I have said, do you feel the impact of it all? Not to me. Lastly when the military suspended Spirits Affairs and suddenly reversed its decision, it made me think if the top guy is a soft person. I know it’s to keep viewers happy that the guys won’t be separated from their partners but if a General could reverse such a decision, imagine he could overturn major decisions during important events. I doubt the guys are good persuaders as boasted by Ganryuu. Why not? Well, Agemaki’s got a hard time convincing Zakuro or speak up to his dad, so what makes you think he can do that? Riken? He doesn’t talk much. And Ganryuu? Ah, I don’t know he had that kind of skill.

The most amusing pair has got to be Agemaki and Zakuro. I believe Zakuro can be classified as what we call in the otaku world as a tsundere. We know the trend that Zakuro is always berating Agemaki for being a wuss but that tough facade is just to hide the love that she can’t openly express to him. It’s ‘entertaining’ to see Zakuro shooting off her mouth at Agemaki, especially her usual incredulous, “HUUUUH??!!!”. Oh, here’s another thing that lacks impact. I don’t feel Zakuro’s particular hatred towards Jesuit humans nor do I get the impression that Agemaki is totally afraid of ghosts. They seem more like mild cases. I know Agemaki has to sum up his courage because he’s going to be dealing with lots of spirits but you don’t really see the extent of his phobia as a real phobia. More like a little discomfort. Mamezo felt like a mascot (heck, he didn’t even do anything major in the final few episodes) while Sakura and Kiri are too energetic so much so their curiosity can become an annoyance. Okay, so they’re just kids. Humans or spirits, kids will be kids. There are a couple of episodes focusing on Riken-Susukihotaru and Ganryuu-Bonbori-Houzuki relationship but it is nothing that deep and it’s just about that. One thing still bugs me. If Kushimatsu knew Omodaka was a threat to Zakuro, how come she didn’t recognize him when he first appeared as Hanadate? I mean, being a fox spirit, even if Omodaka was wearing that mask or the last time Kushimatsu saw him was when he’s a kid, doesn’t she get that ‘evil targeting’ aura? Unless Omodaka is really playing one cool cat all the way. And yeah, just like many antagonists who aren’t really bad people, he’s the baddie just because of his twisted ideals and sorrowful past. People like him just need to be nudged a little before they realize they’re wrong and return to the right path. So that last bit seeing him with Byakuroku does it indicates that he has turned over a new leaf?

There are quite a number of known seiyuus lending their voice to this series. Mai Nakahara as Zakuro is such a perfect in playing haughty ladies just like how she did for Selnia in Ladies Versus Butlers and Erika and Tsuyokiss. Kana Hanazawa is recognizable as Susukihotaru like she did in Anri in Durarara!! and Mikan in To Love-Ru series. I guess the only way to differentiate between Bonbori and Houzuki are their different seiyuu. At least I could still tell apart (though rather tough) between Bonbori by Aki Toyosaki (Yui in K-ON!) and Houzuki by Yui Horie (Kotori in Da Capo series). Other casts include Takahiro Sakurai as Agemaki (Suzaku in Code Geass), Satoshi Hino as Riken (Yuuji in Shakugan No Shana – his low voice in this role makes him unrecognizable), Yuuki Kaji as Ganryuu (Akina in Yozakura Quartet), Nobuhiko Okamoto as Mamezo (Usui in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama – sounding more like a geek here), Takayuki Kondou as Hanadate/Omodaka (Oishi in Prince Of Tennis), Haruka Tomatsu as Byakuroku (Nagi in Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens), Minako Kotobuki as Daidai (Tsumugi in K-ON!), Kikuko Inoue as Rangui (Belldandy in Aa! Megami-sama – no dreamy voice here) and Ai Nanoka as Mugi (Fuura in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series).

The opening theme is Moon Signal by Sphere. Sounds like your typical upbeat anime song suitable for this kind of genre. There are 3 different ending themes, each tailored to the partners. We have Mai Nakahara and Takahiro Sakurai doing the lively Hatsukoi Wa Zakuro-iro, Kana Hanazawa and Satoshi Hino singing the slow ballad of Futari Shizuka, Aki Toyosaki, Yui Horie and Yuuki Kaji performing the cheeky Broadway-like Junjou Masquerade. However in all 3 themes, I find it a little annoying that while the ladies are singing the main lines, you can hear the male vocal talking during some parts. It sounded so out of place, so awkward, so disruptive… And even if they do a duet with the ladies, let’s just say I feel that it’s much better if the ladies were to sing it without any accompaniment vocals.

The issue of humans coexisting with spirits isn’t truly explored nor solved. But I guess as long as both sides do not accept the other’s shortcomings or differences, you can’t really live together in harmony. Heck, even half-spirits are discriminated here. It’s like they do not belong anywhere. Neither here nor there. So having a bunch of military guys to show the public as role models (because the military is supposed to be strict and respected, right?) together with a bunch of pretty half-spirit females in kimonos would do the trick? Well, it’s that age where people are more gullible and naive but still strong in superstitious beliefs. In the end, I’m not really a fan of this kind of genre and setting so if there is a sequel to this, there is a high chance that I might not want to watch it to find out further developments in terms of characters and plot. Really, we have a rough idea how that will turn out, right? Plus, I wasn’t really bewitched.